Jacob and Elijah Shaddox are brothers. Jacob is 21 years old and just moved into an apartment with his girlfriend. He graduated from a technical college with an Associate's degree in Computer Maintenance. He works for a school district as a computer technician. Elijah is almost 18 years old. He is hearing impaired, has Tourette Syndrome, OCD and ADHD. He is a junior in high school. Elijah lives with his mom Mary and her wife, his stepmom. Mary has a bachelor's in deaf education and a masters in special education, and is an educational diagnostician. Life is always changing and this blog has chronicled many of these changes and will continue to do so!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Saying Goodbye to 2009!!!

Well this year was a rough year. Elijah had just started in the behavior program and we had to work a lot on his behavior. Meds were tweaked and tweaked. Things did improve as the school year went on. Jacob did OK in school, but being the typical teen didn't like doing homework.

Things were going well heading into the summer and we were planning a staycation. Then the rug was yanked out from under me as my husband walked out on us on June 1st. I didn't think I could make it through it, but I did. Neighbors helped me out that last week of school with the boys and my mother-in-law came and stayed with us to help me out while I attended a 3 day workshop. My mother was also a great support and helped me in October when I had to travel. I became better friends with one neighbor and she was a great support. My family supported us and somehow we made it. The divorce was final in August and we started a new school year. I am not saying it was easy, but we got through it.

This school year(2009-10) has been a bit better. Elijah had a good start, but I had to keep in constant contact with his teacher. His program was finally tweaked and things have been going much better. He is now on Level 4. His IEP meeting(called an ARD meeting here in Texas) is on Jan. 5th and I think it will go well. He is much better at homes. Of course, tics have been really "hard" lately. The pscyh today suggested getting him baseball gloves, the ones where the fingers poke through and aren't covered, if he continues to band on tables and such so he won't hurt his hand. She also thought the weight on his hands might help. I may try it. Jacob has had a good year. I have to keep a close eye on grades, but he seems better than last school year. He will be a freshamn next year.

It has been a good school year this year as far as my job goes. I really like my boss and she is a great support when I need her input. There is some stress, but each year seems to get a little better. I am in the middle of my 19th year of teaching, although I do more supervising and attend meetings more than I do teach. Howver I still get to work one on one with kids and that is fun! Being a parent has made me a better teacher and being the parent of a special needs child has given me more insight into the parents I deal with on a daily basis.

I am looking forward to 2010!! It has got to be better than 2009 in some ways. I won't have to deal with a divorce! ha! that is done. This time next year I'll one son in high school and one in 4th grade! Hard to believe. I thank God everyday for those two boys and for my family, especially my mom. I also am thankful for my friends, who are my support system.

I hope everyone has a safe and fun night tonight and that everyone has a great 2010!!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Good day!

Today was a good day for us all. Jacob stayed in his room all day playing on the computer, only to come out and ask to go to Walmart! What a teen!

My niece, Tabitha(age 5), came over today to stay with us. Elijah and her did very well together. It is usually Elijah who has the issues, but he did very well playing with her and she did a good job ignoring his tics. We went off and did some shopping and when we got home they both played together with legos and did great. It was nice to see Elijah able to play with someone and NOT be bossy and handle himself. He did get the reward of playing on the computer and I had told him to behave to get the computer but for him to actually DO it is amazing.

We went to Walmart later in the afternoon with Jacob coming also. As we were walking by the frozen food section Elijah asked for an ice cream sandwich. I said NO, you don't need one let's just get on home. He didn't argue but became very sad and put his head down and leaned on me a little. I asked him to look up and he looked so sad. Boy, he knows how to pout to get his way. I asked if he would use his own money to buy it and he said YES, so he and Tabitha both got an ice cream sandwich(she paid for hers too) and we came on home.

Tics have been better, but when they do happen they are LOUD. I was surprised that Tabitha wasn't scared by them....not scared of them, but surprised she didn't jump. The motor tics are extreme toow hen they happen. He was sitting in the office chair and kicking the wall, with no shoes, but when kicking he was putting his whole bottome of his foot on the wall. He was really stomping the wall. He also slams a fist down on a table or computer desk if he is sitting near one. He bangs hard. I did ask him to try not to kick the wall. I don't want pictures falling or for him to put a hole in the wall. He is not having tics as often, but when he does they are still "hard" tics.

Tabitha is coming again tomorrow and they are all staying for dinner tomorrow. We are going to eat wings!!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Being Deaf!

