Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Talkin' talk don't miss a beat

Yesterday was Aiden's first speech-language evaluation and therapy session. Jolena his therapist is wonderful - for many reasons:

1. She brought so many toys -- and she got down right on Aiden's level and knew exactly how to talk to him. He warmed right up to her.

2. She was extremely attentive -- to his speaking, his manners, our needs and expectations. She took notes about everything he did and really listened to my concerns.

3. She was completely honest with me -- about where Aiden is, where he should be, what to expect.

4. She is patient -- Aiden's attention span was short due to his excitement over his new pal so he was "putting on a show" and she let him get it all out. When he realized how she was talking to him and encouraging him to talk, he got really frustrated at one point. He was actively using his hands and trying so hard to use words that he knows but can't say - he got discouraged and she let him take his time.

5. She said Aiden is "just fine" -- everything is there. There are no developmental problems. Aiden is what they call a "deep impact player." He likes and needs to run and crash and burn to play. Without that element of play he doesn't have focus. As a result, spontaneous speaking tasks are difficult for him because he simply doesn't have time to think. When he is allowed time to think about the questions, he answers very strong and surprisingly clear -- time and processing are the key to "Aiden language." When he is asked spontaneous questions needing immediate answers - his responses are correct but not clear which is the problem that was noticed by his pre-school teacher, she doesn't know what he knows because like everyone else (except me) she has no idea what he is saying.

We are going to meet once a week until his next evaluation which is the least possible amount of intervention they provide - a very good sign. We're going to begin by working on his mouth movements when he makes noises and his "yes" and "no" responses.

Our long term goals are to have him articulating his words clearly 75% of the time when it is "spontaneous" -- the fact is kids get excited and are not going to be clear 100% of the time so this is a much more acceptable expectation. Also, as we wrote down "Mommy doesn't want to have to translate for Aiden anymore by this time next year" -- Jolena said that was an awesome goal and also very attainable.

Every week we'll get new things to do and have already started things like kids yoga before bed (Steve's idea not mine) which helps with "deep impact" kids a lot and getting them to slow down thinking. Also, yesterday we reintroduced Baby Einstein Sign Language -- this allows him not only to repeat words for vocab but to associate his words with actions (their sign) so he is engaging his active body with his active mind.

Don't ever tell me my kid's not a genius -- I'll be forced to prove you wrong :)

Ross Invented Dubstep

If you know me at all you know how I detest dubstep...

If someone were to want a graduation present it might look like this

Alex Pardee Art Book "Awful/Resilient"

Or perhaps like this...

"Sharpen Up Your Teeth. Aiden. Persevere. XII.XXVIII.VIII."

Monday, November 21, 2011

Our "Gismash" Tree

Since I have been doing nothing but laying around feeling sick and helpless on the couch, I decided the scenery needed some freshening up. So Sunday morning I dug my tree out of the storage closet, heaved and huffed furniture around the apartment, and got my Christmas tree up!

I was so exhausted and out of breath from getting the damn thing out of the box and put together that I decided to take a break from the festivities. This cough is killing me...really.

After I got Aiden home, we decided to try and decorate the tree. Unfortunately, the tree is taller than I remembered it being. What's worse, trying to balance on the side of the couch there...not great - especially when you're running a fever and heights give you the dizzies. So I called in the big guns...

We got the lights on and the star up to the top...but not matter how hard we tried, we couldn't get the star straight. But the lights turned out pretty good!

Next, Aiden got to step in and help decorate the "Gismash" tree as he calls it. We only have a handful of ornaments but they all hold significance, mostly to Aiden, so he got to put them all up.

Great Grandma "Dottie" Deiker made this one for Aiden for his first Christmas - note he was born on the 28th so his first Christmas was 2009.

This was a picture of Kane Buggie right around Thanksgiving 2008 and was given to us as a gift that year. It is by far, Aiden's favorite ornament -- he has gone to the tree to make sure Buggie is there at least 4 times in the last day.

Every year, Great Grandma "Dottie" Deiker makes Christmas Balls for her great grand kids. I assume she did so for her kids and grand kids before this but Aiden's are the first I have actually seen. This one was from last Christmas - he has one from 09 and I am really excited to see what he gets for this year.

The trouble with Aiden hanging all 12 ornaments is that he hung them all in the exact same place on the exact same low branch -- I know he can't reach very high, but he might as well have hung a sign that said, "Hey Dex! Come play in the tree! Start with these fun toys"

After we finished the tree, Aiden wanted all the lights off so he could look at his handy work. He also insisted that he, Papa, his couch woobie, and a pillow all squish into the rocker to watch "How to Train Your Dragon."

