Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Color Me Pink!

I just discovered that Blogger finally added more than just the same, plain-jane fonts to their Design-Your-Blog repertoire!  Being a connoisseur of fine fonts, I decided to re-decorate, as it were. :)  Color Me Pink! :)

The last week and two days has gone swimmingly in the drop-off arena.  I am so happy that we're finally reclaiming our routine and Hayden seems to enjoy going to school once again.  I did read something last night, however, that would require further research and lots of creative solutions.  In Temple Grandin's book, The Way I See It, she mentioned that anxieties for individuals on the spectrum can increase as the person gets older. In an interview with Dr. Tony Attwood, Ms. Grandin was asked where she would spend $10 million for research, either in existing areas or new areas.  As part of her answer, this is what she said:

"...Another really bad thing, especially in the high-functioning end of the spectrum, is that as the people get older, they get more and more anxious.  Even if they take Prozac or something else, they're so anxious, they have a hard time functioning..."

This seems to be happening with our kiddo.  How she reacts when her triggers are pulled has changed as she's grown.  For instance, she never gave a crap about being smeared with food or mildly damp (drool, milk, pee diaper, etc.) as a baby and toddler.  Now, we've reached the level where if her little butt isn't bone-dry after she goes pee, we have to change underwear.  Same thing if she spills juice, milk, water, or food on herself...she MUST change clothes.  She started bringing me the "zizzors" with a shirt and saying, "help."  That meant she wanted me to cut the tag out of the shirt.  Her drop-offs at school have been going well, as I mentioned.  And I think it may have to do with her holding onto her "baby" for a few extra minutes instead of putting it "night, night" in her bag when she first arrives.  She is suspicious of movies when we go to them because she has grown a healthy fear of certain types of animated characters.  I am not sure exactly what seems to be the problem. Big, googly eyes?  Scary voices?  There doesn't seem to be a one-size-fits-all approach...that I can recognize yet, that is.  It is for this reason that her once-beloved Veggie Tales go unwatched and very staunchly ignored.

So I'm trying to use my creativity to practical use and come up with fail-safes to assuage her anxieties over these things.  Lots of hugs.  Keep the baby with her.  Tell her it's OK.  Although, these don't seem too creative. I've also tentatively pushed her to try and accept certain things.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.  We took her to see Gnomeo and Juliet on Valentine's Day evening.  She was adamantly against it as we walked in.  She kept repeating, "No cute little gnomes!"  But the trailers of children's movies (like Winnie the Pooh) seemed to ease her into the experience...along with some popcorn :)...and once the movie started, she was fine.  Living this way requires a lot of trial and error and even more patience than I can sometimes muster.  But she is worth it so I charge on.

Well, that's the look of things from our castle, today.  This life is ever-changing and sometimes very hard but God gives us the strength, the patience, the grace to keep at it.  Oh!  And in case you haven't seen it on my Facebook page, I started a photo blog as a project.  It is called Project365 and the point is to take a photo everyday for a year.  Now I really went and complicated this very simple task for myself by pledging to take one photo myself AND make sure that Kiddo takes one with her new camera as well!  So far, we're chugging right along!  There has been a day or two where I've had to play catch-up from the day before but so far, so good!  Check it out HERE if you get a chance!  Lots of love from us today.  Have a great one!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Oh My!

So Hayden has been expressing quite a large amount of personal independence lately that makes us react in one of two ways:  exasperation/anger or laughter.  Today was a great day for the laughter end of things.

In an effort to clear out our cluttered garage, I decided to finally sift through all the crap and photograph a few things to advertise on Facebook, make a Goodwill pile, and label the boxes of stuff that we're keeping.  To begin, I put the stuff to be photographed in the house while I straightened everything else in the garage.  Some of those things included old car seats and a baby swing.  Among other things, this is what I discovered her doing:

 While in the garage, putting the swing cover in to wash, Hayden decided that she was going to swing...

 While I was at the task of laundering covers of things, I decided to launder the cover of this item...the papasan that Hayden used when she was an infant.  Once it was clean and dry and back on the frame, I let Hayden play with it and this is what she did.

I was so ready to be mad and yell at this but just couldn't maintain it.  Hayden has really taken a liking to our cat.  It's enough of a liking that Leo has decided that the only place he can snooze undisturbed is on top of the entertainment center where Hayden can't reach him to pull him down and give him bear hugs.  But alas, she has discovered a way to trap him...

In addition to her silly shenanigans today, we've had several snow days where we've done some fun things.   Here are a few:

 Fort building...

 Playing in the fort

 Checking out the roof of the fort

 Silly camera antics (that's fodder for a whole 'nother post!)

 LOTS of Facebook... :)

 Kelly making midnite trips to the mailbox in several inches of snow

 Snowpocalypse #1...Feb. 1-4

Sittin' in the snow

After we cleaned off the cars

 Sooo much cooking...this was potato soup w/ Sicilian cheese paninis...was craving McAllister's hardcore and so made my favorite meal of theirs. In addition, over the two weeks, I made white chili, chocolate chip cookies, roast chicken, spaghetti, chicken & noodles, snow ice cream, sandwiches, and other various items that now escape me...

