Monday, June 26, 2017

April 2017 Post Florida

Florida spoiled the kids a bit. It was hard to keep them at home after all the fun times we had there. Ty in particular gets really grumpy and hyperactive if he doesn't get a change of scene when he needs one, and he wanted them even more after having constant changes of scene and fun new experiences on vacation. I have a ton of pictures from just our 12 days left of April because I kept needing to get the kids out of the house at least once a day.

In Florida the babysitter had asked if Allison took a bottle. I guess I was wrong when I said "no."

Zonked after playing at the park. Ty doesn't usually fall asleep before noon, but he was worn out from a few random meltdowns at the park. It started becoming a pattern that he'd do well for about 20 minutes before he stopped being able to follow directions and keep his hands to himself.

Oscar trying to get a picture of Ty with dandelions but it was too bright for him

I don't often get out the Play-Doh because it's a ton of clean up for the five minutes it occupies Tyler, but one day he played independently for nearly an hour (even got the Play-Doh out himself, which I thought was too high for him to reach). Apparently he just needed the whole length of the table to work on and the ability to move around.

In case you're wondering from this and other future pictures, he gave himself a fat lip by falling off the foot of his bed and sliding his mouth down the side of his dresser. It was actually pretty hilarious to watch. I had to hold in my laughter while I comforted him.

Our main YMCA was closed the week we got back from Florida, so I had to work out at the other Y locations. On Friday I took Allison to Millcreek at 5:50pm for a 6pm class only to learn that the child care there closes at 6:15pm on Fridays. I worked out for about 20 minutes before needing to get her, but I didn't want to take her home after such a short visit on a lovely day. At first I tried letting her play in their little enclosed outdoor area while I continued dancing (you can see workout studio through the glass doors). This worked for about 15 minutes until Allison kept closing herself in the outdoor lockers and worrying me. She loves opening and closing doors. This was just as amusing to her as anything we did in Florida.

She also enjoyed being free to wander and shaking the gates.

On Saturday of that week I took her down to the Everett YMCA, which isn't too far from the children's museum. My class wasn't until 10:30, so I took her to the museum for member only time at 9:00am. It's pretty deserted then, and she really enjoyed playing and exploring on her own without me needing to keep her close to Tyler.

Her first choice was playing instruments, as usual.

My little animal lover in the veterinarian office!

I love that she actually looks like she's milking the cow in this picture on the left.

While we were busy at the museum/gym, the boys were busy at Comcast Cares Day

Later I took Ty down to the Shoreline Y to go swimming, but for some reason he became super shy and did not want to leave the waiting room. It took a lot of coaxing, but eventually I got him in the pool. He was just in a funky mood all evening.

Since the beginning of the year we've been attending the Spanish branch at church. Oscar was called as the Elder's Quorum president last year, but the kids and I kept going to our English ward until this past January. Ty's in primary now, but he often needs to visit nursery for a change of scene and a break from trying to understand what's going on in Spanish. I can't blame him. Sister Waight's a lot of fun!

Church goes from 11-2, which is right over Allison's nap time. After the Sacrament is passed I usually take Allison into the mother's room for a quick nap. She's become better at sleeping on me when I need her to since we took our flight to and from Florida. Sometimes I've even nodded off with her.
Tunneling with Samantha! Ty often does well when a nice older kid like Samantha takes him under their wing.
Ty crashing in quiet time after destroying his room

We took another trip to the zoo with our friend Julia and her daughter Annabelle. Tyler got to see the Jaguar this time.

Her also saw monkeys and got a visit from a bird inside the sanctuary

Playing on the stone gorillas before watching the real ones

Tyler pretending to be a turtle with "Annababy."

After awhile they just need to get out and play. Fortunately the zoo has several nice play areas, indoor and out. They love these tunnels. It's hard for me to catch them in there since I have to squat as I walk through it.

Allison didn't want to be a turtle. She wanted to slide like an otter instead. For a long time she would only slide backwards on her tummy, the way she goes down the stairs.

Ty was too worried to go in this nest. He didn't want to hurt the eggs and thought it was scary.
Indoor playtime! Tyler vastly preferred this nest of stuffed animals.

