Saturday, March 28, 2009

[day 87 ... march 28]

This afternoon, Niall's class had a get-together at the house of one of his classmate's, a lovely place in Bellevue. Niall, Cory and I spent a few hours visiting and (in Niall's case) playing wildly with this enormous blow-up pillow (just like the one in Niall's OT session, where we call it a "Totoro," after the movie). I was terrified someone was going to crack his or her head open, as the pillow was right next to all kinds of hard furniture and sharp corners, and the kids were throwing themselves on it and bouncing each other off of it. I stayed in the room to keep an eye on them, while most of the other parents chatted in the dining room (without a care in the world, I guess!)

Cory really liked the train set, which had radio controlled trains - very cool. One of Niall's classmates knew how to put it together and make it work so Cory was paying close attention so he could do it himself.

It was something of a stressful scene, but the kids enjoyed it (of course). I had a chance to chat with a fellow Stanford alum, so that was fun. We were there at about the same time and both spent tons of time at LOTS, bemoaning the lack of a CS undergraduate degree, switching majors from Chem E to something else (EE, in my case, and Mathematical Sciences in her case).

[day 86 ... march 27]

Here's a place that I frequent just about every week: the King County Library. The Redmond branch is on my beaten path, so that's where I have holds sent to and where I pick up and drop off books and movies. I reserve items for myself, of course, but largely for the little guys. I've checked out more Wiggles and Bob the Builder movies than I care to admit to! :-)

Today Niall, Cory and I stopped by the library on our way home from school, taking the back way through Redmond. We picked up several movies and books on hold, swung by the DVD shelf and got, oh, another few DOZEN movies (sigh!), and then headed home. Kept the boys busy in the afternoon while I did some work, at least.

[day 85 ... march 26]

A view of the mundane in my life: the never-ending dishes. Always a pile of clean pots and pans to unload from the dish drainer, and a quickly growing pile of dirty pots and pans to start on as soon as the drainer is empty. No wonder housework feels endless: it is.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

[day 84 ... march 25]

My turn for observation/conference for Cory's class today. One of my favorite things to do. I sit in the observation room with the window slid open so I can hear the kids talking. I write down verbatim notes about conversations and interactions, partly because they're so cool to look back on years later (I still have many from Kellen and Tynor observations, long ago) and partly because it keeps me looking very "busy" so kids are less likely to try to engage with me and instead focus on each other and their important work together.

Here's Cory with his (current) "best friend" Theo - a fellow Star Wars fanatic. "Theo and I know just about everything, that's why we like to play together." :-)

I could stay and observe all day. Just love watching all the kids creating, play-acting together, helping each other, sharing, resolving problems, pounding playdough - just the whole thing. Everything is fascinating and they are learning new facts, ideas, approaches every minute of the day. It's such a refreshing window into a simpler life, the life of 4- and 5-year-olds, focused on what really matters.

[day 83 ... march 24]

I just loved this tableau of Ruth (Haber) and Niall reading side-by-side in the library. Ruth's mom and I attended a strategic planning meeting after school, so we picked up the kids from Extended Day at the same time. It was almost 6:00, and there were Ruth and Niall, contentedly reading away. They wanted to just stay there instead of going home, they were so comfortable and enjoying their reading so much. But gee, the library isn't open all night (too bad!).

[day 82 ... march 23]

Niall had a dentist appointment today, which I thought would be just a standard cleaning, checkup, and flouride visit. That's challenging enough for a boy with sensory issues, but he's gotten much better about being able to handle it. They decided he needed x-rays this time, and not just bite-wings but a panorama. He did so well! Stood very still, tolerated having those awful cardboard bitewing film pieces in his mouth. Stayed calm and still, did just what he was asked to do. Yay Niall!

I thought we were home free, but no. First, the dentist showed me a tiny shadow on one of the x-rays that is apparently yet another cavity we'll need to get filled. No amount of diligent brushing and flossing prevents them all with this guy, it seems. We work so hard at it too. :-( Then she said we should put sealants on his molars, which I've been resistant to previously (Kellen and Tynor did find without them, and honestly, seems like just one more way to add a "preventative" that perhaps all kids don't need but which insurance companies will pay for). But since Niall is so cavity prone, I agreed to go ahead - not realizing she meant they'd apply them today. Yikes! That did *not* go well. First, the hygienist didn't tell him exactly what she was going to do and take it slowly. Second, to keep the sealant off his cheek, he had to have a piece of something edgy stuck in there while she "cured" each sealant application, and it hurt his mouth but he was still supposed to hold still while she finished each one.

I didn't realize that she was doing something besides the regular cleaning until she was almost done with three (out of six) of them, and then had to run Cory to the bathroom. When I got back, Niall was out of the chair, sobbing madly, completely distraught. :-( The hygienist said they "weren't able" to do the final three sealants - um, no kidding! Clearly the process wasn't working for Niall and they should have stopped and figured out a Plan B.

So now I need to talk to the dentist again about Niall's disability, how to best handle it, and stress that things need to go slow, he needs to be told exactly what's going to happen, and if it hurts, we figure out another way to do it (like add meds). Sigh. I blame myself, too, for bringing Cory along and having him take my attention away from making sure Niall's visit was going smoothly. Won't make that mistake again. So much for "routine visit." :-(

Monday, March 23, 2009

[day 81 ... march 22]

Tynor's 15th birthday was last Thursday, of course, but we finally had cake and ice cream (and the all-important presents) for him today. I made our traditional (since Cory arrived, anyway - before we used to get Baskin-Robbins ice cream cakes but that doesn't work well when one child has a dairy allergy) chocolate layer cake with chocolate frosting, and it was yummy and delicious (everyone agreed, not just me :-). It was nice to have all the boys at home and enjoying cake together.

[day 80 ... march 21]

Niall, Cory and I took a long-overdue trip to Woodland Park Zoo today. Saw lots of animals, of course, but the highlights were playing in the Habitat Discovery Loop and watching a peacock display his beautiful fan of feathers.
We also explored several parts of the zoo that had been added since our last trip a year ago, including the Temperate Forest with its cool birds and the flamingos, who were all posed on one foot sleeping when we arrived. Gorgeous!