Sunday, February 28, 2010

Farm animal sounds

I came home late from my Girls' Night Out, finished cleaning up the kitchen and was in bed by 2:30a (ouch!). Then, at 5:30a, Ronin is crying out from his room. Within a minute, Nikko starts to cry loudly. I bound out of bed and go to Nikko to settle him, but can see that he will not go back to sleep right away. I go to Ronin's room, open the door to see him standing right by it, then scoop him out quickly because I can see that Audrey is on her tummy and not 100% awake yet. I put the boys in the living room with me and plunk down on the floor in an attempt to get them to go back to sleep for a little bit. I think they do, for maybe 45 minutes of dozing, but Ronin wakes up and I'm looking at 6:45a on my watch for both boys to be awake. Audrey is also awake by 7a. So I got less than four hours of sleep, and I was incredibly crabby with eyes that were burning. Luckily, around 11a, Denis took the boys out to go sledding. I put Audrey down for a nap and then I got almost an hour nap before they all came back.

Nikko has really taken to watching the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. We're borrowing the DVD from my mom's house, and have previously watched three episodes On Demand through Comcast. He has been carrying the DVD case around for three days. And he doesn't want to watch anything else, just wants me to repeat the same episode, The Great Clubhouse Hunt. I was able to sneak in a little Hi-5 to break the Mickey Mouse monotony, and Audrey liked the break too. Denis had really worked the boys on the hills with a toboggan that I got for a few bucks at the Mount Prospect garage sale last summer. It was before dinnertime while Audrey was napping that we were in the basement and Denis was incorporating a workout with playing with the boys. He started jogging in a circle and the boys started to chase/be chased by him. Nikko was absolutely sweaty as he ran in full pursuit. Ronin was doing a good job of keeping up, even though he was smaller and not as fast. They even had to step on a folded mat, for a change in elevation. It was a really good run and the boys enjoyed it immensely, so much that Ronin was really angry that we had to stop to go upstairs and have dinner. Whenever Denis would take a break and start up again, he would say, "Ready, set, go!" and Nikko would repeat, "Ready, set, go!" It was good to know that the boys would be exhausted by bedtime. We sat to read bedtime stories. Denis read the farm animal book with pictures of a pig, cow, horse, chicken and sheep. Nikko was pretty silent, but when we got to the horse, Denis said, "This is a horse. The horse goes...." and then Nikko said, "Naaaay!" My ears perked up as we continued. Nikko has never associated animal sounds with the actual animal. Denis said, "This is a chicken. The chicken goes..." Nikko said, "Bock, bock, bock!" Finally, Denis read, "This is a sheep. The sheep goes..." Nikko said, "Baaaa!" I told Denis to go back to the beginning of the book, so he read, "This is a pig. The pig goes...." Nikko looked, but didn't respond. The same thing happened on the next page, where the animal was a cow. But when he got to the horse again, Nikko said, "Naaaay!" OK, I guess we have to work on oinking and mooing. Overall, I was impressed that Nikko responded to some of the farm animals. I wonder why the pig and cow didn't elicit a response. I have been mooing at Nikko for the past three years! Nikko fell asleep quickly after that, but Ronin must have still been wired because he called me back to his room twice. I kept coming back because I didn't want him to wake up Audrey. By the second visit I growled at Ronin to go to sleep, stay in bed, and stop calling me. If he wakes up at 5a this morning, I don't know WHAT I'm going to do. Dealing with Nikko's sleep problems is tough enough, but to add on Ronin with early morning wakings is going to kill me sooner.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

6:30a Bloody nose / Muddy Ronin

Speech report: He was able to name without a model the whole family! Requesting bubbles, car, etc. Good today. He is just not into body parts yet.

Isn't that great? The family names, I mean. They are also working on this during ABA, so hopefully if he's bombarded by our names he'll make some real progress here. Just the other day I was trying to point out his nose and eyes, but he wasn't letting me fiddle with his face.

This morning, Nikko woke up at 6:30a and started wailing. When I got to him, Ronin had woken up from the cries and came to the door. I tried to pull him out of the room before permanently waking Audrey, but I could hear her awake when the door was closed. Nikko was very whiny and was laying in the hallway making noise so I dragged him back to the sofa area. And then I noticed that his nose was bleeding so I grabbed Kleenex and tried to put pressure on his nose. Of course he didn't like that and put up a big fight. He could probably feel the blood dripping freely down his nose so he kept wiping it across his sleeves, and then wanted to bury his head in my lap. Let's just say I had to put my pajamas in the laundry. After the bleeding subsided and he calmed down, and I wiped his face with a wet wipe, I got Audrey and tried to move forward with breakfast before school. He went, and I was wondering why he had to get us all up so early when we didn't have to be awake at 6:30a. I got into a vacuuming kick, trying to clean the rotating brushes of tangled hair. I also started shifting rubbermaid contents around because I'm determined to find a few that I can put toy in for that toy rotation. After lunchtime, I tried to rally the kids so we could go to Skokie and visit mom. I think my prep time is about 45 minutes, from diaper/clothing changes to packing the food bag to getting to the Sock and Shoes stage. Realistically. We were cutting it close because my dad leaves for work between 2:30-3p and I wanted to see him before he left. I carried Audrey to the Pilot and let Nikko and Ronin walk/run in the driveway while I put her in her carseat. Sometimes Ronin falls in the snow, no big deal. But today he fell twice, and the second time he cried out so I looked over to him and the front of his coat and jeans were coated in mud. I freaked out because I just put Audrey in the car. We could NOT go to mom's house with Ronin's muddy outfit. I told him to stand still so I could put a Hi-5 DVD in to keep Audrey company. When I finished with her and looked for Ronin, he was jumping and splashing in a muddy puddle. I was FURIOUS. I hauled him toward the house, hoping to change his clothes quickly while Audrey was watching TV. I called to Nikko to come to the house, because I couldn't leave him roaming outside alone, and he ignored me. Repeated calling did nothing, so I picked up a crying Ronin and dumped him inside, taking off his muddy shoes and stripping him of his coat and jeans. Then I booked back up the driveway and hauled Nikko by the sleeve back inside. I was in a complete tirade by now. I know it sounds like a stupid reason to be angry, that Ronin just got muddy. But my mind was racing through various scenarios: we were going to be late and miss my dad before he went to work, which disappointed me greatly. The longer I allowed Ronin to splash in the puddle, the dirtier he'd get so I had to take action fast. I chose to leave Audrey in the car because unbelting her and putting her in the house while Ronin was muddy would mean she would get muddy by him and get mad for being inside again, and Ronin would be even dirtier. I felt nervous leaving her in the car, but I left the kitchen door open wide so I could see if anyone came by, or to hear if there was a commotion, or to see if our Pilot would suddenly drive backward down the driveway, thus rendering it stolen. I couldn't leave Nikko alone and he would start to protest if I dragged him back into the house, which I did anyway. I ran to the bedroom, grabbed a spare coat and some sweatpants, and came back to dress Ronin, all the while yelling how mad I was that we'd be late, that I didn't want him splashing in puddles, why me, why why why. I literally screamed myself hoarse, damaging my throat again. I got us back in the Pilot and took off, but berated myself for having ZERO composure and wondered how I am ever going to get over being pissed off about the little things. It's my nature to look 3-5 steps ahead in any scenario... how am I supposed to change that preparedness mentality? Don't tell me to take yoga or pilates to center my chi, because I can't seem to make the time here.

