Watching Polar Express during Christmas time is a big tradition in our household. One of the many that Shane can't wait to see happen. This weekend we got our decorations up, lights on the house and Christmas tree up and decorated. In Shane's world that meant that it was time for Polar Express. Our days have been busy and his behavior hasn't been all that great. With those two things in place he hasn't been able to watch it yet.
This morning it dawned on me that if we wait 'till the evening Shane will never "earn" it. He can't go that long with out melting down or exploding at this point in his life. Why not start the day out on a fun note? Try a little motivation on the front end of the day.
Me: Let's watch Polar Express this morning.
Shane: Yes, Yes, Yes!!! I have been so excited to watch it that I get mad.
Me and Kenny: Hmm...you wanted to watch it so bad that you've been mad the last couple days?
Shane: Yes. I wanted to watch it so bad I get excited and it makes me mad.
Me: Thanks for telling us that Shane. That helps us to understand what is going on with you.
A simple little conversation, but so big in Shane's life. The more he can understand and start to recognize his feelings the more we can move forward and help teach him better coping skills and skills to be more flexible in life, along with improved problem solving skills. It is a tall order but I know we'll get there little by little.
Tuesday afternoon I was standing in the kitchen talking to a friend after having just put Adalyn down for her nap. I turned around and Adalyn was standing in the kitchen doorway. I thought I was seeing a ghost and shouted holy crap. I instantly thought to myself I remembered to put her in crib, right? Then I quickly realized my little girl had climbed out of her crib for the first time ever.
Nap attempt #1 -- She climbed out with out a sound. I heard nothing on the baby monitor, not even a click of her door opening.
Nap attempt #2 -- I settled her back in and headed downstairs listening intently on the monitor for any foul play. Minutes later I heard her piano playing from her doll house. Houdini was at it again. Out with out a sound. I walked upstairs to get her and found Miss Adalyn sitting at the dining room table viewing my laptop.
That day there was no nap to be had.
That evening she was exhausted and fell asleep in her crib with out escaping. Though around 10:30pm she did end up in bed with us after having a coughing fit.
The next day she had a nap with out issues in her crib and went to bed that night in her crib just fine. Phew...we thought, she can stay in her crib awhile longer. No need to bring the toddler bed out. She got this out of her system and we are good now for a few more months.
Thursday morning (4:40am), I hear a click and jump up in my bed to see a little girl heading down the hallway towards my bed. Houdini struck again.
Thursday afternoon we put her down for a nap. Houdini goes down with out a fight. An hour and a half later Houdini comes walking down the hallway...guess nap time was over. Stealth little thing!
We discuss and discuss. We don't like it, but yes it is time to bring the toddler bed in. Time to get rid of the crib. Agh! I'm scared of what this means. I'm scared of the battles!
I ask Adalyn to show us how she gets out of the crib. One last time for video sake. We put her in the crib and she laughed at us. What, you want me to show you? Okay...giggling, watching the ipod. She sticks her leg over and falls to the ground. Thump and screaming. I drop the ipod and run to get her. Really!!! She falls this time?!??! Not one of our best parenting moments.
Right here was where I was going to post that cute little video of Houdini climbing out of her crib. Yay....that isn't going to happen now.
Adalyn celebrated her 2nd birthday last weekend. If you said the word birthday ever during the last month, she would jump up and down pointing to herself saying "uh huh, uh huh, uh huh". Until we would stop and say, yes, it is almost your birthday.
We got her a doll house for her birthday. I couldn't wait to give it to her
All her gifts from our family were accessories for it, which makes it even more fun!
We held her birthday party at a local community center. We had the whole gym area to ourselves full of big fun kid toys.
Baby Corbin checking things out.
Arli riding on one of the toys.
Hannah having a blast with the "roller coaster".
Easton driving some cars around.
Shane pushing Kenny and Adalyn around the gym.
They were having a blast!
Taylor-Ann and Corbin going for a ride.
The birthday girl hanging out in a boat.
Hm, I don't think she has her driver license yet.
Opal heading somewhere on her rocket.
I think Taylor-Ann had more fun then some of the little kiddos.
