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

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A few updates

Sorry, folks, no pictures this time. Just thought I would let you know how things are going.

I went down to the public schools AGAIN yesterday to sign a release for them to observe Mairead because even though I signed one ten days ago, turns out that was not the 'right' one, so I had to go down there again. They are not making this easy on me, that is for sure.

They arranged to observe her on Tuesday the 23 (it was originall scheduled for the 16th but they didn't make it happen). The advocate is trying to get them to meet with us on Dec 1 or 2 to discuss the observation. She is as frustrated as I am about this whole mess. I rejected her IEP on JUNE 30. JUNE!!!!! And nothing has happened since.

In the midst of all of this, Mairead is awesome. She is getting much better at answering yes or no questions and about being able to recall what she did earlier in the day. Ashley, the OT we have hired for private sessions, is making a lot of headway with Mairead in helping her learn self care skills like dressing and undressing. She is initiating more sentences and more novel phrases. Her pretend play is great and she is a very happy kid. I do try to remember that all things considered, she is really amazing in where she stands right now. I mean, she could have died, or had CP, or been profoundly disabled, etc, but instead she is singing Christmas carols with me every night. She knows almost all of the words to The Twelve Days of Christmas (as performed by John Denver and the Muppets, of course).

Yesterday, we had a playdate with our friend Connor and his mom, Cheryl. We went to a sports complex type place that had one of those huge white domes that looks almost inflatable. We pulled up and Mairead said, "Look Mommy. It's a igloo." So cute!

She is obsessed with Christmas. I fully support this as I love Christmas! We listen to Christmas carols and read Christmas books. We will have lots of fun holiday activities to enjoy- Last year we took her to Zoo Lights at the Stone Zoo and she liked it a lot- we will probably take her again this year (but probably not the boys). We drive around and look at Christmas lights, bundle up and take after dinner walks through the neighborhood once everyone has their decorations up. We will go see Santa at some point and we have some holiday parties/events to go to. That's all I can think of right now. When Mairead is ready, we will take her/them to the Nutcracker, but definitely not yet.

Right now, she gets excited when we go to Target. She says, "Go to Target, Mommy? See Christmas?" We walk through the Christmas aisles to see the trees, lights, etc, so she MAY think that Target is where Christmas happens... need to do something about that...

The boys' toddlerhood is very different than Mairead's was, and they are SO fun right now. I feel guilty saying that and it's not as if I did not enjoy Mairead, but the boys are blowing me away with their language, what they understand, etc. They are little tornadoes of destruction, but they are SO cute and so funny. I love this age!

My dad does a lot of projects around the house, so whenever he gets home from work, Jack says, "Grampy. Fix it. Fix it!"

When I tell Ben, "I love you," he leans over and says, "MMmmwah" to give me a kiss.

The other day I said to Jack, "Come here, little man." So now he runs up to me and says, "I little man." Of course, when I try to get it on video, both of them run right up to the camera yelling, Cheese!!!

They love elephants and when they see one, they yell, "Eh fant! Eh-fant" and try to make elephant noises.

They are obsessed with hugging the cat and run around yelling, "Molly! Molly" until they find her.

If they see a paw print of any kind, they say, "A clue! A clue!"

Jack loves phones. He has full on conversations with imaginary people on the other end. Usually, they are getting yelled at for something or another.

Ben is so good about saying 'thank you.' He says it whenever you give him something or do something for him. He says it all long and drawn out so it is even cuter.

There are just so many cute moments every day- I am so blessed! thanks for letting me brag a bit about my kiddos!

And- a story/PSA--
The other day, I was in the kitchen when I heard a huge crash. A guy had slammed his SUV into the neighbor's SUV (a Sherrif's truck), which then hit the car parked in front of that.

The guy had two kids in the car (maybe 4 and 6)... thankfully, they were in carseats and seemed ok. He seemed to be ok but was in bad shape- shaking, crying, back and neck pain, etc. He was SO upset about his kids being ok, the considerable damage to his car and to the other cars... I feel bad for him. I guess he turned around for a second to give something to one of the kids, and just slammed into the parked SUV. Scary-- I called 911 to be sure they are ok. If you are counting, that is three times that I have called 911 in seven months. They are going to start thinking I am a lonely housewife who needs attention. I have to say- the responders have been awesome every time.

Anyway, it ust makes you think-- how many times have you turned around just for a second to check the kids, give the kids something, etc? Be safe, everyone!_______________

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Falling for Fall

The weather was beautiful this weekend so we took full advantage and got the kids outside. Mairead loves playing in the leaves and going for walks to explore the changes in the neighborhood as the weather gets colder. We were lucky enough to be invited to a birthday party yesterday so we send a big thank you to Jake and Ben and their parents!

The boys enjoyed the chance to get outside, too. Most of the toys are put away, but their trucks and lawnmower are still around, so they had fun while staying warm.



This weather is great for being outside, but also great for making cookies when it is time to come in the house. Since Mairead is a novice chef, we started with the easiest kind of baking-- pre made! She had fun just arranging the dough on the cookie sheets and then checking on them while they baked.

Out in the yard, she was a big help to Daddy who did a ton of raking and bagging this weekend.

Mairead and I took a long walk to see what we could find in the neighborhood. We came across one of the last dandelions of the season and Mairead was fascinated by it.

A nearby wall has berries still clinging to a vine and she always wants to stop and collect some.

Not sure what this face is about...

I have to share this crazy dream I had the other night...I only remember flashes of images, but basically, Mairead was at a new school and I was with her. All of the other kids were running around playing, etc. Mairead kept wanting to climb this play structure thing, but there was a ladder part and it kept disappearing. She would want to go up, but I would have to go find the ladder, set it up, and help her with it.

People kept moving the ladder so I would have to go find it and drag it back. No one was around to help me. When I did get it where it needed to go, it was really hard to set up. It kept sliding back down and I had to learn a 'trick to it' to get it set up. I kept fumbling with it and getting frustrated, and she was sad that she just wanted to climb up.

When I finally got it right and we got to the top, there were cookies for everyone... I don't really get that part...

Anyway, the metaphor here is striking and sad. Think I might be a little obsessed with her education? We are still waiting to hear from the schools about when they will observe her-- we are hoping it is very soon so that we might move things along. I just hope and pray they see what we see and offer to give her the help she needs... soon.

Our experiences in Mairead's short life have not been what we expected. Raising a child with special needs is such a detour from the road we had planned on traveling, and we are moving forward without a map- just doing the best we can. Lots of people say things like, "I don't know how you do it." Or, "you're stronger than I ever would be. You're such a special person." I don't know that I believe that children with special needs are born only to special people, but I do believe that having a child with sn can make you become special. It can make you become an educator, an advocate, and a fighter. It can make you stand up for someone in ways you never have before. It can make you crazy, sad, depressed, and it can make you appreciate every single second of life more than you ever did before.

I don't believe that I was chosen to be Mairead's mom because I am special, I am just her mom, and any mom would do anything she could to make her child's life as wonderful as possible. I am doing what all moms do- the best I can. I do believe that being her mom has made me stronger and wiser, and that it has given me a new appreciation for every single moment of life. So many things I would have taken for granted before are now little miracles.

What makes me special is the way I have chosen to face this life unexpected. I am choosing to love my daughter, advocate for her, fight for anything she needs. Stand up for her, endure the stares from other parents, even educate them, and face challenging or uncomfortable situations if they are what is best for her. I love my child(ren) unconditionally. I don't care if they are valedictorians, quarterbacks, doctors, artists, or PhDs. I only care that they are loved, they are happy, and they someday know how much I love them.