Tuesday, September 29, 2009

More on Gingko, DHA, Nutrivene

After my last post, I received comments and lots of emails with questions. I'll try to tackle some of them here, but I encourage everyone to do their own research too. I am a research nerd when it comes to my girls and quite honestly, I think we all need to be.

We use Nutrivene (daily supplement and nighttime formula only ... we can't use the enzyme due to reflux), Ginkgo and DHA/Omega 3 ... as well as Juice Plus, in gummy form. I am looking into adding Vitamin D into the mix, as that is also now being recommended as an additional supplement. I also read something the other day that talked about taking Vitamin D3 as an alternative to the flu shot, since there is so much drama going on concerning the flu and H1N1 shots. That in and of itself is a whole other post.

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So ... when I first started researching Nutrivene, I quickly learned that the use of it is something that is pretty controversial. I have seen, heard and been involved in many arguments about the use of it, but at the end of the day ... this is what my husband and I decided was right for our family and that is that.

The biggest argument I hear about Nutrivene is that "there are no double blind studies". First off, I'd be surprised if there would ever be a double blind study done. It is far too expensive to do such a thing when you are working with such a small population. Do we really need a study done on people anyway? Why can't we look at the numerous studies that have been done showing the different chemical imbalances and "out of whack" things that people with Down syndrome do have going on inside of their bodies? There is enough long term research that has been done to satisfy me ... all of it shows great results.

Nutrivene is comprised of vitamins that are specific to the body of a person with Down syndrome. For example, there is extra zinc because they tend to have low zinc levels; there is no iron because they tend to have high iron stores. It is my view that if the vitamins don't hurt my daughters, then why not? We do regular blood testing to monitor their blood levels ... but even so, never have I ever heard of anyone finding that their child had too high of levels while taking Nutrivene.

So you may be asking, "Have you seen a difference in your girls?" If I had a dollar for every time I've been asked this question, I'd be a millionaire. Payton has been on Nutrivene since she was three months old. I did notice that she was much more alert after we started her on it ... I liken it to waking her brain up. There have been times that she has been off the Nutrivene for a few weeks here or there, but I have never noticed a huge difference in her externally. Nika was also started on Nutrivene as soon as we brought her home. Since we didn't know her well at that time and she was experiencing a lot of adjustments in her life, I really have no before comparison for her.

Many, many people think that we use Nutrivene because we think it will help the girls talk, or help them walk sooner, or whatever. While it might help with some of those things ... I have no idea, really ... we really use Nutrivene for what it does on the inside ... getting external benefits would be a plus, for us. The extra chromosome that comes courtesy of a T21 diagnosis causes havoc inside their bodies. It causes oxidative damage to DNA, which in turn leads to many things, including earlier onset of Alzheimer's Disease.

A few random things to ponder regarding Nutrivene ...

* Nutrivene does not need to be FDA approved because it is a vitamin and the FDA won't approve it. But, did you know that Nutrivene is manufactured in an FDA approved/inspected pharmacy and that all of their guidelines are under FDA guidelines.

* Children with DS produce too much Superoxide Dismuatse (SOD) which then turns into hydrogen peroxide and starts killing cells. They have more SOD and their body cannot take care of it, like us, because the SOD enzyme is on the 21st chromosome. Iron aids in the SOD process. Thus, by giving added Iron, it produces more cell death. Cell death starts occuring after 4 months of age. So, one thing that you do not want to do is give added iron, unless of course the child is iron deficient. Here is a link to a very good article about Iron, SOD and that process.

* A lot of people with DS are also deficient in zinc. Zinc is, of course, a very big part of the immune system and if they are zinc deficient, then they will have a weaker immune system. It also has a lot to do with thyroid functioning properly. There are zinc ions that are connected to the thyroid and its functioning properly. There is still more research that is being done on zinc. Selenium also plays a big role with zinc.

* Amino acids and antioxidants are very good for people with DS also. They lack some of these and so the supplements give them this as well. Antoxidants play a big role in counteracting the SOD process and so do amino acids. There is an amino acid that people with DS are normally low in and that amino acid plays a big part in helping to deal with the SOD process. Thus, people with DS have a whole extra enzyme of the SOD (since it is on the 21st chromosome), but still have "normal" levels (levels that we have) of this amino acid, thus making it hard for their body to deal with this stuff.

