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!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Update on Elijah's Right Ear!

Well, Elijah is still complaining that his right ear is bugging him. I made an appointment for January 9th with his audiologist. She suggested I change out controllers so I put his right controller on his left ear and his left on his right ear. This all happened on Monday and then today I noticed once again that his right ear coil was off. He never lets it dangle so I asked him to put it back on and asked him why he had it off. At first he was defensive and said he didn't know. I asked him again and he said it was bugging him. So we are back where we started! We are going to start by doing whole new MAPs on both ears and see what happens after that. I am just so glad he has his left ear to rely on when his right ear is bugging him!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Just Updated the Blog!

I just updated my blog here a bit. I put a new picture up in the header and changed the background! As you can see the boys have grown quite a bit! Jacob is 5 feet 8 3/4 inches tall and gained 35 lbs. in one year. I wish I could do that and look as thin as he does! Of course, he also grew several inches taller.

Elijah has gained some weight too since I last updated the header pic! We are keeping an eye on his height, but he is growing! We go to the endocronologist in at the beginning of the year.

I am off of work until next Monday and the boys are off too. We are hanging at home and enjoying the time off!!

I hope everyone has a safe and Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Visit to the Audiologist last week!

So I took Elijah in to see his audiologist last week, because his right ear processor has been bugging him. I had called Cochlear and they suggested putting it through the dry and store and also changing the mic covers. Did both of those and then changed out his coil. It was still bugging him so Cochlear sent a new refurbished processor and I made an appointment with the audiologist. I also switched him to his back up Freedom processor, his other is a Freedom too, and this one bugged him.

Well, the new one arrived, but it took two days for me to get it from FedEx. Someone at the house has to sign for it, can't go to a neighbor, OR someone with the same last name can pick it up from the distribution center. Well, I asked them to hold it so I could pick it up the next day. I show up and it was on the truck still. UGH! So they called Cochlear and got permission for a family friend to pick it up the next day. We got it on the 16th and after just a day it was bugging him too. Now this is for his right ear which he totally prefers over his left ear. I mean he likes his left ear, but he lets it DANGLE, as I have blogged about before. Well, now it is his right ear dangling or bugging him.

We went to the audiologist on the 22nd and she listened to his right ear with the headphones. Well, it sounded awful she said so we switched to his backup, which I had remembered to bring too, and she said it sounded good. She checked things internally and said it looked like everything was working good. We also checked his left ear and did a hearing test. I have to say he was consistent at 10 dB on all frequencies and even heard at 0 dB for one frequency. It was one of his best hearing test and he really worked hard and paid attention.

I called Cochlear around 9:00 that morning and they said they would send us a new one, but it might be next week before we get it. Yesterday morning, the 23rd, he told me his back up was bugging him AGAIN! We then got his new refurbished processor in the mail and after putting the Skin Its on, I gave it to him. OH and I did listen to it before hand and it sounded good. After just a few hours he told me it was bugging him again! AGHHHHH! What is going on?

I emailed his audiologist last night and explained what has happened since we left. Then this morning I see his right ear blink with coil attached and blink just ONCE and then all was fine. When all this started I saw his original bugging him processor blink a few times and got him some batteries. Coil was on and so I figured it was batteries. I returned to find it not blinking and he said it was on, but bugging him. Hmmmmm! What does that mean? Could it be something intermittent and when we went in, all was fine and everything was working.

I asked his audiologist if someone from Cochlear could come in and test the internal part of his implant. I also emailed an audiologist I know from Cochlear to see what she thinks. She used to be Elijah's audiologist before she went to work at Cochlear and we have known her a long time. I know I won't hear anything until later next week, but I feel better just sending the email.

Have any of y'all heard of someone else having this issue? I'll keep you all posted and hope we can get to the bottom of this.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Elijah's Skin Its Arrived!

We got Elijah's new processor in the mail today and his Skin Its! He was very excited. He has Superman on his right ear!

He has Batman on his left ear!

He is very excited to have them and I am glad we were home so I could sign for the new processor!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Break!

Today was the first day of our Christmas Break. The boys have off until Jan. 3rd and I go back on Jan. 2nd! I think we are all ready for the break. I am taking Elijah to the audiologist on Dec. 22nd because his right ear processor is "bugging him" as he puts it. We tried his back up processor and even got a new one in the mail and they all bug him at some point. Hoping we can get it all figured out. Jacob has a pediatrician visit to discuss ADHD meds and Elijah sees the psychiatrist the week after Christmas for a check up.

Of course, we will celebrate Christmas! My mom is coming in on Christmas Eve and then will drive to see my sister on Christmas Day. We are going to cook here at the house with my brother, his wife and their two kids. We will visit with my dad and his wife too! We will hopefully get some REST!

After two weeks off, I may be ready to go back to work! We shall see! Elijah had a great last two weeks at school before the break and Jacob is doing well too. Hoping they both like what Santa brings them this year. I hope you all enjoy your holiday!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Skin It for Freedom and Nucleus 5 processors

I have been hearing people talk about the SKIN ITS for the Nucleus 5 processor for several weeks. I heard about them on Facebook and on some of the list serves I am on. I didn't really look to see what they were because Elijah has the Freedom processors. Well, now there are SKIN ITS for the Freedom processor, so I decided to take a look and see what all this was about. WOW, they are pretty cool. Elijah was very excited to see them. We looked at several choices and he finally decided on a SUPERMAN skin it and and a BATMAN skin it! I think that is appropriate for an eleven year old. I just ordered them and we both can't wait for them to come in!

If you or your child would like a SKIN IT use the code upromise20 to get 20% off until Dec. 23rd. I'll have to go back and look and see if they make them for hearing aids!

Oh and we are all ready for the Christmas break!!! I am ready for some sleep! I have a bit more shopping to do, but I am just about done!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Break!

The boys were off for the entire week of Thanksgiving. I had to work Monday and Tuesday. They actually survived being home alone together for those two days! I spent Wednesday running some errands and then we had a pulmanologist appointment at 3:30 that afternoon that went to 6:30. Not my idea of fun, but it was the only time that day they had available and I was trying to avoid taking a day off from work. Jacob grew over an inch and gained a few pounds. Elijah grew 1 cm and lost two pounds! Elijah sounded great and had a great breathing test. Jacob has a sinus infection and his breathing test indicated he hasn't been taking his advair like he should, so I am going to have to step in and monitor that more closely.

We drove out to my mom's for Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday. My sister and her son were there as was my brother and his family. He has one girl and one boy, who is now about 15 months old and of course was the star of the day. He entertained us quite a bit. We ate way too much, as you should on Thanksgiving and enjoyed some great desserts. The boys and I drove back that evening.

A friend and I went shopping on Friday morning, but it was late that morning before we got out. We still managed to find some great deals though. I got our Christmas decorations up on that day too, including the Christmas tree! My sister and mom drove in yesterday and we had dinner last night. Elijah got to spend more time with his cousins and they enjoyed playing on the Wii. We are recuperating today and gearing up for the three weeks of school prior to Christmas break. I am hoping Elijah will stay on track with his behavior. He was doing well the few days before Thanksgiving break! Jacob needs to buckle down and get his work turned in!

I will be busy with work over the next three weeks and with baking. I like to give cookies as gifts and they aren't hard to back but do take some work. I am almost done with my shopping, but still have some things left to get! Christmas will be here before you know it!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Things Have Gotten Better!

Elijah had a rough start on Monday at school, but things are much better now. I have started back with a ticket system that is tied to behavior at school(he has a form that comes home each day) and to behavior and chores at home. His new schedule didn't start on Monday so that was part of the problem. He did earn some tickets on Monday, but wasn't allowed to "spend" them.

Things have been much better since then. He has had several good days with just some minor issues. He has earned LOTS of tickets and used them for the iPad, Wii or nintendo. I have had to really enforce the time limits, but it is worth it.

I had called the doctor on Friday of last week and she returned my call on Monday morning. We decided to up one of his mediations by 100 mg and I think that has helped as well. He has one more day left this week and then both boys are out of school for Thanksgiving break next week! I think we are all ready for some time off!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Never a Dull Moment!

Well, parenting a child like Elijah means there is never a dull moment. I never know how things will go with him. Right now he is having a rough time in school. I am still trying to figure out what the issue is. I am hoping when his schedule changes on Monday, things will be better. We discussed some things today and I think he is holding back some tics.

