The Daughter Chronicles

Monday, March 26, 2007

Singin' in the rain

Well, not exactly singing. More like playing.

It rained here last Thursday, in typical Arizona fashion, where it pours for a few minutes, rains for a while, clears up, pours again, then tapers off to nothing, all within the space of a few hours, and by the end of the day all the water is gone and you've forgotten it even rained. We should get more rain in two months or so.

Norah went out back in the rain when it was just drizzling. This was the first time in her life she had spent significant time in the rain, and she wasn't sure what to make of it. It wasn't really raining that hard to get her too wet, although it was enough for her to keep looking around as if someone was pulling a fast one on her. "What's going on?" she seemed to be asking. She got her pants dirty when she sat down, but other than that, all was well. The pictures don't really show the rain, unfortunately, but it's there!

This is one of those things that makes parenting fun. With Mia, she's discovered things very slowly and in a completely different fashion than most kids. Norah, as the undamaged one, is discovering things in a typical way, and it's fun to watch her find out that occasionally (rarely here, of course) water falls from the sky, as well as other things. It's pretty neat seeing her come across things that we take for granted because we've seen them so often. She likes to wander around and just put her hands on grass or in leaves, or just stand and stare at leaves on a tree. I'm just happy to follow her around.

Of course, she might be surprised the next time it rains, because it happens so infrequently. But that's okay. She'll still enjoy it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Norah the educator

Norah cares about the edification of her god, Smokey. She wants him to be well read and learned. So the other day, she dragged his bed away from the back door, where he sleeps in blissful ignorance bathed in sunlight. She didn't drag him far, just a few feet, and then sat next to him with her book, Pancakes for Breakfast. She then began turning the pages and "reading" to him, which consists of her simply blah-blahing a lot. Still, it's very cute.

Poor long-suffering Smokey. He didn't look all that put out by Norah's forced education, but I bet it's no fun getting dragged three feet across the floor by an enthusiastic 21-month-old. Still, it made for an adorable picture:

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Mia B.: Unstoppable!

Today Mia was outside in her gait trainer, walking along the sidewalk. It has gotten warmer here the past week (as in approaching 90; any wonder why I hate Arizona's weather?) and this week is Spring Break, so I've been taking her outside to walk. She has done a really good job, too: using both her legs consistently, keeping straight so she doesn't go into the street, and going for long distances without getting tired. She loves walking in her gait trainer, and she likes being outside.

Demon Child #2 walks along with us; she likes to wander down the sidewalk for a bit until I call her name and she stops and smiles, as if she's getting away with something. Today as we were walking back toward the house, Norah decided that instead of wandering into our front yard, she would stand in front of Mia. Mia ignores her, and one time bumped Norah slightly. I told Ms. Norah to stay out of Mia's way, and Norah whined. She whines a lot - she's 20 months old, after all.

So the second time Mia bumped her, Norah simply crumpled to the ground. I was standing right there and could see that she wasn't hurt; she just didn't want to get out of Mia's way. Mia, undaunted, kept walking, and Norah kept crouching further down. She was almost flat on the ground and Mia was able to move the front bar of her gait trainer over her. So then Norah was right at Mia's feet, and Mia just kept moving. She stepped over Norah with her right foot but got a bit hung up on her left. She doesn't lift that leg as well as the other one, so usually it barely leaves the ground when she moves it forward. This time it was getting stuck on Norah. Demon Child #2, meanwhile, kept whining, and I bent over and told her it was her own fault for not getting out of the way. I gave Mia just a tiny bit of help, moving her to her left slightly so her leg could get unstuck, and she took and step and blew right over and past Norah. Norah looked a bit stunned, as if she couldn't believe her sister had just so cavalierly ran her down.

Norah wasn't hurt, obviously, and I thought it was great. Not because I want one child knocking the other down, but because Mia was able to navigate some difficult terrain - in this case, a human body - and keep on course and not get frustrated. She often gets frustrated if she can't do something right away, and if a therapist or parent isn't forcing her to do something, she occasionally gives up. It was nice to see her power on past the impediment posed by her squirming, whining sister.

And maybe, just maybe, Norah will stay out of her way the next time!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Mia is a lion!

