Isaac has definitely been affected by not having his brother to run around with all day long. We have been trying our best to accommodate them both during the day. In the living room we pull the rocking chair up next to the stroller and they watch their cartoons. Thank you so much Howerton Family for suggesting we find a bean bag chair to sit Caleb in and then bringing us one.. THANK YOU!!! It works great and Isaac gets to be even closer to his buddy in their room!! :)
Imagine my surprise when my 8 year old daughter Camille came over to tell me "Mom.. we decided we want Caleb's cast to stay on a long time". WHAT??!!!
Then I realized the three older children all decided this after two days of the flower shop making a delivery to our house for Caleb. Yesterday he got some beautiful flowers, which we have where we can all see enjoy them all day and a Thinking of You balloon. What kiddo does not like balloons??
Thank you JoAnn and Family for these beautiful flowers (a fellow MOPS mom)...
Then today Caleb received a teddy bear holding three BIG balloons and a fruit basket with his FAVORITE thing in the world.. Sandwich crackers, which he immediately dug into :)
Thank you Linda and Family for today's delivery (another MOPS mom).....
And how sweet is this photo..
Isaac is truly missing his play mate. He is really becoming agressive and banging his head and being really mean to everyone, and I think the adjustment of not having a partner in crime is wearing on him. We do put Caleb in a stroller several times a day to reposition him. For a long time Isaac would just stand there by the stroller and watch tv with Caleb. We figured out to pull the rocking chair over by the stroller and they both love it.. they sit there and giggle at their tv program and reach for each others hand to hold.. oh it breaks a mama's heart.
Now with constipation being an issue we've been trying to feed the twins watermelon daily for extra fluid intake. They drink absolutely nothing other than vanilla flavored rice or soy milk, but give them a watermelon and they take it down. Anyhow, a friend of Tom's grandmother gave us a hair cutting smock to put over Caleb while he eats and it works wonders while he's eating his watermelon...
So Day Five of this cast and we're getting alittle more used to what life it going to be all summer long. Diaper changing is still a scary thing for me and an uncomfortable thing for Caleb, but we're getting there. Let's see what's in store for us tomorrow :)
We have continued our journey with teaching the boys to read. Its actually quite funny to see the jaws drop when people see how well the boys are doing. We take them to outpatient Speech and Occupational Therapy twice a week. Each boy is given 1/2 hour sessions. While the first twin is back in the room, myself and the other twins TSS is in the waiting room doing the Your Baby CAN Read flashcards and/or books. The people sitting in the waiting room see the boys and literally their jaws drop.. its hysterical, but encouraging. Not only are my boys actually learning to read these words, learning new signs to go along with them and associating the pictures with the words to do a command (arms up, clap, point to you nose...ect.) but they are also showing people who know nothing about them, about Down Syndrome, about PDD Autism, about sign language... that they are capable of reading. It truly brings tears to my eyes to see the progress they have been making over the past three months. It gives me so much encouragement for their future.
We have opted to start each new stage after about 6 weeks of reviewing and learning the current stage. With that being said we began Stage 3 on June 9th, after we were comfortable with what they have learned about Stage 2 was sticking. Here is the routine I have the boys in now.
Monday- watch Stage 3 video in the morning, watch Stage 2 video in the afternoon Tuesday- (Therapy Day) Read Stage 3 book, do Stage 3 flashcards, review Stage 2 Flashcards, then let them look through the my first words board book. This book is so awesome. It has the word with a sentence, once the boys sign the word the reward is that they slide the word to the left and see the photo. They love this part :)
Wednesday- video in the morning and afternoon. Usually try to review Stage 1 on this day. Thursday- (Therapy Day) do the same today as Tuesday Friday- Preschool today, they take the book out and reinforce the words from the flashcards and book for us. They are so impressed by this program they are seeing if they can get the funding to purchase the program for the Autism Preschool Program Caleb and Isaac attend there. Saturday- video if we get a chance, but usually this is an OFF day Sunday- during church services this is a GREAT way to get them to sit and be quiet for a bit. They love looking at these books and flashcards so much that when we get them out of their backpack, we literally have to shush them from clapping so hard during church.
