Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My Boys, My Boys, My Boys

We are so proud of our boys!

Luke: Luke has made so much progress in a lot of areas. But his 2 biggest areas of progress this past week are with eating and potty training. Luke has gone from refusing any kind of meat at all to taking baby bites of grilled chicken, deli turkey, and deli ham. Last night at dinner I was coaxing Luke to take a bite of grilled turkey and he said, "I want the ham." I handed him a slice, and he ate the whole thing! My mom and I just stared at each other like, "Is this real?" In addition, Luke is consistently wearing his big boy underwear without any accidents. He even likes to use the toilet at new places now (friends houses, church, therapy office). Once he decided he liked the toilet, he has pretty much trained himself. We couldn't be prouder of his progress!

Micah: Micah is also making a lot of progress. He is sitting on his own now to the point that I can walk out of the room for a minute and not worry about him falling over. He can reach for toys on the sides (bend down and steady himself to straighten back up). He is using his pincer grasp like a champ. He rolls from back to tummy pretty much every time I lay him down on his back. I even sometimes find that's he's rolled onto his tummy while he's sleeping. We met with his physical therapist again yesterday (the 21st) and she was very impressed by his progress as well. Our next assignment is to give him tummy time everyday with the express purpose to help him shift weight onto one arm and reach with the other as well as pivot his hips from side to side while he is on his tummy. He doesn't like to do it. Right now he keeps both hands down on the floor or raises both to the side in a Superman position, but I bet he'll get the idea of what he needs to do very quickly.

Having two boys who need a little extra help makes each step of progression feel like a miracle. I cry with happiness every few days over our little victories. It is definitely true that struggling makes one more aware of God's hand in one's life and his overwhelming presence and love.

2-Year-Old Class Graduate

Last Friday (the 17th) was Luke's last day of school for this school year. He went to school for a little less than 3 months, but he made a lot of progress during that time. He especially made big jumps with his socialization and ability to transition after he started the GF/CF diet.

This is Luke with his teacher, Miss Alicia. She is such a good teacher: so patient, kind, and loving. I'm glad that Luke could be in her class.

We went to visit Luke's school last Thursday so that my mom could see Luke at school, see the classroom, and meet the teachers. It was an early release day, so school was only an hour and a half long. This meant that the kids ate breakfast, played outside, and then went to the bus. Very short and sweet. But we had a good time playing with and watching Luke on the playground.

We hope that next year Luke has teachers just as wonderful as he did this year.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Home Therapy

Each week we get "homework" from Luke's therapists. I try to do as many activities as I can. Some of things we do are jump on the air mattress, carry heavy things around the house, play direction games, speech cards, threading beads, playing play dough, drawing on Luke's easel, and playing in shaving cream. Most of the time, we have a lot of fun.

But some days disaster strikes.

Luke tried to put his ear on the shaving cream, and discovered he didn't like it at all. Well, Luke, I guess you live and learn.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Preschool Fun Day

Since this upcoming week will busy and since the last 2 days are half-days (which in pre-k means the kids only go to school for an hour and a half) the preschool celebration was last week. They had an outside fun day with activities and centers set up so the kids could wander and play at will. Afterwards Ms. Alicia had made a slideshow of pictures from the school year.

I was late getting to the outside party because I wanted Micah to get a good morning nap. I got there in time to push Luke in the swing for a little bit.

Luke had a good time watching the slide show. But the best thing of all was the present of a CD with the pictures on it. Luke was happy to just open and close the CD case.

We had lunch together.

Journal time after lunch

Center time-- playing with A.

Making a teddy bear with Mrs. K

Luke has enjoyed his pre-school experience so far. He is lucky to have 3 very patient and loving teachers and access to wonderful services and resources.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Butterfly Exhibit

My "Poor-me!-my-husband-will-be-gone" present to myself was a new pass to the Virginia Living Museum. I had one the first year we lived here, and I loved it! I've wanted one for awhile because it is so fun to go with friends. I bought it in May, and we have been quite a few times already. Last week we were able to go with my friend Rachelle and her two (almost three!) kids. This week, on Thursday, we met up with my friend Stacy and her son Tucker.

It was a rough beginning-- Luke spilled his drink all over himself in the car. Luckily I had a spare outfit for him! We got some funny looks as I pushed him into the museum without his shirt on, but we went right into the bathroom and got him cleaned up and dressed. Right as I finished dealing with Luke, Micah wanted to eat and poop. But we were finally ready to go play!

Luke had so much fun playing with Tucker. He was (as always) a bit of a jumper from thing to thing. But he did focus on a few of the animals.

Looking at a snake

We'd never seen this before!

Riding the Frog

Waiting so patiently

Climbing the log

Because it was so hot, we decided to skip the outside exhibits and took a gamble going to see the rotating exhibit at the museum. Right now it is a big exhibit on butterflies. It was great! So, so kid friendly. We played in there for almost an hour. The boys had a blast! And Luke was very engaged and exited. It was perfect for everyone because since he was so into everything I got to talk to my friend Stacy instead of running after Luke. Even Micah got out of the stroller to have a good time.

Luke can't wait to show Mima the butterflies!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Therapy and Progress

Micah met with the physical therapist from CDR last Friday. She was very helpful and taught me some easy exercises to do with him every day. Somehow (I HONESTLY can't figure out how I'm balancing so much!) I have done the exercises with Micah every day, and he is making some fast progress. Yesterday he rolled from back to belly all by himself! For the very first time! He did again today, so hopefully it is sticking. He is also balancing so that he can play with toys to the side, and he is propping up on the palms of his hands for a few seconds.

All on his own he is figuring out the pincer grasp, and he is so very proud of himself when he gets a puff into his mouth. Eating is one of his favorite things to do!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Diet Changes

I have been doing a lot of reading and talking to people and encountered almost daily the advice to try a Gluten free/ Casein free diet to help everything from severe Autism to ADHD. I read that a lot of children with sensory integration issues have digestive problems (which Luke seemed to be experiencing) and that Gluten and Casein seemed to be extra difficult for these children to digest due to damage in the intestinal tract.

Then, about 2 months ago (since Luke has started speaking more) Luke started telling me almost daily that his tummy was hurting. So I was thinking about trying this diet but was scared to start because Luke eats so few things. He was basically eating pureed baby food, bread, and milk. But I finally decided that we needed to bite the bullet and make some changes to see if it worked to help him.

Luke has been off of milk for 2 weeks and gluten (wheat and oats) for 1 week. So far he has stopped complaining that his tummy hurts, his chronic runny stools have cleared up, he is sleeping better at night, AND he has made leaps and jumps in his development. He is focusing better, and has made a big increase in the number of verbs he is using and in the complexity of his sentences. We've gotten great reports from school and from his therapists and are so glad we tried this.

His progress makes the challenges of this diet completely worth it.

(And as an added benefit, I've lost 3 pounds!)