Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Never-ending Stuff to Do

With newly purchased houses comes great responsibility. Star Wars, right? Um, I mean Spider Man. No, that’s not right. Just us, in our ordinary, non-heroic, average homeowner lives. The last several weeks have involved project after project for Steve. I specify that he’s doing everything, because, well, he is. I watch Samantha, he does house projects. The painting of the interior has been put on hold for a while (considering he’d been painting non-stop since before we moved in, can you blame him?), in favor of lawn-mowing, weeding, flowerbox planting, power-washing, paint-stripping and fence repairing. Not to mention, we discovered two huge cracks in the exterior cement wall that go all the way through to the interior unfinished portion of the basement. This was discovered during a particularly rainy two-week period of time. Not just any rain, but the hardest, most torrential downpours we’ve ever seen, day after day. The water soaks down the side of the house to the foundation, then seeps in through the crack and all over the floor. He’s been gathering estimates from contractors for the repair. Ugh. Can someone please tell me how the inspector missed these during our home inspection?

Then there’s always work for the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (see photo above). I had hidden all of Samantha’s crayons in a box long before we moved, to be brought out under supervision. However, when we moved, Mommy dumped a bunch of art supplies (coloring books & some packaged things) into one of the toy bins in her room and didn’t think to go through them once we settled, completely forgetting about another pack of crayons lurking there. Last week Samantha found them, and decided that the wall was an excellent canvas for her art. Steve discovered her handiwork when he went in after her nap, and I know exactly what he said to her, as she repeats it every time she looks at the wall (no, we haven’t removed it yet): “No walls!” That’s right. No worries, though, the Magic Eraser can clean anything.

Monday, June 15, 2009

So Helpful!

I'm glad I was able to help some of you out with my previous post. I know that making the decision to send your 2 or 3-year old to school is an agonizing one, but I think we've all gone through it. The first week may be a little rough, but trust me, they'll settle in quickly! I can't remember if I mentioned it or not, but Samantha goes 5 days a week. We never had any debate about the number of days we wanted her in since we wanted to be consistent with her, and we knew she'd enjoy it.

Also as part of my post about being helpful, Samantha has discovered a love of...DUSTING!!! Yay! I think she's seen mommy and daddy do it enough (okay, okay, it's not enough, but who's doing the white glove test, anyway?!), so when I pulled out the duster yesterday to go over the basement, she grabbed it from me and spent, I kid you not, about a half an hour dusting everything! She may have just taken an undesirable chore off our hands.

My last point is sorta kinda about helping. Well, not really, but I wanted to mention it anyway. When Steve puts Sammi down for a nap every day, he leans against the bed next to her, breathing slowly, rubbing her head and whispering, "Go to sleep baby girl" over and over again. Somehow this hypnotizes her, and she falls asleep within 5 minutes. Does it work for me? No way. She will not nap for me. Once I leave her room she's up and playing with her toys. Lastnight, after I gave her supper, she played in the living room while I cleaned up the kitchen. When I went back in, she was leaning over one of her dolls, blanket pulled up the doll's chin, rubbing it's head and saying, over and over again, "Go sleep baby girl." I nearly cried, it was so sweet. Not to mention, that was her first 4 word sentence!! I think she's decided to just skip the 3-word ones. But hopefully not. I think I'm going to look at putting her in private speech therapy for the summer (and possibly beyond) and see how it goes. I met a therapist a few weeks ago that some of the local moms rave about, and need to see if she takes our insurance. We're quite fortunate that my insurance covers unlimited therapy sessions per year, at only a $15 copay per session. Of course we're not using any of them now, so I feel the need to take advantage of it!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I Still Can't Believe My Baby's 3...

Samantha is now 3 years, 1 ½ weeks old. The things that she has accomplished in the last 12 months are staggering. I certainly don’t judge anyone or the choices they make about their child’s education, but putting Samantha in preschool at the tender age of 2 years, 3 months old was the best thing we could have done. Having the structured learning environment where her needs were addressed daily has allowed her to blossom. The social aspect of being around other children close in age (and usually older) has provided her with the opportunity to learn so much more than she could learn just from mommy and daddy.

Just a year ago, Samantha would rarely chew her food. This was a huge concern for us, as she would just swallow things whole and choke, so her feeding had to be monitored very, very closely. We kept her on supplemental formula bottle feedings until the day she turned 2, so we would know that she was receiving necessary vitamins and nutrients. Not only did her bottled formula feedings end, but we also saw an end to her reflux. I have to believe that a huge part of that had to do with the formula, in addition to the fact that she was finally walking (she began at 21 months) and spending all of her time upright. When she went into school, they also monitored her feedings closely and encouraged her to chew her food and self-feed by taking smaller bites.

Just a year ago, Samantha wasn’t using any sort of pincer grip. Self-feeding involved her whole hand, and the thought that she would one day hold a crayon was laughable. The OT at school worked so closely and patiently with her, and I was absolutely thrilled the first time Samantha came home with a scribbled piece of paper. That was the most beautiful scribble I had ever seen.

Just a year ago, the idea that Samantha would one day walk into her classroom at school, take off her backpack, put it in her cubby, then take a seat at a table was an incredible one. I’d like to see how they’re going to accomplish that one, I thought.

Just a year ago, I had no idea how many friends Samantha would have, but she thrives at school and the older children dote on her. She says “please” and “thank you,” and understands the concepts of cleaning up and taking turns (well, most of the time). For example, we were at the playground on Sunday and Samantha, in true Samantha style, wanted nothing to do with anything except playing on the swing. If she could have her way, I’m sure she’d swing all day, but there comes a time when the swing needs to be given up for another child who is waiting patiently. I told Samantha it was time to get off the swing, but she clamped her arms to her side and shouted “No!” I could see that I was getting nowhere, fast. Then I thought maybe I’d try a different approach. I turned her to look at the other child and said, “It’s her turn for the swing, okay? Can you share?” Well, my little angel stopped her tantrum and put her arms up so I could take her out of the swing. I was so proud, and thanked her for being so nice and sharing.

I don’t always know exactly what they do at school on a daily basis, but I do know I should never underestimate Samantha and what she may be learning. She’s surprised me many times with the things she knows or can do.

Samantha’s last day of school until ESY begins is Monday. She’ll have a few weeks off, then 5 weeks of ESY, then a few more weeks off before the fall session starts. I’m a little sad about this, as I know she’ll miss her friends and will have to get used to a whole new set of teachers and therapists over the summer, but I think she’ll surprise me yet again with her resilience.

On a side note, please send a big hug to Sammi’s friend, Lila (Lila’s Miracle Life), who had her tonsils and adenoids removed and tubes put in her ears this morning! We’re hoping for a swift recovery and fantastic results!