Friday, April 30, 2010

The calm, playing outside and the storm

For the second time in seven months, my alarm went off at 7a and I woke up to it. When I got up, Nikko was babbling to himself but the other two weren't quite awake yet. The diaper changing was smooth and we ended up at the breakfast table where I realized that all three kids were acting... good. It was unbelievable. No one, especially Ronin, had displayed any drama, so breakfast was pleasant. And probably rare. Nikko's school report was uneventful. Tomorrow they will be going to a local farm for a field trip. And then right after lunch we are supposed to join the other Alogs for a visit to the Morton Arboretum, where there are gardens and birds. I haven't been there since working at the Castle, but it's supposed to be very nice. I'm still debating on which stroller(s) to bring or who to make walk.

Aftr lunch today I geared up the troops and took them to Costco. I didn't forget to bring Nikko's Costco card. I showed it at the door, then gave it to him to carry. Instead of putting Nikko in the cart I let him walk and he seemed to enjoy that. We came home and I quickly put freezer groceries away. It was a blustery, warm day so I decided to let the kids play in the backyard. We had a snack at the little picnic table in our backyard, then moved to the driveway for the construction toys. Audrey was getting very antsy and crabby so I put her in the umbrella stroller and invited the boys to take a walk. Ronin wanted to go to the playground but I told him we would go find some trains. I really wanted to avoid going to the school playground because there's no way I could properly supervise Ronin trying to climb the equipment, Audrey running haphazardly and also trying to climb, and Nikko running, climbing and getting into other people's spaces. Despite the wind that threatened to knock us to our feet, everybody enjoyed walking at a slow pace under the warm sunlight. We got to a corner two blocks away from the house, which was a good vantage point to see Metra trains whiz by. Audrey got antsy again so I gave her a dandelion. It enchanted her. Bingo! Ronin enjoyed seeing two big Metra trains come by within minutes of each other. Nikko was strolling in the lawn next to the street so I had to verbally haul him back to us. We walked back home and surprisingly Nikko didn't continue to bolt up the block toward the school. But when it was time to bring everyone inside the house for dinner, Nikko didn't go willingly. I had to chase him down a little, coax him with tickles, and then literally push him inside.

The kids had dinner and Nikko kept putting the Alice in Wonderland DVD in my hands. I let them watch it while I tried to eat some dinner. For one instance I sat here and thought, Well this is nice, I can let them watch TV peacefully and I can get a quiet moment to eat. Boy was that short-lived. I poked my head into the living room to check on them and I saw Nikko standing on the couch near the armchair with a hand over the side of the couch, looking at me guiltily... then I caught a whiff of the scent. I ran to Nikko and saw that he had reached into the back of his diaper and put a small pile of poo on top of the couch. His hands were covered. I seized his wrists for a few seconds so I could think of what to do next. I ordered Ronin to keep Audrey away from the couch, then picked up Nikko under his arms and ran to the tub. I put him in, turned on the water, put foam soap in his hands and told him I'd be right back. Nikko settled under the faucet and was content to sit in the water. I raced back to the living room armed with Carpet Resolve, paper towels and a bag, and started cleaning up. Unfortunately, I am running dangerously low on Carpet Resolve so the spray was sudsing up at the spout. I had to unscrew the spout and tilt the bottle so the long pipe would catch the liquid at the right angle to produce a bigger spray. When I came back to the bathroom to hose Nikko down, the doorbell rang. It was the UPS guy, waiting for me to open the door to give me a package. I don't know why he waited, and didn't need my signature, but he said he had forgotten this package and that's why it was late. Oh yeah, and while this all took place, I had a loaf of bread in the oven that was just about ready when the doorbell rang. The oven alarm was bleeping in the background to remind me not to burn the house down. Needless to say, I was glad when I got all the kids in their beds.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

LMN and swiper-no-swiping!

Speech report: Great sorting & naming in categories. Good job colors - even named pink! Worked on body parts, greetings, vocab too.

So I'm sitting here at 12:58AM scrambling to type off an email to the developmental pediatric behaviorist that Nikko saw at Marianjoy Rehabiitation Hospital so that she can hopefully send us a letter of medical necessity, so that I can in turn submit it to our flex spending account people and possibly get reimbursed for ABA therapy this year up to $4,000. Also have to email MGB Services and tell them to alter the first three invoices and get a copy to me. *sheesh!*

After Nikko went to school, Atz came over for a brief period so I could get my eyes checked again. Dr. Kim said no more steroids, use rewetting drops and continue the vitamins and fish oil capsules for one week, then see her again. The cornea scarred in two places. She's seeing a slight reaction to the Zymar drops I was using. And if things get worse, come see her sooner. But no contacts yet. GRRRRRR!

Ronin and Audrey had doctor visits after lunch. I brought in the DVD player but forgot all the DVDs in the car. Too late! Nikko was very good while the other two got their ears looked at, and Audrey got shots. Nikko played with the toys I brought along, looked out the window, and was flipping the lights until I stopped him. We got home just as Melisa was walking up the driveway. He continued to have a good session, with some whining at the end. I rewarded him with a few Oreos since he hadn't had a snack since lunchtime.

Nikko's been really aggressive toward Ronin lately. He swipes Ronin at random times, but mostly when Ronin has a toy that Nikko wants. Forget breakfast time; I've had to put Nikko at the smaller wood table because he keeps hitting Ronin at breakfast. I'm truly tired of separating them, especially during the day and over stupid toys like that blue two-headed dragon. That darned dragon!!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Box lids with a purpose

School report: OT - Great session. Tolerated being on swing with both linear & rotational movements. Did well with drawing vertical & horizontal lines as well as coloring.
Another note: We went to playground for class picture & he was fine; we didn't play!

Today was a group class picture held on the playground. I wondered how he would behave in the picture, if someone would have to stand next to him to hold him in place, but I won't know until I get the picture. Nikko is usually pretty happy to be back in school from the weekend, and I'm happy that he is getting OT and ST as well as exposure to his peers. Our afternoon was low-key until he had ABA this afternoon at 5p. Jenna was supposed to come at 4:30p but she comes from Gurnee so that cuts int our time. Hopefully she'll make good on her promise to stay longer once school is out for her, because she's really cut some of his sessions short. Jenna said that Nikko did really well today. She also said that they used some box lids (from my Fannie May Trinidads) in the matching activity. During the Team meeting, Maria/Jenna said that Nikko would do the matching pictures activity but seemed lost. The school team said that when he finishes matching a picture they tell him to put the matched pieces into a container to signify that he finished the activity. So Maria said that in ABA they could use a tray (box lid) and have Nikko put the matching picture on top of the corresponding one, then put the matched set into the box lid. Jenna said that he did that today, and did much better on the activity because the box lids gave him a purpose. I think once he matched a picture to another, he would sit and think, Now What? The box lid helped, and purpose is the only thing I can conclude. Good job. After dinner, Denis wanted to try a little (and I mean LITTLE) box kite outside so we put jackets on the kids (snow boots on Audrey because they were near the door) and let them run up and down the driveway with the kite. Audrey kept trying to walk down the driveway into the street but I blocked her and she was annoyed. Nikko was content to run with an Alice In Wonderland DVD cover and his Costco card. Bath time was late by 15 minutes, and Nikko fell asleep quickly. AH.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Nikko the puppy

I was up and running from the get go. Ronin called out to me that he leaked in bed and sure enough I was looking at soaked sheets. A mess of the runs. I had to let Nikko out before he got upset, put Audrey down, strip the bed and then got to the business of cleaning Ronin up in the tub. After he was finished I changed Nikko and then Audrey. My dear Audrey had just created a big mess in her diaper so it was back to the tub. Finally, when all were clean, I joined them in the kitchen with Denis, who had poured their milks. This was all before 7:20a. The rest of the morning was a carbon copy of the earlier events. I felt like I was continually changing big-mess diapers and Nikko, who had minor #2s each time. Then Atz came over around 9:45a and was to take over while I ran to the optometrist. Nikko started bawling when he saw me put on my shoes. He was screaming when I walked out the door, and when I called later to check in I heard he pretty much stood between the screen door and the wood door, as if waiting for me to come home. It made me feel sad to picture Nikko like that, as if he were a puppy waiting for his master to come home. I don't even like comparing Nikko to an animal, but when I think about it his basic functions often mirror that of a puppy. Ronin and Audrey were not as attached to the door and were able to migrate between rooms. After my quick eye check-up, where she told me to come back in two days because the eyes were greatly improved but she still saw red and the eyeball was still swollen, I ran over to the Central Community Center to hand in registration for Nikko to attend the Three Wee Camp, a 2-hr. activity class that overlaps with the end of the ESY summer class. I requested an aide from the NWSRA and asked for Melisa Gonzalez, one of Nikko's ABA therapists. Later I also left a message for the NWSRA intake coordinator per Maria's suggestion in the hopes that she could help tie Nikko to Melisa. (Just noticed it's Melisa with one "s"). And after registration, I ran over to Home Depot to look for an inside door bolt and for some polyurethane for the unfinished kid table. I got back to the house and the kids were in the living room, behaving. I saw Nikko sitting in the picture window when I pulled into the driveway and I waved at him. The status update was positive, but included an Audrey diaper change in the sink.

Melisa called to reschedule our ABA today for Wednesday, so the afternoon was pretty quiet since it was almost Ronin's nap time. After Ronin woke up, I fed the kids snack and Denis came home. Then I put jeans and jackets on the kids and took them to the backyard to play. Atz had dropped off another Little Tykes car and some construction vehicles. Ronin immediately took a big-wheeled excavator and Nikko adopted a bulldozer. Audrey gravitated back and forth between Tyke cars, and I encouraged everyone to try the slide a few times. It was a little bit chilly in the shade but nonetheless a good moment to be outside in the sun. I worried slightly when it was time to haul them inside because Nikko wanted to bring in the bulldozer whereas I wanted it to stay as an outside toy. It got as far as the sink in the kitchen, and I thought about cleaning it up, but when Nikko wasn't looking I put it outside and later put it back in the garage. The rest of the evening was uneventful.

Last night Nikko was standing on top of a round ottoman and then hopped over to the next one before landing on the ottoman in front of the couch and spilling himself onto the couch. He looked like a little frog leaping from pad to pad. Ronin copied him, of course, and I worried that Ronin wouldn't be able to close the distance, but he managed. It showed me that Nikko is getting better with his balance and self-awareness in space.

