Friday, November 23, 2007

Rest in Peace Mommy

My mother, Sonja Vanderpool, passed away yesterday, November 22, 2007 after a long hard fought battle with various forms of cancer. Although I was unable to be with her, she was surrounded by her family and she passed very peacefully. Jeff, and the girls & I will be traveling to CA for about a week. Thank you for your thoughts & prayers during this difficult time.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Lost in Translation: Katie Edition

It can be hard to understand what your child is saying, when they're not even 18 months old. Especially in this family. We don't exactly have a good history of intelligible speech: Emma's been in ST since she was 2, but needed it about 6 months before then. By 18 months of age, Emma had 1 word we could understand: dad. She wasn't trying to imitate any words we said to her. So a ST was needed. With Sarah, I know many kids with T21 who have very good speech. Sarah isn't one of them. At 3 1/2, again, there are very few words we understand. BUT, the plus side is, she will try her very best to repeat a word when you say it to her. And when she signs, she tries to say the word as well. So, we're making progress there. With Katie, I have to say my biggest wish for her was that she would progress "typically" in the area of speech & language. I know this will probably sound petty & uppity to some people, but when you've got 2 kids who it seems you need a translator for, it's right up there with the "10 fingers & 10 toes" part. Not that I'm trying to belittle my 2 kids who have issues in the speech area. Quite the opposite. I know Katie will have her struggles, in whatever area they present themselves. I was just hoping that speech wouldn't be one of them. Well, she isn't spouting poetry on a daily basis, but I think she's progressing quite nicely. She's learning some signs, and has a few words. Mostly "dada", "mama", "Emma" (or what sounds like it), "ball", and "shoe". This last one brings up the title of this blog. I WISH I could record her saying the word "shoe". And that I could post it here, because every time I hear it, I think she's cussing me out. It sounds exactly like the word "sh*t". And it makes me laugh every time. She will toddle on over to the shoe rack, which sits right in front of the door, and she will take all the shoes down, saying the word "shoe" for each one. So, you can imagine, as a parent, going about your daily work, and all of a sudden, from the corner of the room, you hear this little angelic voice, saying what sounds to you like, "Sh*t, sh*t, sh*t, sh*t." And I will look over at her, and she'll catch my eye, proudly hold up the little white Gerber walker she has in her hand, and say "Sh*t". And I'll smile & tell her "Good job, Katie!, Yes, that's a shoe". Then she'll toddle off again on her new found walking legs and go play. And I'll think to myself, maybe I should get that ST on the phone now...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I may have bitten off more than I could chew

A few weeks ago, a notice came home with Emma from school. Someone was trying to get a little "pom-pom" team together to cheer at the boy's & girl's middle school basketball games. It was for girls from 1st-5th grade. I asked Emma if she was interested, and she said yes. Soccer was over and she didn't have any other extracurricular plans. So, we signed her up. Hoo-boy.

She had her first practice yesterday. The girls & I were late getting there to watch because of a car malfunction (i.e. complete & total dead battery=not so fun time with 2 small kids) so I only got to watch the last half hour of practice. They are doing the "Cha-Cha Slide". By the time the practice ended, Emma was asking if they could do something else, because apparently, she no longer likes that song after practicing to it for 90 minutes. After practice was over, we got the schedule. And what a schedule. The games are almost every week, with there being 2 games a night most times, because the girls play first, then the boys. We're talking from 5:30pm to almost 9, each time they have a home game. Until February. Ok, now I get why my mom didn't want me to be a cheerleader. Wow. This is a pretty heavy schedule for a 2nd grader. And this is in addition to having practice 3 days a week? A part of me says to quit now, while there hasn't been any monetary investment in it, but another part of me says,"Oh it'll be so cute!!!" She IS going to get some sort of uniform (probably a Morey t-shirt & a homemade skort, with some Dollar store pom-poms) and she'll be making friends. This is a good thing, right?? Please someone convince me this is a good thing.

