Monthly Archives: December 2011

Could Your Child Need an Early Intervention Evaluation?

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In the past several weeks, dealing with the suggestion of Autism for Miss Moose, I have done a LOT of research. Fortunately, my child would not benefit from early intervention services and her evaluation went well- the evaluators feel that she is developing normally for a child her age. Despite this, I thought it would be helpful to share some of my information with other parents.

The following are “warning signs” for Austism Spectrum Disorder (ASD):

  • Does not babble or coo by 12 months of age
  • Does not gesture (point, wave, grasp, etc.) by 12 months of age
  • Does not say single words by 16 months of age
  • Does not say two-word phrases on his or her own (rather than just repeating what someone says to him or her) by 24 months of age
  • Has any loss of any language or social skill at any age.

In addition to this, there are a good deal of red flags that could point to an ASD, or a Pervasive Development Disorder (PDD). These “red flags” are:

  • The child does not respond to his/her name.
  • The child cannot explain what he/she wants.
  • Language skills or speech are delayed.
  • The child doesn’t follow directions.
  • At times, the child seems to be deaf.
  • The child seems to hear sometimes, but not others.
  • The child doesn’t point or wave bye-bye.
  • The child used to say a few words or babble, but now he/she doesn’t.
  • The child throws intense or violent tantrums.
  • The child has odd movement patterns.
  • The child is hyperactive, uncooperative, or oppositional.
  • The child doesn’t know how to play with toys.
  • The child doesn’t smile when smiled at.
  • The child has poor eye contact.
  • The child gets “stuck” on things over and over and can’t move on to other things.
  • The child seems to prefer to play alone.
  • The child gets things for him/herself only.
  • The child is very independent for his/her age.
  • The child does things “early” compared to other children.
  • The child seems to be in his/her “own world.”
  • The child seems to tune people out.
  • The child is not interested in other children.
  • The child walks on his/her toes.
  • The child shows unusual attachments to toys, objects, or schedules (i.e., always holding a string or having to put socks on before pants.)
  • Child spends a lot of time lining things up or putting things in a certain order.

 

Parents, keep in mind that just about every child displays one or more of these “symptoms” at some point in their life. However, if you feel there is something wrong, notice several of these markers, or feel that your child is not developing normally, make an appointment with your child’s pediatrician immediately! Early intervention services, such as speech and developmental therapy, can benefit you and your child.

For more information, visit websites such as http://www.autismweb.com

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An Update

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The past week or so has been crazy, fellow bloggers and followers!! I’m sure you’ve all been equally busy, what with the holidays and all, but on top of that Miss Moose had various appointments to check her out for speech delay and possible Autism, which I mentioned in my post, the making of the madness.

Her hearing evaluation was great!! She performed exactly how the evaluators were hoping, and passed with flying colors. Her speech evaluation also went well. By the way, if you ever find yourself having to take your child for a speech evaluation, be aware that it takes 2-3 hours. I did not pack nearly enough snacks. Yikes!!! Anywho, she scored VERY well. Apparently an average score is 100 points, and she got 118 overall, so she’s doing very well. We also wrote down every single word Moose uses, even occasionally. Turns out she has 67 words!!! I thought it was more like… 20. The evaluator also said that anyone who thinks she is even potentially Autistic is basically an idiot.

I can’t tell you what a relief that is, readers!! The Mister and I have both been very stressed about this, hence the lack of posting. But all is well, and all is good, and my little girl is developing properly. Can we get a hooray?? 🙂

Thoughts On Attachment Parenting

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Way back before I had babies, I thought I would be the “typical” mother. You know the one. Setting up a nursery, putting baby in its own crib right out of the hospital, circumcising, vaccinating, Gerber-baby food feeding… the works. What surprised me was how rapidly my ideals changed as I gave birth to my daughter.

Moose was not in a bassinet in the hospital. She was born 5 weeks premature with a Congenital Heart Defect, and was perfect in every way. But she needed that closeness to me to regulate the uneven beating of her heart, just as I needed it to erase the pain of her delivery. When we came home, she shared our bed and our hearts.

As my second child was born, I witnessed my parenting style change and develop even more. I became a co-sleeping, anti-circumcising, delayed vaccinating, homemade food making, ‘crunchy’ mom. Something I never thought I’d be. Which brings me to my point.

