Friday, January 29, 2016

My Little Cricket’s Delay: The School and Schedule

I am emotional and physically drained. But no one has time to rest right now. I have more phone calls to make, more things to fight and research, more appointment and tours to do. I am exhausted and yet I keep working hard to get the best for my boy.


Today was our intake meeting at Brite Kids, a special clinic based preschool for delayed children that I found through the Westside Regional Center. I had such a hard time deciding what to do about school for my Little Cricket. I didn’t even want to send him to school at all until he was 4, I was even thinking for a minute of homeschooling. However every single therapist, specialist and doctor I speak too all say the same thing, to get my Little Cricket into school as soon as possible. I desperately wanted my Little Cricket to go to Branches, an amazing Reggio Emilia school, but after going for several months to their toddler class I realized that it wasn’t the right place for my son. In November I found a different preschool that I thought would be perfect for my Little Cricket, however when my Little Cricket and I visited for our three meet and greet hour long sessions I realized that this school too wouldn’t be the right fit for my son at this moment either.

My mind shy’s away sending my son to a ‘special’ preschool. But I have come to the conclusion that I need to do what is best for him. So today we went for an intake meeting at Brite Kids. I would get my son assessed, find out more about the school, and see if we both thought it would be a good fit for him.

The assessment took an hour and I was so happy that my son tested well. They have 8 rooms at the school, and the child’s skill level puts them in a particular room. My Little Cricket tested into their final and last room before graduation out of the program, it was called the Rainbow Room. The director was vacillating between putting my Little Cricket in the last room or the room before it, the Blue Room. The Blue room only had 3 other children, and parents were allowed to attend with their children. It was smaller and the thought was he could get used to the school, the teachers and the routine in a smaller setting. The Rainbow Room on the other hand has 8 other children, is more of a preschool setting with more expectations put on the children and where parents are discouraged from staying. The director and I discussed the pros and cons of both situations and in the end decided to start with the Blue Room. It would be easy after all to move him up to the Rainbow Room once he was ready.

The directors at this school are amazing people. They really spent a ton of time with me answering questions, showing us how my Little Crickets day would work and handholding me though the whole process. With a newly diagnosed child and with so many hard confusing decisions about my sons care to be made, it is exactly what I need right now.

My Little Crickets schedule is sure getting full. With floor time, speech and JASPER started, and with OT, Clinic Based Preschool, and JASPER Mommy and Me to start soon we are getting to be very busy little bees. Starting all of this is both terrifying and exciting.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

My Little Cricket’s Delay: JASPER Therapy Update

We are on week two of coming to UCLA for JASPER intervention. Most of it has been amazing but some of it has been incredibly hard. My Little Cricket hasn’t had any formal type of therapy. And so to help him better attend to tasks, and to learn how to take direction from others and to learn about follow-through the director felt that My Little Cricket needed a little ABA, DDT therapy. This is the second time they did a short ABA session before starting JASPER. It is so strict and not at all following my parenting philosophy, and it was terrible to just sit there and watch as he struggled. He cried so hard and tried to escape multiple times but the therapists persisted. It was so hard to sit on the other side of that double sided glass watching. However as hard as it is to see him struggling and fighting I can also see the wonderful improvements. After only a few sessions My Little Cricket is now sitting better and helping with cleanup. Two little things but two steps in the right direction.

Often I am sitting in observation rooms while the therapists work with my Little Cricket. Sometimes he is in a room alone with his therapist and sometimes he is with a small group of other children getting therapy. I am learning so much by watching. And I am making sure to soak up the various therapies and techniques they use. This is my new world. This is what I need to learn to help my boy. And of course while I am focusing and paying attention and learning through the session I have my mini me sidekick. My Little Rose keeps me company.




Aside from getting amazing cutting edge therapy at the UCLA JASPER Clinic for my Little Cricket, I am also getting access to a whole pool of people who have spent years studying and working with Autistic children; minds and advice that I so desperately need right now. I need as much knowledge as I can soak up, and there are only so many articles I can read online before my eyes cross. These people will be my starting place, and I couldn’t ask for better guides. I am still trying to build what therapies my son needs and who I should try to get to administer those types of therapies. Everyone says to trust my gut, and I wish I could, I just don’t know enough, and I feel like I need to get up to speed as soon as possible.

Right now I am looking for an amazing ABA person, someone who will work in a more floor time naturalistic approach. It was recommended I contact an ABA therapist that works with the baby JASPER class and who they think will be a good fit for My Little Cricket. I can’t wait to meet her and hopefully add ABA into our growing list of therapies.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Nerdy Birdy: Chasing/Owling with Owlbait

Last night Owlbait (my lovely nerdy birdy friends who specialize in owling) called. Apparently there was a spotted owl seen two weeks ago, and they were going to go see if they could find it. Of course I was interested, and in desperate need of a distraction from all the crushing information and stress of what’s going on with my Little Cricket. We were out there for 3 hours, playing calls, looking for signs of this owl. But none of us found it. It happens like that sometimes, especially when trying to find a rare bird.





