Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I haven't blogged about it, but Austin was diagnosed with ADHD at the end of the last school year. Brian and I have known that this was a possibility for a while, but was hoping we would be able to help him cope with it without going to medication. This just wasn't in the cards.

Kindergarten is supposed to be a fun year. Kids are supposed to like Kindergarten. Not our son. It was too hard, too boring, not fun, and any other reason he could throw at us. His teacher wasn't having any behavior issues with him, but had said that he was awfully slow at getting his work done. He was always one of the last to get done. I later found out that if you didn't get done with your work, it was set aside and you'd try to get it done during a free time. Undone work accumulated all week and was done while the other kids did "fun centers" on Friday afternoon. This would probably be the reason why it was hard, boring and not fun. He was constantly working to keep up and didn't have a chance to have any free time. I'm sure there were times when he finally caught up and got to have fun, but I'm not sure how many times he had to work vs. have free time with his classmates.

Without going into a long story (because I know this will be long enough...I tend to ramble), his neurologist nurse practitioner noticed some signs just sitting in the exam room with him and asked me if we struggled with focusing, impulsiveness, etc. I had already seen the poster they had on the wall and said that we could probably check all of them but one or two. Our plan was to make sure that he wasn't having focal seizures by doing another EEG and then talk about medications.

Now, Brian and I know about the medications associated with ADHD. We weren't thrilled with the side effects and were apprehensive about them. The biggest reason is that they are usually stimulants, which increases Austin's chance of having more seizures. However, we were becoming more open-minded about them as the school year progressed and our son grew more and more unhappy with school. At our follow up appt after the EEG (which had the same results as the EEG he had last September), he was tested for ADHD using the Quotient test. The results broke my heart. Out of 15 minutes, he was only attentive for 30 seconds, two different times. He was either impulsive or distracted for most of the test and the last 4 minutes of the test had completely given up and was disengaged. The neurologist (the doctor this time) said there was no wonder he didn't like school...Austin couldn't focus long enough to do much of anything and was constantly trying to keep up and was still not successful despite his hard work. I wanted to cry. I had let it go the whole year, hoping it would get better. Why didn't I do something about it before?

After a month on one medicine, we switched him because of extreme stomach aches that he got from the meds. He had 2 seizures at the end of that month as well, which were attributed to him out-growing his seizure medicine (since he IS a growing boy!). The next medicine seemed to work pretty well, with no stomach problems. Until about 3 or 3:30. Then, our little world fell apart as the medicine started to leave his system. I've been told that they feel very weird and their body is apparently going through quite a bit as the medicine wears off. He was moody, sensitive and would snap at the littlest thing. It was the worst time of the day for us. There was no way we were going to get through homework time with him like this at that time of the day! He didn't even get home until after 3:40 most days! The doctor switched things again and we are now trying a patch called Daytrana. We are hopeful that this one will work.

SO, all that back story to finally get to the proud moment! :-) Yesterday, I had a conference scheduled with Austin's first grade teacher. She decided that instead of trying to talk to every parent at length at open house, she would schedule these meetings to talk about their child and see what she can do to help them this year. WONDERFUL!

I get there and I am schedule 30 minutes...we filled that 30 minutes and I walked out of there grinning from ear to ear! Basically, although it's only the 3rd day of school, Austin seems to be doing the complete opposite of last year! Mrs. Hume had no clue he was ADHD because he seemed so focused. He's been getting his work done and has even been one of the first kids done in some instances and with GREAT work to boot! Nice penmanship and great work. She said that he is one of the best behaved kids she has and is very caring and friendly towards the other students. With everything he is dealing with, he is doing GREAT! I could have seriously burst at the seams, I was just so ecstatic! She assured me that she would keep an eye on him as we switched his medicine and that she wasn't a teacher to let things go very long at all before getting with the parents if there was an issue. If he's having issues with the amount of homework (since it's a bad time for him right now), just to let her know and we'd try to work something out. I think I could have hugged her...she completely made my day with just this 30 minute block of time!

So, after that meeting, I had a GREAT feeling about this year. I am confidant that this year is going to turn his attitude towards school around! He's even saying how much he likes school. And really, right now, that's all that matters! The rest will fall into place!

