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

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Best Boxes we Opened this Year

Could we ask for anything better in any Christmas gift this year?  How about three happy, healthy, beautiful kids?
The boys are wearing the special Thomas pajamas that Grandma sent as a pre-Christmas gift.  Thanks, Grandma!  The only downside to those pajamas is that the boys never want to take them off!

Why did we buy them presents?

They are just so fun and so cute together.  There is still more whining than I would like, and some people (cough, Jack, cough) need to be a little less bossy, but they are learning and doing so much.  I wish I could remember all of the cute and amazing things they do and say!

For example, Ben was sick about two weeks ago and had been vomiting.  He was lying in his bed at night while I sat in the rocking chair next to him.  Jack asked what Ben was doing and I told him that Ben was not feeling very well.  He said, " Oh, can I go in his bed and sleep with him and make him feel better?"  Talk about melting my heart.  Everyone should be so lucky as to have a brother like that!

Mairead has been dancing a lot to songs from John Denver and the Muppets.  This was one of our favorite records (yes, I said records) growing up, and seeing her enjoy it so much really brings tears to my eyes.  I love creating memories with her and seeing her enjoy the special moments of childhood.

Both boys really get into their pretend play with their trains.  Ben, especially, uses phrases from the show that just crack me up.  Sometimes, you'll just hear him say, "Oh, no! Exclaimed Henry!"

All three kids are protective of one another.  If one of the boys cries, Mairead strokes his head or back and says, "Oh, it's ok.  It's ok."  If one boy can't see the other, he goes on an all out search for his brother.  If Mairead is upset, the boys ask, "What's wrong with Baread?  I can help her?"  I just love watching them grow up and seeing how close they are!

Christmas Cupcakes

To get ready for Christmas, Mairead was a big help in baking some holiday themed cupcakes.  She takes her job as a helper very seriously.  She loved measuring out the ingredients, counting the cupcake wrappers, and stirring the mix.

 But the decorating was the best part.  You have never seen so many sprinkles on one cupcake!

That same day, she found a hat in Nana's room and wore it for most of the afternoon.  Ben then insisted on having a hat, too, so he wore on of Grampy's.  Pretty cute, huh?

The Nutcracker

Before Christmas, my mom was nice enough to take Mairead (and me) to see a local production of The Nutcracker.  My parents used to take all of us, especially the three girls, when we were little.  I remember it being such an exciting event.  We would get all dressed up for the big night out. 
Mairead was dressed in her Christmas Eve dress and then in a coat that I wore when I was young.  I was probably about 6 when I wore it, but it fit my 4 year old very nicely!

She did really well!  I was a little worried about sensory overload, but she handled things in stride.  She got a little nervous when the lights went out (it was VERY dark!) but as soon as the music came on, she was enthralled.  We stayed until intermission (about an hour) before she was asking to go home.  I was happy with that, and happy to see her enjoy the show.

Since then, she has been asking to dance to Christmas music and actually imitates many of the moves she saw at the show.  I am amazed at her memory-- she remembers what the mice did, how some of the dancers fell, and how the ballerinas twirled and jumped.  I do have some video to upload that shows Mairead dancing just as she remembers the dancers from the show!  Thanks, Nana, for a special day!

Gingerbread House Decorating

Each year, my Mothers of Multiples group organizes a Gingerbread House Decorating Party.  A few of the MoMs in the group are kind enough to make the houses, and then all are invited to come decorate.  As you can imagine, it is a room full of chaos.  This year, I think there were 30 sets of twins participating, plus siblings.  There was candy everywhere!  The kids had a great time, though. 

I asked Jack, "Do you want to decorate your house?"  "No.  I want to eat it."

Mairead and Ben took their decorating very seriously and spent a great deal of time on their houses.  Ben was really good at it!  After the houses were decorated, they enjoyed a few treats and then ran around with some of the other kids.  A big thank you to the organizers of this event-- it was really fun! 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Lily is TWO!

Seems hard to believe, but Lily turned two on December 20th!  She is one of the funniest toddlers I have ever met- she entertains everyone around her.  Her mom and dad put together a great day for her with a gingerbread theme.  Although, if you ask Lily to pronounce that, it sounds much more like, "Jam a jam man."  Adorable.

Family and friends came to our house to celebrate and our kids had fun playing with the other young guests.  Katie's friend has two little girls who are close to Mairead's age, and she was excited to see other little girls at the party.  She was also excited to see cake.

Speaking of excited, who couldn't be excited about new drums???  Jim and Jess gave each boy a drum (Thomas the Tank Engine themed, of course) and gave Mairead a tambourine and a set of maracas.  I guess they figured that things around here are just too quiet, so we needed a family band.  The kids loved their gifts and have been having fun playing music!  Thanks, Jim and Jess!

