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!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Looking Back on 2012 and Forward to 2013

Here we are again at the end of another year! Overall, I would say it has been a good year. There have been several milestones this years for all of us. Jacob took driving classes and got his permit. He is now a junior and got his class ring! He is taller than me and growing up way too fast. He has a friend that is a girl, who has been over to our house several times. He and I have had some really good talks lately and he showing signs of becoming an adult and other times he is still such a teen. Next year brings him taking his test for his driver's license and turning 17. He still plans to referee soccer and then possibly getting a job in the summer.

Elijah is in sixth grade and will enter middle school next year. He will soon enter his teen years when his birthday rolls around in April. He told grandma today that he will be 13 in 2013! He is still such a little boy though. Children with Tourette Syndrome act 2/3 their age when it comes to maturity and I can definitely see this with Elijah. He is 12 but sometimes act more like an eight or nine year old. I guess he will grow up soon enough. He has had his ups and downs this past  year and we have made many changes in medications, but through it all we just keep on going. We recently made a new change in his medications and I think it has been a good change. We will know more when he goes back to school. He still sleeps with his stuffed animals and likes for me to tuck him in. One of these days he will grow up and not want me to "mother" him too much, so I think I will try to enjoy it while I can. Here is playing with a castle he made using styrofoam. He has a good imagination.

Things continue to go well with me and my honey. We have had a wonderful year together and are looking forward to many more years. We have fixed up the house and have plans to fix things up even more. We talked today about putting money away to travel to Germany in a year or two. I enjoy our family and I see such a difference in all of our happiness since my honey came along. My job is going well and keeps me busy. I enjoy my job and it brings me much satisfaction when I see growth in our students.

I am not sure what 2013 has in store for us. Jacob will have to start thinking about what he wants to do after he graduates. He still plans on being in ROTC next school year. Elijah will change schools in the Fall and have new teachers to get used too. I am sure something will change at work, it always does, but I will just have to roll with it. I know my honey will be there to support me through all of this as I will support her.

Please be safe tonight and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

White Christmas

We had a White Christmas here in the Dallas area yesterday. It started around 1:30 in the afternoon and finished up around 6:00. We got at least three good inches of snow. Jacob went out in it for quite a while and even built a snowman. Elijah enjoyed some time out there too. Later, at my dad's house I challenged my little sister(age 21) and my little brother(age 24) to a snowball fight. We all went out and had a fun time, but boy were my hands cold. Both boys had a great Christmas. I ordered Elijah his mini iPad...he is using the money he got for Christmas plus the money he has earned from chores and being good at school. We set up Jacob's new desk today too!

I hope everyone else had a great Christmas too. Here are some pictures and a video!

Elijah and his cousin Tabitha!


Jacob and his snowman!


Elijah outside!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Update on Elijah

Well, Elijah had a much better day at school. Hoping that the tweak in his meds is finally kicking in. He had four greens on his status sheet yesterday and six today, so that makes 10 greens. If he gets 10 greens then he gets a blizzard......and he got his blizzard! I was very proud of him. Only one more day left until Christmas break! I think we are all ready! I have to remember days like today to make up for those not so good days!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Dealing with a Special Needs Child

This is a link to a blog titled, "I am Adam Lanza's Mother: A Mom's Perspective on the Mental Illness Conversation in America."

I read this blog and thought it was very well written. I hate to say, that since the shooting in Connecticut I have thought of nothing else then could this be my son? Elijah has a neurological condition and his brain doesn't always work right. He can get angry at time and have full rages. I don't share this too often on this blog, because it is hard to talk about. He takes four different medications in the morning and then two at night to help him with his implusivity and his tics. People with Tourettes can have Tourette Storms--he has trouble controlling his anger and when he is in the middle of one of these storms, there is no reasoning with him.

Thankfully, these storms do not happen very often and very rarely happen at home. When he is at home he is in his most comfortable place and there are not as many demands as there are at school. These storms seem to happen at school and we can go months without one and then when he has one it is out of the blue. When he does have one it is a lot of yelling and kicking at walls. He has been known to bite objects and people. He may also spit at people.

We manage as best we can with medication. I run a strict household with written rules. He has no access to the iPad, computers or video games during the week. He gets limited amounts of these things on the weekend. Many people may think I am too strict with him, but they don't understand. We don't go places during the week so we aren't out late at night. He needs to be in bed by 8:00 if it is a school night.

When I hear other parent's stories, I am thankful that Elijah's problems don't seem too severe, but then when it flares up I am saddened. At times, I wonder if I can continue, but there is no other choice. I am thankful for my partner and for others in my family who support me emotionally. Jacob is an awesome big brother, but even he has his limits.

I do love my little man though and we will keep on keeping will get better.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I am not the best cook in the world. In fact, I don't really like to cook much. I will cook dinner and I enjoy green bean casserole, but I get just what I would call, average excitement about cooking. However, when it comes to baking, I love this time of year!

In the last few years, my mom has taught me how to bake snowball cookies. These are pretty simple to make and are VERY good. I have learned my lessons on a few things, like the margarine REALLY needs to be soft when you make these! I baked two batches today and am taking them out to her house tomorrow. I also make a lot of these right before Christmas and give them in cute containers for Christmas presents for family, the boys' teachers, bus drivers,  friends and staff. Many people tell me they look forward to my cookies each year, and that makes me feel good!

I also enjoy making homemade pralines. My mother has been making them since I was a baby and my brother told his wife, "someone better learn to make these before mom dies." Now this was a few years ago and we all got a good laugh, because my mom really isn't that old and was no where close to dying. My sister, sister-in-law and I all decided we should learn how to make them, after my mom said they were a real challenge! Well, she was right! First we had to find the right POT for use to use to make them in. She has a pot that is probably as old as I am that she uses. It has to be a very heavy duty thick pot that can withstand the heat of the stove and boiling sugar. My mom gave me a tutorial at the house about four years ago and the hardest part, is each time you make them, it is a little different. It is all about the feel of the pralines in the pot and getting them the right temperature. There is no real way to tell when you are ready to add pecans and then plop them on wax paper. I have to say, that I LOVE the challenge of making them and I have gotten decent at it. I usually have several good batches, and sometimes a batch that takes forever to harden.  Hopefully, I will get it down in the next 10-20 years! I also give these to family as part of their Christmas present. My dad just LOVES these as do everyone else

The other thing I enjoy baking are sugar cookies. My sister got the recipe from her mother-in-law. They are pretty easy to make and the recipe makes a LOT of cookies. I would say between five and six dozen! We usually use cookie cutters to cut out cool Christmas shapes and then icing them. We add sprinkles at the very end! Elijah just loves helping cut out the cookies and later icing them. He really loves the SPRINKLES! I usually make a huge batch of these and take them to school to use with my students. I bring all of the things we need to icing with and I use it as a language activity. The kids learn and they get to eat! They also keep very well if you keep them sealed up in a tin and so you can eat on them for a good week or so. The cookie itself is not very sweet, but the icing adds just enough "sweet" to the flavor of the cookie!

I use my cooking stone to make all of the cookies and I think that also makes for a better cookie! I get a lot of satisfaction from making the cookies and then from seeing people enjoy them! I feel like it something that I am good at and that makes me happy.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Two Days of Doctor's Appointments

Having a week off of work usually means a few doctor's appointments for the boys. I don't like using my stocked up "leave" at work for doctor's appointments. I usually need them for sick days for me or the boys or for the random appointments we just can't get scheduled during a break!

It started yesterday with a visit to the pulmanologist for both boys. They both got a clean bill of health and we were done in about 90 minutes. This is pretty good for this doctor. We have been there for three hours before, for a scheduled visit...not a sick visit.

We came home and then Elijah and I went off for a visit to the audiologist in the afternoon. We made sure his back up processors were programmed and then did a hearing test. Here is how he did:

Right ear:
250 Hz    10 db
500 Hz    10 db
1000 Hz   10 db
2000 Hz   5 db
3000 Hz   10 db
4000 Hz   10 db

Left ear:
250 Hz 15 db
500 Hz 15 db
1000 Hz 10 db
2000 Hz 5 db
3000 Hz   5 db
4000 Hz   5 db

We were all pleased with the results. She asked if he had a favorite "ear" and I told her that he prefers his right ear over his left. She says that is pretty common for kids who had their implants done with years in between surgeries. I mentioned that he still has to wear his left "ear" because I know he gets benefit from it. When I have him wear only his left ear it NEVER falls off. He uses it just fine and hears excellently with it. I guess he just gets tired of all of the noise!