After an hour of play time, we headed downstairs to the "birthday room" for some snacks, cupcakes, a turkey craft and present opening.
Adalyn was a little timid when we started singing her happy birthday.
She was happy to try and blow out her candles.
Yummy strawberry cupcakes.
Thank you to all our friends and family who sent gifts, called or who came to her party. You all helped to make it a special 2nd birthday for our little girl.
Shane made a list of things he was thankful for this month. I had planned on making them into a Thanksgiving countdown, but that never happened. Either way he worked hard making this list and I love hearing the things he comes up with.
Things I Am Thankful For
By Shane (age 5)
for having fun
for the new big school
the 5's class
letting me watch tv
the bathroom for me
all the toys in our house (Adalyn agreed with this one, too)
I thought I'd share what being gluten free looks like at our house so far. Shane has been awesome about it and has had only minor complaints. We've made a couple trips to Whole Foods and I can get a good amount of GF items at my local grocery store (Safeway). Trader Joe's also is a great place to find GF items, too. The one downside I'd say is each store has such a different selection of items and brands. Meaning that if I want Udi's bread I need to go to Whole Foods, but if I want Mrs. Fields animal rice noddles I can only find them at Safeway.
Keep in mind Shane is a pretty picky eater. He is very sensitive to textures and the way things taste. I've been quite impressed with the GF food's he has been devouring.
Choices he currently has for breakfast: Van's Waffles (his favorite is the plain, but there are lots of varieties)
Fried egg surprise (fried egg on toast...Udi's Bread)
Cereal with milk (rice chex, corn chex, kix...just to name a few)
Pancakes (I make a big batch of GF pancakes and then freeze them...using Pamela's Baking Mix)
We have a lot of "picnics" at our house for lunch. I'd say that is his favorite kind of lunch. They include things like: lunch meat, cheese, hard boiled egg, fruit, pickles, veggies, crackers, hot dogs...you get the idea. A picnic is also always eaten with a toothpick.
Other current lunch meals...
"Creamy Rice" aka risotto from a box.
Snadwiches: egg salad, lunch meat, PB and J. Thank goodness for that awesome Udi's white bread!!
Noddles: Mrs. Leepers Animal Shapes is a favorite. From there they can be buttered noddles with cheese, Mac and Cheese my way or Mema's way. Annie's Mac and Cheese from a box
I'd say dinner is one of our hardest meals to feed him. This past week I made dinner gluten free, but no matter what I make (GF or not) at dinner time he isn't interested in it. He just doesn't like one-pot meals/casseroles, chicken, tacos, spaghetti, etc.
This week for dinner we had: potato soup, cheesy rice with chicken, pancakes and macaroni and cheese. These are not fancy meals by any means. The later two meals on the list I knew he would eat, so we all made do with that for dinner (or Kenny and I had leftovers).
I also do my best to have a "safe" food available for him at dinner time. It could be bread (GF of course), pears/apples, noodles or rice. Just some food that I know he'll eat no matter what. The rest of us may have yummy potato soup, yet Shane will have his fill of apples and bread. It may not be perfect, but it keeps fights down at the dinner table.
Snacks really are the easiest. This week favorites have been yogurt, cottage cheese, string cheese, fruit, rice crackers, popcorn and pretzels. There are so many GF foods out there now that taste good and are easy to find!
A week ago today Kenny and I decided to take gluten out of Shane's diet. His behavior had spiraled out of control and we were grasping at straws. I knew that eliminating gluten out of your diet for all kinds of reasons wasn't unheard of. Kenny did a little research and decided that it was worth a try.
For various reasons we kept gluten out of Shane's diet for his first two years of life. Kenny has several members of his family that are gluten free for various reasons as well. I've had numerous friends that are gluten for, too. So I wasn't scared to jump into this, I just knew that it would take some energy and these days I don't feel like I have lots of energy left, but ahead we went anyways.
Sunday morning he had his last bit of gluten for breakfast. Quickly after breakfast he had an insane melt down over a minor incident with Adalyn. He went into a rage with a tantrum, hitting and screaming. A full on mess.
