Monday, July 23, 2012

Ear Tubes!

After 7 ear infections and a whole lot of antibiotics this year, Micah had surgery on July 12 to put tubes in his ears and hopefully fix the problem.  The surgery was done at the Geddy Outpatient Center, and his doctor was John Howard with Hampton Roads ENT-Allergy.  

Micah and I arrived at 7:30 in the morning.  They schedule the little kids first because the patient can't eat or drink anything from midnight the night before the surgery.  Micah usually drinks a big cup of water first thing in the morning, and he was very thirsty and unhappy that Thursday morning.  

Jared and I had to divide and conquer that morning because Luke had therapy from 8 am-10 am, and I didn't want him to miss because he only has a few visits left before the move.  So Jared was taking care of Luke.  My friend Stacy had volunteered to take Luke to therapy that morning, but being the idiot that I sometimes am, I forgot to notify the therapy office ahead of time.  So Jared had to take him and I had to be tough.   

The nurses were all kind and helpful.  They brought us into an exam room (triage room?  recovery room?) where they took his weight, blood pressure, temperature, etc. and also dressed him in his surgery gown.  Micah HATED the gown.  I wished he could have just gone naked.  What is the point of the gown anyway?  He hasn't leaned modesty yet.  The world is one big Garden of Eden.  Anyway, I had the nurse snap a shot of us:

We had a few minutes to kill while we waited for the doctor, and we didn't have to stay in the room.  There was a red wagon available to pull Micah around the floor of the outpatient center.  Micah wasn't actually a big fan of riding in the wagon.  He liked pulling the wagon himself or running laps around the nurses station instead.  But we did get a few pictures of him in the wagon during the 2 minutes or so that he stayed in.

Micah would cry and point when he saw one of the nurses holding a cup.  He was so hungry and thirsty.  He saw a spot on the floor and ran over to it, almost frantically.  He was yelling, "Cookie!  Cookie!"

But it turned out to be just a spot of rust or something.

Poor kid!  He wanted out of there!

The surgery itself was probably the easiest part, although the moments surrounding it were rather traumatic for Micah.  The doctor came in to see us and answer final questions about 8 am.  The surgery nurse came to get him about 8:10 am.  Our parting moment was not fun.  Micah was crying and calling for "Mama," but the doctor was back by 8:30 to tell me the surgery was done and everything looked good.  Micah stayed in a recovery room for a few minutes while they monitored him to make sure he wasn't having any bad reactions to the anesthesia.  The doctor and nurses had warned me that Micah would be screaming and crying when they brought him in.  They said that is a normal reaction to the anesthesia because kids wake up very disoriented and afraid.  Micah thrashed around and cried for probably 15 minutes or so.  It was very sad!

Since I was alone with 2 big bags and a screaming baby, a hospital volunteer settled us into a wheelchair and pushed us out to the car.  The nurses were scared that I would drop Micah if I tried to get everything myself.  I think they were probably right, and I was grateful for the help.  Once Micah was strapped into his familiar car seat, he began to settle down.  When I offered him fruit snacks, he snapped out of it completely.  By the time we got home he was pretty much his normal self.  The only difference was that he was incredibly uncoordinated.  He would stumble and fall just walking across the room.  But he wanted to do his normal activities (that means climbing), and I was too scared to let him.  Micah had a rough time being forced to read books and watch movies on Mama's lap.  I put him down for an early nap after a good breakfast, and when he woke up he was completely back to normal.  You'd never even know he'd had surgery that morning.

So glad for good doctors and for a trooper of a baby!

Fourth of July Bowling Extravaganza

To celebrate the fourth, Jared took the morning off from studying and we went bowling as a family.  Luke, especially, was very excited to go to the "heavy balls."  Bowling with kids is great because you get to use the bumpers and a special "ball slide."  

Watching Micah's first attempt

Luke liked watching the balls come up from the ball return.

He had to be a big boy and carry the ball all by himself.  I think that ball is 12 pounds!  Can anyone guess why he picked it?  Anyone?

We played 2 games, but after the first one Micah wasn't very interested in bowling anymore.  He wanted to play in the arcade.  Here he is driving the car.

And pushing buttons.

Okay.  Baby bowling shoes are SOOOOO cute!

Luke really got into some of the songs.  Here he is dancing the morning away.  I wish I'd brought the video camera because it was very cute.

I really dig these moves.  He was spinning around on the floor.

We can't wait for the bar to be OVER so that we can have more fun family mornings like this!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Survival Kit

Public bathrooms are scary for Luke.  There are a lot of loud sounds and echos in them.  He is the most afraid of automatic flushing toilets and hand dryers.  As we have to go into public restrooms sometimes, I knew I had to figure something out.  From friend's advice and from my reading about sensory processing disorder, I've put together a "public restroom survival kit" to get us through it.  It consists of hand sanitizer, flushable wipes, sticky notes, and some heavy duty ear guards (the kind used at a shooting range.)  

I stick the ear guards on Luke before we go into the restroom.  I put a sticky note over the sensor on the toilet to keep it from flushing, and Luke has been doing great.  Last week I talked him into letting me turn on the hand dryer.

