Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Bunch of This and That

Where to start?

I've decided to do a casserole-style post today since I have lots to share and don't feel like doing 5 separate posts. So I'm just going to combine everything here and hope it doesn't leave a bad taste in anyone's mouth. :)

Speaking of mouths... Ethan lost another tooth a little over a week ago. It didn't happen without tears, drama, and a couple phone calls to Nana, though. Here he is after all the above-mentioned was over:
The kids spent the afternoon playing outside:

The girls made Ethan's soccer goal into a tent and had fun hiding inside and pulling up grass.

Seth pitched some balls for Ethan to hit. (Pardon the poor photo quality, no time to Photoshop!)

Kibby loves to be tickled while swinging, evidently.

Little Ruby!

Ruby loves her dollies. In fact, she loves all things BABY lately.

However, MY baby is growing up. Soon to be two years old. How did that happen?! Here she is, sporting all of her hair in pigtails (ponytails?) for the first time. (Yes, I know they are crooked! She kept looking around the room while I was putting them in.)

More proof that she loves her dollies. Everyday she pats my tummy and says "Baby!" She also loves to see pictures of babies on the computer, or TV, or on billboards, or in real life... she has been nearly obsessed with babies lately. I'm hoping her affection continues and she'll be nice to her baby brother. Who is due to make his arrival in approximately FIVE WEEKS! He will be one of her birthday presents, most likely, as my due date is the day after Ruby's birthday.


Switching gears...

Kibby had her Speech / Language evaluation yesterday. I was amazed at how uninhibited she was through it all. At first she didn't want to go in the room, and sat down on the floor, crying "No I don't want to!" Of course this may have been influenced by her hearing the doctor talk about how the hall was quiet at the moment, but they had had a bunch of kids in for shots earlier and it was a big old cry-fest... JUST what Kibby wanted to hear. I had to try to convince her that she wasn't there to get shots, only to play and talk with the doctor...

Once Kibby settled in to play with some toys at the table, things went better. Sort of. She surprised me with how assertive she was being. In fact, it was a little embarrassing at times! She has a hard time focusing on what she is being asked, so the doctor was trying to get her to answer some questions and then reward her with a toy to play with. Well, that has never worked well for Kibby. She just fixates on the toy and cries for it, saying "I want it! I want the ____!" She was being so demanding and trying to grab the toys... I couldn't believe it. She was acting exactly like she does at home. Which isn't necessarily bad... just embarrassing, like I said. The only good thing about it is that the doctor got to see her true colors! The real Kibby.

The doctor did manage to get the evaluation done, but I wonder if it took longer than most. I'll never know. I did get some more insight on her language issues, though. I don't have the report yet (they'll mail it to me) so this will be vague until I have the report to look at, but she said Kibby does have a definite delay. She is partly at a 2-year-old level, and partly at a 3-year-old level for her communication. I can't remember which specific part was which, but I'll clarify in a future post. Sorry.

We talked about autism a little bit, and how it could be hard to diagnose, since it may be hard to tell what is just a result of her speech delay and what could be autism. When I mentioned her lack of imaginative play and social interaction, she said that is what she meant... is it autism or is it just because she doesn't have the communication skills to play at her peers' level yet? Which is something I've wondered, but it was good to hear a professional voice it as well. She mentioned that the Early Childhood Special Education (people) may end up diagnosing her as on the spectrum, and that wouldn't hurt because it would get her help, however, it would also label her. What she said seemed a little bit contradictory to what the social worker told us a couple of weeks ago... The social worker said the Early Childhood program had staff that would do an in-depth evaluation (more so than what was attempted at her pre-K screening / check-in in August). However, the Speech / Language therapist said they have a checklist-type diagnostic system, and that she may end up being diagnosed as autistic "more easily" by that system. So I don't know if they were both talking about the same program or not. There seems to be different programs all under the same "Early Childhood" umbrella.

At any rate, the next step is for me to contact the program on the referral paper (one of the Early Childhood programs) and have them evaluate whether she qualifies for the program. The Speech / Language therapist said that I should show them her report when they evaluate her, so hopefully I will have that by the time of the eval. We are also still waiting for an appointment to be set up for Kibby to see the Developmental Pediatrician. Which could take up to a couple of months, I'm told.

