Saturday, May 29, 2010

Preschool Visit

Thursday I packed up the girlies and headed off to see the Children First, the developmental preschool that was recommended to us by the psychologist. It is pretty close to our home so it was a quick trip. It was pouring down rain, but I was grateful to have our bigger car so it was easier to get the kiddos in and out.

The coordinator met me right away when we walked in. She was really nice and very helpful. We went right into the classroom to observe. Morgan made her way right over to some toys and helped herself. She didn't get nervous or upset at all the whole visit, even when I left the room with Piper to go over some paperwork in the office.

The class was just starting snack time. A few little ones came over to Piper (in the stroller) and said "baby", "baby." I noticed right away that there was a wide range of ages of kids. I soon found out that this classroom had kids from 14 months to 3 three years old. They also have a class for infants, so there are just two classrooms total that make up the developmental preschool (there is also a full time daycare in the building). The classroom itself was divided into three sections, one for speech therapy, one for physical therapy and one for both occupational therapy and overall play. The speech therapy section had lots of books and a ball pit (fun!). The physical therapy section had larger play structures and a large open area where the teachers can use equipment like balance beams and throw balls, etc. the middle section had kid-sized tables and chairs where they ate and did art projects as well as an open area with lots of toys. I also noticed that the toys were not random, they all had a purpose and were educational in some way.

Another thing I noticed right away was that the majority of the kids actually looked like they had some sort of disability or issue. Along with the ages, there was a wide range here too. The coordinator said that they had quite a few kids that suffered from shaken baby syndrome and fetal alcohol syndrome. Hearing that just made my heart hurt for those kids. Such little innocent faces. Finally, some of the kids were more like Morgan in that they didn't show any physical signs, but had some sort of developmental delay.

To be totally honest, the visit was really hard for me. I thought right away "does Morgan really belong here?" Of course this was a place we never expected to be, so it came as a shock. As Morgan made her way around the classroom the teachers made comments and asked questions about her. One of the speech therapists heard Morgan say "triangle" and she looked at the other teacher in surprise and said "did you just hear her say triangle?!" I guess they don't hear that word much around there. I did tell them that she had these higher end skills of knowing her letters, numbers, shapes and colors. They just nodded their heads. In the physical therapy room Morgan climbed right up on one of the play structures and went down the slide. The coordinator had seen her physical therapy "score" on the assessment from last December and told the therapist (the number means nothing to me). She looked at Morgan quizzically and said "really?!" I guess she's made some progress, but I never agreed with that initial assessment anyway. The same therapist also told me "she's really smart!" Morgan had pointed at a picture on the rug and said "yellow duck." That's my girl!!

So....even though it was hard I think it will be a good place for her to experience social situations and structure. When we were in the speech therapy room the other kids were sitting together on a blanket playing with toy food while the teachers read "Teddy Bear Picnic." Morgan went over and stood by them for a bit, then went off and did her own thing. They said that was common when kids start. It takes time to get used to participating in group or "circle" time.

The Children First program is two days a week from 9 am to 11:15. They also have snack and lunch during this time. I thought it was a bit early for lunch, but the coordinator said lunch was great teaching time for occupational therapy, speech therapy as well as socialization. That makes sense.

Morgan's speech therapist came to our house for her regular visit today. I told her about the trip to the school. She asked when Morgan would turn three and I said December. The school we visited only serves up to age three, then the kids may move on to the school district's preschool. Apparently the qualifications for the school district's preschool are much more stringent as they only take the bottom 7 percent of three year-olds in the district. She said by the Fall Morgan may not even qualify. Her other therapists mentioned this a few times too a few weeks ago...they kept saying "if she qualifies." This assures me that Morgan may be delayed, but she is not too far behind. I spoke with the director of the "regular" preschool the other day. I wanted to inform her that Morgan is having some delays and wondered if it was still OK that she start their one day a week program in September. She assured me that they have had some kids similar to Morgan and she is welcome to attend. She said much of the time kids like Morgan do just fine and catch up before Kindergarten.

Sorry this got so long. So, we'll take it a bit at a time as we move forward. I'm waiting for a start date from Children First. It will be good to have her in this setting over the summer, though it's only one day a week. She'll move to two days a week in the Fall and one day in the "regular" school. Then we'll just see how it goes when she gets closer to her third birthday.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Piper is 9 Months Old!

Piper is already 9 months old! This past month just FLEW by! She's been doing so much more even in the past two weeks. She's drinking water from a sippy cup, clapping her hands and just this past week she has mastered sitting up from lying down. She's also rocking on her hands and knees and trying to coordinate her limbs to crawl. It's not far away. Way to go Piper!