In case you have not kept up with my blog over the past few days, we've had a bit of an accident and have Caleb in a SPICA cast right now due to falling and breaking his right femur last Thursday. I had planned on taping them on Friday to show off a video of their progress, but I will hold off a bit and get it on here as soon as I'm able. Its a bit of a challenge getting Caleb around right now, but I can honestly say, this little guy will be watching WAY MORE TV than he usually does over the next 8 to 10 weeks. I'm certain that Your baby CAN read will be part of that tv time and sitting time he will be doing.
Wednesday, June 23rd, Isaac got his wish from Make A Wish. We planned it with our wish coordinator for the past three months, we helped pick out the design, we made suggestions on things we felt would be easier for the boys now and added a few things that the older kiddos would like and things the twins would "grown into".
One of the items we picked out to assist the twins is a ramp up to the canopied platform. Instead of them trying to climb the ladder each time to get up to the slide platform a ramp would just be easier. Once the men brought the swing set and put it up, the ramp was actually quite steep, so much so, that the kids can slide down the ramp. Its proving to be an unexpected fun part of the swing set.
Thursday evening, June 24th, right after dinner exactly 28 hours of having this play set, the cousins from across the street came over to take the swing set for a test drive and play. I was on the deck watching everyone play and have fun. I was finishing up my dinner while they played. I saw Caleb walking up the ramp, he was about 3/4th the way up and his 2 year old cousin Tyler wanted to slide down. He started yelling at Caleb, move.. don't come up.. Caleb continued up not understanding what Tyler wanted from him and when Caleb reached the top of the ramp (about 5 feet high) his cousin Tyler gave him a shove and pushed him off..
Now Mr. Tyler merely wanted to slide down the ramp, which he did immediately after pushing Caleb down with a joyous giggle and smile. He's two, I totally expect this from a two year old, unfortunately Caleb did not have the balance he needed to recover on a steep ramp and fell off. Camille was the only one that saw him completely fall and he did land straight on his leg and it bent.
I looked up from my plate and notice Caleb was not there and the girls went running and I knew right then it was going to be bad. Tristin picked him and and ran him over to me. I proceeded to sit him down on some patio furniture and try to calm him down. After about 5 to 7 minutes his screams were way worse than a normal hurt cry and I noticed that he was favoring his right leg. At one point he grabbed it and signed hurt, I knew right then that I needed to call 911.
When the ambulance arrived they said right away that his leg was rotated and they were not comfortable moving him in any way. They called the paramedics and they talked them through loading him onto the bed basically by wrapping him and lifting him up on the cushion from the patio furniture. Tom rode in the ambulance, I drove behind. Once to the hospital they unloaded him on the cushion to the bed at the hospital. There they performed a CAT scan to make sure there were no other injuries and then x-rays of his whole body. As soon as they confirmed the femur was broken they called the helicopter to take us to Pittsburgh Childrens.
I immediately ran home to throw a few things into a bag and raced back to the hospital. (We live about 5 minutes away) As soon as I got there the helicopter nurses were there and about to load Caleb onto their cart. They too took him on the cushion and put on his space suit. I was asked to ride the helicopter with him as they really wanted a parent to assist them with communication since he only signs. Under any other circumstances this would have been REALLY COOL, but this time it was nerve racking. I did enjoy the conversation for the 30 minutes it took to fly to Pittsburgh. It truly is amazing what they do in such a small space on those helicopters, you can barely even move around.
Once to Childrens he was unloaded onto their bed on our patio furniture cushion, they got to work and got him even more medicated and apologized right away that the orthopedic surgeon was extremely swamped at the moment and we would be waiting to see her. We arrive in Pittsburgh at 11 pm and Calebs surgery didn't happen until 4 am, at which time Caleb was put to sleep and removed from the cushion. Not a terrible wait, unless your a 4 year old boy with a broken femur. Once they set his leg and casted it we were taken to a room to get some sleep. Tom and I were able to lay down at 6:30 am and sleep until about 8 am, with two interruptions. What an exhausting night!!!
By noon, we were told that if Caleb would eat and drink and keep it down we were free to take him home.. WHAT??!!! WoW.
