Category Archives: JCA

A Whole New World

iep4At least that’s what we’re hoping now that J is 3. It’s not that turning 3 has any particular special qualities our middle child was supposed to wake up with, but since he qualifies for special education services, by law in the commonwealth of Massachusetts J is now attending our town’s integrated preschool.

It’s a double-edge sword being told your child needs special services. I admit I fought for this. I’ve been asking for at least 2 years to get him help and was largely ignored by our previous pediatrician. So to have the process occur and have him accepted into the program has made me feel validated. The process was swift due to the timing of his birthday, so it’s been kind of difficult to wrap my head around. However, I have to share I feel so much better knowing that I’m not completely crazy after dragging him to doctor after doctor after doctor trying to figure out what is going on. This has also made me sad because I wanted more than anything to be told “there is nothing wrong with your son.”

The old pedi kept saying B was doing too much talking and that J would “catch up.” But we knew we had a bigger problem on our hands than the older sibling who does all the talking when we learned he wasn’t hearing anything. I mean, if you can’t hear then you won’t talk. And if you basically couldn’t hear anything the first 15 months of your life, then you’re at least a year behind.

And that’s what the assessments – yes, more than one assessment – confirmed. While J is able to do some things above his actual age, more often than not his level of development is below average. Specifically, he’s more like a 23 month old instead of his actual age of 35 months.

Reading that made me feel sick, but I admit it wasn’t a complete surprise. If J had not continued to miss certain milestones or demonstrate some speech shortcoming – none of which were perceived by his old pediatrician as particularly problematic – we might never have looked into private, specialized services. Our experience is a testimonial to be your child’s advocate and go with your gut. Even if that means getting bad news it’s really good news, because no news is even worse, in my opinion.

Sweet J at the end of his first day of school.

J at the end of his first day of school.

Now that we had a diagnosis and a plan and J is formally in the system, I want to focus on the long-term. Unfortunately, that’s not really the way it works. Our short-term goal is to make sure he’s prepared for Kindergarten. We do not want to hold him back a year because he’d be in the same class as his younger brother. And while that’s not the end of the world, it is not ideal. So we’re working hard to make him better. J will continue with speech therapy from Gift of Gab 2x a week, but he’ll also receive speech therapy at his new preschool 3x a week. We will also work with him at home on his speech and vocabulary.

Today was his first day and it was a long one starting at 8:30 at his current playschool before heading over to the new preschool. But when I picked him up this afternoon he was all smiles. His wonderful, patient, kind new teacher included a progress note and said he did great. Seeing him looking like this makes me feel better about all that has happened and the bumpy road it took to get here.

Yes, it’s a whole new world for us. It’s a special one, too.

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Park Playdate

digging in the sand

Friday afternoon playdates are the best. It’s the last weekday hurrah for the kids before the daddy’s are home to play with them all weekend. Plus, we’ve been smart mamas and serving dinner to the kids so it’s a two-fer: they get to eat and wear themselves out at the same time!

I’ve been getting together with some girlfriends and their kids – all mixed ages – for a several weeks now. It’s great because I’m getting some quality time with real friends and the kids are having a blast, too. Most of the kids are close in age, but there’s a definite spread although none of them seem to care.

This particular Friday we went to the park behind Town Hall. With the summer-like temps on Wednesday & Thursday we thought for certain it would be really nice, too. Um, yea, it started to actually snow at one point. The kid’s didn’t care though. In fact, they loved it – even when their hands were starting to turn purple! It’s funny though what some kettle corn snacks and juice boxes can do to divert their attention and provide a little more energy for 30 more minutes on the playground.

B and his bestie were all over the slides. J & C took a calmer approach (which made it easier for me to keep tabs on my crew) and played for quite some time in the sand box.

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Crafts: Oh So Eggciting!

So I *think* I’m crafty but I’m not one of those really crafty moms. No disrespect to those who are. I love the idea of craft projects but I detest the mess that typically comes with it. And let’s be honest, kids this young with paint would probably make even the craftiest of parents shudder. Thanks to Pinterest I’ve collected a good amount of adorable ideas for various holidays and general Super Mom type projects, but it’s hard for me to pull the trigger and actually do something. Instead I prefer to share my finds with Mary Poppins, who is much craftier than me (and yet another reason why I love her so much) to help me execute activities for the boys that won’t make me question my good intentions once we’re underway.

