Friday, May 25, 2012

Pictures and Special Thank Yous

One of the aids from Ryan's class got some great pictures of Ryan when they were working on the Mother's day collage. I just love them so much!! Rachel, you are awesome and thank you so much for sending them to me! 

Since starting preschool, Ryan has grown so much! He no longer bangs his head on the floor, he's talking more, and he is all around a more balanced kid. He still has lessons to learn, but compared to the nightmare we were living before, this is much more enjoyable! Now, don't get me wrong, it's work and it takes a lot more effort on our part to provide the outlets Ryan needs to stay balanced. The joy and ease comes in having those resources available to turn to. Whereas before it was as if I were trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. 

All the traditional approaches of parenting and discipline don't generally work for a special needs kid. I think it's safe to say that for all special needs, but what do I know... Needless to say, assuming Ryan understood or was acting out of complete defiance every time discipline was in order was a real problem. For a balanced kid, running into the street is a given and when they make the mistake of doing it anyway, discipline is in order for their well being. In Ryan's case, a swift kick in the butt isn't always the answer. He doesn't fully grasp danger, pain, fear, and all other results of running into traffic. This is just one example (and a fresh one at that. When I picked him up yesterday from school he flirted with the idea of running into the street). 

I say all that to say I am grateful for the progress he has made. It seems just a short time ago that he barely made eye contact, never answered to his name, and hardly spoke more than one word answers. I couldn't have believed this little boy could progress as fast as he has if it weren't for the great people who have believed in him (maybe even more then I did at times). Michelle, his OT, has been a life saver! She always helps me stay focused on what needs to be addressed. She reminds me that Ryan is just another kid that needs boundaries and love. She truly has helped me to enjoy this journey of discovering my little boy. I joke with her that I will be bringing Ryan until he is 18!! 

Christianne, Ryan's teacher, has become a friend and a great support for me. She works so hard to genuinely understand what Ryan needs as if he were her only student. I am grateful for her words of encouragement and I am overjoyed at the discovery of a new friend! She has accomplished milestones with Ryan that I thought were at least a year from possible! I can't imagine leaving my special boy with anyone else on a day to day basis! I am so happy we have another year together. Thank you so much Christianne! 

I am grateful for my husband, who manages to reach Ryan no matter how upset he is. It's almost like Ermes can read Ryan's mind. It's always been that way even before the diagnosis. It is always a joy to see those two play together and enjoy each other's company! It makes my world complete. No one understands Ryan as much as daddy does and for that I am eternally grateful! God truly knew what he was doing when he gifted Ryan to us! Ryan really makes Ermes' life complete! 

There is someone who has been there for me from the beginning, and I need to thank her! Wende, if it weren't for you I would never even had Ryan tested. Thank you Josiah! I love you little man! Wende has encouraged me from day 1! I know no one takes pride in Ryan's progress as much as Wende does!! Ryan will always hold a special place in Wende's heart. Thank you Wende, I love you!! 

Now, if you're reading this and are offended that I didn't write something special for you... get over it. I'm only kidding.. a little. There will always be people who help you more than others and in this case some people have directly impacted Ryan's journey. I guess the theme of this blog is more about Ryan's progress than it is about my emotional support system.  And there are of course more than just the people I named that have been an asset to this journey (I could really write a novel). Please know that if you know me, really know me, then know I love you! I couldn't have survived (at least remained sane) without all of your love and support. Sometimes honor is due to people who really make themselves available and truly give of themselves. I am open to takers who want to prove themselves by babysitting ;) Just kidding. I guess if it bothers you that I didn't write something just know that's a great sign of how much you love us and how much you care, and in some ways I should write something for you too...but that will have to wait for another post because it's time to pick up Dylan from school. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Friday fun-day

Friday was a good day. Ryan and I just relaxed all day after dropping Dylan off at school. He played with all his little airplanes and jumped on his trampoline all without being interrupted. His favorite part I think was not getting dressed until he had to. Silly boy!

Once we picked up brother from school Ryan was interested in a pine cone he left in the car from a previous trip. I had to get pictures because he was so focused on taking the individual pieces off the cone to use as little rocket ships. He didn't want the whole pine cone. I tried to get him to hold it up and smile.but that didn't really happen. Big brother tried too. It was a cute moment watching Dylan try to explain to Ryan to look at me, smile AND hold up the pine cone. Seemed like Ryan could only focus on one command at a time. I'm happy to see my boys developing a relationship with one another though.

Well that's enough for now because I already have a new post to start!

Monday, May 14, 2012

A weekend full of excitement!

