Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thankful: Part II, Florida edition

It is easy to lose sight of what God has provided to each of us. Sure, every family has their share of hardships. And to each family, those particular hardships, whether monetary woes, diseases, family strains, job losses, or what-have-you, have the ability to rock us to the core. Yes, life is hard. Yes, life isn't fair sometimes. But if we are able to remove ourselves from our own bubble in the game of life and look at the bigger picture we just might be able to see that we have it better than billions of people who inhabit third-world countries who have no Thanksgiving day. There is always someone, somewhere whose plight is insurmountably worse than our own.

Cameran has made me very conscious of living in the moment. I sometimes struggle to use my time wisely, okay--I'm not gonna lie, I am a procrastinator, piler, and cleaning loather at heart, but I make sure that my time at home is with Cameran and Ryan. It is okay to just simply BE. Sure, I would love to go to the park more, and take more trips to the library, but sometimes snuggling and playing at home in-the-moment is alright.

Right now I am still in Florida with my husband's family, having just showered after reflecting (okay, mostly relaxing and tanning) by the pool. It is our last day, and our super-early flight tomorrow will find us back to Pennsyvania where cold weather abounds, and that is okay too . Right now I am here in Florida, in the present, thankful that I am able to BE here.

More about Florida to come...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thankful: Part 1

Yesterday we traveled down the interstate to my parents' house for the first Thanksgiving feast of the year. Typically we "do" Thanksgiving in Pennsylvania, and go out of state to visit Ryan's family for Christmas vacation (this is where it is extremely convenient for us both to be on a public school work schedule). In any case, R's family recently purchased a townhome in Ft. Lauderdale where his younger brother, Dustin, attends college. We decided that Thanksgiving would be a perfect time to visit D and check out the new pad. I am blessed with very accommodating, flexible parents who don't give us a hard time about mixing up holiday plans to go out of state to see R's family.

Poor Cameran was not satisfied with her toddler version of Thanksgiving dinner, and was a horrible eater. In any case, she still had fun playing with Uncle Bubba (dog), Pappy, and Nanny. As always, it was a relaxing time, spent with those I love the most.  No sooner did we get in the car to leave did she start coughing and sneezing and blowing ginormous snot bubbles from her nose. She was downright miserable for the next few hours, and finally went to sleep around 10:30. Not a happy camper. Thankfully, she woke up this morning seemingly a bit better.

Here are a few pictures from the iPhone (of course).

On our way to Nanny's and Pappy's house

I <3 Budda Bellies

We attempted Christmas card pictures and hundreds of frames later I am hoping to get one edited and sent off to Shutterfly to take advantage of the blogger special! 
Potential Christmas card minus editing.  (Picture of the pre-edited picture.)

Cameran beating up Daddy.

I wonder what they are talking about?
Blessings as you make your way through this holiday week.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Daddy knows how to get Cami to laugh...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Early Intervention Personal Perceptions

I am not one the parents with children who have extra needs who dislikes Early Interventions (EI).  In fact, anything that may help Cameran I am all for.  I am at a place where I neither feel jilted nor jaded by the EI system.  In fact, reading other blog posts has actually made me aware that we have it pretty stinkin' good in Pennsylvania.  One hundred percent is covered, AND therapists come to our house.  It is a win-win.  I have posted before that I think Cameran being our first child has helped because we have no basis of comparison.

And it's true.  The amount of evenings we dedicate to EIs and appointments is our "norm".  Even though it is sometimes annoying to need to rush out of work to get home in time to beat Cameran's therapists to the front door, it still is for the betterment of my daughter, and I couldn't live with myself thinking that I didn't do everything possible for her.  She is at daycare during the day, and they are wonderfully accomodating of all of her special needs and therapies.  In fact one way accomodate our schedule to fit in her therapies consisting of a Special Instructor (SI) similar to a play therapist, Occupational Therapist (OT), and Physical Therapist (PT) is to have them go to daycare one week, and to our home on the alternating week.  We have done this a variety of ways.  For a while, at home we had entire weeks off and Cameran was seen at daycare three times.  Now, for example, we have PT and SI at the house the same week that OT goes to daycare, and the next week it is just OT at the house and PT and SI go to daycare.  It really varies, and everyone is quite flexible.  I know it is also not that easy for everyone.  Our experiences have been exceptionally positive.  All three therapists are punctual, and if they do get stuck in traffic, always call or send a text message.  When sessions are missed due to unforseen circumstances on either end, we are quick to communicate, and make-up sessions always follow.