{For those who don't agree with ADHD children getting medication to help them, please keep those thoughts to yourself. There is such a stigma associated with these meds and even the diagnoses itself. People think that parents who can't handle their children automatically try to get this fake diagnoses and medicate them into submission. I can tell you that there are probably parents out there that do that...but they are few and far between. The majority of us are just trying to do what's best for our children. Until you walk in our shoes or our children's shoes, you can't know what it's like to have to balance the knowledge of these drugs' side effects with the benefits that they clearly bring to our kids. In the end, if my son's self esteem is better and he's happier because he can finally feel in control of himself, then I am happy.}

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Seasoned Elementary School Veteran (aka...a First Grader)

Yesterday was the first day of school. It meant that we were back to waking up at a certain time, eating breakfast on a schedule, getting dressed right away, brushing teeth right after that and rushing out the door without forgetting to take his medicine or leaving his lunchbox on the counter. Yep, the lazy days of summer have ended and the crazy days of school have begun.

Except that our summer really hasn't been all that lazy. As soon as school was out, we left that weekend for Missouri and Arkansas for 2+ weeks (pictures being sorted still). Then, we had a few days after getting back before Daddy came home for R&R (yes, that deserves it's own post and it is coming...I promise!). The week after Daddy went back to Iraq, Austin did 3 days of football camp. The next week, he had 3 days of golf camp. Then, he had a week of summer camp at Camp Kanata! After Camp Kanata, we did have a couple of weeks of down time before this week. :-)

Anyway, it's hard to believe that it's here. First grade. His second year of school. More learning. More friends. More reading and math skills. More activities, field trips, library books, painted pictures, and more cereal math charts!


Austin's grown a lot since Kindergarten. In every way imaginable!


He doesn't exactly look like a little kid anymore, does he? In fact, I think this picture on the stairs gives me a little glimpse into what he's going to look like as a teenager!


I worked hard on getting all 3 boys ready to walk down to the new bus stop so that we would have time to take pictures. It was a hard job. One that I remember from last year, but still haven't mastered! Sigh. Mornings never seem long enough!


Austin's eyes change different shades of blue depending on what he's wearing. Since he was wearing a gray shirt, they are more of a gray blue. Such a handsome boy! I mean Cool. He's a cool boy!


Ok, now he's a little silly. We just won't tell him I said that.


And I had to get a detail picture of his shoes and bags. I love the shoes. He LOVES the shoes. It's a rare thing for us to both love the same thing like this. I'm hoping it continues with other things! He also loved getting a new lunchbox and he ended up with TWO "backpacks." He specifically wanted a "one strap back pack." That's exactly what he said. This is the style he pointed out. I looked at couple of different places and didn't find any boyish ones. Then, I was tipped off that The Children's Place had them. We went and he loved the camo messenger bag. I bought it, and as the cashier rang it up, I realized it was half-off! SCORE!

Then, we got home and I started thinking about how his backpack from last year looked. It should have been replaced after Christmas. There were holes in the bottom, but he pushed through the rest of the year with it. I wasn't sure this new bag was going to make it the whole year, much less until Christmas. So, I went searching for another bag as a back up. Found out that Land's End had a sale PLUS free shipping. I looked and found this one that was pretty neutral with two boy colors (although, it is technically a girl bag, don't tell him that! I am not sure why it was labled as only a girl's bag...it's not any different than the boy's bag other than the colors and I think these colors can be either!) I ordered it and he opened it up when we got it and loved it too. He chose this one for the first day and wanted to take his camo one today. I told him that we would only be switching every week...not everyday. So, I guess we'll see how these bags last. I did find out today that a boy has a backpack with only one strap...I guess it's called a sling bag? Anyway, Austin said that's the kind he wanted. I think he just changed his mind, but he's gonna just have to wait until next year to get it. His are bought already!

Ah, the joys of school. We'll see how his teacher is as the school year starts. So far, I like her. I go in on Monday for a conference since she says they don't have enough time during open house to talk to everyone. I like that. Anyway, I'm hoping she's a good match for him! So far, he likes it. And he likes her. That's a good sign!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

11 Months

I'm amazed. Our baby, our last baby, is 11 months old. It just can't be! In a month, he will go from a baby into a toddler. That just sounds so sad to me. Exciting, but sad. Any other parent will know what I mean. It's just hard to explain.

So, here we are. A month from our last comparison picture. I've only missed one. I may not have blogged them all (I will get caught up), but I've taken them all but one. I'm giving myself a break and letting that one go. My husband is deployed and I have 3 boys, 2 dogs, a huge house to try to keep from falling down from those 5 beings and a huge yard to take care of! One picture isn't going to make that much of a difference. I took pictures, just not the one of him on this bedspread with those pillows behind him. :-)

He's getting so big!