Elijah still sleeps with me most nights and as he slept last night, I sat in bed and listened to my ipod on a speaker. He slept right through it of course, and as I sat there I thought, sometimes it is nice that he can't hear. He sleeps through most everything, which scares me if there is ever a fire, which is one reason I let him sleep with me if he wants to. I know, I know, I shouldn't let him, but I do, so lets not argue about it.

Anyway, it made me think about his deafness. Elijah is a boy, who happens to be deaf, but wears cochlear implants(CI). The CIs help him hear and access language. They are a tool, but he is still deaf. He takes his CI processors off without hesitation when it is time to bathe, swim, play in the sprinklers or at the beach. He is comfortable being deaf and I am glad of that. He knows enough sign that I can communicate what I need to with him and he voices back to me. If I really have to tell him something, or he is misbehaving, then I put his "ears" back on and tell him what I need to.

The last time we went to a water park, we locked his "ears" up in a locker. I am so afraid someone will steal them thinking they are headphones. We stopped to eat lunch and Elijah voices to me, "NO ears, I want to stay." I signed back to him, "yes swim, eat, eat first," and pointed to the food. He said YES and stopped to eat. Now, the only reason I don't like for him to not have his "ears"(processors) is that he cannot hear me if his back is to me. I have to be a bit more diligent, but also let him have his independence. Thankfully, this is a small water park and I can let him wonder a little bit on his own while keeping an eye on him from a distance. Sometimes I have to jump in when others try to communicate with him, because he doesn't quite know how to tell others he can't hear. Plus, I find that younger kids just don't get the concept that someone who talks can't hear. They give me a quizzical look when I tell them he can't hear.

Elijah loves the beach and I hope we can go to the beach this summer for vacation. One of the first things he does is take off his "ears" and head for the water. He is almost TOO brave! He has learned to stick close too though and not wander off.

Overall, I am glad that Elijah is comfortable being deaf without his "ears". Just this morning he woke up and headed for the den. He didn't grab his processors and I could hear him in the other room playing with his cars and talking to the cats. He then starts yelling for me and of course, if I answer he cannot hear me. I wait and after a few more yells, I get up and grab his "ears" to put them on!

Would it be easier if Elijah could hear all the time....well yes, it would be, but then he might not be the Elijah he is now. I don't worry as much about him learning language and getting things right. I look back at how much I used to worry and sometimes wonder HOW did we get where we are now? Of course, now I have other worries, but I think those will work out as he gets older, at least I hope so.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Yes Mam!!

Elijah has been very good today! Now tics are still around. I would say they are better, but not a LOT better. He is still making lots of noises and yelling. Right now he is playing a Wii game and has not tics at all. I put together(and please note the I!) Lego racer set he got. While he and I played with it he ticced up a storm. All day today though, whenever I have asked him to do something he has said YES MAM! This is a good sign to more compliant behavior. The only time he didn't really mind was when I asked him to get off the computer and that is typical for him.

Jacob did finally wake up at 8:30 last night and had breakfast for dinner! He was in a much better mood and has been great today. He spent some of his Christmas money today on a computer game and is back in his room playing it right now. He came out for a while to play the Wii with two friends. I am just glad he is in a better mood.

Not much planned for this week. I still need to tackle Jacob's dresser and get clothes organized. I will probably do that tomorrow. The Cowboys are going to be playing in a bit, so I will be watching that! I sure hope they win!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Day After

Well it is the day after Christmas. The boys had a good day yesterday. Elijah has several lego sets we need to put together. He also got several Wii games that he has been playing and also some nintendo DS games. We went shopping with some money he got and he was pretty frugal. He got one game and a nintendo DS case that holds the game. It is made of NERF so if he drops it, it won't break! His tics have not been too bad today and attitude has been better. Elijah has been very cute the last few days saying "A HA" when he finds something new and using such cute inflections in his voice when he is excited. Of course he also has the "I am mad" voice down too! I am hoping tics calm down before he goes back to school. OH and he made good use of his music links with his processors...plugged them into the computer and we didn't have to listen to his computer game while we visited in the den before Christmas eve dinner....and OH we got snow on Christmas eve. NOT a lot, but enough to cover the ground and make for a White Christmas. By the next day it was melting and so we didn't really get to play in it, but it was pretty.

NOW Jacob has been asleep since about 8:30 this morning. I think that kid must have stayed up for the last three days and just cat napped between different activities. It just all caught up with him today. He may just sleep through until tomorrow. He did get a laptop for Christmas and so he has enjoyed that and that is what has kept him up the last few nights. I am hoping he wakes up fully rested and ready to tackle his room! It is a mess! He got some nice new clothes that we need to put away, but first I need to go through his other clothes.

