Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

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Sep '10

Piddlings and More

Wes and Carissa.

Wes is 3 and Carissa is 5 1/2 weeks.

Wes loves preschool and is so excited when the bus comes. He hops on board and doesn’t look back. He loves to count (or, rather, I count while I hold up my fingers and he holds up his hand). And I just taught him the “Give me five, up high, down low, too slow” thing and he thinks it’s hilarious. He likes playing in his sandbox out back, which means I frequently get to brush sand out of his hair and sweep up sand that’s thrown everywhere. But he sure has fun. We’re also working on brushing his teeth at night. This is essentially torture for everyone involved, but maybe someday it’ll get easier.

Carissa’s eyelashes are growing in long and curly and I am hopeful she has John’s luscious lashes. She’s getting stronger at holding her head up and does well at tummy time. And she’s starting to smile on purpose, but not too often yet. Someday I’ll catch it on camera. Smiles really open up a baby’s personality, like they’re more than diapers and milk–they’re a person!

This week I resumed teaching Zumba and it’s good! Even last night when my pants (which I usually cinch up) were too long and I slipped and totally biffed it hard and nearly fell off the stage and the microphone’s batteries died and then didn’t work even when I replaced them–the class was still good! A couple girls came up to thank me for how sweaty they were. One said she looked at the clock once, sure class wasn’t even half over, but discovered there were only ten minutes left. That’s Zumba. I am glad to be back.

I am watching what I eat, following an eating program designed by KristiApproved, and it is the best thing ever. I’m eating a structured, well-balanced diet that’s low carb, high protein, and very low sugar. I love it. I grocery shop on the weekend, get all my food prepared and in the fridge, so when it’s time to eat I know exactly what to eat and it doesn’t take long to prepare. I eat essentially the same thing every day for seven days, with some variation. I thought this would be weird, but it’s totally easy and convenient.

This is one of my favorite things to eat. I usually have it about mid-morning, and it’s so tasty that Wes eats mine and then I have to make myself a new one. It’s egg that makes me think I’m eating a pancake.

Egg Pancake

1 egg
2 egg whites
cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla Stevia

Mix ingredients and pour into greased skillet heated on medium. Spread to crepe or pancake size. Cook until you can flip it, then reduce heat to low and cook 1-2 minutes more. Serve with 2 Tbsp sugar-free syrup.

Stevia is new to me. It’s a natural zero-calorie sweetener and it is the first non-sugar sweetener I’ve ever used that I actually like. Scratch that. LOVE. I also put the Stevia in club soda for a drink that’s like a creme soda. So good.

I always eat the egg pancake with apple spice oatmeal. Also so stinkin’ good.

Apple Spice Oatmeal

1/4 apple, diced
2 Tbsp instant oatmeal
2 Tbsp cream of wheat
1/2-2/3 c. water
1/2 packet sugar-free apple cider powder

Microwave apple 30 seconds until soft. Microwave oats and cream of wheat with the water for a minute or two. Remove and stir in apple, sugar-free apple cider powder, and cinnamon.

And both those things eaten together is only about 240 calories.

Sep '10

Out of the Woodwork We Come

First off, here’s our resident princess.

She’s nearly five weeks old now, growing, and I think her blue-black hair is starting to go more dark brown/black.

This week I start teaching Zumba again. I’m looking forward to it and hope I don’t keel over in the first hour from lack of stamina. Five weeks postpartum might be a little early to start, but I hope it will be good. I’m following a new eating schedule that so far I love. It’s helping me feel healthier, more energetic, and I’m starting to lose a little weight. All good things.

A lot of big changes lately for Wes. He turned three on September 12. First, he got a bouquet of balloons from my folks. He went nuts over those.

His occupational therapist (whom we love) brought him a terrific and timely gift of a memory matching game. We’ve been working with him on matching, and he’s doing so great. Instead of flimsy cards, the pictures are on more of a cardboard material so Wes can’t destroy them as easily. There are pictures of balls (his favorite toy), and even of pretzels (his favorite food)!

We took him to an indoor bounce house place. Wes is completely in his element there. He jumps off everything and is braver than I am on the really tall slides. Here he is climbing with his cousin Savannah.

For his birthday I made cupcakes, more for the tradition of it than for Wes to eat. He’s not into cake. Too bad, as these were cream-filled chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter cream frosting.

I bought him some pretzel M&Ms that he ate instead. But we still lit a candle and sang to him, and John blew out the candle for him. Maybe next year he’ll know how to blow on things.

But he does know how to open presents, and he got to do that.

Now that Wes is three he starts preschool. He’s been there twice so far and, as far as I can tell, he likes it. He doesn’t really talk, so I actually have no idea what he truly thinks of it, or what exactly he does each day, but the teacher has a blog where she posts highlights of what they’re learning about.

