Thursday, January 21, 2010

Recovering from Caleb Trauma

So after just five days of being on a behavior plan at school Caleb is "off." His teacher says that he is doing great, and that maybe all we needed to do is to raise his level of awareness. He seems to be doing better at home too. Also, his teacher informed me today that he doesn't qualify for the reading intervention program. Somehow I just didn't think he would, but it sure stressed me out. I really appreciate your ideas and support. It is nice to have a caring network of smart people out there.

So on with other issues. Andy still isn't walking. I don't think he has a physical delay because he is cruising and taking a few steps when really encouraged. I think he is just scared. The problem is that I hope to have a baby in about seven weeks. Andy will be 16 months this weekend. Don't you think it is time for him to get going. An 18 month space between kids seems reasonable, but having two that don't walk is a problem.

Lest I leave out Cara and let you all think she is perfect I have to mention something that Cara does that makes me look like I haven't taught her to pray. She has been praying by herself on at least a daily basis for months now, but she ALWAYS starts the prayer with "Jesus Father" and ends it with "Jesus Father". I ALWAYS correct her and I have from the start, but for some reason I can not get into her little head that we start by saying "Heavenly Father" and end with "Jesus Christ." I guess they really are one to her. You all have such great ideas maybe you have an idea for this little problem.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Parenting Trauma

Last Wednesday was parent teacher conference with Caleb's kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Coburn, who I think is fantastic. She has over 30 years experience as a teacher and I feel like she knows classroom management and how to teach children as well as any other teacher he could have ever had. Anyway, she was very direct at the beginning of the conference that she is having trouble with Caleb. I went hoping she would have some solutions for me as he has become extremely non-compliant at home. Apparently she is having similar problems. He loves to wrestle, talk out of turn, and sometimes just refuses to participate. She is putting him on a behavior plan where she ranks him 1-5 after every activity and I am supposed to come up with rewards and consequences for when he brings his report home each day. (Problem number one, it is so hard to know what rewards and what consequences are best, and of course the big problem of consistency.)

Mrs. Coburn followed the extremely disturbing discussion on his behavior with a discussion on his academic progress. On his last DIBBELS test in two of the four categories, Letter Naming Fluency and Nonsense Word Fluency (which is a comprehensive skill of sounding out words that aren't words) he is above benchmark. On Initial Sounds Fluency he is somewhat behind, but nothing to worry about. The problem comes with the Phonemic Segmentation Fluency. He scored a 0. Which is a huge read flag, and indicates that he can't do it, but he must have refused to do it because when his teacher and I quizzed him on it he had no problem. When I ask him about school his response is, "I DON'T LIKE TO DO HARD THINGS." So how do I teach this stubborn five year old that we all HAVE TO do hard things. There is no choice.

Mrs. Coburn is suggesting that he should possibly start in a reading intervention group and then it will become easier for him. The thing that gives me heartburn (well everything gives me heartburn right now), but the thing that I am stressed about is that he is "proficient" on every single Language Arts skill required for kindergarten and he still has half of a school year left. Do I allow this behavior problem to be treated with an extra 30 minutes of school each day instead of going to lunch? (He would eat lunch at 12:30 when he gets home from school.) I have been sick about how to parent this child. He is so strong willed and stubborn. I just thought I would share some of my parenting dilemmas and see if you have any ideas.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Holiday Celebrations

I guess I have turned into a blog slacker. It has been almost a month since I last posted. There are so many things I should have written about. Can I blame pregnancy for not? Have I mentioned that I hate being pregnant? Oh, I have, let me just say it one more time (with the disclaimer that it is all worth it and that I am grateful for the blessing I have of having children) I hate being pregnant. I am now full on into heart burn, waddling, inability to get comfortable at night, anemia, retaining water, and constipation, as well as my regulars nausea (which really has been better this pregnancy than the others), picky eating (all I eat these days is PB&J sandwiches and peaches, yes, for every meal with occasional cold cereal) and being emotional. Last week, when after my doctor appointment I added two more medications to my daily dose, I bought a pill holder because I was having a hard time keeping track of all of my drugs. (Thank goodness for modern medicine.) I have gone back to strange cravings and not eating what the family eats. I am mostly on a diet of home canned peaches (ironically something I craved first trimester with Cara) and peanut butter and raspberry freezer jam sandwiches (yes, the type of jam is very important). I also have a sweet tooth like I have never had before. Tonight all I could choke down for dinner was rice crispy treats. I had to restrain to not eat the whole pan. I don't think I will come home from the hospital this time with a net weight loss like I have my other pregnancies. There is a light at the end. I am about eight weeks from baby time unfortunately to me that feels like eight years. I know these mass blog entries aren't the best, but they will have to do for now.