Today we went to see the psychiatrist. It was a quick visit and for now we are leaving all of his medications the same. She thinks he is doing well and that we just have to keep up with the behavior management.

The next round of doctor's appointments start with in January with a trip back to the psychiatrist and one to the endocronologist. We go back to the pulmanologist in February!

I have a lot to be thankful for:  Elijah's cochlear implants, medications for both boys that help with their asthma and for Elijah's Tourettes, OCD and ADHD, my sweetheart and for my extended family.

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Being a Mom

No one ever said being a mom was an easy job. I must say being a mom can be very rewarding, but it can also be very tiring. Being the mom of a child with special needs is even more difficult, but it can also be even more rewarding. Right now, we are in the more difficult part of raising Elijah. I must say we have had many things to celebrate in the last 12 years....cochlear implant surgery, the turn on of his "ears", his first words, coming off of oxygen, and the fact that he can converse so well.

Now Elijah's behavior has always been a challenge. Even before we knew about his Tourette Syndrome, OCD and ADHD, we knew he was never typical. The typical discipline techniques just didn't work well with him. Even now, I have constantly be on my toes on how to handle him. Last night he lost the privilege of having a snack before bed time. He really didn't like that, so I may just use that to motivate him to behave more at home and at school. I hate taking things away from him, because I would rather reward him for good behavior, but sometimes that just doesn't seem to be as effective. I remind myself daily that Elijah's neurological system is just not like that of a typical child, but it is still hard. This past Thursday my honey had to go and pick him up from school because he was so wound up and the the principal didn't want to put him on the bus.

All I can do is take it day by day with him. As his mom, I have to keep just isn't easy. I am glad to have the support of my honey in all of this.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

October is almost over!

October has been a very long month, both at work and at home. Elijah has been doing OK since we I last posted, but just OK. He has had some very good days and some other days that have not been so great. Overall, it is still better than last year, but we have seen a bit of aggression. I called the doctor this past week and we increased one of his medications by 0.5 mg. I am hoping that helps him a bit. I know a lot of this is his OCD and not being able to "let things go" once the thought is in his head. I have the same thing, but as and adult can deal with it a lot better!

Jacob is doing awesome right now. He is very aware of his grades and keeping them up. He earned money being a referee for soccer. He is participating in ROTC and enjoying that. He is taking more responsibility for his chores around the house and his manners have improved a great deal! Yesterday he earned $30 refereeing and after we picked him up we headed to Target. He usually puts all of the money he earns in his savings account, but today he asked if he could spend it. I told him he could and so he went off to look for what he wanted and we went and shopped. We met up at the front after we had all checked out. I asked him what he got and he said a belt. I was surprised he had not asked me to buy him a belt. He then said, "I also bought a small Lego kit for Elijah." He amazes me daily and he is growing into such a fine young man.

All of us are looking forward to having the week of Thanksgiving off. We do have a few doctor's appointments that week, but it shouldn't be too bad. We will most likely go to my mom's house for the day. We will then be on the count down to Christmas. I have already started with some shopping for the boys!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I think the switch was flipped back!

After a long weekend of grounding, it seems that Elijah is more his regular self. Thankfully, the switch was flipped back! I just wish I could find the darn thing and keep it flipped in the correct position! There was also no school yesterday, so this week is a short week, so maybe that will help too. He said he had a "green" day--Six greens and one red on his status sheet. Green means good and red means he had some issues....there is also a yellow! Of course, yellow is between green and red!

He gets to color in a block on our form at home for each green and one for two yellows. He gets one dollar for every seven blocks. Right now, he wants to buy a small stuffed animal at a local drug store, so he is also motivated! Let's just hope it stays that way. We continue to try something called "ON TASK". It is a magnesium and zinc supplement. The neurologist also prescribed some fish oil that I had to get at a pharmacy. He said some fish oils specifically go to the brain, and that is what we might want to try. It doesn't "fix" things really, but may help with impulsivity.  We shall see!

That is about all from our end of things. Hope everyone else is doing well!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Who Flipped the Switch?

I swear, Elijah has a switch somewhere on him and someone just FLIPS IT OFF or ON, not sure which one and he turns into a different child. I guess this is life with someone with a neurological condition. It is something that I try to understand on a daily basis. I can usually wrap my brain around it the majority of the time, but some days are harder than others.

Today was one of these days. Elijah had an iffy day at school and there was aggression involved. He grabbed something out of a teachers hand and also took off and left the classroom. He kicked a desk and stuck his finger in another student's face. ARGH! We just went to the psychiatrist back on September 24th and the neurologist on Oct. 3rd and all was good. We had his IEP meeting on the first of this month and talked about how good he was doing. I swear this happens every time we go to any doctor or have a meeting at school. This time it was both!

I took away his electronics(Wii, iPad and nintendo) for the weekend and also no TV. I may give the TV back on Sunday, if he is good tomorrow. Things could have been worse at school, and I know this. They also had a different schedule today and that may be why he was "off". All I can do is take it day by day! I am also hoping someone flips that switch back to where it should be.

Monday, October 1, 2012

IEP Meeting Today

We had Elijah's annual IEP meeting today! I have to say, it was not stressful and went very well. This was not always true in the past. Everyone agrees that he has made a great deal of progress in his behavior. There has been no aggression and when he does act up, it seems to be more vocal and less physical. We all agreed that we just have to take it day by day, plan what we can and tweak things when we have too. He matured a great deal over the summer and we hope that continues.

I found out his scores from last years state testing. He did not do well on the reading at all, but we think he just rushed. He did better on the math and science, much better, so we know he is smart! He just doesn't like taking tests, and it could have just been ONE OF THOSE DAYS on the day he took his reading test.

We will meet again in the Spring for another IEP meeting(called an ARD in Texas) to plan for his transition to Junior High(OMG, really??) and invite the teachers from that school over for the meeting.

He has a new deaf education teacher who has been getting to know him. He has given her a bit of a hard time, but she is learning him. He is in the complex sentence portion of the Cottage Acquisition of Speech, Language and Listening so I am quite pleased by that!! He still has a lot to accomplish, but he will get there.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Mansions Have Ghosts!

Elijah and I have the house to ourselves this weekend. Jacob is away for two nights on an ROTC field trip and my honey is out of town until Monday! I had a dinner mystery shop, so Elijah and I set off for a 20 minute drive to eat dinner! We had a pretty interesting conversation driving there and then driving back!

Most of the drive is on a two lane road that has a lot of nice homes on it. You can even see a large lake! We discussed some of the homes and other things we saw as we drove there. We had a nice dinner and much of the conversation on the way home was on what we saw. We had seen a three story house and Elijah was looking for it again, because he had never seen a three story house. We saw it again and then we came upon a LARGE house up on a hill. There is even a gated entrance to this house. I pointed it out to Elijah and he said, "that's a mansion!" I was quite impressed he knew that word! I wouldn't say this was a HUGE mansion, but just calling it a house was not appropriate. Plus it sits on top of a hill and has a gated entrance. I told him he was correct, that was a mansion! He then said, "mansions have ghosts!" He laughed as he said it. I asked him why mansions have ghosts and he said, "because they are OLD!" I started laughing at that one! He told me the house was one thousand years old, so then I told him how old I thought the house was and we talked more about houses! I wondered where he might have heard the word mansion and realized it was probably from "Scooby Doo" cartoons and of course, in that cartoon mansions usually did have ghosts!

I still marvel at my son and how well he has done with learning language and using his cochlear implants. Today was a day that I realized how lucky I am that there is this technology out there and good therapists to work with us! I wish parents would realize that implants do work, but there is a LOT of time and effort that must be put in. It is not an easy fix. I look back at all of the therapy sessions we attended when he was first "turned on " and wonder how we did it all. How we drove back and forth to Dallas once a week for me and then David too him once a week. Jacob went with me when I took Elijah and we were after 6:30 getting home most days, after sitting in traffic for at least 90 minutes. All of those sacrifices were worth it though and as I watch Elijah today, I am thankful that we did put all of that time in with him. He is a joy to me, as is Jacob.

Things are not as hard these days. Tourettes, OCD and ADHD seem to get in the way some days, but for the most part things are going well there. He has had good days at school, with some minor issues, but nothing serious. I am glad he and I have had this time and still have time until Jacob comes home tomorrow afternoon/evening!

Monday, September 17, 2012

I Am So Confused!