* Alpha-Ketoglutaric-Acid is a big proponent in cartilage and helping with stability to the cartilage. By supplementing this, they have found that it helps with muscle tone.

* The nighttime formula is not necessarily to help them sleep, it is to promote growth while they are sleeping.

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With regard to Gingko ... I have heard that it is only recommended for kids age three and above. That said, I know people who have infants with Down syndrome on it. To each their own.

So ... the changes we have seen ... my girls have only been on Gingko for a little less than a week and yes, I'm seeing the difference ... mostly in Payton because she is more verbal than Nika.

Payton - the biggest thing is her speech. She has turned into Chatty Cathy, even if sometimes using approximations. She definitely is speaking more without me having to prompt her and she is giving me 2-3 word phrases that I can understand.

Examples: Saying "more please", whereas before she always just signed it. The other morning after Nika peed on the potty, Payton was right there with us and I said to Nika, "Good girl!" Just then, Payton said it too ... "Good girl!" WTF?! Where did that come from?! Just a lot of things like that.

Today was the first day that Payton had a private speech session since being on Gingko. Her ST about fell off her chair with how chatty Payton was ... and with how much longer Payton was sticking to certain tasks (i.e. reading a book). She mentioned that today was the longest that Payton has ever read/played with a certain book without moving on to something else. Concentration, I guess is the word I am looking for.

Nika - I do think I notice a cognitive aspect going on with Nika. For one ... and I totally think this is related ... she has not really been wanting or needing to suck on her fingers. You might think I've totally fallen off my rocker, but I really think having a clear mind is helping her with this. She is able to focus better on the task at hand, as well as finding other things to do. I know her well ... I can just tell.

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Did we consult a doctor prior to giving our girls these supplements?

Yes, we did. Did they all agree? Not necessarily. Were any of them dead set against it? No.

We take our girls to see Dr. Leichtman, who is an advocate for the use of TNI ... and pretty much a Down syndrome guru, for lack of a better characterization. We have consulted him in the use of all the supplements and he has done extensive research on them.

I also have discussed the supplements with our local geneticist, who is neither here nor there. She agrees that if they are only vitamins, then what can it hurt as long as we are monitoring blood levels. Interestingly enough, she is always asking me questions about things I've noticed. She ... and many other doctors ... would love to see the more in depth studies, but like I said ... I don't think it will happen anytime soon.

Where do you get the DHA and Gingko?

I linked to them up above. You can get them various places, or directly from Nutrivene's website. I get all my dosing information from Dr. Leichtman, because it isn't always what the label says for our kids. If you are interested in beginning this regime, I highly suggest that you join the DSTNI Yahoo Group ... there are plenty of knowledgeable people that post there, including Dr. Leichtman.

As a quick reference for Gingko ...

*1000mg of Ginkgo Extract equals 80mg of Gingko Biloba (we actually use the extract)
*Ginkgo Biloba dosages have increased to 5.5 mg per kg (2.2 pounds) of body weight

For DHA ... when Payton was younger, she received 1/4 tsp of the DHA liquid. Now, she gets 1/2 tsp, which is the dosing information on the bottle. I'm not exactly sure when they move up to 1/2 tsp or what the guidelines are on that ... need to check on that. Either way, both my girls are getting 1/2 tsp for now. I have heard info from some developmental pediatricians, however, that they are recommending an even higher dose. Not sure ...

What about MSB+?

I personally am not a fan of MSB+, but that is just me and the research that I have done. I know there are lots of people who use it because the dose is smaller and it tastes better, but ...

MSB+ has a few things in it that are either not good for people with DS or they already overproduce it. For example, it has iron it. It also has L-Cysteine in it and generally people with DS overproduce this amino acid, which means you are then dealing with a toxic product. From the research that has been done so far, they say not to supplement with it until it is proven to be safe.

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So ... all of this said, there is so much more to say. I am positive that there are people reading this and disagreeing with me, and that is okay too. If it remains respectful, I welcome dialogue here regarding this topic. There are lots of parents wanting information, so if you have it ... let's give it to them.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Potty. Gingko. And an ABR or two.