I didn't get any pictures, but he even took off the ear guard before we left!  And since then he's been excited to see hand dryers.  This is AMAZING because 2 weeks ago, the sight of one made him freeze up or sent him running.

I'd bet you can figure out what flushy wipes are for.  And the hand sanitizer is because some bathrooms have sinks that spray and get Luke's shirt wet.  Since that is cause for a scene, we just use hand sanitizer in those restrooms.

And I love our survival kit.  My life has become SOOOOOOO much easier!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Getting Ready

Our move to Amarillo is just around the corner.  Ask me if I'm nervous.


But we have the most important thing taken care of now.  We found a place to live:

Isn't it beautiful?

We are very excited to have found a home to rent in the area that we needed.  In preparation for the move, I called the school districts around Amarillo in order to find the best fit for Luke.  I found it, but then we had to find housing within that specific school boundary.  We were searching classifieds and craig's list.  I had seen 3 postings for the Tradewind area, and you can bet I jumped on each one right away.  The first one was posted as being available August 1, but it turned out to really be July 1, and the realtor filled it.  The second house looked promising.  We were emailing back and forth, but then the house sold-- apparently they were looking for renters because they were losing faith that their house would sell.  Then we saw the posting for this home.  I called immediately, and the nicest woman called back.  She said that they had received several calls about the posting already, but for some reason-- THAT I WILL CALL DIVINE INTERVENTION-- she gave us preference.  The application process went fast, and they chose us as the renters.  

These are the reasons we are so excited:

1.  Luke will go to Tradewind Elementary

2.  We will have a FENCED BACKYARD!

3.  It is a BRAND NEW HOUSE!  The people we are renting from buy rental properties for investments, and this is their newest acquisition.  They close on this house mid-July, and we move in the first week of August.

So now we just have to pack up our apartment, drive our two little boys halfway across the country, find some new appliances STAT, transfer all the boys information to start them on their services in Texas, and we'll be set.  

Oh, and Jared has to pass the bar exam.

Sounds easy, right?


Monday, July 2, 2012

The Hook

In May Luke was approved, through our insurance company, for ABA therapy.  This is an intensive behavioral therapy that addresses pretty much any trouble behavior.  For Luke, we are targeting several things-- particularly his tantrums and fixations.  He works with 2 different therapists, each for about 5 hours a week, and through the sessions he has made a lot of progress in many areas.  It's great to bounce ideas of each other and get tips on how to implement the ideas.  Also, Jessica can pinpoint behaviors that are a big deal.  One day Jessica and I took the boys to Yankee Candle, the point being to make him pee in a new public restroom.  Luke LOVES Yankee Candle, and he kept darting off.  Jessica would chase him down while I stayed with Micah, and in the car on the way home Jessica said she thought we needed to target the darting/wandering behavior FAST.

She had the great idea of getting two carabiners and some rope and making a leash that can easily be clipped on or off.  This would teach Luke an appropriate distance so that he could understand what "Stay close to Mama" means.  Jared and I let Luke pick the color of carabiner that he wanted (He picked red because there wasn't a green) and the color of rope that he wanted (there was green.)  We wanted something light, skinny, and not too long, so we ended up getting green shoe laces instead of rope.  Plus, after Jared read the review of these laces, he just HAD TO GET THEM.  Check this out:

"aswome": im an OG from Chi-Town & these are top notch gangsta. I love these Fat Gangsta laces & pimp em out in my Old school kicks.  -- t7Eaton

I wouldn't say that Luke pimps em out, but he does look pretty cute wearing his hook.  The first time I used the carabiners, Luke was hooked to his therapist, Carrie.  He took off running and snapped back so fast he almost knocked himself and Carrie off their feet.  The look of surprise on his face was priceless.  He figured out what "stay close" means really fast, and he started remembering to ask permission to go ahead and look at things.  We've used it several times now, and Luke is so good that I usually only have to clip him on for a few minutes to remind him of an appropriate distance.  Then I can undo the hook and just use it as a threat.  He knows that if he runs ahead without asking, "Mama will get the hook."  Sometimes I can just remind him of the rules before we go into a store and that is enough to keep him close.  When he is very excited about the place we are going, he forgets and runs ahead.  These pictures are from a trip to Lowe's.  We went there specifically to practice staying close because he gets so excited in Lowes that he tends to dart off without thinking.  This time, though, he did great.  He was pretty much only on the "leash" long enough for me to take some pictures.

Luke and Jessica checking out A FAN

People's reaction to the leash is pretty funny.  Usually we get a lot of dirty looks.  I mean, really dirty looks.  

The strange thing is that today the boys and I went to Wal-mart.  Luke kept walking too far ahead or else right in front of the cart and not fast enough.  So I got the hook, clipped it to the cart near the handle and went to clip Luke to the other end.  Except that he was wearing pants with an elastic waist, so I couldn't clip it to him.  I told him that he just had to hold onto his hook.  And with Luke holding it, people would look at us and smile, like, "Isn't that just the cutest thing?" and SEVERAL people told me what a genius idea that was.  

So what's the difference?  A belt loop.  That's it.