While Atz was here, I got a phone call from Margie, one of Nikko's teachers at school. She said they just finished pow-wowing about my email regarding my concerns with Nikko and they had some conclusions:
- They know that Nikko whines a lot, but to them it's mostly related to work-avoidance. They think he was definitely uncomfortable when he had a bad diaper rash, but that, coupled with school demands overall, just makes him whine. They deal with it appropriately and don't give in easily.
- Regarding fruit snacks, they think the best way to handle it is to probably make them disappear from the equation entirely. It will be a hard few weeks to transition away from them, but if Nikko is so obsessed with them, it's probably best just not to have them around. This is possible to do, of course, since there was a time for 8-9 months that we didn't have them around at all, and only reintroduced Nikko to them because of ABA. Since neither Melisa nor Jenna use them in their sessions, it may be easier to phase FS out.
- They have not noticed Nikko hitting anyone in class, maybe the random pushing that comes with kids getting in the way, but nothing malicious. That being said, they discussed that I might want to consider separating Ronin and Nikko next year. Nikko might spend his time singling Ronin out and taking swipes at him instead of learning, and it could be distracting. Also, it might be beneficial for Ronin to have his own time as his own person. That's something I really didn't consider when signing him up in the first place. Ronin is locked into the afternoon class, and they said possibly move Nikko into the morning class. They also said to think about it, get back to them later. After considering the possibilities, I'm going to email the teachers and ask if they can both be in the afternoon, but put Ronin in the other classroom. I'd prefer Nikko to stay with Margie and Kathy, but it would be easier for me to keep the boys on the same bus, and if that's in the afternoon then that's what it has to be.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Whining @ Jewel

We stayed at home most of the day. Audrey had three liquidy diapers during the day, and Ronin didn't have any #2's during the day, but had 3 marathon liquidy diapers in the last half hour before bedtime. I REALLY hope this starts to taper off tomorrow.

We needed to go to the grocery so we packed the kids in the car around 5p to go to Jewel. Since it was going to be a relatively quick jaunt, I didn't pack the food bag or bring any toys along. Denis wanted to drive by a park district to check out the amenities so we headed toward the park before going to the grocery. It was dreary and raining outside so we didn't get out of the car. Nikko started to get whiny and I wondered if it was because he saw me put a lollipop I found in the car into my purse, but his whines were escalating and I wondered if he had wanted to go play in the playgrounds instead. Nikko was whining and screaming pretty badly. Audrey took it well sitting next to him, not minding his thrashing and hands flailing, but when Nikko hit her in the face with a DVD cover in his hand, she erupted in screams and the party was over to her. We got to the grocery and Nikko stopped crying momentarily because he was walking to the store and he was curious. Once inside I saw a rubber toy crocodile sitting on a display so I handed it to Nikko and he seemed to enjoy carrying it for a while. As I walked up and down the aisles, splitting the list with Denis, Nikko was getting whiny again. He started dragging down my purse, wanting to look inside. I tried to show him that there wasn't any food in my purse, and then he caught a glimpse of my black wallet. That turned his focus on to getting my Costco card out, and I cursed myself for not bringing Nikko's own Costco card along. Of course I lost that war and surrendered my card so he would be calmer. We met up with Denis again and checked out. I really don't understand what's going on in Nikko's head lately. And I really don't like this new phase of whining and screaming he's entered. It's definitely a communication barrier that will improve when his speech and overall communication skills improve. But it also seems to be these basic wants he has regarding fruit snacks or another coveted object, which fuel his whining when he doesn't get them right away. The word WAIT is not in his vocabulary. When he hears the word Wait, or Stop, they are triggers for him to scream louder and thrash around even more. I am exhausted trying to correct and/or redirect this boy. I would really like to get back to a place where his personality shines instead of this whining.

I have another eye appointment tomorrow at 10a and Atz said she can come over to watch the kids because her daughter has a field trip in the morning. I didn't refuse, but do feel badly because she will have to sit here while Nikko goes ballistic. She knows what to expect, and yet I feel very guilty about it. I do realize, though, that I am probably doing Nikko a disservice if I don't expose him to different people. If he's always around just me, then he will not learn to transition around different people. I'm telling myself that. Now I have to go on and believe it!!

Groggy Audrey

I went into the nursery to turn off the night lite and Audrey was still laying in her crib. She seemed awake so I told her to get up so we can go to the living room. She stood up and allowed me to pick her up, but collapsed against my shoulder and seemed to fall back asleep. I was going to change her diaper but noticed that she would not open her eyes when I called her name. She seemed so groggy! I laid her on the couch while I took care of the boys' diapers but when I came back to her, she was still very groggy. Even with the boys hovering around her, Nikko touching her face and me patting her face and limbs, Audrey wasn't waking up 100%. Her behavior seemed very uncharacteristic so I brought her to Denis to get his opinion. I called my sister and she suggested the cold washcloth on the forehead. It mildly irritated her but Audrey still didn't pop out of sleep. We took out her pacifier, she opened her eyes and reached out for it, but gave up and let her eyelids fall. Audrey was truly acting drugged up! But at the suggestion of my in-laws, we took her into the kitchen and coaxed her to drink some milk. That seemed to wake her up a little bit, and then she was wide awake to munch on some breakfast. The phase passed, but for a long time I was seriously worried that Audrey had hit her head and was groggy and unresponsive. Almost called the doctor. This was all a precursor for the bouts of diarrhea that followed her all day, and the huge vomit she had while sitting in Denis' lap. Audrey had some tummy bug, and later in the day Ronin would have foul diapers as well. Ronin also threw up twice around lunch time. No one had temperatures. Nikko didn't have the tummy bug. Instead, he was having poopy diapers with smears in them. Once, while I was turned to change Ronin's diaper, Nikko was behind me and then reached into the back of his diaper for a scratch. He smeared the couch and I had to put him in the tub. Let's just say that I am really sick of seeing vomit and diarrhea. Blech!

Nikko tried at different parts of the day to ask me for Snack or Fruit Snacks. I refused him and then he'd start a tirade. Nikko's whining today really got under my skin so that when I confronted him about what he wanted, What Does Nikko Want??, I don't think I sounded very happy to ask him anything. But at the end of the day, afer he ate his dinner I let him count to ten for me and then rewarded him with a bag of FS. *sigh* Nikko was taking swings at Ronin during dinner, for no reason that I could ascertain, so I had to separate them and put Nikko at the little wood table in the Time Out spot. He didn't argue about sitting there while eating dinner, but I felt bad that he was separated from the kid's table. I don't want to ostracize him, but sometimes he really just can't sit next to Ronin and keep his hands to himself. I have no idea what tomorrow will be like. Will all the kids be poop-free, intestines all healed up? Or will it be another day of the runs for everyone?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Separation anxiety / Chickpeas

This is a copy of an email that I wrote to Nikko's teachers:
I wanted to address two behavior-related issues that I've noticed in Nikko over the past week or two. First, as mentioned in his school report on Friday by Kathy, Nikko has really turned up the whining. I speculate that it is a communication thing, possibly not able to find the right words to express what he wants or feels. But around here, what he almost always wants and whines for is to have "Snack" and specifically, fruit snacks. I will give him one bag around 3pm but afterwards he wants "More snack" and I don't give in because one mini bag is enough for him in a day, I believe. The whining is RELENTLESS.

Second, on the tails of his whining and/or sitting next to Ronin at any given time, Nikko has begun to hit and swat Ronin, and sometimes myself. It may look random, but it can happen during a push-pull "argument" or even at the dinner table when they are sitting next to each other and Nikko seems to want to start up some trouble. Nikko's behavior causes Ronin to act up, and then I'm surrounded by drama. Typical for brothers? Probably. Typical for Nikko? No, not really, and to discipline him I hold his hand/arm firmly and tell him we don't hit, and to say sorry.

I didn't know if Nikko was whining a lot in school, and if he has begun to swat at his classmates, but I wanted to bring it up in case Nikko's been hitting other kids when they want what he wants. If you could keep an eye out for these behaviors, and hopefully they disappear once he walks into school, I will try to curb them, but might need Linda Hoeck's counsel on this. Thanks!

Today's speech report was: A bit fussy today, whined at me a lot. Good job naming colors - named red, yellow, blue, green & orange. Worked on teacher names and directions too.

This morning, Audrey was acting like a real pill when I got all the kids into the living room to change diapers. She wanted to hold her book, kept banging it on her forehead, and was screaming so loud and often that I wanted to get up and leave. I think one day this week was a peaceful morning before breakfast, but all the other days started with whining, crying, screaming and any combination of the three. While Nikko was at school today, I was at the dentist getting a tooth drilled down and a temporary crown put on it. My mouth was numb for hours. I got out by 11a and raced home. I saw that the bus had beat me home, so Nikko was inside with Denis. When I got out of the car and into the house, Nikko was indeed standing in the foyer crying while Denis finished taking off his shoes and socks. Nikko was happy to see me, but later on went into a tirade again when I had to leave to go visit the optometrist for a contact lens/red eye follow up. My corneas are still not healed from the Tobrodex, so she put me on another opthalmic solution. She said to come in on Monday. I'll try calling mom or Chinny, but this time around I don't think I can avoid bringing in the crew to my eye appointment. When I came back, Nikko had fallen asleep on the armrest of the couch. He made sure when he woke up that I was not out of his sight for the rest of the day. Nikko attempted to ask me for More Snack, and at 3p I gave him a bag. But ever after, he was whining at me for more and I refused to give him more. Really ugly whining, I tell you.

At the in-laws for dinner. Everything seemed to be going well. All the kids had chicken nuggets in some form. Ronin had his with white rice and he ended up eating mostly rice. Nikko had his nuggets and didn't venture to try the other food on his plate. Audrey had nuggets and we tried giving her some chickpeas and some "fake fish" from a recipe of his mom's. Suddenly Audrey threw up her food. She also started blotching on her cheeks and up by her temples. We cleaned her up and I got an allergy tablet for her to chew on. My mother-in-law said that there were no eggs in any of the dishes she made for dinner, which consisted of mixed veggies, curry [fake] beef, white rice, and chickpeas mixed with [fake] fish. My thoughts are that she reacted to the chickpeas, which are legumes, and legit for being allergic to. I guess I'm going to have to take her to get tested again. And Ronin should probably be retested since he reacted to lentils two weeks ago, but that might be a waste of time since he hasn't come close to outgrowing any of his other allergies, and if I know he reacted to lentils then to just stop giving him any!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

More Snack?

