I have been trying to write this since Dec 30th! I wanted to give a 2010 a quick review and proper close. But I spend 90% of my life in survival mode and . . . well you can figure out the rest! So here goes . . .
2010 began on a sad note for our family. We lost Nate’s dad (Grandad) early in the year. It still seems strange to think that Bob isn’t here, and the holidays were hard. We miss you Grandad!
We got 2 new nephews/cousins this year! Brayden was born in Jan and Levi was born in Sept. (on Grandad’s birthday, God is good like that). And we had many, many boy cousins added to our family this year!
Nate and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary. We were blessed with4 days of babysitting so that we could go on a very needed vacation. We got 4 nights ALONE at the beach. It was awesome!! I did have my tubes tied several months before our trip so we didn’t come home with any new little Arwood’s.
J1 started 3rd grade this year. He is doing great and he teacher says he is very sweet and helpful in class? I didn’t correct her, I am just thankful he seems to be behaving at school! He loves to read and joined chess club and chorus this year. We enjoyed watching him preform at his first chorus concert in Dec. He got to play one of the special instruments and he chose the boomwhacker. I’ll have to post the video here later. I asked him how he chose the boomwhackerto play and he said “I just liked the way the name sounded!” It turned out that the instrument was really cool and I think he had the cutest part in the concert. J1 is also very into his clothes and his HAIR! We have had quite the experience the past several months with his hair. I had already decided that the hair thing was not a battle I was going to fight, and planned to give him as much control as possible. Lets just say it finally ended with a bribe of a new video game if he would get a haircut. Yea, I’m a good parent like that. Anyway, the hair is somewhat tolerable, for now. J1 is sooooo full of life that it is all I can do to keep up. I pray everyday that I don’t somehow damage him with my lack of enthusiasm about his passion for life! Seriously, he gets excited about everything! A funny thing he recently said: We were talking about everyone’s name, like grandparents and aunts/uncles etc. J1 said, “I know what Papa’s name is!” And I said, “What?” He proudly said “Lockheed Martin!!” You see, my dad calls from work everyday and well, you gotta love caller ID.
J2 is her sweet little self and has had a great year. She started 1st grade and a friend to everyone. No really, Jessi is friends with EVERYONE! The few times I have visited her class she has this little group of kids following her around. She is just so sweet and such a little mommy that all the kids want to be with her. Of course the fact that she draws an individual picture for everyone in her class, on her bus, and a few extras in case she runs into someone she didn’t plan for, probably has something to do with her “following”. She takes great care of her little brothers and when hurt or scared J4 will just as quickly go to her as he will look for me. She is reading way above her gradelevel and I often make her practice by reading books to J3 and J4 She started the year off taking piano lessons but we dropped off during the summer. I hope to get them started back up soon, she was doing really well. We took our first girl trip this summer when we went with Nana and Laura to Babyland General. We had fun and hope to make the “girl trip” an annual thing. J2 is always leaving little notes for us about how much she loves us. I found this note she wrote to Santa where she listed each of her cousins and siblings and what she wanted Santa to bring them and why they deserved the gift. It was so sweet! And tonight after kissing her goodnight I noticed a sign she had taped to her door. It simply said “Everyone Welcome”. That pretty much sums up my sweet girl!
J3 had an interesting year! In July he was diagnosed with farsightedness, accommodative esotropia, and anismetropic amblyopia. Basically he is very farsighted, more so in one eye than the other and because of that his brain stopped using his weaker eye. Considering I was convinced he had retinoblastoma when I took him for the appt (based on his symptoms of rapid onset strabismus and a white pupil in photos) his diagnosis was great news to me! Of course within a couple days reality set in and I had to adjust. When he went for his appt his vision was 20/200 in his weak eye. He got glasses and we began patching his strong eye for 4 hrs a day. It really wasn’t that bad. I knew how serious the condition was and I just told myself that we were fighting to save the vision in that eye. So wearing the glasses and patching pretty much was nonnegotiable. He had his meltdowns and when he wasn’t watching I had mine. It was very difficult to patch his good eye and have him beg and cry for me to take the patch off saying that he couldn’t see. And because of what the opthamologist told me I knew he couldn’t. I put on my tough face and we pushed through. We were greatly rewarded when we went back 4 months later and found out that with his glasses on his vision in his weak eye had improved to 20/30! Nothing short of a miracle! We now only have to patch for 2 hrs a day as maintenance and when we go back in May he may get to toss the patch for good. J3 also began preschool this fall and is making great progress. Up until now he has never shown any interest in drawing, writing, letters etc. I do feel that his vision has played a role in that, but he is also just a boy and truly doesn’t care about anything like that! But he is now showing some interest and even saw a letter J and said, “Mommy, that’s just like my name!” I was so proud of him J3 has a very cute way of talking and has some really cute sayings. He will frequently tell me, “I wuv you Mom. I wuv you more dan de earf. Mom, what is de earf?” And one day he was laying in bed with me and said “Mommy, I jus wanna way wight here an sweep.” Who could say no to that? J3 has also decided to make up for all the time that he was a sweet easy going kid. I won’t go any further into that . . .
J4 is doing great! He has made so much progress since last year at this time! Considering last Jan. he wasn’t walking, talking, pointing, waving etc. he has come a LONG way! We have had a couple of appts with his developmental pediatrician. Right now his official diagnosis stands as Sensory Integration Dysfunction, Anxiety Disorder and Language Disorder. I guess we have moved on from speech delay because he now talks ALL the time! His vocabulary is huge and he talks better than most 2 yr olds. The difference is that a large part of his vocabulary is echolalia, so while he may be speaking in full sentences he isn’t really “saying” all that much. But, just when I was getting very discouraged he has suddenly made great improvements! His echolalia at home had greatly decreased. And because it seems to flare up when he is with strangers or in a stressful situation it has kinda shown us that it may not be a true language “disorder” and may just be more a symptom of his anxiety. So that is good news as far as I am concerned. We have been trying the biomedical route to treat Justin and have seen success with some things. He is going to be starting very specific vitamin and mineral supplements based on some blood tests. And although we have tried some herbal supplement for his anxiety we have not seen an real results. I had decided that he may need medication to help him get through some of his anxiety. I was not completely sure, but thought I would mention it to his doctor. Well, when we went in today the doctor told US she thought he needed medication! So that made my decision easy! He started his medication tonight and my goal is have him be able to tolerate a change in routine without being up all night crying, and to be able to stay for 15 minutes in the church nursery. Hey, you gotta start somewhere!! I will say that I feel that his aggressive therapy (he receives special instruction, OT and PT) has kept him “off the spectrum”. The current research shows that children who receive early intervention have a much better prognosis than children who don’t receive any intervention until the age of 3. The difficultly comes in that most insurance now recognizes the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder and will pay for therapy. This is making it difficult for kids who get early intervention, make great progress that keeps them literally steps away from meeting the criteria of ASD and who then age out of early intervention (at 3). Justin has his IFSP meeting in March where we’ll be meeting with the public school system to determine if he will qualify for services for the coming school year. I really have no idea what to expect and I am sure it will be stressful either way! J4 has some really sweet and funny things that he does too! His latest saying is “I mat.” This is his way of saying he is mad. This statement is usually followed by him carefully laying face down on the ground. No other sounds. He will then look up at you to see how you are responding. It is really cute! And the other day he told me “I love you, you my best boy”. That is something I say to him several times a day and I loved that he said it back to me!!
Whew! Ups and downs, laughter and tears. Decisions and reactions, set backs and celebrations. Goodbye 2010 . . . bring on 2011!