Getting back to the never a dull moment....he was up at 6:30 this morning. I didn't get up until around 8:00. I heard him up, but he usually does pretty good on his own for a bit. I had left out his cereal for him to make his breakfast. Due to his behavior he has lost all privledges to electronics and I kept the TV remote in my room for the den so he was limited on what he could watch. Well I walk into the den this morning to a cat toy TAPED to the ceiling fan and tape on several other fan blades. I also noticed some white spots on the fan where he had pulled tape off of the blade and pulled off some of the brown varnish. I removed the tape and had the same outcome. Needless to say, I was not pleased. Instead of staying home with brother today, he got to go and run errands with me.

He has really been "off" this week. I am not sure if it is due to the time change, hormones, or just something that will happen sometimes. Thankfully it doesn't happen often, but when it does, it is maddening for me.....and I am sure it is for him too.
I know I sound like I am complaining, but the tourettes, OCD and ADHD are just hard to figure out. I never know what will happen next, or what will work for him. He is on some major restrictions this weekend and I am working on a reward system. We shall see how it goes.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

IEP Meeting and Update

We had Elijah's annual IEP(we call it an ARD meeting here in Texas) and it went fairly well. We are going to change his schedule around and have him in a resource Science and Social Studies class. He needs the smaller class size due to his behavior and due to his academics. He is reading at a 3.5 grade level and is progressing with his deaf ed. teacher. She has been with him for several years.

There are concerns about behavior. He has been yelling a lot lately and that is something everyone is working on. He and I even talked about it today. We are hoping that by changing his schedule that his frustration level will lower and that will lead to better choices in behavior. He starts his new schedule on Monday and we shall see how it goes.

Jacob is doing well in school. He still loves ROTC. He has learned to shave with a regular razor. His grandpa helped him with that! He is so handsome! He can be quite nice at times, and other times a grumpy teenager, but sometimes I am grumpy so I guess we all have those times.

We are gearing up for the holidays. Each of the boys has a short list of things they want. I am looking forward to Thanksgiving break! School is going well for me, but I am so busy!

Keeping my fingers crossed that we see improvement with Elijah and I'll keep y'all posted.

Monday, October 17, 2011

It has been a Sad Day

Before I can tell you why I am sad, I have to give you all a bit of information. Back in the summer of 2010 a young lady named Hope posted that she needed someone to take care of her cat while she lived in a dorm in college. She was not living at home and no one in her family wanted to help out. I saw a picture of the cat and knew we had to help her. This cat, named Whisky, looked just like our precious Ridgeway who had died in 2008. I emailed her and we spoke on the phone. We met in person and got to meet Whisky. Now Whisky had a temperment, but could be sweet. We agreed she would bring us Whisky in August and she would give me $40 a month towards food and litter.

We took Whisky in and it took almost two months to get used to us. She finally decided to make Jacob's room her room and stayed in their 99.9% of the time, only venturing out every once in a while. Jacob and Whisky were quite close and he was the only one who could pick her up. I would send Hope updates about Whisky and send her pictures and movies too. We kept in touch and pretty soon it was May 2001 and she came to get Whisky.

We kept in touch through Facebook. I followed how she was doing in college and she would post pictures of Whisky. Jacob had been really sad to see Whisky leave, but he was glad she was happy with Hope. Hope recently posted a picture of Whisky that made us all laugh and I had written her about Whisky.

Last night, when I signed onto Facebook I saw Hope had posted on her Wall. Well, I started reading and I couldn't believe what I was reading. It stated that Hope had been killed in a car wreck on Saturday. I went straight to her Wall and started reading all of the posts. There were no words to express how sad I was. She was only 19 years old. I finally got some more details, and found out she was not wearing a seat belt. She was the passenger in a car that the driver lost control of and they hit another car carrying two people. The three other people survived, but one had to be care flighted to a hospital. I have no idea what their condition is.

I told Jacob the story today. He gasped when I told him that she was not wearing a seatbelt. We had a long talk. Jacob is 15 years old and will be driving within a year. I don't judge Hope for not wearing her seatbelt, but her tragic death affects so many. What if she had only worn that seat belt? What if? We will never know. This has bothered me so much today. Maybe, it is because Jacob is only four years younger than her. Maybe it is because she was just so young. I just know that I am sad and I am sad for her family. It gives me perspective and reminds me that I need to live every day to the fullest.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Jacob's Socks

Every week I wash the boys'clothes. We are being ecofriendly and using a clothesline to dry our clothes. I have noticed that most weeks Jacob has very little underwear and socks to hang up. I guess he doesn't believe in changing either very often. Well, this week he had only ONE pair of socks in his laundry. I mentioned it to him and he said that Elijah must be taking his socks. Well, let's just say that Jacob's socks don't fit Elijah's feet. My conclusion is that they never end up in Jacob's laundry basket.

I folded laundry today and Jacob finally decided to search his room for socks. He then told me in a very annoying manner that he didn't know where his socks were with a look accusing ME of losing his socks. You would just have to be there to get it, but imagine a teenage boy and how they talk sometimes. I then go and search his room and find two pairs of clean pair and one dirty pair. I then find a LOT of trash and a few white t-shirts. I then made him clean up his room and told him it was real simple....walk the TWO steps it takes to go from his bed to his laundry basket and HIS socks wouldn't get lost. They don't get lost going from his room to the washing machine. They just never make it to the laudnry basket.

Jacob cleaned his room and took his trash out to the big trash can outside. He was very polite and I think he realized he needs to be a little more respectful and that pushing MY buttons just makes his life a little harder! I love him dearly, he is my heart, but there are times he needs to think before he speaks.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Too cool!

Elijah and I were driving around last weekend and I was listening to music from my Iphone plugged into the car stereo system. A song started, and I wanted to listen to the next song so I skipped it. The song had just started and we had heard the first few beats of it before I skipped to the next one. Elijah immediately said, "mom I want to listen to Dynamite." He had heard just the first few beats of the song and recognized it. I was so surprised, and of course, I went back to that song and we listened to it. He sang along with it and we had a great time. He has asked for that song a few more times when we drive! It amazes me what he can do with the hearing he has from his CI processors.

Another funny story is how he has selective listening. I can say his name several times from the kitchen while he is in the den and he doesn't answer. However, if we leave the refrigerator door open and it starts beeping he will yell at me from the den to close it. He even hears it over a Wii game he is playing or just the TV being on. He can also recognize TV commercials and some that are his favorites, especially anything with cats!

Elijah heard for the first time on October 22, 2001 and for the second ear on January 20, 2005. He has been hearing for 10 of his 11 1/2 years. You would think that I would still be used to him being able to hear and what he can do, but there are times when I am still amazed. Maybe it is because I work with deaf and hard of hearing kids on a daily basis and I wish they could do more with the hearing they had. I wish they didn't have to struggle so much. Elijah is still behind in his language skills, but he is so much farther along then some other kids I work with.

He has always worn stickers on his processors, but this week we put on blue microphone covers with some blue star stickers. Here is the picture. I think he looks cute. The picture at the top was taken last year when we stopped at a Steak and Shake to eat. I thought it was another cute picture. I sure wish he could have the Nucleus 5 processor, but his Freedoms work just fine and he can HEAR!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2001

It has been a day of remembrance for me. I was a teacher at the high school in the district I work in, when a teacher in the hallway told me about the World Trade Center. I then heard a bit later that another plane hit the other tower. One of the interpreters had a radio and she pulled it out so we could listen to it. I called my husband who was just as afraid as I was. I knew my mother was traveling that day from somewhere in the north east, but wasn't sure where. I finally got a hold of someone at her company who called her so she could call me. Someone finally brought in a video from home and everyone int he school watched in horror.

It was very difficult for all of us and I remember trying to explain it to my students using sign language. I videoed the news coverage at home for the next week or so bringing it in for my students to watch. They would work and then ask me to explain what was happening in the video. Much of the coverage was not captioned so they had no idea what was going on.

There was one shining moment on that day. I got a call from the caseworker handling Elijah's cochlear implant surgery. It had been approved and the doctor's office should be calling to set up his surgery. He was 17 months old at the time and we had been awaiting this moment for several weeks. He had his surgery on Sept. 26, 2001.