We had a good time at mom's house. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse was on TV, the kids snacked, and I had a nice time chatting with mom. We left her house around 5:30p. Our night ran a bit late, but at bedtime Nikko was still awake, albeit getting tired. He was drowsy but awake when I said my good night mantra to him ("Good Night, Nikko. I love you. Go to sleep. Sleepy time. STAY IN BED. STAY IN BED. STAY IN BED."). I closed the door, expecting him to start wailing in five minutes, but it was quiet. YEA!!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Toy rotation

Nikko has been holding The Wiggles Dance Party DVD for two days. Last night he was whining for me to put it on, but I had left it in the Pilot so I vowed to fetch it tomorrow morning after the school bus left us. Denis seemed amazed that Nikko could tell the difference which Wiggles DVD was which. After watching them a few times, he can tell which one is The Big Red Car, Racing to the Rainbow, Yummy Yummy, or Dance Party. He came home from school and I was about to start lunch when I remembered the DVD in the Pilot. Knowing Nikko would go ballistic if I walked out of the house, and not wanting to put on his boots and coat just to go to the garage, I told him to come to the door and wait for me while I ran outside to get the DVD from the Pilot. He was wailing and screaming the whole three minutes I was gone, but in the end I retrieved the DVD and we watched it oh, numerous times today. Maria came for ABA at 1pm. We all walked her downstairs, and she told me about storing toys away for a few months and then rotating them, which was a short topic from yesterday's meeting. I listened and understood what she meant, but interjected that I worried the kids would get bored if they didn't have a lot of choices. She pointed out that there's a lot the kids don't play with every day, and that having so many things out could be overwhelming for Nikko so that he doesn't know how to play appropriately with the toys he does have out. That got me a bit, and I am now mentally figuring out how to store these toys. It's probably not that hard, putting a ton of things in rubbermaids, and I've been doing that sporadically recently because I'm in donation mode anyway. There are currently toys in the utility room that the kids haven't seen in a long time because I planned to donate them, but I'm sure they'd be really interested in them if they saw them. Maria's right, of course, we have so many toys that the clutter and the pickup is daunting. Makes me not want to clean them up, and I must admit that I have lamented on how many toys are out that I have to put away. Well, it was time for Nikko to get to work so I said, "See ya, Nikko, have FUN!" and I ushered the kids up the stairs. Nikko had a better session than the last time, and he cracked a big smile when he saw me at the top of the stairs at the end.

After therapy and after I snacked the kids, we went to the basement to romp around. Nikko didn't play with many of the toys. He opted to hold his DVD and a plastic fish and chill out leaning on the foof chairs. He engaged in some tickle play, and when I started singing one of the Wiggles songs from the DVD he looked at me, smiling, and gave me a punch in the arm. He's been doing that when I do something or sing something that he's familiar with, like it's a big joke. I tell him it's not nice to hit, but I don't always stop him because I like that he is expressing himself. One day Ronin is going to ask why Nikko never gets a Time Out. Hmmmmm. Nikko was exhausted by bedtime again so there were no jailbreaks at 9:30p. Tomorrow I hope to take the kids to visit Mom, just to get us out of the house.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Team Nikko Meeting

Today at 4 was Nikko's ABA Team Meeting including his teachers. Prior to the meeting I tried to keep the house from getting trashed, but wasn't as stringent as I was when we had our first ever team meeting. I knew the kids would turn over buckets of blocks and scatter cars everywhere, so I saved the final pick-up for the last half-hour. Unfortunately, Nikko has taken to scratching in his diaper if a #2 has become very uncomfortable for him, so this is the second time I caught him while scratching and walked him by his wrists to the tub so I could clean up his yucky hands and his bottom. I hope the poo smell wasn't lingering by the time the team walked through the door.

TEAM NIKKO = The ABA Team (Maria, Melissa and Jenna) and the School Team (Linda Hoeck, Kathy Winters ST, Margie McCarthy and Mrs. I OT). We all met in our basement, reconfigured in a circle to accommodate everyone while the kids ran around in the middle. Linda ran the meeting, going over each activity in the binder and talking about how the therapists run their drills with Nikko. In turn, Kathy, Margie and Mrs. I would talk about how it is done in school. It was revealed that Nikko does a better job at school in doing matching games because he places pictures that have the sticky tack on the back, vs. in ABA he doesn't quite put the pictures on top of the other. The school is going to send home some blocks for Nikko to use in stacking, probably plain-faced blocks. Another thing that was discussed was that Nikko has been verbalizing so much lately, imitating words and some actions, but is regressing in fine motor skills. This is supposed to be normal, for any kid as well. Overall, the meeting was a positive one, emphasizing that Nikko is coming along nicely but could use some help in areas such as dressing and self-care. Kathy reminded us that he likes to use glue sticks and also likes bubbles. It was a progress report meeting to make sure that the ABA team was in alignment with the School team, and it looks like they are. I'd say it was a successful meeting. Ronin was running around, showing off, and Audrey was very sweet to everyone. Nikko and Ronin were chasing each other around and Kathy said it was good to see him engaging in activity with his brother. Nikko was also sitting in my lap and thumbing through some books, and Kathy remarked that she's never seen Nikko so interested in books.

Nikko hadn't fallen asleep on the way home, even though he had a 4:45a wakening, so by bathtime he was exhausted. He fell asleep before I was able to sing to him, poor little guy. He has school and ABA at 1p with Maria tomorrow. And it snowed a few inches from the time the teachers left until the kids' bedtime. Brrrrr.


Nikko has some little quirks that I wish I could fix. He has developed a thing for closing the bedroom doors. I put a rounded wedge on top of the door to keep it from fully shutting, and to keep from fingers getting pinched (even though they could still get pinched), so the door doesn't close. Still, Nikko has a need to pull the door as shut as it can be. He fights with Ronin, who now wants to keep the doors open. And Nikko whines like a cranking siren when he's upset about something. This morning he woke up at 7a so I got him up. I wanted Ronin and Audrey not to get up so early, thinking Ronin could open the door himself if I left it open a crack, and then he wouldn't wake up Audrey. When I left the door open a crack, Nikko immediately wanted to close it, and started whining when I wouldn't let him near the door. His whining was escalating and I was getting irritated because I wanted the other two to keep sleeping, so I had to go back and close the door. Ultimately, Ronin woke up and called out to me, but I ran and got him before Audrey woke up.

Nikko didn't fall asleep on the way home from school today. Maybe sleeping in that extra hour kept him alert. It's the first time in weeks that he woke up at 7a, instead of 6, 5 or 4. After lunch, I took a gamble with the other kids' naps and decided to tackle our big grocery list by taking everyone to Meijer. I wanted to get more board games for Nikko as well as foodstuff. Of course it was a production to get everyone diaper-changed, clothing-changed, socks & shoes, coats and then out the door, but I made it by 2p-ish. Nikko fell asleep on the way, but Meijer is only 15 minutes away so his nap was jolted short because I made him walk. In fact, I made both Ronin and Nikko walk the entire shopping trip, which should have made them really tired by day's end. Meijer is a big store; even I get tired in it! At one point I gave them Dum Dums to keep them satisfied because they were starting to whine to open their toy cars that I let them walk around with. Audrey, meanwhile, was a total champ in the shopping cart. On the way home, Ronin and Audrey took short naps. I gave the kids a late snack and worried that they wouldn't eat dinner, but luckily they had an appetite around 7p, which is half an hour later than usual. Nikko was tired, but didn't fall asleep automatically at bedtime. I hoped I could leave the room without tears, but when I left to tuck Ronin in, Nikko erupted in cries and wails. He was at the door when I came in five minutes later, and scampered to his bed with a little laugh when I pointed him back to it. I told him the good night mantra, and to STAY IN BED. Thankfully, he did.

Monday, February 22, 2010

TMI on #2 / ?s for Team Mtg

Just when I said he didn't have the difficult constipation since...TMI ALERT!....TMI ALERT!..... I heard Nikko grunting today so after giving him some time I felt the outside of his bum and he had a big #2. There was also an awful stench, the kind that fills up the living room, so I was eager to change him and breathe with my nose again. In his diaper was a big poo, probably a few red potatoes in length, but it was malleable, which makes it different from a regular constipated poo because it wasn't as solid/hard as past ones. There was also liquidy #2 around it, perhaps a product of the MiraLAX, so I flushed this whole package down the toilet instead of let it sit in the Diaper Genie for two days. If Nikko hadn't taken some form of MiraLAX, I think this #2 effort would have lasted a few more days and been way more painful.

