Wednesday, November 21

Let's Start this Journey

Where to start. I guess the beginning, which was literally the beginning of little Blake's existence. It was the second night in the hospital and all hell broke loose. I had that baby. The one who screamed uncontrollably, was completely inconsolable, too loud for the nursery, too upset for anyone to calm her down. I thought it was normal and just kept thinking how in the world have women done this for millions of years? Zach and I were stressed beyond belief and I was barely recognizable, chubby, my bangs in a strange ponytail on top of my head, tears running down my face, cuss words streaming out of my mouth, so defeated, so freaked out, so miserable. Not that I didn't love my little baby to pieces, but I was in over my head.
This screaming and crying and very sensitive little baby gave us a run for our money that whole first year. She didn't smile much, was often called "so serious", she was slow to crawl, slow to walk, very cautious, very particular. But that was just her personality I thought.
Moving on to her second and third year of life, she was a dramatic crier. The 2s were terrible, TERRIBLE! Fits galore, so much crying, so difficult, she was horrified at her baby sister's cries. It almost took a year for her to be ok with Kylie. She would cry if someone knocked on the door, she would freak out if people got too close or didn't wait for her to approach them. She wasn't comfortable around most people, including my dad who she saw a few times a week.
The 3s were just as rough. I hated play dates and visits. I knew Blake would hate it, but I felt like I had to do it sometimes. I felt like doing everything I could to protect my precious daughter, at the same time feeling pressure from those who didn't understand. It has been a big stressor for the last five years and continues to be. At three she would scream at the mall that people were "following her" or "trying to get her", she hated being in public around all the stimuli and unknown people. I knew what I had to do and that was to keep her home with me in a safe environment until I felt she was ready. TCU music was a disaster, poor thing hated it. That was a mommy and me class, which I thought would be ok, but she just wasn't ready.
When she started preschool, she did pretty good. She struggled a lot and was immature, she was the youngest in her class and was also dealing with all these other "issues".  She came a long way and grew up a ton, but the decision to hold her back and do the three year old PreK again was a great one.
4 years old was so so so much better, but still not totally perfect. I still noticed lots of crying and mood swings, lots of emotional sensitivity. I can't even tell you how many times I googled "_ year old cries too much" just to see what other mom's may be dealing with, was there anyone out there who felt this way?
Her teachers and I both noticed a huge change for the best over her second year in the 3 year old preK. Yay! We were slowly growing out of this problem, whatever this problem was.
This past summer was pretty bad, lots more crying, lots of slamming doors, almost like a teeny tiny teenager. You know there are always people who say the same things and maybe think they are the first to have ever said it, I heard, "oh just wait until your daughters are teenagers." Just a word of advice, if you need to start a sentence with "just wait until...." it's probably not helpful or original. We have had enough struggles and at this point it's one day at a time, I'm not giving two shits about teenage years right now. But that's neither here nor there, just a little rant. ha!
That brings me to this year. PreK. Blake has a great teacher, she is very experienced and such a blessing. I think it was the second week of school that Mrs. Patrice asked if there was a way that we get Blake's attention at home. Nope. It is really hard to get her attention if she is busy or into something. I can say her name sometimes ten times, each time louder than the last until she finally looks at me and says, "what mommy?" and I honestly think she only heard the last "Blaaaaaaaaake" I had no advice for Mrs. Patrice who also said, "Blake's a daydreamer isn't she?" Yes, she is. Dance class had also begun and I noticed a pretty big difference between Blake and her peers. The kids in class would be listening to the teacher and participating, Blake would go in and out of participating and dancing her own little moves, or sitting and just not paying a bit of attention. She is often in her own world and so oblivious. Definitely concerning. Dance class is sort of where it clicked for me, oh my gosh, she probably has ADD, that would explain so much. I made a doctor appointment the next day and counted down the days until we could hopefully get started with the process of getting help for our little daydreamer.
Dr. Mcgehee referred us to a wonderful diagnostician and we were able to finally get in for testing this morning. The test covers IQ, behaviors, autism screening, stuff like that. I dropped her off at 9:30 and she was excited to be there. Thank God she isn't afraid of new situations anymore. The test was 3 hours and when Zach and I got there for the parent meeting portion I was a little nervous, but I just wanted Dr. Claridge to give it to me. I was ready for anything from "she has severe autism" to "that will be $1100, but she isn't showing any signs of concern." Lucky for us, it's somewhere in the middle.
The IQ part of the test was interesting, she is so strong verbally that she tested at an 8 year old level, she was at a 6 year old level for math, but her written portion of the test was really bad, like a 4 year old. She did not do well when there was a timed test or when she was asked to concentrate and write. She is a slow mover, slow to get ready for bed, slow to do anything really, so I'm not surprised she was moving extremely slow on her written test. She only got through about half of what a child her age should finish in the set amount of time.
There were also some speech issues. Not articulation or vocabulary or anything like that, more pragmatic, social language, the art of the conversation doesn't come naturally to Blake. She isn't that great at eye contact, her conversations don't flow normally. I hadn't really even noticed that, but now that it's been pointed out, I can totally see what Dr. Claridge was talking about. We were all clear on the autism screening, thankfully.
Dr. Claridge was unable to give Blake a diagnosis, which is really ok. She referred us to an occupational therapist who will likely diagnose Blake with Sensory Processing Disorder. I have read great things about this therapy and should help with the emotional outbursts, sensitivity to sound, etc pretty quickly.  We were also referred to a speech and language therapist who will work on pragmatics. And lastly, a psychiatrist referral, who may or may not diagnose Blake with ADD or anxiety. Unfortunately for Blake, I have anxiety issues and it's genetic. The psychiatrist may want to try medication, which I am willing to try anything to help Blake feel more comfortable and have a better quality of life. The good news is, we have a plan! The bad news is, it's going to be really expensive. Dr. Claridge told us to go ahead and use her college fund because this will be one of the most important things we ever do for Blake. More good news: she said in a couple of years these behaviors should be diminished greatly or nonexistent. The beauty of early intervention.
Please keep Blake, Zach and I in your prayers as we start down this unfamiliar path. I'm a little worried and overwhelmed, but I know we are right where we need to be. No one wants to see their child struggle and I have so many questions and there is so much unknown. But as for now, I am ready to move forward and put as much time and money into this as we need to. Pray that Blake reacts quickly to the therapy and just pray for guidance for us to make the right decisions. Parenting is hard.