The morning was a little easier to get Nikko ready for school. Just a tiny bit. He still resisted a morning diaper change, but I stayed in a good mood trying to coax him along. I didn't want to fight like the day before. It was a low-key day and I really don't know where the morning went. I spent some time trying to research park districts to help Denis out with his high school reunion slated for July 11. I made some progress but that meant leaving messages. Maria came for ABA at 1p. She said this was technically her last session with him as a senior line person because our contract states she's on board for three months. She's supposed to taper off and just come out once a month to take notes on Nikko. Every two months is his team evaluation, but over the summer we're only meeting once with Linda Hoeck. Maria stated she does this to keep our costs down, that Jenna or Melissa will probably step up and take another time slot, but she'll still be available to me and, of course, see us once a month. I told her my only concern is that Nikko continues to progress forward and that it's monitored. Maria has complete faith in Jenna, says she does this all the time. I hope so. I really do. I like Melissa and Jenna, but I really hope they'll be able to push Nikko toward improvement and see any red flags, instead of just come to play with him. That's what the binder is for, right? To chart everything? After therapy, Nikko requested Snack so he got fruit snacks. He was pushing for More Snack, and I did comply but told him no more. He pushed again and I refused him. He got mad and was squawking until I made us leave the kitchen. I've noticed this is a pattern for Nikko. He will request, get the FS, I'll help him throw away the wrapper, then he'll say More Snack. I've got to stay firm and say no or he'll do it again and again. Sneaky.

Two more observations: I want to bring up to the School Team that Nikko's been really, really whiny when doing something he doesn't want to or when requesting something. Does he do this at school, whine? Second, today I noticed that Nikko is purposely hitting Ronin unprovoked. At lunch time Nikko was getting into Ronin's space, angering Ronin, and then Nikko would swipe at Ronin's arm. I got fed up with it so I brought the square wooden table into the kitchen and put it in the Time Out area near the stove. I put a chair in front of it, and then hauled Nikko and his lunch to that table. I hated to separate them, and really want them to be able to sit next to each other during meal times, but for today I felt it was necessary to keep them apart. Nikko didn't seem to mind eating at that table, and he finished lots of chicken nuggets today. They all sat together during dinner, but no one was in a hitting mood. Later in the evening Nikko was sitting on the couch and hit Ronin in the back, unprovoked. Nikko even took a swipe at Audrey, and I sternly grabbed Nikko's wrist and told him NO, we DON'T HIT ANYONE. I hope he saw how very serious I was. I hope he's not hitting anyone at school, but I think his teachers will tell me.

Costco & Crocs

Nikko was awake at 6:30a. I collected him as well as Ronin and Audrey and decided to change diapers right away for fear of leakage and/or rashes. Nikko was irritable, stiffening his legs and not being a willing partner. His whining grated on my nerves and I was feeling grim because I wanted him to go to school today but wasn't sure if he was still in pain from the diaper rash. I changed the other two kids and was met with uncooperative, whiny aliens. Nikko's whining perplexed me the most because he couldn't articulate at all what he wanted, or didn't want, kept grabbing at a toy jeep from Ronin and then ditching the vehicle when he had it for a few seconds. I pleaded for Ronin to give Nikko the jeep and then he could have it after Nikko left for school. "I DON'T WANT TO GIVE HIM THE JEEP!" was Ronin's staunch reply. So this vicious cycle of Nikko + whining + Ronin + whining really put me in a foul mood.

Still, I put Nikko on the bus. I put a note in his backpack warning them about the diaper rash, that if Nikko's diaper seemed dry then don't bother to put him on the toilet since I didn't think he'd sit still for it, and they probably wouldn't wipe him and put any Desitin on him. I said that was their call. When I got on the bus to take Nikko, he looked like he had cried. But Monica said that he was fine on the bus. I wonder if his eyes got sensitive to the sunlight or something. I think Nikko's been "off" for almost two weeks now, since the goopy eyes, and I can't pinpoint what exactly it is.

Mom came around 9:40a to stay with Ronin and Audrey while I went to my follow-up eye appointment. The doctor said that my irritation has gone down, but my corneas haven't healed yet. They looked like they were being very slow to heal. She told me to use eye drops every hour, to continue the steroids, and to take Omega-3's or flaxseed oil to promote moisture inside the eye. I went to Target to get the supplement and other things on my list, then raced back home to get Nikko from the bus. I know I’m supposed to use the time while he’s at school to get errands accomplished, and it was supposedly better that Mom even watched the kids for me, but I get so stressed out about the timeframe, which to me is extremely short, that I worry I am going to miss the bus. A valid fear, but one that keeps me from running those morning errands.

Speech report: Good day. Great naming & sorting. Named 4 colors. 1-step directions were good. Greetings great with high 5’s but needed lots of prompts to say hi. Making progress with face!

That’s a good report. I’m so glad he was able to have a productive day despite missing school yesterday and having residual rash on his bum. After lunch, I decided to take the kids to Costco for diapers and nuggets. I was playing with Ronin’s naptime, but if we stayed around longer in the afternoon, we’d never get out at a reasonable time. Costco was a good, quick trip, but the minute we walked in and I showed my membership card at the door, Nikko’s eyes were fixated on the card and he wouldn’t stop until I gave it to him. When we were leaving, I stopped by the customer service desk and took a chance by asking them if they had any leftover, extra or cancelled membership cards they could spare, for Nikko. I was ready for them to say no, security reasons and all that. BUT the ladies behind the counter quickly got me a card, and then invited Nikko to have his picture on the card. I took the crew to the side of the register, held Nikko near the backdrop, and within seconds his picture was digitally burned onto the back of his very own Costco card (with Denis’ name on it, defunct account number). I was so grateful to those two ladies who helped me out without wondering why Nikko was whining so loud when I took my card away from him, or thinking he was a brat for wanting my card. I’m grateful that they did not judge me and decided to help me instead. HOORAY FOR COSTCO!

The boys fell asleep in the car so I decided to brave a quick outing to Woodfield Mall with the intent of buying Crocs at the Croc Store for Audrey and Nikko. They were all very good in the store. Nikko and Audrey sat in the double, and I put Ronin on foot. It was on our way out of the mall that Nikko started fidgeting in his seat and tried to get out. I put him on the floor, put Ronin in the stroller and walked even brisker. Nikko was whining even louder and I really didn’t know why. I didn’t know if he saw something and wanted to run back to look at it, or if he wanted to go to a store. But I knew that he didn’t want to leave because his tantrum in the foyer and then outside was loud, screechy and animated. I dragged Nikko by his sleeve alongside me, and then took his Costco card out of his hand to make him walk faster as he chased after it. I still don’t know what set Nikko off, but I was glad to pack him back into his seat and turn up the Hi-5. We got home and Denis was there. Unbeknownst to the kids, I was heading out at 6pm to meet up with to girlfriends for dinner. Right before I left, I called the boys over to say good bye and there were screams, wails and tears galore. I still left, and tried to have as good a time as I could. The kids were all in bed and sleeping deeply by the time I returned. Nice to know I was missed.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

No school, to heal

I didn't ship Nikko off to school today because he was still wincing a lot when I changed his diaper. The rash is still there, maybe not as angry, but still there. I really, REALLY hope it will do some healing tonight because I'd like to ship Nikko off to school tomorrow. He needs to be in school, not here bumming on the couch. He wasn't as active as usual today, probably because it still hurts him. He was still resisting me when I changed his diaper, but once I got the Butt Paste on him he relaxed slightly. He had woken up at 4:30a during the night, was crying out and Denis got out of bed to use the bathroom and go check on him. I got up, too, and decided to stay with Nikko in case he was crying due to his diaper rash. Now, I really hope he doesn't wake up at 4:30 again tonight! He fell back asleep until Ronin woke us up at 6:45a. Nikko fell asleep around 1:30p on top of an ottoman, but I had to wake him up because he had just had a huge bowel movement that demanded changing. He never fell back asleep and seemed so very tired today. Maybe the pain is wearing him out? We still had ABA today at 4:30p. Jenna's notes said that he had a great session, that's all. He was focused and did all the tasks he was supposed to, and showed great interest in the reinforcer toys from Linda. When I was giving the boys their baths, Nikko looked super tired and I just felt bad that he wasn't stimulated throughout the day. He mostly languished on the couch. I didn't want to even put him in the car for fear that sitting too long in the car seat would make him irritable. So, here's to tomorrow and hopefully sending him to preschool. He will still have a rash, and I'm a bit concerned that when they take him to the bathroom that he'll resist, but hopefully they'll put another diaper on him and call it a day. They probably won't put any diaper rash cream on him, however, so I hope he doesn't suffer too much. He's just got to survive two hours and then he'll be home. Meanwhile, I've got an eye appointment in the morning so Mom is coming over to sit with Ronin and Audrey.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Diaper Rash