I know he likes riding the bus. We sit outside on our front porch and wait for it to come. When it pulls us, Wes jumps up and walks down the steps and gets on the bus without even looking back. And when he comes home from school he is tuckered and takes a great nap. So far, preschool is good.

Sep '10


On Friday John and I took Wes to his preschool classroom to meet his teacher and new speech therapist and to do an IEP. I have no idea what IEP stands for, but it amounts to goal setting and a bunch of paperwork. Starting preschool marks the transition for Wes from his therapy services for ages 0-3 into the services for school-aged kids. Now he’s part of the school district, and he’ll be there for a long time. He starts next week.

His teacher is a special education instructor and his class will have about nine kids, six with special needs and three typical. The special needs vary from the mildest speech delay on up. I think Wes will be the only kid in his class with Down syndrome.

I have heard glowing reports of his teacher, and I liked her when I met her. I think Wes will love preschool. While we spent an hour going over paperwork Wes got to explore the room and play with all the toys. Pretty much he was in heaven.

School will be 2 1/2 hours twice a week. If his teacher finds he would aid from more days a week then he’ll go more often. But he only qualifies for two days a week based on his test scores.

Wes will get picked up by a small school bus. In addition to the driver there is a helper who sings songs with the kids and brings toys for them to play with. I’ve heard that kids love riding the bus. It will also make the transition easier for both Wes and me since I won’t have to drop him off at school.

The schedule for his days looks like this:

11:00-11:05 Arrival and sign-in
11:05-11:25 Large group calendar/Singing time
11:25-11:50 Lunch/Independent book time
11:50-12:00 Large group story time
12:00-12:10 Large group lesson
12:10-12:50 Indoor play
12:50-1:00 Large group lesson
1:00-1:15 Centers/Small groups
1:15-1:30 Outdoor play/Gross motor skills work

I need to get Wes a backpack and a lunchbox or cooler. I can’t believe I’ll be packing him a lunch to eat away from home like a big boy when he’s still so little.

The IEP meeting involved me, John, his new teacher, his new speech therapist, his old occupational therapist, his old physical therapist, the typical preschool teacher, and a school representative. We sat in tiny chairs around a tiny table and talked about what help Wes qualifies for and what types of goals would be good to work on this year. Everything is documented on paper.

Last month Wes was evaluated by his therapists and, like I said, he scored well in many areas. Anything 7% or lower qualifies for special education and therapy services. Here’s what his results look like:

I. Social/Emotional Development 27%

II. Adaptive (self-help) Skills Development 14%

III. Physical/Motor Development
A. Gross
1. Stationary 37%
2. Locomotion 16%
B. Fine (Object Manipulation) 37%
C. Total 23%

IV. Language/Speech Development
A. Receptive 1%
B. Expressive 1%
C Total 1%

V. Cognitive Development 12%

So the only service he’ll be receiving especially is speech therapy, about 15 minutes each class.

Although he scored 12% in Cognitive Development, one of the subcategories was Perception and Concepts and he scored just 1% there. Not surprising to me. So they’ll be working with him on that. But he did well in the other subcategories: Attention and Memory (25%) and Reasoning and Academic Skills (37%).

Goals that his preschool teacher will work on with Wes this year:

1. Wesley will transition and remain in a requested area independently in 4/5 transitions across 3 successive sessions. (To begin, he will remain in a requested area with visual/verbal cues.)

2. Wesley will tolerate a variety of sensory stimuli and textures in 3/4 trials for 3 successive sessions.

3. Wesley will find a match for a variety of pictures and objects, including but not limited to colors and shapes, with 80% accuracy for 3 successive sessions.

4. Wesley will point to a requested picture or object including but not limited to shapes/colors with 80% accuracy for 3 successive sessions. (To begin, Wesley will match a variety of pictures and objects including but not limited to shapes/colors with 80% accuracy for 3 successive sessions.)

Goals that his speech therapist will work on with Wesley this year:

1. Wesley will correctly identify spatial concepts (e.g., in, on, out of, etc.) on 4/5 trials over 3 consecutive sessions. (To begin, Wesley will use 2-3 word phrases to identify/name objects including but not limited to spatial concepts on 4/5 trials over 3 consecutive sessions.)

2. Wesley will correctly name objects in pictures in 4/5 trials over 3 consecutive sessions.

3. Wesley will answer simple wh questions and yes/no questions with 80% accuracy over 3 consecutive sessions.

I’ll be interested to see him learn how to stay in his requested area (he’s so independent and adventurous), learn to point to requested objects (which is hard for him), and pick up more speech from being around other kids who talk. I also hope he’ll learn to not be afraid of the sound of scissors and tape because they’ll be using scissors every day in school.

So that’s preschool. And that’s our boy growing up.