Payton and Nika waiting for Nika's bus

Payton has been doing so good with her potty training. I'm still really nervous to put her in panties, but she does remain dry pretty much all day. And the best part is that she is finally telling us more and more that she has to go.

Nika has definitely been showing an interest in potty training ... I assume because she has been seeing Payton doing it. She often will sit down on the little potty chair ... fully clothed ... grunt a little, stand up, cheer and then "pour" the potty insert into the big toilet. Crack me up.

So this morning when she was still dry from last night, I sat her on the big potty. She tooted a few times, so I wonder if she associates the big potty with going #2. LOL ... TMI, I know. So I went to get the little potty, sat her on it and she went pee. OMG, she was so excited. She stood up really fast, clapped and said, "Yay!"

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Disclaimer ... I am not bringing this up for people to come on here and bash me for using TNI. I know it is controversial and this is simply what is best for our family. So please refrain from bashing. Thank.you.very.much.

So if you have read my blog for long, you may know that we give the girls a targeted nutritional intervention called Nutrivene-D. Basically in so many words, it is a compound that is specifically formulated to help the body of a person with Down syndrome ... which means less DNA damage, less oxidation and a healthier lifestyle for my girls.

When Payton was younger, we used to give her DHA oil ... which is Omega-3. For some reason, we never were good about giving it to her and it has sat in our fridge. Fast forward to now, I have made a pact with myself to make sure that both girls are getting their DHA every.single.day.

And ... we have started giving each of them Gingko Biloba Extract in liquid form. I have read a lot lately about the use of Gingko helping kids with Down syndrome with improved speech and cognition overall. So we have been giving it to the girls for a few days now. I'm not sure if this statement is premature, but I have already noticed a difference in both of them.

*knock on wood*

***********

After continuous failed behavioral hearing tests and flat lined tympanograms, we decided that it would be best to have an ABR ... a sedated hearing test ... done on both girls. Given their speech delays, I wanted to be proactive just in case there was hearing loss involved.
Nika's ABR was smooth sailing. The child is so chill ... almost too chill sometimes. They were able to place her IV without as much as a whimper. She woke up very quickly from her anesthesia and was very happy.

Nika's ABR results ---> No hearing loss ... good to go!
Payton on the other hand, not quite as easy. We warned them that placing her IV was going to be a fight, so they brought three nurses to try. In total, with the audiologist, there were five of us holding her down, while the sixth person tried to get a successful IV line. The poor nurse was so nervous, that the shake in her hand was making it a little hard.

It is sort of comical to me that people never believe me when I tell them how strong Payton is. She will fight, and she will fight hard. Even with the five of us trying to hold her down, she still gets loose. Crazy kid.

It took two nurses and two tries to get the IV line placed in her hand.

Fast forward an hour when they are finally ready to sedate her ...

They started giving Payton the anesthesia through her IV ... and nothing was happening. We knew from doing this with Nika that it should only take a couple seconds before she should have been out. Yeah, not so much. Payton is fighting like a horse and everyone is sort of panicking because the anesthesia is not working and Payton is just getting more and more pissed. We know the anesthesia is going in because it burns, hence the reason Payton is getting pissed ... we know she can feel it. I'm basically laying on her trying to hold her down ... I'm pretty sure my adrenaline has never pumped so fast in my life. It was ridiculous.

All of a sudden I hear one of the nurses say, "It infiltrated."

Are you fricking kidding me?!
By this point, I thought Kyle was going to lose it on them and I was so ready to tell them to forget it, that we were leaving. Ugh!

So they pull the IV out and give Payton a dose of Valium to try to calm her down. Then they tell us they want to try to get a line in her foot. Ugh. By then, the Valium had taken effect and they were able to get a line in her foot on the first try. Phew. They then successfully sedated her and started the test.

I seriously have never felt so exhausted in my life after all that. I had pain in my chest from all the stress I endured ... it was crazy! I told Kyle that after all that, they had better be giving me good news after the test! LOL.

Payton's ABR results ---> No hearing loss ... good to go!

Does he think he can outsmart me?

This morning as Mason and I walked toward his room to get him dressed for school, he said, "Mommy, Chicky peed in my bed last night."

