Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pet Expo & More Snow

Friday the boys and I spent most of the day at Rose's house playing with the kitties. Stella came over also to join in on the fun. The boys had a blast running around and playing with Rose and the cats. Our reason for going over was to visit and pick up a laptop that Rose was nice enough to let the boys have. We will use the laptop for computer games for the boys. All of Ryder's therapists comment on how visual he is so we are thinking computer games will be really good for him! That morning I was not the best mom in the world because for breakfast I let the boys talk me into giving them popcorn!

This morning we went to the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium for the World of Pets Expo. I had been watching the weather for the past few days which was saying we were supposed to get some snow this weekend. Yesterday the weather forecast changed a bit and said we would miss the snow and if anything just get a dusting. So we decided to still go to the Expo since it is only about 30 minutes away from our house.

The boys had so much fun and were so well behaved! They loved looking at all of the animals such as these...
They also had fun watching the dogs doing agility...

We also got to see a bunch of cats because there was a cat show at the Expo. I always like going to cat shows and seeing what people are showing right now. I did find myself being very critical of the Maine Coons I saw at the show though. I have a very big opinion about what I feel a Maine Coon should look like and there was one at the show that was far from my vision! I kept my mouth shut around the "cat people", but I made sure to immediately call Rose. The boys also enjoyed seeing the horses, goats, sheep, rabbits, snakes (Ben was not find of this part), birds, ferrets, and TONS of dogs! Zak was so good about giving the dogs his hand to smell before petting. Every dog we walked by Zak would stop and put his hand out for the dog to smell/lick, but he would get upset if the dog ignored him.

We were inside for about 3 hours and had a big shock when we went to walk to the car. It had started to snow while we were inside and there was about 3 inches already! The boys thought it was fun walking through the snow to get to the car even though I did not. It took us over an hour to get home! The roads were not very good and there were cars pulled over all over the roads. As we got to our community there was a car stopped in the middle of the road which caused everybody else to stop and then drive around this car. Our car did not appreciate this stopping and began to act up the rest of the drive home. For a bit Ben had to hold the wheel at 90 degrees just to drive straight! Did I mention I HATE SNOW!!

Robin LOVES snow
VZ sat on the table and watched the snow falling
Ben measured and we have about 6 inches
I am just hoping when I wake up in the morning all of this nasty snow is gone. Tomorrow we are going to have dinner with Rich & Laura so we can drop Zak off for his sleepover. On Monday Ryder and I will once again be spending the day at Hopkins for his appointments with the audiologist, kidney ultrasound, and opthamologist.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Therapy Updates

Over the past few weeks Ryder's therapists have been doing his 6 month re-evaluations. With the Infants & Toddlers program they write up goals on his IFSP which the therapists work towards accomplishing in a 6 month window. Sometimes along with the goals there is a specific outcome we are hoping ti achieve. As of right now his current goals/outcomes and therapy include:

Occupational Therapy (OT):
Goal 1: To be more coordinated with movement during play & transition to reduce falls.
Outcome 1: Walk up stairs at home using handrail.

Goal 2: To participate in meals and chew food.
Outcome 2: Chew and swallow small pieces of meat.

Therapy every other week for 60 minutes.

Speech Therapy (ST):
Goal 1: Use signs to communicate needs
Goal 2: Completing word & phrase imitation
Goal 3: Using words and phrases to request, protest, label, greet, ask, and answer
Goal 4: Practicing oral motor skills

Therapy every other week for 45 minutes.

Toddler Group:
Goal 1: To communicate with other children during community group.
Outcome 1: Communicate during playtime while with peers.

Toddler group is every week for 60 minutes.

Special Instruction (Special Educator):

I have not gotten a copy of her most recent evaluation since she just completed it. So I don't know what his exact goals and outcomes are yet.

Therapy every other week for 60 minutes.

Physical Therapy (PT):

She is coming to evaluate Ryder in the next few weeks. We will probably not have a set schedule for therapy since he is not delayed (just having issues with controlling movements) and the OT will be working on similar skills.

Aqua Therapy:

We have our initial evaluation and session on February 3. After that I will know how often this will be scheduled for.

After I finished typing all of this out I went back through to re-read it and realized that looks and sounds like a lot for a 2.5 year old boy who "seems normal" to everybody. Ryder is normal for Ryder. Ryder is sweet, caring, funny, outgoing with family, and so on. He is a very different child when you look at his results on all of the developmental tests though. All of this therapy is to help him get to his highest potential. Many of the things the therapists work on with him are not things the average person would notice him doing incorrectly or correctly. But if even one of those little un-noticed skills is missing it can cause major delays down the road. All of the therapy is fun and playtime to Ryder so he doesn't even realize this is not how all kids play each day. The therapists are great about including Zak in all of the activities as well. Yes, there are times Ryder doesn't want to do certain things or gets upset and frustrated, but that is life for everybody. For the average person that sees Ryder periodically it doesn't seem like he is delayed or have social issues, but for those of us who do see him everyday there are obvious delays and concerns that we are working on.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Aqua Therapy