So by 1:30pm we were loading into the vehicle in a loaner adaptive car seat called a SPICA cast seat and on our way home. Memories of bringing home premature infants who were in the NICU for 6 and 13 weeks, not knowing if I were capable to tending to their needs, the fear of the unknown all came back to me. How am I going to move this little guy around?? Is he going to be able to continue with his summer preschool sessions? How about his other therapies?? How will I go anywhere with him and Isaac?? Is it fair to not allow the older children to goto the pool just because Caleb and I cannot now?? Is it fair to ruin everyone's summer activities because Caleb cannot stay outside if its too hot due to the fact that about 50% of his tiny little body is wrapped in a cast that will melt him in hot weather?? How will I find the strength to get through this?? I'm putting it in God's Hands, I'm leaning on his love for us to get us through this. Everyone always tells me that I am such a strong person, I am just like you all. I am scared of this, I am nervous to hurt my little guy, I am sad that I had so much planned for our summer, I am happy that this situation could have been alot worse. He could have fallen and broken his neck or even worse died. I count my blessings, I thank the Lord, and I thank all of you who will continue to pray for us over the next 8 to 10 weeks.
If you have not watched the montage from yesterdays post take a minute to watch it, you'll get a visual of this story.
Today after months of planning Isaac got his wish from Make-A-Wish. I have had people ask me, How did I choose a Wish for Isaac when he cannot talk to tell me what he wanted. Well, if you were to see my child's face light up when I take him to a playground to swing or go down a slide, you would not need words to describe what he would love to have in his own backyard, available to use whenever he wanted to.
My total confession is that we already had a playset, but it was 11 years old, well played with and not accessible for the boys to play on without help.. SO we now have a beautiful play structure in our back yard that the boys can play on and grow into and continue to play with and on for many many years to come. My 12 year old daughter Tristin loves it, so I should have at least another 10 or 12 years of play for the twins.
Here's how the day went today:
Workers arrived at 9:30am:
After they got going and the twins realized they were bringing something for them to play on later they both became interested in watching out the window:
It was so HOT outside today about 85 degrees and very high humidity, the men outside always looked so hot and we felt guilty sitting in my house with central air going full blast. (we did offer ice water and Gatorade often)
Elijah was the most excited of all, I don't think he left those men's side for more than a minute at a time.
While we waited we enjoyed cake and ice cream and balloons provided by Make A Wish, who says you can't eat cake and ice cream for lunch?? We sure did, and it was GOOD!!!:
Isaac is in red today:
Caleb is blue:
Caleb was a little excited about getting ice cream and Isaac looked like he was pushing it away saying No Thank You:
Here comes the Mulch:
I took Isaac outside to watch the truck dump the mulch and he freaked out, it was to much for him.. to noisy I think:
So we came back in and finished up his ice cream:
Here's the finished product being enjoyed by all five children, and there's plenty of room for more children :)
As we strive for doing all we can to make my twins as independent as possible in life, there are a few bumps in the road that I cannot help but to laugh at and run and get my camera. One of these happened just the other day. I was outside working in the garden as the boys were taking their daily nap. They awoke, came outside to get me to sign to me that they wanted cereal for a snack. This is part of their daily routine.. eat lunch, nap 1 1/2 hours, wake, eat snack (usually cereal and/or pretzels). I was occupied with my weeding the garden and asked them to wait a couple minutes and mommy would be in to get them their snack. They happily took off for the house again and I was assuming they understood what I asked them and was going to play for a few minutes while I finished my weeding... Simple right??
Well, there's always more than 5 minutes worth of weeding left.. so 15 minutes later I went upto the house and found that Caleb had decide that 15 minutes was way to long to wait for his afternoon cereal snack. He nicely helped himself to the cereal cabinet, opened a brand new 16.2 oz box of Multi Grain Cheerios and dumped the entire box on the floor!!!! They were ever so nicely sharing and laughing and watching tv as they enjoyed their self-served snack. When I first saw them and I said "Caleb, what did you do?" He got the absolute BIGGEST smile on his face as if to tell me, hey mom, I was just helping you out...
I am a wife of 17 years to my wonderful husband Tom and a work from home mom to our five beautiful children. Life is busy, noisy, fun, and completely unpredictable, but I would not want it any other way!! Tristin is so smart, beautiful, and athletic. Camille is by far our girly, girl and she has the biggest heart you'll ever find in a child. Elijah is our little wild man, all boy and so much fun. He keeps us on our toes for sure. Caleb and Isaac are identical twins who's personalities are so very different. They both have Down Syndrome and PDD Autism and they have shown us all to slow down and enjoy the good things in life. God has blessed us so much with each child, and we look forward to our journey ahead with our family.