I vented last month about how Cochlear Americas didn't have an option for people who had CI processors with warranty coverage, but not loss/damage. ESCO is no longer covering Cochlear America's CI processors. I remember calling Cochlear last month and the person on the phone telling me that Elijah's processors only had a warranty. Fast Forward to now and we get a letter from Cochlear saying we should call them and check on coverage. I called this morning and they are now offering loss/damage on its own with no warranty. The woman told me to call back with Elijah's serial numbers and we could take care of it. I called back this afternoon and was all set to pay for the loss/damage with the person told me Elijah's processors were covered under loss/damage until June 2013 when the warranty expires too. I AM SO CONFUSED! I am glad I don't have to pay, but what changed or why did it change. I am going to call back again in a week or so and just double check to make sure that Elijah has loss/damage on his processors!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Well No Wonder....

Elijah has had a pretty good start to school this year. He has had some issues when there are substitute teachers at school, but nothing too bad. The principal mentioned in an email that Elijah's schedule changes each day and that may be part of the issues. This was due to all of the services he receives. She said she would work on his schedule and send it out to me and his teachers.

Well, NO WONDER he has is all over the place, because EACH day his schedule is different. He has sever periods, but he also has Speech and services by a deaf ed teacher as well as social skills. Each day he has his core classes--English/Reading, Math, Social Studies and Science. He also has PE, Art and that Social Skills time. Well during all of this he has Speech one day at one of those elective times, then for three more days he has deaf ed. time during an elective and then social skills is thrown in there. He has a different schedule each day and that is not good for him.

The principal typed up a schedule for each day and I printed it at home. I put it in a clear protective sleeve so he can pull it out and keep it from getting all torn up. If it does get torn up, then we print another one. He really has done well, even with all of this craziness with his schedule, so hopefully things will just improve from here!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Tourette Syndrome Support Group Meeting 9/8/2012

Elijah and I finally made it to a Tourette Syndrome Support group meeting yesterday. We had not been to a regular meeting in almost a year. My weekends had been spent mystery shopping and taking Jacob to soccer games to referee(and he is refereeing again this year), but I am setting aside ONE Saturday a month to go to this meeting. Elijah and I both need this time! We did go to the back to school meeting in August but it was bowling and laser tag, not a regular meeting.

Yesterday's meeting went really well. There were several new families that I had not met before and the speaker was from the Tourette's Texas branch, so she is over all of the support groups in Texas. She gave us some great handouts and we all discussed our kids and how they handle things at school.

Elijah played with a group of kids in another room and did fairly well. He got upset once when a ball hit his head and another time the ball knocked his processor off, but overall he did well. The kids he played with either have Tourette's or a sibling with it. Everyone is very tolerant of each other, because they are all the same.

I also found out more about a camp that they have for kids with Tourettes here in Texas. It is Camp du Ballon Rouge. It is a three day/two night camp and I am planning on taking Elijah this year. My honey and I can have a nice weekend together in the area, so we are close by to take him and pick him up. He can have a weekend with other kids and get to be himself. I do worry about him being DEAF at night when his "ears" are off, but the person yesterday assured me that they could handle it!! I know he will be a bit anxious about it, but I think it would be great for him to go! This will be some time next Spring!

I plan on attending the meeting next month! We both really need to go! It recharges my batteries!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Off to a Good Start!

Well the first three days of school have gone well so far. We have managed to get up on time and be ready when the bus arrives for Elijah. Jacob gets himself off later to the bus stop. Elijah has had three good days at school. He was a little disruptive today and didn't earn his happy face for today, but nothing too serious. He is working towards doughnuts on Saturday morning for breakfast. He has earned one doughnut and six doughnut holes so far. We will start a new system with him next week and see if it works a bit better on tracking his "greens" that he earns each class period at school, or doesn't earn!

Jacob likes all of his classes so far. I stopped and bought him a $100 graphing scientific calculator! OUCH! He is going to go on an ROTC field trip in a few weeks and we are choosing designs for his class ring. He is taking his ROTC uniform to school tomorrow to trade it in for a larger pair of pants and a larger shirt. YES, he has grown some since May! He told me today that he was offered a leadership position in ROTC and I told him to go for it. I really want him to enjoy his last two years of school and be more active in ROTC.

My first three days back have gone well. I have kept busy checking on students and teachers. It has been a pretty smooth start to the school year and I am looking forward to a great year!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

School Starts Monday!

School starts on Monday for both boys! Elijah will be going into the sixth grade at the local intermediate school. We have all of his school supplies and delivered them at Meet the Teacher this past Thursday. He has many of the same teachers as last year, but I did find out his Deaf Ed. Itinerant teacher will be someone new this year! At least everyone already knows how to use his FM system! He is excited about starting school and I think a bit anxious. I am hoping for a good year.

Jacob will be a Junior this year! He will be in ROTC again and will also be getting his Senior Class Ring. He should get the information next week and then we will have to decide what type of ring he will get. He should get a list of school supplies that he needs from each of his teachers.

I went back to work last week, but our kids start on Monday too! I am ready to get back to work full time, but it is hard to get back into the groove of getting up early!

I hope everyone has a great school year!

Friday, August 10, 2012

My brother Alex!

The boys and I travelled to Texas A&M University in College Station, TX this morning to see my little brother Alex receive his commission as a Second Lieutenant. I was 21 years old when he was born which seems like just yesterday. My sister Katie arrived three years later. I didn't become a mother until Alex was eight years old and Katie was five years old. I babysat these two so many weekends and even for a whole week at times when their parents travelled. These two hold a special place in my heart! They helped me be a better mom, by letting me practice my MOM skills on them. They even helped potty train Jacob! Katie has been attending Texas A&M, but is not in the corp of cadets. Alex was in the corp for four years and loved every bit of it.

I am hoping that by visiting the university today and seeing Alex, that Jacob will realize he has two years left before he graduates and he needs to start looking ahead. He has talked about joining the military, but I am not sure that he will. He still has time, but as we all know time passes way too quickly!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Texas Statewide Conference for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

This past Sunday I traveled to Houston, TX to attend the Statewide Conference for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. It was a two and a half day event that started on Monday morning. Two teachers from my department and a diagnostician traveled down with me. We had a wonderful time and laughed a lot, but we also learned a LOT!

There were four break out sessions each day where you could decide what session to attend. I attended one on behavior, language development and some others for administrators! I also did my own presentation while there titled, "iPads and the Itinerant Teacher". I thought my presentation went well and they had to close it, because the room became too full! Several people I saw afterwards said they really liked my presentation! There were many other sessions I would have liked to have attended. There were sessions for interpreters as well as sessions geared specifically for parents. There were many families there and child care was even provided. My teachers attended a workshop on Grammar Graphics, while I went to one on the Cottage Acquisition of Speech, Language and Listening! It was sometimes hard to choose WHICH session to attend, because during any one given time there were at least eight choices of workshops.

There was also an exhibition with several vendors there. I got to see the Advanced Bionics new Neptune processor. I talked to representatives from Sunshine Cottage, Phonak, Oticon, and Texas Hand's and Voices!

The next conference will be in two years in San Antonio! I can't wait to go again. I saw many of my deaf education teacher friends and some of Elijah's teachers from Plano! It also makes for a nice time to network and meet other teachers from other programs!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Nobody Seems To Get It!

I don't think anyone really understands what it is like to have a child with Tourette Syndrome. Unless you have a child with Tourettes or a neurological disorder, you just don't get it. Elijah has to have consistency. I can't waiver from that. I can't compromise and let him have one day where I waiver from the "rules" I have established. Through trial and error and a LOT of rough days, I have learned this. It may seem like a good idea to compromise and give in so things run smooth during that moment, but then I pay for it for several days. I leave to go out of town for three days tomorrow. I can't waiver at this point. I can't compromise, or the person keeping him will have a rough three days. I can't think of what is right in the moment, I have to think of what is right for the long haul. I guess it is OK that people don't get it, but don't think I am too hard on him, because I am not.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Update on Loss/Damage Coverage

I have been on the phone several times with Cochlear and with my home owners insurance. They can cover it under home owners, but it would have to be lost or damage AT HOME. They can also cover it under a personal articles policy that would have no deductible if lost or damaged. Well, Cochlear has had to send me three different emails, because they kept making mistakes on a quote for the home owner's people. Finally, after we get it all figured out, I am quoted a price of $1330 for a YEAR to cover both processors....$110 a month. WELL, that is a heck of a lot more than the $550 I paid ESCO for one years worth of coverage.

To top things off, I get the letter in the mail today stating that ESCO cannot cover Elijah's processors again. When I checked Cochlear's website, the warranty PLUS the loss/damage for two processors is $1570. I just don't need the warranty right now, I just need the loss damage. Needless to say, I am not happy. I may have to talk to the home owner's insurance people and see if that is the ONLY coverage they can offer. I am sure I could call some other insurance companies, but they may not deal with me since my home owners is not with them. You never know though. We may just have to roll the dice and go without coverage for a year. He has never lost one before and been implanted for almost 11 years. I just hate the thought of it.