With Easter coming up and the cold, dreary weather outside, we painted giant Easter eggs. The boys were better than I would normally give them credit for. And by that I mean they didn’t start painting the walls or each other. B was disappointed there was no blue paint and requested we fix that for next time. Wow! Mommy for the win! I’m so happy he had enough fun this time to request a next time! Look at what we made…

Do you find inspiration on Pinterest, too? What kind of crafty activities do you do with your kids? Are you like me and usually leave these type projects for sitters and school? {Yep, I’m not embarrassed to admit my motherly shortcomings.}

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Goodbye, Winter! Love, The Beach Boys

It’s been an unseasonably warm winter this year in New England. We’ve had snow only twice and the second time it happened was March 1st. So much for the awesome snow suits the boys received at Christmas since the kids have practically lived in short-sleeved shirts. Seriously, it’s been that warm. The first day of spring is just around the corner and with the mildish temps over the weekend we decided to run the boys around Nantasket Beach for some fresh air before Old Man Winter is officially gone. These photos are just a snippet of our excursion. I have to say how impressed I was with C’s stability walking on the rocks. B and J are champion climbers and didn’t disappoint. I only hope we haven’t created too adventurous of a monster come this summer when we’re back for some fun in the hot sun! I have visions of little boys climbing over the rocks in three different directions. {yikes}

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Can I Get A Witness

J and his yogurt addiction began well over a year ago...

Last night was the first night in I don’t know how many nights that everyone in our home slept through the night. Hallelujah! 

Although it’s technically too early to tell, I think we have a little pill called Prevacid to give the credit to. We gave J his first dose after dinner and maybe it was a coincidence, but I have hope it is what did the trick.

I am convinced J has some acid reflux and it makes going to sleep and eating painful. Short of holding him upright all night in our bed or on the couch – and yes, we done it more times than I care to admit – the only other thing is give him a bottle of water to soothe him. During the day, he barely eats. Sometimes he’ll go days, yes days, with nary a nibble except a few raisins, a couple bites of popcorn, and some Activia yogurt. Everything else is refused. Then on other days, like some binging college girl, he will inhale a mind-boggling amount of “normal” food in one sitting only to have the worst gas on both ends and then no more eating again for days. It’s been a nightmare rollercoaster for nearly 2 years. He used to be the best eater, too. This summer he lost so much weight I took him to Children’s to make sure he didn’t have something like Celiac disease. Turns out he does have a minor egg white allergy, and his diet was modified slightly by the gastroenterologist. Since then we’ve sought out sleep specialists. We adjusted his mattress. We changed cribs. We modified his diet again. We switched diapers. We did everything except have him tested for acid reflux because our pediatrician didn’t think it was warranted.

“He’ll be fine,” she pooh-poohed me. “Just you wait and see.” Oh, I’m certain he will be more than fine, thank you very much; but why should we wait when we’ve seen zero progress? What if we need to do something now to prevent other problems in the long run? I know it takes some children a while to talk. Sister K apparently took a while to be vocal because I was doing all the talking for her as a child. That said, she didn’t have months of raging, recurring ear infections that might have damaged her hearing like J. I already feel guilty for not pushing my pedi at the time for not recommending ear tube surgery sooner. Here we are, nearly a year later and J still doesn’t speak well. In fact, he barely talks at all in clear English. It got to the point that we finally had his hearing tested at MEEI. He can hear but the audiologist recommended an intervention with a speech pathologist. J will have at least one more round of tests because they weren’t very conclusive, but in the meantime I made the speech appointment. In fact, I completely switched all the boys to a new pediatric practice that has a speech pathologist on staff because I didn’t feel our last pediatrician was putting enough resources or concern about his lack of speaking and weight gain.

I’m convinced somehow, someway all of this is tied to the reflux. So, no, I’m not going to wait and see like the former pediatrician suggested. We got the divine intervention and the hope we needed last night with a decent night’s sleep. He’ll take a Prevacid daily and along with some hard work with the speech pathologist, his audiologist, his gastroenterologist and our family I believe we’ll get our Sweet J back up to snuff on his speaking and eating faster than we can say “Stop talking and eat your dinner!” Can I get an Amen!


Update:: Since I first wrote this morning, I had to check with our insurance company to make sure the speech pathologist is in our network and J’s visits will be covered. As the agent was going over our benefits and double-checking my request, her tone made me wonder if we were going to be denied and forced to find someone else to help J. Thankfully that is not the case. We are blessed to have the very best health insurance. I mean, really, who says that about their insurance company? Thank God for mine.

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