BACK TO OUR REGULAR NIKKO PROGRAM - Nikko woke up at 6a so I lay with him instead of leave. It felt like 5a to me, unfortunately. Ronin woke us all up at 7:15, crying out to open the door, and that woke up Audrey as well. Our day was ok, but spent the morning watching The Reef. Melissa came over for ABA at 2p. She had a sprained ankle but was still able to go down the stairs. She said that Nikko had a good session, but was really wiggly. I read her notes and Nikko is acting defiant in some activites and has a short attention span. Our team meeting is supposed to be on Wednesday so I think I'll jot down some questions for Linda and Maria such as:
- Has Nikko's sudden change in attention span affected his drills?
- Is this period of sleep training directly affecting his attention span? He's been napping on the bus for 15 minutes on the way home, so he gets a few zzzz's whereas he never used to nap consistently.
- What drills has Nikko improved? Which have decreased? Should pointing be a new drill?
- What behavioral traits should I be looking out for in his regular home life that might be directly affected (good or bad) by ABA?

Nikko didn't nap the rest of the day, and I tried to prevent him from napping after 4pm. I took the kids into the basement along with some toys from upstairs just to give the therapists more choices in things to play during Nikko's breaks. Nikko was tired out by bedtime and fell asleep quickly. He has school tomorrow so I hope he doesn't wake at 4a +/-.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Reef / Strawberry / Sleep Training Wk #2

Yesterday (Saturday) we went to Pat's house for our Alog family birthday dinner. It was just our side. Nikko had fallen asleep on the way and continued a short nap on their family room couch. I had Denis wake him up within a half hour and Nikko seemed very cranky, of course. But as dinner was starting, Nikko was really whining at me for something. I couldn't figure out just what, until my dad said that Nikko had seen the chocolate clown cake in the kitchen and wanted some. I cringed and tried to steer Nikko toward egg rolls, but knew that he would be relentless until he got cake. I tried to ignore his whining, but my mom kept telling me to just give him some cake. Begrudgingly, I caved in and got him a thin slice of Anna's leftover birthday cake. "See?" my mom pointed out, "He's happy. And quiet." Grrrrrr! I was mad at Nikko for whining so much and putting me in a position that I had to give in. It kept the peace, along with the egg rolls that he bit into and didn't finish. When we left, Nikko became very attached to a plastic toy lemon and strawberry half that I had to ask if we could borrow them. Another grrrrr! Denis was prompting Nikko to say what they were, and Nikko said, "Strawberry!" When he says some words, the vowels tend to come out high-pitched like a squeal, but we can still make out what he's saying. Not complaining, just saying that some words sound like a squeal but are still intelligible.

The kids went to bed slightly late, but Nikko still had a 4:20a waking. I went in and put him back to bed. Luckily, he was still sleepy so he settled. I went back and the next time he woke up was 6:45. That's fine. Except I wish he didn't wake up this early on a Sunday. Our day was pretty calm. Of all the DVDs near the TV, Nikko wanted to watch one called The Reef. It's a knock-off movie of Nemo, with different celebrity character voices like Freddie Prinze Jr., Fran Drescher, John Rhys-Davis and Rob Schneider. I really didn't watch the entire movie, and neither has Nikko, but he wanted to watch it so I put it in later in the day. Instead of calling it The Reef, I ask Nikko if he wants to watch FISH. Seems to work just as well. Around 3p, we took an outing to Costco and Nikko was hung up on carrying his Reef DVD, strawberry, lemon and my Costco membership card. When we got home, we decided to put all the kids in snowpants and take them outside to play. After we suited everyone up and got them outside, Nikko started some intense whining. I was frustrated because I was taking pictures of us being outside and Audrey's first real foray into snow, and Nikko was pulling at my fingers toward the car. It was the Reef DVD that he wanted, so after I got it I hoped he would settle down and play. But he dragged me back into the house. I was angry that he wanted to stay inside instead of play outside with everyone else, and that I was missing seeing Ronin and Audrey in the snow with Denis. But after telling Denis that we'd have to go inside (and good luck watching the younger two), I put Nikko inside and helped him de-snowpant. He didn't care that I thought it was so unfair we were inside. Everyone came in not too much later and I put Audrey down for a short nap. Nikko fell asleep for about 30 minutes and I did, too, because his head was on my lap. Therefore, dinner started a bit late. This also affected his bedtime because he wasn't 100% tired. I had predicted this on Friday. I tucked Nikko in, sang him the Good Night song, said good night, go to sleep, I love you, stay in bed, stay in bed, stay in bed and then left the room. Denis and I sat watching Olympic action for five minutes, and then Nikko erupted in cries and wailing. I went to him after five minutes and he started crying again just as I closed the door to leave. I was giving him 10 minutes, but I heard him dragging the ottoman around so I went to him after another five minutes. He had dragged the ottoman to the doorway and turned on the light switch. I pointed him back to bed and put the ottoman in the hallway. I tucked him in and said my good night mantra again. This time he stayed.

I'm trying to detail what I'm doing with Nikko during this sleep training phase because I don't want to forget what steps I did and what I'm going through to get him to better sleep. Technically week 1 is over and it was not very successful in my opinion because Nikko fell asleep before I left the room for four nights in a row. A night like tonight is a better representation of how it should be, as well as probably tomorrow, because today he took a short nap and was awake at bedtime when I left the room, closed the door. He has also had those early morning wakings and while I didn't sleep on his floor at 4a, I did opt to sleep in his car bed at 6a. I'm observing whether or not he has found a new medium of sleeping only 8-9 hours a night instead of the straight 10 that used to grace us. I'm also trying to figure out how to stop the 3-4a wakings. He should be able to wake up and NOT have to jump out of bed and wail, he should find a way to settle back to sleep. I wonder if I should seriously look into using melatonin. It's highly regarded on the ASD forum I belong to. I have to look into any side effects first. It makes me think about the MiraLAX that I sometimes add to Nikko's juice now. After those bouts of severe constipation, I panicked and wanted to up his fiber despite his pickiness in eating. He totally refused the wheat germ on yogurt. I'm diluting grape juice instead of apple juice. But now I'm adding less than a cap of the MiraLAX every third or fourth day, or when more than two days has passed without a bowel movement, to keep his pipes moving. He hasn't had the difficult constipation since. Still observing, though.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Turn taking

Nikko woke up at 6:00a. I could tell that he was not going to go back to sleep, so I joined him in his bed. We'd get up at 7 anyway and I saw no point in making him tantrum just to keep him in his room at that time of the morning. At school they played outside and I had sent Nikko's snow pants in his backpack. He was wearing this on the bus when I came to unbuckle him, and for the 4th time this week he was sleeping on the way home. His snowpants and the warm bus made him really sweaty underneath his coat and hat, so it was no wonder that the cocoon-ness made him sleepy. It's a less than 20 minute ride home, so I think that counted toward his daily nap because for the past few days he has not taken a nap from preschool to the end of the day. That leads him to be super sleepy by bedtime, which is fine by me. I am worried, however, that tomorrow he will not be super tired by bedtime and when we tuck him in and close the door tomorrow night, he will erupt in wails and cries. I'm almost certain this will happen, but I'll have to don my cloak of steely resolve again.

Maria came at 1p to play with Nikko. Downstairs he gave me a kiss when it was time to leave him, and he watched Ronin and me go up the stairs - but no tears. :) Toward the end of the session, Maria came up and invited Ronin to come play Play Doh with Nikko. It was a lesson in turn-taking, which Maria said Nikko was not very good at (but Ronin was a dream, very politely asking Nikko for the rolling pin. OH REALLY??) Nikko has been "off" according to Maria for the last two sessions she's had, but she pointed out that he seems to be in a phase where he's challenging their authority by refusing to color by throwing his crayons, throwing his schedule, and apparently during the family picture identification drill he purposely picked the wrong picture, picking Ronin, when asked where Mommy was, all the while looking at my picture. Probably that, coupled with crabbiness from sleep training, is throwing Nikko off. Much later in the evening, when I was dressing Audrey for bed, the boys were running wildly around me. Suddenly Nikko figured out that he could climb the two rubbermaids at the base of the crib and possibly get into the crib. I stopped him in mid-climb and then dragged the rubbermaids to the center of the room so that he couldn't scale anything. Ronin jumped on top of the rubbermaids and then jumped off of it onto the floor with a BOOM. Nikko watched and copied Ronin. They were both scrambling on top and then jumped off the rubbermaid. I watched them for a minute and then decided to see if Nikko could take turns. "Ronin's turn!" I announced. After Ronin jumped, I said, "Nikko's turn!" Nikko looked excitedly at me and took his turn. I repeated Ronin, then Nikko, and Nikko was pausing while Ronin climbed on top of the rubbermaid, waiting for his turn. I thought it was a good example of turn taking because Nikko seemed to recognize that he had to wait before he could go.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

5:30a Ugh! / Other progress

Last night, Nikko woke up at 5:30a. I went to his bedroom and put him back in bed. I didn't know what to do because morning was 1.5 hours away. So, I crawled into his bed and tried to go to sleep. I know I dozed off, but I felt him playing with his bulldozer cars and a PECs picture, and I don't know if he really ever fell back asleep. He was starting to talk to himself, too. So around 7:10 I decided we should get up, and then I realized that maybe my being in his bed later in the morning prevented him from falling back asleep because he was too distracted, or wasn't tired enough since I was there next to him. That should be resolve for me to NOT sleep in his bed anymore, right? The problem is that if he has another late waking, I MUST put him back in bed and let him cry it out, at least for 15 minutes. Even at the crack of dawn. He's got to get used to this, without me enabling him, and the others might wake up from his crying but we'll all have to put up with it. Right???

