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Category Archives: Jeffrey

When I don’t know what to do?

One of the things I hate about parenting is the not knowing what to do. What to do when your kid isn’t doing the things you want but you’re out of ideas and methods to change their behavior. We go through ups and downs with Jeffrey (as all children do). He’ll go through a particularly fabulous phase before regressing and testing us and our boundaries once again.
Well, we’re at that tumultuous period again and it frustrates me to no end. He’s being disrespectful to his teachers, he’s having accident’s (like 2 or 3 a day) and then lying and saying that he spilled water on himself. We have been particularly crazy of late. Since Easter we have driven out and back to Lake George twice, once to Pittsburgh and I spent an entire week gone for a funeral. But we’re getting back to normal. Finally and he’s just letting his frustration out on us…

Which doesn’t make it any easier. I’m not sure how to deal with it. He does not react well to having things taken away. I don’t mean that we don’t do that but he works much better by earning rewards. You just get WAY better results by asking him to earn a birthday party rather than threatening to take it away. Whatever we’re doing needs to be presented so that he’s earning rather than losing.

And the problem? I guess is that I’m exhausted and I don’t know what things he has up to “earn”.  And I still don’t know what to do when he’s angry and throws himself on the floor instead of talking. I don’t know how to address the accidents so that I’m not making him embarrassed or ashamed of it, but still getting it to stop. We could go and talk to the pediatrician again but I’m pretty sure we’re just going to hear that we’re doing a good job, that he may indeed have aspergers, and that we need to wait longer for a diagnosis, that he’s challenging us and for goodness sake we were JUST there last month.

He’s a good kid. He’s smart and articulate and funny. But he drives me bonkers and I’m just having a hard week of it. I need to vent and I just wish I knew all the answers/

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Posted by on May 20, 2011 in behavior, Jeffrey, parenting

 

Therapy sessions and sports, Oh my.

We had Jeffrey’s CPSE meeting last week. He qualifies for summer physical therapy and we talked about the fall. Of course it was super complicated because we’re sending him to Margaret’s House for kindergarten and so it’s not done in the district we live in. It’ll have to got through Rush-Henrietta’s service coordinator and blah blah blah. In the end the important thing is that he got approved for 2x weekly physical therapy during school.

I enjoy the CPSE meeting to discuss Jeffrey’s progress and see how encouraged his therapist is but I hate the evaluation. His eval is basically six pages of what is wrong with your kid. They are all things we already know but every time we get one done I want to cry. I feel myself telling the piece of paper all the things he CAN do and how awesome he is. I know it’s a necessary thing for them to do. He has to be evaluated to continue his services. I think I should just stop reading them and just talk to his therapist instead.

We’re going to try and start a sport of some type this summer. We’re looking into t-ball, swimming and horseback riding. Our PT was particularly excited about riding because it’s a rare case where he can’t cheat his brace. To ride he’ll have to put his heels down and stretch out his muscles. Plus he really has poor core strength and it will help that as well.

It’s weird to compare the kids. Elena can jump. She just did it. It was so odd to see how effortless it was for her and how difficult it still is for him. They’re different, I know that. I’m even glad of that. I still wish I could make it easier for him though.

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2011 in Jeffrey

 

Well visits

For a few minutes at the pediatricians office we thought that Jeffrey had actually shrunk since last year. WTF. Then we realized that he stands on his tip-toes all the time and apparently that is how we measured him last year. If you measure him that way, he grew 2 inches. Otherwise he remains exactly the same as last year. 41 pounds and 41 inches. He’s a box. How he manages this, I don’t remotely understand since the kid eats his own weight in food daily.  He’s solidly in the ~50% for height and weight so no one is concerned.

Elena on the other hand. Does not like meat really, or sweets, or potatoes or much of anything other than applecups (apples), mushes (oranges) and milk. The girl would eat fruit 24/7 if we would let her.  She is cruising along at 27 pounds and I don’t remember how tall. She’s in the 75% for weight and 85% for height.

They both had to get shots. Therefore they both got ice cream afterwards. Jeffrey gobbled his down. Elena ate a few bites and then ate my applesauce.

No concerns for Ellie. Her words are coming along now and she appears to be a happy healthy strong-willed 21 month old.

