Nina is two now! It was fun that her birthday happened to be on a Saturday. We made a gala day of it. We started out at an enormous indoor play area called Snakes and Ladders. We found it through a search for "ball pools," because Nina loved the ball pool at the Three Wings Trust Christmas party so much. We had tried an indoor play area in Richmond whose website advertised a ball pool but they didn't actually have one. But Snakes and Ladders certainly did, plus it was on in the Syon House complex, and the Syon house itself looks like a castle, which Nina found very exciting. She is into castles because of a Backyardigans episode (everything is Backyardigans right now). So after a very active couple hours we headed home and Nina took a very long nap. During her nap Sam and Håkan went outside to try the Ridgeback again (the bike with pedals but no training wheels). After going around the block a bit, Sam announced that he wanted to go to the park, so they did, and Sam biked most of the way there apparently. He has trouble with starting and stopping but not a lot of trouble with the actual biking. Then Nina woke up and we had pasta salad then opened presents. The pop-up tent/tunnel/cube which H. fears was actually quite a success, although when all 3 pieces are up, it does definitely take over the living room. But they don't have to all be up together. ;) Nina thought the cake and candles bit was a lot of fun and wanted to hear the birthday song several times. But probably the biggest hit of the day were the two helium balloons I got from the local toy shop, one with Thomas the Tank and one with Tinkerbell that says "Have a Magical Birthday." Nina kept pulling them down and then saying, "Happy Day! Happy Day!" She is so cute. She has been babysat a bunch lately which made her super-clingy for a bit but she's a bit better now.
We finally had good news on the Sam school front. The LEA has finally agreed to formally assess Sam's special needs with the end result likely to be a Statement of Special Needs that will entitle him to a certain number of hours per week of help. Our case statement and supporting evidence has to be in by March 14th and then the LEA has 2 weeks to issue a Statement draft. We also may also be allowed to name a different school if we so desire. Towards that end we have visited two other schools in the area. One is a strong contender, St Mary's Church of England school. They have a lot more kids with special needs than Orleans. We would want Sam to be in the mainstream classroom but at least the school has a lot more awareness and understanding about special needs.