Saturday, June 28, 2014


Thank you so much for your comments on my last post-- it was so helpful to read them all! We are going to meet with her on Monday and take it from there.

 Speech issues, Harry's current effusion episode, ANOTHER sore throat and fever for Cooper (we see the ENT again next month), and the stress of managing our online classes aside, we have been having a fantastic summer.

Lemme show you a few pictures.

I am really enjoying low carb eating, but I could not bring myself to cut out fruit because I am cutting out processed sugar, and I need something sweet.  I say "am cutting" because it is a process.  Jack and I have had movie nights the last 2 nights, and I have definitely eaten a few M&Ms.  But still.  I am eating so many more vegetables and have been scrambling egg whites with arugula, onions, and tomatoes for breakfast, and OMG SO GOOD.  Since we still have strawberries, this is my typical lunch (blue cheese crumbles and poppy seed dressing).  Whole food is so pretty.
Dorothy got a bikini.  As you can tell from the lip prints on her face, it makes me want to eat her up.
A little post-hockey, pre-rehearsal football.
Dorothy mastered the art of eating a popsicle.  We;re so proud of her.
She looked too cute on her way to the doctor for her 15-month well-check.  She's great, BTW.  50th percentile for weight and a freakish 80th for height.
Could I have picked a less attractive place to photograph her?  Not possible.
Even though she has a huge personality, she sure is tiny.

This was another delicious low-carb meal:  nachos with red peppers in lieu of chips.  I HAVE LOST 2 POUNDS THIS WEEK.

This?  Is the mess of a single ice cream cone.
But this?  Is from a few measly M&Ms.  I thought they were supposed to melt in your MOUTH.  Also do you love her dive ring hat OR WHAT.
She's a risk taker.
Baby yoga.
Jack and I had fun at movie night.  SO MUCH FUN that we are doing it again tonight.  I can cross Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 AND the Croods off my movie bucket list.  Phew!
Ridiculous pool selfie.  I have spent so much time at the pool that I have read 3 books in 2 days. 
Love this!
And this!
The best part?  There's still so much summer left.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Speech Delay Again

We had Cooper's speech evaluation from the school district, and it was kind of a mess.

We told the evaluator when we first met her that Cooper understood everything we said to him but was a very reticent communicator with people he doesn't know, that he is shy, and that it takes him awhile to warm up to people.

She assured us that she would spend 3 hours with us spread over 3 separate visits to get everything she needed.

Imagine our surprise when she closed up her bag of random objects that she was holding up for him to name 24 minutes into her first visit and said the evaluation was over and he would clearly qualify.  Then she looked at him, pouted, and said in a baby voice, "He can barely make any sounds, huh?" with a pitying inflection.

I was SHOCKED and heartbroken (not that he qualified for services-- the kid is 2.5 and rapidly being surpassed by his chatty baby sister) and then angry.  His poor feelings!  He looked so crushed!  He was talking so much!

Little Cooper was TRYING SO HARD.  It is not his thing to talk to a stranger, and as I explained to you guys AND TO HER, he has never been a kid who parrots back anything.  But there he was saying airplane! and horse! and whinnying like a horse unprompted! He didn't know what a yo yo was, but he tried to say it (she looked at us like we were idiots when I said hes never seen one before).  She was also stunned that he could not name a wind-up miniature music box, which WTF?  The kicker was when she held up a plastic spoon an fork and said "What are these?  Which one will you say first?"

And Cooper replied clearly "First."

The she said in a high-pitched voice, "Okay, now say the other one," and then in a slightly lower pitch she asked me "Which one did he just say?"

"First," I told her flatly, "He said first."

She made a little huh sound as if she had no idea why he would respond so inappropriately, forgetting, I guess, that she had JUST SAID "say first."

Then she said the stuff about the eval being over and him not having any sounds.

I protested her quick decision and said he actually talks much more but he's just warming up, and she told me she has been around the block and knows when a kid is going to qualify.  I just GAPED.

She said we could either have in-home services once a week starting when he turns 3, or he could come to a drop-off articulation class at a nearby school.  Then she asked if he was potty-trained, and I said no.  She made a really surprised and also pitying moue and said "Oh, how close is he?"

"We haven't started," I told her.

She clucked her tongue at me.


Potty training is not a developmental milestone-- it's a parenting philosophy.  Me and Ben = lazy parents.  We always potty train between 2.5 and 3.  In fact, Cooper has been initiating successful trips to the potty lately, and we always ask him if he wants to sit on the potty, and we have SO MANY POTTY BOOKS.  My point is, STOP JUDGING ME, LADY.  His toilet habits are not only totally normal, they are also totally NONE OF YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS.

But I didn't say that.  I just told her that I am concerned about his preschool transition because he is so shy and I thought in-home services would be best.  But I didn't say this in front of Cooper because I am not an asshole who hurts babies' (I assume this is not the first evaluation she has handled with shocking rudeness) feelings.