My mom went shopping with us this morning as did my sister-in-law and niece. It was fun. We looked for Christmas bargains. Mom got a Christmas Tree for $48!! I stocked up on gift bags for next year. I also spent some of my Christmas money and got new sheets for my bed, a new pillow, a wireless mouse for my laptop, a Wii fit extra(NEED to exercise) and got myself an Itunes card so I can treat myself to some music!! Mom left to go home around 11:00 this morning. I was sorry to see her go, but I have been a cleaning mad woman since she left!

We are headed over to my brother and SIL's house in a bit to chow down on leftovers. I am going to let Jacob sleep.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


As I sit here on Christmas Eve I reflect on all of the good things in my life. I have my health(although I could love a FEW pounds), my boys, my home and a good job. There are days when things are tough, but I try to remember the good things and today is one of those days.

Even though Elijah was a pain in the rear the other day with a neighbor boy, he did say something that quite surprised me. The other boy was shooting at lego trees, to get studs, wich are worth points. Elijah yells, "Don't shoot the trees, they are natural resources!" How can I be aggravated with him for yelling when he uses such big words. Today while we were out running errands, I said something funny to Jacob. I hear Elijah in the back seat say, "That is outrageous!" I had to stop for a minute and really ponder on what he had said. It was used approrpriately and with the correct tone of voice! He even giggled as he said it! Tics are better today and even his attitude is good!!!

Jacob is such the young man. I can't believe he will be 14 in July. He is so handsome. He will be beating girls off of him! He is very helpful too and always jumps in to help with his brother!

My mom is on her way and my brother and his family are coming over later. We are going to eat wings and open presents. We may even do some singing and guitar playing to guitar hero on the Wii. I just made, what I hope, is my last batch of snowball cookies! I am planning on getting back on Weight watchers after the New Year!

Merry Christmas to you all!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Day to myself

The boys' dad came and got them today at 1:30 to celebrate Christmas. I took off for the movies and grabbed some take out to bring home. I got a pasta meal from Macaroni Grill and some cheesecake. The meal was great and I just ate the cheesecake. I only ate 2/3 of it, it was SO good, but so BIG! I enjoyed my time to myself. I love my boys but Elijah's tics were beginning to grate on my nerves.

David brought them home and they had their gifts. Jacob has been on the Wii since he got home and now has two friends over playing with him. Elijah got three lego sets. Two he put together at his dad's apartment and he and I put together a plane set from Indiana Jones. Elijah ticced through the whole thing. He slapped a bowl full of legos at one point and almost sent them flying. We separate legos into bowls so we can find them more easily when making them. This is something Jacob started and Elijah has continued. I don't really mind Elijah's tics. I feel bad for him though. I was exhausted from watching and listening to him. I don't know how it doesn't drive him crazy.

I have a feeling I'll be putting lego sets together for the next week or so. Santa is bringing him some and several family members may be getting him sets. I hope I can survive it. Jacob has a few surprises coming too.

Today has been a good day. Yes, Elijah has ticced a lot, but behavior has been so much better! Jacob has been happy since he woke up and he got a break and got to go out. He is such a home body sometimes.

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!

Life with Tourettes

Well teh tics continue. Yesterday was another day of lots of noises and kicking/slapping at things. We had some friends over to decorate cookies and one of them wanted to play the Wii with Elijah when we got done. He is much younger than Elijah and Elijah was very bossy and just mean/rude. I finally put him in time out in his room. Jacob went over and played with the boy and with him being so much older the boy really liked having him to play with.

After the neighbors left I let Elijah come out. I decided that I didn't want to cook and would rather go out to eat. I needed a margarita! Elijah was very loud at dinner, which didn't bother me, but I hate it for him. He was slapping at the table too. It wasn't crowded so no one seemed to notice. I rubbed his back and let him know it was OK. The tics really don't bother me, it is the behavior. He didn't tic while the neighbors were over so I wonder if he was trying NOT to tic and this leads to him acting badly. he is focussing so hard on not ticcing that he can't focus on behaving. Who knows? I told him I would rather he tic then misbehave.

As I sit back in my bedroom and type this he is just a screaming and hollering with tics in the other room. He is very excited about Christmas so I wonder if it is that making the tics more extreme right now. Maybe they will calm down once Christmas gets here.

Jacob takes it all in stride. he helped me fix the heppa filter/fan that Elijah dumped legos down into. he was very patient and acted so mature helping me. I was proud that he and I were able to take it apart and put it back together again AND it worked.

