Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Scary Things

"Mommy, I have nightmares."

Last week, when all the Halloween decorations went up around the stores and neighborhood, Gabe started talking about nightmares. Particularly, a fuzzy monster with big teeth. I haven't figured out where this monster came from, until now.

First, I pictured Animal from the Muppets, a misunderstood monster that just really wanted to have fun....

Shopping at Target the other day I came across this and then it clicked...

Let me introduce you to Target's mascot for Halloween.... "Domo". Domo is a fuzzy monster with very sharp teeth. No wonder Gabe does not like to shop. Domo was everywhere in Target, lurking around every corner, in the candy isle, dollar area. He even hovers over you as you enter the store, mouth agape, teeth furiously displayed, all he needs is drool puddling and being released from the corner of its mouth.
Poor Gabe. Only 16 days till Halloween and then it's all about Christmas. Cookies, Santa, snowpeople, snow forts, stars, lights, family. Is it time to put my tree up yet?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Wonderful and Bumpy

Cows at the dairy farm.

Wonderful..... That's how I would explain what I feel right now. If Wonderful were a place, I would be the greeter.

"Helloooooooo and welcome to WonderrrrrrrfuL!"

Then I would trip over my own shoes and fall less than gracefully into a Yucca plant.

I have given my two weeks at my retail job before the holidays set in. I did it for a year, enjoyed the experience, but it was difficult to swallow the pay with the dedication they expected. We'll just have to make due.

A new year at school and things are coming along pretty smoothly. Siena is in a peanut free second grade classroom with a very organized and friendly teacher. Gabe has a very sweet, but no nonsense kindergarten teacher. She has a lot of great ideas and utilizes them well with all the kids. We were so fortunate to have her for Gabe. It feels like a good match.

Gabe is doing good. He enjoys school and is able to do the classroom work with success. I noticed after a week or so that his fine motor skills for writing are a little low which is also affecting his coloring. We practice both at home and have a system that makes homework fun and rewarding. I'll share that at a later time. I'm still not sure if it is purely developmental or an area that needs extra attention and fine tuning.

Making friends normally takes a little more than a couple months for Gabe. He likes to gauge the situation and the people within it before making a bold move. So, while others are busy making friends, Gabe is a little slow on the go. Sometimes he wants to play on his own, which is perfectly fine, but other times I notice he is having a hard time engaging others because he doesn't know their name or is not paying attention when they try to engage him. I am currently doing recess duty twice a week, so I can see how he is doing. I'm there to give a hug and some strength if he needs it. That feels great.

Speech is coming along sporadically. He's working on his "l"s and his high pitch in his voice. We did twice a week in the summer, one session was one on one and the other was a play date with another child playing games, sharing and talking about toys and interests. I'm waiting to see if my insurance will cover the playdate sessions.

Gabe is in school full time now, which makes getting to speech in rush hour 45 minutes away and 1 1/2 hours back a challenge. I really need something much closer. What do you do when you know you have the best therapist for your child? But, they are too far away? I've been loading up my Ipod for the trips. I guess that's all you can do.

I am so excited about Christmas already.
I would put my tree up right now if I could.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

And Then There Was One

As I held my son, fear wrapped tightly around me. His body shook as his little hands tugged at my shirt. It was a different cry this time. One that could not be fixed by a smile, hug or kiss. Gabe is aware that people hurt his feelings often. That something he is doing is making them turn away or laugh boldly in his face. Gabe is reaching out with so much determination, so much love to others he sees as friends. He's putting his vulnerable hand out there waiting, reaching, trying to make some connection. He's waiting for what all the others have. What comes so easily between kids his age, a friend.

I would like to say that he made some friends this year at school, but honestly, irregardless of the tainted gene pool there, gabe rarely mentioned anyone with excitement attached. Was it a great class full of children you would look back on and say, "I knew so and so since preschool.", probably not. But, it was the slide show at his preschool graduation that showed not all were given a chance to be a friend. In every picture with Gabe, he was alone or with his teacher. He was alone. My baby was alone. The other boys huddled in a group together with big smiles. Or were shown sharing a toy. Gabe existed on the fringes. He so desperatly wanted to be included. Halfway through the year, I think he just gave up. He still offered friendship, no strings attached, but most of the time his warm gesture went unnoticed.

I hope in my deepest heart that people will see all the great attributes that he has before they turn away. That those that are quick to judge, take a second look. There is more, so much more to Gabe if you just give him a chance. He is kind, caring, funny, imaginative and loves the friends he does have so dearly. This part seems to be the hardest for both of us now.

Monday, March 03, 2008

The Summary

Sitting at my desk with my laptop feels a little new and awkward. As if I was back at the beginning of this blog or cracking the binding of a new book. Where have I been? Well, let me say that time has had its way with me, running past me as if I was standing still and it beckons me to stop being so stagnant. So, why do I feel as if I have been running for months? Finding each finish line was only really a lap in the race? Enough of the analogies...Where do I begin?

I left off in the beginning of this past school year of 2007. Preschool still is going well. Gabe has adapted really well and is excited to go to school. His teacher is amazing. The other boys, well you can only go so far with genetics and bad parenting. I hate to say it, but some groups just don't mesh well, but thankfully his teacher has a great program that she utilizes along with the children in her classroom that addresses that issue.

I did loose my appeal to the state. They deemed his therapy (ABA) not medically necessary. Infuriated doesn't even come close to how I felt. The next step was to get a lawyer and challenge the State's decision. We decided to close that chapter and direct our attention to what can be than what should be. Does that make sense? Needless to say, I found out recently that some people I know who have had cases with BCBS in Michigan for ABA Therapy coverage have won due to the fact that their child was self injuring. Gabe was not. It felt good to finally let go.

I also have been working part time since the summer. I work evenings in retail, until I can start my career again without sacrificing my family. I like getting out, getting a paycheck (no matter how small) and letting my anal retentiveness thrive and flourish each evening while I fold and organize clothes until the store looks amazing. It's funny what makes some of us happy.

Gabe was also evaluated by his preschool teacher for readiness for kindergarten and he was tested through a private practice using the WPPSI. He passed the kindergaten readiness test (The Gesell). Happily, Gabe scores indicated that he will do well in kindergarten and that we should definitely seek placement for next year! So we did. He will be attending a private Catholic school with my daughter Boo!!!!! They will provide speech for him and have a social skills group that meets weekly. There are quite a few children on the spectrum that attend school there. Gabe will be in good hands :o)

With all the worry waiting for test results, weighing pros and cons, going back over more test results, late night discussions, this feels right for now. This is where he should be. He did struggle with his receptive language and responding to some one on one questions with someone he didn't know. So, we have increased his speech to twice a week and set aside time each day to practice. Everyday now I see growth in Gabe. He amazes me.

So, there it is in a nut shell. I hope some of you still pass by occasionally to take a peek. I wonder about your children and everyday wish them well. Take care.