So, one of my very good friends is a para in Daniel’s classroom and y’all. It’s the best. Not only does she take adorable pictures of him working at school and text them to me, I get to hear all the GOOD stories.
Like the time he took his PE icon off his schedule, walked over to the door, waved and said bye to the classroom, and then took off down the hall. (Going to PE. Obviously. He loves PE.)
I also got to hear about the new para who, upon seeing Daniel shove most of a nutrigrain bar in his mouth and make a giant mess of the rest, said, “Well maybe his mom should teach him how to take one bite at a time.” You guys. I could not stop laughing. The idea that A) it’s that easy and B) WE’D NEVER TRIED TO TEACH HIM is just so ludicrous I’m not even offended. (He has never worked with developmentally delayed kids, nor does he have kids of his own. My friend was quick to tell him to NEVER EVER make a comment like that again EVER, but we laughed about it together. A lot.)
Anyway. It’s fantastic. And look how cute he is!
This afternoon I went out to run a couple quick errands. I had 2 stops, and I figured I’d be home within an hour. Instead, I ended up taking a little detour. To the DMV. Where I spent an hour and a half and $400 renewing the tags for our Civic, because they were expired. It wasn’t an errand I’d planned on doing, because I hadn’t realized they were expired. Not until I GOT PULLED OVER BECAUSE MY TAGS WERE EXPIRED. (First time in my life I’ve ever been pulled over, by the way. Would have been happy to never hit that milestone.)
Not a super great day, is what I’m saying.
We didn’t do a ton of Halloween stuff this year (there are about a million Halloween events we COULD go to) but stuff was extra fun because Lydia actually understood what was going on for the first time. Daniel loves candy, of course, but with full day kindergarten and no naps he is EXHAUSTED by the end of the day, so bedtime is 6 pm. He is OUT by about 3 minutes after that. Do you know when Halloween stuff happens? After 6. So the only thing he did was class parties at school. However, he was adorable as a minion for that.
Too adorable to stand still for pictures, obviously.
Anyway, he’s the only one that goes to bed that early, so the other kids DID do the Halloween things. Brian took them to our church trunk-or-treat, which is where Lydia first discovered the magic of the words “trick-or-treat” and came home THRILLED to show me all her “canny.” She loved it so much, in fact, that she braved neighborhood trick-or-treating with Kalena and Will (and Brian. I was home again with sleeping Daniel) even though it was 28 degrees! Carried her own candy and everything. And OF COURSE all the kids were adorable in their costumes. But pretty soon I’m going to have to throw the rest of the candy away so I QUIT EATING IT ALREADY.
Daniel self-identified for the first time tonight. We were asking him everyone’s name at dinner (a normal family activity around here) and he was naming everyone as usual. But TODAY, when we got around to him and asked “who is this?” he said Daniel!
He’s 5, so this probably doesn’t seem like a big deal, but for us it is. He’s been able to identify teachers and peers by name for over a year, but he had no name for himself. Self-identification is a goal on his IEP. We have *actively* worked for this moment. So. Big day around here.
Obviously I also made him do it again (a whole bunch of times) so I could get it on video and OF COURSE that video is going on Instagram and Facebook so you can all see it.
Monday the kids were off school (5th day in a row, thanks parent-teacher conferences), Tuesday was Halloween, Wednesday and Thursday I spent all day flattened by a migraine and this morning I woke up to a mouse in my closet. It’s been a long week, is what I’m saying. I DID managed to get my closet completely cleaned out and reorganized today (thanks mouse?) but mostly the house is a disaster, because doing nothing for 2 days when you have 4 kids is not great for tidiness. Entropy happens fast around here.
I’m super annoyed about the mouse. We saw evidence of mice in the kitchen about a week ago, so I did some deep cleaning, set traps, and we caught a mouse. Just one, despite traps in all the areas we could see they had been. I moved the traps after a couple days and still nothing. I thought, “Well. Maybe that’s it?” And then I SAW ONE THIS MORNING. (On a different floor and on the other side of the house from the kitchen.) So apparently I will be waging war on these sneaky mice. Really NOT what I wanted to spend my time doing.
Starting this year, all 4 kids are in school AT THE SAME TIME! Not all day, and not every day, because Lydia’s preschool is M-Th from 8-11:30. But during that time I get to be HOME. ALONE. It’s a bizarre feeling to be here by myself. Plus I can just…leave the house. No diaper changes or shoe finding or wrestling anyone into a car seat. I won’t lie, it’s pretty awesome.
I’d like to tell you that I spend that time productively and my house is now spotless and I make Pinterest-worthy meals and my reading goal is met, but not so much. I do read more! And clean more! I don’t think I cook more, but I probably resent it less, since I can do it without small people screaming at me. Mostly I enjoy being alone. I have had only a handful of times where I got to be alone in my own house since Kalena was born. I’ve been alone other places! But home alone was an elusive thing, so now I’m reveling in it. Just a little bit.