Venting--Cochlear Americas and ESCO

About two weeks ago, someone posted on one of the deaf/hard of hearing forums, that ESCO could no longer COCHLEAR processors. Elijah's processors are covered under ESCO until Aug. 11th. We purchased two new Freedom processors back in 2010 and they came with a warranty, but not loss/damage, hence I purchased ESCO. I finally had a minute and checked ESCOs website and COCHLEAR was not listed. So, I called Cochlear and you can no longer cover processors through ESCO. Now, I am not really sure WHOSE decision this was....Cochlear or ESCO, but either way it is irritating.

Why do I have to find this out through a forum? Why can't either COCHLEAR or ESCO contact me and let me know this. ESCO knows that our coverage expires on August 11th, they could send out a letter. Cochlear suggested I call my home owners insurance and I am getting Cochlear to send me a quote for cost of replacement. I will then email that to my agent who can quote me a price for a personal articles policy. This will cover the processors if they are lost or damaged and there will be no deductible. Now, lets hope it isn't more expensive than ESCO. Now next year, when the warranty runs out I will purchase a warranty WITH loss/damage and cancel the home owners personal articles policy.

I asked COCHLEAR what is happening with people who upgrade now and they said their policy has changed and UPGRADES now come with a warranty and loss/damage. I guess those of us who purchased new FREEDOMS or upgrade to the NUCLEUS 5 before then are just having to figure things out on our own.

I really think all parents of children who will be getting a cochlear implant NEED to be educated about the expenses that come down the line. No one mentions how much an extended warranty is. No one tells you how much it costs to repair them. I hate to complain, I really do, because without his CIs Elijah would be so lost. They have been a miracle for him....that and the therapy afterwards, but parents need to know what it will be like to maintain this equipment. It seems like there is always something to worry about.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Jacob will be 16 on Monday!

Jacob will be 16 years old this coming Monday! Time sure does pass by too quickly. I still remember the night he was born. He was so tiny and now he is 5 feet 9 inches tall!

We had dinner with my mom and my brother's family this evening, because her birthday is tomorrow. Then they came back to our house for Jacob's party. My dad, stepmom, aunt and stepmom's mom came over too. We had cake and ice cream and Jacob got his presents! His present from me was a new bed frame and bed. We got the bed frame at Ikea and the mattress from Sleep Experts. He has had it for a few weeks and really likes it.

Jacob also has his driver's permit! OH MY, he is a pretty good driver, except for left and right hand turns. He is still learning though and he will get it! It has been a good day for us all. Jacob is now back playing games on his laptop that he bought with the money for his birthday, so he is definitely happy!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Endocrinology visit today!

Elijah makes a trip to the endocrinologist every six months. The last time we were there, he had not grown much and didn't seem to be entering puberty yet. Today's visit was a little better. He had grown an inch in the last month and according to the doctor he should hit puberty pretty soon. The doctor said that his boy parts had grown so that means there is testosterone, so that is good. Elijah wasn't too happy to have these parts checked out, but it was painless and quick. We go back in January and I hope we see more growth! This kid just doesn't seem to catch a break in any area it seems. He is done with doctor appointments for the summer at least. Tics are about the same, maybe a little better. I noticed today that he doesn't tic much when he plays the Wii!! I wonder if he is just concentrating on playing and this keeps him from making tics. Who knows!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tics Are Still Here!

Elijah's tics have lessened a very small bit in the morning, but are still pretty intense in the afternoons and evenings. I called his doctor today and she decided to add 1/2 a milligram of his tic medication to the mornings. We will see if that helps. One of his new tics is to BLOW out of his nostril as hard as he can. He sounds like he is blowing his nose, but has no Kleenex. I know he can't help it, but it is sort of gross. The licking tic is also still here. He licks his hand or fingers and touches his face. He will do this over and over again. He also makes his noises! They don't seem to bother him much and they really don't bother me, but I know it is hard for people who don't get it. Its not like you can tell he has tourettes when you look at him. Hopefully adding this medication back to his morning will at least lessen the intensity of these tics. I am also hoping the blowing the nose tic runs it course and goes away before school starts. We may have to get him some tissues to carry so at least when he feels the urge he can put a tissue near his nose.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Update on Tics and Sleeping!

Elijah's tics are still around, but they seem to be a little less intense.  I notice them more in the afternoon and early evening before he goes to bed. I realized today that I hadn't heard any LOUD tics in a while, but had heard some quiet ones. I'll have to pay a bit more attention tomorrow.

Now Thursday and Friday night he had a hard time going to sleep. We had eaten dinner late and he had a late bath. He gets an hour of electronics at night and I think he was playing to close to his bed time. I changed things up and now there are no electronic games after 8:00 and he fell asleep just fine last night. I am very glad of that! He slept almost eleven hours last night! He fell asleep quickly tonight too! I'll update things in a few days and hopefully we won't have to add an additional dose of a medication.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Night is Pill Night!

Once a week, I sit at the kitchen table and get Elijah's medications ready for the week. He has this exact pill dispenser that you see pictured above. It really does help to have this organizer.Jacob takes two medications a day and I take three, so I get those ready two. However, Elijah's medications are the real work. He takes four pills each night and seven pills each morning for a total of eight different medications. There is one pill I have to cut in half! That makes life even more fun. He never complains and takes his pills each morning and each night. He even goes and gets them out of the weekly dispenser each night when I remind him to take them.

I so wish he didn't need all of these medications. There is one pill for his asthma and the rest are for his ADHD, OCD and tics. He also takes two inhalers in the morning and the same two in the evening! Some pills are yellow, others are green or white, but they all help him. His tics are about the same and throat clearing has been added to his list of vocal tics. I hate to say, but they wore me down today and so I know they must wear him down at times. If they continue, then I will call his doctor by Tuesday and see what she has to say. I have tried to catch him on video again, but if he hears me turn on the flip camera he just stops. Now some would say he can control his tics. Well, he can for a while, and then watch out...he explodes with tics. I just can't seem to catch them on video.

I am thankful there are medications that can help him. However, there is no blood test that can show which ones really help and HOW they help OR if we need to change something. It is all a big of a guessing game, and sometimes doctors make very good decisions and sometime we try something and it just doesn't work. I'll keep y'all posted on how it goes!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

More Tics!

I took another video of Elijah, actually two videos, and figured out how to splice them together. I am technically challenged when it comes to videos. You hear more of his noises on this one and see the licking again. He is making a LOT more noise than is what on the video, but I can't seem to catch him in the act.

You may wonder why I video him, well, he doesn't tic on command and there are some(teachers, principals and some doctors) who have never really seen him TIC like this before! I want to have evidence for the doctor when I call tomorrow. I'll be more than happy to email her a copy of the video or send her a link to the website. I know she believes me, but I want her to see it. This video is just a small example of what he is going through right now.

Here it is!

Tics are Back!

Elijah and I visited the doctor about two weeks ago and he decided to take Elijah off one of his medicaitons for his tics. He stated that another medication Elijah was on SHOULD control the tics and this one we were removing, let's call it medication R, was a duplicate of medication S, so he didn't need R any more. Well, here were are a little less than two weeks later and TICS are back in full force. He also isn't going to sleep at night like he used to, so last night I gave him 1 mg of medication R. He slept almost 11 hours and has been much better today. He isn't as moody and I am seeing fewer tics. Now really, tics don't bother me, but one of them is him licking his hands and rubbing his face. After a while, his face gets really chapped. He has two sores around his nose already and I don't want more. I tried to get a video of his tics to show the doctor, and got this short video. He noticed me recording him and controlled his tics. He is also making LOTS of noises, which aren't an issue, but can get on your nerves after a while. I know it can be very physically exhausting for him as well which affects his mood!

We actually saw the doctor last time we went in. He usually sees the nurse practioner and I will call HER tomorrow to get her opinion. He had been on 3 mg of medication R and I just gave him 1 mg yesterday. I would rather he NOT have to take medication, but I would also rather he not harm himself. Also, licking your hands all the time can spread germs(there is my OCD at work!)

Here is a very short video of his tics from last night.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

What a Week We Have Had!

If you look at the time that I posted this at the bottom of this post you will see that it is 5:00 in the morning. I am sittng here waiting for the AC repairman to show up. We woke at at 1:15 this morning to a warm house. We checked out the AC and sure enough it was 80 degrees in the house. The sticker for the repair people was on the AC and it said same day service, so I thought I would call and at least see if they had an answering service. Well, someone did answer and he said they could get someone to me this morning if I was willing to have them come. I said YES of course! So here I am 3 1/2 hours later waiting for him to show up....and it is not considered an emergency visit so no extra cost there.