No outing today. Nikko has a very angry diaper rash, due to his diarrhea. Poor little man. I had to change his diaper frequently today and while he complied by laying down when I told him to come for a diaper change, he would writhe and stiffen his legs and cry really hard when I tried to wipe/blot his bum. I slathered on the creamy Desitin hoping it would form a good barrier, but the rash seemed to get worse as the day progressed. I was pretty frustrated by 4p and almost considered taking him to the pediatrician because the dots were red and raised, and Nikko was in such pain when I changed him. I reached my breaking point when I last changed his diaper and the tears were rolling down his flushed face, and his eyes seemed swollen from the ordeal. His pain broke my heart. I was so frustrated because Nikko was in pain and I couldn't solve the problem. I called Atz first to get her opinion and she suggested Gold Bond Triple Action Powder for kids. We already have Gold Bond in the house, but it's the adult formula. She also suggested some Butt Paste, and I remembered that somewhere in the house I had a tube of Bordeaux's Butt Paste but never used it. Thankfully I never threw it away either. It sounded funny. As I hung up w/Atz, who suggested I could talk to the doctor or nurse and they might suggest some over-the-counter remedies, I realized that Nikko's diaper rash probably wasn't serious enough to go to the doctor's office. I hunted around in the closet and found some medicated baby powder with zinc oxide, so I used that as a "dry" alternative to the "wet" Desitin. I also found the Butt Paste and decided to try that with the baby powder, too. I wondered what the difference was, besides the brown color. The Butt Paste has 16% zinc oxide while the Desitin has 10%. After his bath tonight, where I decided to bathe him instead of Denis so I could administer to his diaper rash, I dried him off and put a new diaper under him. I examined his rash and maybe I'm psyching myself out but the Butt Paste might have worked because it seemed less angry but still there. What makes me think that it might be working better than the Desitin is that when I pulled up Nikko's legs to slather it on, he winced in anticipation at first, but he let me put it on the rashy areas without stiffening up or crying. That was a first, all day. The Desitin went on pretty creamily, so I wonder if the Butt Paste had worked on him earlier and eased things a bit. Or was it because he just had a bath? I would think the bath would make things red and raw. In any event, tomorrow morning will be a telltale sign as to whether or not I send Nikko to school. If he's still in a lot of pain like today, it wouldn't help anyone to put him on the bus, then to school where he'd have to sit still for activities, and then if he had a splattered diaper would they [want] to clean him up and would he LET them? They wouldn't put on any Desitin, that's not their job, and would he let them near his butt to do it? Also, the state of Nikko's poo is questionable. Before bath time, right before Audrey's bed time, he had a poo that was liquidy and murky, with few solid stools. At least it wasn't the diarrhea splatter, which is a sign to me that things are still not healed up in his intestines. So, if his diaper rash magically disappears tomorrow morning then I'll consider sending him to school, but it might be in his best interest to keep him back home for one more day to make sure he's all healed up. IS THIS FUN READING FOR ANYONE WHO READ THIS FAR??

Nikko also had ABA today and I warned Melissa about his diaper rash. She told me that he did great the first half of the session, but later he got really whiny and maybe because he had a dirty diaper and it was uncomfortable (he did splatter in his diaper, I saw later). A few other things I accomplished today. I cancelled an allergist appointment for Ronin because I had no idea what it was for and it interfered with ABA. The receptionist told me it was a six month follow-up. I shrugged it off because Ronin is obviously still allergic to dairy, egg and peanuts/nuts. I guess six months ago is when we first saw Dr. Nimaggada. I can wait another six months before getting him tested again, and I'll haul Audrey along too. I also scheduled two appointments to get my crown fixed, finally! And third, I spoke to a coordinator at the Mount Prospect Park District regarding the Three Wee Camp I want to enroll Nikko in for after ESY ends in early July. This is a 2-hr class at the Central Community Center for 3 year olds with "daily age-appropriate crafts, songs, games and snacks..." and if I can get Melissa the ABA therapist as his aide through the NWSRA then it will be golden! The MPPD coordinator said she'd be in contact with them after we enroll, but I will probably call over there as well to help make it happen. Glad I accomplished a few things, but I still need to start working on a request for a Letter of Medical Necessity from the doctor who saw Nikko at Marianjoy, so we can submit the ABA paperwork for flex spending dollars. It's a bit daunting but I'll get on it ASAP.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The runs

Nikko seems to be going through the runs as of yesterday. I wonder if it's part of the goopy eye virus that's been affecting his mood. I have to watch him like a hawk and read his signs to see if he's uncomfortable. If I miss it, then the results could be a mess.

I had to leave at 12:30p to see my friend Phet for a Thai massage. Audrey was sleeping this time, but the boys were both crying and wailing as usual when I walked out the door. I drove out to Elgin within 25 minutes and made it right at 1p. Phet worked on my legs, calves, glutes and hips for an hour. I thought we were finished but she wanted to work on my shoulders, and then that turned into a stomach massage, and then ended with the shoulders, where ALL my stress must be sitting because they felt like bricks. She used a combo of hands and these hot stones with handles which she kept hot in a steamer nearby. The heat loosened up the muscles and felt sooooo nice. I'm scared to admit publicly that for the first time in 1.5 years my back feels SOOOOO much better. The healing effects have lasted since 3p, vs. me visiting the chiropractor and lasting for an hour, or the cortisone shot where the relief was nonexistent. I'm going to give this a day or two, to get over the soreness, and then see... I'd love to go back to Phet, for sure. It might have to happen!

When I got home the kids were eating a late snack but seemed happy to see me. Nikko approached me as did the other kids, but he wasn't vocal at all. He just looked at me and leaned in when I bent down to kiss him. His demeanor was the same as yesterday, not terribly chatty, mostly content to sit close to his GeoTrax train, and watched TV. He sat by me a few times, content to watch TV by my side, and interacted with me when I gave him tickles. He was most unpleasant when I had to change his diaper because he has a diaper rash. Every time I try to apply Desitin to him, he whines and squirms because it hurts and possibly thinks I'll trick him with a suppository. By bath time, his runs have a little more substance to them but are still liquidy. We'll see how tomorrow fares. He has ABA with Melissa and if the weather is cooperative then I'll take the kids out, to Costco and maybe somewhere else.

A bit off this past week

The morning was good and uneventful. It was also short for me because I had an 11:15a eye appointment and had to leave around 11. Ronin was whining when he heard I was going to the doctor, but it was when Nikko saw me putting on my shoes that he started to cry. Denis sat in the kitchen holding the boys back, and then blocked Audrey who came in to see the commotion as I bade them all farewell and closed the door behind me, cutting off their wails but not completely. Really, what other choice did I have? Gotta get these eyes checked out because the redness is not going away on its own! It turned out that due to prolonged wearing of my contacts I have keratitis and irritation in my eyes, plus some corneal scarring going on along the edges. If it were happening in the middle of my cornea then I'd lose some vision, but the edges seem to be safer. "You should have come in sooner," the optometrist told me, but I didn't start on how the three rugrats are chained to my leg. She prescribed Tobramycin and Dexamethasone ophthalmic suspension drops and made an appointment to see her on Wednesday. At the advice of Atz, I asked my mom if she could come over that morning to watch Ronin & Audrey since Nikko would be at school. I drove up to Target for the script and did some errand shopping as well. I picked up a bunch of $1 toys from the $1 bins, meant for Nikko's therapy as well as for car toys. I'm trying to figure if I should give each kid a bag with a few toys in it or have one box and dish out a toy or two before a trip. There isn't enough room for each car seat to have an attachable tray, and the kids don't have the motor skills to open a bag and balance more than one object (if at that!) on their laps. I found a musical recorder, like the one Nikko was playing with at Jovy's house, along with rubber dolphins, lizards, googly eyes and stars for craft projects, ribbon wands and toy sunglasses. Didn't get anything obnoxious that had bells or whistles on it except for the recorder. I wonder if that's too good an object for the therapy box?

When I came home, the boys had finished lunch and Audrey was just starting. It was pretty calm in the house, but of course when I first left it was chaotic according to Denis. The kids eventually calmed down, however, so it was a testament to me that they are going to survive if I am not there. LOL!

Nikko spent a majority of the day sitting/crouching on the floor pillow up against the crook of the sofa near the chaise lounge. He was eye level with his yellow GeoTrax train, putting the bendable engineer figurine in the front seat compartment and running the train back and forth. He didn't run it all the way around the track. It was most likely a modified stim behavior, but I didn't stop him. He seemed almost sad at times, and when I felt his forehead it seemed slightly warm but not warm enough for a high temperature. Nikko really hasn't been acting himself since last week with the onslaught of the goopy eyes. Today he had but a smidgen of stringy goop but not nearly the amount he had a few days ago. He has small flashes of chattiness or running around or prancing in front of the living room mirror, but the majority of his demeanor is lethargic. On the toilet before his bath, Nikko actually did a #2, but it was on the liquidy side. UH-OH. Could mean he's fending off a bug inside him. Or something worse is coming. I wonder, hope and pray he doesn't have more loose stools tomorrow, especially while I am gone in the afternoon to visit a friend who does Thai massage. It may be a losing battle.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


We had an open slate today after Nikko came home from school, but I already had intentions of taking the kids to Costco. It was only after this morning after breakfast when Nikko shoved the GeoTrax DVD in my hands that I wondered if a trip to Meijer was ahead. Nikko was grabbing the one green GeoTrax train we had from Ronin's grasp and Ronin kept bawling for it. I decided that we could take a trip to Meijer to peruse their Fisher Price GeoTrax selection and possibly buy another train so these boys would stop fighting over the one left. When we got to Costco, I tried to be slick about not showing my Costco card to Nikko, but he saw it when the cashier swiped it through her machine and he started whining for it. I've got to find a similar card in the future so he will leave mine alone! The kids behaved well in Costco because I saw a collection of Disney Cars board books, opened it and dished them out to the kids while keeping the cover for the checkout line. When I was loading everyone back into the Pilot, I started giving them some Oreos for snack so that they didn't bother me in Meijer for food. We got to Meijer and I took the kids straight to the toy section to check out the GeoTrax trains. It could have been a suicide mission, but I kept the boys moving and being firm about what they could hold and could not have. Ronin had his opinions on what cars he liked, but Nikko didn't seem to attach himself to any one car, surprisingly. After selecting some trains and tracks, I ushered them to other parts of the store while their temperaments were even keel. You would think that giving them Oreos before going into a store would cause them to become spastic, but these kids were extremely well-behaved. Nikko was content to hold onto my Costco card while looking at aisles of things he had no interest in. I hurried to look for some fabric glue to fix the sole of my house slipper, as well as cedar blocks to put in the bathroom linen baskets to ward off spiders. We left the store and I was so proud of all the kids!

Ronin fell asleep on the way home and would not snap out of his slumber when I took him from car seat. I carried him inside quickly and dumped him on the couch because I had to get Audrey. Nikko trailed me like a shadow of course, but once I got Audrey out of the Pilot they both took off for the swing set! Audrey amazes me. She's 17 months and 3 weeks and can climb the ladder to the swing set with great confidence. I'm usually standing right behind her in case her foot slips and she misses a few steps, which has definitely happened but hasn't deterred her spirit to get to the top of the slide. And she'll go down that slide fast. She doesn't know how to sit upright just yet, she slides down and ends up looking up at the sky, but practice will help. Ronin's a champ at sliding and landing on his feet, bouncing right up from the end to a standing position. Nikko was going down the slide feet first on his tummy and found it highly amusing. I had to usher them inside soon because it was dinner and I didn't want Ronin alone in the house for long. I washed hands and changed diapers and some pants that were dirtied from the slide. Then I took the trains out of their boxes and fixed the tracks so that when Ronin woke up it would be all ready for him. Nikko attached himself to the yellow GeoTrax train, which was initially Ronin's, and Ronin took to the blue one. Each boy had his own track and train, playing quietly. PEACE.