It was a day of mixed emotions for me. I was elated about Elijah's surgery but devastated by the events of the day. I also remember how patriotic my deaf young men were in my class. They were determined to join the military and help. They knew they couldn't be on the front line, but they could drive a truck or be a mechanic. It broke my heart to tell them that they would not be allowed to join, but that I was so proud of them for wanting too.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Update--Third week of School

So I get a phone call from the assistant principal of Elijah's school today. He bit a student in art class. I mention to her that biting has been one of his tics in the past. He has put his mouth/teeth on a doorknob, on my arm or hand and on many other things. He does it when he is frustrated. Last week he spit at someone at lunch. Again, this is one of his tics. I can hear the air leave the room when I speak to the assistant principal on the phone. She really doesn't "get it". Now, I don't want him doing these things, but we all have to work with him on finding a replacement tic.

Thankfully, I also got a call from the LSSP(school psychologist) last week and I absolutely love her. We had talked about the spitting incident and she spoke to the school about it being a tic. She did a training at the school this past Wednesday. I called her this afternoon and we talked about the biting incident. She then told me she had biting listed as a possible tic for kids with Tourette's. She assured me she would go to the school and speak to them again.

Now, Elijah and I talked about the spitting when it happened and again today about the biting. The school and I need to work with him on finding a replacement tic and looking for what precedes these incidents so we can try to keep this from happening. What drives me crazy is the feeling that they don't realy believe these are tics. I don't want to be seen as the mom who makes excuses for her son so he can misbehave.

I told someone one the phone just now, what I want is for more understanding on their part. For them to examine the situation and not always assume some action couldn't be a tic, but rather examine the situation and determine if it might be a tic. Elijah is pretty honest about his tics and if it isn't a tic he will tell you. The only thing keeping me from being really aggravated with the school is knwoing the LSSP understands and she will step in and work with the school staff to help Elijah and help them to understand Tourette's. It really is a hard one to wrap your brain around.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Vocabulary, Ipads and Cartoons

Elijah still amazes me daily with the vocabulary he uses. I have got to be a better recorder and start writing down some of what he says. He loves POKEMON right now(drives Jacob and I crazy with it) and is always wanting us to watch it. He will say things like, "look mom, that pokemon is EVOLVING!" He then tells me all the names of the Pokemon that what they are? He also tells me about the story. He will then tell me that the people are evacuating. I am just amazed that he can relate all of this to me in a coherent way that I understand, or think I understand. I am not a big Pokemon fan.

Elijah also loves my IPad. I use it as a reward for good behavior at school. His teachers do email me if he had a rough day, and he doesn't like losing his time with the Ipad. He likes watching videos on youtube or playing angry birds. He will bring me the Ipad and tell me all kinds of things about what he is doing. He told me today about some "creepers" in a game he was playing. He is also very good with the Ipad and doesn't get frustrated with it like he does the computer.

I almost forgot to tell y'all this cute story. Elijah called me on my cell phone the other day and I could not answer. He then called me again and left me a message. It went something like this, "mom are you are you there...I so worried, I call you back in a minute." Isn't that the cutest thing?!

I know it may not seem like a big deal, but the fact that he learns new vocabulary daily, with little intervention from me is amazing to me. I work with so many deaf students who just aren't at this level. Elijah's speech may not always be great, but the words he uses astound me. I'll have to start keeping a list of his words and update y'all later.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Update on boys and school!

Well both boys have been back to school for two weeks now. Jacob got his ROTC uniform switched out for a bit larger size so he is set and ready to wear it when the time comes. We went to Meet the Teacher the other night and I got to meet most of his teachers. They spoke well of him and so far he is doing well in school. He is a sophomore this year and is having to shave a few times a week!

Elijah is in 5th grade and attending an intermediate school. He was in the behavior program for the last two and a half years at the elementary school. Needless to say this is a HUGE change for him. He is riding the bus to and from school. An aide meets him and several other kids at the school and they wait in the library for school to start. He has two resource classes(English and Math) and is in inclusion for Science and Social Studies. He has had a few behavior challenges. The teachers have been great at communicating with me as have both of the principals.

He did spit at several kids at lunch the other day. The assistant principal called and when I told her it was a tic, I could her the disbelief in her voice. We talked and then when I arrived home I emailed the principal. The school LSSP(psychologist) happened to call the next day and we spoke for quite some time. She agreed that the spitting was a tic and she would talk to both principals the next day. She asked lots of good questions and will be leading a workshop for Elijah's teachers next week. The LSSP asked me what I really wanted the teachers to get out of this workshop and I told her that Tourette's is not just about tics, it has many co morbid disorders. We also discussed how Elijah's hearing loss affects his communication in regards to his tourette's syndrome. Elijah is a good communicator but not great at explaining how his tics affect him.

I have to say though, that overall I am pleased with how the school year has started. I am sure there will be some issues during this school year, but hopefully we can all work together to ensure that Elijah has a good year!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Buying School Clothes

I took both boys to buy their school clothes this morning. School starts in less than two weeks on Aug. 22nd. I go back to work next week. Jacob is going into the 10th grade and Elijah will be in the 5th grade. This is the first year for Elijah to have standardized dress. We went to Acadamy Sports and found each boy a pair of slacks that fit, then chose another pair for each. Jacob is wearing a size 20 and Elijah is in a size 14!! We then found a shirt that fit each boy and proceeded to choose a few more. Jacob ended up with two pairs of pants, four shirts and two belts. He wears his ROTC uniform once a week, so this will due for him. Elijah got three pairs of pants, five shirts and two belts! I spent $140 for all of that. I know many people may not like standardized dress, but I love it! We were done in about 30 minuntes and headed home.

We also went this week, because I figure everyone will be out next week buying school clothes and I wanted to be sure to find the sizes we needed for the boys. Acadamy has the BEST prices and a large selection of sizes. Jacob has even told me he prefers standardized dress. It will make it a lot easier for Elijah this year too!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Where are the tortillas?

Jacob finally got a taste of his own medicine! A local grocery chain has started making their own tortillas fresh in the store. The boys REALLY like them so I buy several packages a week. They both like to put cheese between two tortillas and cooking them in the quesadilla maker we have. Elijah has even learned to make these himself!

Yesterday, each boy had tortillas and cheese for lunch. Later, I got ready to run errands and Jacob headed for the refrigerator. He finds an empty package of tortillas and yells, "ELIJAH did YOU eat the last of the tortillas?" Elijah, who was in the other room, yells back, "YEA" and giggles! Oh Jacob was not happy. In the meantime, I am laughing to myself and I say to Jacob, "Now you know how it feels to go get something to eat and have it ALL gone already." Of course, he didn't find the humor in any of this!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wrapping up the summer!

Well we have had a long hot summer. Right now we are surviving temperatures over one hundred degrees and everyone is ready for a break. We took a short vacation to Fredricksburg, TX and stopped to see my sister on the way home. We ate way too much and enjoyed some shops!

I think both boys are ready to get back into the routine of school. Jacob will be in 10th grade and is participating in ROTC again. He tried on his uniform today and it is too small. I emailed his instructor about him taking this uniform back and getting a larger one! I guess he is growing. We also tackled his room today. All I can say is, "OH CRAP!". You don't even want to know what all we found under there, but he was left to clean it up. He also wants to referee again this Fall, and I am trying to get a hold of someone at the soccer association to be sure he can referee!

Elijah will be going into the 5th grade and attending a new school. We visited a few weeks ago and just walked around. I am hoping we can go up the week of inservice and let him meet his teachers. He is ready to go back to school, but anxious too. We have been working on a simple rule all week, "listen to adults." This meaning basically, do what you are asked to do by an adult. Of course, then you have to clarify that with no one should touch you where you don't want to be touched and no one should ask you to get into a car. I have found the simpler I keep things with Elijah the better. His tics have been a little high this week. He is licking his hands and wiping his face a great deal. Whenever tics are high, his behavior is a little worse, but STILL so much better than in the past.

He has a bad habit of making faces when I speak to him and am disciplining him. I look past that for now and realize he is listening and not screaming back at me. We can work on his face later. I am hoping I can explain this teachers in a way that they understand I am not making excuses. However, with Elijah you cannot work on too many things at once or it is just too hard. You don't accomplish anything. It is better to take it in little steps.

Of course, with school starting back, I go back to work! We are all hoping this heat breaks by then. I go back on the 16th and the boys go back on the 22nd. I'll let you know how the beginning of the year goes. I know there will be bumps along the way, but hopefully we can work through those!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Elijah is Growing!

I took Elijah to the endocronologist today to see how he is doing. He has always been on the low end of the growth chart. He took a lot of steroids as a baby and is on medications even now that could slow down his growth.