Now, that is not the only fun we have had this week!! I went to see my mom last weekend and my honey calls me on Sunday night and tells me that the refridgerator is not working. OH MY! She moved all of the freezer stuff to the big freezer and I came home the next day. This fridge was only four years old, but two years ago I put $500 in it for a new computer. I figured whatever was wrong with it this time was not worth sinking more money into, so we went out and bought a new fridge at Best Buy. They have 18 months no interest, 5% off when you use there card and we got three times the reward points! So we did that this past Monday and it was delivered on Wednesday!  We also bought a five year maintance agreement on it! I won't ever go without that again on a fridge, those things aren't built to last like they used to be.

Now two weeks ago the boys bathtub faucet was dripping. The plumber I use came out and fixed it, but said this may be the last time we can just fix the spigot. I'll probably have to replace the whole system next time. Well, last night I noticed it was dripping a LOT and called him today. He will come out and try to fix it again under warranty and if not he gave me an estimate on how much to replace it. He is coming the end of next week, because he is going on vacation.

Of course, we bought the new kitchen table this week too, but that was by choice. Let's just say, it has been a heck of a week. I hope after the bathtub faucet gets fixed that this is the last of repairs for a while. The dryer is brand new and the washer is only five years old!

Oh quick update, the AC guy just came in. It is a part on the outside unit. He is going to replace it and we should be up and running pretty soon! I am just glad it will be fixed and I am not having to wait until later today to get it up and running!

I hope everyone else is staying cool during this HOT summer!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ikea, the Mall and Tics!

My honey and I took the boys off for a day of shopping! We aren't taking  a vacation out of town this year, so we planned a few days to do things with the boys. We wanted to go to Ikea and just look around and take a look at their beds. Jacob is in need of a new bed and we want something that has a good bed frame. The cats are notorious for using the box spring to sharpen their claws! Jacob was in a bit of a fowl mood for the first 15 minutes or so, but then when he saw a recycle container to throw plastics in that he wanted, his mood don't ask me why, teenage boys are strange, but when we said he could buy it, he was SO happy!

So, we finally make it around to the beds and he is more open to looking at them. We don't see anything that he likes, until we round a corner and find a simple brown bed fram that has drawers on the bottom on each side! Well, he liked that! The cats tend to chew on his cords and he could store his headphones and other items in the drawers. We then went and looked at mattresses. We found a few he liked, but they were a bit expensive, so we are going to check a mattress store in town. We haven't gotten the bed frame yet, but I plan on buying it for him for his birthday!

My honey and I were walking around the dining area and started looking at tables. We decided that we wanted a new kitchen table and found one that we agreed on very quickly. It seats four people but has two inserts that you can add to seat up to eight. We even agreed on a color! We decided on chairs and went on shopping. Well, we wanted to find some place mats for the kitchen table and couldn't find them. We went back to the dining area and I saw some other chairs. Well, we then spent the next 20 minutes debating the chairs. Jacob was so funny, he finally just sat down and shook his head. He didn't quite get WHY this was such a hard decision for us. We finally decided on the second chair we saw the second time around! They were a bit more expensive, but looked more sturdy.

Once we had all of this decided, we went and ate lunch in their cafeteria! They have good food there and we enjoyed ourselved. We then went and picked up the table and chairs downstairs near the check out and bought all of our items. Well, we had a heck of a time getting it into the car. I had left some items in the hatch and JACOB of all people was just a grinning and giving me a hard time! It is nice to see him happy though. We managed to get everything in and went to the mall!

Now, during this whole time in Ikea, Elijah kept asking WHEN we would make it to the Lego store. He did pretty good, but boy his tics were high the whole time we were walking around. He was making a lot of noises. Some were because he was impatient and some were just tics! We ignored them, but it was hard. We finally made it to the mall though! Elijah and I went to the Lego store and Jacob and my honey went to Hot Topics. Elijah chose a Lego set to buy with the money he had earned from chores. Jacob and my honey returned and Jacob had bought a SHIRT for Elijah with his money! He got him a black shirt with a "creeper" on it that is a character from some video game. Jacob really does surprise me at times! He and his brother can really disagree at times, but then here is Jacob being a good big brother and spending his own money on a shirt for him! Jacob even enjoyed looking around the Lego store a bit!

We then went to the Cheese Cake Factory and we each got a piece of cheese cake. Elijah even chose this HUGE piece of cheese cake and ate almost all of it. It was chocolate and I enjoyed watching him eat it. We spent $32 on cheesecake, but hey, it will probably be the only trip we make there all summer. The only thing bad about Elijah eating something with a lot of sugar is his tics tend to increase....well, they did! We listened to them for most of the ride home, but again, it was worth it.

We arrived home tired and full. We pulled in all of the furniture. Jacob got his laptop and said he might take a nap. He has drivers ed. class tonight. I gave Elijah the iPad to play on for a while and I stretched across the bed.

We had a really nice day today and had a lot of fun! I'll post pictures of the table and chairs when we get it put together! I can't wait to get Jacob his bed!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Skin Its! Pros and Cons!

Elijah has been wearing Skin Its on his processors for about six months now. I thought I would write about some of the pros and cons of the Skin Its.

PRO--There are more choices then you can even imagine when it comes to picking out a design.
PRO--Both kids and adults can choose from the designs, because they cover so many designs. I think this is especially important for teens who are sometimes stuck in the middle.
PRO--They stick on the processor very well and most people think we purchased the processor with that design.
CON--Once you take them off, you can't stick them back on and have them look as good as they did before.
CON--If you have a problem with the processor and have to replace part of the processor or controller, you will need a new SKIN IT. They were on sale so I bought some back up Skin Its.
CON--Be carefu putting them on, they do stick quite well and you want to be sure you are putting them on correctly.
PRO--They seem to have a sale quite often. I signed up on their email list and there are promotions all the time.
PRO--They hold up really well and can last a long time. This is good!
PRO--Most people don't use earmolds on their CI processors, so the SKIN IT can help differentiate between left and right if you are bilateral. Elijah has Batman on his left ear and Superman on his Right ear. We have even changed out controller and had Superman/Batman ears!
PRO--They wrap around the processor, so they go on the left, right and on the back part of the Freedom. I don't think they go on the back part(where the buttons are) of the N5.

I won't say the cost is a PRO or a CON, because they have so many sales. They run about $14.95 plus shipping and handling, so be sure you wait for a sale. As you can also see, there are more PROS then CONS, so they are worth the price. Please add to my list by leaving a comment if you have one!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Took The Boys Swimming

We went to my dad's house to see him for Father's Day. The boys went swimming while we were there. I am happy to say, that we were able to water proof Elijah's CI. We pulled out his back up Freedom processor, put in the rechargeable battery and found the aLoksak bag and swim cap. It took a minute to fit it on just right, but we got it. He only wears one CI processor when he swims. I had to fix it a few times while he swam, but overall it went well. I remembered to increase the sensitivity so that he could hear through the bag and swim cap. Swimming has become much more enjoyable since he can now hear while he swims! Behavior is a lot better too!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Choosing Oralism For My Son

When Elijah was born 12 years ago, I had been teaching deaf children for  nine years. I knew what a cochlear implant was and I was a proficient SEE signer. Elijah was diagnosed at the age of five weeks as having a hearing loss and at nine weeks with auditory neuropathy. Once I started doing the research about cochlear implants and auditory neuropathy(AN) I realized that I wanted Elijah to have every chance to speak. I started signing with him right away. He was a premature baby who was developmentally behind in all aspects. He did start using some of his first signs around the age of twelve months. He was implanted at 17 months with one CI and turned on at 18 months. We haven't looked back since. I continue to sign with Elijah when his "ears" are off.

You may wonder why I chose to write about this today. I think sign language is a beautiful language, but not everyone in the world speaks it. You may be limited in how you communicate and it may also limit your reading skills. Notice I say, IT MAY LIMIT a person, I didn't say IT HAD TOO! I have many deaf adult friends who are doing well and communicate just fine! However, I have many former students who struggle at times and even some of those deaf adult friends do too. I chose the CI so that Elijah would have choices when he grew up. I want him to know sign, but I want him to have that choice and not be solely dependent on it. There are HEARING people out in the world who think lipreading is just as good as signing. They think an interpreter isn't needed and that the deaf person can understand just fine. There are deaf adults who have to advocate for themselves daily and I am sure Elijah will have to learn to do that too to some extent, but I wanted him to be able to communicate daily with his peers and others in his life.

