Sunday, June 19, 2011

Getting back to balance

The sleeping issue is morphing into a situation that I don't know how much more of it I can take. Nikko will fall asleep with the help of 1/4 tablet of melatonin. Then he will wake up some time between 12:30-2am and look for me, just so I can put him back to bed. He'll pull over the crib mattress and expect me to lay on it until he falls asleep. Tonight I stacked some blankets on it so I could leave the room after he fell back asleep, hopefully thinking it's still me. I know, I know, I should get rid of the crib mattress from his room. It's really there so that if Nikko wakes up later in the morning, like 3 or 4 am, then I can just sleep on the mattress so I don't have to keep getting up to walk him back. It's working for now, but maybe after summer school is over and during that week break before NWSRA camp begins, I'll try walking Nikko back to his room repeatedly. It's a process that will cause us both to lose sleep, so I'm not looking forward to it.

Nikko is getting proficient at requesting using one/two words. The overall problem is that he is not initiating using words. If he wants something, he will put something in my face (like his sippy cup for apple juice) or he'll push and pull me to where he wants me to go. The whole point of using PECS with Nikko at this stage is to encourage him to use his words when handing off the picture to me. But if Nikko requests using his words, I'm supposed to forgo the picture and give him what he asks for. He's also getting much better while riding his tricycle. Today I took the kids to the playground next to Westbrook School, putting the boys' bikes in the trunk. Nikko was eager to ride around the playground equipment on a strip of sidewalk so he put his bike helmet in my hands and waited. I said, "Put on helmet?" He repeated it and I snapped it on. He quickly turned to jump on his bike and took off. I seriously think he enjoyed that more than anything. Nikko has also been asking to watch the same movies in a maddening rotation: Bolt, Playtime Signs, Mighty Machines, Monsters Inc. (but he brings me the DVD cover and asks for Mike Wakowski), and Up. I like Bolt a lot, but I've watched it way too many times in the past week.

Which reminds me, this past week was very tiresome for me! Hate to sound whiny, but it's the truth. It was the first week of summer school (Extended School Year, or ESY) and was truly the first time I experienced shuffling the kids around to their various classes/activities. Nikko's ESY is five days a week from 9am-12pm. Since Ronin's original park district class got cancelled, I had to merge him with Audrey's preschool primer class at the park district, which is an hour on Thursdays. I wanted Ronin to have a more comprehensive class on his own and enrolled him in the Friday Central Alphabet Station preschool class, 9:30am-11:30am. There has been some spare time between drop-offs and pick-ups so I took the little ones to the library one day, the park outside the school the next. Earlier in the week I took the kids with me to run errands at Target, Costco and Jewel, and it was stressful. They both wanted toys they couldn't have. I'll try to reduce my trips with multiple kids! I know that things won't get any easier regarding the chauffeuring, but it's been a balancing act to see if I could pull off these schedules.

One last note: I found out that Ronin will be in Mrs. McCarthy/Ms. Winter's preschool class next fall because his current teachers got relocated. When they told me, I felt as if I had won the lottery. Another big bonus is that a slot opened in the morning class, so we took it. I hope this is coordinated with the front office for sure. Having Ronin go to school in the morning will work out great with my schedule. I'll probably have to drive all three kids, but Nikko can take the bus home at the end of the day. The boys would be dropped off at school, then I'd take Audrey to the Rec Plex for her own preschool class. After two hours, I'd pick up Ronin and Audrey, take them home for lunch. Perfect!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Increased speech and comprehension

Over the past few weeks that I've been laptop-less, Nikko has been steadily progressing verbally. He's been rewatching the Signing Time DVD series, largely because I have two hardcover books from two Signing Time DVDs: My First Signs and the other is Everyday Signs. The books reinforce what he watches on TV, and he is often mimicking the sign along with the word. Nikko is making some wonderful gains:

He can put his socks on, when told that it's time to put on our socks and shoes.

He can request a different DVD by saying, "Watch TV, watch Playtime Signs." He garbles up Mighty Machines but I've figured out when he says it.

He clearly says, "I need help" accompanied by the sign, when he needs obvious help putting a train together.

At snack time today with Rebecca, instead of picking up the ice cream PEC picture, I heard him say, "Give me ice cream!" We looked at each other, surprised.

He is picking up on phrases in his immediate environment.

--But there are drawbacks right now as well. His poop is the same, not healng, but I'm tweaking the dosages so that he will have to expel more of something.

He gets upset more easily than before, be it because of dropped french fries or that his tv program was changed. Somewhat hard to calm him down.

And the sleep issues. Oy! He won't fall alseep on his own at bedtime. He can defeat the child-proof knob cover. He used to get up at 5:30am and get into our bed. Nowadays he's getting up by 4:00am. By then I'm already his best friend and sleeping in the room. There are some 2am wakings as well, but I'll know for sure later on.

"I need help"

6/11/11 - Today, Nikko put on his socks for the first time. I wonder if he was tired of waiting for his turn, since Ronin steps ahead of him practically every time. I was very impressed with Nikko's efforts. And I told Karen this morning that two phrases from Nikko as of late are:

"I need help"-- he says it in a monotone and includes the sign for it. The intention is also very apparent.
"Change my diaper."-- he said this to me, using the sign as well, right before we started playing with Rhonda's kids who came over got a playdate two days ago.

Karen reminded me gently that while the expressive component may still be having trouble, the cognitive is totally there and she sees no problem in Nikko's future for him to work at grade level, with supports to keep him on task. She referred to his efforts today at speech, where he was able to identify things from a field of TWENTY. He'd put the object in a hat when completed. Then she made him take the object OUT of the hat and name it. He did very well!

Monday, June 13, 2011

I'm back!

I'm finally back!

Three weeks ago the hard drive crashed on my laptop. It became inoperable. And we're still not sure if we lost EVERYTHING on the hard drive. The most valuable things are the pictures of the kids. Going to have to work a miracle to save those pictures, or cough up boofoo bucks. It wasn't until this weekend that the shipment of recovery discs from the laptop company arrived and Denis installed. Once the internet was back, all was better. And days before the discs arrived, a freak power outage at 8:00 am on a Wednesdays must have fried the motherboard in our desktop computer, causing another shutdown. The hard drive was salvageable this time, but we were out of our two most important electronic devices for two days. Luckily, I was able to use my iPod Touch to stay connected, but blogging on it would be a laborious task. I think I managed to type something worthy of an entry that I have to figure out how to download. So today, I will just let you know that I'll be back in blogging business shortly.

Nikko's doing really well, by the way. :)