February 3, 2010
Last week, Anastasia saw her pediatrician. She's inched up to the 25th percentile, being 40 inches tall and 35 1/2 pounds. Naturally, most of my conversation with the doctor centered around the Miss' sleep issues. The doc seems to think Anastasia may have SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), which (as the weather grows gray) can disrupt sleep patterns, disrupt the body's internal clock, and change the body's natural levels of melatonin. She suggested light therapy - where you purchase a special lamp and spend so much time under it each day - especially if we notice Anastasia's symptoms improving in the spring and summer.
She said that if the melatonin supplements I'm giving her stop working, our only other alternative is hard core medication. A sleep study might be possible, but she agreed with me that it's difficult to obtain accurate results with a small child who'd find the clinic setting disturbing.
In other news, Anastasia and I visited a charter school in our area. I was highly impressed. The kindergarteners began the day with their character study, learning the meaning of the word "discernment." They also did some critical thinking, and multiplication by 5s and 10s. They played store with real money, then did some adding problems on paper. We left before they were done for the day, but the class was not only scholarly, but there was great order and discipline in the room, while still providing a friendly and fun atmosphere.
I'm not quite sure Anastasia is ready for school. She needs to be five by September, which she will be, but if she hadn't been born over three months premature, she would have had to wait another year. Classes are only once a week for three weeks out of the month (basically the school offers assisted home schooling, complete with field trips and an allowance for extra-curricular activities), so school begins at 9 AM and ends at noon. That's a long time for her to concentrate. And while I realize the Kindergarteners have been in school for about four months, I was surprised how advanced they are - writing in cursive and doing actual math problems. Anastasia (who, admittedly has a long name) still has a hard time printing her name. Still, I think we will give it a go come September. The worse that can happen is we topull her from the class until the following year.
Zane continues to do well. He's really cranky a lot of the time, but I think he's teething and growing, which makes any kid cranky. He talks - sometimes. A few times he's told me "I hungry" and similar things, but he still mostly resists talking. He's a fanatic about the vacuum and already tries to use it on his own. And he takes apart any gadget he gets his hands on :)
February 8, 2010
* Miss A., upon seeing her brother pick up Lincoln
Logs willingly and getting praised for it, began picking some up
herself. She said: "Hmmm. Picking up can be fun after all."
* Zane had his second hair cut yesterday. He was trembling, he was so afraid. But I held his hand and he was very brave.
* This morning, Zane woke up hungry. He was crying "Kiwi! Kiwi!" before I could even get him out of his crib.
* An interview with Anastasia today:
What is something Mommy always says to you?
“Pick up your toys”
What is Daddy always saying to you?
“Stay away from tools that are dangerous!”
Picking up my toys.
Staying away from tools that are dangerous.
Not staying away from tools that are dangerous.
By making hang upside down.
He looked like Zane.
10 feet tall. As tall as the trees.
Make me laugh.
Make me laugh.
He looks around.
Having me pick up my toys.
Doing such a good job cleaning up after he uses the bathroom.
Making me laugh.
He’s good at going to work. That’s what he’s good at.
Keeping Zane out of my room.
I can’t think of anything.
What is your mommy's favorite food?
What makes you proud of your mommy?
When you play the piano.
When he does me a favor.
Work on our computers.
Play and play and play.
Because we both have long brown hair.
We both have matching hair.
Because you’re tall and I’m little.
Daddy has a haircut and I don’t.
Because you hug me.
He hugs me.
Cuz he’s ten feet tall. Like my arm.
He likes about you because you’re a girl. And not a boy.
He likes going grocery shopping when there’s no Swine Flu.
Anastasia using a (child sized) rolling pin for the first time. She loves to help in the kitchen!
