Sept 28, 2014: Picture Time!

Well, the title of this week’s blog is my explanation for why I have very few pictures this week! We spent Saturday getting our family pictures taken (to use on our Christmas cards, among other things), so for once I was in front of the lens rather than behind it! Well, mostly I was a kid-wrangler, since we have Jen, our photographer, take a few pictures with me and Chris in them, but mostly we want pictures of the boys. If you looked at the photo gallery from a few weeks ago, when I tried to get a good picture of the boys together for Grandma Diane’s birthday, you’ll see why once a year I pay someone else to attempt this feat. 🙂

Anyway, Jen was our photographer when we lived up in Sacramento, and we’ve continued to use her even though we no longer live there, because she takes great pictures and the boys love her—Theo in particular. Sam was young enough last time that I don’t think he remembered her, but he took to her right away. Now my fingers are crossed that she got some good shots! I think she did—the boys were both pretty cooperative, so there’s probably something good in there. And when you see the pictures, please do admire the seven-year-old maternity T-shirt I’m wearing. Because I really like to class it up for our photos. Ha! Actually, I was too busy to go shopping until Friday night (yes, yes, 14 hours before our photo session), and I couldn’t find anything good at Kohl’s. Well, that’s not true—I found two shirts I liked, but I didn’t feel like I ought to wear a shirt with hedgehogs on it for our pictures. Plus, it was the wrong color. But the hedgehogs are cute, so I bought it anyway. 🙂

I needed a gray shirt because the boys were in navy blue and Chris and I decided we’d wear gray. So I did buy a gray shirt, but I really didn’t think it was flattering. When I put it on Saturday morning and groused about it, Chris said, “If you don’t like it, just wear the other one!” The other one being my very comfy seven-year-old maternity T-shirt that I bought when I was pregnant with Theo and I still wear. And so I wore that. And now you know the incredibly dull story of how I wore a shirt that should probably go in the Salvation Army pile for our annual family photos. Sigh…

In case you’re wondering why I didn’t find the Kohl’s shirt flattering, it’s because I’ve put on some weight lately. Just gonna throw that out there, in case anyone looks at me and wonders whether I’ve noticed that I’ve packed on a few pounds. Yes, I do. No, I’m not overly thrilled about it. I blame my good friend menopause, which I’m rapidly learning is a royal pain in the you-know-what. I haven’t increased what I’m eating (in fact, I’m an incredible creature of habit who has been eating the same meals for quite a long time), and I’m now walking 3+ miles a day to take Theo to/from school, so I have no good explanation for this sudden weight gain…except menopause. Though my very wise mother pointed out something I hadn’t thought about: I did start medication for migraines about six weeks ago, and it just so happens that weight gain is a side effect of that. Coincidentally, I started beefing up a month or two ago. Hmm. But since the migraines seem to be hormone-related, I say this all points back to…menopause. Which I’m not a fan of.

I explained the issue to Chris and said, “Well, the medication helps—the migraines are much fewer when I’m on it. So you can either have a cranky wife with a perpetual headache, or you can have a slightly overweight wife who’s generally in a reasonable mood.” He quickly said, “I like women with some curves anyway. Besides, I think you look great.” Good answer, husband! And so, I shall keep the migraines at bay, silently curse the extra pounds, and live in yoga pants with their comfy elastic.

I tell you this because my mom just happened to send me a link to a neat video on a day when I was feeling particularly down about my expanding waistline. If you’re a mother and you haven’t seen this, you should watch it. Get the Kleenex, though. 🙂

And by the way, lest you think I’m a naturally thin person who is being a drama queen about gaining a few pounds, it’s not the case. When I was in my late 20s, I lost 100 pounds. I managed to keep most of it off for more than 10 years…and now the pounds are creeping back on. It was so hard to lose the weight that I swore I’d never let it come back. But I guess that’s what getting older does to you, eh? I will make my peace with it. I’m healthy, I’m doing what I can, and I’m here for my boys and my husband. And that’s what counts, right?

Speaking of things making me blue this week, and so it begins: the meetings for Sam’s transition from Early Intervention into the school district. Waaaaaaahhhhhh! In the next eight days I have two meetings about this, and I got sent a lovely letter saying that my son qualifies for special ed on the grounds of “mental retardation.” Gee, are we still using that term? I think not! This week, I’ll be writing a letter to urge the Regional Center to revise that particular form letter. I realize they’re using the term in a clinical sense, but it so happens that the president signed a law in 2010 making it illegal for that term to be used. Places have been supposed to phase out that term ever since, but apparently our Regional Center is still using it. Harrumph. I don’t love the term “intellectual disability” either, simply because “disability” carries a bit of a negative connotation, but it’s certainly better than “mental retardation,” given that variations of the word “retardation” are used as a slur.