The closest thing to a smile I could get

Morgan "helping" with her little sister's sign

Then I got a BUNCH of pictures like this. It's kind of a cross between a scowl and a monkey-face similar to what her cousin Makenna used to do.

Here's a sweet look

Here's another scrunched-up face

Now she'll pull off her sock for you...

What's over there? Oooohh, computer paper!

Still working on that smile

Ta da! I'm 9 months old!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Piper's 9-Month Stats

Though Piper won't be 9 months old officially until Thursday we had her 9-month check up at the Dr. yesterday. She did so great!! Here are her stats:

Weight: 20 lbs 13 oz (85%) - chunk-a-monk!
Length: 28 inches (69%)

Chunky, yes, but the Dr. thought her proportions were fine. We all like a chubby baby, right?

While waiting for the Dr. to come in she had a great time playing with her reflection in the mirror over the exam table. The Dr. gave her a brief exam and said she looked "perfect" and asked a lot of questions about her development. He said she was right on track! We also lucked out with no shots at this appointment which was nice because I was on my own with her as David is out of town for work. My wonderful friend Danell watched Morgan so I could take Piper without distractions.

Great job Piper and we'll post 9-month pictures on Thursday!

Speaking of Thursday, we have a tour of a developmental preschool on that morning. I've gotten some great information about what is available for Morgan to start now and what we will do when she turns three. There are some solid programs here and I am thrilled to get her started and see how she does socially and in a structured learning environment. More soon...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bathing Beauties

Please excuse the phone pic...not as high-res as our other camera. This is Morgan and Piper's first successful bath together. Piper had not been too stable during other tries, but she did great this time! They played nicely together and no one seemed to mind sharing. I think this will be really fun for them as they interact more and more. It is also easier on Mom and Dad (and especially when David goes out of town), as we don't have to do two separate baths. Buh-bye baby tub!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Discovery Playground

We have an awesome new playground across from our YMCA! It is called the "Discovery Playground" and has a TON of wonderful features and attractions. We are so excited to have this close to our home and are sure we will be spending lots of time there this summer.

The Splash Pad

Morgan inching her way in

View of the entrance from the Splash Pad

Swings and Picnic area

Why are my shoes so wet?

Standing in the "safe spot" away from the streams of water
An in-ground trampoline!

Check me out!

Jungle gym and slides

Daddy and Piper

When do I get to play?

There were so many other cool things I didn't get pictures of, but those will be for future trips. Morgan took a second trip to the Splash Pad and got blasted by a stream of water!! She recovered quickly and had a nice snack with Mama, Daddy and Piper in the picnic area. We can't wait to go back!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The BIG appointment

It went great!!! It wasn't all good news, but WAY more good news than bad news. I got to hear the "magic words" from the Dr. "I don't think she is showing signs of any of the spectrum disorders, autism, etc." Yippee! This was my worst fear.

Morgan did so well! I had talked with her about it all day. The appointment was late, at 5:00 pm, but that was way better than having to wait until September for a morning appointment. I dropped Piper off with our neighbors. Morgan kept asking "Piper? Piper?" on the way over. I don't think had taken her anywhere without Piper since Piper was born. We met David at the office. Morgan played nicely in the waiting room and the Dr. came in pretty quickly (after reviewing a TON of paperwork I filled out beforehand) and we went back to her office.

The office was large with a few couches. We all sat down and Morgan immediately went to pull out the baskets of toys she spied as soon as she walked in. The Dr. asked us lots of questions and she also engaged Morgan in some questions and interaction. She watched how Morgan interacted with us as well. She was encouraged by how interactive Morgan was and she gave her good eye contact.

For the "bad news" ... she did acknowledge that since she is in the EI program, obviously Morgan has some delays, mostly in the language/communication area. Since there was no family history (expect for a cousin, but the Dr. seemed more interested in parents/grandparents) and there wasn't any pregnancy/birth issues that we know of, she couldn't pinpoint why this was happening.

A key thing that surprised me is that she said that even if Morgan "catches up" with her peers she is always at risk of falling behind again. This is something we need to be aggressive with and have her re-evaluated every six months as she progresses through preschool and her school years. She just may need some extra help along the way. There may be some potential learning disabilities as well, but it is impossible to predict at this point. This didn't bother me too much as I know a few people that have learning disabilities and have become very successful in spite of it.

The Dr. is going to write a brief report and some recommendations as well. She encouraged us to keep her in the EI program and when she is discharged or ages out, a "developmental preschool" might be a good option. They have therapists on staff that can work with her in specific areas. We are going to look into this. We already have Morgan signed up for a one day a week preschool starting in September. I'm going to talk with them about having her start and see how she does. The developmental preschools don't start until kids are at least three and I want to see how she does socially before then.

