Wednesday, November 24, 2010

National Caregiver Month

We are the unsung heroes of our children's lives.

This post is dedicated to all the beautiful, inspirational moms and dads I had the chance to meet at PIP (Parent Infant Program). Our days there are numbered as Zoé graduates next Tuesday! I dread the moment when we have to say goodbye.
Zoé is ready to move on, but she will surely miss her dear friends.
I am not ready to move on. I wish I could stay there forever, sharing laughs, cries, tissues, tea and stale cookies.
I have decided that with PIP ending it doesn't mean that support groups have to. So it will be my new calling, to organize play dates, drinking dates in the evening with my life line, my group of special moms of kids with special needs.

If you recall having read the "Welcome to Holland" post way back when, you will know that it's been a joyful and terrifying journey. One big roller-coaster, but I'm still enjoying the ride.

Zoé too. She's still working on building muscles, walking, standing, sitting, crouching, painting, cooking.

Above are pictures of my baby blue, my pretty-in-pink darling trooper.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade

It's been too long since my last post and there are many new things to fill you in with.
First off, the IEP is 11 days exactly.
We've been to many evals (evaluations) as we say in the mom-of-a-child-with-special-needs jargon! Assessments for speech, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, psychological, behavioral, etc.
All I can say is that things went more or less smoothly when Zoé was willing to cooperate, but hey, what is a nearly 3 year old supposed to do when she's asked to say whether a dog is in front of a tree or behind it? Run away from the evaluator...
I had to try to motivate our jumping bean to sit still and answer the questions.
So we'll see what the Piedmont Unified School District is going to provide in terms of services. Since Zoé has an orthopedic impairment they will probably provide physical therapy, and speech for sure, since Zoé's main problem is A.R.T.I.C.U.L.A.T.I.O.N. We still tape Zoé's mouth every other week, and she tends to choose Hot Pink, so that when she's in the pool after her occupational therapy sessions, people wonder what she's been up to...
The lack of facial muscles prevent her from pronouncing bilabial letters/sounds and so her "Bye-Bye!" sounds more like "Die-Die"!!!
She's come a long ways in terms of pronouncing the M of Maman, but I do sometimes get "Nanan", when she doesn't pay attention. No worries, we'll get there.
She is a big talker and never ceases to impress me with what she comes up with:
"Oui bien sur, maman chérie" (yes of course dearest mom) when she smooth talks me into buying her a frozen yogurt.
Or "tu veux encore du vin, maman?" (Do you want more wine, mom?) when she sees how frazzled I am at the end of the day and Happy Hour has kicked in...hahaha

She's doing great in terms of French and English. She can just switch from French to English when David comes hope from work, and switch back to French when I'm with her.
At her little French Montessori School, she's doing better, learning to sit still when the teacher reads a book, though she'd rather be running around in the yard. She'll be going a little more frequently in December so I guess the routine will strengthen her attention span. Right now she only goes one morning a week while PIP is still in session.
Of course, then we'll have a whole new set of therapies to go to.

SNAP is fun for Zoé as it involves water play and singing. I get to go in the heated pool, to swim a little and relax while volunteers take care of her.

We keep ourselves quite busy from all her appointments and yet, we try to also find fun things to do when ever we get down time: playing with bags full of beans, pouring, and sorting out, doing our own mini circle time, with little quizzes and bingos.

I do have to admit it, I know I am a nerd, but I enjoy being a teacher again.

Ok, I do miss talking about Macbeth's tragic flaws and Kafka's Gregor Samsa's transformation, but hey, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade! I play the cards I'm dealt, so I have a child with special needs who happens to be almost 3 and I have fun with her!
It is hard at times to feel upbeat, to always be full of energy, to be patient, but I think I do a pretty good job.
I will dearly miss my support group at PIP when December 1st comes around. I look at it as my lifeline, my -get-it-all-out when I need it.

Halloween came and went, Doctor Z. Berman had a blast and enjoyed her first night of trick-or-treating, though some fluorescent skeletons wandering our neighborhood spooked her out.

Grammy Gina came from NYC and we celebrated Zoé's bday early. Cupcakes and doll were part of the fun.
Nanny from France arrives on Thursday, and she will be here to celebrate Zoé's big 3!
I cannot believe it has been three years already. The NICU seems so far and yet so close at times, when I happen to worry about how things will evolve.
I will keep checking out for the silver lining of life's daily course, rather than the other way around.
In the meantime, I send you warm fall kisses!