Anyway, I digress…the meetings. I don’t know what to expect yet, so I’m not going to say much about them. I actually have a blog post I’d like to write about our experience in Early Intervention, which has been quite positive, but I want to attend these meetings first and see what our next step looks like. I’m already quite certain that I’ll cry. I truly love the center where Sam goes for EI—which is funny, since I so didn’t want him to go! But he loves it, and I love it because I see how positively everyone reacts to him.  It’s a beautiful thing to see people love your kid, you know? Plus, he has learned so much! So it will be with a heavy heart that we move out of Early Intervention in February….

Speaking of EI and transitions, we got Sam’s 30-month developmental assessment. I’m getting a thicker skin, so it didn’t cause me to burst into tears, but it had its usual plusses and minuses. For example, they rate Sam’s receptive language skills (i.e. what he understands) much lower than I would. They feel he’s at a 17-month level in that area, and I feel his receptive language is more developed than that.

His expressive language rated a similar score, and that didn’t surprise me—he is pretty delayed on expressive language. He’s getting better at it, though. Just this morning, he was grabbing his…er, boy parts…when I was changing his diaper, making it difficult for me to complete the task. So I said, “Sam! You’ve got to let go of your junk!” He promptly grinned at me and repeated “Junk!” Greaaaaaat! Chris and I were also talking about Theo chanting the word “butt” at some point today, and Sam piped up with “Butt!” Double greaaaaat! In other words, time for me to start watching my mouth around the little parrot. 😉

Sam also scored extremely low in self-concept and social role—they find him to be at the level of a seven-month-old. This is because he “does not consistently discriminate between familiar and unfamiliar people, imitate play behavior of peers, initiate social contact with peers, or express ownership or possession.” Apparently he initiates much more contact with adults than with his peers. Well, of course he does—the adults shower him with attention and affection. He’s a smart kid—he knows where his bread is buttered. 🙂 But, they had one comment in the report that made me laugh out loud: “Samuel has taken on the role of classroom morning greeter. Samuel’s preferred morning activity is greeting each parent as they enter the classroom. It is often difficult to get him out of his greeter role and engaged in a morning activity.”

Ha ha, this explains why I’ve had several parents come up to me and say, “Oh my gosh, Sam gives me the best hugs when I come in! It just totally makes my day!” I’m sorry, but I just can’t fault this behavior. I think it’s pretty cool that he’s the little classroom welcome ambassador. We all ought to be so cheerful and welcoming to people, shouldn’t we? 🙂 Truth is, I know the teachers get a kick out of it, too, even though he’s supposed to be doing other morning activities.

Speaking of Sam, we had feeding therapy this week. The therapist was really happy with his jaw stability and says he’s perfectly capable of chewing other foods besides chips, crackers, and yogurt (well, not that you chew yogurt, but it is one of the few things he eats). She says at this point, it’s a behavior issue for whatever reason—he doesn’t want to eat other foods, so he doesn’t. (This may be from fear of choking in the past, or it may be just plain old stubbornness because he’s a picky eater.) So, we have some very slow steps to work on to try to get him trying new foods. But it’s a very slow process. Basically, the first step is to get him to touch another food and throw it in the trash. So we’ll be wasting food. But apparently this is the first step toward getting him to try more things.

Let’s see…what else can I report? Theo’s doing fine in school—getting more comfortable and doing a bit more testing. 😉 After-school care is his favorite part of the day, and the ridiculous thing is, he asks me to leave him there longer. (I normally walk over to get him as soon as Sam wakes up from his nap, but Theo wants to stay longer.) This is ridiculous because a huge part of the reason we switched schools is because at his old school, I would’ve had to leave him at after-care until 6:00, and I didn’t want to leave him that long. (He goes to bed at 7:30; I felt like I’d never see my kid!) And so we switched to a school with a program where I can pick him up whenever I want…and he’s asking me to leave him longer. Sigh… Well, at least he likes it!

After our pictures on Saturday, we had a great lunch with my friends Kim and Amber. I haven’t seen either of them in quite a while, so it was great to catch up—when I could get a word in edgewise. Theo had quite involved conversations with both of them, which were quite amusing to listen to!

On Sunday, we stuck close to home. Sam is not a fan of riding in the car lately, and he whines much of the ride. So after listening to hours of whining on Saturday, we didn’t feel like venturing far on Sunday. So we went to the farmers’ market and then had lunch and ice cream, and wrapped up the day with a trip to the bookstore. Chris got a Barnes & Noble gift card from work for volunteering to give up half his cubicle to a coworker (they’re running out of space in his office), so we headed to the bookstore to look around and let Sam play with the trains. Theo got a book on Theodore Roosevelt, and Sam would’ve played with the trains all day if he had his way. 🙂

That’s pretty much it for the week. Sorry for the lack of pictures—we weren’t doing much camera-worthy, and when we were, someone else was taking the pictures! I’m hoping I’ll get the link to the proofs in the next couple of weeks.

Happy fall, everyone!

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