His Speech report today:
He is doing a good job - labels car, bus, apple, banana, ball, fish to request without a model. :)

That is great news! I guess I should use these words with him as well, to see if he can do this at home. Nikko will repeat a word if I say it first, and if it's a relevant word to him. I can't just say to him, "Nikko, say Cat!" He works better with visuals, or music, or if it's part of some physical activity. Or if it's a food he likes/wants. When he wanted more chicken nuggets for dinner, instead of pulling off the PEC picture he took my hand and led me to the fridge. We stopped short of the freezer. When I asked him what he wanted, he signed Chicken and said, Chick, Chick Nug. The Nuggets was a tad slurred, but of course I could make out what he wanted, and of course he got some. He's been trying to say Mickey Mouse because we've been watching more Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. One more thing to point out that I observed since yesterday: Atz had given us a Little People toy castle with two figurines, horses, a carriage, and other attachable accessories. I've noticed Nikko take a detachable gazebo with a fenced door, and play with it along with either the prince or princess figurine. He makes the figure walk or dance on top of the arch, but also makes it walk through the gate and stand on the grassy part. He babbles while he does this. I wonder if he's imagining something when this happens. This would be great improvement in his play skills if that's the case!

Sleep #2 &3; My bday

This is an excerpt from a thread I posted on a forum regarding Nikko's sleeping over the past two nights:
Night #2 and #3 (tonight) were similar at bedtime because Nikko hadn't taken a proper nap and was really tired/exhausted by the time we were doing prayers. I tucked him in and sang to him while stroking his forehead, and I watched him fall asleep before I turned out the light. OK, so that's not the "real" way I'm supposed to do it, by tucking him in and saying good night and letting him watch me walk out the door so he can fall asleep on his own, but I'll take the two easy-falling asleep nights for now. His throat was shredded from night 1 from all the screaming he did. Tomorrow night he may not be as sleepy at bedtime so he'll probably protest and beat the door down again.

The big problem now is that he wakes up at 4am or within 30 minutes +/- this time. Gets up, goes to his door and starts to whine/cry. I come in and lead him back to bed, re-tuck him in, and (this is the part I'm not doing right, I'm sure) wait until he falls back asleep, within 5 minutes. I give it a few more, then walk back to my bed. Nikko's been waking up an hour after that, and if he wakes up closer to 5:30a I gave up the waiting bit and just climbed into his bed and fell asleep next to him until maybe 6:30, then I'd walk back. NOT the way I'm supposed to do it, I know, but I suddenly got chicken about letting him cry for 15 minutes at 4am, then putting him back into his bed and leaving him. He'd probably bolt back up and cry at his door. I am afraid it will wake up his sibs at 4am. It probably will, but maybe they will get used to his crying and stay sleeping? Nikko will tire out eventually, I know, but MAN it's heartbreaking at 4am, too. I wish the weekend nights were longer so he won't be too tired at preschool, or even during therapy, after a night of early wakings. SOOOOO, tonight I'll go to bed and cross my fingers that he doesn't wake up until 7am. But if he wakes up at 4a, I will dig down as deep as I can for the resolve to put him back in his bed, tuck him in, and walk back out. And then give him 15 minutes of crying if he'll last that long. And then get up and put him back into bed. If his sibs wake up, I won't disturb them, and let them try to go back to bed unless Ronin gets up and starts pounding on his door.

I don't want to do it!!! Not for myself, who will be tired no matter what happens, but because I KNOW Nikko's going to cry/whine. What the heck happened to my resolve? Oh yeah, I left it up in the last paragraph. I know it's for his own good, but geez I hate having to be tough!

I have to be firm about putting him back to bed. WAH!

Nikko went to school and I emailed his teachers and Mrs. I that we're sleep training him and that his behavior might be affected, by being tired or cranky or anything at all different. Mrs. I wrote:
...Did lots of movement and deep pressure activities, was attentive afterwards. I'm trying to get Nikko to visually direct his hands better in getting his shoes on, boots off as well as doing a puzzle with a specific approach versus just trial and error...

Today was my birthday and I tried to make it fun for the kids by making some silly construction paper hats and some Mighty Machine pictures with paper. Didn't work well with Ronin, sadly. He was challenging with me all morning. Ronin is in a pushing stage, where he's randomly pushing Audrey and Nikko around, or taking a toy car and swiping them on the head with it. Driving me batty!!! Nikko had therapy with Jenna today and I warned her about his sleep situation. She said he was ok today but very jump and wiggly, which means he probably didn't focus very well. That explains a lot if you tie it into the sleep problems. Luisa ("Atz") came over and brought me a birthday lunch of filet mignon and mashed potatoes & creamed spinach, a la Wildfire. She also brought a cake, Oreos for Ronin, and presents for the kids (hand-down toys which were totally appropriate and appreciated by me!). I was almost moved to tears for my big sister to bring some sunshine on my bummer morning. I noted that Nikko did not cry when he saw her come through the door the way he did when Mom came the last time. He even ate French fries off her plate, so he must have liked her.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sleep (re)Training Day 1

Begrudgingly, I took apart Audrey's crib this morning and reassembled it in Ronin's room (aka The Nursery, which was the original room for the babies). Denis helped keep the kids at bay while I wrestled with the allen wrench and all the nuts & bolts. He also moved Nikko's racing car bed out of the nursery and back into our second room, which is where the car originated. No turning back now, I decided it was time to start re-training Nikko how to sleep by himself/stay in bed at bedtime. We still have to switch out the clothes drawers and I have to clear dresser tops, but that's for tomorrow onward. The rest of the day was about getting Audrey and Ronin their naps and just being around each other. Denis decided to take us out to a little buffet joint called CiCi's Pizza, a Valentine's Day dinner for the fam on the cheap. The only drawback was there really wasn't anything Ronin could eat there, but I brought him chicken nuggets, crackers and Oreo cookies.

Our bedtime routine ran late because we got home close to 8:30 and I had to figure out what pajamas to take into which room, which diapers to put where and what lotions to bring to which room, all not to disrupt Audrey after she went down to sleep. I coaxed Nikko into the bathtub first instead of Ronin, but he was a tad resistant coming off the toilet again. We all ended up in Nikko's room for nighttime stories, and when it was time to take Ronin to his bed, Nikko was anxious. Then he erupted into cries and wails when we left the room. I put Ronin to bed, who was tired but also wide-eyed because he could hear Nikko screaming and pounding on the door. Thankfully, Audrey stayed asleep! But that's how it went between 9:45p and 10:15p. Nikko cried, screamed, wailed, pounded on the door, kicked, threw himself on his knees, hit and scraped at the plastic doorknob, and tried everything he could to get out of the room. The first time, we forgot to put that plastic doorknob on so he got out. The second time he raged really hard and I came in to settle him, also moved a lamp out of the doorway. The third time he raged and I went to check on him after 10 minutes. The fourth time he raged and hit the plastic knob right off, so I had to take packing tape and fix it. I think it was this time that he was probably tired of his rages, so when I walked toward the door he wailed loudly but didn't get up. His cries stopped within two minutes of that. I checked in on him later and his blanket was still slightly tucked around him when I last left him, so he gave up. Poor Nikko. I really hope he doesn't wake up at 3a, because if I give up and sleep on the floor instead of walk him back and leave him, then it will defeat the purpose of everything we're going through. If he wakes up at 6a instead of 7a, I'm not sure what to do... he used to lay and talk to himself, and would still talk to himself if I came in and Ronin was sleeping nearby. But I think he'd wake up, go wail at the door, and want to come into our bed. He may start talking there, and that would irritate Denis. I guess if he wakes up at 6a, I can go lay with him until 7a. I highly doubt Nikko will go back to sleep again. I just hope Nikko is tired enough to sleep at least until 7a. That would work for me.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cheetos puffs