Jeffrey has a few concerns. 1st, the whole still walking on tip-toes thing. He still gets PT 2x a week and he’s making progress. But the progress is slow. Our ped recommended seeing a orthopedic surgeon to determine if anything else could be done. I guess sometimes they can cut the Achilles tendon to give more flexibility or do special footwear. I’ve got an appointment for the 24th, so we’ll see what they have to say.
Her other concern was that we may be looking at aspergers down the road. She isn’t diagnosing him or even suggesting we try for any services or anything. She just says that some of his tendencies (not looking in your face, very smart about age-inappropriate things, not reading social cues) may be indicators. She said she wanted us not to worry but just not to be shocked if it is something we look into down the road.

All in all, I’m okay with it. We’ll deal with whatever we’re dealt and I appreciate having a doc that tries to prepare us for things without freaking us out. The kids are really fabulous and I just hope that we make the right decisions and do the best things for them.

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2011 in Elena, Jeffrey

 

Five

The boy is five years old. How quickly the time has flown by.

In the past year he has grown by such leaps and bounds. A few little snippets:

  • We moved into our new house and he picked out the colors for his room. He wanted red doors so we painted the inside panels red and put a zig zag stripe on the walls.
  • He slowly stopped acting like his sister was such a bother and started to try and teach her things. He even asked me when we were going to “make her a big sister.”
  • He discovered volcanoes. and earthquakes and tornadoes.  He now plans on being a veterinarian that works on tigers and an amateur volcanologist.
  • He drew an amazingly accurate map from Margaret’s House to our house. It was awesome.
  • He learned that Elena does not have a penis and that while he’s ridiculously observant, obviously he misses some stuff.
  • We became aware that he is a Lego savant. So far this year he has built a oil tanker, a house and an airplane with very minimal help, following the directions with ease.   I am truly amazed at the things he has created!
  • He’s graduated to a real model train set and is sharing his geo-trax with Elena more readily.
  • When he gets angry, he scrunches up his face and mumbles under his breath. It makes me laugh and I have to try so hard to suppress it.
  • The rock economy is working great. The positive change in his behavior is hard to put into words, it absolutely made the difference.
  • He laughs a lot. He loves to cuddle with his mama and to read books. He is always willing to give me a hug and let me know that he loves me.
  • He has amassed an army of stuffed tigers and he loves each of them fiercely. They have terribly high pitched “voices” and I wish they wouldn’t talk so much.

I could go on and on. Five years ago standing in the NICU, I couldn’t see what an amazing little guy he’s become. I thought I loved him then, but it’s nothing compared to now.

I can’t wait to see what this new year brings. More Chinese class, more Legos. His first day of school.  More hugs and laughs and time together. I wish I could freeze him right here but I can’t wait to see how he grows.

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2011 in Jeffrey, love

 

Chinese

So last night at Chinese class, Jeffrey learned how to say “I  like (insert food).” They also learned “I don’t like (insert food).”  Of course in Jeffrey’s case, they learned all the foods that he liked but he couldn’t think of one that he didn’t. The really funny thing is that I can’t think of anything he doesn’t like either. I mean the kid eats everything from tofu and salad to pie and steak. He’s a bottomless pit and he loves food.  So he also got to learn “I like everything.”

I’d tell you the Chinese translation but I don’t know how to draw the characters and really no one that reads me would know them anyway.

I have to say, I am so super proud at how well he is doing in this class. He is by far the youngest there and we do sit in on the class with him, but he generally is respectful during class and he participates well. He’s looking forward to the day that we can go to “Chinese” and visit because he’ll be able to speak the language.

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2010 in Jeffrey

 

What dreams may come

So we don’t really let Jeffrey watch tv. For a multitude of reasons but it’s a decision that we’ve been quite happy with and for now, tv is a special occasion in our house. (Excluding any and all Steeler games. The children are encouraged to yell, cheer and wave their Terrible Towels.)