That stated, I also have not jumped on every bandwagon/homeopathic treatment available.  There is a lot to be said for NutriVene and other supplements being able to enhance individuals with Ds and their potential, however, because of Cameran's involvement with Western medicines due to her infantile spasm seizures, GERD, etc., I do not feel putting more foreign substances into her little body is of benefit now.  In the future, who knows?!

Basically I have found families fall into one of several camps when it comes to EI:
-those who are all for it, and if it helps, great, and if it doesn't, then at least it is one more person positively interacting with said child (This is my crew if you couldn't tell.  Would Cameran have been sitting up at X month without intervention? Who knows, but she did, she can, and EI surely did not hurt her.)
-skeptics who try and later bail, whether for financial reasons, personal reasons, or scheduling reasons
-larger families who have enough family members to keep the LO with special needs movin' and groovin' without the need of therapists
-those who think EI is bogus/waste of time either because they had bad experiences or just plain found it inconvenient
-those who are all about vitamins/supplements/alterna-therapies

I am sure there are more, but these seem to be the main sets of feelings regarding EI.  One is not more correct than the other.  I am sure if I had a family of six, and stayed at home I might feel differently about the value of someone coming into my home x times a week/month,etc.  In fact, the social interactions of a larger family alone are reason enough to rationally justify not needing a SI.  However, hubs and myself like to do parent-ish (I know, I know, English teacher using a non-word) things with Cami, and not always worry whether or not we are interacting in a way that is engaging her gross-motor skills, etc.  Sometimes it is nice to know that we can snuggle and kiss and hug her all evening long, and the PT will be out tomorrow to work on x,y, and z skill sets. 

Am I articulating well?  I am not sure. 

Bottom line: EI works for us.  It isn't for everyone.  I am not a judgemental person by nature, so to each his own.  Ryan and I have forged relationships with each of Cami's therapists, and respect them as teachers/therapists/sounding-boards-confidants/friends.  They have provided us with excellent connections and resources in the Ds community that we would not have known about otherwise. 

Cameran loves them.

AND THEY LOVE CAMERAN.  (Who doesn't want people doting on their child, expecting the best for him/her?)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hope for the Future

We parents of kids with special needs live in the present, mainly out of survival. Dwelling on the future leads to nothing good. However, every now and again there is a news story worth sharing that represents glimmers of hope amidst our sea of uncertainty.

Have you read it yet? 


About two weeks ago I toyed with blogging about a work-related "incident" where I temporarily lost my composure after a student, without thinking, decided to entertain my homeroom with said student's version of "I'm a Little Teapot" with some alternate lyrics containing the r-word and some not so nice hand gestures.  Thankfully I teach in a building where name-calling, derogatory remarks, slurs, etc. are not tolerated.  Suffice it to say that this poor child learned his lesson.  I am not proud of my over-reaction to student's antic; I simply chalk it up to my Mama-bear alterego kicking in.  Yeah, yeah, now you are all wondering what happened...Basically I told Student it was not nice to say that word, and that I was the last person Student should say it to/in front of before other students chimed in and reminded Student of my daughter prior to me running out of the room and bursting into tears. 

For a number of other unrelated indiscretions this student found the way to suspension.  All I can think is that Student's display made me think about how strongly I reacted knowing that Cameran is going to someday have to survive middle school and ignorant comments such as this.  It made me sad.  Not so much angry, but sad and hurt. 

And again, I thought about posting two weeks ago when this happened.  But I didn't.  Until now, and for several reasons.  I am now able to make it a short anecdote and not an emotionally-charged tyrade as I fear it may have been had I posted when it actually occured.  Mostly though, because tonight at parent-teacher conferences, Student and family came in together for a conference with the team.  Student was very subdued, and very quietly on the way out, Student made his way over to where I was sitting and apologized.  And it was sincere.  And, in true Jen fashion, I cried.  But, it gives me hope to know that maybe, just maybe Student learned a lesson and will be one lesson individual cracking jokes at people with special needs.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I Can See Clearly Now...

Last night we (Nanny, Great Granny, Cameran and I) headed off to Mechanicsburg to pick out new frames for Cameran. 

