Friday, August 18, 2017

KINDERGARTEN!

*Blink*

Kindergarten! I think we are just as excited as Nora. She loved preschool and with a broader curriculum, she’s loving it. 

Based on having two parents who work outside the home, we thankfully received all-day Kindergarten and tacked on Extended Day AM & PM. This means we drop her off around 7:30am in the cafeteria to play and eat breakfast. She knows Liam, a friend/neighbor which helps. It opens at 6:30 am! When we brought her at 7:30, there were at least 10 kids already. I’m thankful the schools offer this for parents who aren’t able to stick around for the bus schedule. 

We’re already starting the nutrition talks. She wanted Jell-O and chocolate milk for breakfast (this and the PM snack are included in fees). I told her that’s fine, but not every day. We need to make good food choices so we don’t get cavities or upset stomachs - ! 

She has a full day of  
W/Thu/Fri are Phys Ed, Art, and Music. 

I plan to join the PTA - involvement seems important to me... I think I can manage a meeting a month. 7pm meetings are a touch tricky just because we cram a lot in between 6-7:30pm at our house once we get home. 

She bounds home happy to tell us about her day. So far the morning have been great - she’s so excited she gets dressed before she leaves her room - that’s a big deal! 

None of it has made me emotional, really. I’m not one who gets emotional over the baby days. I enjoy watching my girls grow and develop. However, our sitter made a book of photos of Nora from about when Hannah was born (2 1/2) to now... After flipping through it, I did get a little choked up. That relationship is four years old and that transition is hard. We have so must trust built between our families and Alison truly cares for our girls. 

I’m glad Hannah will continue at least another year under Alison’s care. She’s a vital part of our village! 

Age 5!

Mom has no say in her attire or accessories! : )

Watch out for runny-nosed pirates!

Hannah & Preschool: Part 2

*I never posted Part 1 - it was essentially the preschool Psychologist coming to our home to get general information and let me know the process of how to get an IEP and the steps we’d be taking to evaluate Hannah.

This morning we took Hannah to the preschool to be observed. We sat in a classroom while the school psychologist asked us questions - mostly behavioral/communication. There was a teacher, an OT, PT and ST in the room to play with Hannah while they observed her, took notes and asked questions. 

It was a good hour - Hannah loved playing with them all and checking out the room. 

They all enjoyed her. Hannah waved bye and asked for hugs. The teacher even said, “We may have to fight over this one,” - as if she wanted to keep Hannah in her class : ) (Hannah does not have a teacher assigned yet)

So we are excited but nervous. Hannah will love school! It’s just hard to see my little nugget out of her safety bubble; home and the babysitter! Thankfully we know many other parents whose kids with Ds attended and loved it. One little girl has already been attending and Hannah has a friend, Joe, who is her age and enrolling, too. So we’re glad we have our network! 

On Aug 28th, we’ll say goodbye to Help Me Grow - I will bawl. They have been with us since nearly Day One and I’ve leaned a lot on them. Early Intervention is “only” for three years. 

That afternoon we’ll go to the preschool and write out Hannah’s IEP (Individualized Education Plan). 

So many changes!





Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Grown Ups

There’s been a lot of news around Down syndrome lately. I’ll post more on that later because it will be a big soapbox - ! However, I’m looking forward to this documentary on PBS:

The Grown Ups

I’m surrounded by cute and fun toddlers with Ds, but don’t have much exposure to school-age kids or even adults. The closest I’ve come is reading into Paul Daugherty’s life. 

This will be a great documentary to get a look into the lives of adults with Ds and their aspirations vs. laws and rules that stifle them. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Nitpicking

Of all that is holy in this world, I never, never, ever wanted to deal with lice. Now I have. I lived - barely.

*This is a long saga, so get comfortable.

Last Tuesday evening - just as we’re getting back into the swing of routine after our busy two weeks, Nora was laying her head on my lap and I randomly combed my hand through the back of her head. I saw them. Them. Lice. Absolutely minuscule bugs chilling in my child’s hair. And eggs.




I pride myself on a clean house. Bugs don’t really bother me. Bugs in my child’s hair freak me the hell out. I knew not to freak out in front of Nora so I silently screamed at Tim and he ran out to get a lice kit. Specifically, we got Nix Ultra - which claims to kill both lice AND nits (eggs).

We didn’t even think or question and immediately doused Hannah’s head first - only because it was already her bedtime. I found about 5 (now dead) lice on her head. No nits. I kept Nora in the kitchen and threw a tarp down ( I didn’t know what I was doing ). Doused her head with the treatment and waited the 10 minutes while frantically texting a college friend who had been through this twice.