February 22, 2010
We continue to have sleeping and behavioral problems with Anastasia. We did buy her a light therapy lamp, and we're using it every day. It's too soon for it to be having any effect on her yet. In the meantime, I'm at my wit's end trying to deal with the Miss' behavior issues. Last week, my mom watched the kids while I went to the dentist, and when I returned she complained about Anastasia's behavior. I said, "This is old news!"
At four, she shouldn't be having temper tantrums any more - at least not often. I've read a huge stack of parenting books, and while they offer some ideas that help a bit, no discipline takes care of the problem fully. Sometimes I just think that part of her brain is still immature due to her prematurity.
She wears me out and we are praying hard for peace in our household.
Zane is doing well. We finally found some hard-soled shoes that fit his wide and fat (top to bottom) feet, so he walks around outside now. The timing couldn't be better, since it's been sunny here and I want the kids to play outside more.
When we're outside, Zane is mostly interested in the tricycle; he examines the wheels carefully, and sometimes tries to ride it. Anastasia mostly wants to swing, climb trees, and play hide and seek - jumping out as soon as I say "Ready or not, here I come!" Outdoor playtime usually comes to an end when a tired Zane falls and gets dirty hands; this always freaks him out :)
February 25, 2010
Anastasia doing school work near her light therapy lamp.
Anastasia is now officially doing Kindergarten school work, and has recently made some big strides in several areas. Last night, for the first time I think something clicked with reading. She constantly says she can't read, even though we are many books into her Hooked on Phonics program. It's mostly been a matter of confidence, but she also has some trouble going from merely sounding out the letters to putting them all together into a familiar word. Well, last night, I was reading Curious George Learns the Alphabet to her, having Anastasia read all the letters of the alphabet (which she can easily do). Then I asked her to read some of the words George made with the letters he'd just learned - things like "bed" and "bad." She did it easily and her eyes lit up with wonder.
She still struggles to count beyond 10, or to write most numbers, but we keep working on it. She's also had a lot of trouble learning to use scissors. I am tempted to think this is related to her prematurity, but my hubby says he had a hard time with scissors as a kid, too. But yesterday, she cut out some complex shapes with almost no help. She was so excited, she said: "I cut that out! I am awesome!"
We use a dry erase board for a lot of Anastasia's school work, but the other day I turned around and discovered this scene. The Miss was saying, "Now, show everyone how silly you look, Zane!" She couldn't understand why writing on her brother was wrong; after all, the ink would just wipe off with a towel, right? Fortunately, the ink proved easy to remove with a wet towel - although I couldn't quite get inside Zane's ear to remove all the green ink!
Anastasia is clearly ready to get out of the house this spring. She keeps talking about going to the zoo, which we plan to do soon, and this morning she said: "I want to go to the zoo and the jungle. Mommy, you can bring your pepper spray in case we run across any mean animals."
After a lot of thought and prayer, hubby and I decided to call Early Intervention for Anastasia. Anastasia failed miserably for gross motor skills on their online test. She could do almost nothing they think kids her age should do. I'm not super worried about this, to be honest. For one thing, I'm not sure how much physical therapy helped her in the past. Also, she'll be taking swimming lessons this summer, and while I know she will struggle, the struggle will be good for her. But this test failure did give me an excuse to call our old case worker and talk to her about Anastasia's behavioral problems. The case worker said she'd confer with the physical/occupational therapist and get back to us by next week.
I really hesitate to get "into the system" again, but even the private developmental services in our area are publically funded. And since I don't drive and Early Intervention services come to our house, I'd rather go that route.
Zane is still doing great. He's sometimes sitting
with us while we read, which absolutely delights me. He's sometimes
awfully grumpy, but I think this is mostly because he's refusing to use
words to tell us his wants and needs :) He continues to eat a huge
amount of food; in fact, he's now eating four meals a day. I have to
watch him closely when Anastasia is eating in her lackadaisical way.
He's learned he can swoop in, grab some of her food, and run off
quickly. The other day he did this with half a mandarin orange, and when
I caught him, he had juices running all over his face and chest...