While they snuggled I got my fireplace mantle all settled.

From left to right...
Aiden's stocking (hung with care), one very old, very precious, copy of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" from Grandma and Grandpa Cormack's library - held together with duct tape, Santa Claus to keep an eye on my little elf, a wooden nativity scene - also inherited from Grandma and Grandpa Cormack, and my stocking (hung by a shot glass - no point denying it)

Happy Holidays to all who can afford stocking hangers and cheers to the creativity of those who can't.

Bakin' Aiden

I apologize for the lack of recent posts - Aiden was terribly sick, though now back to his terrorizing self, and now I am significantly under the weather, so we haven't done a whole lot.

Except bake as it turns out...

Right when Aiden first got sick, we made cookie cutouts from a pumpkin pie spice cookie recipe I had been wanting to try since Halloween but never got to, Halloween just wasn't up to snuff this year.

Anyway, the cookies were mainly a dry sugar cookie recipe with a dash of pumpkin pie flavor - the dryness helps with cutouts and the pumpkin flavor is for the seasonality of the cookies.

In order to contain Aiden's mess making we only rolled enough dough for about 3 cut outs at a time, so the process took a while. Currently, we are the proud owners of about 130 cookie cutters, so choosing ten to use was big job for Aiden, but he made excellent choices.

While he took his nap - poor guy was really getting sick (dont worry he washed his hands about 12 times while helping) I made the frosting and divided it up into 6 containers for colors for him. The frosting recipe is now my new cooking secret, it turned out so good I couldn't stop eating it!! Unfortunately, Aiden wasn't up to  finishing the project so now we have the cookies and frosting stored in the kitchen until we are ready to finish.

Leaving them on the table became hazardous because *someone* kept walking by, taking a bite, and leaving poor defenseless, butt-less elephants in his wake...

There were some cookies that never stood a this lion who came out of the oven with his head detached!

I named him Aslan.

Aiden the cookie bistro, got even more baking in this weekend while he was hanging out with Grandma Deiker. And those cookies were even more's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Such a pro with the rolling pin!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Can I tell you a secret?

I can't open a door without somehow touching it with my foot

I give people a hard time for letting Aiden get away with things, but when no one's around, I am a total push over to him

The fact that I have read over 30 books this year makes me think that other people just don't try hard enough

I hate when people ask about Aiden and potty training - I promise I will share with ecstatic joy when we get there

I refuse to put toilet paper on the holder because really, you're gonna have to do it all over again in a week or so and besides, I am neither a folder or a wadder - I am a wrapper and wrapping is done best when you can easily maneuver the whole roll

I am not really excited about graduation

Monday, November 14, 2011

Creepy Croup Monster

I would say Aiden's cough began maybe Thursday. It was slight and rare. On Friday evening it was more pronounced as we were both partaking in a game called "sleep even though you can't breathe." And by Saturday afternoon, the cookie project I had planned for us (stay tuned for that post) became "Ummm Aiden, maybe you should take your zombie germs in the other room and color and I will let you know when you can come wash your hands 8 times then cut them."

I made plans with one of me besties to FINALLY see Paranormal Activity 3 that night, and asked my sister to babysit -- as long as she was comfortable with Aiden's cough of course. So Aiden hung out with her for a couple hours while I went to the movie.

It was sooooo good. The last 20 minutes was just continual jaw-dropping. Special effects, as per usual, were small, understated, and INTENSE. There was a scene in which it appears one of the children is sneaking up on the babysitter dressed as a ghost - a la white sheet. When the babysitter turns around the sheet collapses on the floor - shnikkies!!

Anyway, Aiden had crashed hard just before I picked him up and so I took the sack of potatoes home. By the time we walked around the block, up 3 flights of stairs and got inside, I decided we were going to be stationary on the couch. He was breathing a little heavy and I was worried about his cough, so call me a creeper but I pretty much sat there listening to him breathe.

Around 4 am he woke up, very agitated, like I have never seen before. Whimpering and crying, and he said, "Help me, cant breathe."

I scooped him up and we sped all the way to Swedish Hospital.

Luckily, the admission people have a soft spot for blonde haired blue eyed babies and got us in to see a doctor right away. Aiden was very cooperative with the doctors and they diagnosed him with Croup -- little did they know Dave already did this, but they wanted to take credit for it.