Once Hannah was asleep, Tim started stripping beds, throwing stuffed animals in garbage bags (either wash them or seal them for 3 weeks). Vacuuming furniture, spraying mattresses...

The directions said to next shampoo. Then we got to combing. Each swipe of the comb had some dead lice. I was horrified. HOW could I have let this slip by - and for how long??

Armed.

Give me a flipping break - that Mom ain’t smiling, dummies!


In early June, Olivia, who is watched by our sitter, unknowingly brought lice into our sitter’s home from camp. When we returned from vacation, end of June, our sitter said they had battled lice in their own hair. So I thought it was resolved. Shame on me for not even checking Nora! Not only was Nora infested, but we gave it to the sitter and her daughter again : (

Tuesday night I combed through Nora’s hair from about 8:30pm until she fell asleep on the living room floor at 11:15pm and I finished up in tears of exhaustion and lower back pain at 11:45pm. Then we vacuumed the floor and I tried to go to sleep at 12:30am. And of course Hannah wakes up at 1:30am. She went back to sleep and I think I finally calmed my head by 2:30am. Only to have Hannah wake up at 5:30am.

Needless to say I was a zombie on Wednesday. Tim and I took off work to keep combing through Nora’s hair and clean the house. I did two more comb-throughs of her Wednesday and continued to find a few nits.

Thursday the girls went back to the sitter and Thursday night I still found nits. The reason I’m the only one checking her head is because the combs in those kits are nearly worthless and Tim doesn’t have long fingernails. Those combs do not pull nits off hair strands - I was finding and pulling by hand! *Nits don’t just flake off in your hand - they stick to the hair stand, so you have to scrape it down/off the strand with your fingernail - or a professional comb.

My nerves had had enough and the weight of just ME finding and ridding all the nits was too much. I made an appointment at Lice Slayers on Friday at 4pm - the earliest we could get in.


It was in an old building, one employee was there and the space was very nice and simple - resembled a salon which I appreciated - made for a more comfortable experience.

Hannah’s head was clear, thank heavens. Nora still had nits and the employee proceeded the the treatment. First, she used what looked like an old vacuum with a brush head and spot-heated Nora’s head. Not sure how this is any better than just using a hair dryer at home... ?
AirAlle

Then she sprayed Nora’s hair down with some cream and got to combing - she used this comb that I thankfully ordered on Amazon. I saw other professionals use this comb and I watched her rake Nora’s entire head and that thing found all the tiny hiding nits!
Terminator Nit Comb

She ended spraying Nora’s head with a mint oil mixture and a shower cap - we were to wash her hair with Dawn when we got home. I felt a huge weight off my shoulders having a professional do a deeper dive on Nora. I don’t care that it cost $165 - worth it for my sanity. We have to keep checking Nora every 4 days for the next two weeks.

I’m anxious for my comb to arrive. I also purchased Fairy Tales Repel Spray as a preventative measure as school starts. From what I’ve read, lice are clinical proven to stay away from mint oil. Now that I can pause and think, I won’t use chemical OTC kits again - if we have another occurrence! It seems natural oils have their way with lice. The technician said many lice are becoming resistant to pesticides and chemicals - of course.

I did a check on Nora last night and she appears to be free. Once my comb arrives, I’ll do two thorough comb-throughs and hope we never have to deal with this again... !

Tim and I still appear to be clear. I use hair product every day and anecdotally have heard that will keep lice away. A teacher I know was told to wear product in his hair every day simply to ward off any lice threat - !

Hindsight is 20/20. I’m still mad at myself for not checking Nora’s head back when we learned the sitter had dealt with it. I also know to be more preventative - teach Nora “If it touches our hair, don’t share.” Do regular checks and use preventative products when a lice alert happens!

NOW I know the true meaning of “nitpicking” and will never use that word without shuddering again.

Professional Help:
The Lice Slayers
Simplicety
Lice Doctors

Monday, July 31, 2017

Too Busy

The past two weeks have been a bit much - in a good, social way.

The Sunday I took the girls up North was nice, but the day extended longer with some friends over which was nice, but left me completely run down.

The weekends are usually time for Tim and I to take care of “things;” running, groceries, mowing, errands, cleaning, etc. Then squeeze in the social things between. I wish I had the benefit of completing the household items during weekdays. I do a lot of small pickups at Kroger at 7:30am on my way into work!

Then the following Tuesday, Tim and I worked a half day to scoop up the girls and take them up to my parents. We were seeing a band at Nutter Center and my parents were kind enough to extend their house for us to spend the night. It was - of course - a late night and I didn’t sleep well, maybe five solid hours.