We got some very good news. He grew almost two inches since February and is now in the 10th percentile in height. The doctor pointed out that Elijah is "crossing lines" which was good. He means the lines on the growth chart and Elijah started out in the 1st percentile and has made progress by crossing the between the 1st and 10th percentile. He has gained some weight, but at this point is not considered too heavy.

The doctor was pleased with his growth and said we could go back to his pediatrician monitoring him or continue to come back every six months. The main reason this doctor wants to continue to monitor him is because of the medicine that Elijah takes. I agreed and we will go back in January of next year! Its hard to believe we are already half way through this year. Keep your fingers crossed that Elijah continues to grow!

Monday, July 11, 2011


Well I had to take Tiger to the vet today. I had noticed the other day that he was favoring his right front paw. Well, it was indeed infected. He also has fleas and tapeworm. The vet gave me flea meds for the other two cats as well as tapeworm meds for them. I won't say how much all of it cost, but it wasn't cheap!

We love our kitties though. Elijah started crying at the vet while we waited for them to bring Tiger out. He was so worried we wouldn't be able to bring him home. The cats have been good for Elijah. He has learned compassion, empathy, love and so many other things from his cats. He loves them unconditionally and they help me to teach him how we treat living things.

Jacob helped me give Oreo and Perky their meds. They each had three pills to talke. UGH! It was no fun at all. A friend who was over helped us with Oreo and she was really good at getting the pill down!

I take Tiger back in two weeks for a check up. If he continues to favor the foot then we will need to do an Xray. I will also take Perky and Oreo in to get their shots updated. I hope this all takes care of things for these three cats. I love them but they are expensive!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Music Links

Elijah loves to play on the computer or on his nintendo DS. Unfortunately, I am doing my own thing usually and don't want the noise. I bought him Music Links about a year ago, but he was never really into them. Well, I pulled them out again recently and he loves them. He has learned how to turn on this Mic/telecoil settings on his CI processor and he gets himself going. He has some issues with his fingers and fine motor skills so this was not an easy task for him.

He leaves the music links plugged into the computer and then puts them on behind his ears when he is ready to use them. It has cut down on the noise quite a bit and I am glad to see him becoming more independent. Now if we could just remember them on long car rides, so I don't have to listen to the Nintendo DS all the time!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Where are the doughnuts?

"Where are the doughnuts from yesterday?", Jacob asked as he entered the kitchen about 9:00 last night. I looked at him wondering why I was being asked this question at this time of night. I had gotten doughnuts prior to our garage sale on Friday. We had eaten all but four of them. My friend who did the garage sale with me was back on Saturday so we finished off the doughnuts that morning. Jacob didn't even get up until 10:00 yesterday morning. So I looked at him and said, "We ate them this morning. You snooze you lose." He sighed loudly, rolled his eyes, and cringed a bit as he exited to his room.

The boy is an eating machine! I give him his box of cereal on Saturday morning and he doesn't get a new box until the next Saturday. If he eats it too quickly, well then he goes without. I bought ten boxes on sale and used a coupon with them all, but I still can't afford to go through three boxes of cereal in one week! If I buy grapes, he goes through them within two to three days. I also find stray grapes throughout the house. UGH! I also hide Power Zone drinks in the garage and ration them out as needed.

I hide Oreos from Elijah or he would eat them all in one sitting too! He is starting to get that teen appetite as well! He is also becoming more independent but I'll write about it later.

Pray I can continue to afford Jacob! He is eating like a MAN!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Second Summer of Swimming and Hearing

This is our second summer for Elijah to swim with his CI processor on. We use his backup Freedom processor, aLoksak bag and a swim cap. He loves being able to swim and hear. My dad and step mom have a pool and he loves to go swim there. Once I say we are going, he dashes to get his swim suit and swim shirt on. He will then come find me and remind me to get his swim cap!

Once we get to my dad's house, he asks again for the swim cap and we now have it down to a fine science. Before we even left the house, I have put his one back up processor on. He just has one processor once we leave. We get there and I put the processor in the aLoksak bag, he holds the CI and bag on his head and I put on the swim cap. I ask him if it is OK and if he responds I know he has heard me.

We were at my dad's house for about an hour tonight. He communicates with his cousin, uncle and me very well in the pool. If he misbehaves, I can handle it quickly by talking to him. He also has a lot less anxiety when we swim and he can hear. I do turn his sensitivity up on on his processor so he can pick up more sound since he has the sack and cap covering the processor.

I asked him if he likes to hear when he swims and he says, "OH YEA!" I am looking forward to swimming with him the rest of the summer!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Watching Elijah!

We joined the city's Recreation Center yesterday! It has some really nice work out equipment and a basketball court for the kids to play. I can work out on the second floor and see Elijah down playing on the basketball court. When we went to check it out he cried when we left, he wanted to stay. We had joined, but I wasn't really in work out clothes, so I promised we would go back and we did.

Jacob went with us yesterday and I walked a mile on the treadmill. Jacob kept an eye on his brother, but I told him he didn't really have to "watch" him. Jacob is a good big brother, but like any brother he is annoyed by his little brother. They did pretty good though and Elijah interacted well with many of the other kids.

Elijah and I went back today. He got a basketball and headed for the court and I headed upstairs. I walked on the treadmill so I could watch Elijah. At one point I saw a boy about Elijah's age in Elijah's face pointing a finger. Elijah did well and didn't get back into the other boys face. I don't know if Elijah did something to the boy or touched the boy's ball, but he has to learn to deal with these things. Elijah walked away and joined some other boys who were playing and started talking to them. It was so hard for me not to run down and see what was going on. Of course, I also saw Elijah kick another boy's boy across the gym rather than giving it back to him. Elijah had not taken the boy, but he could have been courteous and helped the boy out.

Once I was done with my workout I went down and shot some baskets with Eiljah. We talked while we played and discussed the things I had seen. He did really well and listened. We then played some fuss ball with a game table. It was a lot of fun. I am glad that Elijah likes the Rec center and that his behavior so far has been good.

When I watch Elijah, I so wonder what is going through his head. Here he is with his CIs that make him look different. Most kids don't make a big deal about it, but some do. He then his tics and other neurological issues. I was proud of him both today and yesterday. It is good to see that he can be independent around other kids and control himself.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Our Summer So Far

Well, our summer has been fairly uneventful so far. I had a 2 1/2 day workshop last week and Jacob watched Elijah for me. Things went well and no one killed anyone!! I ordered a new swim cap for Elijah and we used it tonight so he could swim with his processor on. He does so much better with his behavior when he can hear!!

We have a week worth of doctor's appointments this week and I have some errands to run. I plan on taking both boys to the movies later this week. We want to see SUPER 8!! We will go and see my sister in July and go to Fredricksburg for two days too!

Hope everyone else is enjoying their summer so far!!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Heat is ON!

Well, summer is definitely here! It was HOT today and will continue to be hot. The boys are both done with school as am I. I do have a 2 1/2 day workshop next week, but other than that I am DONE! I am planning on taking the boys swimming tomorrow at my dad's house tomorrow. I am going to wear my new bathing suit!

We have several doctor's appointments in the next two weeks. I will be glad to get them done and over with! Nothing major, just the typical stuff. Elijah has an audiological appointment at the end of the month. I am hoping to get some better MAPs for Elijah so he doesn't let the left coil dangle!

Jacob got his hair buzzed off the other day. He wanted his hair SHORT and easy to take care of. I also got Elijah's hair cut a bit shorter than usual. I plan on having ready to me each day or at least every other day. I am also planning on having him doing some writing with me also. He really needs to work on it. I am hoping that I can make it fun for him, or as fun as you can make writing!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

How to Chose?

I blogged a few weeks ago about Elijah's IEP(ARD meeting in Texas) and how he would be going into 5th grade next year. Today I went to his 5th grade promotion ceremony at school. He did quite well, but sat in the audience with his teacher and I. She said he had had a hard time on the stage yesterday keeping still and being quiet. Even as we sat in the audience he had some "large" tics, but thankfully not loud. The teacher did a nice job of stroking his arm to calm him so his tics would lessen.

Part of me is scared to death to send him to a new school, but I can't keep him at elementary school forever. He will be riding the bus to school next year and riding it home. He won't have a sitter anymore. He has matured quite a bit in the last year, but still has a long way to go. I know there will be many bumps in the road, but we can't stand still and not travel down that road.