Ben called the director the program and explained how terrible things were, making it clear that we are thrilled to have services-- we are not protesting the labeling of our snowflake, but we hate how the evaluation went.

Then, awkward sauce, I got a call while feeding Dorothy dinner at Whole Foods (well, sitting with her while she ate and having a salad snack-- having dinner with Dorothy, I guess is how I should say it) and I answered it thinking it was a student, but it was the evaluator calling to say her boss wants her to wipe the slate clean and start the evaluation process from scratch.  Erm.  Who does that help?

Ben and I are working on how to handle it. Do we have her come back?  Just meet her for the IEP like she wanted initially?  IDK.

My mom suggested that before she comes in this time, I need to remind her that Cooper understands what she says and tell her she can't come into his house and hurt his feelings again.  I think this a good call.

I talked to Cooper's doctor and got another speech path referral, too, and we are going to pursue private options if we need to before his district services start.

The bottom line is that we want services OF COURSE.  But this evaluation was terrible.

I'd like to find a way to wrap this up, but I am at the library and still need to go to target before putting Dorothy down for her nap, so

Monday, June 23, 2014

Backyard Ocean Backyard Oasis

You know how I know it's summer?  When I sweep the kitchen floor, some of my dirt pile gets up and walks away.  Ants.  Ants mean summer.

You know what else means summer?  Eating dinner on the deck and hoping for a giant rainstorm to blow in and clean up all the evidence before we get more ants.  Especially when SOMEONE keeps spilling his lemonade (cough cough HARRISON cough cough).
AND IT WORKED, by the way. Huge rain storm that cleaned the deck and rained out baseball practice which sent us all to Orange Leaf which I did not eat because I am trying a no carbs but wine diet, which I will, of course, tell you all about.

But TONIGHT, I want to discuss a third sign of summer:  our Backyard Ocean backyard oasis.  When Backyard Ocean emailed me to see if I would like some awesome backyard inflatables in exchange for a blog post review, I wasted no time saying YES, PLEASE.

You know we love to swim.  Ever since I was a little girl, summer is a pool membership at a country club and a lot of time to lie on a chaise.  The kids love this, too, don't get me wrong, but there is a special kind of fun that comes from filling a pool with ice cold hose water and horsing around until you're pruney.

And somebody needs to explain this to Dorothy, because she could not handle the ice cold hose water.
But I predict she'll be lovin it by tomorrow-- the girl is part fish.

The boys?  COULD NOT HAVE LOVED the 3-D pool and 3-D goggles, the ride on whale, or the basketball/volleyball/water polo set more.

Jack was literally jumping for joy:

I love any product that will entertain all 4 of my kids at once, and they all loved ALL of these toys.  Even Dorothy stuck her head in the pool and drank the water like she was a puppy.  Which?  SHE SORT OF IS.

SO FUN, you guys!

This post was sponsored by Backyard Ocean who provided the awesome toys. The opinions are our own.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Speech Delay

Have I mentioned that Cooper has a speech delay?

Well, he does.

He qualified for Birth to 3, our county's sliding-scale, in-home speech pathology program (they also offer occupational therapy, feeding therapy, etc, but Cooper just needed speech help).  No one specified his delay percentage, and he qualified because he had an older sibling in the program.  Remember Jack?  He was in Birth to 3 for 6 months when he turned 2.  But in 6 months, he started chatting like a champ and was summarily discharged from the program, and we figured the same thing would happen for Cooper.

Except it hasn't.

I have been asking Cooper's doctor about his speech since he was 9 months old and didn't babble or make any razzing noises.  But then he had a small explosion and developed a vocabulary of sorts.  But then that went away.  Not in a scary autism way or anything like that-- he just sort of never used any words regularly except for mama, dada, this (and all-purpose word for sure), and a weird gulp-gulp-gulp sound that he says when he wants a milk.  He has never in his life-- and he still doesn't-- parroted back to us.  Any attempt to get him to repeat something we say are met with stony silence, even words he knows.

His receptive language is fantastic-- he knows exactly what we say, can follow multi-step directions, etc.

He loves to look at books independently and can point out anything he's asked to find, and he adores it when we read to him.

And we DO read to him and talk to him and limit his screen time and generally parent him competently.  Which is something his fucking speech pathologist DOESN'T SEEM TO GET.  She is very judgmental, especially because Cooper still has a pacifier, which YES.  WE GET IT.  It's not just that he has a paci, though. (which yes we had successfully made just a night or nap thing and then he got sick like 4 times in a row and then we went to Disney World and now he uses it a lot again)  HE HAS NEVER MADE ANY NOISES on a developmentally appropriate schedule.