So next he got a dose of steroids to reduce the swelling in his Larynx (it's viral so no antibiotics) and motrin for his fever, then we just had to sit and wait and see what happened.Unfortunately, Croup gets worse at night for whatever reason - and this steroid treatment isn't something that you can get over the counter so they told us we might have to bring him back.

We got to go home after a few short hours there and tried to get some rest. He did really well most of the day and even spent some time walking around the apartment covered in a white blanket, not saying a word, and creeping me out big time. But as it got closer to bed time he got worse and worse.

Kelly brought us some chicken noodle soup which was so helpful and thoughtful. Turns out, Croup is contagious and Mommies who get it, don't get to sit at home on the couch and watch movies so I got a nice warm meal and after a steam shower we were off to bed....

Boy was it a restless night. If I wasn't coughing Aiden was. We slept with the window open so Aiden could breathe the cold air like the doctor told us, and we spent a couple hours in the bathroom with the shower just running. We watched How to Train Your Dragon and Megamind and when the sun came up it was off to work for Mommy while Aiden when to snuggle up at Grandpa's. This is gonna be a long week for us.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What's going on with our heads..

I have been hesitant to write this blog for a couple reasons, one being, that I don't want to cause anyone any undue worry. Another being, I am not entirely sure to what extent or if at all the included information or vast amount of details left out, are really anyone's business.

Nevertheless, as a way to keep everyone caught up with Aiden, at the very least, it's what's been going on with him...

We had parent teacher conferences a week ago, and Aiden's teacher began by telling us "Aiden is such a sweet boy" -- if you have kids then you know, this is like the nice thing you say to parents before you give them bad news.

The trouble is that he is not articulating his speech very well, so without a translator (ie me, the only person who speaks "Aiden") it is really hard to tell how much he is or isn't learning, what he is asking for and over all, leading to trouble with his play-interactions.

This is not to say he isn't smart, or retaining information, it's just that without getting plain English answers out of him, we don't really know what he's thinking.

So he is going to be getting some in-home speech language therapy that everyone will be involved with and hopefully that will greatly resolve the issue.

Another problem is that his inward pointing feet seem to be tripping him up a bit.


That being said, it has always been explained to us that boys hips control the straightness of their feet and legs - most boys will have inward pointing legs until 2-4 years old when their bones lengthen enough to square out their hips. NO BFD!

Well apparently now, its a BFD and Aiden also needs to be evaluated for this - which is fine because it's nice to hear that you aren't crazy for asking every random medical professional you encounter over the course of 34 months.

Anyway, we have been working a lot on his reading and speaking in sentences and counting and his alphabet - good thing he liks the attention because we have officially cracked down on him. It's scary to worry about him and any potential struggle he might have, but at the same time, hearing him work on all this stuff is rewarding, because I know that it's there. I am the one who speaks "Aiden" and I know what he is capable of and how he thinks, and i am excited that he will be able to speak more clearly for himself and that everyone else will be able to hear it soon too.

Oh, and officially -- all gifts this year should probably be clothes or Leap Frog related...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Halloween Festivities

We have had a busy busy week, including trying to get all our Halloween projects done before Halloween.
Unfortunately, we didn't get our Ghostly Cheese Pizza made, or our Pumpkin cookies, but I can probably find a way to make the recipes work for Thanksgiving time.

We did finally get out pumpkins carved.
Well I did anyway, Aiden didn't want much to do with it.

And we got some pumpkin seeds cooked, which I have been enjoying all week at work.

That is supposed to be Dracula...
Aiden's pumpkin was too small to fit a pattern, so I just made a jack'o lantern face.

After carving pumpkins, I was trying to get some homework done so I had Randalicious help Aiden make some Halloween cookies.

With his new fascination with ghosts, this made for some pretty funny moments.

Once the ghost cookie was finished and had a face, Aiden was not too sure about it at all.

After getting spooked (my fault - I just couldn't help it) we thought maybe some happy pumpkin cookies were in order.

Not sure who was enjoying the activity more....

Monday was a really crazy day, I got up super early too put in some time at work, then drove all the way back home for Aiden's party at lunch time.

I was really impressed with his in-class behavior. He did what he was told and he ate a big lunch.

After they ate lunch, they decorated cookies. Aiden simply spoon fed himself the frosting off of his cookie.

I had to go back to work when the party was over and ended up leaving pretty late. Luckily, Aiden only wanted to stop at a few houses to trick or treat (including Grandma and Grandpa's). Once we were there though, he got warm and cozy and trick or treating turned into simply getting a piece of candy from the bowl every time someone rang the doorbell.