I am hoping that he and I can visit his new school and meet his teachers before school starts. I want him to have a "plan" for where he is to when he arrives at school and then how to get on the bus after school. I want him to have a "plan" throughout the day and for him to transition to being more independent. I know he can do it, if there is a good plan in place.

Jacob is going into the 10th grade next year. He seems to be growing up so fast on me. He is going to participate in ROTC again next year. He has a bit of a beard coming in! Where does the time go?

We should have a fairly laid back summer. We do have doctor's appointments and a mini vacation we are starting to plan. Before you know it, it will be time to return to school!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Only Three More Weeks!

Only three more weeks and school is OUT for the summer! I think I am more excited then the boys are. It has been a long school year for me too. Elijah will be going into the fifth grade and to a new school next year. Jacob will be in the tenth grade and his second year of ROTC. I went with him to his award's banquet last night. He was recognized for the ribbons he earned first semester and he said he has earned several more ribbons for this current semester. He really likes ROTC and it was a fun and informative night last night.

We really aren't doing much this summer. We have several doctor's appointments for the summer, including the endocronologsit and the audiologist. I want to have Elijah's MAPs checked to be sure his left one is mapped correctly and try to figure out why he lets it dangle so much. We may take a trip to Fredricksburg for a few days and then go and see my sister who lives near San Antonio. Jacob and Elijah really enjoyed going there a few years ago! I may also try to have a garage sale.

Before you know it, the time will come for school again. What is everyone else doing this summer?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Visit to Doc--update on new medication

So we went to the doctor today to discuss how Elijah is doing on his new medication. I told her how things were going. He seems calmer and to respond better with discipline. He seems to have less aggression. Even she noted his change since she last saw him. We are going to up the dosage by 1 mg, so he will now have 3 mg instead of two. I will wait until Thursday to start him on the new dosage though, because tomorrow is state testing. Upping the dosage could make him sleepy and that wouldn't be good on a day he has to take an important test....although I don't like the testing, he still has to take it.

I think upping the medication will be a good thing. I'll let you all know how it goes.

Monday, April 25, 2011

IEP Meeting Today

We had Elijah's three year re-evaluation IEP(in Texas they are called ARD) meeting today. We briefly discussed his evaluations and that was OK with me, because my main concern was next year. I had some concerns and I don't want to get into all the details, but lets just say I wasn't sure how things were going to go. He has been in a behavior class for almost 2 1/2 years, which has worked, but I wanted him out of it. It really isn't appropriate for a kid with tourette syndrome.

I don't think his teacher was very happy with all that transpired, she was rather quiet. The principal from his new school was there as well as his current principal. We had a long discussion on the schedule of services page. Elijah will have resource English/Reading and Math. He will also have a social skills for about 20 minutes a day. He will be in a co-teaching class for his science and social studies and then have his other classes out. Now I am concerned about the transition between classes, where he will go when he gets to school(he will have to ride the bus next year) and those mainstream classes. We discussed several plans we might put in place, and I will want to see what is decided upon before school starts. The "plan" would be about what happens if he starts ticcing a lot and gets agitated, or if he just gets agitated in general.

We then discusses his deaf ed. itinerant teaching time. Well, the principal from the new school about flipped out when she saw 120 minutes a week of pull out. HOW would this affect his time in the core classes, we would have to rearrange everything. OH MY. I guess she has never had an itinerant kid before. The 120 minutes is broken up into 3 40 minute sessions. He still needs that time with his deaf ed. teacher and I was not going to back down on that time. I think the new principal finally GOT the concept and agreed to it.

I plan on taking Elijah up to the school over the summer and getting some video of him at the school. I know it will be a hard year. I don't expect it to be perfect starting on day one. We will have some bumps along the way, but as long as everyone is trying, well we can work with that. I'll find out come September, I guess!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What about that new medication?

So Elijah has been on this new medication for almost two weeks now. I do think it has made a difference in his aggression level. I haven't heard much from the school and I haven't asked. We have his IEP meeting on Monday and I figure I will ask then. I have been emailing the principal and diagnostician about his current FIE(Full Individual Evaluation) that I received from them. For whatever reason, Tourettes was left off of his OHI(other health impaired) form and I noticed that and want them to get that fixed. That means they have to resubmit a form to the doctor.

I really don't want to be a real pain in the rear, but I have to advocate for my child. I want him out of the behavior unit. Thankfully, I have my friends at work who have given me lots of great advice on what to ask for at this next IEP meeting. Next year Elijah will move to a new campus and this will be a huge transition for him. I want things to go as smoothly as possible.

I'll let you all know how it goes!!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Medication again!

So I get a phone call from Elijah's teacher on Thursday that he had, in her words, a "horrific" day. He has been "off" for two weeks in his behavior. Now this is the first I am hearing of it. He has a checklist that comes home daily and there has been nothing on there about him being "off" like this. He has gotten check marks in the good, fair and poor categories, but no notes about anything specific. We then got into a discussion about next school year.

One of my concerns about him being in a behavior class is that it really isn't appropriate for a kid with tourettes. He has a neurological condition that causes some of his issues. Some days he will just be "off" and it isn't really his fault. NOW can he learn to try to control himself...YES he can, but he is only ten(going on eleven by the end of the month). Now I have OCD and I know how hard it is to turn off that voice in my head that tells me to freak out about things, so I can only imagine how hard it is for Elijah who has to deal with tics, OCD and ADHD.

I called the psychiatrist office and got him an appointment for the next day, which was yesterday. We didn't get to see his usual person there, because she is on maternity leave but we did see someone else who was very nice. We discussed things and Elijah did a good job of talking to her. We are adding a new medication to his already long list of meds. It is one that hopefully will help control his impulsivity during the day that seems to be his issue. He is yelling out in class and being off task. He will start with 1 mg and then in a week go to 2mg and then we go back in to discuss how it is going.

I hate him having to be on medications, but I truly believe he is a child who has to have them in order to function. His IEP meeting is in about three weeks. I did send a book to school for his teacher calling, "Teaching the Tiger" that is specifically about kids with Tourettes and other co morbid disorders. I really want them to see that HE will have OFF days and there is no amount of rewards or consequences that will truly control those days when he is REALLY OFF...when the chemical imbalance is just too much. I tell him to wipe away his worries and rub his forehead. That seems to help when I see him spiraling a bit out of control. I need to share that with his teacher. He is so remorseful after having what I call a "fit". He knows he messed up, but when he is IN IT he can't pull back and stop himself. That is a skill he will need to learn and one that hopefully meds can help some with.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Growing Up!

Elijah is finally beginning to show some signs of maturity, meaning he is beginning to show signs of acting more his age. I have assigned him a few more chores like filling up the cat bowl with cat food and unloading the dishwasher. The dishwasher started with doing the utensils and Jacob doing the rest of the dishwasher. Elijah has finally grown a bit taller and can do the whole dishwasher with very little help. There are a few things that he cannot reach and he does need help with those but overall he is doing an awesome job with the dishwasher. Once he is done, Jacob comes in behind him and loads the dishwasher. Jacob was HAPPY to give over the chore of unloading the dishwasher.

I am also working on Elijah learning to use a key to unlock the doors to the house. I need to work on his telephone skills next.

Elijah seems quite proud of himself when he accomplishes a task. He earns tickets for doing his chores which he can trade in for Wii or computer time.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Another Milestone for Jacob!

For serveral months Jacob has had some HAIR on his chin, but not quite enough to shave. He got an electric razor for Christmas, but had not used it yet. He recently started getting beard hair on the side of his face. He has not wanted to shave it, and I really was not sure why. Well today he came in from school, in his ROTC uniform and said, "FEEL my face!" I took one look and realized he had shaved. He had done it all on his own this morning after I left for work. As far as I can tell, he did a good job! Where does the time go? I still remember his first hair cut and the first time he walked. Now he is shaving!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

It's Not Easy!

It's not easy living with a child with Tourette Syndrome, OCD and ADHD. I group them together because for Elijah they all go hand in hand. Now tics are the most obvious thing about Tourette Syndrome. For the most part, Elijah's tics are not too bad. However the last few days they have been, and we have been home for Spring Break so I never get a break. I know he can't help it, but at some point the noises can drive you insane. He has also been a bit more arguementative and not good about following directions. All of this leads to my patience thinning over time.