And we have Harry who has never shut up, and chirpy little Dorothy who is 15-months old and regularly says mama, dada, Cooper, night night, hi, teeth, eat, uh-oh, roars like a lion, makes a choo-choo train noise, and parrots anything we ask her to and has adopted Cooper's weird gulp-gulp-gulp sound for milk.  It's not just us being shitty is what I am trying to say.

Cooper has made a bunch of progress in the last 6 or so months.  We had a service plan meeting with the speech path and the social worker assigned to his case and reviewed our original goals and found that we met them all! Which was awesome of course.

Just now, he saw a picture of the strawberries we picked yesterday and said "Strawberries!  I pick!  I eat all up.  Yum yum yum."  But he is still really hard to understand.  He adds new spontaneous words to his vocabulary everyday and has lots of 3-word phrases, but he does not talk as well as his peers for sure.

The speech path is running out of ideas.  She is very judgmental that he is not in daycare to be around other kids (WTF?  Projecting because she is playing with my kid while her own are at daycare?) and wants us to make a book of simple pictures so Cooper can point to things he want.  (WTF?  He is great at making his wants known, and this seems like something that would have benefited him 4 or 5 months ago but ignores the progress he has made since then).  She only comes every 2 weeks and cancels a lot because of her own kids or sometimes only stays for 15 minutes because she is running late, so the services are clearly not ideal.

We had a hearing test at a pediatric ENT, and interestingly Cooper tested below normal across the board-- consistent with a kid who had tons of ear infections, only he hasn't.  He goes back when he is 3 for more tests.

But, the reason I am writing this NOW is that he gets evaluated for the school district's early intervention program starting tomorrow since county services only cover kids until they're 3.  It's a 90-day process with 3 weeks of in-home evals and then a meeting with the school district speech path and the Birth to 3 social worker.  I will keep you posted OF COURSE.  The whole thing is bothering me.

Just now he asked "Yummy yummy yum?" and gestured toward the cookies I baked during nap.  I asked if he needed help getting one from the counter and he said "No mama.  I do" before dragging a chair to the counter and snagging a cookie.  He requested an episode of Thomas and Friends to go with his snack by pointing at the TV and making a train noise.  Then when I started his show from the DVR, he said "Mama!" and put his hands over his ears.  I asked if he needed the TV louder or softer, and he scream "WOUD."

So he IS talking and his frustration level is so much lower than it was a few months ago, but I still don't know why he isn't talking MORE or how we can really help him.

In contrast, the chatterboxes:

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Delicious morning.

Oh, community theater.

Watching Harry's show last night made me so nostalgic for community theater.  Almost every show in town is a musical, but you can bet your bottom dollar I am going to audition for the first non musical I can find.

Jack also loved the play, and Harrison was SO CUTE on the stage.  An adorable experience all around.

And then today we woke up to the wonderful news that the sweet little family farm by our house was FINALLY ready for strawberry picking.

We wasted no time getting over there (actually we didn't leave our house until 10 even though we got up at 7, and we really didn't waste any time-- that's just how long it takes for us to LEAVE).

Cooper loves picking fruit.  It's like a big, outdoor snack.

He was actually a really diligent berry-picker and filled a whole little plastic container.
Harry filled 2.
Look at him go!
I love this picture.  I had no idea she was watching me so intently.
I thought she was mostly just eating.  And she was, but she was picking her own snack.
And foraging our buckets.  Kind of like having a goat along.
Ben and Harry picked the most.
Harry would have won, but he ate as many as he picked.
Cooper spotted the tire swing.
Emphatically eating.
Jack hates strawberries.  So much that he wouldn't even pick them.
But he loves swinging.
And of course everyone needed a turn.

I wanted to take a picture of me with everyone because I have one of me with Harry and Jack at this swing from like 5 years ago.
It was a hard shot to set up
And then was only meh.
But still, a delicious morning.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

More pictures from the weekend.

My dad sent me all of these pictures, and I LOVE them.

How sweet and snuggly is she?
She really likes Daniel Tiger, what can I say?
It's so great that we ate outside on Father's Day because the kids?  WERE RIDICULOUS.
I really like Cooper's hair all shaggy
Harry has not taken this necklace off since he picked it at Animal Kingdom.  It was his souvenir of the day our third day of the trip.
Sometimes I really do want to eat her up.
And sometimes she wants to eat concession stand pretzels up.
She's just too much.
This was Jack's souvenir of the day our first day at the Magic Kingdom, but he puked on it the last day of the trip and we had to throw it away.  My parents felt so bad for Jack and his broken wrist that they sent him a new one, and he LOVES it.
Cracks me up that Harry is posing with the football.
Not as good as the orangutans, but still really cute.
Her teeth slay me.

Ben has a meeting today, and the boys and  are sitting around the basement waiting for Dorothy to wake up and watching The Empire Strikes Back.  They want to go swimming even though it is 68 and cloudy.  Whatevs.  I want to not have to clean the house 60 million times between now and bedtime, so I guess that way we all win.