Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring Break Saves the Day

Tensions were high at the Damron household:  everyone just plain needed a break.  It has been really nice to slow down and get some things done around the house this week, and to spend some time as a couple and as a family.

We took Hayden out of school yesterday to go to the Children's Museum. He was so excited to get to see Bumblebee.  The museum was super crowded like it always is during a break, but it was still fun.  Hayden really liked the video game area with the original Super Nintendo Mario Brothers game (and he beat level one after only a few tries. That's our boy!)

Unfortunately Hayden was still having some behavior problems as a result of swimming on Sunday.  The pool apparently had a lot of chlorine in it, and we didn't give him Epsom salts that night, though we did give him a bath to rinse off.  At school Monday he was falling down, having trouble concentrating, and hyperactive.  Tuesday at the museum he was having a hard time leaving activities without throwing a tantrum, was throwing himself on the ground when it was time to leave, was stimming (repetitive movements), and was repeating the same phrase over and over. ("Which one do wanna pick?  Can you please tell me?  Please tell me, please tell me!")  These behaviors would have been normal a year ago, but not now. Maybe one or two of these a day, but not all of them all day like he's been doing since Sunday night. Normally we might think he ate wheat or milk, but I'm pretty sure it was the chlorine that did it since it started Sunday night after swimming, so we've been giving him Epsom salts in his bath Monday and Tuesday nights to help his body get rid of it.  I hope he's able to swim this summer, because it's such good exercise and he loves it so much. But if it continues to make him go backwards so much in his behaviors, I think it's better for him not to.  We'll have to see this summer, if we come home right after swimming and immediately give him an Epsom salts bath, if that works.

Regardless of the chlorine issue, Hayden has made huge improvements in the last few weeks.  Immediately following his anti-fungal treatment for the yeast overgrowth, Hayden had regressed in some areas, especially behavior, and we were worried that we shouldn't have done the treatment.  Within a few weeks though, he was suddenly saying new phrases, had improved sentence structure, and better behavior, including more patience.  We think that his body was rebelling against taking all the junk out, and now that it's gone he is much healthier and therefore more verbal. He continues to surprise us and his teachers with new phrases every day.


Several months ago he was too scared to go up to the crocodile, 
and too uncoordinated to manipulate this machine on his own. 

Last Wednesday my Mom, Dad and I went to hear Dr. Houston of Houston enzymes speak at a TACA meeting.  Rylie came and showed off her hair.  Dr. Houston's plane was late from Chicago because of weather, so we didn't get to hear his whole presentation, but it was still interesting, and I learned a few things that I didn't already know. For one thing, Dr. Houston believes that enzymes are just as successful as the diet, in other words, you can skip the GFCF diet and just do enzymes.  This wouldn't work for us yet, as Hayden isn't always consistent in eating his enzymes. We put them in his drink and sometimes he doesn't drink it.  But, it could be a possibility in the future when he's more responsible and more aware of how his diet works, to allow him to eat some favorite foods that contain wheat or milk and don't have very good GFCF replacements (cheese, and chicken fries from BK.)  : )

Jason and I went to the Autism Expo on Saturday.  It was smaller than last year, and most booths were about ABA services, so wasn't as helpful to me as it was last year, but we did get some information about waivers, financial planning for special needs, and other things, and saw several people we knew.  We got to see some therapists from Cornerstone, and watch a new video for Cornerstone that had some footage of Hayden!  He's so cute. We also saw some Cornerstone parents, and TACA parents.  And, we saw my 3rd grade health teacher, Nancy Hobson, whose son Joe was a friend of Jason's in high school, and whose other son Matt is autistic and just wrote a book.  You can read about him here:   Nancy remembered having my brother Bob ("Oh, yes, Bobby Carney!") in third grade.

I'm going to the nutritionist today to see what kinds of improvements can be made to Hayden's diet, look at Rylie's diet if possible (she seems to be doing well on the Alimentum but is more gassy than she was when breastfeeding), and make changes to my nutrition plan after having a baby.

Cornerstone is 'graduating' one of Hayden's friends, and mainstreaming him into typical school in August.  We are so excited for him, and hopeful that Hayden can be the next student to be mainstreamed in another year or two!

Hayden at Cornerstone with his therapist Michelle.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Hayden had several firsts today.

He explained doing something (playing duck, duck, goose): "I play duck, duck, goose!  Duck, Duck, circle (he moves his hand in a circle), chase me, then take my spot!"

He initiated Tag with other kids (he has only recently come to understand that it's a game and not just running).  A year ago he just played by himself most of the time at the park, unless he saw kids running.  He'd run with them until they stopped, but didn't know there was a game involved.  

On the way home from the park Hayden and I were quiet (he's usually pretty quiet in the car).  All of a sudden he said, "I had fun at the park. Did you have fun?" He has never said this phrase before, and has never asked a question like this of me. He is still pretty oblivious to the needs and wants of other people, so to ask if I had fun is a big step.