We were home Wednesday with the girls. Back to work Thursday. Then Friday evening the girls went to Nana’s house so we could attend another concert. I know. We knew it was too much, but purely coincidence that two shows we wanted to see were the same week. Yes, I could have not attended one. But I take what social outings I can get.

Both nights were fun, but not sure they were worth the effects the following days. Zzzz. And I do realize that Tim and I are incredibly lucky that both our parents are so close and happy to watch the girls so we can have adult time.

I had crammed in my weekend run on Friday after work which may have been a bad decision. It wasn’t humid, but it was warm and I’m not used to long runs on week evenings. I only made it six miles because my feet were lead and clearly didn’t hydrate enough after I was done. I felt like garbage on Saturday AM. 

So we packed up Saturday and I took Hannah to swim class. We drove up to Miamisburg to pass off the girls to my folks. Then turned around and went back down to Kentucky for our annual Adult Day at our close friend’s lakehouse. It’s an annual event that’s been happening since before we had Nora at our friend’s Williamstown lakehouse. I enjoy the grown-up discussions and sitting in the sun! 




It’s just a bummer because it eats up our entire Saturday and half of Sunday - very little weekend time with our girls. We kept our Sunday fairly lazy and still crammed in grocery shopping and cleaning. 

So in summary - I’m tapped out on adult fun for the summer - ha! Though truly grateful that we have these opportunities. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Minor Demo work!

I think I’ve mentioned our home was built in 1979 - it’s as old as me : )

It’s “contemporary” 80s - e.g. a wetbar in the living room and some funky walls and angles. Including this horsey built-in that clearly was made for large, boxy TVs from the 80s. There’s a ridiculous amount of outlets on the inside of this thing - for all the old, dated entertainment equipment. 








We managed to slide our flatscreen in there for the past three-and-a-half years, but with the adoption of a 55" TV from my office - Lordy - there’s been some re-configuring. 


So I was headed up North for a family picnic and gave Tim a pass but only if he agreed to demo that sucker (I have some “honey-dos” before Hannah’s 3rd birthday). Thank goodness a super handy friend was able to help. I left with the girls at 9:30am and returned at 3:40pm - they were done and everything cleaned up!



I’m super happy - the patching and painting (light grey) will clearly come in stages - we just don’t have the time or energy. And guess what? We unearthed a vent the dumb-dumbs covered up! Maybe this room will get a bit warmer in the winter now!




Friday, July 14, 2017

Eunice & Rosemary Kennedy

So my daily rabbit hole started when a fellow mom (whose son [that happens to have Ds] will be going to preschool with Hannah - woo!) posted this outstanding video from the ESPYs of Timothy Shriver accepting the Arthur Ashe Award of Courage at the ESPY awards. 

Honoring Eunice Shriver

*Frankly, I’m not sure why the ESPYs exist in general - a lot of these athletes don’t need stroked any more than they already are.

I digress - I loved hearing Timothy’s message and reminding everyone the power and purpose of those with different abilities. Maybe even shedding some new light to those in the audience who never heard of the word “inclusion.” 



I vaguely knew that the Rose and Joe Kennedy’s oldest daughter, Rosemary, had an intellectual disability. This is what I imagine prompted most of the Kennedy’s wonderful advocacy for those with intellectual disabilities. 

I know a recent book, Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter, is on the market and found a link that dipped a bit into it. The actual cause of her intellectual disability seems to have been preventable and is quite shocking (the end of the article does get politically biased as the author has a brother with Ds):

The Secret Lobotomy of Rosemary Kennedy

When that failed, she reached into Rose's birth canal and held the baby's head in place for an unbelievable two hours. In her book Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter, Kate Clifford Larson writes, “It was well understood that preventing the movement of the baby through the birth canal could cause a lack of oxygen, exposing the baby to possible brain damage and physical disability.””

Utterly unbelievable. Rosemary had a difficult time growing up and her parents struggled with how to help her. Unfortunately in those days, horrific practices such as lobotomies weren’t unheard of. And more unfortunately, her father decided to proceed with this possible “cure.” The procedure ultimately left her unable to walk or talk for years. 

It’s quite a fascinating yet tragic story that I think I need to read in its entirety. If you can even say there was a silver lining to this story, it’s that it prompted a lot of great work by the Kennedy family for those with disabilities including the start of the Special Olympics in 1968.



I can’t imagine the direction we would have received for Hannah back in the 1940s. Heck, there are still MDs in 2017 who don’t have current information and still paint these babies’ lives as “less than.”