I showed Jeff the schedule last night & he laughed at me, making sure he pointed out that I would be going to these events by myself. Such love.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Parent-Teacher Conference

It's that time of year again! We had Emma's quarterly conference with her teacher last night. Overall, she's doing very well. Still having issues with spelling, but again, we think that there's a correlation between her speech & her spelling. So, we're going to continue working on both those areas.

Her teacher had nothing but good things to say about Emma in regards to her work ethic & her attitude towards the other students. She said that Emma sometimes finds it distressing, when she's been at speech or in the resource room, to come back to class & find that she's missed a Center. She wants so badly to make it up. Her teacher also said that, if Emma IS gone, and the kids in the meantime have been working on something, 9 times out of 10, Emma will come back from wherever it is she's been at, and complete the task that the rest of the kids have been working on, first. For bringing us to conferences, Emma received a "Free Homework Pass", where, if she decided one day she really didn't want to do her homework, she could use that 1 time pass. Emma kinda gave her a look like, why would I want to NOT do my homework? Oh, I love my girl. :) The same thing happened last year, she got a "Free Centers Pass", where she could skip a center. She never used that either.

They're still not using letter grades, but instead using the 1-4 scaling system. She got all 3's & 4's, which is nice. There are a couple math areas that she showed not enough improvement, which was a bit shocking, seeing as how Math has always been her strong point. But, it might have been one of those times where she wasn't feeling in the "math mood". That's the problem with tests like that. Sometimes you're just not in the mood.

I'm glad we're getting her glasses at around the beginning of the quarter, so hopefully we'll be able to see a BIG difference in her performance by the end of the semester. It says on her Resource Room eval that the goal is to get her up to Reading Level K, which is "End of 1st/beginning of 2nd" average level. She's on G right now. So, 4 levels below. I plan on working hard with her to help her reach it. :)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

New specs

Emma has been telling me for awhile now that her eyes hurt when she reads & it gives her headaches. Now, this kid loves books, but with her reading being a little bit behind, I was thinking she just didn't want to, because she wasn't doing it as well as her friends. She's in Speech (which she has been since she was 2) and is now going to the Resource Room every day to get extra help with reading. Th consensus between her teacher last year & her ST was that her speech was affecting her reading. She spells words the way she says them, which is Phonics, but she says them incorrectly, which is Phonics gone horribly wrong.

So we took her to the Pedi about a month ago, and they did the old fashioned eye chart test. She said that she thought she was slightly near-sighted, but it was only 20/40, which isn't that bad. But she recommended we take her to the ophthalmologist to make sure. We went on Tuesday. I'd been telling her that she might not end up needing glasses, and to try not to be too disappointed, because she'd been telling everyone she saw that she was getting glasses. Her little boyfriend Adam just got his this week, and apparently a few other kids in her class are getting them, in addition to the few that already do. In second grade, getting glasses is the "en vogue" thing apparently.

At first, I thought she was doing pretty well reading the eye chart. But then the 2 little ones decided that being cramped in a small dimly lit room where they're strapped to the "instrument of torture" (i.e. the double stroller) was too much for them, and they started throwing hissy fits. So, we went out to the waiting area, much to the relief of the doctor. I vainly tried to entertain them while we waited. When Emma came out, she yelled, "I have to get glasses". I'd never heard that phrase said with such joy. The doctor said that yes, she seemed to be slightly nearsighted (only about a -1) but she wanted to dilate her eyes just to take away her focusing ability and re-check. They said that we would have to wait about 20 minutes before the dilation drops were in full effect. In the mean time, Sarah & Katie were in complete mutiny, running opposite ways around the lobby, and completely driving me mad. So, I strapped them back into the stroller, told Emma to wait there & play until the doctor came for her, and I went outside with the babies. It was cold, like really cold, so I was hoping the exposure to the elements would calm my kids into some sort of complicity and we could go back into the office & wait patiently. Nuh-uh. They weren't having any of that. I stayed outside for maybe 10 minutes, went back inside, to find Emma still sitting there. They were good for about 2 minutes and then we were back outside again. By this time, it was raining, I was cold, and I was ready to accept the glares & chagrins of the office staff & patrons from my screaming children. We go back in & Emma's not there. Oh good, we're almost out of here. By that time, we'd been there for over an hour & a half.

