Thank you all for sharing in the lives of our three amazing children- Mairead, Jack, and Ben. We hope you visit often!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

New Friends

Yesterday, I took the kids to meet the children of a new friend of mine and we had a mom-kid playdate. Sarah is incredibly kind and welcomed our traveling circus with open arms. Her older daugther is Mairead's age and her younger daughter is just two months younger than the boys. It was a great match! Let me just say how sweet Sarah is-- two weeks ago, I was having a really upsetting and frustrating day in regards to insurance, the schools, etc, so Sarah and her daughters dropped by to bring us cookies. How nice was that? So, thanks, Sarah!

Jack- complete with a black eye from when Ben wanted to play catch and threw a real baseball at Jack's face.

Mairead and Audrey

Ben and Audrey had a great time together. They have a lot in common- mostly being professionals at causing mischief.

Maddie built a great 'pillow river' to jump in to while Jack made some calls.

Ben and Audrey. They could almost be twins!

Maddie is super cute and such a smartie! Mairead was much too busy exploring this new place and couldn't really stop to pose for pictures.

Thanks, Sarah, Maddie, and Audrey! We had a great time!

In other news...I went back into battle with my insurance company and got them to cover the neuropsych evaluation that we have set up for Mairead at the end of the month(yay, me). I am in the process of getting documentation of this coverage so that it cannot be disputed later, and I spoke with real, live, people who confirmed that it would be fine. I feel like I won a war.

As far as school goes, I spoke with the mediator Tuesday morning (she was very nice) about my goals, ideal situation for Mairead, etc. That was about 8:30.

At 12:30, someone from the school dept called to get more info about Mairead, her preschool program, what she is getting for OT, etc, what I would like to see, etc. She asked questions about her current school situation, her socialization, how she is doing, etc. I very honestly answered that things are not going well- she doesn't have any real friends, other girls try to play with her but she cannot respond or have conversations, so they lose interest. Other kids are already noticing and pointing out that she is different, etc. It's awful to know that your child doesn't have a friend. She doesn't realize it yet, but she will. Her teacher told me, though, that when it is time to go outside or go to circle time, some of the little girls will grab Mairead's hand and say, "Come on, Mairead!" and try to help her. That warmed my heart.

Anyway, the woman at the public schooltold me about this glorified playgroup run by the schools and facilitated by pre-K teachers. It meets three afternoons a week and does not have any kind of SpEd component. I have a suspicion that they were trying to placate me with that, but that is just not what Mairead needs.

So, they are going to send someone out to observe her at preschool. I was encouraged by this because, honestly, I don't see how ANYONE, a professional educator in particular, could see her in a classroom full of other kids and not clearly see her glaring need for extra support. I hope this is the case.

I am nervous, though, that they will send someone out to find evidence to use against us (ie, her strong academic skills, etc). I hope this is not the case, but I have not seen anything from them to indicate that they are actually willing to help us.

I am wondering if they got a phone call from the mediator and realized that I am not going to go away, and are now trying to put some steps in place to avoid mediation? I have no proof of this, etc, but it seems coincidental that the mediator called this morning and the schools called four hours later.

I am happy that things are moving again and that someone will actually SEE her and get a better picture of her, but I am trying not to get my hopes up in case this doesn't work. Please send us prayers and good thoughts that it does!

She is making such great progress and we can see it every day. There are still so many things that are hard for her, and it's hard to watch those things. For example, Mairead's class made little turkeys that are now hanging in the windows. They must have done a lesson about being thankful and the teachers wrote "Susie is happy for Elmo" or whatever on each one. Know what Mairead's says?

Mairead is happy for .

Right. It's blank. Because she did not understand what it means to be thankful and could never spontaneously answer a question like 'what are you thankful for?' Hers is is the only one without something. Just about broke my heart to see it.

Hoping that a visual would help, I had her watch the Blues Clues 'Thankful' episode. When it ended, I asked, 'what is Steve thankful for?" She named everything he said in the show. I said, "I am thankful for Mairead. What is Mairead thankful for?" She looked out the window and said, "I thankful trees and leaves and colors."

I asked, "Are you thankful for Daddy?" She got all excited and said, "I thankful for.... Jack and Ben!!!!" I just about cried. I said, " great job, what a good girl!" And she jumped up and down yelling, "I thankful for Mom!!!"

That's all I needed.

Thanks for reading- we hope that things are moving in the right direction for us now. The people at her current preschool have been amazing at trying to help in any way they can, and her former EI teachers are still helping us, too. We are so lucky to have these great people in our lives.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween!

We had a great Halloween! The babies were old enough to enjoy it this year, and Mairead understood so much more than last year. They all had fun!

Even Lily got into the spirit by dressing up as the Tooth Fairy. Katie made her costume and Lily looked cuter than ever. She had SO much fun playing with her cousins and chasing them around the house.

Clapping is her new favorite thing.

Before the festivities started, Jack and Ben enjoyed a very formal snack of pretend ice cream cones.

Jack was giving kisses to the tiger head that was part of his costume.

Beth and Judy were the stars of the day because they gave us balloons. Mairead has not let them out of her sight since we brought them home. Thanks to Beth, Judy, Danny, Katie, Jackie, Chrissy, and Jimmy for a fun little Halloween party before trick or treating!

We piled the kids into the stroller to visit a few houses in the neighborhood. It was really dark so the pictures aren't great, but they loved it! Mairead thought it was SO exciting to go up to each door and say, "Trick or Treat!" She also wanted to go IN to each house and kept stepping inside our neighbors' houses... it was pretty cute. It was kind of neat to take them trick or treating in the neighborhood were I used to go with my family.

They were exhausted by the end of it- but they had all kinds of sugar to keep them going.

Thanks to everyone who made Halloween a huge success!
This morning was a bit rough since the kids were all out of sorts. There was a major episode at playgroup this morning because one newborn baby there had the EXACT same blue blanket that my boys have. Ben saw it and tried to take it, and was beside himself when I wouldn't let him have it. I'm talking full on wailing and crying with huge tears streaming down his cheeks. I felt so bad for him. Obviously, he didn't understand why I would not give him the blanket. He must have cried for 25 minutes straight- nothing would distract him. Eventually, I gave him a toy hammer and he banged that around for a bit so he felt better.
Other than that, playgroup is great. It is held in a local church and is just a big open space filled with toys that all three kids can enjoy. They also have story time, snack time, and craft time. Everything is very informal so if a child doesn't want to sit and listen to the story, that is totally fine, etc. It is ideal for us and we have been going every Monday morning. It will be a lifesaver in the winter!
Mairead has been doing very well with Ashley, her OT, and is playing with her right now. There is really nothing coming up for her until November 30 when we see a neuropsychologist, though we are battling with our insurance company about that already. We are also heading to mediation with the schools in the hopes of getting more services put into place. It's all a lot of phone calls, paperwork, and red tape, but we will just keep working through it all to get her what she needs.
We hope that all of you had a great Halloween weekend, too!