From there on out he has not had any gluten. Since that morning he has not gone into any major rages, has not hit us, been aggressive or threatened to hit us. We really had no idea what taking him off gluten would do, but we knew we needed to try it.
Along with the sudden stop of anger and aggression we've seen his focus increase. The past week he has sat calmly at meal time and consumed large portions of food. He has been eating more then "normal" for him and really healthier foods.
Just days after we started this experiment we were having dinner together. Generally the two kiddos think dinner is a race and shovel food into their mouths and want to hop down to continue playing as quickly as possible. This evening Shane continued to sit after Adalyn had been excused. He then proceed to have the best conversation with us reflecting on his day. When he finally was excused, he returned to the table numerous times to continue talking to us.
Afterwards I looked at Kenny and said that was Shane. That was the kid I remember. That was the little boy who is sweet, fun to talk to, loving, helpful, smart and caring. I had forgotten about him. He has been buried under this ugliness of rage and aggression, of unfocusedness and misbehavior. Shane is in there...we haven't lost him! That was a moment I'll never forget.
We still are struggling with smaller tantrums and smaller misbehavior, but we now feel like we are back in a place to address that.
I don't think a gluten free diet is the answer for all things "challenging" kiddos, but it certainly is something that can be tried simple enough.
Label it how ever you want: challenging, spirited, difficult....Shane is that kiddo. He has varying degrees of his "challengingness" and depending on the setting you see him in, you would have no idea he was a "difficult" child.
He has been labeled as a kiddo with Sensory Processing Disorder and has been seeing an Occupational Therapist for about 10 months now. That label fits him well and we were super excited to get help for him. There has been a lot of improvement in his behaviors outside of our home. He now climbs and enjoys going to parks and playing on play structures and has confidence in his skills. He happily heads down a slide on his own with out fear and terror in his eyes. He has interest in handwriting and learning how to write. Going into loud public locations has gotten easier for him and drop off at preschool continues to improve. Playing on a baseball team isn't 100% terrifying to him and transitioning away from Mom and Dad isn't impossible now.
These improvements are awesome. Yet, we continue to struggle at home with him. No behavior plan, no incentive, no consequence, no time out or break away in his room has helped him inside the walls of our home. Not my background in education or my Master's degree in Guidance and Counseling can reign him in during his ugliness. No book out there or numerous doctor visits have yielded continuous behavior improvements at our house.
And that challenging behavior has started to seep outside of the home. Into the grocery store, Target, in the car, places where we never had issues before. His almost 2 year old sister has started to pick up on a thing or two from her big brother in a negative way.
The past couple month things got so bad there was aggression and hitting, yelling and screaming, ugly tantrums and fit throwing from our 5 year old over the tiniest things. "Shane, it is time to get dressed for the day. Please, go put your clothes on." This would elicit over the top behavior from him. All the above over just getting dressed in the morning. Something that wasn't a problem a couple months ago. This ensued all. day. long!
More days then not I was in tears by the time Kenny came home. Overwhelmed with what to do with him, frustrated that nothing I did helped, angry that I had no idea what to do next.
I made one more frantic call to our Pediatrician. What do we do now!?!
She gave me one more referral. After researching that referral I was so excited. We had found something...Dinosaur School + Parent Training using a program called The Incredible Years. Sadly, that excitement was brief when we found out it wasn't currently running and wouldn't be until maybe January. I still had my sights set on this program called The Incredible Years. It really sounded like something that will target those "challenging" kiddos. I was able to set up one-on-one parent sessions with Dr. Driver. Fingers crossed this program is all I hope it will be!
Friday evening is my first session. I can't wait to get started!
The holidays really are just around the corner and I can't wait to
get my Christmas cards made and ready to give to my family and friends.
We'll be making 9 cards (3 of each design) using the new Pear and Partridge paper packet. If you'd like to make more sets, not a problem, just let me know.
Thursday, November 29th @ 7pm or Friday, November 30th @ 7pm
Cost: $10 per set (including envelopes)
I have 3 spots open for either one of these dates. Let me knew if you'd like to reserve your seat.
be making 6 adorable paper Christmas trees in December. You can use them to decorate
your house for the holidays or gift them to a friend.
