Wednesday, June 11, 2014

9 Months

Charlotte is 9 months old! She's getting so big. Crawling everywhere. Trying so hard to stand up on her own. She can do a couple seconds so far. She eats just about everything. Including legos. She swallowed one yesterday, so we are waiting and hoping to see that again in a day or so. First kid to swallow something, so I guess that's doing pretty good.
She's 26 pounds, 1 ounce, 28.5 inches. 100th percentile in weight, and 80th percentile in height. She has 7 teeth now! Working on more, too. She's a healthy girl, and she scored high on the developmental screening they do each time we go in. The Autism rate is so high these days, that many clinics are having us fill out a screening sheet at each well child visit to make sure they are on track. She's even using a sippy sometimes with water.
Photo: Figured out the sippy on the first try. Dang she's growing up so fast!
One of my favorite pics of her! That toothy grin makes her look so much older.
Photo: Pretty girl. 9mo.

Sleepy girl! Love those chubby rolls! I know they will be gone so soon. She's already slimming down some.
Photo: This cutie is taking a nap on my bed, in front of the fan. :)
Climbing! Another new skill. She can climb up stairs as well. She's quite excited about that, but she's very cautious, too. She can also get off the couch by herself. She just backs up to the edge and slides right down to the floor.
Photo: Guess who figured out how to climb? Lol
For Mother's Day, I decided to take a pic of all my kids. They cooperated for the most part.
Photo: Love these kids! <3
Wrestling on the floor! These kids are so fun to watch when they're getting along
Photo: Kids are wrestling and having fun. :)

Gabriel's evaluations went well. He qualified under Autism Spectrum Disorder through the school, and will be starting special ed preschool in the Fall, 3 days per week, for a few hours per day. The MN Autism Center hasn't officially gotten back to me yet, but I do know that he will be starting in-home therapy toward the end of the month. I've had more time to work with him on certain things, and he's been doing well with that. We have some new challenges as well. He's decided he doesn't like to be dressed, so throughout the day I have to re-dress him, including his diaper. It's been frustrating. It seems to be part of his new independence/growth thing. Hopefully the undressing part of the phase will move on shortly! At least I can now add "undresses self" to his new list of things he can do all by himself. Yay for progress? His Ferritin wasn't high enough yet, it went from 10 to 13 in 3 months, and it needs to be above 22. So they doubled his dose and he gets a re-check in 3 months.

Both boys started Special Olympics last week. They have Young Athletes, which is a program for kids under 8 years old. They do obstacle courses, run relays in the hallway and have lots of fun while being active. It's great for Gabriel, to be able to move in different ways, work on jumping, side stepping, and other things that are difficult for him. It's great for Dawson to get some more exercise in, too. It's weekly for 6 weeks, so we should get some good fun this summer from that. It's great for wearing them both out! They even came home and were both sitting still on the couch, peacefully! It's such a rare sight, I had to take a pic.

Photo: Special Olympics wore them both out this evening! It's rare to see them both sitting still. Lol. 1 hour of gym-type activities. Obstacle course, a relay, playing catch, etc. They enjoyed it. It's Wednesdays from 6-7pm at Westwood school if anyone is interested. We need some more people to join! There's only a few kids so far.

 Yesterday we went to the park. First time at the splash pad this year. They loved it. Dawson ran right in. Gabriel splashed his feet, but never went fully in to get wet. Last year he did go in, so I'm sure he will warm up to it eventually. Charlotte's only interest was eating the wood chips from the playground. They were climbing on this merry go round the most. Dawson is really getting brave! He wouldn't climb above the ring in the middle before, and Gabriel has never climbed a rope ladder. Gabriel got really brave, and went all the way to the top! I was nervous, because he has low muscle tone and not great coordination sometimes, but thankfully he's cautious and did very well.
 He's looking so much older these days! Still can't believe this boy is a school kid, let alone heading into 2nd grade! Crazy.

 Yikes! He made it, but he looks a bit worried. He just had to get onto that very last step though!
 Cautiously heading back down
 Love this pic! Was Dawson's idea.
 Monkeys sleep in trees. He recently went to the zoo for a field trip, so he had to try it.

