Sunday, February 24, 2008

Saying I Love You

Saying I Love You
Originally uploaded by sammi's mom
My favorite of all of her signs.

Nothing else to say today, but just wanted to share the warm fuzzies.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Work of Art

My cousin, Jenny, is an incredible artist. Not only for beautifully accurate depictions of the subjects, but for an incredible imagination that really makes you wonder and think. I love that she has chosen to paint Samantha, too. It's such a neat feeling to see that little face in a work of art. Check out some of Jenny's other paintings here:
Now on to preschool evaluations. Samantha had her first round last week at Claremont Elementary School with the teacher of the 2-3 year olds program and two physical therapists. As we had anticipated, Samantha just sat there and stared at the floor, trying as hard as possible not to acknowledge anybody in the room. She got very floppy, too. The PT kept trying to get her up to do things, but she was like a little sack of sand. It's funny--as much as we want to get her into the 5-hour-per-day program, and need them to see how much she needs it (the fear is that if she does too well they won't accept her for the full 5 hours, and just have her there for 1 hour for speech and PT in a group, which would be pointless) we felt this overwhelming need for them to see who our daughter really is, and to see her shine for them. So after a lot of encouragement, she finally decided that playing with new toys was much more interesting than doing her very best imitation of a footstool. She was up and playing and chit-chatting away! The teacher asked lots of questions, and both he and the PTs scribbled lots of notes. Next, we have a few more evaluations, then they'll inform us of their decisions.
Someone from the Child Neurology Foundation contacted me after seeing Samantha's photos on Flickr, and wants to use a photo or two of her for their website! The woman said that the website, as it exists now, is a bit depressing and lifeless, and that she wants to update it with more joyful photos! Samantha is definitely joyful!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Getting Ready for School!

Important Reading!
Originally uploaded by sammi's mom
I can't believe it, but school is just around the corner for Samantha! The time has absolutely flown the last 20 months. She'll be starting in Arlington County's 2-year old program in September. We still don't know if she'll be in the full five-hour-day program, but everyone assures us she will. Her first evaluation is next Tuesday, at her new school, with her new teacher! I'm taking a half-day at work so I can attend--I certainly can't miss this! I'll also take the opportunity to vote in Virginia's primaries that afternoon.
Samantha's still doing her sponge impression--she learned 5 or 6 signs in a day last week. Steve's been an amazing teacher. He basically went through this entire little book of signs (not the one she's holding in the photo) for children that Matthew gave Samantha for her birthday last year, and for every picture on every page, she either can say the word or she can sign it. She now signs, "book", "doggie" (which she has been able to do for about 8 months now, but she's now doing the ASL version of it), "hat", "bird", "telephone" and "food". She gets so excited every time she signs, and claps, I guess because we always get excited and clap! She also pats her chest when you ask if something is for her, or if it's her turn, and she can identify her head, hair, nose, ear, eye, mouth, foot and hand when you ask her. One of her toys plays the song, "Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes", and she gets great pleasure in playing it over and over again, laughing hysterically as I bust my backside doing the motions from a standing position. I can't even touch my toes without bending my knees. She says, "more" when it's over and makes me do it again. Talk about an aerobic workout!! I sooo don't have it in me anymore.
About 6 years ago, when I was managing the Oilily store in Tysons Galleria, one of my part time employees, Dani, was also a special education pre-school teacher by profession. She was always so amazing with the kids and the parents who came in to shop, and I used to ask her about her job teaching. She left because she got very sick with leukemia, and I only ever heard anything about her through occasional e-mails sent out by her family. The last I had heard, she was in remission. After Samantha was born, I thought about her often, wondering if she was still teaching. Well, last week, we attended one of the school transition meetings we've been going to, and it was held in the classroom of one of the local schools with the pre-school program, and Dani was there as one of the teacher-presenters! I was so happy to see her and to see that she's still teaching, and thrilled that she got to meet Samantha. She teaches the 3-5 year old class at a school that's nowhere near where we live, unfortunately.
It's a small world.