The downside to this was that Ronin was so enraptured with playing with his new train that he refused to eat his dinner. I pushed him to at least take a bite but he refused. Let's just say it got really, really ugly. I had to close the windows because my neighbor was watering his lawn and when I saw Ronin get angry with Nikko for probably touching his train, and then take a swipe at Nikko's head with the train, I yelled out a curt HEY and I think I saw the neighbor jump a little. *Darn kids and open windows!!!* Nikko was surprisingly mellow and continued to play with his yellow train while Ronin was getting thrown in time-out. Sadly, my buttons were all pushed and I can't say I was the picture of calm. I gave the kids their baths and tried to tone down my irritation during story time. Nikko fell asleep quickly because he didn't nap all day. He had woken up this morning with another bloody nose. I wonder what's causing it? He had a mini-coughing fit an hour ago, and I hope he doesn't get bloody again tomorrow.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Those darn FS!

No temperature this morning, no bloody noses, no throw-up. Nikko was fine to go to school in my opinion. His speech report: Good pix naming. Also worked on 1 step, teacher & family names. In the meeting yesterday, Maria said that he has mastered the immediate family pictures, can correctly identify me, Denis, Ronin and Audrey. Now I am to supply them with pictures of extended family. I gave her the grandparents on both sides today for starters, because in actuality there are a LOT of people to learn, especially on my side. At school he is learning the teachers' pictures. Nikko came home from school and he immediately asked me for "Snack." He has now associated the word Snack to mean Fruit Snacks. That is not a good thing, especially when at home I announce that it is Snack Time to herd the kids into the kitchen. He hears Snack and thinks he's getting Fruit Snacks. Not always the case. I had to refuse Nikko, stating that it was time for lunch and the menu was chicken nuggets and yogurt, which I threw in at the end because I know he likes yogurt if anything else. Nikko was mad and tried to push me toward the closet pantry but I wouldn't give in. He sat at the table crying for a good while until I was able to coax him to have some juice. I'm wondering if I should continue to even have the fruit snacks on hand or to stop them altogether. Maria came for therapy at 1p and we talked a bit about the summer situation before starting. Nikko had a good session, but was a bit off. I attribute it to the tummy problems we had yesterday. I wonder if he ate something that was bad, but I can't imagine that he ate anything different.

I took the kids outside to play around 4:30p to take advantage of the last day of 80 degree weather, a total fluke this time of year. Tomorrow it will drop in the 60's again, but man, it's hot in here! There was the usual fighting over the Little Tykes car. I brought out the bubble machine and it was a hit, but Nikko wanted to keep putting his face in the bubble output. He was becoming a sticky mess so I had to start getting tough about it. He was really disappointed when it was time to stop the machine and time to go inside. The usual bedtime routine took place and Nikko was falling fast asleep as I sang him the Good Night song.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Team meeting & tummy bug

A long day with ups and downs. No school for Nikko, so he spent it mostly in the living room playing with cars along the edge of the couch. I don't know why I was so crabby this morning but Ronin was really getting on my nerves, unfortunately. He was indecisive about what he wanted to eat and I didn't want to waste food, which is exactly what happened. I think I was influenced with the fact that later in the day was the ABA/School Team meeting so keeping the living room neat was a priority. It was pointless to keep it spotless until around 2pm so I tried not to bark at the kids so much, but I still did. Ronin fell asleep on the couch next to me around 11a, probably still lacking sleep from missing his nap yesterday. Nikko kept creeping up to him on the couch and peering into his face. When I shooed Nikko away, he'd grin mischievously and try to circle back around to Ronin's face. Nikko had a little accident while I was changing Ronin; I turned around and he was almost at the point of ripping his diaper off again. Upon closer inspection I saw that he had smeared the armrest of the couch, so I had to haul him in the bathroom and Denis was around to give him a quick shower while I cleaned up the armrest. I snacked the kids around 3p because our meeting was at 4p. Nikko and Audrey had an abundance of peaches while Ronin didn't want to eat anything.

Maria had called me to say Linda Hoeck wasn't going to make it to our meeting, but did I still want to meet? I could have cancelled because Linda is such an integral part of the team, but I wanted Nikko to keep moving forward with new drills and not to become complacent so I kept our meeting. She was the first to arrive, followed by Mrs. McCarthy, Ms. Winters and Mrs. I. Melissa came next, then Denis came home, and finally Jenna rounded out the group. Nikko's behavior was in complete contrast to our last team meeting because he lay tummy down on the floor pillow playing with a car or with his dragon, and then later he leaned back in my lap, ultimately falling asleep. Maria went over the drills in the binder and we were able to talk about what Nikko can do, as well as what he's not doing. Nikko seems to have skills that are not generalized yet (are still particular to whomever is in front of him) such as coloring within lines, drawing straight lines, naming colors and matching. He can build a tower of blocks for Mrs. I but has difficulty doing it in ABA. He has some definite 1-step directions down like stand up and sit down. But for many other things, as pointed out by Mrs. McCarthy, Nikko can do an activity if highly motivated, if angry, or if he chooses to be in the right mood that day. Almost on his own terms. It made me a bit sad that Nikko didn't make a huge amount of progress lately, but from another perspective that might not really be the case since he is verbalizing like crazy, able to repeat words, can script things, and sings and sings! Maria must have noticed my disappointment because she said aloud that some of Nikko's skills may look like he's forgetting altogether, but he's making gains in others. Guess that's how the cycle goes. I have been pushing Nikko to include the word More when requesting something, but the team said that what is more important is that he is requesting things by name at all, that More will come so don't push it. They encouraged me to continue to build his vocabulary, and that will help him to communicate, request and complete tasks. Modeling the word helps in the beginning, but Ms. Winters also said model the word, have him repeat it, then put it out of sight and bring it back, waiting for him to say what it is. "You can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he tries to GRASP that word," she noticed. I try to think back on how Ronin learned to speak so well (it certainly wasn't through Pete's speech therapy) and it was me labeling things, me speaking phrases and Ronin repeating them even if he didn't know what they meant. And picture books. The conversation gravitated toward colors. Mrs. McCarthy said that he can say some colors, but it's not consistent. That was really the common phrase of the meeting, Nikko is able to do things but is NOT CONSISTENT. I have to keep putting a color label on things and hopefully he'll start to soak it in.

When the meeting was over, I laid Nikko on the floor pillow to let him sleep at least 30 minutes. The team left around him. Ronin was running around Nikko and, ironically, putting his face right into Nikko's until I shooed him away. Nikko woke up later in a daze, but not upset or crying. He was slow to start. There was one point where he looked at me as if he were about to cry, but didn't. He sat on the couch until dinner was ready and I ushered him to his chair. Nikko sat but didn't eat any of the mac cheese unless I speared it with his fork and fed it to him. Nikko just didn't seem in good spirits, so when I took his temperature with the ear thermometer it read 100.3 on average. I gave him some cold meds hoping it would help. It was while I was dressing Audrey for bedtime that Denis made a loud remark from the living room. When I went in, I saw that Nikko had thrown up on the couch. Luckily it was bath time for the boys so I took care of Nikko first. I bathed him and dressed him and read him The Koala King while we waited for Ronin to finish his bath. Nikko seems to pick this story first, and then we read Chicken Little next because it's the next story in the book. After I read the prayer book and was about to shuffle the kids into bed for prayers, Nikko stood up from Denis' lap, turned to face us, and then threw up in the middle of the area rug right in front of me. I saw all the peaches he ate at snack time splatter on the cream rug. Denis took Ronin to bed so I could change Nikko's clothes and sop up the mess into a plastic bag. I gave Nikko a little juice so he wouldn't have to sleep with the taste of throw-up in his mouth, then ushered him back to bed. I took up the carpet into the living room and later doused it with Carpet Resolve -- but I think the stain won't come out, quite honestly. I hope Nikko felt better after throwing up (I know I usually do). He let me put him to bed and sing to him. He let me leave the room, and I heard him babble for a short while about 10 minutes later. I checked on him later and he was asleep. Will he make it to school tomorrow? I hope so. If he has a fever in the morning, then no. But if he feels fine and acts fine, then he can go. I hope this was just a temporary stomach bug that will disappear by the morning, and I hope no one else gets it!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Nikko's OT report: Sensory motor activities - then at table worked on coloring puzzles & starting/stopping marker to draw vertical & horizontal lines.

In Nikko's backpack were two worksheets of objects connected by lines. Nikko doesn't seem to like to draw at home, using crayons or markers, but seems to have more success with it at school. He seemed warm this morning and I thought about keeping him home but the thermometer didn't register past 98.6 so he was fine. I think my kids' temps trend on the higher side anyway. There was no therapy today. Instead, we were having a playdate with the Owsley kids. They arrived after 2pm and we stayed in the living room. Three little blond kids descended on the toys, specifically the wooden Henry train and tender, and Ronin ran to me declaring that he wanted it. Ooops; I had told Ronin we would have friends coming over today, but forgot to tell him that he would have to share all his toys. Not a happy camper at first, that one! Audrey didn't interact very much with the kids at first. She was content to sit next to me on the couch watching Team Umizoomi. Nikko didn't react wildly at all to the three additional kids in the living room. All the boys congregated around a wooden car ramp toy that I honestly had put behind some other ones thinking it would be the least played toy. I found a few of the little wooden cars designed to fit the ramp and observed them so that there wasn't too much pushing around of the toy. The Henry train was the star of the afternoon, for some reason. Ronin, Aidan and Elliot kept wanting it. Nikko kept to himself playing on the floor with a racing car, driving it along the tracks of a Thomas train track mat I dragged out from the bedroom. Nikko also spent time sitting on my other side watching TV. At snack time he was nodding off, but when we were back on the couch he fought sleep and didn't succumb to it. It was nice chitchatting with my girlfriend Rhonda and letting the kids do whatever, as long as they weren't fighting too much over toys and hurting each other. This playdate was more for me as opposed to having it specifically for the kids to play together, but it was nice to see that all six of them have seen each other a few times and can coexist together. Elliot and Vivian were patting Audrey on the head as she toddled past them in the kitchen during snack time. I think Elliot was even trying to feed her a veggie stick, which I think she took willingly, so maybe they were fascinated that she was like a puppy. Nikko got into a slight altercation with Aidan because Aidan had taken some trains away from Nikko, as well as put some train tracks in Nikko's path. I heard Nikko's whining start to escalate but didn't intervene right away so I could see how he was handling Aidan being in his space. I saw Nikko try to push Aidan, and later Elliot who also got in his space, using his whole body, or leg, or head. When Nikko started pulling at sleeves and sounding upset, I got up to intervene, and even coaxed Nikko into the kitchen for a drink. Aidan, who is four and very verbal, did not say anything mean or cruel to Nikko, thank God. I guess this playdate was a good thing to have for Nikko, just so he could keep having exposure to NT peers he doesn't see regularly. Aidan, Vivian and Elliot are 4, 3 and 2, so I didn't expect much interaction since mine are 3, 2 and 1.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Great session

No school today so Nikko was flitting about at his own pace. I was trying to pick up around the living room and kitchen because we have a playdate with Rhonda and her three kiddos tomorrow after 2pm. I still have time tomorrow, and it doesn't look like I made a dent at all. Booooo.

