Wednesday, October 29, 2008

She's different.

It's becoming more and more apparent that Lainie isn't up with her peers, speech-speaking. It's to the point that other people are noticing now, even if she isn't signing to us. I don't know how I feel about that. I mean, we knew it was coming, and I've noticed it for awhile. I'm prepared for it; I don't know if DH is. Sometimes I think he still thinks everything is just fine.

Some days she's really cooperative. She loves watching videos that have sign language in them. We watched one about Halloween ( and she immediately applied the signs. When we read Halloween books before bedtime, she did the sign for Halloween (with a "how-ho-heee") and jack-o-lantern ("jaa-oo-laaa") and candy ("an-dee"). But then, she did a lot of "eh-eh-eh"ing yesterday, even when she had the word and sign for what she wanted. Maybe she's just being a two-year-old?

But, I'm having a lot of trouble teaching her big and little when she doesn't have the words. Or her colors. She'll sign them with prompting, but can't point to the red one versus the blue one. (I need to look it up and see what she's supposed to be able to do at 30 months.) I mean, who cares what color a heart is, when you're still waiting to hear "I Love You, Mommy"? She can't say I love you, but she can say "Daddy did it" and "Meanie Mommy" thanks to her sisters' influence.

Then, I also wonder if I'm just super-paranoid. I mean, did I track K and M's development this closely? I think the answer is yes, but their delays were still in acceptable range of normal and were all in motor skills, and for some reason people don't associate intelligence and motor skills. ("Wow! Look at that toddler jump! He's going to be a genius!") I mean, honestly, our society associates speech, both lack thereof or speech impediments, as a sign of intelligence. That probably bothers me more than anything. That, and the fear that she is going to fall behind her peers, because she can't talk to us or that any talking she does do, requires so much effort on her part.

I heard a story of a husband whose wife was diagnosed with Alzheimers. He said that a great peace settled over the entire family once they recognized that his wife was working at full capacity, and that she was only capable of xx now. They stopped getting angry at her, expecting more, thinking she wasn't trying.

As parents, I feel it is partly our responsibility to push our kids, to get them to try harder. But, only to their capacity. I accepted a long time ago (probably before they were born) that my kids weren't going to college on athletic scholarships. That is beyond their capacity. :D Both K and M have already surpassed my expectations for them, academically. So, how do I adjust my expectations to meet Lainie's capacity? Am I expecting too much, or pushing her to improve? Where is the balance?

Monday, October 20, 2008

My Maggie

Tomorrow Maggie turns 5.

Five years ago today, I was on my way to the hospital to be induced, after being on bedrest and then modified bedrest for 2 months. We knew we were having a girl, but we didn't know if she'd be an Emma or a Maggie. We knew she was tough, as she went through a rough couple gestational months with no ill-effects. We didn't know she'd be THAT tough.

Maggie is boisterous, hilarious, loud, creative, intelligent, physical, tough, beautiful, and perfect in every way. She drives me crazy faster than anyone but she makes me laugh more often than anyone, too. She says the craziest things; she loves telling her big sis that "I'm smart because of my naturally curly hair. Your hair is straight." She is smart, reading so amazingly well for her age. She is strong, with little legs with already defined muscles. She will run up to hug you and, not knowing her own strength or density, will knock even her dad on his behind. She's stubborn -- if she wants it, she'll find a way to get it or exhaust herself trying.

Maggie loves yellow. Yellow has been her favorite color for more than 2 years now. But, she's starting to want to wear pink with sparkles, and I don't know if it's because she wants to be big like her sister and so she thinks she needs to dress like her, or if it's because of the girls in her preschool that are pink-girls, or if she's just changing her mind. I think she's just changing her mind, because Maggie isn't one to follow the crowd...

unless they are getting into trouble. Maggie, on her own, will be a perfectly behaved child. She knows the rules and will follow them, unless someone else instigates it. Then, she'll be the second one to join in. It only takes one person to misbehave and she thinks that opens the door for her to get to do it, too. Even last night, as part of the continued battle to get Lainie and Maggie to sleep in the same room, that trait reared it's head again. After 2.5 hours of battling and one fall down the bunk-bed ladder, they finally stopped making each other laugh and fell asleep. Alone, they both would have fallen asleep within a half hour; together, it takes hours.

Maggie fights her her little sister and reveres her older sister. When she gets mad, she has a temper that can scare me (and reminds me of me.) I have seen her pin a kid bigger than her against a door or knock a kid 3 years older than her onto the ground. She gets shaking mad and turns red, but she's learned to control it a little better, as long as she can leave the situation.

Maggie doesn't feel pain like others do. Her tolerance is so high. When she's in pain, her face turns white as can be and the area around her eyes turn red. That's the only way we know she's hurting.

She is an amazing little girl and I can't wait to see her continue to grow and mature into an amazing young lady.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Air quotes McCain

Apparently, McCain can do no right.

It seems he's set off a fire-storm by putting "health of the mother" in air quotes in the recent debates. And, although I'm still not in favor of either candidate, and feel he couuld have handled his response better, I feel I should explain his response, on behalf of pro-lifers everywhere.