 Lily's hair has become much  more blonde.  And, since she is the same height as my boys (they are 9mos apart), the three of them really could pass for triplets!  Looks like the girls in our family are blessed with height!

Unfortunately, Nana could not be at the party.  After being diagnosed with Legionnaire's Disease a few weeks ago, she was resting at a rehab center and missed the fun.  The good news is that as of today, she is home and happy to be back in her own bed.  She seems to have made a full recovery, despite being in pretty bad shape for a while.  She is one tough lady!

Ailish's Birthday Party

A few weeks ago, Mairead was invited to celebrate with her BFF, Ailish, as she turned 4!  Ailish is Christin' niece, and is the daughter of my friends, Josh and Becky.  The girls had so much fun together as flower girls and it is always so sweet to see them together.  The party was at an indoor play place, so for the first 15 minutes or so, they didn't see each other.  Then, Ailish came whooshing out of a slide and she and Mairead ran to one another and hugged.  Mairead was SO excited to see her- it was adorable.  Then, they each ran separate ways in the craziness of One Stop Fun.  They got back together, though, for the party part of the day, and enjoyed pizza, popcorn, cake, and ice cream.  Another mom asked me if they were related.  I said, "Well, not exactly... I have been friends with Josh since 7th grade, but Josh's sister married my brother, so the girls share an aunt and uncle.  Does that count?"

Thanks, Donahue family, for inviting Mairead.  She had a really great time and truly loves her friend, Ailish!

IEP Re-Evaluation

On December 20, Dave and I met with Mairead's IEP team to discuss her the results of the most recent evaluations of Mairead.  This meeting was definitely the best meeting we have ever had... not that it takes much, lol. But seriously, the women involved were awesome. Their reports were thorough and it was clear that they definitely saw what I wanted them to see. They chose words/phrases to describe her that were right on, and they were very candid about their impressions. They said that she is a 'little puzzle' because she is so bright and has so many high level skills, but that she can't always show those skills. The psychologist described her (and her test results) as 'consistently inconsistent.' I smiled at that because her neurologist and all the Early Intervention people have always said that she defies categorization and no test results are consistent. I mentioned to the team today that her neurologist (who is a brilliant doctor) has even said that he can't figure her out.

They said that while she has some great skills (even completing academic tasks appropriate for a 6 year old), she is 'prompt dependent' and needs consant cueing, directions, etc. Even for things she does every single day, someone has to tell her to do one step, then the next, etc. If her pencil breaks, she sits and waits and never speaks up to say that she needs one. She smiles at other kids and complies with their requests (if they as for a crayon, etc) but never speaks to them. The compliance is fine for now, but may become an issue as she never stands up for herself, never says, "no," and lets other kids have/do whatever they want.

The SpEd teacher said that Mairead is actually reading some things (many sight words, some sounding out, etc), which is great, but when you ask her what was just read, she can't come up with an answer.

Everything they said was more positive than the impression I got from the reports. There were some areas in which she scored very low and was even in the first percentile on a few things.  Those results were very hard for us to read.  Obviously, the areas in which she was in the 1st percentile are a big problem, but I was picturing her seriously struggling and being a problem in class, etc, and that is not the case. I mean, she is still struggling for sure, but they all said that they would describe her as happy, sweet, and "just so cute." I was encouraged. They all seemed genuinely concerned for her welfare and want to help her. It was sort of surreal, actually, compared to all the other meetings we have had.

Anyway, they have amended her IEP to state the her disabilities include a Global Developmental Delay and a Communication Disability (it used to be only a Communication Disability). She was receiving Speech in class 30min per week and pull out speech 30 min per week. Now, she will receive:

  •  Pull out speech (one on one) 30 min per week
  • In-class speech (SLP with her in the classroom) 30 min per week
  • In-class support from the SpEd teacher 30 min per day, 4 days per week

So, either the SLP or the SpEd teacher will be with her in the classroom every day for 30 minutes. They are going to work on getting her to initiate conversation, to speak up when she needs something, to interact with other kids, etc.


I think this will really help her. I am still concerned that she might need additional therapies, but I want to start here and see if things get better at school. I think that having someone to prompt her and basically teach her how to interact, speak up for herself, etc, could make a big difference. 

All in all, I was really encouraged by the meeting. I could not believe the difference in this meeting as compared to all the others. They actually saw the problem, acknowledged that she needed support, and made a plan to provide it.  I am really hoping that several things will combine to help us see some improvements in the new year. I just hope that everything comes together to help her. She's such an amazing kid- I just want to be able to see who she really is and what great things she can do.