We were supposed to move the bed and crib today, but it didn't happen. Not even really sure why, but the timing was all off. Soon after lunch we decided to make a Jewel/Costco run for groceries, right in the middle of Ronin's naptime, so he fell asleep in the basket of the cart at Costco. At Jewel, I was walking Nikko with Ronin in the cart when he suddenly handed me a bag of Cheetos puffs. I guess I should be glad it was a small bag, but he was so fixated on it that a lollipop wouldn't calm him down. We made it home later, but just didn't get around to the crib thing. I think we are determined to do it tomorrow morning, then have some lunch, and then possibly go to the River Forest Nature Center. We'll try to do that as a Valentine's Day activity. Nikko was totally resisting taking a bath tonight. We're going to have to change it up to see if it's the bath or if it's Denis giving him a bath that he's against. Too many changes in one day? Hmmmmm.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Kohl Children's Museum outing

Nikko was/is having the hardest time falling asleep tonight. It's 12:56a now, but half an hour ago he started his second round of crying and wailing. In retrospect, he could have been overstimulated from our trip to the Kohl Children's Museum today, at least that's what I rationalized while in the shower. I don't want to think he's totally being defiant. Maybe he's trying to wind down and just can't.

After Nikko came home from school, I fed them a quick lunch and then packed everyone up to go to the Kohl Children's Museum in Glenview. It's an interactive, educational indoor playground of sorts, with lots of creative stations like a car wash/racing car tracks, a grocery (Dominick's), vet, library, home, water room, and other rotating exhibits like one on trains, and then one on pizza. Audrey's favorite part was a platform scale that weighs you according to gallon milk jugs. Audrey weighs 2 milk jugs, or 21 pounds, and Ronin is 3 milk jugs. Ronin enjoyed the train exhibit, but wanted to revisit the car wash area because it had a racing car track. Nikko seemed to enjoy everything, and I could tell at one point that he was getting slightly overstimulated because he started darting back and forth, never too far from me that I thought he'd bolt, but in a way that he wasn't looking where he was going. My dear sister Chinny and her beau Chester came with us, for which this trip would not have been possible. Our ratio was 1:1, which was perfect. Chinny had Ronin, and Chester and I alternated with Nikko and Audrey. Nikko seemed to accept Chester well from the getgo, taking his hand when offered even outside at the car. After only an hour, Ronin came up to me and said, "I want to go home." I told him we'd have a snack first. I was surprised that all three kids seemed tired, but they also enjoyed the place immensely. They fell asleep in the car on the way home, and I allowed them a 30 minute nap.

After being home for a bit, we headed out with Denis to the in-laws for dinner and to celebrate his dad's birthday before they left for the Philippines for 5 weeks on a medical mission trip. Nikko didn't eat very well for dinner, Audrey was picky but put down some tofu, and Ronin ate his nuggets and rice silently, like a champ. All three stayed awake on the ride home, but it was Nikko who started wailing after an hour in the room. Then another hour later. It's settled, then, that tomorrow we will move him into the middle room again, and put Audrey in with Ronin. The tough love of re-Ferberization starts tomorrow. :(

Friday, February 12, 2010

ABA progress / poor transitions

Nikko didn't have school today due to some School Improvement Day where the PM kids go in the AM. I wonder if he missed it. Nikko woke up early, too, at 6:30a. I came in and his cries woke up Ronin. I told Ronin to go back to sleep, I shuffled Nikko back to his bed, and then I put blankets on the floor for myself. It was still early, and darn it there wasn't school, so maybe the boys could fall back asleep. No chance. Nikko started babbling to himself, and loudly, so much that I had to quiet him several times to no avail. Ronin couldn't go back to sleep, so after 7a I gave up and put us in the living room to chill before breakfast. Nikko got to watch the morning TV lineup on PBS of Sid the Science Kid, Super WHY, Dinosaur Train and Sesame Street. Word World is after SS, but I tend to flip back to the Sprout Channel to watch The Wiggles. But today Ronin wanted to watch WW, which is really a good show, so I had to give up The Wiggles for the morning. Even though I was just saying yesterday that I felt bad for raising my voice at Ronin, the morning ended up the same way, with Ronin whining for the way he wanted things and me getting frustrated that he wouldn't make a choice or make up his mind or just stop whining! I also started putting Ronin in Time Out when he does something that's mean or hurtful to Nikko or Audrey, or when I can see that he just needs to get away from Nikko for whatever squabble they are having. It's for his safety, too, since Nikko could knock Ronin down hard if he wanted to.

Maria came at 1p for Nikko's therapy. I confirmed that our group meeting with Linda H. and Nikko's teachers wasn't happening until the 23rd or 24th. We went downstairs with Nikko to get him started, but didn't stay long at all. I told Nikko I'd be in the kitchen and to have a fun session! Then off we went. He was looking up at the stairs as we left, but Maria was engaging him and there were no tears. I warned Maria that Nikko was having another bout of constipation, and we think it did impact (pun) his session because he wasn't totally himself. I heard him grunting at the very end right before he came upstairs, and later on he was finally able to go. Maria had suggested the MiraLAX that my SIL Anna uses, noting that many kids on the autism spectrum have constipation as well. I think I've also read that somewhere. Guess I better call Dr. Santiago to see if she can give me an idea what a recommended dosage could be, since diluted grape juice isn't working as much as I thought. The rest of the afternoon was ok. Ronin was resisting his nap again but I force him to take it, which makes me sad that I can't put him down peacefully lately. All he wants to do is play, but he will run out of gas by the late afternoon and be super cranky before bed.

I just took a few minutes to review Nikko's ABA binder. Looks like Maria made some notes on percentages, to track his progress for the upcoming meeting. If I'm reading it correctly, a P = prompt, I = Incorrect, and C = Correct. I think they try things twice before issuing a prompt. For example, for a greeting, they will wave and say, Hi Nikko. [no response]. They will repeat wave and say, Hi Nikko. [no response]. The third time they will pick up Nikko's hand in a wave and say Hi Nikko, and usually he will start to wave and/or say Hi back. That's considered a trial. If Nikko responded with a hi and a wave the first time, it would equal a C. Either it was 3 times (but definitely less than 10) a C would equal mastery of a skill. I'm assuming that's at 3 consecutive visits. Nikko hasn't mastered any skills as of yet, Maria told me, but he's good at some things and not at others. From his binder, I can assume that he's not good at greeting, body parts, block building/imitating what they are building, personal information like his name and how old he is, and coloring in the lines. But he seems to be improving or doing well at identifying family members, commands like sit down and stand up, and matching pictures. I'm sure I'm missing other skills, but it's in the binder. I hope Maria remembers to bring up the pointing skill that Nikko is lacking, as something new to work on. That's what the group meeting is intended for, to review what's been going on, discuss it with Linda, and see how to move forward with more progress and/or different skills. I don't think they'll always need his teachers at these monthly meetings, just the first one. But Linda will be involved in the monthly meeting to some capacity. Fine with me, so long as Nikko improves.

Nikko had difficulty transitioning to the bathtub again tonight. I don't know why. It's bothering me because it's a break in our routine. In fact, our bathtime and bedtime routines will change once again this weekend when we move the crib and Nikko's bed. Denis told me to wait for the weekend so he could help, which I conceded to because I am not quite 100% today. Still feel cloudy in the head.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Gi go gah!

ST - We worked on 1 step directions - good day! Lots of words today: Ronin, Daddy, Audrey, hi for Mommy. Great with Open to go different places!

That always warms me, to hear he had a good session with Kathy. She's like gold.