I feel like he has made so much progress and then he has a day like yesterday and I feel like he has made no progress. All I can do is be patient and keep trying. That is all he can do too.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Tics, Tics and more tics

Well Elijah has been having some very "strong" tics and they have increased in severity. He is slapping at himself and slapping at tables. I mean just slapping in general and whatever is around him. He is very loud too and doing a lot of snorting with his nose. I have noticed that when tics are worse behavior seems to be worse. It is not so bad at home, but I notice it when we are out.

Today we went to my friend's house to do some baking. There was an Xbox for him to play, but he was still being arguementative. He was yelling and just being snotty. I finally just put him in time out. I didn't want to do it, but I could not let him get away with it anymore. My friend is fine with him, she is a deaf ed. teacher too and knows about all of Elijah's issues. This didn't phase her, which was nice!

After being in time out, and telling him he would lose computer and Wii privledges if he didn't straighten up he was fine. Tics continued, but he was GOOD! My friend has been around for some "small" tics, but this was her first experience with him having "big" tics and she was so surprised. It didn't bother her, but she had just never experienced it.

I am not sure what has brought this increase in tics on. It has been going on since Saturday. You would think being home and not having school would be more relaxing. They don't seem to bother him and I am used to them, but these new ones are just so extreme, especially the hitting himself(on the leg, or on the table). I just don't want him to hurt himself.

We talk about tics when they happen and so he knows it is OK for him to have them. I am thankful everyday that his cochlear implants have given him access to language and that all of the hard work since he was 18 months old have paid off.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Break is HERE!

Well, Christmas break finally started today. I went into work and got some things done in the office. It was a nice morning and I got to visit with several coworkers. I was able to go to Elijah's Holiday Party at school. He didn't get to go to a party last year due to him being in the behavior classroom and not having good behavior. This year things are going well and he was allowed to go.

We went down the 3rd grade hall and I followed him along. He went into one of the classrooms and several kids were excited to see him and asked him to come sit with them. They helped him follow along and play a game. The made an ornament and he got to have snacks with them. Well, then the aide from the behavior class found us and told me we were in the wrong room, so off we went to another classroom where kids were excited to see him there. It is nice to see that he has friends and such. He communicated well with them and asked permission before doing something. He got a little silly when they were making snowmen, using toilet paper to wrap someone up and clothes to adorn the snowman! It was nice to see him interacting with other kids and doing well. They were very accepting of him!

We went back to his main class and got his stuff. He gave hugs to everyone and off we went grocery shoppping! ha!

I am so glad the break is here. I came home with the groceries that Jacob helped me put away. I then laid down and took a nap. I actually crashed out for about 45 min. They boys were good and let me sleep, and didn't kill each other!

David came over to see the boys. He played some Wii games with Elijah and got to help Jacob with a computer game.

I am excited about Christmas. I think the boys will be surprised on Christmas morning!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Kitties and Language

It is amazing to hear Elijah talk around the cats. He tripped over Oreo and said, "I'm so sorry Oreo, it was an accident. are you OK?" He just asked, "Can I hold Tiger like a baby? OH he is a fat cat!" When Oreo first got here he was a little skittish being in a new place. Elijah leaned down to pet him and looked up at me and said, "look mom I am being gentle."

I know it may not seem like a big deal, but for me it is a big deal. This is so much vocabulary. He is also using words more than actions. he is hitting less and is less frustrated.

We have got to go shopping for Christmas presents for the kitties. That should lead to more language. The cats are also good for helping with Elijah's behavior.

We do love our Kitties!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Update on family

Well, Oreo has been with us for four full days and things are going smoothly. The other two cats, Perky and Tiger, seem to be more accepting as each day goes by. They are hissing less and playing a little with him, really just chasing him. Elijah really enjoys him and is very gentle with him.

Jacob takes good care of all three cats.

We are on the countdown to school being out, 3 more days, and to Christmas...9 more days after today. I am so ready for school to be out. We are not doing too much, just staying home and baking or playing the Wii. I am going to make some more pralines! They are a real challenge and I think that is why I like making them.

Elijah is doing well in school. He is using more and more age appropriate language. This morning he was watching "A Christmas Vacation" when the tree catches on fire and he said...."that man ruined the other man's Christmas tree" what a big word! ruined! He is using more question sentences too. We practiced spelling words tonight and boy did he have some tough words, but he did well! His IEP meeting is on January 5th and I am curious to see what everyone thinks of his progress!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

New Addition to our Family

We added a new kitten to our family yesterday. His name is Oreo! He is precious, but of course Perky and Tiger, our other two cats are not too impressed. Oreo was quite scared yesterday when I brought him home and he hid out a lot. Today he has been more adventurous. He is out playing with Jacob right now! This morning, Elijah went to find Oreo and brought him to me in bed. He then looked at Oreo and told him, "No hissing, you be friends with our cats." Well it is not Oreo doing the hissing, it is the other two.