Really? Because I'm pretty sure she was only in your bed to watch a movie for a couple minutes ... and I'm pretty sure you would have told us last night if she had peed in your bed.

So I go in his room to assess the situation, and there is a huge wet spot that definitely smells like urine, but is still pretty wet. So I say, "Are you sure Chicky peed in your bed?"

Mason shakes his head yes.

Somehow I came to the conclusion that he was not telling me the truth, so I said, "Did you just do this?"

He slowly and ashamedly nods his head yes, realizing he had been figured out.

At this point, I'm thinking he had just come up here and peed all over his bed, on purpose. I know, I know ... give the kid a little credit. Just then I looked down on the floor and saw his wet underwear laying there.

So he peed the bed. Why is he trying to blame it on Chicky?

I told him, "Mason, you will not be in trouble for having an accident in your bed. But you will be in trouble for lying to me and trying to tell me Chicky did it!" Mason then has an epiphany and gets an oh crap look on his face. I continued to tell him every reason that I knew he had lied to show him that he cannot outsmart me. Ha.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

One year ago today ...

Exactly one year ago today, Kyle and I met Addison ... aka: Nika ... for the first time at her baby home in St. Petersburg, Russia.Although we only had three days to get acquainted before we had to leave her, it was three of the best days of my life. Until we had to leave.
Having to hand her back over to her caregivers was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Even though I knew we'd be back for her within a couple months, it didn't matter.
I was now her Mommy and Kyle was now her Daddy. And we wanted to have our baby with us. Here is some of what I was feeling that day (taken from my adoption blog) ...

We got to spend just two hours with Addison this morning. I was a mess going into it ... and Kyle and I both were messes going out of it. We both cried and tried not to look at each other so as to not make the other cry more. The caregiver quickly took Addison from us {to make it easier, I suppose} and told us {translated from Russian} not to cry, that we would be back before we know it. While we know that is true, it is still so very hard.

I never imagined in my entire life that we would make this kind of connection with a child after just three days. I think it is because she reminds us so much of Payton ... and obviously our love for Payton it so strong it makes our hearts hurt. Many people are afraid of adoption because they are not sure if they could love a child that isn't theirs the same way that they do their own. I have been curious as to how I would feel once we were put in the situation, but I now know that we are living proof that it is one in the same. Becoming the parents of a child that has no mommy or daddy ... a child that just wants to be loved by a family ... being able to do that is an incredible feeling.
Nika has grown so much over this past year, not so much physically, but developmentally. She was such a baby when we met her ... and now, she is such a little girl. It is so amazing to me. More on this to come at her one year anniversary of being home.

Oh.my.gosh
... these pictures bring back so many great memories for me ... I want to relive that moment in time!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Weigh In.

Nika ... 25 pounds and 34 inches (2 years, 11 months)
Payton ... 40 pounds and 37 inches (3 years, 8 months)
Mason ... 64 pounds and 48 inches ( 5 years, 8 months)

Umm ... yikes!

How is it that my biological children are so huge?! And Nika has not gained one single pound since she came home. Thank God she has grown taller though!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Nika's First Day of School

Finally ... I was able to get everything sorted out and she was able to go to school today. I'm so worried about her ... she had no idea what was about to happen and aren't I the one who is supposed to be protecting her? Ahh.

As we waited for her bus, she cheesed it up for the camera ...
Do you see this picture? Do you see how huge her backpack is on her cute little self? Haha ... seriously, it is comical really. But they tell us that we must send a regular size backpack so her folder will fit. Sigh ... the thing almost knocks her over.

As the bus approached the house, we all cheered and Nika got excited. The only problem with that was I don't think she knew we were cheering for her. I had to shut off the video camera to grab her hand and take her to the bus. As soon as I did that, she dropped her butt to the ground and yelled, "No!" Haha ... stinker. They let me take her onto the bus since it was her first time and she was okay as long as it was me putting her into her harness. As soon as the aide tried to help, Nika swatted at her and yelled, "No!" The poor kid ... she must be so confused as to what the heck is going on. And yeah, of course I cried as the bus pulled away ... you can hear that lovely sentiment on the video. Ha.
video
Nika was all smiles when she got home from school. I think it really wore her out though ... she is tired! One thing I love about Nika's teacher is that she gives me a daily feedback chart. I don't get that from Payton's teacher and I don't like it. Anyway, the chart said that Nika was very happy and that she participated in everything the class did. I was really worried she would revert to a corner to suck on those dang fingers, but by the sounds of it, she did great!