Melissa showed up at 2pm for therapy and Nikko seemed fine to go downstairs. Their session didn't even have many loud moments. I barely heard Nikko whine for anything. And when they came upstairs, Melissa told me that Nikko did GREAT. He imitated whatever she requested him to mimic, he seemed eager to work, and he gave her lots of good eye contact. She said that normally he doesn't look at her, but today whenever she asked him to do something he looked right at her. Makes me wonder slightly if he was trying to focus on her through any sheen of goop in his eye...? But maybe not. In fact, this morning he didn't have any goop in his eye, and it didn't resurface noticeably until the mid/late afternoon. But his nose was runny and getting red underneath, which will betray his discomfort during school tomorrow, I'm sure. He didn't take a nap all day, even though I was positive that he looked like he would cave in around 4pm. He looked tired, might have yawned once, and I even put n a train DVD so the repetition would bore him, but he fought it the whole way. I gave him some cold medicine to help his erratic coughing from keeping him from sleeping, but he was out cold during the prayers anyway. He's not sick, but I hope any invisble ailment won't keep him from going to school. I had every intention of bringing the kids to the pediatrician this morning if their eyes were coated in goop when they woke up, but both he and Audrey showed minial goop discomfort and I really didn't have a strong case to bring them in. It appeared later in the evening, of course. I hope it's something that will disappear within a few days, without steroids.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Goopiness / My feelings :(

Nikko wasn't in the greatest of spirits today, partly due to his goopy eye. Did I mention this yet? Two weeks ago Ronin had some goopy eye thing going and it lasted for three or four days. Then I think I wore my contacts way too long and I got the goopy eye thing. Yesterday Nikko had goopiness in his left eye, and today it looks like both. And today, Audrey developed the goopiness. It looks rather irritating, and I think Nikko was sullen at the dinner party we went to at Maggiano's this evening because of it. The kids behaved pretty well except toward the end of dinner when Audrey melted down, signalling our emminent departure. Another late bedtime, just by an hour. I feel like I spent a lot of time today changing Nikko's diaper for some reason.

I've got something I forgot to post the other day. I was shopping at IKEA a few days ago with my 3 kids and my sister. I took Nikko to check out some kid rugs and pillows while Ronin & Audrey played in an area set up with kid furniture, tunnels, rocking chairs and a train table. When I came back to the area, I saw Ronin playing at the train table with another little boy that was probably younger. The mom of the boy asked me, “How old is your son?” “He’s two and a half,” I replied, “and this one [Nikko] is three and a half, and that one [Audrey] is one and a quarter.” The mom said, “Two and a half. Wow! He is very articulate! I can’t believe how well he speaks.” Suddenly I became uncomfortably aware that Nikko, holding my hand, was babbling incoherently or saying something that sounded like he was speaking Mandarin Chinese. I felt embarrassed that Nikko wasn’t talking well and I didn’t want her to hear him speaking in tongues, so I thanked her and told Ronin that we were leaving now, all while tucking Nikko closer to my side and ushering him away from the train table as quickly as I could. We left, and I felt really ashamed of my feelings. The mom was really nice and wasn’t digging or judging at all, and was paying Ronin a great compliment. But my initial reaction was dread that I would have to explain why Nikko wasn’t up to par, that he had a speech delay as well as developmental delays all folded into autism… I know that I didn’t owe anyone an explanation for Nikko. I’ve been in grocery stores with all three kids and Nikko would start whining and crying, making a scene and I’d brace my backbone for any offhand remarks or stares that might come my way, and not even look around me just so I could focus on the task at hand and get us out of there. I’d chalk up the experience to doing what you gotta do and just dealing with it. But in this situation, I was totally caught off-guard by MY OWN actions, how I wanted to get away from this nice lady in case she started asking questions about Nikko, who wasn’t doing anything wrong except being himself. What upsets me is that I was embarrassed about Nikko being different, almost apologetic. I feel like I cheated him by not saying how terrific he is, even though the moment was about Ronin. I’m not even sure where I’m going with this, but I feel like I failed Nikko by not wanting to draw attention to him, next to his very articulate brother. :(

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Thanks for the meltdown, dragonfly

6:50a Another morning of a decent wake-time for Nikko. He babbles in bed until he hears us moving around. He waits until we come to him. Sounds like a good plan, and I've been tracking this earlier bedtime routine for four weeks. I'll continue to track wake times on my calendar, but I think I'll spare the blog of every now-uneventful wake time.

We didn't have anything definitive on the calendar today, but since Denis didn't go to Jiu-Jitsu class he suggested that we go to the River Trails Nature Center after Audrey's nap. Great idea since the weather was low 70's and gorgeous today. It was a later start than originally planned, but we packed up the kids, returned a booster seat to Jovy's house, then headed to the nature center. The boys fell asleep in the car, probably because bedtime was two hours late due to going to the in-law's house. We rallied the troops once we arrived and unleashed them in the nature center. Nikko and Audrey really enjoyed looking at the fish tanks, while Ronin was scampering around looking at everything. One of the park district workers took a live snake out of a glass cabinet and I was mesmerized. I called Ronin over to look at the snake, and we both had the opportunity to touch it. I asked Ronin how it felt and he said, "Rough." We move on to the activity room. Ronin went to the fishing hole while Audrey and Nikko fiddled around with plastic forest animals. Nikko picked up a rubber dragonfly and adopted it for the duration of our visit. In fact, it was a source of contention when we parted. Ronin had also become attached to a paper magnifying glass that had a picture of a strawberry on it. It was easier for Ronin to say, "Bye bye, strawberry!" But Nikko was NOT happy about relinquishing his new toy. I bade it farewell, dropped it back in the animal bin, then picked up Nikko and exited through the nearest door. Nikko continued to wail, scream and stomp his feet all the way back to the car and near the animal cages. To placate him, I fished out a bag of fruit snacks and asked him if he wanted a snack. "Snack?" he asked through his tears, and then waited impatiently while I opened the bag. It quieted him down immensely. He even held onto the bag once he finished them, long enough to join Ronin and Audrey in a little play house settled not far from some bee hives and the parking lot. But once we got back into the car, Nikko unleashed his displeasure again. I tried to give them crackers for snack, which he ate, but he was pretty unhappy. We drove to Jewel to cram in a grocery run before heading home, which was a gutsy move given that Nikko was unsettled and the kids were probably getting hungry. We split up: Denis took Ronin and I took Audrey & Nikko. Nikko was whining through every aisle until I gave him a lollipop. It placated him for a bit until he watched me put some chocolate Milano cookies in the cart (for me). That's what he wanted next. There was no way I would give him that bag, so I had to break out another bag of fruit snacks. And when those were finished, we were luckily out of the grocery and headed to the car. Nikko launched into a crying fit and we had to listen to him screaming all the way home. He kept eyeballing my Hello Kitty shoulder bag, knowing that's where I pulled out the fruit snacks. When all the socks and shoes were taken off, and diapers changed, I started dinner early so that he could drown his sorrows in chicken nuggets and peaches.

So what can I take from this experience? That giving him fruit snacks is just a bad idea? If not fruit snacks, it would be something else for him to get angry over, wouldn't it? And how do we handle something like this? Would Linda Hoeck tell me to just be consistent? That when I give him fruit snacks and there are no more, show him the bag and even make him throw it away, that there are just no more and move on somehow? Nikko's transitioning away from fruit snacks is obviously extremely difficult. How can I make this transition easier? Is it just a matter of time - - a LONG time, since this had been going on [his reaction to fruit snacks, off and on] for the past two years? Seriously, Nikko's obsession with fruit snacks, and sweets in general, is extremely difficult to handle. Even Maria can see in the sessions that having fruit snacks as a reinforcer backfires.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

IKEA and butt scooting

4:45a - Ronin calls out loudly for me. I paddle over to his room and meet him at the door. He scurries into bed and asks me to fix his blankets. He quickly drifts back to sleep. GRRR....6:50a - Nikko was awake and babbling so I got him up. Ronin woke up minutes later.

Speech Report: Categorization, requesting, naming, colors, 1 step [directions].
On the back of the sheet: Nikko was mad when he left. We took a walk outside & did not stop at playground - too muddy. He did NOT like that plan! :)

Nikko was dozing on the bus when I unbuckled him. He remained groggy and a bit off when we walked to the house, but maybe he was tired after protesting not playing on the playground. We came inside and had lunch, then waited for Chinny to arrive. She was coming over to help me take the kids to IKEA and then to Costco. When she arrived, the kids were pretty comfortable around her and didn't think I was taking off and leaving them behind. We drove to IKEA and waited to return an extra kid chair. I found a shopping cart with a kid car attached to the front which made Ronin extra happy. Nikko preferred to walk, and Audrey stayed in the upper kid seat until near the end of our visit. We hung out in the kid section so I could get the proper aisle numbers for the table and chairs I wanted. To my chagrin, the red Klimmet chairs I wanted were not available so I had to settle for black. Nikko was getting unruly while we hunted for the chairs on the first floor but soon we were back in the car headed to Costco. The boys fell asleep so I was able to leave them with Chinny while I breezed through the store. Also was able to have a Chipotle stop on the way home thanks to Chinny running in and out so quickly. She helped unload groceries and before she left, Nikko was getting whiny and worried that I was leaving. He calmed down once she left, of course. Then it was resetting the food bag and diaper changes so we could leave by 6pm for the in-law's.