When we get Mia out of the bath, Krys wraps her in a towel with a hood on it. Recently she bought the one pictured above, which is tan and has a lion's face on the hood. She began holding Mia up to the mirror and showing her the hood while telling her that it was a lion. She also taught Mia how to roar. About a week ago, she was holding Mia up and asked her what a lion says. Mia whispered a roar. Why she whispered it remains a mystery, but she was very happy to whisper it. Krys took her in the bedroom and began getting her ready for bed, and Mia continued to roar. When Krys asked her if she was a lion, Mia roared.

In case you're still wondering if we have the most adorable kids in the universe, the answer is YES!

As cool as that is, what's even cooler is the very fact that she's pretending. It's a perfectly normal 4-year-old thing to do, and because Mia is not a normal 4-year-old, we were wondering what normal 4-year-old things she would do. It's always encouraging to see her doing things that kids her age do, and pretending to be a lion is one of those things. She also has a hand puppet in the bath that looks like a monkey. She knows it's a monkey - she has told us repeatedly what it is - and occasionally, when she puts it on her hand, she will look at it and say, "Hel-wo!" She's not terribly good with "l" yet. So that's more pretending, which is a good sign.

Slow and steady wins the race, after all!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Mia's kindergarten evaluations; or, the older Mia gets, the angrier I become

Mia is 4½, and that means it's time to evaluate her for kindergarten next year. The cut-off date for being old enough (5) is 1 September, and she turns five on 30 August, so we're getting in just under the wire, which is good, because she can't go back to pre-school and we'd have to figure out what to do with her next year (this is hearsay, as a kid in the program doesn't turn five until October and his grandfather has to find something for him to do next year). As she moves to kindergarten, she needs to be evaluated. This is never a good time of the year, as we get to find out in stark relief how far behind she is.

A little over a week ago she got her hearing checked. Her hearing is one thing we don't worry about. It's fine, even though she had some issues with her left ear. I took her to the doctor to get it checked, and she said that there was nothing wrong with her ear - she may have some fluid in there, but nothing to worry about. So her hearing is fine, but, strangely enough, she has to be evaluated within two weeks of the hearing test. Nobody seems to know why. I haven't asked the school psychologist yet, but presumably she knows. So this past week and the upcoming week are when she's getting evaluated.

I'm not sure if her school physical therapist or occupational therapist have checked her out yet, but her speech therapist gave her a test this past week. She did some good things, like saying "hairs" when shown a brush, which is a "good" error, according to her home speech therapist. For "normal" kids, the score range is 85-115. Mia got a 50. She is speaking, apparently, at a 2-year-old level, although her home therapist says her receptive language is probably at a 3-year-old level. The problem with many of these tests is that they are very dependent on language, so we're hoping they look at other aspects of her personality. I know that as parents we're biased, but it's unfortunate that they are so language-oriented, because Mia is very good at communicating even though she doesn't use language very well. Oh well. That's why we are advocate parents!

We haven't had a meeting with the psychologist yet, but she has also completed her evaluation. We're not sure which program Mia will be put into, but we're probably going to put her in all-day kindergarten, because then she can be in a regular class for half the day and get therapy the other half. But that's still down the road a bit.

It's this kind of thing, when all her disabilities are laid out in black and white, that depresses us. And makes me mad, of course, because of the fact that she has to go through all of this. Little things make me mad as she gets older and I see what kids her age are doing and what Norah is able to do. I have mentioned before that she's on a laxative because she has problems pooping. Well, recently she's been pooping a lot, which is good, but it might actually be causing her some grief, and we have cut back the laxative until we see if it's going to continue without it. Little things like her not being able to tell us when she's going to poop bother the heck out of me. As she gets older, it becomes clearer and clearer how far behind she is, and I want more and more to find the guy who did this to her and punch him in the brain. Repeatedly.

But that's neither here nor there. We'll be meeting with her teachers and the psychologist in the coming weeks to find out where she will best make strides in kindergarten. The nicest thing about Mia is that she has been making steady progress in therapy for about a year, so even though she's behind, she's not staying in one place. And that's a good thing.

But I can still be angry occasionally.