This is a total random side note, but it is times like this that make me realize how amazing our adoption of Nika has been. It is amazing to see the progress she has made over the past 10 months. It is amazing to think about what she would be doing right now if she were still in her baby home in Russia. Such a huge difference across the board.

Craziness.

Ms. Independent

Friday, September 18, 2009

Nope, not bitter at all.

I should be in Milwaukee right now, hanging out with my high school girlfriends, getting ready for the Sugarland concert tonight. Instead, I'm sitting here on my couch with a concussion, a sore neck and a pounding headache.

All because I was rear ended by some dude who wasn't paying attention. Nope, not bitter.

My brother-in-law agreed to take me to the airport this morning, bright and early. Around 5:50 a.m., we were stopped in traffic on the interstate ... only to have the back of our truck plowed into by some guy going about 40 mph. You know those crash test videos (note the demonstration shown at 22 seconds) that you watch of the people whose seat belts don't do much for them*? That is how I recall the accident.

Didn't the guy know I was supposed to be on airplane in less than two hours?! Didn't he know I was meeting up with friends and that we were going to a concert that I had the tickets to?!

As we pulled over to the side of the road, I noticed that the coffee that my brother-in-law had been holding had ended up upside down in my purse as a result of the impact. Of course the first thing I wanted to know was how I was going to clean this coffee infested purse, as I had to get the airport! I didn't have the kids with me, so I had no baby wipes. No tissues. No napkins. Nothing. Ha.

I got out of the car, apparently with no shoes on. Not sure if the impact knocked my flip flops off my feet or what, but I was so scattered, I didn't even care that I was walking around the side of the highway with no shoes. My first thought was to call a cab, so that I could get to the airport in time.

Wait ... take a deep breath. My head hurts. My neck hurts. Maybe I am injured.

And now come the tears. What am I going to do? I don't have time for this! I need to be at the airport. I have the concert tickets, how will I get the tickets to my friends?!

So I finally realize that I need to go to the hospital to be checked out. By the time the ambulance arrived and everyone's adrenaline stopped rushing, my brother-in-law realized that his neck was bothering him as well. The medics took both of us into the same ambulance and boarded us up. Apparently it is mandatory when someone complains of neck pain. Fun times.

At the hospital, I had a CT scan and an xray ... both of which came out fine, although I was diagnosed with a concussion. All the pain I am feeling is muscle strain and the most tender spot is where the doctor told me the muscles connect to your skull. Strange. I have a bad headache and have been so confused ... the result of a concussion, I guess.

I am home now, dosed up on a large amount of motrin and muscle relaxers, if needed. Kyle was able to work his magic and get Ticketmaster to email us our concert tickets given the circumstances, so that I could have my friends print them out. I am just so glad I was able to get them the tickets ... otherwise I would feel so guilty. I'm so sad I won't be joining them, but I have a feeling this pain is going to get worse before it gets better. We shall see.

Stupid non-attentive drivers.

*My brother-in-law and I both had our seat belts on. The reason I said that they didn't do much for us was that we were hit from behind, while at a stand still. A seat belt is not locked when you are at a stand still, meaning when you have rear impact, you still fly forward.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Adjustment to school.

Mason told me the other day, "Mommy, I love my big boy school." Oh, you don't even know how happy that makes me! Knowing that he is enjoying himself at school is a huge relief. Although I haven't received any verbal feedback from his teacher ... which is really hard for me to get used to, by the way ... I have seen a smiley face on his behavior chart every day, which I am ecstatic about. I have been giving him a lot of reinforcement when he gets home concerning his good behavior and I know he thrives off of that feedback ... so yay!

Payton had a hard time with the bus on days two, three and four. I think after she realized what was really happening on day one, she was a bit resistant. They allowed me to help her onto the bus, which helped ease her fears. Now, all she does is sign "bus bus bus" until it is time to go to school ... so cute, and so great for my anxiety! Her days have gotten very long with no nap ... she typically falls asleep on the bus ride home, although that is hardly enough to curb a very whiny, clingy Payton in the evenings. I have had one home visit so far with Payton's teacher, who is a very nice, but firm woman. I think she will be good for Payton, since Payton tends to think she rules the roost. Payton's teacher told me that right now they are spending a lot of time working on establishing rules and appropriate behavior. Hopefully Ms. Little Bully catches on quick.