I really thought I’d blog more with the free time. I’m so out of the habit though, I don’t even think about it. Turns out just HAVING the time doesn’t force you do the thing. (See also: my intention to get back into yoga which still has yet to happen.)
Anyway. Home alone. I’m a big fan.
You know how people talk about how their first kid has the great filled out baby book and the second kid’s is only half done and by the third kid nobody even buys a book to fill out? That’s me and this blog. Kalena & Will have like, every day of their first three years documented. And Daniel got about a year and a half. And Lydia got…a birth announcement? Probably some more than that, but not much. SO. Let’s talk about her today, shall we?
Lydia is as sweet as sweet can be. When she feels like it. But she has been exceptionally cute this last few days, because it turns out she LOVES Halloween! (I mean, you walk around getting candy. What’s not to love?) Last year she didn’t trick or treat at all, because it was her bedtime. This year she braved it with Kalena & Will, despite a temperature of 28 degrees and she was a trooper! Wanted to walk, not be carried, carried her own candy bag, and “twick-oh-tweet”ed her way around the neighborhood. She has been happily sharing her candy with Daniel who was asleep while trick-or-treating happened. I dressed her up as Louise Belcher from Bob’s Burgers, because she basically IS Louise.
Plus she loves hats and she looks so cute in this one.
She didn’t participate in pumpkin carving (because I’m not crazy) but she DID enjoy visiting Kalena & Will’s jack-o-lanterns every time we came up the front walk.
She liked to greet them and tell me “Punkin!” every time too. I guess we’ll keep her around for now.
Believe it or not, Daniel will be 5 next month. FIVE. I’m in denial. But my denial won’t stop it from happening, so when I had Daniel’s IEP meeting last Friday, it was also a kindergarten transition meeting. Even though he won’t be changing schools, (his preschool is at our home school) he will be changing therapy teams, because the preschool therapists only work with preschool kids. So! This meeting included everyone on his current team (PT, OT, SLP, & preschool teacher) and everyone who will be on his team next year (new PT, OT, & SLP, a kindergarten teacher, behavioral psychologist, and teachers from both the resource room and the intensive resource room. Plus some admin people. It was a full room.)
First we went over current goals (all going well, making progress) and discussed what he’ll be working on through the rest of this preschool year and during the Extended School Year (summer school.) He’s progressed enough in most areas that they’ll move from evaluating him against the 0-3 year scale to evaluating him against the 3-6 year scale. (That gives a pretty good idea where he’s at developmentally- he’s basically on par with a 3 year old for gross motor and fine motor, quite a bit further behind on social & communication skills.)
Next we went over the plan for kindergarten. The recommendation the team gave was to have Daniel placed in a traditional kindergarten classroom and also spend time in the Intensive Resource Room. The IRR is (you may have guessed) more intensive than the regular resource room. The benefits for Daniel are that the IRR provides daily therapy practice, in addition to being pulled out of class for speech/OT/PT, and provides him his own workspace for subjects where he is far enough behind his peers that it doesn’t make sense for him to be in the traditional classroom for those subjects. The IRR has its own teacher and is tiny, in terms of student numbers. (Currently only 2 kids are assigned to it, they are also both boys with Down syndrome, which made me smile.) They also provide music therapy, which I’m sure Daniel will LOVE. Daniel will also have a para (a helper) assigned to him who will be with him all day. (The IRR will also help train the para in how to incorporate Daniel’s therapy practice into his regular classroom stuff.) Kindergarten in our district is 1/2 day, unless you want to pay for full day. However, because Daniel needs so many therapies and extra help AND we want him to spend time with his typical peers, the team recommended on his IEP that he be placed in a full day class (with fees waived, since this is considered part of his services.) They gave a sample schedule to show how his day would go, and reassured me that he’d be spending more than half his day in the traditional classroom. It all sounds pretty great, and I feel sure Daniel will thrive.
Kindergarten! 3 kids in school ALL DAY LONG! Pretty crazy.
And just like that, November is over. Let’s not lie, my writing this month was a big fat disappointment. And I don’t even have anything good to end on, because my brain is mush. But! This weekend I’m singing in a choir at a nativity display which combines two of my favorite things: singing and nativities ❤️
Plus, start of December means my kids will stop harassing me about when they can start their advent calendars! (Y’all I had to make a deal about what time they can open them in the morning. Will offered me 4, 5, or 6 am. FOUR AYE EM. I vetoed that nonsense. I said 6. I predict they will opened by 5:58.)
Anyway. On to December!
I have boxes (and boxes and boxes) of Christmas decorations. And a limited space to decorate. Also small children who further limit what I can put out and where. Point is, I switch out what I get out year to year. Maybe someday when the kids are older I’ll make our house look like a Christmas store. But not this year!
Anyway. Here’s a couple of favorite things I put out this year. I know they don’t really match (and they kind of make me hate the wall color in the living room) but I love them.
Because how can you not love glittery trees & a light up joy sign?
Now. Show me your favorite decorations!