Nikko woke up crying at 6:45a, which is 15 minutes before my alarm for school. I went inside and shuffled him back to his bed, then lay down next to him to wait out the alarm. He was holding a yellow Racer X (from Speed Racer) racing car that we've had for a long time, but yesterday and today he couldn't get enough of it. He'd twist it in his hand, look at it from the tip to the tail, getting some kind of visual stim from it. This morning he was also making car noises: Mrrrrooom! Mrrrooom! He was also babbling, and since Ronin was still sleeping nearby I decided to get us up at 7 and hang out in the kitchen. That car made it to school and back, and I think he took it to bed with him along with his burp cloth and a wooden helicopter. Nikko was singing another song today. It wasn't until snacktime that I figured it out, because it wasn't crisp. He was singing the main song from The Wiggles DVD of The Big Red Car. His version went: Gi go gah (Big Red Car), gi go gah, gi go gah - gah - gah - gah - gah!" Pretty darn close to the song version, in Nikkospeak. He sang it quite a bit, so I sang along and praised him for it, too. Thank you, Wiggles!! Nikko fell asleep for 30 minutes and I had to wake him at 4p so he could have a snack before Jenna came for his make-up ABA session. She came, we went downstairs, and he stood by me until I decided it was time to go. I gave him a kiss and a hug, told him to have a fun session, see you later, then took Ronin with me upstairs. No tears, because Jenna was bouncing a ball in his face and asking him to retrieve it and take turns. His session was good, and she told me that he was verbalizing a lot, too. I am glad that he is starting to say more words, and I have to point out more objects for him to label, but I think I have to start looking at the echolalia effect where he just repeats what we say and has no spontaneous words. I'm sure that's going to be a problem down the road. I wonder how to nip it in the bud, but at this beginning stage I think that's how he'll learn to talk. That's what Ronin is doing. In fact, lately Ronin is being a parrot and repeating my exact phrase right back at me, instead of immediately answering my question. It's driving me a little batty, but I'm telling him that he has words he can use. I do get impatient. In fact, that's how I know Ronin is over his 5-day fever, because he was really frustrating today, picking fights and whining. Oh, his whining is really back. I can hardly believe it had left us for a few days. I realize that I raised my voice quite a bit today, even though it was sore from being sick. Now that I've acknowledged it, I have to work on not sounding so harsh with Ronin. Today I was admonishing Ronin for not doing something, ranting over and over about something, and Nikko had the foresight to come up to my face and put his face in mine, as if to stop me from raising my voice at Ronin. When Nikko did that, I calmed down a bit. Just a bit. It was kind of strange during bath and bedtime. Nikko has not wanted to go into the tub after Ronin's bath. Nikko usually sits on the toilet while Denis gives Ronin a bath, and then when I take Ronin out of the bathroom, Denis tells Nikko to get in the tub. Sometimes Nikko will hop off the toilet, but for the past two days Nikko has been harder to coax. This evening he was really resisting physically getting into the tub. I had to come back into the bathroom and persuade Nikko to put down his stuff and put a leg into the tub. I really hope he's not developing a dislike for taking a bath, but it wasn't pretty, either. And when he was getting tucked into bed, I could see his eyes were heavy with being tired, but as it was getting closer for me to leave, I looked at his face and he looked worried, almost anxiety-riddled, possibly at the thought of me leaving. Sure enough, when I turned out the light he let out a loud wail. I was stern about leaving and I did, but when Ronin joined in his cries within three minutes I had to walk back and re-tuck in Ronin, then turn to Nikko's bed and sternly tell him to stop it, go to sleep and stay in bed. He did, but I can't forget how I could read his face the first time and he really looked alarmed instead of tired. I don't know if I'll have the strength to take apart the crib and put it back together tomorrow, but I've got to move it and re-establish a nighttime routine for Nikko. Maybe my lingering to tuck Ronin in is causing more anxiety to Nikko because I'm still in the room. This also makes me think about my departure routine when Nikko is with the therapist. I probably shouldn't say good bye or see you later, because he might think I'm leaving the house. Instead, I should probably say that I'll be in the kitchen, have a fun session! And then leave. Ok, that's my new strategy.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ped trip for Ronin & Audrey

OT report: Much better session today. Engaged in all activities - did lots of sensory motor activities - trampoline, rolling, big ball activities & wheelbarrow walk. At table - worked on squeezing clothespins and dot art [heart] paper.

I guess a skill they're trying to teach in OT is to color things inside of the lines. There's probably hand-over-hand and pointing involved. Kind of funny in the long term sense because people try to teach you to think outside the box. Ha ha.

After school, mom came over to help me take the kids to the pediatrician. Might I add that it currently snowed around 10 inches today alone? I am so grateful that she drove over here. Nikko was very well-behaved at the peds, while Audrey was getting checked out (has an ear infection), and while Ronin was getting his left ear flushed. Nikko just stood by my side, making sure he was connecting with my leg at some point. He studied Ronin's angry, scrunched up face while Ronin was yelling that his ear hurt from the water. At the end, I gave Nikko and Ronin Dum Dum lollipops for their good behavior. We went to Target to get amoxicillin for Audrey. I took Nikko inside since he was going ballistic when mom even walked through our front door. Strange, sort of, because he has accepted that his ABA therapists will come over and work with him downstairs without me for 1.5 hours, but when he sees mom at our house he panics because he thinks she will stay here and I will leave him. Nikko took a 45 minute nap, and it resulted in him having 3 jailbreaks after bedtime. We didn't have ABA with Jenna today because the snow was so thick and traffic was bad, but she offered to come tomorrow at 4:30 instead. Totally fine with me. So Audrey has an ear infection and her meds will hopefully help bring the fever down. Ronin's fever seems to have gone down today, but if it spikes up again tomorrow, I'll have to bring him back. Booooooo!


My two youngest ones are still feverish. It goes down during the day, slightly, but they get worse at dinnertime. If it persists tomorrow, I will have to haul everyone to the pediatrician after Nikko's preschool. And there's a snowstorm tomorrow. Great.

Melissa came with a cough for Nikko's therapy. Since our house is already full of sick kiddos I let her go ahead with Nikko. We went downstairs and I had Audrey, fresh from a nap. Ronin just went down, fighting a nap. Melissa went to set up the binder and I sat on a foof chair with Audrey. Nikko stood in front of me, waiting to see when I'd leave. When Melissa started calling him over, Nikko looked at me and put his hand over his face dragging down. "Are you sleepy Nikko? I'm a little sleepy," I told him, because that's generally the sign for sleep. But maybe 30 minutes later, when I was in the kitchen putting dishes away, it dawned on me that there's another interpretation for that hand sign: SAD. Was Nikko trying to tell me he was sad that I was going? Because after the sign, I bade him farewell and have fun, he walked over to the table while looking at me, and even sat down still looking at me but his body language was eager to start working. Then Melissa was blocking him from my sight so I turned around and walked to the stairs. I heard her showing Nikko the picture schedule of what they were going to do today, and that was it. No tears at all. His session was good, according to her notes. The rest of the afternoon was a blur of Ronin being crabby, Audrey being crabby and taking a nap, Nikko making lots of verbalizations and running back and forth, even doing a few jigs in the living room, and standing on top of an ottoman and taking a leap onto the star mat in front of the couch. He also keeps putting his face right up into Audrey's, and she gets annoyed. It reminds me of a dog provoking another dog, nose to nose. Nikko thinks it's funny, and thinks it's even funnier when he looks over at me from the corner of his eye to see if I'll admonish him and/or push him away from Audrey. Nikko went to bed really tired again, no nap today. But I wonder if he'll wake up at 3a, which is what he did last night. I don't understand his sleeping patterns anymore, and wonder how long his middle-of-the-night wakings are going to last! And the more and more I see Ronin getting irritated with Nikko (maybe it's just because Ronin is sick and is super-irritated at everything), the more I'm thinking that I should separate the boys from their shared room. I still haven't done it, mainly because I'd have to take apart Audrey's crib, move it into the nursery and reassemble it. I did it by myself the last time, and will probably have to do it myself again this time so I'm dreading it. Then Nikko will be moved to the middle room, and then I guess the sleep training would start all over again. When am I going to tackle this??