Today I took the boys to the pediatrician because Zak has just not been acting himself. He has been waking up multiple times throughout the night the past few nights and this morning he was very cranky and just wanted to be held. I had some friends on Face Book suggest getting him checked out for an ear infection so I made an appointment. I then decided to make an appointment for Ryder as well. About 2-3 weeks ago we noticed a hard lump behind Ryder's left ear. It got pretty big, but the morning I was going to call the doctor it seemed to almost go away so we waited. It is back to being pretty big again so I went ahead and had it checked out also. Zak has no ear infections, but has a virus. The pediatrician said just to let it runs its course just as always. She did say it looks like he might have a 2-year-old molar trying to come in which might be playing a part in his mood and sleep problems. She said that Ryder has a swollen lymph node which is not too uncommon with kids. Usually this happens when they have an illness or even a scratch near the lymph node. We couldn't find any scratches and he has not been ill recently. So she said to watch it for another week and if it doesn't go away we need to go see an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist because it might need to be drained to prevent infection. I am hoping it will magically disappear!

This afternoon I received a call from a therapist who does aqua therapy. I learned about the aqua therapy from another parent at the playgroup we go to which is held by the Infants & Toddlers program (who provides Ryder's therapies). She has been taking her son for over a year and it has helped tremendously for his low muscle tone which Ryder also has. Many of Ryder's therapists feel his low muscle tone is the reason for many of his delays. So I put a call into this therapist a few days ago and was very happy to hear back from her today! She provides the aqua therapy at a local swim center called Aqua Culture and she accepts private health insurance. She said that she does accept our insurance, but will call to make sure our particular plan will cover this therapy since not all will. I am keeping my fingers crossed that she finds out it is covered for us. Right now we have Ryder's initial evaluation and first session scheduled for Wednesday February 3 at 11:30am. My plan is to see if Zak can go to daycare Wednesday next week since he will not be going on Monday (will be with Rich since Ryder has his testing at Hopkins all day). After this initial session I hope to schedule his other sessions on Mondays while Zak is already at daycare. I know, I am probably not that lucky but I can hope!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Not Too Much Going On

Sunday we pretty much spent the day watching football. Unfortunately, the teams I was rooting for all lost so I will be forced to root for the Colts during the Superbowl :-( The boys wore their Thing 1 and Thing 2 shorts for the day, but they are getting too small!

I love Ryder's eyes in close up pictures!
Here are the boys cheering when ever there was a touchdown
The boys love riding their scooters in the kitchen since it is not that nice outside right now. Zak has really gotten the hang of using it and can go pretty fast and steer. Ryder was getting very frustrated because he just couldn't figure out how to make the scooter go. So the other day he finally found his own way to make the scooter go...

Monday morning I dropped Zak odd at daycare so I could take Ryder to this therapy class. Ryder and I first went to story time at the library which is right next to where the class is held. His teachers/therapists are helping out with Monday morning story time so I decided to give it a try. Normally, Zak runs around like a mad man while Ryder is clinging to me and crying. It is not a great experience so I have not gone back in a few months. This time one of the therapists worked with Ryder during story time trying to get him to participate and interact with the other kids. It was apparent that he was not comfortable and just wanted to cling, but we will work each week with him trying to help him feel more comfortable. After story time we went to his class. This week there were 2 new boys in the class who are actually twins. The class now has 5 boys in it which is really getting uncomfortable for Ryder, but that is what the point of this class is. The therapists are working with Ryder to feel more comfortable around other kids so he will talk and participate. Right now he just chooses to play on his own and he refuses to talk when the other kids are near him.

Today Ryder's special educator (special ed teacher) came to the house for her session. We talked a lot while she did various activities with Ryder. She is so happy with his progress, but is having a hard time believing the things I tell her about how Ryder acts in the class. She has also talked to one of the teachers of the class who has told her the same as I have. He basically shuts down in class and becomes mute along with not wanting to do the art projects. So she has decided to try and observe Ryder during one of our classes to see for herself.

Tomorrow I am hoping to make it to the playgroup that we went to last week. Zak gets to come with us and play with the other kids which he loves and I get to talk with other parents that have children in therapy just like Ryder. It is a really laid back playgroup where the kids can run around the big room filled with toys while the parents get a chance to talk. One of the mothers at the group has given me a lot of information about aqua therapy. I have put a few calls into a few pools and have found a therapist in the area who does offer this and takes insurance. Now I just have to find out if our insurance will cover it or not. The aqua therapy would help Ryder to strengthen his muscles which in turn would help with many of the issues he has resulting from the low muscle tone.