This past weekend was a fun filled adventure. Friday it started with the boys both being goofy. I had to get Dylan to focus so we could finish homework in time to get to school... when I realized Ryan had an occupational therapy appointment at the same time Dylan had to be at school! I ran to wake up daddy (who is on graveyard shift and had only been asleep a few hours) so he could take Dylan to school while I ran to Ryan's OT appointment. We made it, thankfully and had a great visit. I had to take yogurt and some chopped fruit so we could work on fork/spoon skills since he still prefers to eat with his hands. Ryan did great and made me look like I was over reacting, but it worked out. Seems that he will eat better with a fork with a little more oversight and encouragement. I pretty much love our OT. She is so amazing and  she is a perfect fit for us. She does so well with Ryan (and me for that matter). I am so grateful for her! Oh and while we were there Ryan made friends with the next appointment whose name just so happened to be Ryan too! I joked with the mom that if her Ryan was anything like mine then there was just something in the name. (Which seems to be the case because so far the few other Ryan's I've met the mom's say they're a handful. Makes me feel a little better at times). So after the OT appointment we flew to Ontario (from Fontana) to go to a speech therapy appointment. I ended up going to the wrong building (which was in Ontario but off a different freeway). I had to find the 60 get off on a different exit and find the new facility I had never been to. We made it, a little frazzled but the therapist was awesome enough to still see us with 45 minutes left in our allotted time. I would have met with her for 5 minutes after the hassle it took to get there. At least I know where it is for next time. 

The new speech pathologist we're assigned to was really nice though. She is much more interactive than the last and she was much more talkative, which makes me feel more comfortable. She says Ryan is doing very well in his progress and that there's no reason we shouldn't be expecting more than one word answers and responses from him. She says that for kids with sensory issues once they start getting a healthy sensory diet tend to learn fairly quickly. She also gave some interesting insight to what it feels like to have sensory integration disorder. She said imagine being at your worst, grouchy, tired, hungry. Then imagine feeling that way at Disneyland on a busy day... but imagine living there with no way to naturally relieve yourself from the overwhelming feeling of all the input your brain is receiving because you don't know how to interpret it. She basically said this may seem like an extreme example but she was relating a kid like Ryan to the notion that they are, on top of a living apparently on edge day to day, supposed to learn to communicate and understand. Kids with SPD are in survival mode basically. Just doing what they can to get by with the least amount of overwhelming input... which is hard to control with things like the weather, noises, schedule changes, etc. can set them off! Thus the frequency of meltdowns. It was enlightening to say the least and she had a great suggestion. Allowing Ryan to wear an MP3 player with headphones so that when he's overwhelmed he can just listen to calming music and block out whatever is setting him off. I haven't tried it so I will have to see if that works. 

After the appointment I got lost getting home (got back onto the 60 instead of the 10 and then missed the 15 junction to get to the 10...). It was so annoying. I flew to get Dylan from school (which means I was at doctor appointment from 10 to 2). I got home and just wanted to take a nap but I had to get ready to go to work (teaching a group exercise class). The kids came with me and daddy headed off to work. After the group x class we headed up the mountain to Big Bear for my mom's birthday. We got there late since it was after class and after meeting my sister so she could ride up with us. We managed to head to the main street but it was mostly closed. The fresh air was nice though. I got one picture of the kids before my phone died. Story of my life.. 

The kids fell asleep at like some time before tenI think. I fell asleep after only to wake up at 12am to a sweltering hotel room. Mom managed to turn her heater in the adjacent room and it was cooking me! Kids were sweaty too! I turned the air on and jumped into bed with my sister since both boys had fallen asleep with me and were smashing me in the little full sized bed. Of course when I went to bed with Ash I found she was awake and so chatted until 2... I think. It was fun but I was tired the next day. 
The following day we went to the Discovery center. It wasn't that exciting. Then we went on a little hike and then another longer hike. The boys were loving it. Ash caught all kinds of bugs for them in their bug catching jars. 

At some point during the longer hike the kids discovered the lizards on the trail. Auntie Ashie and the boys were determined to catch one. Ryan was the first of the 3 to catch one and on his own he caught it with his baby bear hands! It was amazing and gross. He moved like lightening to catch this thing! (I should mention here when we were catching bugs at the Discovery center one of the rangers made a comment that catching lizards was the ultimate challenge because they were so fast. Ryan showed her). 
Dylan caught the next one. It was gross and had the longest tail I had ever seen! Ryan of course no longer wanted his lizard because he wanted the one with the freak tail. So then there was a tantrum. I walked around with Ryan for a while and we looked for a second lizard together. We never caught another one and he was distracted enough to accept the one he had. So we continued on the hike. 

After the hike we headed to the lake for lunch and a birthday cake for my mom. While Jido (grandpa) headed to get food Ryan and Dylan played in the water. We checked on the lizards and Ryan's wasn't looking too good. Ashie convinced Dylan to let his free and I kinda convinced Ryan. He let it out of the jar only to pick it up and play with it. He was flying it like an airplane, showing it the water and was having a great time. I tried to explain that the lizard was getting sick and that we needed to let him go home. Ryan didn't understand OR he didn't care, one of the two. Maybe even both. So he held onto it and once we realized the lizard was actually dead we then turned our efforts to trying to convince him to keep it in the jar instead of holding it... because it's gross. He wasn't having it! He found a new friend and wasn't letting go. 