Today I ran up against this struggle, trying to help a friend get an interpreter set up. I can't get into the details, but I was flabbergasted at how so many people don't understand the Americans with Disabilities Act and how it applies to access to communication for people who are deaf/hard of hearing. I will have to teach Elijah how to advocate for himself, I am sure, but at least he will have the language to do it.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Rechargeable Batteries!

Oh how I love using rechargeable batteries in Elijah's Freedom processors in the summer.(pictured left) It makes life so much easier. We have four rechargeable batteries and I charge two during the day and he uses the other two. At night, I switch them out and the process starts all over again. We use rechargeables all summer long, unless we travel and then we go back to disposable batteries. It is not fun having to carry around a charger and extra batteries, that can be lost! Using the rechargeable batteries also saves me from having to use the disposables, which Elijah can go through in about three days. That is six disposable batteries every three days! That can add up quickly! The rechargeable batteries last him all day too, so we don't have to worry about changing out batteries in the middle of the day!

You may wonder why we don't use rechargeable batteries all year long. Well, Elijah has the Freedom processor that has the battery rack that holds three batteries(pictured right). When he goes to school, he uses an FM system and his battery rack is removed and the FM is inserted, which has its own battery rack with it. He doesn't use his own battery rack(pictured left) all day. His battery rack has been lost at school before, and I don't want to take the chance of losing a $200 rechargeable battery when a battery rack costs around $40 for two of them(I think, it may have gone up). A battery rack is a lot less expensive to replace. Also, the rechargeable batteries will only last so long too, so why use them during the school year when he won't even be USING it with his FM. Even if he had an N5 processor I would use disposable batteries. The FM runs off of the CI batteries and if the rechargeable runs out, then there is no way for him to use his CI because I am not sending a back up rechargeable to school. They could easily be lost. The FM system also uses up that battery quite quickly and the rechargeable just might not last all day. The school district also supplies batteries for school, so he doesn't use his own disposable batteries at school! This means, his disposable batteries are used before school starts, after he gets home and then on the weekends. I don't hassle with trying to use disposable batteries on weekends.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Jigsaw Puzzle

The boys and I went out shopping the other day and on a whim we decided to buy a jigsaw puzzle. I let Jacob choose the puzzle and he went for this one, which is 2000 pieces. I thought, no problem we can do this and I still think we can, but it may take all summer!  I remember doing puzzles with my mom when I was a kid, and how much I enjoyed it. I thought it might also teach Elijah some patience, but so far he is just wearing on my patience! We will keep trying though. I have found that working on the puzzle gives Jacob and I a chance to talk. It also gets him off of the laptop for an hour or so a day, which is a good thing. He will be 16 next month and he is just growing up too fast. I have to make this time with him! We had an interesting conversation last night while working on the puzzle. We were listening to the news and the story was about the two dads in the Target circular in the newpaper. People were upset that there were two dads that were together as a couple. I didn't say much and then Jacob said, "What's the big deal? People just need to learn to be tolerant." He also shared that some other kids at school call him a "Ginger", because of his red hair. I had seen a story about this on "What would you do?" that comes on most Friday night. I asked him what he does when he is called that, and he said he ignores them. He said that they are just ignorant and don't know better. It was a good conversation and I was glad we had it.

Now back to the puzzle! Another tips when purchasing a puzzle, be sure you have a big enough table. As you can see we haven't gotten very far on the puzzle! You might also be able to see the board we had to buy at Home Depot, so we can move it off the table when we need to eat! We are still missing some edges, but hopefully we will find them soon. I hope to have more conversations with both boys as we sit around the table this summer working on this puzzle! I'll post more pictures as we make more progress. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Finally, Summer Is Here!

We all made it through another year of school. I think I was as ready as the boys were for this year to be done. I really had a rough few weeks, but it is all behind me now. Jacob finished off the year pretty well. He will be a junior next year and he will be getting his class ring. He starts driver's education on June 18th for three weeks! He turns 16 in July, but has to wait six months after the driver's ed class before he can get his license. Elijah will be going into the sixth grade next year! He had a pretty good year, but there were definitely some bumps along the way. We both survived them though.

I do have some school work during the summer. I am attending a three day workshop that is about 30 min from the house starting on June 12th. I then go to Houston at the end of July for a three day state wide conference for deaf and hard of hearing teachers. I am also presenting at that. I will be seeing two babies during the summer too for ECI services. One of my other teachers is helping out with that as well. I am also back on Weight Watchers and hoping to lose some more weight this summer. I have lost a few pounds so far, but want to lose more! My mystery shopping will keep me busy too! I have set aside several days for the kids and I to do things.

Jacob and I will be taking German lessons from my partner two days a week for the summer. We also set aside days to go to the Rec center here in town. I set aside one day for cooking lessons for the boys from me. Elijah will also be working on school work during the summer and of course, he will be playing either the Wii, on my iPad or on his nintendo during the day some. My plan is to try to limit that to three hours a day. We shall see how that goes.

I plan on taking them both shopping tomorrow for a few summer things. Both boys need some shorts and Elijah needs a swim suit. We plan on swimming at my dad's house whenever we can. Hopefully, it won't be TOO hot to swim this summer. I hope to get to the movies a few times and see some new releases. OH and we plan on going to my mom's house in a few weeks for a three days! That will give us all a break!

There are a few doctor's appointments that we have over the summer too. Both boys go to the pulmanologist on Monday. Elijah has an appointment with the psychiatrist towards the end of the month and he goes to the endocrinologist in July! FUN STUFF, right??

So that is our summer! I'll let y'all know how it goes and hopefully I will learn more German by September!

Monday, May 28, 2012


There are just four more days of school left and I hope Elijah can make it these last four days. He has been "on it" all weekend. By "on it" I mean just pushing every button that I have. Pushing me to the brink of madness. He can be unrelenting in his arguing and disrespectfulness. I am just hoping he can get through these last four days of school. All I could think was "Really, have to act this way!"

I had a little "come to Jesus" with him this afternoon and behavior seemed to improve. However, I hate having to get into this mode to get his attention. I am hoping he can have a pretty good last four days of school and that we survive this summer.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

When are you going to leave?

"When are you going to leave?" These are the words that I hear from Elijah each weekend morning after I get up. Most weekends I have my mystery shops to complete and he stays with Jacob and plays on the Wii. He has such a limited amount of time on the Wii that he prefers that I leave so he can play. I remember the days when he didn't want me to leave! He would prefer that my partner and I go out dancing every weekend so he can have his electronics time! I am at least glad to see he is over some of his anxiety about me not being with him at all times.

I am hoping to cut down on my mystery shops this summer to spend more time at home with him and Jacob. Of course, Jacob is into his own stuff and really could care less at this point if I spend time with him. I'll have to see what plans I can make that might entice him to come off with us. Elijah is my movie buddy, so I think we will try to see a few this summer. I need to enjoy my boys while I can. Jacob will be 16 and graduating in two years. Elijah is 12, but I know he will grow up quickly too(at least I hope so!). I want to have a fun summer and hope my boys will want to spend time with me and not ask me to leave!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Two More Weeks until Summer Break

Both the boys and I have two more weeks until summer break! We are all ready for it. Of course, we will be a little busy during that time. I have a three day workshop about 30 min from home in June and then I travel to Houston in July for the Statewide Conference for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students. My partner will keep the boys while I am gone for statewide. I think that will be an interesting experience for all three of them and probably for me! Thankfully, Jacob is old enough to help babysit Elijah. I will pay him to babysit during that time and to help his step mom with Elijah so she can work during the day.

Jacob is taking driver's ed for three weeks and we have to go and camp out at the DMV to get his permit. He then has to wait six months to get his driver's license. I will have to make him an appointment some time after he finishes driver's ed to take his driving test in six months. YES, you hear me right, make an appointment to take the test. I have hear the horror stories of parents and kids getting in line at four in the morning and still not getting to take the test. The DMV only does so many driving tests a day and if you don't make it, well then you have to come back. He turns 16 in July, but he isn't just chomping at the bit to drive yet!

We are not going on vacation at all this summer, really. We will probably go see my mom in Marshall for a few days at some point. I hope we can go to the movies and do some fun things in the area! We also have a membership at the recreation center in town so we will be visiting there often. I plan on staying on my weight watchers and losing as much weight as I can! My partner plans on teaching Jacob and I a foreign language!The boys have a few doctor appointments, but nothing too exciting.I will also be doing my mystery shopping, but have VOWED not to sign up for a billion shops and never be home. I like the extra money though and that money allows us to do some of the fun things we want to do!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Freeze the Cheese!

