Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pet Store Cuteness

Sauerkraut !!

Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit.......it worked !! I had no expectation for this first batch, I figured opening the crock would reveal one of three things - mold, dried up cabbage, or kraut. They weren't kidding, the crock is amazing and the kraut is delicious. Startin' a new batch this week and in the meantime will enjoy dining on the 12 small jars in the fridge. And if I really truly love you, I'll share.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Progress report!


Yesterday I went through Jack's IEP (Individualized Education Program) thoroughly and WOW, Jack has come so far in less than a year! At his eval his language consisted of 2-3 word utterances, scripting, and some lingering jargon. He wasn't asking questions unless it was something like "more juice?" and he wasn't answering questions at all. Today he's still behind his peers but he can converse, ask and answer questions, has dropped jargon, only uses scripting in appropriate context, and is steadily making progress. I feel the need to whisper type but - the gap is closing! From what I can see it looks like he met all the benchmark objectives listed in his IEP but we never received a single progress report from the school district despite my requests. I told them Jack was ready for more support but the replies I got were that Jack was a smart boy and making great progress. Really? Yes, he is, but he could still benefit from more than 100 minutes of speech therapy per week and 30 minutes of OT per week. I asked for help in choosing a preschool because Jack doesn't qualify for theirs and they suggested one down the street from us (Discovery Isle) that would be a terrible fit for Jack - huge classroom sizes, onsite daycare, lots of hustle and bustle, and full time schedule only. Seems it's location was the only thing they considered. And the one we ended up choosing is even closer to us. Thanks San Diego Unified. This experience with you has been soooo super special.

Feeling somewhat abandoned by our district I've been working extra hard outside of it's support. I'm in the (very long) process of applying for more support through the San Diego Regional Center. I do feel that Jack is doing great with speech and language and that he's getting lots of OT type work in preschool (which is going great - he's really grooving in) but I think that Jack could definitely benefit from some social skills work and possibly some behavioral therapy. A behavior specialist will come into your home and examine your environment and how your child acts and reacts. Then they help you implement techniques tailored to your kiddo. Like supernanny style yo, and we don't have to be on tv. They could probably help with Jack's resistance to authority...he responds well to our conditions (unless he's really upset) and I think he'll do the same with preschool as he grows used to their consistency. Jack likes things to be "his idea" - this was something I mentioned in his IEP as a concern - and it's hard for me to determine if his level of non-compliance is in the typical range or not. Social skills therapy (in addition to the experience he's getting in preschool) would benefit Jack simply because it would help with his anxiety around lots of kids his age. He gravitates toward adults and babies and is great with Harvey but a room full of preschoolers makes him antsy. It's like anything else - practice makes perfect but sometimes you need an expert to show you the ropes before you try to climb them.

Yesterday I pulled out an alphabet puzzle that I put away months ago because we lost the letter "Y" and Jack couldn't handle it's absence. The incomplete puzzle was a complete disturbance to his environment. I saw it in the cupboard and thought "he doesn't let things like that bother him anymore" and sure enough, he noticed and mentioned it, but I told him "it's missing but that's okay, we can play with the other letters" and WE DID. Flexability is a thing of beauty.....one cannot truly appreciate it's splendor until they've experienced rigidity like we have. He and Harvey play together SO WELL these days - I LOVE IT! This morning they made a castle (Jack was the princess, he put one of those baby bath towels on his head) and a bridge out of couch cushions. I could hear them talking about their creation with pride and magic was seriously in the air. Watching them grow as brudders is my most favorite part of their development. That and poopin' in the potty (if I'm being honest).

Monday, August 23, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Our new preschool mantra:

"It's okay to be sad and it's okay to cry but we're still going to preschool and you're going to have fun!". It's for me as much as it is for him.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Creating a non-toxic sleep environment!


In 2005 the federal government mandated that mattresses be treated with flame retardant. This sounds innocent enough, helpful even, if that's as far as you take the thinking process. But what are flame retardants? Are they "safe"? Afterall, we spend at least a third of our lives with our faces pressed against our mattresses, inhaling what lurks inside. These questions have haunted me for a long time. It started when we purchased one of those memory foam type mattresses and the fumes that it produced absolutely horrified me. We were warned that it would need to "air out" and that the smell (think wet paint) would fade. I was pregnant with Harvey and Jack was sensitive. The mattress did lose the odor eventually but it took far longer than they claimed and in the meantime I was googling away eduacating myself on a subject I knew nothing about - mattress contents and their affect on the body.

I, like most, assumed that something that is designed for sleep would never be toxic. If so wouldn't someone be on that? Someone like the FDA? One would think.

Flame retardants are hazardous to human health, they reside in furniture, electronics, even childrens clothing. They accumulate in the body (see "antimony" in Jack's heavy metals test results), they are neurotoxic and affect the immune system. I often refer to "our environment" when I'm addressing the rise in childhood disorders and allergies/athsma, these types of toxic exposures have become a part of our every day life. I think it's no coincidence. Especially with the rise in children's plastic/foam products that contain them. Levels of these chemicals found in the breastmilk of american women and some fetuses are approaching levels shown to impair learning and cause behavioral problems in lab mice. And yet our homes ARE LACED IN THEM....by mandate, without our permission, and (let's face it) without our knowledge. Shame on you FDA!

We are doing our best to educate ourselves and find alternatives to what we know to be dangerous. Finding an organic mattress is the only way to get around the flame retardant mandate. An organic mattress uses organic wool which is naturally flame resistant and therefore doesn't require harmful chemicals. It's important to find a company that uses certified organic products rather than misleading wording such as "pure" or "natural" which is likely still treated with chemicals of some sort. After much research we chose to purchase from Green Mattress Factory because of their choice of materials, reasonable prices, and wonderul customer service. Their site offers some valuable information and products (organic dust mite covers, sheets, etc). Our mattresses will arrive this week and I am so eager to have us all sleeping on non toxic materials!