*ahem*

Nika ... poor Nika. She is still not in school and I'm beginning to get really irritated. Her paperwork still has not been accepted by the school nurse. I stopped at the school today to get things straightened out, and of course the nurse had gone home sick. They told me she was the only one who could deal with this, and I told them they needed to find backup ... whether it be the principal or the nurse's boss. This delay is preventing my child from entering school and it needs to be dealt with. So as of right now, the story is that someone will call me tomorrow morning to let me know if I can bring Nika to school ... late.

On another note, I sort of had to put the school nurse in her place last week. She continued to badger me about the MMR vaccination, essentially trying to bully me into giving it to Nika. She went as far as to say, "Well you know the measles are going around." Really? I'm pretty sure the measles are not rampant and even if they were, I will take my chances considering the other potential side effects for her are a lot more serious. I told the nurse, "Look ... I really don't appreciate being made to feel that I am doing a disservice to my daughter by not giving her the MMR vaccination. There are plenty of people that do not vaccinate their children for MMR, or other vaccinations, and quite frankly, it is not your job to bully them into vaccinating." I really didn't want to be rude, but after she made numerous comments about it, I really wanted to let her know that I didn't appreciate it. I told her that she didn't need to worry about the MMR, that our pediatrician would be writing a medical release and that was that ... no need for her to keep bringing it up or telling me that measles are going around.

Ei yi yi.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

First day of school

If there was one word to describe me today, it would be wreck. I have literally been a wreck all day.

Mason was the first one to leave for school this morning. He was very excited to go to school, so there was no anxiety on his part. Me ... not so much. We all walked up to the bus stop and waited for his bus. He is friends with our two neighbor girls, so I think it helped him to know that they would be on the bus with him. As soon as the bus came, it was a mad rush of kids ... and Mason went right with them like he had been doing this for years. So funny.
There he goes! Bye, baby!Mason sat in a seat with our two neighbor girls, so they were excited and good to go ...
As the bus pulled off, I cried ... ahh, so many emotions.

Here is some video of Mason loading the bus ... I think he thinks he is too cool for school!
video

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Payton catches her bus three hours after Mason does. I was so happy she got to see him go first and see how things work. She was all trying to get on Mason's bus this morning, so I hoped she would do the same when her bus came.

And my little go getter, of course she did.

As we saw the bus coming down the street, she got so excited ... screaming and jumping up and down. The doors opened and off she went ... no coercion needed. WTF ... wasn't that the part that she was supposed to cling to me and not let her go? Haha. I was a mess the entire time, sobbing like a baby. I was so proud of her for being such a big girl, yet I was so nervous for the bus to pull off with her on it.

There she goes!
I can do this myself!I'm getting there!Still climbing!
Once she was on the bus in her seat, she became a little unsure of things. The aide was trying to put her seat belt harness on her, which she didn't like. They let me board the bus to help explain it to her and she was okay. I got off the bus and she waved goodbye! And I continued to sob like a big baby.

Here is the best part ... getting to see it on video. She cracks me up!
video

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At the end of the day, the kids got off their buses with no problems to report.

I asked Mason lots of questions about his day, but pretty much all I got was, "I don't know." Hmm, sounds like a great day! He did manage to tell me that some of his classmates got in trouble and would be getting sad faces on their behavior charts ... I guess that is all that boys care about? I am happy to report that Mason got a smiley face on his chart, meaning he didn't have any sticks pulled from his behavior envelope ... yay!

Payton was out of it when she got off her bus, so I suspect the poor girl was so tuckered out that she fell asleep on the bus. I did not get any feedback from her teacher, so I will be asking for something like that when I talk to her. Wouldn't it be common sense to send something like that home with a preschooler? I digress.

A Vent.

Nika is supposed to be starting preschool tomorrow through the county Child Find program. Her preschool classroom is in an elementary school, meaning we have to follow public school guidelines.

