CI Activation

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mom always knows best, right?

When we decided to pull Thomas out of the Hearing School of the Southwest a year ago, I knew that it was the right thing to do. Well, God had a strong hand (kind of a slap that I needed) in my decision to follow my gut and make some changes for our little man. These changes made a huge difference in his overall development and his receptive/expressive language really took off.

A year later, I find myself not knowing what to do. I almost don't even want to type the words but, I'm not loving Thomas' mainstream preschool teacher (whew, I actually wrote what I've been feeling for weeks now). Last year, we were blessed with an AWESOME, LOVING, THOUGHTFUL and SPECIAL teacher at the same preschool. I can't say the same words about his teacher this year.

I haven't even taken Thomas' FM system to the school yet because I don't get the sense that the teacher wants to be bothered with it. In fact when I was in the classroom last Thursday to help them with Thomas' hearing aid, I said to the teacher that I would be happy to come in with Thomas before or after school to show them exactly how to manage Thomas' technology (I was also going to show them how to use the FM system). The teacher brushed over my offer and changed the subject. Really, really what teacher does that?

Also, Thomas hasn't eaten a full lunch (often times only eating some chips) since he's been in her class this year. She doesn't seem at all worried about this. There are 16, yes 16, three-year olds in Thomas' class. I can only imagine the noise level of the class and with Thomas not having his FM, I'm wondering what he is actually hearing.

I guess the biggest issue is that Thomas isn't as excited to go to his mainstream preschool as he is to attend his auditory/oral preschool. I love his auditory/oral teachers and more importantly, so does Thomas.

So, I've contacted another preschool here in Keller that was recommended by a friend of mine. I'm going to tour it later this week or early next week. I'm sure that there will be a waiting list but, it is potentially better than his current spot.

I just wish that God would give me another slap to make me know for sure that "Mom always knows best!"

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thankful Thursday

This week I'm thankful for:

Catching up with my sister on the phone. She is such an awesome woman that talking to her always makes my heart 10 times bigger than it was before we chatted. Also, getting a quick call just to confirm that Thomas didn't have the recently recalled N5...she is always thinking of others.

Working on a family advisory council for Cook Children's Rehab. I love that my child goes to a facility of wonderful clinicians and staff that want to make sure that they are continuously making improvements to help all families. Can't wait to continue our work on the "progression of care" binders for all the various types of therapies and services that they provide!

Hearing my kiddos laugh and talk together...I love how Sidney continues to expand Thomas' vocabulary...they also make my heart grow 10 times bigger almost every day of the week.

Receiving all the emails, phone calls and facebook comments about how to help Thomas with his ongoing feeding challenges. I'm calling tomorrow to schedule a formal evaluation.

Seeing Thomas' huge smile when he gets off the bus from his auditory/oral preschool...he truly loves it.

Getting a facebook post saying that a friend of mine enjoyed listening to Thomas sing the songs in Sunday school friend didn't know it but, she made my week. She even gave me a CD of all the songs that they are learning so I can sing them with Thomas at home -- thanks bunches, Andra!

Knowing that the weekend is just around the corner and I can sleep in past 6:15...hopefully seeing the sun shining before I have to get out of bed.

Having some fun friends over this coming Saturday afternoon to cook out and to watch some college football.

I'm very blessed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Thomas has become infatuated with his ABCs! Earlier this week, we put together his ABC puzzle and he started to sing his ABCs. Like many kids, he gets "lost" around the L-M-N-O-P part of the song. Also, he started to sing the "Alpha Tots" version of the song at the end but, he is definitely trying to know them all.

His auditory/oral classroom has been working on "open" and "closed" letters. We had fun making an open-C and a closed-O. He is also doing well making his A with the guidance of his mainstream preschool using handwriting without tears.

Gotta love a kid that loves to learn!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Me and My Bike

Our preacher at Hillside is doing a series called "Faith that Works" a study about the book of James. During the series, he has drawn the metaphor of our faith as a bike that we ride along the path of life. We have the choice to turn the bike down the wrong path or the path that God is calling us to choose. During today's sermon, he stated that some of us are not even on the bike. That we got off the bike gradually or that we simply stopped and got off, and can tell those around us the exact date that we got off our bike.

I got off my bike the day that we got the results from Thomas' MRI. We received the enlarged vestibular aqueduct diagnosis from our ENT/surgeon and I saw before me a steep mountain that I didn't want to ride my bike up. It was a rocky path, not even a road or sidewalk in sight. So, I tossed my bike aside and started up the mountain because I didn't want the weight of my bike to slow me down...I could take the mountain on my own. I didn't need faith in God to get me up to the top.

This was the absolute darkest time in my life, without question. I was angry at everyone, especially God. I cried every single day for months on end. I was depressed and couldn't even talk to many people about what I was going through, let alone pray for help. I completely shut down and in doing so picked up many bad habits that ultimately became sins -- self-reliance, pride, selfishness, being closed-off emotionally, among many others. I simply focused on getting Thomas the technology, the services and home program needed. My bike at the bottom of the mountain was becoming old and rusty, with flat tires.

About a year into walking up the mountain in complete darkness, I realized that I couldn't do it alone. So, I sat down with our pastor and he "told me like it was." He didn't pussy-foot around, he gave me a reality check like no other. This was a big step for me because I found people of true faith to be intimidating, especially our pastor. I cried while he shot me straight and remember one specific thing that he asked, "Who are you to think that God won't use your own child to make you the person that He wants you to become?"