One of Elijah's medicine's makes him very hungry. This has resulted in locking up food in my bedroom and also putting a lock on the freezer. Every afternoon he has two tortillas with two cheese slices for a snack. I leave it all in the fridge and he heats it up himself. Well, he started eating the cheese slices in the fridge and we were going through cheese quickly. I also worry about him putting on too much weight. We finally took the cheese and started freezing it it with two slices put together. I used parchment paper to separate the cheese into two slice groups and then put them together in a ziplock bag. It has actually worked out quite well.

Now fruit is always available and shockingly enough, Elijah chose an apple for a snack the other day. I was quite proud of him. I am thankful for the medicine, but I hate that it has caused him to gain so much weight. I guess you have to weigh the pros and cons of medication. Right now he needs the medicine so he can't function, so I just have to make sure I monitor what he eats!

I am also monitoring what I eat and have started back on weight watchers. I lost five pounds during my first week! I am very motivated this time around!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Counting the Days

Well we are counting the days until Summer break! I think I am as ready as the boys. Jacob has refereed several soccer games and his savings account is growing. I also signed him up for a driver's education class this summer. He should be out of his braces soon too!!! He has his state testing this week and will be glad when it is over. Elijah is busy at school too. His behavior has been fairly good. He has about one "off" day a week which is a big improvement. He has testing this week too. He seems to be having a few more tics, but nothing too serious so far!

We are not planning much for this summer. We went to a family wedding back on the 14th of this month and drove 11 hours to Alabama. I saw just about all of my family on my mother's side and some family that I have not seen in YEARS! It was a lot of fun and the boys enjoyed it.  We got to east some Krispy Kreme donuts too! My partner enjoyed meeting my family too! I have a three day workshop in June that is only about 30 minutes from the house, so that won't be too bad. I then travel to Houston in July for a three day conference for Teachers of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. It is a statewide conference and I will be presenting!!! I am excited, but nervous. I will be presenting at our regional service center next week.

Overall, things are going well and we have no complaints. My mystery shopping keeps me busy too! I am hoping to pay down some of my debt!!!(crossing fingers)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

More Puke, Poison Ivy, Doctor Visits and Mystery Shopping

Wow! What a title, but what a 24 hours it has been. This time last night, all was well in the world. Elijah had a great day at school and we had some great leftovers for dinner. I did notice I had a rash on one of my arms, and decided it must be poison Ivy from the yard work I did. I put medicine on it and hoped it would improve. My partner made it home from a late night working and we went to bed around 10:00.

My partner wakes me up around 2:45 in the morning saying, "I think Jacob is throwing up in the other bathroom." I get out of bed and sure enough, he is in there puking. He finished up, washed out his mouth and went to bed. I told him he would be staying home from school and he actually tried to argue with me that he NEEDED to go. NOW this is a turn around! Well, I won this argument and we went to bed, or so I thought. Forty-five minutes later I am up again with him puking, but there is NOTHING more to puke up so he is puking up bile and having a really HARD time. He even let me wipe him down on his face and neck with a wet wash clothe. We again went back to bed and 45 minutes later, I was up again with him. Needless to say, this kept going on and on. I decided to stay home and get him into a doctor.

I make it up around 6:30 and get Elijah off to school on the bus at 7:40. I called the clinic in town and got an 8:30 appointment for Jacob and one for me for my poison Ivy. The rash had spread and was also on my other arm. In the past, when I get poison Ivy, I don't usually have much luck with over the counter meds. I let my partner sleep, because she had to work later.

We went in and poor Jacob threw up in the trash can in the waiting room, but BOY did they get us into a back room quick. We then saw the doctor. He got a shot for nausea and I got a steroid shot. He also got a prescription for nausea and I got one for my rash so I won't itch it.

We come home and Jacob just goes right to sleep. The puking stops and he is able to hold down some liquids. I leave around 11:00 to get our meds and conduct one mystery shop in town and get a free lunch. I then come home and check on him and leave to get Elijah around 12:45. We head out to McKinney where I do two quick mystery shops(that I had planned for later, but since I was off, why not?) and then we go to the psychiatrist, where they inform me that our appointment is not until 4:15. What the heck! NO way....I remember having to make it for 2:15 so we could see the doctor, not the nurse practicioner. They were nice, but ugh, we would have to wait. Well, I had some shops that I could do instead of waiting for the weekend, so Elijah and I went and did the shops and grabbed an ice cream while we were out. I took a few phone calls from work and THEN we arrived back at 4:05 PM to wait until 4:30 to see the nurse practicioner.

All goes well with her and we don't change any meds. I stop on the way home for yet another mystery shop to get dinner which I bring home! I had planned this shop ahead of time, but it wasn't too far from home.

It was a LONG day and I am sure I'll be JUST a little tired tonight. Jacob is back asleep after eating some chicken noodle soup and I am hoping he makes it back to school tomorrow and NO ONE else gets sick.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Puke, Meds and other stuff!

My mom came into town yesterday to see all of us. She came by the house for a while and I helped her file her taxes online! She then took the boys and I out to dinner with my brother and his family. We had a very nice dinner. Elijah didn't want to eat much of his dinner though, but did want dessert. My mom went ahead and got something for him, which I shared with him.

All seemed fine when we left, but when we got in the car I hear, "I just puked" from Elijah in the backseat. As I looked back and noticed the puke on his shirt, he puked again. I yelled for him to get out of the car and he did and puked once again. Oh my! I took his shirt off and cleaned him and the car up as best I could. I then drove us home. I now had the debate of whether or not to give him his meds. He came home and sat on the toilet for a bit and thankfully had a BM. I am assuming at this point that he was just stopped up. I gave him a bit of water and waited. He held that down so around 7:30 I gave him his medication.

I put him to bed around 9:00 and he seemed OK. Well then he yelled for me around 10:00 and said he had to go to the bathroom. Halfway there he said he had to puke so I pushed him along faster. Now, remember, he just got out of bed so NO ears....meaning NO hearing. He makes it to the toilet and OH my did he puke. He said he was done and came over towards the sink for me to wash his face and OH MY he projectile pukes ALL over the sink. I moved him back to the toilet where he continues to puke while I clean up the sink area. OH MY was it a lot and was it ever gross. He finally seems all done and says he feels better. I gesture out to him that the Easter bunny is coming and to NOT eat any candy in the morning. He seems to understand and I put him back to bed. I signed to him to wake me up if he felt bad in the night.

I woke up this morning to find him asleep on the den floor. Thankfully, there were no candy wrappers on the floor around him. He and Jacob looked for eggs in the den and then Elijah tried to eat some chocolate. I got to him in time! He ate two pieces of toast for lunch. NOW the dilemma I give him his meds? He has had so little to eat and I hate for those meds to just SIT in his stomach and make things worse. I waited an hour and he kept down the toast. I decided to give him his zoloft and singulair, but to hold off on his other meds. He went with me to run some errands around 10:00 and fell asleep for a while. It is now 12:10 and he hasn't puked again! He had a little bit of sprite to drink, two small sips and so far so good.

I am hoping this was just an issue of him being stopped up and not a virus! I have a roast cooking for dinner later and am planning on just having a laid back day today. I really don't want to have to clean up more puke!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Look at My Two Boys!

Look at these two boys. I can't believe how much they have grown. Jacob is 5 feet 8 inches tall and 177 pounds! He is the size of a man! I also think he is so handsome in his uniform. I picked him up from school yesterday early for a doctor's appointment. I forgot he would be in his uniform. He exited the school and started walking towards the car. I wondered WHO was this young man and then realized it was JACOB! Where did this young man come from and where did my little boy go? It is like he just grew up over night! He has matured into a great young man and he is slowly leaving childhood behind. I couldn't be more proud of him!

Elijah still has some growing to do, but he is getting there. This is one of his better pictures! He is doing fairly well in school and it is always a roller coaster ride with him. Thankfully the ride has slowed down a bit for us. Elijah was 4 pounds 9 ounces when he was born, so he has definitely grown since then! I am sure we will have some twists and turns in the future, but we will get through it!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mom, The Freezer is Locked!

Elijah has always been a child who gets into mischief. It always seems to find him. He reminds me of the kid in Goonies, Chunk, who always seemed to break things and get into mischief. This is my Elijah!

Well, one thing he likes to do is explore in the freezer in the garage. One day, when staying with Jacob, he ate a whole thing of chocolate chip cookie dough. Another day, he may get into the waffles and eat four for breakfast on a weekend morning. Just this morning, I woke up to find him in the den sitting in the electric mower's box that had been in the garage!