Anyway, it’s been a pretty new thing, that I’ve been letting Jeffrey watch a movie or a tv show when Elena goes down for her nap on Sundays. I figure its a way to introduce him to some pop culture and a good downtime activity since he doesn’t nap anymore. This weekend we were cruising through Netflix instant and came across Short Circuit. You may remember “Johnny 5 is alive” from the 80’s. A classic robot comes to life movie with Steve Guttenburg, Ally Sheedy and some guy who isn’t Indian pretending that he is. I loved this movie when I was a kid, so did Brian and we figured it’s PG, it’ll be fine.  I was a little concerned about the portrayal of the army as idiots that just blow shit up but I figured that I need to lighten up a little. He liked the movie, told me “Mama, it was all real. Except the parts with the robots.”

So at 9pm Jeffrey wakes up crying and comes downstairs. “Mama, I had a bad dream.” I start mentally kicking myself for showing him this movie that obviously frightened him and gave him nightmares.  I tell him it’s okay, that it was just a pretend movie and there’s nothing to be scared of.  He answers me “I know, I’m not scared of the movie. I had a bad dream about the people eater.”

This is the part where I slap myself in the head. Earlier Elena had on a purple shirt with dots on it and I started singing “It was a one eyed, one horned, flying purple people eater, and it sure looked good to me.”* That is what he had a nightmare about.  I comforted him, told him it was just a silly song and put him back to bed.

Just to show you; it’s never the thing you’re worried about. It’s some dumb thing you never even thought of.

*I know the lyrics are wrong, Brian already made fun of me.

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2010 in Jeffrey, Parenting is hard, sleep

 

the one about the boy

You know I never did a birthday post this year. For either kid. It’s been such a draining all encompassing year so far. Things are starting to settle down but I feel bad that I missed sharing about their special milestones.

So here are some things you may have missed about the boy.

On Saturday he asked me if we could look at pictures on tv of the volcano in Iceland.  He said he heard about it on the news in the kitchen. 🙂 Thanks to NPR, my child knows more world news than most adults. When I told him we would look to see if it was on the news? He told me no Mama, I want to look on the tv, not on the news. Because… in our house the tv doesn’t HAVE news on it, only the radio.

We’re thinking about signing him up for some language classes. His teachers at school agree that it would be a good exercise for him. He’s so far ahead in his English language skills and I found a place in the city that specifically works with kids. We’re hoping to start him learning Chinese (I’m assuming it would be Mandarin, but it didn’t clarify on the schools website). I emailed back and forth and they said they have a lot of experience with four year olds and that it would be a good age to begin.

We got approved for physical therapy throughout the summer and next year. We met at the new school district and I feel a lot more comfortable with them now. He’s making good progress, he can take a two footed jump now and I think he’s finally mastered a true run. He’s still dreadfully behind his peer group but still he’s making progress. I think when they retested him he scored a 2%. So no fear that he won’t qualify for services.

He is losing the occupational therapy. They’ll finish up with him at the end of this school year and then he’ll be monitored by his physical therapist in case he needs to be reaccessed. He was at or above his age group in everything but self care and we think that has more to do with his gross motor skills than anything else.

We’ve started playing with real Lego’s and he’s doing Really Really well. I am astounded by the creativity (and dexterity) he’s using with them.

His artistic skills are pretty amazing as well. He likes to draw machines that he’s created as well as volcano’s, trains, bridges and any other possible mechanical thing. It’s really amazing to see how aware he is spatially. He already understands the concept of drawing three dimensions and giving things perspective. And when he draws his machines, he has these complicated mechanisms that have to happen on the inside. He’s really blowing my mind with the things he comes up with.

We went through a rough patch a few weeks ago where discipline became an issue but we seem to have worked through it and he’s been really good for the past week or two.

He’s the best little guy I could imagine. His smile is infectious, his enthusiasm is boundless. He loves learning about new things, and asking questions. He loves books. We’re reading some chapter books now and he’s starting to really enjoy himself with them. He’s starting to enjoy being helpful with his sister. He likes to show her off at school and the teachers all say that he is very sweet to her when they’re together. I couldn’t imagine my life without them.

He’s four now. He loves running up to strangers and announcing “Hi! My name is Jeffrey! I’m four!” It’s hard to not find him charming and I am so proud that he’s my little guy. Don’t get me wrong, he can be difficult and exhausting but I wouldn’t trade away one minute with him.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2010 in Jeffrey, love