Both the girls are in school this year. Madeline is in 3rd grade of a 3/4 combo class and Gabrielle is doing 3-4 full days of preschool. It has been interesting. Madeline's teacher is wonderful and is working hard to get to know Madeline and all her issues. It has been a little rocky though. She spent the last two years with the same teacher who watched her go from being able to recognize only a few letters to reading at grade level. This year has been harder because by all appearances, Madeline looks to be normal. she can pass for it most of the time, and is at grade level. It isn't until you really dive into a subject that you realize that she is just compensating and has no clue what she is actually doing. She can read!! I still find that amazing, she reads books and can understand them. Reading is not fun for her, and it isn't something she will do of her own free will. I ask her to read for an hour a week and other then that we don't force her. I just want her to be able to do it but I doubt that it will be a passion of hers.
Up until 3rd grade she was able to process material quicker, as the work becomes harder, she is struggling to keep up. It takes A LOT of effort of our part to make sure that she actually understands what is going on. We spent hours a week alone working on math. Because she is dyslexic, she starts out at a disadvantage and then we have to work 3 times as hard at everything. Everything is a challenge and I do not say that lightly. Reading on the computer is harder for her to comprehend then reading off paper so I have to read it to her. She can't do math in her head while looking at the screen or take what is on the screen and put it on paper easily so I write it out for her and then she can do the problem. And then we have to try and put the answer back on the computer.
Madeline has two penpals. She only writes in cursive so she doesn't reverse her letters, they can not read cursive so I type out her letters for her. Testing is huge. We elect out of all standardized testing. It isn't an issue, she is either sent to the 1/2 classroom to be a helper or I keep her home. In 3rd grade they start regular tests, like a science test every other week. Many many tears because she takes weeks to learn new concepts with her memory issues. We might of finally got the testing figured out because she actually passed the last one. She doesn't know that she had been failing all of them. Her teacher, her therapist, and I work together to find what does work and what does not, lots of trial and error. Her teacher has been wonderful about assisting us in anything we need to do differently for her.
I did ask at one point if she wanted to homeschool again, she absolutely did not want to. I really work at keeping her self esteem up. She is never the only dyslexic child in her class, there is one above her and one below her so there is always one with her and several more children with learning issues in her class of 15. We bring her to school at 8:15, school starts at 8:30, she works from 8:15 to 9:15 every day with her therapist there. In the summer, she comes to our house first thing in the morning, 7:30! We do an session with a tutor for math for an hour on Mondays after school before she goes to gymnastics. He is amazing and volunteers for free to help her. She can do math but it takes her longer then the other kids that he is helping her learn short cuts and teaching her extra rules that she really needs. I started the tutoring thinking it was be a one time thing to get her over a hump we were having but then quickly realized that it was very helpful for her to learn all these extra tricks that he has, any little advantage goes so far with her. Last year I was starting to believe that Madeline would not struggle her entire life, that we had caught the dyslexia so early, she had done years of reading therapy, she would go on and it would not hold her back. I now know just how much it affects every aspect of her learning, that it will truly be a life long struggle but hopefully we can provide her with enough tools to work around it.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
And this is just about this guy's story in a nut shell. Grumpy. I say that he hates being a baby. He has been crying since the very day we was born. I remember being up for 2 days straight because he was born in the middle of the first night and on the second night, he would.not.stop.crying. He stops sometimes, generally when he is asleep.
It is better (a little) then it used to be, he is almost 4 months old and no longer spending hours a day screaming but he still isn't a happy baby by any means. He is a carbon copy of Madeline, I'm hoping this isn't a life long problem! Dominic hates the car, hated being put down, hates anyone else holding him, isn't find of his siblings. It would be a reach to find something he does like. He doesn't like nursing to sleep, he has to be bounced, hard. A friend called the other day. Her: "What are you doing?". Me: "Jogging through the house with the baby strapped on me screaming." Yep. I've been kindly told by two different mothers that they thought I was bouncing the baby too hard. Um, no. Unless it looks like I am doing step aerobics, he just keeps screaming and won't go to sleep.
We leave a puddle of spit up breastmilk in our path everywhere we go. I even broke down and tried reflex meds, no difference. So we just deal with the 3+ shirt changes that I go through a day and his many outfits and burp clothes. We were at the museum a month or so ago and this older gentleman approached me to tell me that my baby was spitting up everywhere. I looked down expecting to see a small lake (very normal for him) since his tone wasn't exactly kind. Instead I see two small nickle sized dots on the ground. I really couldn't help myself from laughing at him. I did have to refrain from inviting him to hang around another 5 minutes and see a real spit up. All my kids have been pukers but Julian wasn't this bad and I never left the house with Madeline and Gabrielle when they were this age so I didn't have to deal with baby puke in the public eye.
I have another velco baby that doesn't sleep anywhere but on top of me. Do people actually produce babies that do anything else? If so, my genetic material sure doesn't allow for that. He only sleeps during the day if I am in motion so I pace around the house or attempt to cook while bobbing up and down. I don't advise cutting objects with sharp knives though. I just keep repeating that it is a short lived phase, it shall pass.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
So this little boy is amazing. Julian is the sweetest kid. People say that all the time, but out of my older 3, he really is. Always has a smile on his face, always in a good mood, he is just so happy all the time. Even his "fits" are laying down and pouting. He does get upset and cries at times, but rarely and that is usually when he gets tired. Everyone that works with him, and there a quite a few of them, adores him.
He still qualifies for weekly speech therapy through Early Intervention which he has been doing almost a year now. He comes up for his annual reassessment at the end of November and the local district is supposed to start the preparation to transfer his services over to them on his 3rd birthday. Julian's EI speech therapist has been great, he loves playing with her. This summer she met us as a park and did his speech therapy there while Gabrielle played t-ball next door. She was in a severe car accident shortly after school started and has been unable to see him yet this fall. I called right away and got the last slot with the only private SLP in town so we have been seeing her for the last few months. His progress with the new SLP has been amazing, he is talking so much more, still under 50 words, maybe 40. I also discovered a small speech playgroup lead by a SLP 40 miles away so he has been doing that 2 mornings a week.
This winter he is finally able to go outside! Last year he was not able to walk in snow boots due to his feet so he missed all outdoor fun. He doesn't understand about gloves yet...
Still loves all things train.
He isn't an easy toddler. He might not throw many fits but he likes to wander. A lot. Someone has to keep a constant eye on him. I was at a friend's house last week with some other moms. I went to bathroom, came out and went looking for Julian. He was found outside going down the sidewalk! We have to keep all doors deadbolted and the garage door shut at the house because he will and has just walked outside and down the street. Our gates are keep padlocked now because he can escape those as well. I've lost him at the park once for a horrid 15 minutes once since you can not take your eyes off him even for a second. Our house is becoming more and more child proofed as we discover what he can get into. Like an entire bottle of child resistant medication that he found after I hid it... It took 2 weeks for him to be normal again after that one. Julian prefers adults to kids. I take him to open gym, he will ignore the kids and find an adult that he thinks looks fun and attempt to play with them instead. He is very trusting and willingly goes off with anyone, he loves people, just as long as they are adults. We've gone through several babysitters in the last year and he cries when they leave, even on their first day! Our current nanny says he is her all time favorite child. Which I love to hear, it is hard enough paying someone to do things with your child that you want to do (more on that another day), but it is better when they truly care for them.