Partial birth abortion is the specific procedure to which he was referring. In a partial-birth abortion, labor is induced. The baby, often in the third trimester, is born feet first; in fact, they'll turn the baby breech if s/he's not already in that position. Then they deliver the baby up to the head. They inject a syringe into the base of the skull and suction out the brain stem. Then they deliver the rest of the baby. Why? Because if the baby takes a breath, they are required to let it live. If it takes a breath and they kill it then, it's murder. But as long as it doesn't take a first breath, it can be killed and called an abortion. And for the record, 80 percent of babies that this is done on are perfectly healthy. It used to be called "version & breech delivery."

Now, can anyone ANYONE out there give me a real-life example of this help the health of a mother in some way? In what situation would it be easier, physically, for a women to undergo this proceedure, rather than just deliver the baby and hand it over to the authorities? Because at this point, the abortion doctors in my state (who are currently being investigated) are using the mental health of a mother as sufficient reason, up to 36 weeks gestation. They say that it's too hard emotionally for a mother to give up a baby, but an abortion -- that doesn't hurt them emotionally. And as a birthmother who gave up a baby, I take issue with that.

I'm not even stating that abortion needs to be illegal at all stages. I do understand the medical reasons one might be necessary, at 8 weeks, 12 weeks, 20 weeks, 25 weeks gestation. But 33 weeks? 35 weeks? Come on.

So, yes, McCain should have done without the air quotes, but using the health of a mother as the justification behind partial birth abortions is just bull. Plain and simple.

Prove me wrong. I listen to research, to reason. Convince me otherwise.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Let the nesting begin!

I can't say if I'm nesting, really, because it doesn't seem accurate to start nesting at 22 weeks. Maybe I know that, in 15-18 weeks, I won't feel up to the heavy cleaning that I'm doing now. Or, maybe it's just me freaking out at the idea of having 4 kids to organize. The caring for, loving, snuggling, attention-giving ... I'm ready for that. It's the "where are my shoes" and "what do I wear today" and that books and toys scattered everywhere that are freaking me out.

So, I cleaned out our entry closet. All too small shoes from that closet and from both kids' bedrooms' closets have been moved to a spare closet. (Dude, my house has nothing if not closets!) The same with all jackets and coats. All winter mittens, scarfs and hats are in a quilt bag -- you know, the zipper ones that new quilts and comforters come in -- and stored away. And the shelves have been cleaned off, leaving Katie, Maggie, and Lainie each with their own designated shelf for their shoes and a designated hook for their jackets and coats.


All toys -- ALL toys -- and books have been removed from Katie and Maggie's room, and the toddler bed moved in there. And then, Lainie moved in there. Her clothes are still in her room, but I need to get her transitioned to sleeping in their room before the baby comes. I know it's possible to have an older child and newborn share a room, but I don't want to make any of the girls lose out on that sleep. And while it doesn't work for everyone or every newborn, all three of our girls have slept in the crib from day one. So, now the baby's room is vacated (pending Lainie's successful transition to the big girl room) and ready for me to attack that space.


There is a room in the basement with unfinished sheetrock that we call the office. Well, I call it the room-with-the-potential-to-be-the-office. I need to encourage DH to finish the walls in that room and move the desks to the basement. Then I can move the office from the main floor to the basement. That will let Lainie ride her bike and play in a bean-filled sandbox while I'm working from home. And, even better, the current office space will become a room for Katie and Maggie. The plan is for it to have a desk for their art supplies (Katie: "art center"), 3 bookshelves of books (Katie: our library), and Katie's beanbag chair and Maggie's birthday present (Katie: "our reading center). (Katie loves HGTV!) Also, all annoying toys that aren't toddler friendly, like those blasted polly pockets, are to be kept in and played only in that room. It'll be off-limits to Miss Lainie and the baby. Deadline: ASAP, please.


Clean my room out. Organize all baby clothes, size 0-18 months. Clean and purge the laundry room. Attack the play room closet.

Got any other ideas? How to be organized? Fall cleaning? Reassurance on mothering 4?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

And the game plan is...

After months of discussions and gathering information about resources available, we have a plan for Lainie...if she can get in where we want her to. She "graduates" from infant-toddler services when she turns 3, so we need to get something in place before then. Her speech therapist is going to recommend her for the early intervention preschool through our district, which is at Katie's school. They accept kids the semester they turn 3, so she can start in January. If accepted, the bus will come to daycare and pick her up and will take her back there afterwards. And, one little girl from daycare is going to attend at the same time, so she'll have a friend to ride with. By doing it the same day as daycare, I won't feel guilty about sending her (as much). The hope is that by getting her in that setting, she'll realize she needs to talk/sign for everyone like I can get her to talk/sign for me.

In addition, there is a speech teaching program at the university that Lainie should qualify for. (Think of it this way -- kids with a speech impediment get accepted there, and she's way beyond that...she doesn't have words at all, much less pronounces them correctly.) That will give her the speech boost to keep progressing. We will have to drive her to the appointments at least once a week, and we have to pay for these services...maybe. My insurance will pick up a portion, and I'm supposed to contact a parent advocacy group that will fight my district to pay for it, since they are not providing the services they are supposed to within our district.

There is a speech program at the preschool, sort of. There was a big shake-up and last year's speech therapists all resigned and were replaced with a new group that the state licensing board says aren't yet qualified to be speech therapists here. I wouldn't have (as much of) a problem sending her there for speech if we were just talking about a speech impediment, but her situation is just more severe than the average kindergartener.

So, we have a plan. The load will (hopefully) be off of me to teach and push her, at least by the time the baby arrives. Now we just need some prayers said that this is the right path and that she gets accepted into the programs and I can let this one worry go.