The kids had a quick snack at home so I didn't expect them to have big appetites. Nikko certainly didn't. Neither did Audrey. Ronin was set to eat his chicken nuggets and rice, and I let him handle his food until I noticed that his chin and lower cheeks were splotchy red and he was coughing. I looked at his plate and noticed that the rice had a soup drizzled over it. I scanned the dinner table and saw it was the soup from the lentil soup. I asked what was in it and Mom Umali didn't describe any trigger ingredients besides the lentils: garlic, celery, spinach. Then Ronin started hurling his food and the food he ate at snacktime, and I knew it was definitely an allergic reaction to the lentil soup. We cleaned him up and I hunted in my bag for liquid Benadryl. I came up short! I asked my MIL if there was any in the house, a little panicked but hoping it wasn't too severe. Ronin's bottom lip was beginning to swell and all I had was some topical Benadryl ointment that I slathered on his chin and cheeks. Luckily some liquid Benadryl was found, otherwise I would have sent Denis to the store. Ronin's reaction calmed down a bit later in the evening, and while the throw-up action was going on, Maya had run into a table with a big, ceramic flower sculpture on it and it came crashing down on the floor. Lots of mayhem for a Friday night. Nikko was in good spirits, perhaps too good because he and Ronin were making lots of noise during the prayer/worship part after dinner. I had to take Nikko to the steps in the hallway and sit him down. He could see his reflection in a mirror opposite the staircase and began amusing himself by first making faces, then butt-scooting up and down the stairs. As long as he was quiet, I was fine with it. Later on, Audrey and all the other kids copied Nikko by butt-scooting down the stairs. Audrey was a little too excited because she discovered a potted plant at the top of the stairs, took handfuls of the soil and dumped it on the floor. Mess!! I was glad to get hold of the rugrats and go when pajamas and diapers were dispensed. Sheesh!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Color advice / Kitchen table

6:15a I woke up because Denis got up to prepare for work early. Then I heard Nikko start to babble, so he was obviously awake. I didn't hear him start whining when Denis walked around on the creaky floorboards so I lay in bed until 6:30 and then decided to hang out with Nikko until 7a breakfast time. Ronin and Audrey woke up around 7:15.

There wasn't anything extraordinary on the school report today. Lately I've been checking the Snack box to see what they fed him at school, which may determine if he's hungry for lunch. Today it was rice cakes, which Nikko's not a big fan, so I was prepared for an appetite. What I wasn't prepared for was his requests for pancakes, the blueberry Wal-Mart ones he had for breakfast. By his second one I threw a few chicken nuggets his way. Maria showed up at 1p and I took a few minutes to ask her two questions before starting with Nikko.

Q: Nikko's learning colors in school, and Maria told me he's getting better at colors in therapy. How are some ways I can teach him colors, too?
A: Maturity level. Just as Ronin kind of picked it up, along with language, keep on doing what I'm doing and talk to Nikko about colors. Offer him things in a field of two and ask him which is blue and which is yellow. She shows him two crayons and tells him to pick up the red crayon. He does it. Trial and error, maybe, but it's learning. Nikko will pick it up along the way. (Maria said at the end of today's session, he did great with colors, but he's not able to generalize yet; he can do it with crayons but not with other objects yet.)

Q: Since ABA is not covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield, we want to submit a claim to Denis' flex spending plan at work. Does she have any clients that have done this? Does she have experience with the paperwork/invoice information that they request?
A: Maria said they would be happy to help in any way, because this would be an example to anyone else who would use flex spending. She said to just tell her what we need, whatever we want reflected in the invoice, and she'll do it.

Maria said Nikko had a great session. He started with gross motor activities using the tunnel and tent, and her notes say that he did the obstacles without any verbal prompting. She also said that the whistle reinforcers worked really well with Nikko. I'm glad they had a good session, and I heard minimal whining but lots of cheers.

After ABA, I was really waffling about whether or not to take the kids to the store after snack. Our Costco & grocery list are growing. I was even planning on going to Meijer and then Costco, just so the kids could get out of the house and walk around. During snack time, however, the determining factor for the remainder of the afternoon activities happened when I lifted Ronin to put him in his high chair. The little bugger is at least 30 pounds and possibly heavier, and I felt it in my lower back really badly this time. "We have got to get you out of this high chair," I stated. That's when I decided to put together the longer kid table we purchased from IKEA last weekend. I had put together the square one and intended it for the three kids in the kitchen. The longer one didn't mentally fit in the kitchen, but I didn't measure it either. While assembling this longer kid table, I told myself that if it didn't fit or was too awkward, we'd put it downstairs for Nikko's therapy sessions. As I assembled it, I found that it was totally possible to make it fit. And now, I can see it's the perfect size for the three kids. They certainly would not have been able to fit around the square table. Their drinks and plates would have been on top of each other's! I also put together some kid chairs, which will hopefully end up downstairs while I get another four chairs that are more kid-friendly and easy to wipe. After all was said and done, I removed the two big high chairs plus Nikko's booster chair-chair, put the long kid table next to the dishwasher and established a new norm for mealtimes. The kids were interested in this new layout as we bid farewell to the high chairs. Nikko sits next to Ronin and across from Audrey. I don't know if, tomorrow morning, he will forget our new table layout and possibly protest for his booster chair back, but I'm hoping he'll accept the table.

One last thing, and it's something that actually made my day. Maria told me that this summer she will be getting a few people, two girls specifically, that have something called "service hours" that they have to fulfill. She immediately thought about me. These girls would be able to come here for 2-3 hours during the week, or whatever schedule we figure out, and basically help out with the kids if I want, FOR FREE. How is this possible? Apparently, these girls are from St. Viator High School and they have to fulfill a certain number of service hours in order to apply to college. I don't know what their major is, but really, WHO CARES?? I was just thinking to myself the other day, and for a few weeks now, that it would be awesome if I could find a person to help me take the kids to play outside, to the park, ANY park, or on a grocery run like what I used to do with Brianna, and with my sister Chinny when her schedule permitted. They wouldn't have to babysit the kids alone, that person would just have to hang out with me and the kids so we could go places. This opens up a world of possibilities, because the ratio would be 3:2 instead of 3:1. If Maria does come through with these St. Viator girls for me, I will be SOOOOOOOO grateful. I almost don't want to jinx myself by talking about it because it sounds too good to be true. Please be true!!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

School progress / Ronin's Octagon

7a - My phone alarm woke me up, which hasn't happened in about six months. What happened? Nikko was in bed, babbling to himself. Ronin and Audrey were still asleep. I went in to Nikko, changed his diaper, and ushered him into the kitchen for breakfast. Ronin and Audrey did not stir until 7:40.


Nikko's speech report: Today he sorted pictures in 3 categories!!! Vehicles, food & animals. I make him name the pix then place on a category sheet! Many pictures he named w/o a model, also worked on greetings, 1 step, colors & vocab.

That is also great news to hear! That means Nikko is learning that a car goes with other cars, a pig with a dog, a banana with a piece of toast. This is supposed to mean that he is learning what an animal is, that a food is not something with wheels that moves. Very promising. I have to ask the ABA therapist tomorrow how she works on colors with Nikko, because I find it hard for me to hold up a picture of a lemon and say, "Nikko, what color is this?" It's yellow, for sure, but he might not get past that he is looking at a lemon. The buzz word is "color", and it's an abstract concept that I need to find out how his teachers and therapists are tackling it. Ronin is working it out, but still confuses green and yellow. Today I was working on shapes with Ronin (more on that later) and when I said to him, "Ronin, what shape is that?" He'd take a moment to look at it and say, "That is blue!" I'd agree with him but ask again what shape it is, and he'd hesitate until I took my finger and traced the shape for him. Then, he would proclaim, "That's a rectangle!" Imagine if it's confusing for Ronin, who is smart as a whip, then for Nikko it must be doubly hard.

**TMI ALERT**TMI ALERT**Skip to next paragraph if you don't want to read about bowel movements! After snack time, I took the kids into the basement to play for a change. They did ok, making little messes with the toys in the toy bins, climbing on the foof chairs. We hung out for 45 minute when I noticed Nikko. Nikko was straining again for most of the day so I gave him a chance to try having a bowel movement without my intervention. I held him in my lap in a bear hug and when he struggled against me I held really tight. He got extremely angry so I let him go, but he paused and then grasped at me again as if to help him. I took everyone upstairs and basically gathered the necessary materials to help Nikko with his bowel movement. It took longer this time, perhaps five or six minutes, and I resolved to put miraLAX in his juice daily for a week or two, perhaps less than a cap, just to see if that will help move things along. Poor Nikko was screaming and crying at the pain. :(

Backing up to lunch, I had made french fries again as a side. Nikko knows what they are and tries to say French Fries. He doesn't have a sign for them so he taps on his cheek. I say, "More french fries, please," and then sign, sign, sign More. He refuses once, twice, then says, "More. French fries. Please." Voila! Gotta keep pushing for the vocal More.

This is a Ronin moment: During snack time, Ronin was sitting in his high chair, babbling away about random things. Then he said to me, "That light is an octagon!" I froze and said, "What light?" He pointed to the fluorescent kitchen light above. I counted the sides quickly and he was RIGHT. "Ronin," I said, "You're right! It is an octagon! How did you know what an octagon is?" Cheerfully he sang, "Super Shapes!" and that is a little diddy from that cartoon Team Umizoomi that the kids have been watching. I was totally impressed! He recognized an octagon. When I got more particular, however, asking him how many sides an octagon had, he fumbled and counted to four. So I assume he recognized what an octagon looks like without really knowing it has eight sides. Still, very impressive fact to come out of the blue. And he said there were two octagons in the kitchen, when indeed there were two lights on the ceiling. We continued to name shapes, mostly rectangles and circles, around the kitchen. And I must give credit to Ronin picking up knowledge from watching TV. I won't get rid of it anytime in the near future, I'll tell you that!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

No popcorn / COUNTING

6:10a I can hear Nikko babbling in his room, but I don't go get him right away. I let him be until about 6:25, when I remember that he could start leaking in his diaper. Thankfully, he was fine when I got to him. I chilled out in Nikko's room until 6:50 when Ronin started calling out.