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Another day at home, another day with sick kids. Luckily, Nikko is not feverish, just has a hacking cough. I spent most of the day trying to placate a cranky Ronin and a Ds. Jekyl/Ms. Hyde Audrey, who were both sporting fevers and erratic naptimes today. Nikko didn't nap at all and so was very tired at bedtime. (whew!) He was in good spirits for most of the day. I had to put him to an auditory test today when I preheated the oven for a D/E/N-free cake I was baking at Ronin's request. The timer went off right when we were in the kitchen. Nikko was steps away so I lunged toward him and tried to cover his ears while saying something really loud. I talked to him at length saying it was ok, no big deal, let's go do something else, and he didn't melt down into a puddle of tears. This incident happened again when I preheated the oven to bake some bread, and Nikko was standing right near the oven. I lunged again and he didn't cry, but I think he would have if I didn't talk in his ear so much. Today was challenging with Nikko because he kept putting his face right into Audrey's, and wanted to take clay right from Ronin's hands. Yep, I'm a referee, too. We were watching the end of the Superbowl tonight when Denis had a bowl of blueberries. Ronin and Nikko were having some, and at one point Nikko said, "Blueberry!" clear as a bell. He is doing a good job of repeating a word if we prompt him to say it, but he's not naming things spontaneously. I think I have to work on that vocabulary component with him. (The New Orleans Saints won the Superbowl, by the way) I have a plan in the works to take the kids to the Kohl Children's Museum on Friday. I asked Chinny if she could come with me, because it's an outing that I just can't do on my own, sadly. These kids need to get out of the house and have a good times somewhere! I think they will all enjoy the museum since it's been so long since we've been there. Chinny might bring Chester along, too, and I invited Mom to come along if she felt like it. There's no special occasion; I just want to show my kiddos a good time. They deserve it, after being sick all weekend.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Face time

Poor Nikko still has residual coughing from the past week. Now Ronin and Audrey have fevers, and Audrey is dealing with a hacking cough that's keeping her from sleeping straight tonight. :( I gave her tylenol and don't want to give her any cough syrup (because it might be expired) because that might be overkill on meds. Therefore, she's suffering. We didn't do anything exciting today. We put on Disney's Cars after lunch, and Nikko must have been tired from his morning wakings (bolted out of bed at 6a, luckily I was in the room on Ronin's bed trying to soothe a Ronin waking from 5a) so he took a nap from 1:30 to 2:30. Then I put in Racing To The Rainbow, a Wiggles movie, and the kids showed interest in that. Poor Ronin had an invisibly runny nose today, some throwing up episodes, and seemed only slightly less miserable than yesterday. During the movies, Nikko kept going up to Audrey and putting his face merely centimeters away from hers, squinting and looking directly at her. She'd push him away, or I'd tickle him away saying to leave her alone. He does that to me sometimes as well, but I always think that Audrey will clock him in the head if he persists with her. I don't think we're going anywhere tomorrow, and that might drive Ronin and Audrey and myself crazy. We haven't been anywhere in a while. Their sick kid status prohibits them from going places, but we are seriously going stir crazy. :( I spent most of the day trying to keep Ronin company, reading to him, wiping his nose and making sure he didn't throw up in the living room. *sigh*

Clean Teeth

Ronin woke up with a fever and while he was in a semi-normal state today, he had to take a few naps to gather his strength. He only ate crackers and juice; when I gave him some peaches, they came up with the next cough. Ronin's going to turn out to be vampiric, like me, because he wanted the window curtains drawn all day. Depressing! I put on some Hi-5 DVDs for the afternoon and I even opted to start folding a mountainous pile of kid laundry. Nikko sat next to me while I folded in the semi-darkness. During one skit, Kimee was using a traveling toothbrush and a huge prop toothbrush to brush her teeth. At one point she was talking about her clean teeth, and then Nikko put his index finger horizontally to his mouth and said, "Clean teeth," clear as day. I made him repeat it a few times, and was pleased that he repeated something he heard on TV and mimicked it as well. The other funny part about it was that when Ronin and Audrey were awake and heard/saw me do this with Nikko later, they both immediately walked around with fingers in their mouths saying Clean Teeth like chirping birds.

Nikko's ST report:
Saying "dog" and "car" to request small toys! He was trying walk, run, sleep, jump directions with the dog. :)

Besides building his vocabulary, I think these one-step directions are probably the next step. He still drags me to the TV to put in a DVD, and I have to ask him what he wants to watch before he answers. Same with food, I have to offer it verbally (or with a PEC picture) and then he'll repeat it or pull the PEC from the velcro and hand it to me. If he wants a toy from Ronin that he can't grab directly, he'll take my hand, walk me across the room, and then pull my hand in the direction of the toy. Lots to work on with this lad. We're supposed to go to the Hinsdale church tomorrow to see the in-laws, but with Ronin's sick day today and breathing on the cusp of being bad, I don't want to overexert his lungs. He'd be excited by his surroundings and would probably chase other kids. I remember he did this one Friday night, chasing Rex around while I knew he was wheezing, and while I let it go because I figured he was bonding with his cousin, he really paid for it with multiple albuterol treatments the next day.

Friday, February 5, 2010

No pointing / sick kids

I think the topic this week at preschool is community helpers since Nikko's been coming home with projects about the dentist, firemen and police officers. He came home with a fire station coloring book and some trading cards that had the Hanover Park police offers on them. After lunch Maria came over at 1p for Nikko's therapy. Ronin and I walked them down, hung out for a minute, and then I ushered Ronin toward the staircase, kissing Nikko g'bye and have a fun session. Nikko was trying to look over Maria's shoulder at us as we went upstairs but she was blocking him and engaging him in an activity. There were NO tears. And when he came up later on, Maria said he did very well today, is completing his drills really quickly. She said that he can say Audrey's name, and said his own name, too. Maria asked me if Nikko could point, and I said no, he couldn't. She noticed it when she held up family pictures for him to identify and he didn't point at all. She said it was a skill he will need in school and that they should start working on that. Our group meeting with Linda and probably Kathy Winters is supposed to be at 4:30p on 2/16. After Maria left I cleaned up the kitchen and tried to hang with Audrey and Nikko since Ronin was napping. I thought about taking the kids to the grocery or to Meijer so I could look at board games for Nikko's therapy, but Ronin's cough had developed into a hacking cough and he spiked a fever around 4pm. Nikko also fell asleep at 4 so I let him nap. Unfortunately he napped for 1.5 hours and I believe it affected his bedtime. He didn't go to sleep easily, even though he was tired. He got up and cried and wailed at the door three times. I came in at five minute increments, and the 3rd time I went in shorter than 10 minutes because I could hear Ronin crying in his bed. Nikko's cried has woken him up, which was sad because Ronin had drifted off to sleep nicely while I gave him an albuterol treatment for his cough. I put Nikko back to bed and saw that he was exhausted from crying and wailing, and I pleaded with him to just go to sleep. Thankfully, there were no more jailbreaks after the 3rd time, but it makes me seriously consider separating the boys. I'll check on Ronin to see if his temperature is still in the fever range, because if he's still sick then I don't want to take him out of the house. This is unfortunate because I wanted to go visit my dad again on Friday afternoon. Now we'll have to see if we have to put us under quarantine. Audrey was also warm, but she was battling some constipation (yes, another one!!) most of the day until I finally helped her by letting her straddle my lap so she could push, instead of keeping her legs straight. Nikko has a hacking cough but no fever. Let's just see what happens tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

My Dad

Speech progress report:
Clear as a bell, "Audrey" several times today! Got On, Off, Open, Car, Go, Bus & Ball. Worked on body parts & 1-step directions, too.