I am so proud of him and so happy.  I've had a rough week with Jason being gone, and with Rylie and I being sick.  This was just the little smile I needed and I wanted to post it!  : )

Monday, March 14, 2011

Show Choir Season

Jason was voted by his fellow teachers as Teacher of the Year at Mooresville High School.  He also received the Mid State Conference Coach of the Year in the fall.  I'm glad that he's getting recognition for all the work he does, because he works harder than anyone I know.  Let me just tell you his schedule last week:

Monday:  7 am to 6:30 pm (practice)   11.5 hours
Tuesday:  7 am to 8:30 pm (parent meeting)  13.5 hours
Wednesday: 7 am to 8 pm  (student reward dinner)  13 hours
Thursday: 7 am to 9 pm  (practice, then went to the school play)  14 hours
Friday:  7 am to 8:30 pm (has to sell tickets at the school play as part of his teacher contract.  All teachers have to work 4 events during the year.)  13.5 hours
Saturday: 6 am to around 11:30 pm (competition)  17.5 hours on a Saturday

Total: 83 hours for last week

This week:  He is leaving for his NY trip Wednesday through Sunday.  Next week: he has auditions every night until late.

Yes, I am a single mother many weeks of the year, and this week I'm trying not to go insane.  Feel free to send chocolate. :  )

I know this picture is too big, but it's such a good close up!

Rylie and I went to the doctor today for her two month checkup. I was worried about her weight, but the doctor said she is doing ok. She weighs 10 pounds now.  Everyone who sees her comments on how small she is.  She has a slight cold today and a bit of eye gunk, so we are waiting a few weeks for her shots. We are using Dr. Sears' alternate schedule, so she hasn't gotten any shots yet.  She is sleeping 6 to 8 hours a night.  She and I have had problems with thrush and mastitis, so breastfeeding is ending sooner than I would like. Last weekend she got a concerned look when Jason gave her to Grandma to hold. It was good to see that she is that aware of when Daddy's holding her versus others.  She is much more alert and aware of who is around her lately. She tries to hit at toys with her hands, and kicks up with her feet when on her back. She sleeps pretty well in the cribs at daycare.

Hayden had a bit of a tantrum spike at home but has been doing well this week.  He has a new best friend at daycare named Corbin, who is three.  They only get to play together for 1/2 an hour in the mornings, but it's the highlight of Hayden's day.

His previous teacher at Waverly Elementary asked if he'd be going to Kindergarten there next year, and I told her he just isn't ready.  I called Cornerstone to make sure they felt the same way, and they agreed with me that he could go to Kindergarten next year, but probably shouldn't.  He has made much progress but still has a way to go before being mainstreamed into a typical classroom.  I hope for him to attend Cornerstone for at least another year.  The BCBA did an assessment today of his language and learning barriers, and sent the results home. Sorry it's so small, this is as big as I can make it:
I know you can't read these graphs because they're too small, but the point is to show that he has a lot of work left to do (you don't want any blue areas).  Also, the bottom chart looks much better than the same test did back in October, which makes me happy that he's made so much progress in such a short time:
Last Saturday Hayden asked me if he could watch Mario on You Tube. I came in to set it up and he had already opened the browser, clicked the You Tube shortcut, and typed " ma ".  He just didn't know how to spell Mario.  He's so smart. We had never showed him how to get there, we'd always just done it for him, and he watched and learned.  (For reference, we usually type in "cute Mario," which takes you to a series of videos recorded by two little kids and free of anything inappropriate).  

One of the skills Hayden is working on at school is community helpers and places in the community, including the pharmacy.  One day his therapist mentioned that her finger hurt, and Hayden said, "Oh no, we need to get band-aids at the pharmacy."

I really like my new job.  It keeps me busy, and it is really interesting. I still want to work with kids, and miss being in a classroom, but for now it's a nice switch from the usual.

One last picture of my sweet girl!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Hayden is so funny

Hayden's funny quote of the week happened Saturday night.

Jason was gone all day Saturday for his choir invitational. Hayden had gotten up Saturday at 2 am because he was sick, and took a 4 hour nap in the afternoon.  I let him keep sleeping until 5:30 because he was pretty sick, and coughing all night, so he hadn't slept much.  So, because of the nap he wasn't tired until 10 at night. As I'm putting him to bed and trying to convince him to go to sleep, I said the usual things to try and convince him: "Mommy's going to sleep, and Rylie, and Hayden. We're all going to sleep." Lately his response to that is, "I can't sleep. I'm scared and bored and boring." He got the idea of boring from Mr. Knit Knots on the Imagination Movers. Anway. 

Instead of saying his usual, after I said Mommy and Rylie and Hayden were all going to sleep, he says, "Where's Daddy?"  This is the first he's noticed all day that Daddy is missing, and it's 10 at night!  Typical oblivious-to-others Hayden.  I said, "Well, Daddy's at school. He has choir all day today. He'll be home tomorrow." 

At around 4 am, to be more precise.  Now, you need to know that the night before, Hayden, Rylie and I had gone to visit Daddy and the choir kids at school. We walked around and saw some of the room decorations and talked to some of the kids.  So, back to Saturday, and I tell Hayden, "Well, Daddy's at school."  Hayden says, "We FORGOT him!!"  I said, "Well, no, Daddy's ok. He just has choir again today."  Hayden didn't care.  "We have to go FIND him! We have to GET him!"  Hee hee. Silly Hayden!  I reasurred him that Daddy could find his way home on his own (though sometimes I wonder) and would be back in the morning. : )  I don't think I'll ever forget that he thought we forgot our Daddy at school.