So, I went back down the mountain, serviced my bike and got back on it. Today, my bike still has training wheels because my faith isn't truly what it should be...I still have fits and spurts of spiritual energy...I sometimes coast along when I should be pedaling to take on the next uphill section of our journey...but sometimes, I pedal hard and feel God's wind at my back to help me along.

As Thomas' fourth birthday approaches, I'm wanting to buy him a big boy bike. Of course, he will need training wheels. Hopefully, I can give him the training wheels from my bike...then I will be totally relying on the Lord. I'll have to keep pedaling and not get back off. This is one of my prayers today...keep pedaling and taking the path that God wants, not getting off or slowing going backwards down the mountain.

Another prayer is for the thousands of people that recently received a hearing loss diagnosis or failed newborn hearing screening. May they not get off their bikes, may they turn to God for guidance and strength. May they not take the path that I did not so long ago.

My final prayer is for my children...may I help them learn about their bikes, teach them how to ride and let them pedal down the paths that God has chosen for them.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Another challenge besides hearing loss

As background, Thomas suffered from severe reflux as an infant/early toddler. Throwing up was a constant battle for him and wore the both of us out almost This was later compounded by sensory integration issues with soft and mixed textures. We went to OT for 6-months and graduated once his hands and feet were desensitized to texture, along with progress in other SI areas.

As of right now, we still face eating issues with our little man. He wants and demands to eat the same thing at every meal. We have been fairly successful with having him eat out but, still ordering the same thing for him. It has been difficult to say the least, especially when we travel and stay at hotels. I can't order the exact same meal for him as I personally make him at home. It makes social gatherings nearly impossible unless we feed him before we go to dinner at a friend's house, or take his food with us to prepare.

When we were at John Tracy this summer, the OT that observed Thomas recommended our getting back into OT but, focusing on his eating issues. I have to admit that this made me cry, not little tears but, huge, fat mombo-jombo tears. I can't go back to him throwing up all the time, making 2 meals 3 times a day, all the tears and the struggles. I know that this sounds so selfish but, I'm being totally honest!

Heeding the OT's recommendation though, Sean and I tried (okay, maybe bribed) to get Thomas to eat a peanut butter sandwich this past weekend...what kid doesn't love peanut butter? I practically lived on it when I was his age! He ate almost half of a sandwich and then, yep you guessed it, he vomited all of it up at the kitchen table. Additionally, he hasn't really eaten any of his lunch at his mainstream preschool, even with encouragement from his teachers. Peer pressure doesn't seem to impact our little man, unlike all the information that I've been reading lately.

When I took him to preschool this morning, we agreed that he would eat three bites of everything (the typical lunch that I make everyday at home) that I packed in his lunchbox. I arrived at school to pick him up and Thomas proclaims, "I didn't eat my lunch, Mommy. You're not mad or sad. I'm not going to timeout." I kneeled down and said, "I'm disappointed that you didn't eat any of your lunch. You need to eat to become big, strong and learn all of the great things in class." His response to me? A big hug, kiss and he said, "I love you, Mommy." Nice try to get me off the subject. It almost worked and then I said, "Nope, we are going to go home and make a special snack." His response, "I'm not going to eat peanut butter sandwich." I said, "Okay, you don't have to eat peanut butter sandwich today."

We walked out of school and I was seriously trying to come up with an idea of what to make him, keeping in mind that I have to get him eating something that I can pack in his lunchbox. Then, I remembered my husband's recommendation of toasting the bread. So, I told Thomas that we were going to make a toasted cheese sandwich. I talked about the ingredients, the process and how it would taste. We walked into the house, took off our shoes, washed our hands, I lifted him up onto the kitchen counter and we began making his snack. I even let him pick out the cookie cutter to make the sandwich fun (of course, he chose the train engine).

While he didn't eat the whole thing, he ate probably half of what would have been an entire sandwich...small victory for him...yes? Not throwing up...huge victory for us both...definitely.

It still makes me wonder and need help from all the awesome parents out there in "blog-o-sphere." Who else faces these issues? What do you do to help your child? We've tried food chaining in the past without success, does it really work? What has been successful for all of you? Should I get him back into OT again? Or should I look at feeding therapy only (which we did before and wasn't successful)?...sigh! Help! And, thank you for any responses that I get!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thankful Thursday

To be completely honest, I'm stealing this idea from a parenting of special needs children magazine. I want to have a positive day of the week where Thomas (when he is older) and my friends/family can read about the little things that I'm grateful for each week.

So here goes nothing -- I'm grateful for:

Having a team at the public auditory/oral preschool that understood that two or more hours on the bus coming home is too much for any child, let alone a 3-year old. Thomas' bus ride home is now clocking in at roughly 45 minutes.

My children loving to go to school each and every morning without complaining (although I do miss the kisses and hugs when they tell me good-bye).

Eating lunch by myself yesterday at a local bakery and having some quiet time to read The Shack.

Going shopping with a girlfriend for a few hours and talking about things other than our children.

My husband recommending that I escape for a bit this coming Saturday to have lunch with a dear friend that I haven't seen in months...even though he is not so secretly wanting to watch college football without feeling guilty that he should be helping me around the house.

Getting an email from Thomas' new speech therapist at school simply to tell me that Thomas said to her, "Thank you very much!" at the completion of yesterday's therapy session. Yea for good manners!

Hearing a recap of Thomas' day at preschool in which he ACTUALLY told me almost all of the activities that he did in school.

Cheese grits and a daughter that loves them.

The cool front that is suppose to knock our temperatures down below 100 degrees this coming weekend.