April, 2005

Fridays are often a hard day for me as it's the end of the work week and for some reason a lot tends to happen at work for Håkan on Friday afternoons (I think it's a British thing). So last night I was especially frazzled. Then Sam was having trouble getting to sleep. Nina was asleep on my lap on the big bed and Sam kept wanting to touch her which was making me even more frazzled because I didn't want her to wake up. Håkan was trying to provide alternate cuddles, but no, it had to be Nina. So I was reading "Pooh Goes Visiting" with some amount of "let's get to sleep already." Well, Sam did finally figure out what I meant by keeping his hand still while touching Nina, so he wasn't disturbing her sleep, and then he fell asleep holding her hand. It was SO cute. So I shed some tears of complex emotional cocktail and thanked the powers that be for these two beautiful children. :)
Nina continues to be very fond of the helicopter mobile and now she also really likes the Cerys Edwards cat print and the oriental poppy print too. And of course books. But what makes her really smile is somebody smiling at or talking to her. She has a lovely sideways smile and she likes to make very cute sounds too. She and I have had some 3-4 turn smile conversations.
Nina didn't like getting her first shot. She didn't feel good afterwards. She slept a lot and mostly in bouncy chair. It's kind of interesting that she sleeps more on her own when she doesn't feel well. I would think it would be vice versa, but there ya go. Then Nina caught a bit of the Barnabees cold but now she's feeling OK.
Yes, the Barnabees cold. Sam started at Barnabees playschool 2 weeks ago. It has been up and down. We missed the third session because of the cold we all caught from the first session. Sam has had a lot of trouble with the more organized parts of the morning, especially snack time. The first two times he made it through the whole morning but this last time he left the group during outdoor time and we weren't able to rejoin the group. Part of that may have been because they were short-staffed this last time and his special friend teacher, Celia, wasn't able to be with him as much. The second time we were there when I rejoined him Celia briefed me on how it had gone. "He didn't like getting paint on his fingers, but he did the painting. Also he can read." "Yep." "We don't have any other kids here that can read, and we never have. I had one at Romsey Mill once. You don't do the letters the same way, we make the sounds instead of saying the letters." "Ah. I'm sure he'll pick that up." And sure enough, Sam has been very interested in making letter sounds lately. He also has shown renewed interest in sign language thanks probably in part to a CBeebies show and webpage that uses sign: Something Special .
But despite his difficulties there Sam seems to like Barnabees pretty well as he gets excited about going. Hopefully that will continue. I hope it is good for him. It is fairly hard for me but Sam is definitely not ready to be left there on his own. I have mixed feelings about the whole thing honestly but I'll try to assess the experience as objectively as I can.

Sam had a big day on Thursday. First he went to Barnabees with Håkan. I had been up very late the previous night worrying about going and finally decided I was just not up for it. It was very good that Håkan went, more on that later.
Later that afternoon I had the front door open to cool down the apartment as I didn't feel confident about removing the front storm window myself. Sam was standing in the doorway watching the world go by. I suggested he could sit down which he did, and then I needed to feed Nina. Well all of a sudden it got rather quiet in the front room. ;) Sam had left the apartment and was about four car lengths down the street. He had brought his sippy cup with him and put it on the hood of the fourth car. He just had his socks on and was a bit surprised when I said he needed to come back. :) Later that night Sam peed in the potty for the second time ever, much to our excitement. But this time we tried to be positive but subdued as we've read that one shouldn't make too big of a deal about it.
Right now Sam is out punting with Håkan and Uncle Björn and Auntie Lena who are here for a long weekend. Sam has greatly enjoyed the log skidder toy they brought along (complete with claw and logs). Nina received a beautiful silver angel necklace that I'm very much looking forward to putting on her when she seems big enough. Both Sam and Nina have enjoyed listening to Uncle Björn play the minikeyboard and Auntie Lena sing some songs from "Nu Ska Vi Sjunga." Sam has had fun playing peek-a-boo with Lena. Nina has really enjoyed sitting with both Lena and Björn and getting her little tummy rubbed. She still has a pretty ouchy tummy off and on. But she's very social; she likes to have little conversations with everybody. It's very easy to turn her over for a bit. :)
I feel like I don't write quite enough about Nina but that's partly because she is generally so easy-going. Although actually the last couple days she has had a lot of tummy pain and been almost inconsolable off and on. I hope that will pass soon. One thing we've been doing with her recently is having her sit up propped up by pillows on the couch. She likes that for awhile. She also is starting to move her arms and legs in a much more coordinated fashion. Her reach is getting more exact but she doesn't practice that so much. She is far more interested in chatting.
The staff at Barnabees suggested to Håkan that we should ask our health visitor about Sam. Grama did some excellent, helpful research online and after reading through some of the sites she found I am pretty sure that what Sam has is hyperlexia. The best article about it that I've seen, although a bit long, is here: Hyperlexia. A briefer description can be found here: Brochure. So that is in a way both upsetting and a relief. It is upsetting because it means that Sam will need extra help and it is scary to think that if he doesn't get the help he needs he may have a lot of trouble socially throughout his life. However, the prognosis if kids with hyperlexia receive help is quite good, so hopefully he will be fine. It is also a relief in a way because I have felt for a long time that Sam had some special needs but I couldn't really figure out what they were. This makes it much more clear what is going on and now Håkan and I will be much better equipped to help him ourselves too. It is strange to realize that one's child has special needs and I have certainly been going down the "if I had done this and that differently" road a bit, but in the end, I know it's not my fault, it's just the way it is.
So now we just have to make sure that Sam gets the help he needs. Well, to quote Sheryl Crow, "No one said it would be easy." And to quote my friend DeeDee's brother-in-law, "He's still the same kid he was five minutes ago."