I tried to say Audrey to Nikko today but he was ignoring me. After lunch today I packed up the kids and went to my mom's house for a visit. Dad has had bronchitis and the last time I saw him was Sunday at Old Country Buffet. On Monday he was coughing hard, got out of bed and fell to the floor, bruising his face and losing consciousness apparently. He was ok, helped by my mom, but he's off the rest of the week to rest (was on vacation anyway). We paid him a visit on Wednesday because there were no therapies. After talking to him more, I guess the coughing fits, if really bad, could cut off oxygen to the brain, thereby causing him to pass out. He's on some meds for the coughing, but he had another episode right with us there. He was sleeping sitting up on the couch and mom was checking on him. I sat right near dad, and he coughed not too hard and then suddenly mom was grabbing him by the shoulders and telling him to WAKE UP and BREATHE. She sounded urgent, not panicked, but I sat there while dad's eyes rolled back and his head wobbled. I almost started to cry. But he woke out of it and said, "What happened?" The episode probably was all of ten seconds, but they were long seconds. Mom is going to give him some stronger cough syrup so he doesn't cough as easily, and dad says what's the point of going to see a doctor again. I was so unsettled by what I saw that when I left the house, I called my sister, got voicemail, and left a message for her to call me back. Then I started to cry, all while Nemo was playing in the DVD player for the kids on the ride back home. I am so worried about dad. What happens if he has a coughing fit in the middle of the night, mom is at work, and Chinny doesn't check on him? What if he loses consciousness again? I wish I could be there to check on him. :(

I got home and pretty much got dinner rolling. We all ran around the basement for a little bit before bathtime. Ronin was stalling because he wanted to play clay again, wanted another bus toy, wanted to read another story. I told him we'd play clay after breakfast, I promise. Nikko, meanwhile, was straining again and (TMI again, alert!) before his bath he was sitting on the toilet and I could tell he was trying to go #2 but couldn't. I had to coax him to sit down and help brace his legs so that he could push out a sizable bowel movement. He did, for the first time on the toilet, and we praised him greatly for his efforts. He's never taken a dump on the toilet before, but I think it was more out of necessity because he was pushing with nowhere to go. I wonder if he'd let me usher him to a toilet again if he needed to push a bowel movement out again. We put him in bed and he was crying from his bed after 5 minutes. I went to put him back in bed but he was already laying there with the covers off. When I left, he started to cry again but I didn't go back. I gave him ten minutes to cry, and he stopped in five. I wonder if he'll have a middle of the night waking again... I hope not!!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Good Jenna session

Mrs. I's note:
Very resistive to movement activities today - impacted the rest of the session. However, very verbal - consistent vocalizations.

I wonder why he didn't want to move. I wonder if anything has to do with his latest bouts of constipation. By this evening's end, Nikko was straining again but nothing came out. I talked to Atz about it and she says to up the liquids and the fiber. Guess I'll try oatmeal tomorrow morning, no guarantee that he'll take it. And gotta find a new bottle of wheat germ. But the vocalizations seem to be consistent as to what's going on at home. He's really been babbling since the weekend. I wonder if he can hear what he's saying. I was watching him at lunch and he was singing The Wiggles again, inserting jargon where verses belong, but he was also talking to himself and being very animated about his subject matter. The afternoon dragged for him, but he perked up when I served peaches for snack. Jenna arrived a little after 4:30p and we headed to the basement. After letting her chitchat with him and myself regarding the bedtime situation, I told Nikko it was time for him to work, have a good session, and I scooped up the other kids. Nikko started to whine a little, and was fighting his tears while Jenna stood in front of him, blocking him, and starting to engage him in a fun ball activity. I glimpsed back quickly at Nikko and saw his face all red and his eyes scrunched up and his mouth in a grimace, but when we got to the top of the stairs and closed the door, I didn't hear any crying at all. He got over it. Jenna said his session was good, that they played with blocks and she said, "Build it," and then he said Build It right back to her, twice. Meanwhile, upstairs I had Ronin and Audrey playing with Play-Doh on the kitchen floor. Audrey soon tired of it and I put her down for a nap, but Ronin was digging into the clay and loved it. I thought he would burn out of it, but then he figured out how to make a Larry the Cucumber figure. It actually looked like Bob the Tomato, just a ball of red clay, so I rolled it into a cylinder aka Larry the Cucumber. Voila! He loved it and would have played with it all night but I had him clean it up because it was almost dinnertime. Nikko went to bed tired and was asleep before Ronin was tucked in. I hope Nikko doesn't have an early waking tonight. Last night he woke up at 2a. I went to put him back to bed and leaned on the edge, debating whether or not I should stay or go. Then he put a hand on my arm, which caused me to touch his forehead and it was very warm. I wonder if he woke up because he wasn't feeling well, so I ended up staying on the floor after giving him some Tylenol. I don't want to do that again tonight. I don't know when I'm going to start the sleep training again, but need to do it because I know I shouldn't be on the floor. Maybe tomorrow. :/

Monday, February 1, 2010

Dohw ig-oohs

Nikko had ABA at 2p. Melissa came in and Nikko went in the opposite direction! With some coaxing we all headed downstairs and I stayed with them until Melissa had her binder ready. She called Nikko over and he came to sit down, then I stood up with Audrey & Ronin and told him to have a fun time playing. Nikko started to whine and when I looked back over the staircase he was trying to peer at me from around Melissa. I headed upstairs and the crying started to subside. Then I heard nothing. I was told that he got over it and did very well in therapy today. Yea! I had some Hi-5 playing in the DVD player today, trying to take a break from the Mighty Machines. I spent some time going through a box of clothes and books that my friend Michelle gave to us since her boys are slightly older than mine (youngest is 2, but doesn't need everything she has). Ronin became attached to another Mater truck and a train book, Audrey attached to two xylophone sticks and Nikko was carting around a yellow VHS tape in a case of The Wiggles' Yummy Yummy. After dinner, I took the kids downstairs for some gross motor action. I put The Wiggles on the big screen and got the kids dancing a bit.

Denis came home from work and it was time to put the kids to bed. I was kind of worried about Nikko because he hadn't napped all day and I expected him to be super cranky. He wanted Ronin's Mater truck and already tried to steal it from Ronin. As we finished brushing their teeth, I noticed that Nikko was chanting something repeatedly. When I stopped to listen, it sounded like "Dohw ig-oohs, dohw ig-oohs," and then I realized that he was singing the opening song of The Wiggles. He would stop to add some jibberish that could very well have been other song verses, but kept in time with the beat. I smiled when I realized this and silently thanked God for letting me see something so amazing happen. I didn't cry, surprisingly. As I sit here, I'm trying not to. Nikko has repeated words when prompted, and when I ask him what DVD he wants to watch he'd sign or say CARS or give a garbled Mighty Machines attempt. I thought he was over watching The Wiggles because we hadn't seen it in a few days. But by watching them, he's imitated dance moves and now he let his singing voice out. I'm grateful, so thanks Greg, Anthony, Murray and Jeff.

More straining, but babbling, too.

Nikko seemed to have an ok day except for the bout of constipation again. All week he's been having some kind of slow bowel movement (sorry, TMI for many!), but nothing as bad as the stuff resulting from the suppository incident. Until today. He was straining badly again, to the point of squealing, but he was able to push something out and I'm wondering how it is that things are getting blocked up there. He eats Cheerios every day, has juice, still does drink chocolate milk, ate some blueberries and orange yesterday, eats pizza and chicken nuggets... but is that enough to plug him up? He eats Saltine crackers, but so does Ronin and Ronin's not constipated. Ok, but Ronin doesn't eat dairy either. Audrey does because she has to drink whole milk for now. Nikko is so picky that he doesn't eat the green foods, forget having a salad. Sometimes he'll eat kidney beans if they're in chili. And I thought eating bananas was constipating, but it's listed as having 2.5 grams of fiber.

We met up with the Penepacker's and the rest of the Alog clan at Old Country Buffet for an early dinner and Rory's 12th birthday. The kids did surprisingly well, including Audrey. She sat at the corner end of a long table and was happy stuffing her face with spaghetti noodles, bread, breaded fish and fries. Oh, and Jell-O. Nikko would fall apart when he noticed that I stepped away from the table so I had to take him with me. All the kids stayed in their seats for the most part, but Ronin was eager to go play with Jovy and get chased around an open patch of floor. Nikko got into a laughing fit, too, but he looked cute anyway. I think Nikko had been jargoning nonstop since the afternoon, and it really increased before bedtime. When he was getting dressed for bed I didn't think he'd stop babbling and calm down. Even earlier in the evening when I was doing some dishes Nikko stood in the kitchen babbling to himself and he sounded like he was talking in Cantonese. Since our car trip to OCB was short, it disrupted Nikko's car nap, and therefore he was tired at bedtime. I hope he sleeps through the night, and Ronin too. No school for Nikko tomorrow, but he has therapy at 2p.