Thursday, November 20, 2008

My little "mac daddy"

This sweet little girl held Ethan's hand and helped him navigate rough terrain on our field trip to the farm this month. She never took her eyes off Ethan, I was so moved by that. 

This morning when I dropped Ethan off at school one of the teachers aids told me a story about how Ethan is the "mac daddy" of the class. I looked this term up on the urban slang dictionary, just to be sure that it meant what I thought it meant :-)

"The mac daddy is the man who means everything (and the only man who really means anything) to his ladies (of the night)"

I guess there are several girls in his class who like to help him throughout the day and there have even been a few fights breaking out lately over who gets to sit near him and help him unpack his lunch. One little girl reportedly said "I want Ethan to be MY husband"! Apparently he is surrounded by girls on the playground everyday as well; they all like to help him in and out of the cozy coupe. 

I never expected it to start this early, but it really makes sense when you consider the fact that many 3 and 4 year old girls really like to "mother" and Ethan is one of those kids who needs a lot of help doing everyday skills. He's an ideal classmate for a sweet little girl who enjoys helping and taking care of others. I'm thankful that there are so many of them in his class this year :-) 

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Guys

Ethan and his dad on a school field trip earlier this month. 

Good Stuff:

Ethan can now walk up and down stairs without assistance! He still requires supervision, and it's very slow going, but he is gaining more and more physical independence each day. 

Ethan likes to pray. I heard him say (not sign, SAY!) "Thank you Lord" while taking a bath. He also practices saying and signing his prayers in bed at night just before drifting off to sleep. The ASL for religious words is gorgeous, particularly the sign for God. 

Ethan actually used the potty this week. He sits on it regularly, but this time something actually happened while sitting there :-)

We are buying a house and should be moving in mid December! This means engaging a new school district and saying goodbye to the one we have been "fighting" over Ethan's placement. 

Sunday, November 02, 2008

It's all good.

Firefighters just want to have fun!

Ethan went trick or treating at school on Friday. See how big this school is? He got candy from every single classroom! 

Ethan during a speech therapy session. 

I love October, but I'm really glad that it's over this year. Rich was out of town (working) for all but 2 days last month. Ethan and I have really missed him.  We took a trip to Virginia and visited my parents, had several different appointments with the team, and started weekly PT with bi-monthly OT about to begin next week. Ethan also participated in a research project at Children's that examines language development in young deaf children who have developmental disabilities and cochlear implants. 

We successfully closed on our house in Athens and now have money in the bank and a big decision to make about our next move. It's the first time we've been able to relax and take a deep breath since moving here in July and it feels GOOD. I don't see us jumping into a new house anytime soon, unless of course the ideal place presents itself with the ideal price tag. We're actually really happy in our little apartment, especially now that we have Rich here for an extended stay. 

Ethan continues to make our hearts sing with his vibrant and tenacious little personality. He has been working so hard on speech lately and it's beginning to look like he may someday be able to talk. I have always been very hesitant to make any assumptions regarding what he will or will not be able to do, especially in the speech department. That doesn't mean that I don't have high expectations for Ethan's future, it just means that I'm guarded about the details of how he'll get there. It's a form of self-preservation that is necessary if I'm to keep myself from feeling sad or depressed. 

There's nothing to feel sad about these days with regards to Ethan's progress. We're hearing his sweet little voice all the time now. He has mastered the variety of vowel sounds that our language produces and he's also quite good at the beat of speech, never missing a syllable. He's picked up the ability to enunciate a handful of consonants now so his speech is sounding more and more intelligible each day. His signing is taking off as well. Yesterday he signed his first phrase, "My name is Ethan". We were over the moon! 

The sight reading is also continuing to amaze our family, his therapists, and even the researchers who worked with him last week. I'm going to have to compile a word list that he reads before our next IEP meeting, but I'd say that it's up near 30 words at this point. He's one observant little dude. He's starting to sign and say "smart"; apparently his self-esteem is on the rise along with everything else! 

We continue to move along on the gluten-casein free diet. It's not as much work as I had imagined many weeks ago. He can still eat meat, fruits, and veggies. The carbs are where you have to be really vigilant. He has never tolerated dairy in any form, so we didn't have to give those things up, which for many starting this diet is the toughest part. I've been watching the meats we buy to make sure they have no additives such as nitrites or nitrates. We're generally going with products from Whole Foods or all natural lunch meat from Boars Head. I've restocked my pantry with tons of flours that I never knew existed and have found numerous delicious baking recipes online. So it's not as daunting as it seemed and I'm convinced that it's really helping our boy. He is giving more eye contact and engaging in social interactions and his speech is obviously exploding for the first time in his life. The diet combined with the program at his school have formed the perfect recipe for his success. 

And there's plenty more of that on the horizon....