Monday, December 10th @ 7pm or Tuesday, December 11th @ 7pm
I have a couple spots open in each of these workshops as well. Reserve your spot ASAP.
Shane's favorite song as a little tike was Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. I could sing that to him as an infant and he would calm down. I could sing that to him as a toddler and he would hold still while I changed his diaper. I'm not sure it has as much impact on him now as a preschooler, but back in the day it was my go to song with him.
For the longest time I couldn't find Adalyn's go to song. Often she would tell me to stop singing. I figured it just wasn't her thing. She was more into dancing instead of Mommy singing. A few weeks ago I was attempting to sing her some song before bedtime and she became very attached to the song Row, Row, Row Your Boat. She asked me to sing it over and over again. During that same time she was having a hard time sleeping (she had one of her many colds she gets in the winter). I started to sing her what we now call the Boat song as I would lay her down. A couple rounds of Boat and she was good to go.
I am happy to say I've found her go to song. She now sings Boat to her babies during the day when she is putting them to sleep. And requests it every nap or night time before we leave the room.
Here she is performing Boat....
And yes, my children spend a large portion of their day with out pants on. Adalyn picked up the underwear only habit from her brother. No, she is not potty trained, but it helps with the pre-potty training though.
Ever since we had a visit from an ambulance at our house almost a year ago, Shane has been asking to go visit the fire station (which is about 1 minute from our house). The firefighters who helped Kenny out invited Shane to come visit numerous times while they were here. He took that to heart and nagged and nagged at us to go. It turns out that there are rules to follow and reservations that need to be set and an age guideline that starts at 5.
At last, that much talked about visit arrived today. We had a few friends join us on the tour. Turns out one of the other rules is you have to be a non-profit organization to take a tour, so I invited my mom's group along.
Shane needs a little support at first to get into the fire truck.
Then he was good to go on his own.
We've got the station numbers down in our area.
There is a lot of fire station, fire truck, siren talk in our household.
Shane and Lorenzo checking out the ambulance.
Shane was more exited to get into that then the fire truck.
Lorenzo, Joshua, Veronica and Shane on the back of the fire truck.
The guys at the fire station were super nice, chatty and friendly. I learned a lot of tid-bits about fire stations, etc and Shane was super happy to have finally visited the fire station.
When we were trick or treating downtown Kirkland there was a museum that had a photographer taking pictures of kiddos in costumes for free. The kids said they wanted to get their pictures taken (mine rarely turn down a chance to cheese it up for a camera).
This was what we got back:
Thank you Gretchen Crossley for snapping a few pictures of my funny monkey and my silly bat.
I think that is the end of our Halloween festivities. Phew...now onto the holidays!
We made it to a friends annual pumpkin carving party this year. It was our 3rd year to this event and we came prepared to rock it! I asked Kenny if he could scrape out the pumpkin guts while I was at work, so that we could skip that step there. It is very hard to keep 2 kiddos in check and carve pumpkins at the same time.
Kenny and Shane waiting for the pumpkin judging to begin.
All the pumpkins lined up to be judged. What creativity!
The categories this year were: Traditional, Scariest and Unexpected.
Shane's candy corn pumpkin.
My white pumpkin with marbles drilled into it.
I was going for a glowing effect when it was light.
Kenny's scary pumpkin.
Adalyn played while we all judged.
Shane and his pumpkin.
Kenny came in really close to winning scariest and I won most unexpected! Whoohoo! Here they are lit up on Halloween. I didn't quite get the glow I had hoped for. But using power tools to carve was tons of fun!
I coordinated Shane's preschool Halloween party this year. I tend to stay out of his classroom on purpose because it makes him a mess most of the time. But for parties I make sure I'm there because he melts down during the eating portion for some reason.
When I arrived they were having a dance party.
Their plates of yummy party food.
All ready for the hungry, excited 5 year olds.
Listening to Mrs. Armfield.
They got to go trick or treating before the party.
Showing off some of their loot.
Praying before they eat.
Enjoying all the goodies.
Lots of Halloween fun. Thanks to all the parents that help make this a great event for all the kiddos.