Today we went to the pulmanologist. He was just all over the place on the drive there. I had errands to run and those took about 90 minutes after the two hour doctor's appointment. It was for both boys so that is one reason it took so long. Elijah was better during the errands. We then get home and are home for about two hours when he spills something on his shirt. Ok no problem, we will just change his shirt. Well he goes to take off his processors and mentions that ONE of them has a missing battery cage. Now I ask him WHEN did he notice it not working and he of course, doesn't answer. We look all over the house and then I call the doctor's office and they find it in the examining room and will mail it to me. This means from at least NOON to 4:00 he was walking around NOT hearing out of that one ear and NOT telling me that he couldn't hear. ARGHHHHHHH! I totally thinks this goes to immaturity and anxiety of knowing losing it means he gets in trouble, but if he would tell me right away we could find it. I am still amazed they found it at the doctor's office.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lost "ear" again!

Ok, so the "ear" was only lost for about five minutes, but still IT WAS LOST. Bye "ear" I mean Elijah's cochlear implant processor. I awoke to him turning on the Wii and getting ready to play. He looks at me and says, "where is my ear?" I notice that ONE processor is on but not the other. I ask and sign WHERE and we head to his room. We find it right there on his floor! I then start talking to him about being careful with his EARS when I realize HE hasn't turned them on. I then sign to him to TURN THE DARN THINGS ON and he does. I unplug the Wii and we have a chat that when he PUTS his ears on HE needs to TURN them on! ARGH! He does this a lot. He puts them on but doesn't turn them on. Well, from now on if I catch him with them ON but not turned on the Wii goes away for a few hours. He will even call me from another room with them turned off and I answer him back thinking he can hear me! UGH! That really drives me crazy.

He loves being able to hear and I don't mind that he has times where he wants to be deaf. If he is going to do that then, he needs to COME and find me and talk to me so I sign to him AND not lose them!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ghosts Don't Need Candles!

Elijah has been watching a lot of Scooby Doo lately on ON DEMAND on our cable television. He just LOVES Scooby Doo! For some reason he has locked onto a line from one of the episodes that he just loves to say and he think is SO funny. It is, "Ghosts don't need candles." The whole gang sees the ghost and believes it is a real ghost until one of them says, "ghosts don't need candles." The ghost was carrying a candle, so I guess that was that person's way of showing the ghost wasn't real! He will say it to me and just laugh out loud. I think it is pretty funny myself!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Things are going well!

Things are going well here at the Shaddox household. Jacob is still enjoining ROTC and earned four ribbons first semester. One if for having a high GPA and another one is for good attendance. He was one of just a few cadets to get all four ribbons.ROTC has really been a good fit for him. He plans on being in ROTC for all four years of high school. I need to ask him about his other class choices for next year. He was out with the flu for four days last six weeks and that made it hard for him to keep his grades up, but he managed!

Elijah is doing well. He had a great week last week at school and started off with another good day today. He is doing well at home and we continue with the ticket reward system. He really likes earning the tickets and buying computer or Wii time with them. We just started using Netflix with the Wii and he is so smart and figured out how to get to the movies and such. He probably knows how to run it better than me at this point!

Work is keeping me very busy! I am driving a LOT and it seems that more and more deaf and hard of hearing students are turning up on my doorstep! I guess it is job security. Sometimes the driving gets old, but it isn't too bad. I have been taking some books on CD to listen to and that helps some! Sometimes I am busy on the phone even when I am in the car. I think all three of us are ready for spring break. I have several appointments during that week for the boys to see doctors, but nothing too time consuming....except for the pulmanologist. That is usually at two hour visit, if not longer!

I am also doing some mystery shopping on the weekends to bring in some extra money. It isn't too difficult and is actually pretty interesting at times! I hope everyone else is doing well!!!!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Language Development--Question Stage

It is a lot of fun to listen to Elijah these days and see what he comes up with when he is talking. He hit the question stage of language development about a year ago. I noticed it when he started it with the WHY questions!! He was like a 3 year old asking WHY WHY WHY about everything. He now listens to conversations and will chime in with a question. A friend of ours had a birthday the other night and we had cake! He asked her, "What year born you?" I corrected his question to, "What year were you born?" He repeated it and she answered. He then asked me the same question and his brother. Later that night he asked about his dad's birthday.

He seems more inquisitive these days and really wanting to know more about what happens around him. He doesn't mind repeating when I correct his grammar. I am glad to see that he is in this stage. I marvel daily at his vocabulary and his grammar skills. He has come a long way.

Quick update to on behavior...HE had a GREAT week at school!!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Update on Behavior

Elijah is doing well these days. He had good days on Thursday and Friday of last week and another good day today. There was no school yesterday! He and brother did well home alone yesterday. Jacob is almost 15 and more than capable of babysitting his brother, thank goodness!!

The reward system continues to go well. He uses his tickets to "pay" for time on the computer or Wii. He is doing jobs around the house to earn tickets. Tonight I told him his time was up on the Wii and he said, "yes m'am" and got off of the Wii. That earned him a ticket!!! I try to add those tickets in randomly when he is really good!

I am hoping this behavior continues for a while! I also have got to remember to be consistent with tickets and discipline. It is easy to let up when things are going well and things get worse and it is because I have backed off!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Endocronologist Visit!

Elijah and I went down to Children's in Dallas to see the Endocronologist! We go down every six months or so to check on his growth. He only grew an inch since August and gained about six pounds. This is a slow down in growth and so he has short stature! He is not real concerned yet, but we are definitely going to be keeping an eye on his growth. Elijah did well with the visit but didn't like having to have blood drawn, but the woman was very nice and just pricked his finger to get the blood sample! He also had an X-ray done to check his bone growth!

I made his next appointment for July! At least it will be in the summer! Traffic was awful on the way home this afternoon! We got down to Dallas in 45 minutes but it took about an hour and a half to get home! I hate driving in traffic!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Update on Elijah and Medication

Elijah's behavior has not been very consistent since he started on the steroid a week ago Monday. I called the doctor and she suggested we up one of his medications while he is on the steroid, so I did. It has taken a few days but he finally had an awesome day today at school. He seems to be back to his old self, for as long as it lasts, which I hope is for a while. He took his last steroid pill last night, but it can stay in his system for a week, so I am going to continue with the extra pill during that time. His cough is at least gone!

This morning he argued about getting dressed, and instead of arguing back I just told him he could go to school in his pajamas. Well, he didn't want to do that so he got dressed!! I so wish his life didn't hinge on how the chemicals in his brain were acting on any given day. He is so remorseful after he has a blow up. I don't even think he understands why he acts the way he does. We just keep working it out and I breathe a little deeper so I can keep my cool. All we can do is just keeping taking it one day at a time!

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Medication has done wonders for Elijah. He has been on one medication or another since he was born. Being born prematurely he was on medication to mature his lungs and to close a valve in his heart. He was on medication during his entire NICU/Spec. Care nursery stay to keep fluid off his lungs. He was on this same medication for a year after he came home from the hospital. He also came home on oxygen. He has seen a pulmanologist since the day he came home!

He has been on asthma medications since he was born and these keep him healthy and functioning. I am thrilled at the advances in medication since Elijah's father was a child. He is also on medications for his ADHD, OCD and tics from the Tourette Syndrome. These medications are a bit trickier to regulate and we have had many changes in the last three years since his diagnosis. I am also thankful for the doctor's that prescribe these medications and work with me to keep Elijah mentally strong and safe.

However, sometimes these medications can affect his personality in a way that is not good. He is on steroids and some very strong cough medicine with codeine right now. This makes him quite edgy and he is quick to anger, which is not a good thing for a child with neurological issues. He has had a rough few days at school and at home. I am hoping that by the middle of next week he will be off these medications. He will be on breathing treatments for the next few weeks and those can also affect his behavior.

I am also hoping that it is these meds that are affecting him and we will only have to deal with it for another week or so. I really don't want to have to tweak his other meds, because it is just scarey to do. We never know how it will affect him and he has been doing so well. I'll keep y'all posted.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I stayed home with Elijah today to take him to the pulmanologist. He has had an awful cough for two weeks and we have tried breathing treatments and other meds. We stopped at Target on the way to buy some cat litter, it was on sale. I decided as we were walking in to get a vanilla latte at Starbucks. After I paid and as I turned around a woman said to me, "I think I know you. Was your son ever at Presby(Presbyterian Hospital) Dallas in the NICU. I looked at her and said, "Yes" as my brain tried to place her. She said, "I am a nurse there, my name is Jenna." Just as she said that my brain put it all together and I reached out and gave her a big hug as I said, "JENNA!!"