By the time Emma came out, I had been forced to make Figure 8's around the lobby with the stroller, and calmly talking to the kids to keep them from screaming & grabbing the $200 pairs of frames that were everywhere. The eye doc said that she was still near-sighted, but she also had issues with focusing close up. HUH? So, my almost 8 year old is getting bi-focals. Of course, why not? It's not like we could have had something easy. Oy vey. I asked about those famous "no line" bi-focals, but she shot those down, saying it was too hard for little kids to be able to find where they need to look through without the obvious line in the lens. So, Emma tried on some frames, picked out a very cute pair of satin pink, cat eye shaped ones, and we did all the paperwork. Thankfully insurance covered a big portion of the whole affair, but our out of pocket bill is still $140. I told Emma that if she wasn't careful with these things, she would have to wear them covered in black electrical tape if they broke. O.o I only half jest. LOL But I did stress that she needed to take care of them and be careful. No wrestling with them on & try not to pick any fights.

So, only 2 hours after we walked in, we walked out, completely exhausted. Needless to say, we ordered out for dinner that night. But, Emma got her glasses. She's very excited. And she was completely bummed that she had to wait a week for them to come in. I can only hope that she'll be this excited when it comes time for her to get braces, because you KNOW she'll have to get those. Of course she will. She's our kid.

Now is the winter of our discontent

So, the cold & frosty season is officially upon us: it snowed last night & this morning. Not much, maybe an inch or so, and it will most likely be melted by the end of the day. But, still, it's here. You would have thought we'd had a blizzard the way Emma got dressed this morning to take Jeff to work. Her snow jacket, hat, scarf, gloves, and boots...over her night gown. So her legs were virtually all exposed. And this was just to go into the car & drive somewhere. Did I mention that Emma loves winter? Until about February & then she gets tired of it, and joins the rest of us who've hated it since December.

So now with the first snows of the season, I realized: OH CRAP! Christmas is 7 weeks away. Emma is "this close" (imagine fingers not very far apart) to the whole "Santa" expose', but not quite. I'm not going to ruin it for her. But, I have a feeling it will be soon. Possibly before this Christmas, but we'll see. I have started referring to getting her gifts, not from Santa, but from Mommy & Daddy. I'm not going to use the term "what do you want from Santa". Besides, Santa doesn't get her the boring gifts like mom & dad. We give her things like a new comforter set, and socks. Santa gets her something pink & fluffy & altogether useless.

December is a hard month anyhow. We have 2 birthdays, plus Christmas. And no matter how I think I'll be prepared, it always sneaks up on me. Then, before I know it, it' Christmas Eve & I'm at Wal-Mart digging through the $9 movies, telling myself, Of course Sarah wants "Die-Hard 2" in her stocking...

That was just a joke....maybe.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Out of the mouths of babes

Well, I guess Emma isn't a "babe", more like a tween, even though she's not even 8 yet. But she still comes up with good ones.

Our kids are old enough now where we have to really watch what we say in front of them. There have been times when one of us has let a curse word loose once or twice (or 12) and it's come around to bite us in the butt when Emma has repeated it. This also applies to when we talk about "alone time". That's pretty much what we refer to it as in front of the kids. We thought our ruse was working fairly well, until last night.

After dinner, as we were relaxing as a family: I was reading, Emma was eating a couple pieces of Halloween candy, and the babies were watching "The Goodnight Show", Jeff said something about spending some "alone time" with me later. Emma, ever the intent listener to things she shouldn't be, said,"Dad you just wanna kiss her." I about died laughing. She's not a dim bulb.

So, add "alone time" to the list of "No-no words in front of the children".