 The panini

 Gooey cheese!

 The soup

 Hayden was having fun with her babies...or putting them in the stocks; one of the two. :)

So there was a small taste of our massive amount of time spent indoors.  We've been to school three times in the past two weeks.  In addition to all of this, we watched the Toy Story trilogy about 8000 times as well as Word World, Elmo, Dora, the Backyardigans and Wonder Pets.  There was also an abundance of coloring...I'll get some pics of that art work and post them sometime but just to give you a perspective, she colored every single page in her Mickey Mouse coloring book.  And she took pictures...lots and lots of pictures.  When I uploaded all of her work to my computer, there were over 300 pictures.  So we bought her this.  I will post some of her photography in yet another post sometime very soon as well as some of our snow shots.  But for now, this is how we spent our time during the double blizzard.  Loves and hugs to you all! :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

R-O-U-T-I-N-E...This Is What It Means To Me

I just need to take a few moments this morning to vent a little of my frustration.  It is aimed at no one.  These lamentations are just parts of our life.  But geez, how it can get so tiresome. 

Hayden started the school year ready to go.  She really, really liked school and we were so excited about it.  She had a paraprofessional that she formed a routine with, a very caring and wonderful set of teachers, and she just enjoyed learning! 

Her para got a new job and so left the school a couple of days before the end of the semester.  Upon returning to school, post-Christmas break, Hayden had a new para and the arduous task of getting back into the swing of things.  The first week back went OK.  There were some bumps but overall, it looked good for Operation Get-Back-On-Track. Then, she got sick. 

First, it was a stomach bug that reared it's ugly head all over our bed in the wee hours of a Sunday morning.  She stayed home that Monday to recoup.  Then, due to snow, school was cancelled on Tuesday.  She was back in school on Wednesday but then developed croup that night (as it somehow ALWAYS happens at night) and was out again on Thursday and Friday--we were in the doctor's office on Friday to avoid any late-night/early-morning E.R. visits.  We got a much-needed nebulizer for times like these and seemed to be on the road to recovery.  But alas, it was not to be.

We had a long weekend (out of school on the 17th for MLK, Jr. Day).  She was back in school on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, but started running a fever on Thursday night so we were back in the doctor's office on Friday, this time, as it turned out, for strep.  So we were sent home with antibiotics and a prescription for rest.

She was back in school on the 24th, 25th, & 26th (Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday, respectively) but kept coughing and coughing and were BACK in the doctor's office AGAIN on Thursday, the 27th.  This time, we had a chest x-ray, a nasal sinus x-ray, and a blood test for mono--which tested positive.  And the nasal sinus x-ray showed that she had been suffering from a chronic sinus infection!  We were given even stronger antibiotics and even more instructions to rest.  At this point, I decided that the next week, Hayden would go half-days to help her get well and transition slowly because of all the sickness she had been undergoing.  That, and her days at school had not been very good, partly from missing for this, that, and the other; and partly because she was still getting used to her normal routine and her new para.

So, she went half-day on Monday.  It worked out well and even though drop-off was awful, I felt like the extra rest would really make a difference.  And then it snowed.  It snowed like snow was going out of style.  And we were out not 1, not 2, not 3 but FOUR days.  On one hand, it was great for Hayden to have some time to just relax and play and be at ease to try and get over the mono.  On the other hand, it was setting us up for an even harder journey to get back into a workable, functional, positive, and effective routine.

So here we are on Monday of a brand new week.  A new start.  Drop-off was again, miserable.  I sat in my car and cried and didn't know how to make it any easier or any better.  I went back in and talked to Hayden's SPED teacher to try and understand.  It helped some.  And I feel encouraged that re-establishing a routine will really help and so consistency with our morning routine and drop-off and going to school are very important.

But there are some hazy clouds on the horizon that make me nervous. She had been recovering--cough almost all gone, appetite returning to normal, energy levels back to near-full capacity.  Her follow-up with the doc went well, this last Thursday.  But that very afternoon, energy dropped again.  She ran a low-grade temp on Saturday night/Sunday morning. Her appetite has gone back down some.  Her cough is back, just a little.  Oh, and we're supposed to get 4 -10 more inches of snow tomorrow and Wednesday.  I'm hoping the illness factor is just the mono and that more rest is what we need.  Snow days provide that without me having to keep her home from school but that means that we have to delay a return to routine even more. 

So I am lamenting.  And I'm frustrated.  And while I can adapt and go with the flow on this, Hayden cannot.  So my prayer is that somehow, our routine can get back on track and soon. I also pray that Hayden would stop getting sick!  We could really use your prayers, too.  We love you all and hope that you're all staying warm and cozy during this crazy winter!  Much love and thanks for reading.