That is Jenna in the picture with Elijah on the day he came home from Presby. He was in the NICU for about 2 weeks and then in the special care nursery for another 2 1/2 weeks. Jenna was his nurse in the special care nursery during the day. She had him on pretty much every shift she worked. I have to say she was my favorite nurse during Elijah's entire stay int he hospital.

We sat and chatted right there in Target for about ten minutes. She thought she recognized me and then she saw Elijah with his red hair and his cochlear implants. We had seen her a few times at the NICU reunions that we had attended a few times in the first few years after he was born. She knew he had cochlear implants and remembered we lived in this area. She was amazed at how well he spoke and thought he looked great. I told her a little about his tourette syndrome, OCD and ADHD. She asked where he went to school and we talked about that for a minute. I explained we were on our way to the pulmanologist due to his cough. He really has been very healthy for the last two years! I also told her about this blog, so I am hoping she is reading it and catching up on him.

Seeing Jenna brought back so many memories. It is amazing that we ran into each other at all. I am usually at work during the time we were at Target and it would only be the summer when I might be in there on a weekday at that time. I usually go in on the electronics end of the store, but because we needed cat litter, I went in on the other end of the store. I remember seeing her as we walked in, so the timing on that is just amazing. I tend to think that we weren't meant to run into each other. I tend to think an angel pushed us both in the right direction to let us meet. I needed a real pick me up today and Jenna provided that. I hope she is reading this and knows what an angel she was when Elijah was under her care.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Update on Reward System

We are on day five of the reward system for Elijah and it seems to be working well. He is using more polite words and making better choices. He had two wonderful days at school. He earns tickets for behavior at school too. We are iced in again today!!! He will have to do some things around the house to earn his time for the computer and/or Wii. He has the choice of working on some educational games on the computer to earn some tickets too!!

His cough is still pretty bad. I may take a half a day tomorrow to take him into the pulmanologist. I am giving him breathing treatments pretty steady today to try to knock it out. He seems fine, except for the COUGH! He has had it for two weeks. There is no way to take him in today due to the ice. I already canceled one appointment for today and rescheduled it for next week!

OH I did get to tease Jacob this morning. He was hoping for no school today. He was still asleep at 8:00 and so I went in and said "Hey time to get up to go to school." He replied with REALLY and I said REALLY....he then sat up and started looking around. He saw how light it was outside and looked at me again and I pulled up the blinds to show him the snow. He said, "Thank goodness!" He knew by then school was canceled. This has been the worst winter. In the 20 years I have taught we have NEVER had five snow days!!!

Hope everyone out there keeps warm!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Elijah just got a videophone for the house. He is not really that sign dependent, but a mom in New York who is deaf and has a deaf son with tourette's recently contacted me through email. She wanted for her son and Elijah to be able to communicate about their tourettes. Elijah understands a lot more sign than he uses, and I would like for him to learn a bit more sign! This also allows the other mom and I to be able to chat about our boys. They both seem very alike!!!

I have also been able to talk to a few of my former students using the videophone. It is really neat and Elijah loves to be able to use it. If you are deaf or hard of hearing and use sign language to communicate you can qualify for a free sorenson videophone. Just go to their website at

If you have a videophone and would like to chat, send then leave a comment and we can exchange phone numbers!!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Reward System!

So Elijah's behavior has been less than desireable for the last few weeks. He argues at hom and at school and then last week started hitting walls on the way to his room for a time out. I have not used a reward system for him for a long time. He was doing well and I just took away the computer or Wii if he misbehaved. Recently though, I have had to take these things away quite a BIT!

After talking to a friend who was over here to witness some of Elijah's behaviors I decided to try tickets AGAIN. He can earn tickets for doing chores, behaving at school, and for responding quickly when asked to do something by me. He then has to use those tickets to get computer, Will and/or Nintendo DS time. Well, we are in to day two and things are going well. He is staying off of the electronics without me having to remove them completely. When his time is up on one of the things he has earned, he is getting off quickly. We found the Time Timer to use so he has a good visual of how much time he has left while playing.

It really will come down to me being consistent with giving him tickets when he earns them and to sticking to the time limits when he choses what he wants to spend his tickets on. I will say, there has been less arguing in the last two days and when he does get irritated he isn't overreacting as much as before.

I'll keep y'all posted on how it goes.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Iced in--Day 4

We woke up this morning to 5 inches of snow! Our district had already decided to close for today because we still had ice. The weatherman had predicted a light dusting of snow and here we are with 5 inches. I may try to get out later because I need more mucinex for Elijah's cough and maybe a few supplies. Plus we all just have cabin fever.

I am waiting on a call back from Elijah's pulmanologist. He has had a cough for a week and today it seems worse. I gave him a breathing treatment at 5:30 this morning when I heard him coughing in bed.

I hate to say it but Elijah is on my last nerve. He has become very arguementative and feels like he has to get the last word in. He has been this way for the last two days and is now in his room. He may just be there the rest of the day. I unplugged the Wii and moved it to my closet and have changed the password on the computer. I just don't get WHY it takes so many times for him to learn that back talk and attitude just lead to trouble for him. I am sure it ties in to his tourettes, OCD and ADHD, but it just gets old after a while. I hope I can survive the next two days!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Iced In--Day 3!

Well here we are at Day 3 of being iced in. The schools are closed here in our area, but my district where I work is open....opened two hours late. Not sure what is going to happen tomorrow. We still have a lot of ice here and our schools could be closed again tomorrow, but my district could be open!

The kids are doing OK. Jacob stays in his room, but did come out to eat a frozen pizza I cooked. Tabitha and Elijah are playing well, however Elijah does not have an INSIDE voice. Everything is loud and he seems to get loud every time the baby goes to sleep. He finally had to go to his room so I could rock the baby back to sleep and then stay there for a while!

I have not driven since Monday and have only been to my brother's house one time since then. I don't mind being home, but we can't go anywhere and there is only so much on TV or so many games you can play on the Wii!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day 2 of being Iced in, Day 3 coming tomorrow

We woke up this morning to NO power. Thankfully I got to Elijah before he woke up. I was supposed to keep my niece and nephew, so I called my SIL and I took the boys to their house. It was not a fun drive but we made it. We stayed there until about 11:30when a neighbor confirmed the power was back on.

We had rolling blackouts all day due to the heavy demand for electricity last night and today. Many people were caught off guard, including us!

I made it back to my house with the kids and we just stayed in. My fleece shirt is covered in spit up and green beans!. No biggie, but definitely a different kind of day. The district we live in is closed tomorrow, but the district I work in is opening late. However, I won't be going in tomorrow. I'll have my niece and nephew again too! Hoping I can survive one more day home with four kids.

Hoping we don't lose power tomorrow! Hope everyone else is staying warm!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Iced In!

Well, we had ice overnight, so no school for me or the boys. We have a day at home! My district posted the closing last night. I got a call from Elijah's sitter, who works at the bus lot, that Wylie was close around five this morning. Then around 5:15I got an automated call and another at 5:30. Both calls were from Wylie ISD. Well, by then I was UP and couldn't go back to sleep.

I stuck my head out around 6:15 and Elijah was up and had made his breakfast already! Jacob got up a bit after that to eat breakfast, but he is now back in bed. Elijah is watching Toy Story 3 right now! I may go and take a nap after a bit! We may have ice for several days!!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sometimes I Wonder!

Sometimes I wonder if Elijah will ever just be an easy child to take care of. If it isn't one thing it is another. Now, I know better than to complain...many children have a great many more issues than Elijah has but some days....some days I wonder if I can keep it up.

Between his processors, which are usually easy to maintain, but at times can be a huge responsibilty. Just the other morning, one would not turn on and we spent five long minutes trying to troubleshoot the processor. We finally figured out the controller was not working and pulled out his backup processor. Made for a stressful five minutes when you are trying to get out the door to school and work.

Today I took an hour long nap due to a headache. I wake up to him with NO shirt on. I figure he got warm and left it at that. I asked him to put his shirt on so we could go for a walk and his collar is all chewed up on a brand new shirt his grandma just gave him. ARGH! I can't even take a nap without something like this happening. It may seem like a small thing, but I am pretty sure this shirt is now ruined and it has been worn only one time.

Elijah also has a cough right now on top of Jacob having the flu earlier in the week. Elijah has been doing breathing treatments since yesterday morning. I have been talking to the pulmanologist since yesterday and he thinks things are getting better based on my reports and I agree, but it takes forever to get rid of this kind of cough.