The mattress we chose for ourselves is comprised of three 3" layers of latex, the layers are different levels of firmness which you can arrange to your liking. We chose standard coil mattresses for the boys that are padded with latex, cotton, and wool. We've moved the boys into their own room which has been a work in progress and is going really well! They are really growing up. I'm actually starting to believe that I'll one day sleep through the night again....Harvey may wake me on occasion but the "pea" (racing thoughts of toxic chemical inhalation) will be permanantly put to rest!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

W


Whatever.

So, since last Monday's reaction we've had off and on bouts of funkiness. I'm starting to lean toward healing reaction because this is just way too reminiscent of the last time we had inflamatory healing. All Jack has been doing is pooping, hiccuping, and burping which is exactly what he was doing at this point in his timeline (aka - infancy). Really, I know it sounds insane and could be eleven other things but I'm going with "whatever".

Jack came home from preschool with a hive on his face that lasted most of the day. Either a) he came into contact with an allergen or b) it's a healing reaction, a sign that his histamine levels are doing something in response to homeopathy. For sanity's sake, survey says B.

If this kind of funkiness and hiveness keeps up we'll have to pull Jack from preschool before lunchtime, that is still a reality, I don't want to sound careless here. But an entire three day weekend without preschool was still reaction filled so I'm not ready to pin the tail on that donkey quite yet. Since allergen free preschools do not exist (wouldn't that be FANTASTIC?) Jack needs this to work out or else this blog is going to be all about homeschooling and raise your hand if that's something you'd be interested in reading.....(okay Dad and Kelly you can put your hands down now).

When I picked Jack up yesterday he said "that was SO MUCH fun" and told me about the craft project they did. He wasn't participating in the "everyone stand in a circle and dance to this song" activity that was happening when I picked him up though - which is why he needs this, to gain better social skills so that he can enjoy group fun. Fortunately his speech/language and behavior have been TOP NOTCH, it's only physical symptoms that we've been dealing with.

We started more specific trauma remedies and their new daily droppers last Thursday. We're making some sleep environment changes in the home (more on that later) and are going to be trialing some foods (more on that later too) so wish us luck!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Success!

Jack loves preschool !!! I couldn't be happier for him! When I picked him up today his teacher said "I wanted to ask you, does Jack eat food off the floor?". I told her it really hasn't been an issue but that Jack has been growing more curious about food so it wouldn't surprise me. She said that the asst. teacher had stopped Jack from picking up food that one of the other kids had thrown on the floor. So, yes, that was likely the culprit. I told her that we would do more educating at home about safe and unsafe food. Jack can't possibly understand the complexity of his allergies or distinguish between a "safe" or "unsafe" cookie (except that the unsafe ones look WAY better!) but he can learn that it's only okay to eat his own food. And to some degree, why. Honestly, what deprived four year old (which he'll be tomorrow!!) wouldn't lunge at a thrown goldfish cracker or teddy graham?


So I went on amazon.com and ordered the above children's book on food allergies. I was shocked at how few there were (mental note - write children's allergy book immediately!). Reviews were good, the bugs are cute, and hopefully it will help gear our dialogue. After school Jack told me that they read a book about feeding seeds to pigeons and that one of the girls hurt her lip but she's okay. I love that he's volunteering more information about his day, my interrogating was making me nauseous.

ETA: Last night Jack stood on the bed, pointed to the sky, and declared "In the morning, I go to preschool !!!". This morning I put Jack in his carseat and told him how proud of him I was and that he was doing a great job. We hugged and he said "Thank you mommy, thank you for the preschool" and then he patted my back and whispered "Oh honey" (a term I use for him). SO CUTE! Then he said "now please shut the door so we can go". LOL

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Preschool - upside/downside

I'll start with the good because it's really good. Jack had a great first day of preschool yesterday! His teacher said he had a good day and that they enjoyed having him. He remembered the house when we pulled up and was excited, he even mentioned that he "showed daddy his new preschool" which was true, Justin was with us last time we were there (which was a couple months ago!). I spent about 15 minutes there with him as he grooved in and checked things out. When I left (with a howling Harvey - wanted desperately to stay and play) Jack was fine and when I picked him up he was playing with the other children in the play kitchen area. He ran and gave me a hug and then gave Harvey a hug (awww) and then rushed us out of there in true Jack fashion. I did have enough time to hear from the teacher that he and another boy had played dress up (princess dresses) together and that Jack enjoyed the marble painting they did. I am SO proud of him!! I know he was a little nervous, he wouldn't let me take the customary backpack photo but I snapped a few others which I'll share.

The bummer of the day is that a couple hours after coming home the diarrhea started. Poor kiddo spent the rest of the day on and off the potty. Can I just say how much I HATE ALLERGIES!? I can't have allergies ruining this for him, he NEEDS this social experience. And he ENJOYED it. This was probably just a cross contamination or him popping a small bit of dropped food in his mouth or something to that affect. Nerves could be to blame or it's possible the recent remedies he took have him more susceptible to a gut reaction. If it continues to be an issue I'll just have to pick him up from school before lunch each day. Unfortunately this would mean just two and a half hours of school per day rather than four but it's better than none. I'd like to to think Jack isn't this sensitive, only time will tell. The important thing is that the teachers there are "on it" and I am not worried about his safety.





Keeping these events in perspective I would rather he had an allergy issue than a behavioral/anxious issue. Unfortunately on some levels it's all related so we'll just keep working on our goal of overall health and positive social experiences for Jack.