Today I did call and get information about Ryder's tests on Monday. I found out all three are at the same facility, just in different buildings or areas of the facility. This will make it much easier so we can just park the car in one place and make our way around to the various places. His appointment with the audiologist is at 9:30am so we will need to leave the house around 8:15am or so. Then he has the kidney scan (abdominal ultrasound) at 11:30am and the appointment with the opthamologist at 2pm. The bad news is that he can't have anything to eat or drink after midnight on Sunday until after his kidney scan. I will have a very hungry and thirsty kid all morning until I can give him something after that scan. I just hope he cooperates for the audiologist and they get an accurate result.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


This morning we decided to get out of the house for a while. Our first stop was at Toys R Us to look for a new TV for the playroom. We have been looking around and decided on the Cars TV from Toys R Us because the choices were slim to nothing for TVs with VCR built-in. When we got there the sign said it was on sale for $129, but when they scanned it the price came up as $199. The manager gave us the $129 price so we were happy. I am going to fast forward to the end of our trip to finish the story of the Cars TV! On our way home Ben noticed (while looking through the rear view mirror) that the box said DVD player. Once we got home and did some research we discovered that there were two Cars TVs at Toys R Us. There was a TV/DVD combo for $199 and a regular TV for $129! We some how completely missed the fact that it has a DVD player and not VCR...we have been looking at this TV for a few weeks now! And the store gave us the $129 price for a TV that should have been $199...the regular TV was the one on sale. Now we have a TV/DVD combo and DVD player, but no way to play the millions of VHS movies.

Back to earlier in the day....

After Toys R Us we headed to Towson Town Center. First, we had some lunch in the food court. The boys enjoyed some Chinese with Ben while I had some Mexican food. We then went to the indoor play area to let the boys run around for a bit. While Ben stayed with the boys I went to a few stores looking at sale items. I was super excited when I was at The Children's Place and saw that their sweaters were on sale. I have wanted these sweaters for the boys for 2 years now! They are normally $14.50 each and I was able to buy 2 of them for a total of $8.99! I then went back to the play area and watched the boys run around. After a while they both started to misbehave so we told them it was time to go home.

Ryder loved playing with this girl for a while
Notice anything wrong with the alphabet

Tonight after dinner we brought out the laser light toy for the boys and animals to play with. The boys love to chase the light as well as control the light for the animals to chase.

Notice VZ's paw grabbing for the light
Robin giving VZ a kiss!
Zak getting Robin to chase the light
The boys chasing the light
Ryder getting VZ's meal ready
(he loves to hand feed her!)
Zak hand feeding VZ

Friday, January 22, 2010

Tantrums & Flying

Today was a very long day. It all started last night when Zak woke up about 4 or 5 times throughout the night crying. I went into their bedroom and comforted him back to sleep, but he would continually wake up again. Around 7:30am both boys were awake so our day started. They drank milk and ate some cereal while watching Special Agent Oso. They played for a bit and then I let them watch the new Disney show called Chuggington which is about trains and they loved it! Then the fighting, crying, whining, and screaming began. It seemed like nothing would make them happy. For a while I made them play in the playroom so I could get somethings done around the house. Then around noon they both ate a very good lunch (peanut butter sandwiches), but became super cranky soon after that. So, I put them in their bedroom to take a nap. Nap time did not go as planned and they only slept for maybe 30 minutes. Finally, I gave up and let them come downstairs with me again. Zak felt pretty warm so I took his temperature which was slightly high which I gave him medicine for. A little later they were both playing well in the playroom. Ben made it home around 4pm and took over playing with the boys since he knew I had a long 3 days with these two cranky kids!

Well, the night just continued to go downhill after Ben got home. Ryder went into a very violent tantrum where we ran around the house and threw lots of things. He continually picked up the play shopping cart and chucked it across the room and had this horrible high pitched cry/shriek think that he did non-stop. He is really starting to show some behaviors that I swore just 3 months ago my little man would never have! The more he acts like this the more I am starting to realize he may have somethings going on such as the PDD-NOS. From what I have read and heard these behaviors start to show up around 2 years old and then progressively get worse as they get older. This is why we are trying to get things worked out now and get him any therapy or schooling that could help him learn how to appropriately communicate. Zak was also in a bad mood and wouldn't listen so they both spent a good deal of time in time-out this evening.

Ryder having a tantrum hanging from the fridge doors
Ryder having a tantrum...he was in the process of throwing his high chair across the room!
Finally, after they both ate some dinner they seemed to be in somewhat better moods...for a bit then they went back to the little monsters I have been dealing with for the past week or so.

Ben was able to find one thing that put them into better moods. They like to "fly in sky" as they call it. Zak LOVES doing this and will continue to do it for hours if Ben would. Ryder at first hated it, but is slowly warming up to wanting to fly once and a while. My new camera was a sports option which allows me to take multiple pictures very quickly. Here are some pictures of the boys flying tonight....

Zak has already woken up twice since they went to bed at 7:45pm. Looks like tonight might be another long night...