Some time in the morning I saw a PEC picture of Popcorn on the floor. I wondered aloud where this came from and Denis said that Ronin got it from our room. Meaning, Ronin was snooping around my junk and pulled it out. He wanted some, but I don't have any popcorn around. He might be allergic to popcorn anyway. The PEC was soon forgotten. Nikko came home from school and saw the picture on the table. He immediately brought it to me and I immediately regretted not putting it away this morning because Nikko was requesting Popcorn Please and very insistently. "I'm sorry, Nikko, I don't have any. No popcorn." I put my hands up in a shrug and kept repeating that phrase. Nikko was angry. PISSED. He kept encroaching upon me, asking, pawing for the PEC when I took it away and tried to put it out of sight. Nikko was relentless. Already today I wasn't feeling great, a sore throat plus continued run-downed feeling from yesterday, and wearing my glasses because my eyes were red and messed up for wearing my disposable contacts one day or week too long. My voice got louder and I felt my vocal chords straining. I knew that if my shouting escalated, I'd tear up the chords and sound raspy if I had any voice left. Then Nikko started screaming and wailing. High-pitched screams in protest rang in my ears and I couldn't take it anymore. I put my hands over my ears and turned away from him until his screaming toned down. Then I decided to put some Ore Ida french fries in the oven to replace his wanting the popcorn. I can't say I was all right with everything, but since this was borderline lunchtime I made Nikko chicken nuggets first so the fries were last. It seems that I am constantly looking 3-5 steps ahead on a daily basis to avoid these tantrums. They are exhausting for both of us. I'm sure there's a school of thought out there that I should just let things happen, just leave the popcorn PECs out so he can learn to deal with it. But things got ugly so quickly that I tend to avoid having temptations out in general. I do this whenever we go out to the store, or when we go to someone's house or a party. Nikko's just not going to be satisfied with a banana when he sees a bag of fruit snacks laying around, and the word NO just makes him more enraged. I'm sure neurotypical kids would prefer fruit snacks to a real banana, too, but do they understand that No is NO? Or are they hell bent on being unrelenting?

Nikko's OT report: Very alert today. Did obstacle course several times - sequencing it well. Then did big ball activities. At table - worked on controlling marker going down & sideways. Then did dot art rainbow paper. I wonder... does Mrs. I (the OT) write this much detail on the other kids' reports, the ones that need OT as well? If so, great! If not, then I wonder if it's because she can see that I am very attuned to what's going on with Nikko at school, as evidenced by being present at the School/ABA group meetings. Mrs. I was there at the last meeting, so hopefully she can see that I read everything pertaining to Nikko.

I put Ronin down for his 2pm nap and had Audrey and Nikko around me. At one point I took a picture book and tried to get Nikko to point to a yellow fish, asking him what color was the fish? But his attention was elsewhere and he refused to sit next to me. I could see that he was getting sleepy and I encouraged him to take a nap but he wouldn't do it. I decided to break and give the kids snack before Jenna arrived for therapy. Jenna was late, as usual, and that made it hard for me to judge whether or not it was ok for Nikko to take a quick nap. He didn't sleep, regardless, and I warned Jenna of that before therapy. 20 minutes after they went downstairs, I heard them come up through the door. Jenna was carrying Nikko and described to me that when she turned to get something from the box, she turned back and Nikko's head was bobbing up and down, and he was slumping toward the table, obviously sleepy. She didn't think he wanted to continue so she brought him upstairs, but by then he was awake again. She offered to come tomorrow if Nikko needed to sleep. I asked if Nikko wanted to stay here or go play/work, and he turned toward the knob to the basement. I told Jenna to try it again and if it failed, they could come upstairs. They went back down. Following their departure, I sat in the living room with Ronin and heard Nikko do some heavy protesting and crying. I wondered what was going on, and wondered if Jenna would call it a day again, but then things calmed down until 6pm. She told me that Nikko had that one instance where he got up and approached the barricade. When Jenna called him back, he got angry and tantrummed, but then sat down and continued to work very focused. She said he did well the rest of the session. Jenna also said that in the month of May, if I wanted her to stay later on some days, to make up for any of the times she had shortened sessions (um, yeah, she had many) because she had a dance class following us, she could make up those days in May. I said sure, go for it.

Dinner was ok for the kids but I was aware that I would have to try to keep Nikko awake until it was bath time. I figured I could give him some fruit snacks and that might give him a little sugar rush. I was at the microwave when I heard some babbling going on. I turned to see Nikko playing with the Elmo cell phone, pushing numbers and counting from one to ten. I couldn't believe it. I listened very closely and sure enough I could hear him count, sometimes skipping numbers but ended up at ten. I chimed in and said, "One, two, three..." Nikko looked up at me, surprised, but then he continued to count along with me in his choppy voice. I praised him when we hit ten together. Then I whipped out the mini bag of fruit snacks. His eyes got wide, then I put a hand on top of it and started counting with purpose. He looked at me and helped me finish counting, saying "three, [me, four], five, [me, six], seven..." We finished at ten and I opened the bag for him and gave Nikko his reward. It didn't dawn on me to start counting with Nikko beyond three, quite honestly. So colors and numbers are things I need to try to tap into with Nikko. I wonder if Team Umizoomi has anything to do with helping numbers for Nikko, since that's the center of what they do on that cartoon.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Good ABA session today

6:45a I heard Nikko talking to himself loudly and figured it was time for everyone to get up.

Nikko had an uneventful morning leading up to ABA. After the session, Melissa told me that Nikko did great! She said that he mimicked her well. She stood up and told Nikko to bounce in place and he did what she told him to. Melissa said he did well with naming colors, except for black. I've been meaning to work on colors with Nikko but haven't started that yet. Another area that Nikko did well in today was with matching pictures to objects. She said that she showed Nikko a picture of a car and a spoon. He named them for her, and then when she said, "Where does the spoon go, Nikko?" he then put the picture of the spoon on top of the real spoon. That's great! It's a concept that I've been hoping he'd acquire since EI days. After therapy, I gave the kids some snack and then it was around time for Audrey to take a nap. During her nap, Denis, the boys and I went outside to sweep up a flurry of buds that had fallen from our tree and kept littering our kitchen. The weather was 70 and it was overcast but I felt that an hour outside would be good especially for Ronin. They helped pick up branches and put them in the garbage can. Nikko was very adept at taking a branch I gave him and rushing to throw it away. His advantage over Ronin was his height so he could reach the top whereas Ronin needed help. I did some chasing in the front yard and earned some cardio points. Those guys can keep going!! I took a jump rope and had Ronin hanging on to one end while I ran with the other. Soon he wanted to be the one to lead. Nikko joined in and I gave him my end of the rope while I grasped the middle, so it looked like I was being pulled by two crazed little boys. It's too bad the sod underneath the back and front lawns is so lumpy. It's enough to sprain someone's ankle. :( Before 6pm I got the boys inside to wash hands and get ready for dinner. They were both pretty sweaty so I was looking forward to their bathtime. None of the kids ate a good dinner, probably because they had a big snack. Nikko had peaches, of course, and they all had some Apple Straws. I think I have to push snack time further back to 3p or 2:45 even, because ending it by 4:15-4:30 is proving to be too close to a 6pm dinner. The kids made it to bed. Ronin was complaining about water in his ear again, so I'm going to have to try the alcohol in the ear or something. He's pretty waxy. I thought about using a kit, but he's still on the amoxicillin until Friday so I don't want to mess with the ear drum. Nikko has school tomorrow. Thank goodness !

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Singing, and Easter @ the Alog's

6:30a I heard Nikko and went to his room. He's been waking up with a leaky diaper for a few days, which means changing his sheets often, so today I immediately changed his diaper when I entered the room, so as not to give him any time to have an accident in the early morning. It is probably due to the extra amount of peaches he's been eating the night before, all that liquid. I expect him to leak tomorrow morning since all he had for dinner was peaches.

My morning seemed to tank quickly. I didn't feel 100% and felt I had completely low energy. I got the chills around 9:30 and felt a need to lie down in the living room. I got a nap for about half an hour while Denis took the kids downstairs, but Nikko didn't want to go and stayed upstairs with me, playing with his racing car track and sometimes kicking me in the head while I lay on the floor napping. I felt as if I hadn't had a Coke in days, which was so far from the truth. A sugar crash? Maybe. Probably.

The kids were watching the Umizoomi episode called Milk Out, where there's no more milk in Umizoomi City. Ronin sings the "We Like Milk" song a lot, and I heard Nikko singing the same song not long after Ronin stopped singing. Nikko's words were not whole words, but he used the same sounds and intonations so that it was recognizable to me. He was singing another song today that unfortunately I couldn't distinguish, but I think it was from Yo Gabba Gabba.

We went to my Mom's house for Easter lunch. The whole clan was there, and after lunch we walked to the park at East Prairie school, my alma mater. There was a new climbing apparatus that was gargantuan, with slides and climbing features galore. The kids went crazy all over it, guaranteeing a good night's sleep (I HOPE!). It was also extremely windy, but that didn't deter anyone's good mood. Nikko tried climbing monkey bars while holding onto a toy space shuttle. I had to confiscate it a few times so that he could get to the top. We went home around 5:30p, late for us, and heralding a late dinner time as well. Nikko just ate peaches for dinner. When he wanted seconds, he said, "Peaches. Please." I said, "More? More peaches? More?" and was prompting with a sign. He didn't give in at first, but within 20 seconds he said, "More. Peaches. Please." He signed each word, and each word ended with an upspeak tone. It was so cute that I couldn't refuse him, of course. The next time he wanted More, I had to prompt again, and he was signing peaches on MY cheek, but within a minute he made a noise that sounded like More. I took it. I'm not saying it's getting easier to ask for More, I'm just saying that it's happening here and there.

So here I am, writing and not feeling like running on the treadmill tonight at all. I think I am coming down with something. I feel achiness in my arms, the kind that precedes getting sick. My throat is a little sore still. I need to clean up the kitchen, then hope to take a shower, fold kids' clothes in front of Celebrity Apprentice and go to sleep. I might get as far as the shower, and that's ok. Tomorrow Nikko has ABA with Melissa at 2p, no school. I need to call the school to make sure he has class on Tuesday. The calendar says no school, but the backpack notice doesn't say anything like that.