So, in the last month or so, Aiden has pulled up and started cruising. He has stopped "Army crawling" and is now crawling like a pro. Boy, is he fast!

He wears mostly 12 month clothes, but we have moved into 18 month clothes as well. Some of the one piece outfits are pretty tight around the crotch if they are 12 month. When he's in a disposable diaper, he's wearing a size 3. He wears a size 4 at night because he is a heavy wetter. I still use cloth diapers, although recently we have been on the go so much I haven't had time to do a lot of laundry, so he uses them when I know I'll be able to get them through their wash cycle.

I have no clue what size shoe he wears...he doesn't wear them yet. I think the only shoe-like things he's had on has been Robeez and whatever size he's in right now is getting small and he'll be moving up a size. I think to the 18-24 month size.


He has gotten quite the temper lately. When he doesn't get his way or something isn't working like he thinks it should, he starts yelling and screaming and waving his arms and kicking his legs like crazy. Then, the fun begins. He starts throwing himself down on the floor and kicks and scoots himself all over because he's so mad. He also rolls all over all while still kicking and screaming and crying. Forget about the Terrible Twos...we are in the Ornery Ones!


Despite the temper tantrums he is already having, he can be the most loving child. Two of his favorite people are his brothers. The world is just a brighter place when he sees one of his brothers. He smiles and gives them hugs and tackles them. He laughs and just gets a kick out of both of them. I know it's temporary. Before long, he'll be joining in the fighting that is already rampant between the older two. However, I know they all love each other, even when they aren't showing it.


Just like his older brothers, he isn't saying much. He will say "Hi Da!" sometimes when Brian is on the computer. He has started waving to certain strangers in the stores (most of them have been girls) that catches his eye and he is starting to sign all done and is trying to say it as well. He also shakes his head no like a pro. :-)


The boy loves to eat. He eats and eats and eats. He can sometimes out-eat his older brothers. He's not real big on baby food out of a jar anymore. He'll take a bite or two and then push it away. He does, however, love to eat the baby food that is in the spouted pouches. He will suck the food straight out of those pouches in 30 seconds flat. The downside to that is that they are expensive! I like to give them to him to make sure he's getting enough veggies, but I try to limit those and get him to eat veggies in other things. Right now, he's not big into eating diced veggies on his try. I don't know why. He eats them much better off a fork, but I have to alternate them with something he likes better. I like to add mixed veggie baby food into foods like mac and cheese or chicken tetrazzini. I also mix applesauce or sweet potato puree into his pancake batter. It's sweetens the pancakes naturally while still being healthy. He loves drinking water out of straw cups and we will be introducing whole milk sometime this month.


So, I am going to 'fess up here and say that he is still not sleeping through the night. Yes, I know he should be by now. He's still getting up at least once a night. It had been worse, so once (or even twice) a night isn't so bad. It had been 3-4 times a night still. Granted, he got his teeth in like crazy back in May, so I think that had a lot to do with it as well as the crazy allergies that kept him from breathing right. Now, it's more of a habit than anything. {For the record, I've already been given the advice of letting him cry it out...I don't need advice at this point, but thank you!} Colten was still getting up once a night at 2:30 at this age...he'd nurse for a couple of minutes and go back to bed. When he weaned himself at a year, it was easy to break that habit since I didn't have anything to give him. I plan on this happening again with Aiden. Um, yes, I am going to be selfish and wean him at a year because I want him to. I may regret it after he's done since he's my last, but I think I'm willing to live with that at this point.

Aiden is a people person. He hasn't gone through separation anxiety yet and I think it's because he just loves people. He loves his Mommy and will come to me when he needs me, but dropping him off at hourly care is easy peasy. He LOVES our friend, Laura. So much so that he has pushed her son (who is just a few months older than Aiden) out of the way so she can pick him up. He will actually lean over to her while I'm holding him so that she'll hold him. :-) He will let people he doesn't even really know hold him. He's just a kid who loves people! Of course, since I've said this, he'll start that phase where I can't leave the room without him crying...it's just Murphy's Law! :-)

So, that's basically it. Aiden is happy, healthy and thriving. His Daddy and Mommy love him and his brothers adore him!