An hour and $198 later I decided upon these:

Not quite sure...

Poor Daddy was at his grad class all night, so I had to text pictures of about 5 different pairs to him.  It was quite entertaining deciding which frames to choose via text messaging.  In the end, I listened to Ryan and bought a neutral pair decided to pick out a funky, bright blue color.  At one point Ryan agreed that he liked them, so hey, it counts, right?  I am hoping they come in this week, but have a feeling they won't be in until next week.  I am so excited to see them fit properly!  Who knows, maybe Cami will be an all-star Einstein and keep the glasses on instead of ripping them off her face like at the optician last night...  She did so well with her first pair, so I do have high hopes, but we will just have to see (pun intended).

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sweet November

Now that Halloween is over and November has begun, the beginning of crazy season is officially upon us.  No more leisurely trips to Toys 'R Us without the maddening Christmas crowds fighting over the three Kinect Xbox consoles the store may or may not have, along with all the rest of this season's hottest toys, gadgets, and gizmos. 

Gone are the browns and oranges and reds of "fall", instead, replaced with reds and greens of Yuletide joy.  Last time I checked Thanksgiving was an official American holiday, completed with the same corn husks and hay bales and pumpkins sans jack-o-lanterns of Halloween, but hey, if you are in retail, jumping right to Christmas is the "in" thing. 

I refuse to let go of my November.  My AUTUMN November.  My decorations will stay orange and brown and red until our plane returns from sunny Florida and the calendar changes to December 1.  Maybe by then I will be ready to give up my sweet November. 

In other news, Cameran is giving Tigger (you know, Winnie-the-Poo's annoyingly energetic striped feline friend?) a run for his money.  She has been (for about a week) bouncing around as a mode of transporation.  She also enjoys hurtling herself forward to get into "crawl", as opposed to a graceful descent, but hey, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, and I am completely owning my complete and utter lack of grace and coordination.  Way to go Cami.

I feel like November is the month.  She pulls to a stand by readily grabbing onto Ryan's or my hands, and then proceeds to wiggle and pivot and check things out.  She will stand against the sofa for extended periods of time before bending her knees and collapsing. And I know that she should be crawling or army crawling or something like that, but dammit, that girl hates the four-point (unless it's her idea, in which case she looks like a sprinter ready to leave her block at the start of the race but then never bothers leaving the block).

Did I mention round 2?  Of glasses that is.  Tomorrow we will embark on our round two journey to procure glasses for little Einstein.  Apparently her eyes are improving, but there is astigmatism of the right eye, and so she does not begin to aggressively favor the other eye to compensate, the doc. wants her to "try out" a newer prescription in hopes of balancing out both eyes.  Of course her original glasses that she wore for all of four months prior to her seizure diagnosis don't fit and are the wrong prescription anyway.

Merry Christmas, Cameran.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Picture Madness and Baby Boyfriends

Okay.  So I must've been living under a rock, thinking that I needed an awesome camera/editing software to create embellished picture. SOOOO not true.  I am sure has been around for quite a while, but my silly self JUST -as in over the weekend- discovered this program.  And now I am hooked.  So, the header may not look quite right and may change every day, but that is the way it is going to be.  And thanks to my friend Karen over at Tales of a Library Lady for helping me figure out how to make a collage that would actually be an appropriate header size!  Her son is super cute, and is one of Cameran's many boyfriends.

Speaking of boyfriends--Cameran's identical twin boyfriends from daycare celebrated their 2nd birthday today.  Cameran took part in the festivities and apparently even went to town on a cupcake!  Now, when I pick P up, the boys run over and say "Cammin's mommy! Cammin's mommy!" and actually request to give her hugs.  They were practically pushing me out of the way while I was trying to put her jacket on to get to her.  Even though they are now two, they get to stay in the 1s room until Christmas when there are openings in the 2s.  I am glad because they definitely give Cameran the interaction that she needs.

Along with interactions--tonight Cameran got across the entire floor in her walker going forward!  She also tracked my voice and came toward me as I bribed her with her puppy.  It worked!!!  Not only that, but Cameran finally imitated clapping for the first time!!!!!!!!!!! She is still munching away on everything that is NOT a teething ring, but her efforts are still fruitless.  Someday.  If not, maybe they make baby grills dentures ;)
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