Finally, Jido arrived with the food. We headed to the picnic table and started dishing out lunch. Ryan started whimpering. Not full on crying but he was distressed. I look past Dylan to see Ryan with the lizard no longer in his hand but rather hanging from his nose!!! Apparently the poor lizard used his last breath to jump from Ryan's hand to  bite him and he got a hold of a nostril! I yanked the thing off (I'm sure over reacting), threw it into the dirt and checked the damage. He was bleeding a little but he was ok. I hugged him and shortly after he was up looking for that dang lizard again! He never picked it up again. Instead he threw dirt and rocks at it. The whole thing was pretty entertaining to say the least. 

After lunch, mom blew out her birthday candles. Sister proceeded to shove her face into the cake and, unlike the lizard event, we managed to get a few pictures with someone's phone. Good times. Apparently a cake fight of some sort is a family tradition now. The boys willingly shoved their faces into the cake thereafter. After cleaning up we packed up and headed home. The following day, which was Mother's Day, we hung at mom's house, had the great grandparents over and had a simple and fun dinner. No cake fights but plenty of laughs. It was a great Sunday. 
I did want to mention the awesome Mother's Day gift Ryan's teacher orchestrated. I loved it! It was Ryan's hand prints with pictures of him from school! In the top left corner you will see Ryan with his best buddie from school, "Dino". I'm totally framing this and saving it for a lifetime!!! Thank you Christianne!  Oh and to be fair, below is Dylan's gift for me from Mother's Day. I absolutely loved the poem! I got teary eyed reading it and even relaying what it said to my sister later! Beautiful! I am so happy the teachers do special things like this!! My hat's off to you both! 

Well, I guess that's all for now. Until next time. :) 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

It is finished...

...the sand box that is. Thanks to a little determination. The boys love it. Dylan played in it for hours! Funny enough, Ryan doesn't like to get in it. He prefers to sit on the outside of it and lean over the side to play in it. Like he doesn't like the feel of the sand on his feet. He hasn't protested it but on his own he ends up on the outside of it. It's pretty entertaining.

On another note, Ryan and I had a cupcake date today. We got some fancy cupcakes for his amazing teacher and the awesome aids that help. Ryan loved his chocolate with vanilla frosting cupcake. I thought it was boring at first, but then I tasted it!!! It was so good! We love Kiddough's bakery now and I want something from there everyday!

Well, I guess that's all for now. Oh wait, now is a good time to mention were potty training! He even switches into undies at school after he gets there. He is doing really well. He has no problem peeing for cookies! This is quite an accomplishment. It's even one of his IEP goals for the school year! I'm excited but anxious since he is still accident prone. Even today he popped in his undies... Guess it comes with the territory of course but its never fun to clean. Oh well, life is full of adventure. The sensory issues don't make it any easier since he's not really bothered by the feeling of being wet when he does have an accident. I'll keep you posted.

Until next time. :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Just another sunny day...

Ryan, Dylan and daddy are busy outside right now. Despite the 95 degree heat they're determined to stain the sandbox daddy is building for them. Everyone has paintbrush in hand and is making progress.

Funny enough, a little coffee has helped keep 2 of the three boys hard at work. Silly Ryan loves cafe con leche as much as daddy does. Of course the amount of sugar in it is besides the point because its so cute. Don't worry, its not like I'm ordering the kid his own Americano or anything. He occasionally sneaks a drink here and there, that's all.

Well, I guess that's all for now. I better help make sure the boys doing alright.

Until next time...

Friday, May 4, 2012

Ryan Turns 4!!

I wrote a long post about Ryan turning 4 last night and it, for some unknown reason, won't post. So here we go again.

We started the birthday festivities at school with a class birthday party. The kids ended up having 2 birthdays to celebrate so twice the sugar! They didn't care but I'm sure their parents did later that afternoon. Oh well.

Ryan's actual birthday was on a Friday, so no school for him. We dropped Dylan off at school then headed to his favorite lunch spot, Costco. He's a cheap date.

After that we headed to the mattel store, where Ryan had his choice of toys. He got every airplane toy they had. Mommy grabbed some fun stuff too, that really never got as much attention as the airplanes he picked (don't tell daddy). After that we flew to pick up Dylan from school. We had planned to go to castle park or the drive in later that night but Ryan passed out in the weirdest of spots, on the arm of the recliner.

That weekend we headed to sea world. We decided to skip a party because Ryan doesn't do very well at them. The last one he went to daddy had to walk him around the neighborhood to distract him. He didn't like being told no... ("No, you can't put your hand in the cake", "no you can't open the presents"). Ryan enjoyed shamu instead.

That Sunday we had a little bday bash for him too. Cake, hot dogs, and presents. And later than night, a family cake fight. Good times. I got it on video too. I'll see if I can post it some time.

Well that's all for now. If this time it doesn't post I'm throwing my phone in the toilet and flushing it. Just kidding. I'll just try again... Or not.