Sunday, November 4, 2007

Samuel and Curious George {Reposted}

There is a Curious George cartoon that comes on regularly on PBS and there is one particular episode where George is refusing to take a bath. The man with the yellow hat tries repeatedly to get him in the water - does he want bubbles? Ok, bubbles. But George doesn't want bubbles. Does he want to to take a shower instead of a bath? No, not a shower. George just makes his monkey sounds and runs around with something obviously very wrong with the idea of taking a bath. They go outside and someone's washing a dog or something and the man thinks maybe George will get wet or maybe not since he really has no idea why he won't take a bath. Then very suddenly George finds something in the water bucket and runs off and the man follows him, calling "George? George?" and is wondering what that monkey is off for next. Then he finds him in their apartment, happily taking a bath. And he says "oh you're taking a - bath? I guess we'll never know why you wouldn't take a bath." And he walks off. Because George is very happily playing and making monkey sounds in the water and the bubbles - and with a beloved toy frog, which he had lost - and found - in the water bucket.

There are more than a few reasons that George reminds me of Samuel, not the least of which involves the very curious aspect and getting into trouble and running around like a monkey. But, this episode in particular almost tugs at my hearstrings, because that is exactly what it's like when Samuel can't talk. And we are guessing and wondering and pulling our hair out wondering why in the world he won't "take a bath." And he is trying to tell us but it just doesn't make sense. Sometimes we figure it out - and sometimes we walk away thinking we'll never know.And that is part of the reason I love the curious George stuffed doll that we gave him for his 3rd birthday that giggles and laughs and shakes just like George. Because Samuel is a lot like that. Maybe that's why Samuel likes George so much, both the doll and the show. And we love our little monkey.

Samuel's Speech Update {Reposted}

As you probably already know, Samuel has struggled with a speech delay and many problems with his ears and sinuses. Last January, he had tubes put in his ears for the 3rd time (the 2nd set had fallen out again). Since the continual fluid and ear infections affects how clearly he hears and we want to be sure he's clear to catch up his speech, we don't want to take the chance so we had the tubes placed again. Samuel continued having visits from the speech pathologist from Kids on the Move, the early intervention agency, and we attended a weekly parent/child therapy playgroup for kids with speech problems. Elisabeth and Isaac went to the free onsite childcare, which worked out really well. Isaac's group did fun preschool type activities and the lady who took care of Elisabeth was wonderful with her. The Early Intervention program only lasts until the child's 3rd birthday, so by the end of February, we were beginning the "transition process" to special ed services through the school district. We had a full assessment done where they test him in cognitive, behavioral, as well as speech areas and a full hearing test done with an audiologist. Samuel qualified for speech services (and passed his hearing test, by the way) and started going for his weekly therapy sessions starting in April. This school year, we've spent these first couple months collecting baseline data and haven't gotten very far on actually working on his sound production. But the SLP (Speech Language Pathologist) mentioned that she thought he might benefit from the special ed preschool they have, since he has a hard time relating to his peers socially. But they have to fall below the 1% in one area (such as speech) or below the 7% in 2 or more areas, to qualify. He didn't qualify last spring but we thought we'd go ahead and retest him to see where he fell now. So, on October 22, we did the full asessment yet again. And he scored low enough with his speech and adaptive skills that they decided to put him in the preschool for a 30-day diagnostic observation period. And then the teachers will decide if that's the appropriate placement for him. We'll see. If he doesn't continue in the preschool (and receive speech therapy there), then he will go back to just speech at the elementary school once a week. He is really making great progress in trying to communicate, but he is still very hard to understand. But considering that last year he was using more sign language than words, it is wonderful to hear him talking.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Confessions of a Book addict, or Kristen's quest to read 50 books in a year {reposting}

It started last January 2007. We finally decided to pay the $80/yr non-resident fee to have a County Library card. Which means that instead of the 3 shelves of adult fiction available at our tiny local library, we would have access to the 19 county libraries in their system. Not only were the kids impressed (we walked in and they exclaimed "wow, look at all the books!!), but I discovered a new hobby. I found that by searching the online library catalog, I could find practically any book I was looking for, from any location in the library system, place a hold on it, and it would be delivered to the library closest to me (which happens to be about 20 min away), then I could pick it up and return it there! And I could check out up to 30 books for 3 weeks! Library heaven!!

So began the fun adventure of seeing just how many books I'd "always wanted to read" I could track down. And it turned into being quite a few. I also made another discovery. I'm a good reader. And I can read a lot in my day. And I can read fast. So I could read a lot of books in that 3 weeks. Really.

I am also a big fan of keeping track of things, making lists and keeping records. So I began again to keep a record in a notebook of the books I'd read and the date I completed them. And I was finding great satisfaction in seeing the list grow and grow.

Sometime in October, I was struck by the idea to count them. And it was over 40!! So, I figured I should be able to easily finish reading 50 books by the end of the year. And oh, what an accomplishment that would be! (heehee) So, I am now at 46 books read this year. And I'm in the middle of reading 2, have 2 more checked out to read, and 4 more placed on hold at the library. As with most other addictions, I am aware that the first step is recognizing that you have a problem. So here is my confession. Perhaps it may lead me on the road to recovery.
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