Attachment parents seem to raise the best children. From my experience, babies who are raised in a loving, nurturing, warm environment turn out the best. They have that innate understanding that mom or dad will answer every one of their cries, and that someone’s arms will always be available to hold them close. They grow up warm, secure, and confident in their support systems- something that every child should have the right to experience. And according to Dr. Sears, attachment babies cry less and develop quicker. The act of a baby and mother being close together, ‘attached’ or most of the day is beneficial to the health of both mom and baby.

I remember when my son was born, I asked my husband (while crying, watching Little Bear fuss in his crib) how I was supposed to embrace the separation between mother and baby. I said to him, “We were attached, literally, for 10 months. He was connected to me, inside of me, but at birth I’m expected to be so separate from him?” I remember how my heart hurt as I watched him turn towards me, the bars of his crib imprisoning him and banning him from my arms. Soon after, co-sleeping began (or rather, resumed). I honestly cannot fathom how we, as mothers, are expected to go from a state of complete connection with our children to a state of complete separation. It seems that attachment parenting allows for children to be independent while confident in the closeness of their mothers. It’s a wonderful thing, knowing that your baby will always find you when he looks for you, that he will always know where to turn when he is afraid, or lonely, or in need of comfort. That he will turn to you, knowing where he can share his joy, his delight, his excitement.

Is there any better way to watch your baby grow than from a position of complete closeness and warmth? I think not.

Dr. Sears has this to say about attachment parenting:

“The single most important influence on a child’s intellectual development was the responsiveness of the mother to the cues of her baby. In caring for your baby, keep in mind that relationships, not things, make brighter babies.

BENEFITS OF ATTACHMENT PARENTING – A SUMMARY
BABY
  • is more trusting
  • feels more competent
  • grows better
  • feels right, acts right
  • is better organized
  • learns language more easily
  • establishes healthy independence
  • learns intimacy
  • learns to give and receive love
PARENTS
  • become more confident
  • are more sensitive
  • can read baby’s cues
  • respond intuitively
  • flow with baby’s temperament
  • find discipline easier
  • become keen observers
  • know baby’s competencies and preferences
  • know which advice to take and which to disregard
RELATIONSHIP

Parents and baby experience:

  • mutual sensitivity
  • mutual giving
  • mutual shaping of behavior
  • mutual trust
  • feelings of connectedness
  • more flexibility
  • more lively interactions
  • brings out the best in each other”

Really. Need I say more?

Painted Piggies

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This year, I had the ‘perfect’ Christmas gift idea for my husband. A personalized coffee mug! He is a huge coffee drinker, downing a pot a day or more himself in the few short hours that he is home from work, and his favorite mug fell victim to the destruction of Miss Moose recently. I found him a hefty white mug for a steal at only $2.39, but it was after that that chaos ensued.

Whatever possessed me to give a toddler paint, I do not know. I can only assume that I’ve completely lost my mind. See, I had this nifty idea to have a pink handprint of Moose’s, and a blue handprint of Little Bear’s on this coffee cup, and some sort of saying. I was thinking “The day you were born, I came alive”. Something like that.

Anywho. Can you imagine what happened when I painted Miss Moose’s grubby little hand? Of course you can. Fortunately, she was stripped naked at the time, which is why I won’t be posting a picture of the fiasco, but the mess was huge regardless. She thought it would be more fun to paint herself than to paint the cardboard I provided. Of course she did. And then she hit Little Bear across the face, leaving him with a streak of quick-drying hot pink goop in his hair and dangerously close to his eyes.

Oh, and did I mention what a fool I was for thinking it would be a good idea to paint Little Bear’s hand?? Babies eat everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. But of course you know that. My question is, why wasn’t I thinking of it?

Regardless, the end result was a pretty coffee mug that looked more or less like I had imagined. I can only assume that the Mister is going to love it. He’s a big softie for sentimental things like that. And, well, I’ll be honest. The mess was totally worth the fun I had with Miss Moose and Little Bear. Crazy? Absolutely. But I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

 

…Now, does anyone have any tips for getting Parisian Pink acrylic paint out of carpets? It clashes with my decor… (:

 

The Making Of The Madness

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My daughter is turning 2 soon. In 24 days, actually. On January 8th. It’s bewildering to me to write that YES, she is almost TWO!! Where the time has gone, I don’t know, but it’s as difficult to accept that she is turning 2 as it is to accept that my son is halfway through his seventh month.

