Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Summer Be Gone!

Ethan and dad at the zoo.

What a summer! 

It has really flown by and I have to say that I couldn't be happier to see it come to an end. I never thought I'd utter those words, but it is what it is. I broke my toe and couldn't exercise, Ethan lost his glasses and waited 2 weeks to get a new pair, and Richard's work kept him away from home most of the summer. In the meantime, Ethan fine-tuned his tantrum-torture-technique while his acid reflux churned up enough to prevent either of us from ever having a good night's sleep. 

Now for some good news! 

Ethan turned 4 years old yesterday. It was also his first day back to preschool. Big day for a little guy! I made gluten-free casein-free orange creme cupcakes that were a much bigger hit than last year's gfcf carrot cake. Ethan actually opened  birthday presents (in previous years he has not had the attention or interest in unwrapping gifts) and seemed to understand that this was a special day. It was pretty cool to see him show an interest in the celebration. It's as if he is starting to make connections where before there were none. 

Digging into the birthday cupcake!

I think he likes it!

More, please!

Our summer was also filled with the routine appointments with all of his specialists, as well as the diagnostic process for ASD (autism spectrum disorder). We are only half-way through the process (the waiting list is HUGE) but so far I haven't heard anything surprising. The SLP said she would need to tally scores, but she generally observed several autistic features and also saw many signs that were encouraging. I've noticed that SLP's are usually really good at tempering difficult news with as many positive statements as possible, as if they have a minor in psychology. There are reasons to feel encouraged, but I've got a kid with multiple communication disorders and I've been around long enough to sense straight talk from being "handled" and there is often a good deal of handling going on. I'll take my hard news on the rocks, please. 

(I'm telling you, this summer really threw my mental health to the curb!)

I'm looking forward to having Rich home more this fall and hiring a sitter on the weekends so that he and I can get much needed time together. I also start working on the FAC (family advisory council) with Children's soon and will be active this year in a parent support group for children with apraxia. I'm committing to another year of ASL classes as well. 

Life moves at lightning speed doesn't it?


Anonymous said...

This is one of the best entries yet, Heather ... well worth the wait. You're incredibly honest, and yet you manage to keep the whine out of your writing. I don't think I could do that. I suppose this means that you're even stronger than before, right?
He's a darling child and you and Rich are doing a super job raising such a challenging child. Nice that he's a good kisser.


Hetha said...

Thanks so much Jeanie! And yes, he is good at kissing grandma's, but mom has been getting the shaft lately.

Kyla said...

"I'll take my hard news on the rocks, please." That's how I like it, too! :)

I'm SO glad summer is done for you. I hope that this fall is wonderful and you get plenty of time to recharge your batteries. I also hope that Ethan does wonderful at school and makes great progress, especially with those tantrums...doesn't sound fun for anyone!

Remember when KayTar used to start screaming, "HELP! NO! DON'T TAKE ME! IT'S AN EMERGENCY!" every time I would do something she didn't like in public. Oh man. I'm glad those days are a distant memory now. I hope the tantrums are just a memory for you soon!

Kel said...

Life so does go at lightning speed, and it sounds like this hasn't exactly been a banner one! I'm so glad it's almost over, though, and hope that things take another up turn. That is GREAT to hear about him opening his presents - that's so fun, isn't it??

Kristina said...

Here's the thing about your posts - I read what you write and just can't seem to reconcile it with the photos you post. That's the same way I feel about Emma, by the way. It's also my reasoning for why it's so hard to find people that can relate to our situation.

I think that sometimes it's easier to look at the photos and see these gorgeous kids who look like typical developing children on the surface rather than look reality smack dab in the face every day. Emma isn't yet communicating much - she can't sign, can't point, can't sit, crawl or walk. BUT, she has a hundred thousand megawatt smile and a giggle that I'd go to the ends of the Earth to hear over and over again and that's what keeps me going in the hard days. And I know Ethan has the same effect on you.

I got great news last week - we received approval for a $500 grant for respite care. I heard about it from our EI coordinator and applied. It was through Easter Seals. You should look into this in your state as I think it is money from the stimulus package. With us down to one salary, it's hard to find extra money for a babysitter so I can go *find* some sanity time on my own, so this grant is SOOOOOO perfect for us. The money has to be used by the end of the year and is a use it or lose it type deal. I bet you could get the same grant if they offer it in your state. I can't think of anyone who could use a bit of time more than you!

leah said...

Life does move at warp speed- I can't believe he is already FOUR! You guys have been the best advocates for him- getting him the care and education he needs. I can't imagine how hard it must be to go through the ASD diagnosis process. You are wonderful and amazing parents to that gorgeous boy!

Lisa said...

Happy Birthday Ethan!!!!
Heather, you are so strong and Ethan is so blessed to have you and Rich as parents. You bring out the best in him.
I'm glad for the sitter so you can have some time for yourself. You deserve it.

KC said...

Yay for his birthday and the end of a hard summer. I would love to drag you away to a spa weekend somewhere!

Yes, you are doing an amazing job, my friend.

diber said...

Happy Birthday, Ethan!

I'm glad your hard summer is coming to an end. I'll admit after my E TP'd the couch today, I looked again at the calendar to see how soon preschool starts up again.

Tiffany C. said...

Happy birthday big boy! You're doing a great job Heather!

MB said...

Happy Birthday, Ethan!

He looks so much older all of a sudden. And such a cutie.

Beck said...

Happy Birthday, Ethan!
I'd rather just have hard news straight out, too.

leah said...

Well, looks like we've joined you in the acid reflux world. Turns out Nolan didn't show it on the scintiscan, but a pH probe showed the problem (86 reflux episodes in less than 24 hours). At least we now know why Nolan doesn't sleep through the night!

K said...

hey so glad to discover your blog- Ethan looks like SUCH a doll