This year we had a more incredible Christmas than we could have ever imagined. The magic came when someone chose to do the 12 Days of Christmas for our family. It was so fun for all of us. The kids were sure it was Santa, even though they know the wonderful gifts were left on the front porch. It made every morning for 12 mornings magical. Whoever gave us these generous gifts went all out. It was amazing. When people ask Cara how Christmas was she tells them that "it was the best Christmas we will ever have." She is probably right. Thank you to whoever provided such a wonderful experience for us. If you are interested in more details you can click here. Each day I recorded our reactions to the gifts given and gave the letter at the link to the family who did the 12 Days for us. I am kicking myself for not taking pictures of the beautifully presented gifts each day.

I have such a joyful time with my family every year on Christmas Eve. Cathie and her family surprised my parents and came for Christmas even though they were just here for Thanksgiving. The cousins LOVE being together. It was cute to see my mom reading the kids a children's story of the Nativity before family prayer. The kids all love Grandmas attention.

Christie (my sister) did not disappoint this year with her gift to the grandkids. She has a habit of going all out. She waited until all of the other gifts had been opened and then brought out her huge boxes. The first box contained 150 balls which turned into a spontaneous ball fight in the living room with kids running and screaming and grown men trying to pelt each other. Next came the bounce house for the balls to go in. The kids were so excited to get it set up in the dining room. It will be fun to have that bounce house for family events.

Here are just a few pictures of Christmas morning. The kids woke up at their regular time, about 7:30. We had to drag Josh out of bed, but our Christmas morning was awesome! We were all so happy and grateful!

It isn't hard to tell that Caleb is happy in this picture.

Andy liked every part. He is so fun!

The 12 Day of Christmas stuff made the two gifts each child was going to get seem like so little, but Christmas morning the living room was full. If anyone ever doubted, Santa is real.

Caleb's Kindergarden did a darling Christmas program. It was so exciting for him. Cara came directly to the program from a Speech Christmas Pajama Party. Oh the fun parties of Christmas.

Caleb is top center - the tall one in the middle.

Here he is with his fan club after the concert.

These are the things that I have to blog about so that someday when my kids say, "you never did anything fun with us when we were little" I will have the proof that we did. We had a great New Years. Thanks to a generous friend we were able to get a room a one of the Marriots down town Salt Lake for New Years Eve. So New Years Eve we got a connect pass and had an awesome fun filled day. It started off with a facial at Elase given to me for Christmas from Christina (Josh's sister). While I did that the kids and Josh went to the Living Planet Aquarium in Sandy.

Then we went to the Tracy Aviary and saw hundreds of birds. The kids even got to feed the Pelicans, although they weren't too excited about touching the dead fish. After a Little Caesars pizza in the car we went to the Utah Museum of Natural History. I was really quite impressed. This is a location we have never hit with the connect pass before. They had fun activities for the kids and there was an awesome display of rocks that we all really liked as well as a bug display and of course a dinosaur gallery. The kids were excited to check into the hotel and go swimming which gave us a little brake before we headed to phase two of the connect pass which included the Discovery Gateway. (Josh took the kids while I went window shopping.)

Followed by an I-Max show at Clark Planetarium and dinner at the Lion House Pantry. It was a beautiful evening and we enjoyed a walk through the lights at Temple Square before heading back to the hotel.

Could kids ask for a better New Years Eve. We watch a movie at the hotel until about 9:00 when the kids went to bed. I stayed awake to watch the ball drop in NYC (10:00 our time) and then I hit the sack. I did roll over when I heard fire works outside to wish Josh a Happy New Year. We had a wonderful, relaxing New Years Day swimming at the hotel and making our way home. I just love mini family vacations. The kids are such a joy!

Andy still isn't walking. He has been taking 2-3 steps for a couple of weeks now, but he just can't muster the courage to really walk. It wouldn't be a big deal except that he is going to be a big brother in a couple of months and needs to get on his feet. The one thing that really motivates him is music. The first time he took any steps the missionaries were over and one was playing the guitar and singing. Andy got on his feet to dance and just decided to try walking while he was at it. He really likes to dance and is so cute trying to dance on his feet. Yes, he can balance and get up from the middle of the floor like a pro. He really wants to be one of the big kids as illustrated in this picture of him playing at McDonalds. Come on walking!

Sometimes at night the kids and Josh will put on a little concert for me. I love it. Andy likes to spin on his bum while Josh plays the guitar. Cara dances, sings, or plays the piano. Caleb plays the piano, harmonica, or the guitar. They can put on quite a show!

Connie left on her mission. Cathie came home for Christmas so we were all at Connie's farewell. It was fun to be together. Here is a picture of me with my siblings.

Connie did have a hard time saying good-by to this crew of little kids as they are the ones that will really change in the 18 months that she is gone. Here she is with all of her nieces and nephews.