 Dawson started Miracle League Baseball last week. We just caught the last few weeks of the session though, then it starts back up in August, which will be fine. He wasn't sure if he'd like it, but he had a lot of fun. It was sad last night though, there are some very handicapped kids in it. There are a few in wheelchairs with no muscle tone, on oxygen and unable to do much at all. Dawson asked me "how can we make them better, mom?". We've seen many kids like that from the hospital, so I know he relates them to being sick. I told him that some kids can't walk, so they need wheelchairs and other things to help them get around and have fun, but they might not be sick. He said "oh, ok", and that was that. He's still playing with the tee. Some kids don't use it. I might see if he wants to try without it next time.

 Running the bases! The kids can choose how many bases they want to run. Nobody strikes out, there are no points, no winning team. It's all for fun, and they have lots of it!
 Dawson and Angie, who is his therapist that goes with him. They have to have a "buddy" to help them out on the field, so that works perfect.

 Waiting for a ball that's rolling at him. Love his stance.

 Throwing a ball back to the pitcher. They have many balls. Once someone hits a ball, someone else throws a few extras onto the field to keep the other team happy and give them something to do.

 The dugout. He played so hard, he needed an extra long break. He often sits out for a little longer instead of being on the field. I love how they are flexible with whatever the kids are ok with doing.
 Charlotte spends her time standing against the bleachers, making the grandma ladies drool over her. She's got them all figured out.
 She's quite the ham when she wants to be!
 Love the tongue!
 Dawson usually runs his bases 2 at a time. Many kids do that.
 He makes everyone laugh. He squats and does the concentrated hover of the bat for a while before he swings. It's pretty funny.
 Gabriel and Charlotte were playing in the stroller toward the end of the game. They were giggling and tickling each other.

Gabriel fell asleep in a container today. We've had a busy week, but he was too stubborn to lay down and nap. I did transfer him to the couch and he took a good nap. :)
Photo: My stubborn boy, who doesn't take naps. He sat in a container and covered himself up. Lol. We've had an active week! He's gonna need that nap, we have Special Olympics this evening. :)
Gabriel decided he wanted eggs for lunch...
Photo: I guess Gabriel wanted eggs for lunch.
"Look mom, I put Charlotte in here!" They are on the platform of our indoor slide.
Stephanie Burdick's photo.
Stephanie Burdick's photo.
Last day of school! He came home with cat whiskers. He's so cute!
Photo: Some of his whiskers have faded from playing. But he's still cute. :)
9 month comparisons
Photo: 9 months!

Friday, May 2, 2014

8 months old. Lots going on, difficult days.

Charlotte is 8 months old now! I just can't believe that. She's looking so much older, and gaining new skills everyday. She can army crawl rather quickly, scoot on her butt (though army crawling is faster so she doesn't scoot much), can sit back up once she's on her belly, pull up to a stand, and she's trying to climb things! For words, she doesn't talk very often, but she does have some. She has said hi, mama, dada, and she says baba (which has no meaning, it's just her babble word). She has 3 teeth now, and has about 7 more that should be coming soon I hope. She's been very clingy lately, though her army crawling skill has helped lessen that a bit. She also has a new habit of staying up until 12:30-1am. I knew that awesome sleep routine was too good to be true, but I enjoyed every moment of it while it lasted. She does still sleep through the night at least, but we've been up later.

Eating some puffs at Gillette Children's, waiting for Gabriel to be done with MRI
Stephanie Burdick's photo.

Love this one! She's such a happy girl.

She has also learned how to clap a little bit.
Stephanie Burdick's photo.

The first time she pulled up to stand! She stood up more than that, and even wanted to climb onto the chair, but she wasn't able to quite yet.
Photo: She is completely pleased with herself! Pulled up to a stand all by herself. Yesterday she learned how to butt scoot. The day before that she perfected the pincher grasp and scrounges for tiny stuff to eat all day. The day before that it was army crawling. She's on a roll! Lol

I often shop with her in a carrier, either on my back or front. I had her in front this week, and she fell asleep cuddled up to me. Best way to shop!
Photo: A comfy way to shop. Snuggled up to mom.

Charlotte prefers standing to have her snack, since she can do that, sitting is so boring now!
Photo: I looked up to find 2 small sets of fingers clutching the edge of this. I peeked over it to find Charlotte grinning at me. She has big ideas! She wanted to stand up there so bad. So now she's been happily standing there having a snack. I held a newborn for a while today, and I can't believe how big this girl has gotten!! I'm in complete denial! Lol

Sleepy babies are so adorable!
Photo: She's so cute!! :)

7 months
Stephanie Burdick's photo.