So, that's been life lately. Appointments for Kibby. Appointments for me. Preparing for Baby. Trying not to stress over all of life's little trials and just enjoy our blessings.

And looking forward to MOPS starting up again on Thursday! I've missed it over the Summer.

And my stomach has missed the yummy MOPS breakfasts. :P

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Kibby's Appointments

Kibby had a couple of appointments this week. The first was a hearing evaluation with the Audiologist on Wednesday. I wasn't sure if she would be able to be tested in the regular way, where kids push a button or somehow signal when they hear a sound. Kibby isn't the best with understanding or following directions. Especially when there are toys that she wants to play with. She doesn't like having to wait or follow rules. (We can't even get her to play Candyland with us. She just wants to hold all of the candy cards!)
However, they we able to tell, due to her body language and her looking for the sounds and such, even without much consistency on her part, that her hearing is normal. Which wasn't a surprise, but it was good to have her tested anyway, because it rules out an issue with not hearing a certain frequency or anything. So, all good there! She hears just fine!

Then on Friday we met with a social worker to determine what type of evaluation would need to be done by the Developmental Pediatrician. It took an hour and a half, and Kibby did pretty well considering the length of the appointment. She played with toys, showed off her knowledge of colors, shapes and letters, and whispered lots of off the wall things to me as I chatted with the social worker. I told her all of my concerns, and she took notes, asked questions, and we agreed that Kibby's use of language was the main issue to be looked at. Along with that is her social interaction (or non-interaction, perhaps?) and her lack of imaginative play.

I was given information on Early Childhood programs available through the school district, and an application and a number to fill out / call to see if Kibby will qualify for a certain program or not. Since she is already 3, she would go to a center as opposed to having someone come out to our house. (Which will probably be a blessing since my house is always a zoo!) :)

I also found out that it could be a long time until Kibby is seen by the Developmental Pediatrician. They lost some of their staff this Summer and although they are trying to recruit, she said they are really in demand and since there are only a couple hundred of them in the US, they can pretty much pick wherever they want to go. So... it could be a while. I don't know if "a while" means one month? Two months? Longer? We are on their list to call if there are cancellations, so if there is an opening, they'll try to call us. So we wait and see.

Next up is her appointment with the Speech / Language therapist, which is not this week, but the next. The social worker thinks that it's great that her pediatrician referred her to all 3 of these appointments, so she will get a thorough evaluation. We did also talk about the possibility of Autism. She wanted to know if that was a concern of mine. I told her yes, that it's been on my mind for about a year now. I would rather know now than continue to wonder. In my mind, having a certain diagnosis (whether that be autism or something else, or nothing but a speech delay) will be a relief because then we can figure out where to go from there, and hopefully get her some help before she starts school in 2 years. It's not to label her, and it won't change who she is - a diagnosis won't change a thing about her. She will still be the same Kibby as she's always been, but we will hopefully be able to find ways to help her communication development and social skills.

And that is something I'm really looking forward to! :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Bloom (updated to include video!)

For my fellow bookworms...

If you haven't heard, Angie Smith and Jessica Turner have started an online, virtual book club thingy that's pretty cool. They have named it Bloom, and I'm super excited to share about it with all of you. They have a blog set up and a Ning site (which I was previously unfamiliar with, but have been checking it out today and it's an amazingly clever little interactive community!) You'll notice the new Bloom button in my sidebar, and you're all welcome to click over and check it out. The first book we're reading together is Crazy Love; Overwhelmed by a Relentless God by Francis Chan.

The idea is that we'll all get the book (I've started reading it. So good!) and we'll read a chapter a week, and Angie and/or Jess will post their thoughts on Sunday nights on the blog, and we'll chime in with our thoughts in the comments and in the ning community.

(Angie and Jess really do a much better job of explaining it themselves, so if you want to check out what they have to say, click here or here!)

Here is their video (attempt) at explaining and / or introducing Bloom. You gotta love these girls, no? :)

Bloom Introduction from angie smith on Vimeo.

But seriously. Join us. The more the merrier!