Nika came home from Russia in November 2008 ... almost 10 months ago. Since that time, we have had to catch her up on her immunizations. I admit I have been very slow at doing this because I didn't want to overwhelm her little body.

So ... last Thursday I found out that they won't let Nika start school until she is caught up on her immunizations, no exceptions. We went to the pediatrician that afternoon to get four more shots, plus the flu mist. The flu mist, by the way, is thimerosal free and so much easier than the shot!

Also, I have decided to hold off on Nika's MMR immunization until she is four years old. This immunization scares me ... a lot. Knowing that a child's brain is full developed at age four, I feel much more comfortable waiting until then to immunize her for MMR. She is almost three, so waiting one more year isn't going to hurt her. This is my prerogative to do this, so please don't come on here and bash me for this ... thankyouverymuch.

And ... this past Thursday, I also was informed that Nika has to have a PPD test done before she can enter school since she has been out of the country for more than three months in the past five years. Did they really think waiting until two days before school starts was a good time to tell me this? Given the holiday weekend, we were not able to give her the test until today, meaning it can't be read until Friday ... meaning she will miss her first day of school. Grr.

So ... as long as the school nurse agrees with our immunization plan and her PPD test checks out, Nika will start school on Monday, which is technically day two for her glass. If the school nurse does not agree with our immunization plan ... well, let's just say things are going to get ugly.

*ahem*

Friday, September 4, 2009

Back to school ...

Within the past 36 hours, I have attended three back to school orientations at three different elementary schools for three different kids who will be going to school and loading buses at three different times. Three.

I'm exhausted. And overwhelmed.

Mason will be starting full day kindergarten on Tuesday. We met his teacher and her assistant, both of whom I like very much. I am super anxious about him starting school for a number of reasons ... mainly because I hope he keeps his behavior in check. He had some problems with impulsiveness in preschool and I really hope he understands ... or should I say remembers ... that it is inappropriate. I have been reviewing the rules with him and he gets so annoyed with me, as if I have no reason to be reviewing rules.

*chuckles* Crazy kid.

I also am really concerned about his learning ability. He is not grasping some of his letters by sight and his numbers are a huge concern as well. I feel like I already need to have a conference with his teacher ... and school has not even started yet!

Payton also starts school on Tuesday ... and she is going to be riding the bus! There is a separate preschool bus that comes directly to our house to pick her up. I am really anxious about her riding the bus ... I mean, she is three. I refused bus transport last year for her, but this year there is no way I can drive her since I have three kids going to three schools and loading three buses at three different times ... remember? Of the three kids, Payton has to go the furthest. The reason for this is that we were able to get her in that 6/6 classroom, which is only available at certain schools.

Payton and I were able to go see her classroom and meet her teacher, as well as the two aides. I really like all three of them, especially the aides. Her teacher was very nice, however she seemed sort of harsh to me. Harshness aside, I think she will be a great teacher from a learning aspect.

After fighting for it the entire last school year, I finally was successful in getting one on one speech therapy for Payton at school. So ... she will be getting that, in addition to her private speech therapy that I take her to twice a week.

My biggest concern is that Payton will be in school five days a week, in the afternoon. She still naps, so I hope she doesn't get so tired that her learning and behavior are affected. I am praying that she keeps so busy that she doesn't even realize she is tired. Oh, my poor sweet girl.

Addison starts school on Wednesday ... yikes! Didn't she just come home from Russia ... err something?! She will be attending school two mornings a week and she will also be riding the bus. Talk about anxiety! I feel like I'm throwing my baby to a pack of wolves!

*sigh* But ... for the aforementioned reasons, I cannot drive her. And I know my sanity will be so much better if I just let all three kids take the bus, but seriously ... people normally don't have to do this for the first time with all of their kids at once!

Anyway.

We have already had our first home visit with Addison's teacher and I think we are going to have a great year. I really like her and it seems like she has a great communication system with families, which I want. I feel comfortable that she will adapt to Addison and help her in her adjustment. I plan to push for another day, as well as one on one therapies at school. I also have a private speech evaluation scheduled, since her county therapy services have now ended.

So let the games begin!
I think I thought I would have more time on my hands once school starts, but I am no longer convinced that is the case!