Monday, November 5

The Halloween Post

Here we go with a likely long Halloweenie post.  A couple of weeks before the big holiday I took the girls to the Botanic Gardens to shoot some Halloween costume pics. This would be the one and only time Aven's Peacock costume graced her baby body. I'm sure I'm not the only mom who spent $50 on a costume to put on her baby once for the sake of a few cute pictures.  

Blake is getting easier and easier to photograph. She can pretty much work it. She is so pretty and I would love my hair to be as long as hers. 





Kylie was an owl. People went crazy over this costume. I mean, it's adorable.



And she sure did act the part. Fly away little owl!



Awwwww, Avey! I just can't get enough of this little preshy. She was the perfect peacock, even if it was for only three minutes in a secluded area of the gardens.


I love this picture.




Next up for our Halloween fun was the dance Halloween parties. Let's see how many times I can say the word Halloween in one single post. 



They had a dance to perform for their little Halloween show, my mom and I went to watch them perform.



Kylie's class.

Blake's class. 



                       




Our neighborhood really gets a lot of trick or treaters. There is a band and people come from all around to trick or treat. This is Blake and Kylie with their good friend, Ellie. It's important to note Blake's change of costume. The cheap Leopard dress ripped at school and so we used some of my stuff I've accumulated through doing product photography for a new leopard costume. Easy fix.


It's also important to note that I did not think these bags were at all appropriate or perfect for trick or treating. They have very cute trick or treat personalized buckets that I have misplaced. I get a mommy demerit for that one.  Blake has what I think is a beach bag and Kylie is using a gift bag. Cuh-lassy!


Aven's trick or treat partner sporting a teething necklace.

Santa Claus walked up to Blake and she immediately went in to repentance mode. It was like she saw Jesus himself. Santa didn't say a word and Blake busted out with, "I got in trouble once. I snuck some candy." He told Blake that it was ok as long as she apologized. She was so serious about coming clean to Santa.  She is for sure on the nice list now.



G Dad came along for our trick or treating fun.




Aven was tired and over it before it really began. And imagine if I put her in that peacock, she would be livid. I know she preferred the pumpkin onesie.



This is a really cool swing at a neighbor's house. I want one.


Ommy was so kind to carry Aven around in the bjorn so that I could snap some pics.






The girls totally loved trick or treating and I have totally loved having at least one candy binge a day with their loot.

 
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