While I’m nervous about Hannah’s future and expect the most out of it, I’m also grateful she was born in modern times where a bulk of our society do see her potential. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Folly Beach 2017 - Part Three: Getting Home

Around 8am on Friday morning after being up with Hannah since 6:30am, Tim and I decided we wanted to go home. Three mornings at the beach with our energetic girls was enough and while we love Folly Beach, it’s mostly shops and restaurants and weren’t sure what we’d do another day with the girls. So we decided to power back to Milford in one day. 

We departed at 9:45am - not bad for a last minute decision! Got about two hours out and did lunch - Burger King. They have veggie burgers at least? We’d all been off our regular diets and schedules... both girls had chicken nuggets [ew] and Nora had a strawberry banana “smoothie.” 

About 30 minutes back on the road, Nora wasn’t feeling well. “Mommy, I need the bucket.” Thank God I knew Nora has a carsick tendency. Thank God I grew up with a Mom who always had “the bucket.” I slipped it under her just in time - so much pink vomit. 

We cleaned it up fairly fast and Nora felt just fine afterwards. March on.

I can’t even remember the hours between 1pm and 4pm... driving and probably one stop. No one had slept yet!! Finally at 4pm, Nora fell asleep. She woke up at 6pm as we pulled off for Taco Bell - the first one we’d seen at all. No more burgers. 

Unfortunately everyone else had the same idea. It took half an hour to get our order. Thankfully Nora loved the pintos and cheese. They only got one of my two items. Hannah refused her beans. 

Onward. We must have been just through Lexington around 9:30 when the sun was setting and Hannah finally fell asleep after being awake for 15 hours. My anxiousness finally settled a bit. 

We arrived home at 11pm - over a thirteen hour trip that typically takes ten. Talk about being wiped.

We dumped the girls in bed. Dumped our stuff in the hallway. Dumped red wine in some glasses and ourselves in bed by midnight. 

Overall, it was a fun trip. I think we may wait to go back to the beach with it being so far away again... and when Hannah [ever] slows down. We’re already contemplating a kid-focused, closer trip to Gatlinburg next year. Dollywood here we come!

Happy to be home and back in our routine!


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Folly Beach 2017 - Part Two: Being There

The week was great - the house was perfect - large main space and kitchen. Our bedroom was on the main level since Hannah averages a 6:30am wakeup. We had a king bed and brought a basic queen air mattress. We figured out the best situation was to put Hannah on the floor and have Nora between Tim and I in the king. 

Having the pool was perfect - especially when Hannah napped, Nora splashed. 

We did the beach a total of three times which was enough. The first time we drove which was silly - it cost $15 to park and then Nora had a conniption because she was covered in sand to drive home. 







We quickly learned that we could easily walk into town/the beach - only about a 3-4 block walk. Dottie & Mike lent us their collapsable wagon which was amazing - both girls loved it. Tim and I loved being able to walk everywhere - exercise and able to see all the fun beach homes!





Nora was great at the beach, though we had to make sure she didn’t go too far out - and we kept her water vest on. Hannah, however, was her usual self - roaming everywhere, including into the ocean. Little one doesn’t know she can’t swim. Plus she wanted to meet everyone, put on everyone’s sandals, sit in everyone’s seats... it was a lot of picking up/carrying and being covered in sand with her. Not exactly fun or relaxing. 

Tuesday we went into Charleston. The family went on a carriage ride though the city. Tim and I stayed back because we weren’t sure how “Roaming Hannah” would do. We walked around the back streets, parks and the market - Charleston is just beautiful. I’m sure we’ll go back when the girls are older. 


Tuckered before we even got started

Thank heavens for umbrella strollers!





We were done at 2pm and got ice cream. It was incredibly hot and not a mealtime, so some of us just went back to Folly. We had an early dinner at The Crab Shack - good casual seafood! I had scallops which I love and rarely have! 








Wednesday we explored the main drag - Nora got herself a souvenir and some shaved ice. Stopped in Taco Boy for some snacks and a margarita - yum! 





Wednesday night we all gathered to watch FC Cincy since our awesome team was being aired on ESPN! Amazing match that ended in penalty kicks! 


Hannah loooooves her cousin Izzie!

Nora & Alex




Thursday turned out to be our last day - beach morning. Hannah was kind of a hot mess, having some allergy attack, so we got her back and sleeping and Mama got some quiet time alone with a beer and the pool. 


The Kron/Kieffer/Morrison cousins!


Krons first beach trip!






We had another group dinner at The Crab Shack - I didn’t mind because I wanted to try it all!