That’s right. Two kids. Under two. And you wondered, dear reader, why I liken motherhood to madness? As Little Bear (7 months) is sitting here gnawing on his sister’s shoe and Miss Moose (23 months) is spraying the windows with a bottle of 7-Up, I have the answer.
So let’s start with a background, a ‘meet the kids’, if you will.

Miss Moose, otherwise referred to as Mini Moose, Moose, Kitten, Chicken, and Boo, is as much a little animal as her various nicknames suggest. She is stubbornly, continuously sticky despite the Mister and I having recently taken up stock in baby wipes and laundry detergent, and trails crumbs ala Hansel and Gretel. Endlessly, relentlessly messy. Miss Moose can’t see to keep her cookies out of her hair, or her juice in her bottle/cup. As a result, the ragamuffin changes colors on a daily (nay, hourly) basis, her prettiness unfortunately outshone by the degree of her stickiness. But despite her sticky exterior, Moose has a heart of gold and is the most loving little girl I know. As I say this, of course, she is hitting her brother over the head and screaming at the top of her lungs, which leads me to rethink my words. Fortunately for her, I don’t feel like hitting backspace, and so we continue on. Her favorite show is Jack’s Big Music Show or Pocoyo… she is a Nick Jr. fan and thinks she owns the tv. And everything else, for that matter. And though she can throw a tantrum like an absolute beast, she is MY beast, and at the end of the day still wants to snuggle her mama to sleep. What more could I ask for?

The downside? At 23 months, Moose still isn’t talking much and will be having a hearing and speech evaluation in the coming weeks. Several healthcare professionals (including a doctor, a nurse, and a speculative dietician) have commented that she looks Autistic. More on that later.

Seven months ago, we were fortunate enough to be blessed with another child, to be known as Little Bear or Bear. Little Bear is the opposite of his sister in many ways- gentle where she is fierce, dependent where she is independent, talkative where she is quiet. He is just learning to crawl and getting into everything as a result. Little Bear has multiple food allergies. He is severely allergic to milk, soy, eggs, and peanuts and is exclusively breastfed, which has led to my embrace of an avoidance diet for his sake. As he is starting to crawl, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep him from Moose’s food, which could potentially put him in the hospital and make him very sick. We are currently working on solutions to keeping their food completely separate, a challenging task in itself. He will chew on anything, but is particularly fond of pink glittery shoes in his mouth, and loves the taste of lemon peel. Little Bear’s current fascination is with electrical cords (yikes!), which has certainly led to an increase in my stress level.

So there it is! The introduction to the two little beings who make me so crazy, and so overwhelmed with love and joy.

Mini Moose and Little Bear

On Diapers (Or In Them)

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What is it with our fascination with poop, as mothers? I will never fully understand the importance of diaper contents, but have fallen prey to the “trend”- I examine the contents of diapers. Every. Single. Diaper. After two years of diapers (and two babies!) I fully realize the humor in the phrase, “shit happens!”. And really. Shit does happen. But that doesn’t mean you should eat it, right?

“We don’t eat poop!”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve uttered a ‘we do not’ phrase on the topic of poop. We don’t eat it, play in it, or sniff it if we can help it. A friend of mine once commented on my horrified retelling of a poop-painting fiasco. She said three words I never want to hear in conjunction with a bodily function again-
“free play-doh”.

Oh, the horror!!

If there is one thing I aspire to teach my children by the time they are adults, it is this: WE DO NOT PLAY WITH POOP!!!

I fear that I have been mentally scarred by the amount of poop I have had on or around me. When my daughter was younger, a disgusting bit of irony occurred that to this day, no one knows about. I cleaned my daughter’s butt, and a few minutes later after a thorough handwashing, was eating a twix bar. Upon finishing the chocolate, there was a smudge of brown under my fingernail. I assumed it was chocolate and licked it off.

Long story short, it wasn’t chocolate.

And so, although I may frequently yell “We don’t eat poop”, I, too have been victim to the poop eating craze. Accidentally, but poop is poop.

Yes, being a mother has forever changed me. My gross-out factor has certainly decreased. It takes much more to disgust me now than it did two years ago. But in these past two years, I’m afraid I’ve been scarred forever. Help? (: