Wednesday, October 26, 2011

my boy

Rhys is a *bit* delayed.  Just a little. Okay, maybe a lot, I don't know. He's been seen by Michele, from Infant Development Program (which actually changed their name this year, but I can't remember what to), since he was a few months old due to his premature birth. (She also came and saw the older two boys when they were little, so she's been in our family for almost 8 years! That's neat to think of!)  According to her Assessment quiz, or whatever it was, Rhys is placed anywhere from 30-36 months of age.  He is actually 40 months old, if I can count properly!  This result doesn't surprise me (and this was just her quick assessment after his testing, and not the whole explained result. I'll get that this week when she comes.) To me, he looks and acts like a 2 1/2 year old, not a child who turned 3 in the summer. He seems smaller, younger...more babyish than child-like. But maybe that's why I love him so much. His baby-ness is endearing to me! He's cute and sweet and so innocent and cuddly. I don't want him to outgrow this yet!  Okay, sometimes I do! But I love his personality, and if having him lose it because he ages, I'd rather he stay little!

We're working on his speech right now, as that is where he is the furthest behind. This is like old hat to me, though, and I'm not worried. We went through this with Kai, and started the process with Bryn, and now here we are with Rhys...what is up with my boys??? :)  I vividly remember the whole long journey with Kai; the painful, stressful, disheartening journey. I don't remember anything with Byrn; how long he was delayed for, what his actual struggle was, none of it! I just remember feeling as though he'd "get it" in time. And, sure enough, when we were placed on the waiting list for speech therapy, by the time we were called, he had caught up!

I still do feel that Rhys will "get it" soon too, and he is, but we have been seen at Surrey Early Speech and Language, where Kai was seen for two years. That was a mixed feeling for me. For one, I wasn't too sure I wanted him to be seen by the ST we were assigned since I remembered her from three years earlier as being a bit stand-off-ish and not warm. Secondly, I didn't really think we needed therapy. I was sure that Rhys would take off on his own soon! I went in thinking it wouldn't be worth my time, to be honest.  (plus, I had to bring in all of the other kids and that's stressful for me. I don't like taking them all with me when we need to see any type of professional) Yes, he was delayed just like Kai was, but he was also so different than him too. Rhys was actually interested in speaking, he just didn't know how or wasn't given the time he needed or...or something. He was delayed but willing to learn. Whereas Kai was not and was such a struggle to get to participate and respond in anything other than grunts; he was so difficult! So I went to our initial appointment with the thoughts that we wouldn't need to do this, that things would work out, that whatever it was that was holding Rhys back would be solved.

How surprised I was to find that I was annoyed with the ST for brushing us off! Well, maybe she didn't really brush us off, but she didn't give any indication that she thought he was needing immediate attention. Instead, she wanted me to attend this parent workshop and then call her for a follow-up assessment in December! She wasn't doing her job and wanted me to do it instead! I was so frustrated with her! I know, how arrogant of me, eh?  I didn't think Rhys needed therapy like Kai did and when she agreed with me in unspoken terms, I was upset! It made no sense!

But, each week, I dutifully attended this parent workshop that was designed to teach parents techniques on getting their child to the next level of speech and how to avoid the things they were doing to hold them back in their development. I went because I had to, because if I didn't, it would make me look bad. I left the first night, not armed with new information or skills (it was info I'd already been told many times before....repeat, repeat, repeat, use 1 word when talking..etc) but with a realization of how my own attitude may have been holding him back!  I sat with a good 10 other couples who actually wanted to be there! In fact, one mom was wanting the help so badly that she had brought along her parents, her brother and his wife, as they all wanted to support and help her out! That blew me away! And a foster mother was there because three of her charges were delayed!  These people came because they thought this was going to help and they welcomed that and they desired to learn some skills! I came because I wanted to. How arrogant of me!

Since starting, Rhys' speech has grown big time! He is starting to use 2-word sentences now (YAY!) and his vocabulary has expanded! It's awesome! I don't think it's because of these classes, to be honest. I think he picked them up on his own. But these classes did help me out. I'm still not too sure what is causing his delayment, but I do wonder if it's because we rush too much. We think we're helping him, but we're speaking for him, supplying him with the answers, and not sitting back and letting him initiate.  We had some homework with our classes, which included setting aside 10 minutes...just 10...where we interacted with the child but were not allowed to respond or talk or fill in answers until we counted to 10 slowly! (So we'd say something, wait to see if they'd respond and then count before saying something again. 1 mississippi, 2 mississippi, 3 mississippi....) That was painfully hard! We naturally want to fill in the spaces of silence. The other one was where we had to spend half an hour NOT asking questions! That was difficult as well. How do you NOT?  It's something parents are constantly doing. What do you see there? Do you hear that? Would you like this? What is wrong? Where is the...?  But when we ask these types of questions to a speech-delayed child, it doesn't give them a chance to expand on their vocabulary. They can point, grunt or just say Yes in response to many of them!  So I've learned a few things. :)

This week, Rhys showed off not only his understanding of words but that he was starting to grow his conversation skills too! (most speech-delayed children are delayed in their vocalization but not in their understanding, which can make it difficult for parents. We know he can understand a lot yet we need to cut back our speaking to a lower level just to give them the chance to respond.)  I've been teaching him that he is a boy and I am a girl, and who our family is. He did not seem to know this last month at the testing, but now he gets it!

We were out shopping as a family on the weekend when Hunny stops at Best Buy for a new sensor bar for our wii (turns out that one of the bunnies had bit through the wires of our old one!) Abi doesn't want to go in, and Eden is sleeping, and frankly, I had no interest in going inside, so we decided to stay in the van. Now, Rhys is the only one left in a 5-point harness car seat (other than Eden, obviously)  so unfortunately, if he can be left in the vehicle, he will be, just for the inconvenience of taking him in and out of his seat. Which is what Hunny was preparing to do at the store. But Rhys starts to cry, saying "!" He wanted out too! As B and Kai are climbing out of the van, Hunny says, "I'm sorry, Rhys, I'm going with just The Boys!"  And Rhys says clearly, "Me Boy!" pointing to his chest emphatically!

Can't argue with that! He got to go too! :)

I love my boy. He is my cuddle bug still. He's sensitive. He's cute. He's witty. And he's starting to grow up. And that's exciting. And sad. But mostly exciting.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

on my own

Tonight is the start of a week on my own. Eight whole days. Just me and my kids. All of us. No other adults, just myself. And the kids. All five of them. For a whole week. Yep.

To be honest, I'm not too worried about it. At least, not now. Ask me how I felt about it a week ago and I'm sure I wouldn't have been so relaxed!  I was surprised, stressed, worried, upset, concerned, angry, jealous and down-right not impressed about it! For one, I thought he was going just for the days he wrote on the calendar. Turns out that was just the days he booked off work! He was actually leaving on the Saturday (today), not the Monday!  That was a complete surprise.  I'll bet my blood pressure was high after I learned that one! I didn't even ask when he was returning; I was too scared to at first!

A whole week!!! It was learned that he was leaving Saturday early morning and not retuning until the next Saturday sometime late!

I admit it, I was filled with jealousy too. When would I get to go away for a week? How come he gets to do that? *sigh*

It wasn't just the length of time he was going that bothered me though, it was the meals I had to deal with as well. Anyone who knows me knows that I do not like cooking. I eat because I have to. Not because I worry about my girlish figure (maybe I should worry more, lol) or that I hate food, it's just that cooking and preparing meals is not on my top List of Things To Do For Fun. Now, there are a lot of foods that I like to eat (pasta, yum!) and many more that I should seriously consider cutting back on (chocolate, sugar...), but cooking as a whole doesn't interest me.  Add that on to having a 4 month old who has decided that her favourite time to eat and want to be held is between 3-6pm, and you're looking at a stressed mother! How in the world was I supposed to feed my other children??? As it is now, I try to prepare as much as I can first, but mostly I'm counting down the hours and minutes for my Hunny to come home and make dinner! So my stress level was pretty high.

But I think I've got that figured out. Hunny was nice enough to pick up some quick and easy dinners for me (frozen pizza, yuck, chicken kiev, yum...) and I have my meals all planned out for the week. I'm just going to have to be vigilant in preparing things more in advance, like at lunchtime! I actually did that the first two to three weeks of school, since we were having to pick up Hunny from his work when the kids were out of school, which meant we weren't returning home until around 5pm, when everyone is so hungry they are grabbing quick, unhealthy snacks. (like popping in at Wired Monk for a coffee and treats all around!)
{going back up to two vehicles has many pros and cons.}

This is the first night, and already I'm bored and I'm missing my Hunny. I don't want to go to bed! I don't mind being home alone and I am actually looking forward to having all this time to myself to do things I want to do. I tend to stay up and hang out with him, watching tv shows, just to spend time together. Which is sweet and cheesy and kind of silly. I'm sure his ego can handle it if I decide not to do that for one or two nights! But I have this guilty nag that tells me that I should spend all my time with my Hunny if I want to keep our marriage happy and thriving. (dang old nag!!!) So this week feels open and fun and full of possibility! I can spend my time downstairs being creative in my Stamp Room!!! (or so I like to think...we'll see how Miss Jellybean takes that!)

I've always thought I'd make a terrible Single Parent, and I don't want to minimize the hard work of those who have no choice, nor do I want to make it out to be worse than it is, or offend anyone at all, but it's true! I need my Hunny. I don't know if I'm patient enough or skilled enough or alert enough to care for this many children! The idea scares the heck outta me to even consider what it would be like if I were suddenly thrust into a situation where I HAD to be a single mom. Not just a week. But as from now on. Not because I'm that bad of a mom or that my kids are that troublesome, but because I rely on him so much! He has done so much for me and be such a huge part in the lives of these kids. Saying that sounds silly and you're probably thinking, well, yeah, of course he has, he's their father, your husband! But that doesn't mean anything! I have two friends who have left husbands who were NOT good fathers. The way they were treated wasn't nice at all either, but it was the way the kids were ignored and discarded that made it the hardest.  And, to be honest, I felt that I was in that group too, in the beginning. My Hunny was great and meant well and cared deeply for us all, but he wasn't involved. I spent a lot of time grumbling and thinking on how much he needed to change that I didn't see all of what he actually was doing.  If I want my marriage to be "happy and thriving", I need to take a good look at the man I married and see him for who he really is. And he is a wonderful blessing to me! I do admit that he's still lacking in the baby care department (I'm sure I can count on one hand how many diapers he's changed over our course of children!) but he is an incredible father to our Clan! And I need him.

This week will be an adventure for all of us! Ask me in a few days how I'm feeling about this, though! Maybe say a few prayers for us.... ;)

Monday, October 10, 2011


Today I am thankful for family that surround me with love. Children's voices that fill my home. Husbands who cook wonderful dinners. A baby's face that lights up with excitement when she sees me. A God who answers prayers. My life.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! 
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