Jacob, who is 13, is having a ball with him right now. Both boys are sweet with all three cats and it is nice to see them be that way. Jacob was just using baby talk with Oreo. Elijah was in hysterics earlier playing with her. She is just a few months old so a true kitten. Hope they all three can get along.

I made a ton of sugar cookies today to take to school next week and use with my students. I have to make enough so we have them here at home too. They are a favorite of both boys! I also made two batches of pralines. I am taking a batch to a potluck lunch we are having next week. Both batches turned out yummy!

Only one more week and then we are out of school for two weeks! I am about done shopping. I just have a few gift cards to pick up!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Endochronolist and Falling Balls

Elijah and I made the trip down to the endochronologist this morning at Children's Hospital in Dallas. This is him in front of the tree. While waiting for the doctor, in the examination room, Elijah asked to play with my Iphone. I let him use it. He started playing FALLING BALLS. You have to tilt the Iphone back and forth to make this stick figure man move and move him out of the way of these falling balls. If the ball hits you, there is a SCREAM and a splat on the screen. He was so into it, that when his figure was hit by the ball and screamed, he jumped and that scared me making me jump. It was so funny! He got so silly. He loved seeing me jump. He started laughing more loudly as he continued playing and was snorting while he laughed. That got me tickled and I started laughing. He then started snorting more. Considering we were in an examination room, we were having a grand time!

Elijah grew almost two inches since June 1st of this year. He gained a little over 10pounds. He is not quite on the growth chart yet, but he is for weight. He is in the 50th percentile! We need to be sure he doesn't gain too much weight, but the doctor is pleased. They took a hand xray and will let me know what they see in that as far as growth goes. We will go back in June 2010 and if he has grown more, then we won't go again unless the pediatrician sees he is not growing. Oh, and looking at his growth velociity, he is growing faster than typical boys his age so hopefully he will catch up!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Not babies anymore

Looking at this picture, I can definitely say that my two boys aren't babies anymore. Just look at how BIG Jacob's hands are. He is 5 ft. 6 inches tall, so he has me beat by an inch. His hands are bigger than mine and his feet are larger than his dad's feet. I still remember when he was learning to crawl and then walk....where did the time go.

Elijah has grown up in a lot of ways in the last year. He has gained weight and also grown taller. He is also more mature and wanting to be more independent. He is my cuddler in the morning and will come lay with me in bed giving me kisses. HIs language skills have grown so much.

Just wanted to share these pictures!

Friday, December 4, 2009

He Made It!!

Elijah finally made it to level 4 in his behavior classroom today! He was very excited when he got off the bus to tell me. I was home early due to a doctor's appointment so I met him at the sitter's house! We went to Walmart to do some grocery shopping and I let him pick out a LEGO toy to put together.

Elijah has made so much progress in the last year. We have had many steps back as we have forward and it has taken us a while to get here. His annual IEP meeting will be in January! He is a child with a hearing loss, but really, he is doing so well in regards to language. I think now that behavior has calmed some and we have a good set of medications, that his brain is calmed down enough for him to make the language progress he has made. Progress in behavior has really come along since his program at school was tweaked. I feel I will always need to be a strong advocate for Elijah, more so in regards to his tourettes, OCD and ADHD rather than with his hearing loss.

We are counting the days until Christmas break and then the days until Christmas. I plan on doing some baking this weekend and more baking over the next few weekends.

I am taking Elijah to the endocronolgist on Monday to see how much he has grown and keep track of all of that! I'll let you know how that goes too!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I Gotta Feeling

I Gotta Feeling has been on my ipod for quite some time now. I listen to it in the car and Elijah is sometimes with me. Just recently he has been making requests. First he wanted me to play "The Kill", he recognized it as a song I had done on Guitar Hero. It is a heavy rock song and I had been fun to do on guitar hero. One day he was really rocking to it in the backseat.

Well this past weekend, I caught him singing, "I gotta feeling". That was all he sang, was the title, but it was cute to hear him singing. He is now asking for it each morning as we drive to school. It is a good upbeat song, so I am glad he likes it and hoping it will help him have a good start to the day.

Elijah's implants have helped him access to so many things he would not have had...MUSIC being an exciting one. I am glad to see he is enjoying it!