My partner has been wanting to buy a lock for the freezer, just to keep Elijah out of there. Even Jacob gets into things that we would rather he not eat. I finally told her she could order it and we installed it last weekend. We didn't mention it to the boys, because we wanted to see what they would say when they found it. Well, Jacob mentioned it after a few days, but no word from Elijah. Well, today while at grocery shopping he looked at me and said, "mom, there is a lock on the freezer!". I told him that I knew that and we put it there to keep him out of it! He looked a little baffled, like why would WE want to keep him out of it. He then said, "what's the code?" to which I laughed and said, "well we aren't telling you!"

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring Break

Well Spring Break did not start off well. I got a phone call around 3:15 on Friday afternoon(last day of school) that Elijah had been aggressive again at school. I could hear him in the background yelling. Isn't life grand? I was told what happened and that they were afraid that he might not get on the bus. I was 90 minutes away and there was no way I could get to the school in time. Thankfully, he did get on the bus.

Needless to say, he is grounded for the entire Spring Break. He doesn't get to play with his nintendo DS, the Wii or my iPad. I have also found several web pages with free math and language arts worksheets. He is working on some now and worked on some yesterday.

I did call the doctor on Friday, because Elijah had been having a hard time falling asleep for the few nights prior to this and was awake before I woke up. She upped one of his meds and we had a planned trip to see her for Monday(tomorrow).

He has been pretty good all weekend, but he does show his attitude at times and I send him to his room. I really do get that he has impulsivity issues, but he has also got to learn how to control it or it will always get him in trouble. He has a pulmanologist appointment on Tuesday and Jacob sees the orthodontist on Wednesday.

Needless to say, when Elijah is grounded, I am also grounded. I limit what I watch on TV and he wants my attention since he doesn't have much to do. I would hope at some point, he would "get it" but I guess it is going to take more practice.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Things Continue to Go Well

Elijah continues to be doing well in school. He had a few instances where he screamed/yelled in class and calling names, but no aggression! We go back to the doctor on March 12th. I am curious to see how this coming week goes. His right ear processor has had not more instances of blinking! That is a good thing!

Jacob spent his second Saturday at the soccer fields refereeing. He has earned some decent money. He is a bit more motivated to work now that he has a PayPal account. I can't believe how tall he looks compared to the kids on the soccer teams he referees for.

We are all ready for Spring Break to start next weekend. We don't have anything planned for Spring Break, except to try to get some rest.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

So Far, So Good!

Elijah had four great days at school. I am hoping I don't jinx it! He had all greens each day except for Tuesday when he had one yellow! It has been two weeks since we increased his medication and I think we are finally seeing that this increase was a good thing. We are continuing with the ticket system at home and I think that being consistent with that has helped. He also earns some gummy bears to put in his ice cream if he has "green" days!

I took him to the movies today as a reward for such a good week. We both enjoyed it and I needed some time with him. Jacob doesn't like to go off to the movies with us!He is a such a teen. He refereed three soccer games today and earned $45. Half of the money went into his savings account and the other half into his PayPal account. He wasn't too excited about earning money, until we set up a PayPal account for him.

Crossing my fingers Elijah continues to have good days and Jacob enjoys his referee job.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Would I Change Anything?

If there was anything I could change for either Jacob or Elijah would I? I can surely say for Jacob, that the answer is a NO! He is such a typical kid and now young man. Now for Elijah.... I wonder? Would I change anything for him if I could? How would this change affect him or me?

Elijah has had such a hard journey. He was born premature and struggled to breathe. He was on oxygen for nine months. He is deaf, but does wonderfully with his CI processors. He has asthma, Tourette Syndrome, OCD and ADHD. He is who he is because of his journey. Would I like the Elijah he would be if I took one of these away. I cannot imagine him as a different person.

Elijah has made me a better person, mother and teacher. When I speak to other parents of deaf children we relate in a way that other teachers can't. When I speak to parents of children who are deaf with other special needs, we make that connection. I have walked a similar path as they have. Our journey's may not be exactly the same, but we share a common thread. I hope this connection to other families helps these families with the choices they are faced with. I hope the stories I share with them help them with their choices.

Would I change who Elijah is? No, I don't think I would. He is who he is and I love him for who he is. He has a heavy burden to carry sometimes, but I will be there to help him along the way.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Parenting a Child with Special Needs

I have been a teacher of the deaf for 21 years now. The past five years, I have been the Lead Teacher of my department, which means I attend a lot more meetings and am not in the classroom full time any more. Almost 12 years ago my son was born prematurely and diagnosed with a hearing loss at the age of five weeks. he recieved his cochlear implants at the age of 18 months and four and half years of age. At the age of five he started on medication for ADHD and at the age of eight he was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome and OCD. Needless to say I have had my ups and downs. I was well prepared for the deafness but as far as his other issues, well let's just say, it has been a challenge.

Before the divorce, Elijah's dad was a good support to me. It was a trying time though and having a special needs child is never easy on a marriage. Since our divorce, I have pretty much been the only one at home to deal with Elijah on a full time basis. My immediate family does support me emotionally, but they aren't here 24 hours a day seven days a week. Jacob was only 13 at the time and expecting him to be a second parent is not an option. I was lucky to find a great babysitter for Elijah after school who was a very important person in his life for two years.

Last week, when Elijah had that really bad day, I arrived at the school visibly upset. No one likes to hear that staff at a school are afraid of getting hurt by a student that is your kid. The principal was very supportive and during the conversation mentioned that she has thought of coming by and taking Elijah out for ice cream so that I could get some time to myself! I guess you know it is bad, when people offer that. I told her though that I do get out and have some time for myself. The last year has been one of the best years of my life. I have found someone to share my life with. I am not going to share a lot about her, but I want everyone to know that I am no longer alone in my struggles with Elijah. I have someone who is very supportive and who has become a great step parent. I am happy because I have someone who takes care of me and who I can take care of too.

Elijah's dad is also back more in his life, asking more about his doctor's appointments and about school. He has always been there, but he has had to move five hours away to find a better job. The economy is not great, as we all know and sometimes people have to move. He keeps in contact though and I know once things settle down for him he will be there for his boys.

We parents need to make sure we take care of ourselves. I go out and spend time with friends and make sure that I take the time for myself. Please remember that...take time for yourself and for your significant other.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Yesterday was NOT a Good Day!

Yesterday was not a good day for Elijah. As you may remember, I posted about him having some bad days in the last few weeks. He bit another student about two weeks ago and then again this past Wednesday. He spent a day in suspension at school on Thursday. Well, yesterday morning he was already in a mood before he got on the bus. He then went to school and basically spiraled out of control. I got a phone call around 8:30 letting me know what was happening and that he was not calming down. I was asked to come and get him.

Unfortunately I work 40 minutes from him and had driven another 20 minutes away to check on some students, so I was an hour away. The principal understood and told me that she would keep him "safe" until I got there. That told me a lot! I called in to work and told them I would be taking off for the day. I had to call someone else and see if we could reschedule an IEP meeting because I had no one else to send(I am a teacher of the deaf and Federal Law says a deaf ed. teacher has to be at a deaf student's IEP meeting, so they can't have it without me.). Everyone knows how dependable I am and thankfully I have never had to cancel on an IEP meeting for an emergency like this.

I finally start driving his way and on the way called the psychiatrist's office and got a 1:45 pm appointment for that afternoon. I got to the school around 10:00 and saw him in the conference room working with a teacher. The principal saw how upset I was and wanted to know what she could do to help me. We sat and talked for almost an hour so she could give me the whole story. I needed to know what had happened so we could talk to the doctor about it. She was very supportive and I explained that we would be going to the doctor.

Elijah and I got ready to leave and he was perfectly calm. He didn't even act like anything had happened. We came home and had lunch. We talked for a bit and I then I called a good friend to talk. I needed a good talk.

We went and saw the doctor who listened to everything. She said it may be puberty coming on which would require him to need more meds. We upped one of his meds by 0.5 mg and may up it more, if needed. We just have to wait and see.

I had noticed that he seemed to be a bit more agitated in the last week or so and there seemed to be more tics. I added the 0.5 mg today and hopefully we will see some improvement in the next week or so. It is hard to know how long it will take to see the effect of upping his meds and we may need to up it more. I think this is the hardest part of Tourette Syndrome. There are just no easy answers.

On another note, Elijah managed to get up on the stage today at the Regional Day School Program's Performance in front over 250 people and say his poem. He even bowed at the end! He can be such a sweetie, sometimes.