Party dress for Gabriel's birthday
Photo: Charlotte in her party dress. :)

February, 5mo
Stephanie Burdick's photo.

Stephanie Burdick's photo.

8 month carseat pic. Almost outgrown! So glad I got a bigger one. We do still use it out of the car. I'm going to miss it when she outgrows it!

Easter dress. It's been so nice out, the kids have all been enjoying our apartment balcony.

Happy 3rd Birthday Gabriel! He loved his birthday party, and was singing the Happy Birthday song for weeks after! He is 36 pounds and 38 inches tall. Wearing 4t tops, 3t pants and size 11 shoes. He has pretty big feet for a 3 year old. Nobody wonders where he got those from though!

Dawson assisted him with the gift opening. He was mostly good help. Gabriel did need a lot of assistance still.

This was Dawson's idea! He was thinking outside the box, literally! He wanted to make a lego box for one of Gabriel's train gifts. So we did! Took us quite a while, but Dawson was completely thrilled. Gabriel wasn't quite sure what he was doing with it though, but quickly figured it out when Dawson made a hole to peek in and show him!
Gabriel has a lot going on lately. We had an appointment at Gillette Children's. The Rheumatologist ordered labs and sent us to a Neurologist the same day. She noticed his legs were shaped kinda funny, and referred us to a Neuro-Muscular specialist. We went there another day, and he ordered an MRI on Gabriel's brain and spine, to see if he has any neuro-muscular connection issues. He also was very concerned about Gabriel's development. He said we should get an Autism evaluation. At Gabriel's 3 year check-up, the Dr agreed with getting an eval, and also did those labs we had orders for. Turns out his Ferritin was low, which is iron stores. He's been on iron and that seems to have helped some with his sore muscles. They said that can make him a bit achy. He checks it again next month. The dr also noticed Gabriel's arches collapse when he walks, which is making his legs grow outward after the knee. So we got him some really good shoes as recommended, and that has really helped with the stumbling. Hopefully his legs will correct themselves eventually, too.

Today was his MRI, he did pretty good with it all. No fussing about wanting food, and he was pretty excited to get a ride on the hospital bed. He was sedated just over 90 minutes, and woke up without any issues. He was a bit groggy and loopy for a bit, but he woke up fairly quickly. No issues keeping food down, but he wasn't the most hungry until this evening. We should hear next week if they find anything from the MRI.

Just woke up and playing with dinosaurs
Photo: Groggy, but awake.

Gabriel got a new haircut
Stephanie Burdick's photo.

Gabriel has 5 evaluation appointments set up. 4 through the school, and 1 through the Autism Center. They do more psychology eval stuff with the Center, and other stuff through the school, like vision, hearing, speech, OT, PT, etc. So by the end of May we should know more about that. His communication is behind. He has a lot of words, and other things. I'm not even sure what to think. I go back and forth between thinking he has very mild Autism, to thinking he's just a 3 year old with a communication delay. I guess we'll let the professionals figure that one out! I took some videos of certain things he does, to help them out. 3 year olds never do what you want them to see during evals! He's been more aggressive and overall more difficult lately. I think the communication delay is really making things more difficult. He can't say what he wants, so he throws a fit. As if a 3 year old needed another reason for a tantrum! Part of it could also be Charlotte, and her being super clingy.

Our mornings often look like this. Though Gabriel is starting to get away from that lately. He hasn't been spending as much time with her. I think he's having some jealousy issues at the moment. Glad I got all these pics! Proof he really does like her. ;)
Photo: I love cuddly mornings! Happy 3rd Birthday Gabriel!! He doesn't quite understand the birthday hype yet, but he giggled and enjoyed the extra attention when he got up this morning. ;)

He does still love it when she plays with him on the floor
Stephanie Burdick's photo.

Stephanie Burdick's photo.

Photo: Gabriel and Charlotte. <3

She was just starting to get up on hands and knees here. She's been doing that for a couple months now at least.
Photo: Starting to get up on hands and knees, and very happy about it. She's a week why of 6mo, and very determined to catch up with her brothers!