It has just been a long day home today. Elijah has also been a bit arguementative and that gets on my last nerve too. Alright, I am done with my venting. Tomorrow is another day and at least I get to go to work!!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Case of the Dangling EAR

So Elijah is always letting his left processor coil DANGLE off his head. It drives me crazy. I worked too darn hard to get him that second surgery and second EAR to let him have it dangle off his head. I swear I could put a montage together from our vacation last year that I video taped of me saying....PUT YOUR EAR ON ELIJAH.

His left "ear" is his second ear to be implanted and was done about three years after his first "ear" was done. I think he still prefers his first "ear" but if I take away the left one he begs to have it back. I think he has trained me to just tell him to put it back on.

I decided this morning that if I see that left one dangling, or right one even, then I am going to take away both "ears" for 5 minutes and the next time 10 minutes. Condition him to keep it on.

He hears well out of both ears. Maybe it is related to his tourette syndrome and other issues or maybe he just likes the right one better. I'll keep y'all posted.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Singing Jingles!

Tonight Elijah was on the computer and not really paying attention to the TV. A popular advertisement came on the TV and he sang right along with it, with his back to the TV. I swear that kid hears everything, when he wants to that is!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Someone Flipped the Switch Back!

Elijah woke up in a much better mood today. He has been happy and very polite. It is like someone Flipped that the switch back, that was flipped last Sunday. It is the difference between night and day! Hoping it is a several weeks or months before that switch gets flipped again in the wrong direction.

Glad my happy boy is back!

The New Thing Elijah Does!

I taught Elijah how to get up and make his own breakfast in the morning. This way, he can let me sleep in. I also told him he needs to put his "ears" on each morning and be careful with them. One morning, he came rushing in asking where his "ears" were? I jumped up, grabbed my robe and followed him into the den. He and I finally found them by the computer.

We had a long talk about how he needs to put his EARS on as soon as he wakes up. Well now he gets up and puts his ears on, but leaves them turned off!! I'll wake up and come through the den and say something to him. He ignores me, I think, and then I walk over to him and point to his ears. He turns them on. One morning, he assured me they were turned on. I covered my mouth and spoke. He then said, "Oh" and turned on both processors.

I guess he likes having some silence in the morning. That is fine with me, really it is, I'll just have to get used to it and not assume his processors are on when I see him!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Is this a Tic??

So, Elijah has had a so so week at school this week. Yesterday, when I checked out his behavior form he had spit twice at school. Well, even if this is a tic he needs to learn to try to NOT spit at a person. However, this is not what my title of this blog refers too.

So, yesterday, I emailed his teacher asking her about his behavior. Just to get more info, you know. Well she emailed me back this morning(which I read on my iPhone email) and she mentioned he was a bit more aggressive this week and had also tried to bite her twice. Well, I couldn't really email her back while driving so I called her.

We discussed the biting, because this past summer when he was stressed or upset he would bite whatever was around me. He would bite doorknobs, rocking chairs, or even try to bite me. He never really clamped down though, just put his teeth on me and then would release so I learned to just let him do it and not pull away. So I was telling her all of this and such. She thought one reason he was OFF this week was due to the holiday on Monday.

Well, then she mentions that he has been CUSSING all school year. It seems to have increased recently. I told her he didn't do this at home and she assured me this cussing was a tic and was VERY common. I told her it wasn't and she again said it was. Now, if this truly was a tic wouldn't he be doing it at home or in other places besides school. I even asked Elijah's sitter today and she said she has heard him cuss ONE time. Well, I don't want to argue with his teacher and well IT COULD be a tic that he only does at school, because he is more stressed there than at home.

I plan on investigating this issue some more. I'll let you know what I find out!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Elijah's behavior has improved some, but today I wanted to post about his vocabulary. He still amazes me at times. Just this morning, we saw a very pretty FULL moon. It was HUGE in the sky!

Elijah says, "the moon orbits the earth. The earth orbits the sun. Mars has two moons. Jupiter has 63(I don't remember what he said) moons." We talked about it and how maybe when he gets older he can be an astronomer!

I was amazed at the vocabulary though...moon, ORBIT, Mars and Jupiter. He also remembered his /s/ at the end of plural words. Orbit was the huge one today. Last week it was the word NEVERMIND. He called for me and I replied with just a minute. As I began to walk in, he said "Nevermind mom. I got it." WOW, what a huge word for him.

As far as has deafness and language development I am continuously amazed at how much he learns and uses. Now we just have to keep working on behavior!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

It's like someone flipped a switch!

Elijah has had two great weeks at school. He has been good at home too. He has gotten in minor trouble for refusing to do things at school, but compared to past behavior this is NOTHING.

Yesterday morning, he got up on his own and fixed his breakfast. He plays for a bit and then I get up. Well, he starts this wierd yell he makes when he is mad. It is like a gutteral scream at the computer but he uses words. I get up and we discuss HOW the computer can't hear him and it is not appropriate to act this way. I don't need him doing this at school. Well, he starts again this morning and so I told him if he did it again he was off for the day.

Sure enough, he starts up again doing this wierd yell at the computer so I ask him to get off. He ignores me so I start counting. I get to ZERO and tell him he is off the computer for an hour. He yells at me, so now it is two hours. I get to three hours when he raises a fist at me and then tell him he is just done for the day and is done with the Wii for the day too. He is now in his room. I changed the computer password and set the screensaver to pop up in 1 minute, so now he can't get on the compter.

It truly is like someone just flipped a switch. He goes from behing this great kid who minds and does as he is told, to this complete brat, but more than a brat. I am not tolerating him raising a hand to me. That just isn't going to work. Now I am sure when I go back, he will be all apologetic, but he isn't getting the computer or Wii back today. I guess it will be a long day for us both.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Tourette Syndrome Support Group Meeting

Elijah and I attended the monthly tourette syndrome support group meeting this morning. We had not been to one since September. Sometimes it is just hard to go on a Saturday due to other plans or just being exhausted. I like going though, because I always learn something new and I meet other parents who know what it is like to have a kid with TS. We have been part of this group for almost three years.

Everyone commented on how much taller Elijah was and how much better he was speaking. Later, the parent who had volunteered to help oversee the kids came in and said he was so well behaved. She had seen him on some bad days when he wasn't too pleasant to be around. Now those words were nice to hear!!! He was very polite when he came in to ask for some cookies and bottled water.

Like I said, the best part about going is getting to just connect with other parents. Today was a laid back meeting where we shared stories and planned for future events. Elijah made some arts and crafts type things in the other room and played hangman with several kids. It is good for him to be around other kids with TS and see tics and such.

I am glad we went and am going to really plan on going to future meetings. It helps recharge my batteries!!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Teen Bedroom

OH MY! At any given time I can walk into Jacob's room and find TRASH! He leaves water bottles, gatorade bottles, chip bags, and worst of all cat food cans in the trash can. UGH! He feeds one of the cats back there and doesn't walk the can to the kitchen trash. I ahve tried and tried to get him to keep it clean, and finally figured out a way, I hope anyway.

I told him a few days ago to get all the trash up and IF I found ONE more piece of food trash in his room he would lose his laptop for a day for EACH piece of trash. Well, it finally happened, I found a gatorade bottle in his room this evening and told him to shut down his laptop! He looked at me like I was nuts and didn't remember our conversation. I also found a few other pieces of trash and warned if he argued I would count them up and take his laptop away for that many days.

Needless to say he put his laptop on my bed and threw out all of his trash! I am hoping if I check his room daily and enforce this rule, he will learn to keep his room clean. I can try anyway!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Well it is the beginning of another year! I am hoping it will be another good year! This past year has been a good one, but work sure has kept me busy this school year. I go back to work on Monday with my nose to the grind stone! The boys go back to school on that day too!

Jacob will be 15 in July...OH MY! I am wondering how much taller he will get! He will be a sophmore in High school too next school year. He hopes to do the ROTC for all four years of high school.

Elijah will be 11 in April and hoping he will GROW some more! I went off with a friend last night and hired a babysitter to keep him. He seemed good when we left last night, but has done nothing but argue this morning. He just completed his third time out and hoping he doesn't have to do another one today. Hoping this isn't a preview to what 2011 has to hold for us!

Hoping to share more good stories with you all in the coming year and hoping you all have a great NEW YEAR!