I think the Owlbait’s felt a little bad for me not seeing an owl, so they decided to take me the very next night to show me the barred owl that they had found the week before. We met at the Hill Street CafĂ© at the base of the 1 highway into the mountains. We had yummy food, we gassed up and then we drove the two hours winding up into the San Gabriel Mountains. It was a school night so we didn’t stop at a ton of locations. We got to the barred owl spot and sure enough after only a few minutes of playing the calls this cutie showed up. AHHHHHH such a beautiful bird, and such a great close look.





Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Dancer Sisters – Filling the House with Love

I have been best friends with Mrs. Dancer since we were in 7th grade, which equals a lot of time and secrets and growing into and around each other. Ms. Tiny, her adorable little sidekick (who I also grew up and around) is living with us right now helping out with the kids. When not on kid duty we will sometimes hang out, like we are doing now, and I will feed them. It’s a thing we do and it always makes me happier. My kids, my friends, making yummy food for the ones I love while I try to deal with the stress of what’s going on with My Little Cricket.








Monday, January 25, 2016

My Little Rose: My Little Rose: 6 Months Old (26 Weeks)

My Little Rose,

You are officially now six month old. All healthy, all pink and perfect. You are always happy. Always cooing and laughing. You are my joy!








I am doing well so far on keeping up with the photo shoots. It isn’t always easy but I am just too in love with your sweet face, plus I know it won’t be this hard all the time. And I would regret not having these. One of our three rotating stations is the master bed. I strip down the sheets, open the curtains wide and wait for the sun to be at that perfect angle.






You are doing well at putting yourself to sleep. I was going to transition you out of your bassinet into the crib last week but you had a cold. Now last week with the flipping onto your belly but not able to get back onto your back it doesn’t feel like the right time either. But this week I feel like I have no choice. You are officially too big for the bassinet. So I compromised. I made a cup in your crib with two rolled up towels on either side of your bassinet mattress in the crib. I am terrified of SIDs, but this was the only situation I could think of to use for the next two or three weeks until you learn to flip both ways.



I bring up two bottles full of water so if you need a bottle in the middle of the night or early in the morning I don’t have to go downstairs to get it. One night I forgot to bring up your bottles so as I jumped in the shower I texted your father to bring them up. I came out of the shower to find your bottles tucked neatly onto my side of the bed. Your father… he is a funny man.


When you wake up too early or aren’t quite ready to go to bed at night after I put your brother to bed we chill out in my big bed. I lay down a towel and you play with your bar of toys. It’s nice to just lay down and relax with you. I love these quiet moments just you and I. I think the hardest thing about having a second child is that I constantly feel torn between the two of you, to make sure that you both get the time and attention you need and deserve.




We are going to have to do something about this little tub. I think this just might be the last week you are going to be in here. Water is getting everywhere. Although I would love for you to be really sitting up before I switch you I think that I may have to transition you early, like we did with the bassinet.

I love that you and your brother are now starting to engage with the same toys. Mostly it’s you touching his toys and then him moving them away from you. However there are moments when you are both really playing with the same thing, or when he brings something over to share with you. Heart Meltingly Awesome.


With daddy working so much, running errands is interesting. Since I still my feet still hurt and my back is still wrecked carrying you in the baby Bjorn for any length of time is just too painful. And fitting you both in the cart, with any groceries just isn’t going to work. The only option that works is to put you both in the stroller; I wheel the stroller around and pull the cart behind us. Our choo choo train brings smiles to everyone that sees us. I don’t care if we look strange it works.


You are trying to eat everything and you are drooling like crazy. I wonder if your teeth are going to take FOREVER to come in like your brothers did. Six months is typically when you start solids but you arent sitting up really well yet. I decided to wait a few more weeks.



Sunday, January 24, 2016

Nerdy Birdy: Highest Tide of the Year at Newport Back Bay

I have been having a rough past couple months and I am not really sure how to ‘fix’ it. When I am in so deep that I am dreaming therapies and having nightmares about what I am dealing with my Little Cricket I read that as a sign that I need to try something to lift me out of it. After all what I am currently doing isn’t filling me up, and trying the same thing over and over again but expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity. So I opted for something a little different. I took some good ole selfish me time. I don’t know why as a mother I have to even feel like taking a bit of time to do something I love should feel selfish. But here is am, pouring into the hole in my soul something that I really love. I went birding.

My nerdy birdy owl friends were heading up a tour at the Newport Back bay at one of the highest tides of the year. The Newport back bay is normally a marshland of high grasses. You can often hear the more elusive rails and soras but you can never see them. With the tide being so high, these birds lose their cover, allowing us to finally see them. I was excited to spend some time with likeminded nerdiness, spend some time in the sun with my camera and forget my troubles for a few hours.