Lastly, the Dr. said that some of her areas of delay (pretend play, some interaction with other kids, etc.) may be due to the fact that Morgan doesn't yet have the vocabulary to express herself. We are going to work on this at home. She also said that if she is somewhat less engaged with other kids it might just be due to her temperament...being shy, not any other bigger issue.

Thanks for bearing with my long update. I'm sure there are things I've forgotten. I've already got lots of question for the Dr. now that the appointment is over. I hate that! After I heard the "magic words" I think I had trouble processing everything else she said. I'm looking forward to seeing her report and recommendations. She also said she'd like to see us again in a year to check in how Morgan is doing. I'm so glad we don't have to do any further evaluations at this time. I think overall this was a great result!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mother's Day

I had such a GREAT Mother's Day!! David was in full "servant" mode and took such great care of me and the girls all day long. I got to sleep in a little bit (before Piper needed to eat) and then David gave the girls breakfast while I got ready for our brunch outing. We went to Max at the Mirabeau Park hotel which is really close to our house. It's just my kind of a swanky-style restaurant with yummy (non-greasy) breakfast/brunch items.

Please excuse the quality of these photo as they are phone shots...forgot the camera! Piper entertained herself with the spoons. This was after she gagged on a rice puff and threw up all over herself. We were able to clean it up with minimal distraction and any grossing out of the other restaurant patrons.

Look who finally got a haircut?! Isn't it adorable. I added the new style of ponytails. We got quite a few comments on how cute she was/is.

After brunch we went home and put the girls down for naps. Then I got to go shopping downtown!! As much as I love my babies, it's nice to get away and have some adult time. I noticed lots of women shopping on their own as well as husband's tagging along and "trying" to be patient. Good for them!
We capped of the day with a spur of the moment BBQ with our neighbors and their three kiddos! Great fun! I hope I can do as well for David on Father's Day!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Loving Grandma and Grandpa B

Finally able to get my act together to talk about Grandma and Grandpa B's visit. Grandpa B blessed us with so many pretty pictures with his new camera. A nice camera (and a good eye) makes such a huge difference in the quality of the photos. I know you will enjoy these as much as we have.

Unfortunately our visit brought a lot of cold, rain and a little sickness. We toughed it out and had a great visit. Look at this blue-eyed baby:

One of Morgan's regular activities is "feeding" her yellow bear in Piper's high chair. Lately she's taken to feeding Piper a little too. David was holding Piper when Morgan shoved a piece of graham cracker in Piper's mouth. Uh oh! We're working on it...but Piper's not quite ready for that.

Here's another shot of the two girls in the ducky tub. Piper was sitting in it and Morgan climbed right in with her. I think she was squishing her a bit and possibly sitting on her legs, but Piper didn't seem to mind.

Another opportunity to catch the sisters together. This must have been one morning before I got up. I was spoiled by being able to sleep an extra half hour or so. Morgan was trying to hold Piper's hand. Too cute!
Morgan and Grandma did a lot of "drawing lines" together. Morgan is still fascinated with letters and numbers and is always asking us to draw them for her. We decided it was time to get her on the path of doing it herself and "lines" seemed like a logical place to start. She's doing great at it!

Gorgeous black and white shots of Morgan drawing and her sweet ponytail Grandma put in her hair. Piper still loves her jumperoo...and Morgan still loves "Pat the Bunny."

Grandpa planted us a garden...tomatoes, peppers, basil, pumpkins and watermelon!! While the work was going on Morgan played and blew bubbles. Her physical therapist wants her to work on her kicking, so we kicked the blue ball around the yard.

Oh, the bubbles, the BUBBLES! Love how fast the shutter speed is on this camera so Grandpa could get a cool shot like THIS...

It looks sunny, but there was a bit of of chill in the air, thus the hat. I just love the colors in these shots. Also check out the "bubble bucket." We had a few bubble accidents where we lost lots of the bubble "stuff." This little bowl with newspaper kept things much more stable.

We got to conclude our visit with a nice trip to the Old Spaghetti Factory. It's such a kid-friendly place that I didn't worry at all about the girls making a bunch of noise. Morgan especially enjoyed the ice cream she got for dessert. She barely touch her grilled cheese for dinner, but there was not a drop left in that ice cream bowl. Yum!!
Thanks for coming to visit Grandma and Grandpa B. We had a great time!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Grandma and Grandpa B May Visit

Here is just a preview to more from Grandpa and Grandpa B's May visit. Grandpa got a fancy new camera and took some beautiful shots of the girls!! I can't wait to post more here. Above is one of them together in Morgan's ducky tub. Piper was sitting in it and Morgan climbed right in with her. They are interacting more and more each day.

We won't see Grandma and Grandpa B again until we visit them in California in July/August. We can't wait!