Dawson is having a very hard time as well. He's not doing well at all in school, behavior-wise. He always has a hard time in November, he remembers the time of year when Tyler died, because it was 2 days after Halloween. He usually tapers off and is ok again after a while. This time he hasn't. His behaviors have continued to escalate. It might also be because of Gabriel, he's more aggressive, in Dawson's face, doesn't stand down and let Dawson walk all over him, etc. There's been a lot of fighting. Gabriel picks up on everything Dawson does, so it escalates very fast. Gabriel has been hitting, kicking, even biting Dawson when they're fighting. He's been occasionally wetting the bed, he wakes up with bad dreams sometimes, he can't get to sleep without his musical bear, and he says he's scared. He's had more anxiety, quick temper, very fast to have a meltdown. Everything makes him crumple up and cry, or go into a screaming fit. I set up counseling for him, I'm going to talk to the counselor on Tuesday to talk about his issues, and then he starts the following week. I hope something can be sorted out. He won't talk to me much, he doesn't like me being sad, so he doesn't want to talk about sad stuff with me. He will say he is sad if I ask him, but that's about all I get. I got this email from the school (sp ed teacher) I'm not even sure what to say. He's been having problems for week, and each week has been worse. The principle even said he might get suspended if his behavior toward kids continues. :(

"I just wanted to let you know that Dawson had a difficult day today. He refused to do most of his work today, picking things up from the floor and throwing them at people, argumentative and refusing to follow directions. When he started to shows signs of aggression towards others we removed him from his class and he spent most of his day with me in my room. We tried a few different sensory activities and during the activities he was fine but as soon as they were stopped he was running around my room crawling under tables, crawling on top of chairs, hitting and kicking at things. He did seem to benefit from the use of head phones today since we noticed he kept covering his ears. The last hour of the day I brought him back to the classroom, (he was not able to be in there) so we worked in the entry way where it was quieter and less distractions. As long as I was sitting right next to him and asking him what he needed to do next he would work but as soon as my attention was taken away from him he would quit working. We have been noticing a lot more picking up small objects off of floor and either throwing them or eating them, have you noticed this behavior as well? I'm a little concerned about the eating of sand and paper off of the floor. I did not notice this earlier in the year. Every day he comes to my room the first thing he does is take off his shoes and crawls under the table. This is also new behavior in the last month. Does he do this at home? Our occupational Therapist was planning to come this week but got caught up in another building. I'm hoping she will be able to come next week to assist us with some of his sensory needs."

Dawson had a music concert this week. Was very fun to watch him sing and do all the movements. He was very into it! I didn't get many good pics, most were blurry or had a head that moved in the way.
Stephanie Burdick's photo.

Stephanie Burdick's photo.

I love this picture so much! The boys rarely play with each other like that, and Charlotte so badly wants in on it!
Photo: Playing together! Miracles do happen. :p

Dawson, being Dawson. :)

My latest comparison pictures
Photo: 7 Months!

Photo: 6 months. :)

We donated all these toys for Tyler's birthday. Can't believe he would've been 5, starting Kindergarten soon. It's been an even harder year again this year. Been having a tough time, especially seeing all the talk about Kindergarten from people I know. Thinking of Dawson having a playmate more his age. Just so many things. I hate how much this has affected us all, and how much Dawson is hurting and confused.

I've been very unmotivated and more depressed lately. I don't know if it's just missing Tyler, or everything we have going on combined. Thinking that Gabriel might have a diagnosis has us all very stressed. Until this year, he seemed right on track. I don't know when he fell off the charts for speech. He's always seemed to have so many words to me, until I realized other kids his age were actually talking back and forth with people, a lot. It's just really discouraging when everyone is having delays. The boys have been fighting so much, and with everything going on with school behaviors, and at home. It's constant. Either the boys are trying to injure each other, or Charlotte wants to be held. She can't be held while I'm dealing with the boys. Gabriel will shove her on purpose if he's mad and she's within his reach. I'm just in survival mode to make everyone safe, and I'm even failing at that! Dawson's teacher saw some marks on Dawson. He even said he's afraid of Gabriel biting him again. He got him really hard once. So many times this month I've just felt so overwhelmed that I don't know how I will do another day of it! But we do anyway. Thankfully there are many adorable moments along the way that start to make up for it. Trying to just breathe, and have patience! I've even debated getting back on meds, but I don't know if it's even depression, or just the complete chaos that is my life right now. It's almost midnight, and it's finally quiet. I need to go wash dishes so we have something to eat off tomorrow.