Allison loves it here. The only difficulty is preventing her from constantly opening and closing the gate. I wish they had some sort of latch on it. She also kept trying to go up to a breastfeeding mom nearby and yank on her cover.
 This girl and transparent windows

Tyler often does puzzles while Allison beats the drums.

Tyler got scared on this mountain in the toddler area but not in the ones three times as large in the big kid areas.

Both of them snoozed on the drive home then got to enjoy a bit of leftover chocolate cake.

 We typically visit the children's museum about once a week on Tuesday or Wednesday when they open at 9am. One of their favorite activities is making stage effects. So many buttons!
Allison also enjoys driving the bus.

We didn't get around to the water area that day, so I let her play in the sink when we got home. She's just as happy there or splashing around in the bathtub as she is at the museum or the beach. It really doesn't take much to entertain this girl. She's exactly the opposite of how Tyler was at her age.

Oh how I love having cameras in the kids' rooms. I find them in such sweet positions.

We met up with some friends at Forest Park, but Allison decided she needed a quick snooze first. Luckily I was able to stay with her in the car while my friend Emma kept an eye on Tyler.
Tyler's never cared much for swings, even the kind Allison's using in this middle picture. We've now learned that this is a vestibular sensory issue. He needs material wrapped around him or to be swinging on his belly with his feet touching the ground.

Allison, on the other hand, loves the swings and making daddy swing by pushing him as he hangs from his pullup bar.

Though we had to put our summer clothes away from Florida, the weather did start warming up enough to use the outdoor playground at the Y. I wish Allison would stick to the little play area on the left, but my little daredevil is totally drawn to the big one on the right. She's such a climber! She figured her way up the green ramp the first time she tried it.
Ty started swim lessons again at the end of April, and I was thrilled with how well the first one went! He'd done lessons twice a week during February before I took him out for two months. He hadn't graduated up to the next level, so I started working privately with him on the techniques I'd observed during the lessons. Every lesson his first time through was awful! I had to be constantly on guard because Ty would try to pinch or scratch the kid next to him when the teacher worked with another child, he often had meltdowns and wanted to be done, and he'd splash when asked not to and move constantly down the wall. Since we didn't know about Ty's ADHD/sensory seeking SPD at that point, it was incredibly frustrating, and I was desperate to stop him from hurting the other kids.

First off I was delighted to see Dominic would be his teacher this time around. He's jumped in and joined my Aqua Zumba class a few times when he gets there early before swim lessons, so I just knew a guy like that would be fun and easy going and that Tyler would really take to him. I explained about Ty's ADHD and SPD, and he was totally cool with it. Then I was happy to see that there was only one other child in the lessons, which surprised me since their sign up sheet says lessons will be cancelled if there aren't at least three kids. With only two I didn't have to worry about him getting too physical with another child when the teacher isn't working with him. The practice we did had clearly paid off too. He happily showed off his skills and didn't want the lesson to be over when it was. They end it by jumping into the teacher's arms, and he jumped again after being dismissed. The other child was 5 years old, so she picked up on everything very quickly, and they both breezed through the first lesson. I also talked with her mom, and she seems to be a kindred spirit. We talked about how we're both big water babies who grew up swimming and really want our kids to be able to swim with us.

After his great lesson I took him outside to play until "Healthy Kids' Day" started at 10. It was really fun! He would go around from booth to booth doing fun activities and getting little treats or prizes. He even got a brand new bike helmet sized just for him, and Allison thoroughly enjoyed petting the pony. Both kids got to jump around in the bounce house and Tyler got to sit in the driver's seat of the firetruck.

This was all followed up by going to the branch party "El Dia del NiƱo" (kids' day). Allison is wild about watermelon!
Ty had fun doing potato sack races. It was funny when he'd come in dead last and yell "I beat ya!"
Tyler and Allison found a balloon and had fun tossing it back to each other while Allison sat on daddy's head.  Too cute! The kids could have played that game all day. Oscar not so much...

And to top it all off, the kids got to knock down several pinatas.

The cats all like sitting on Allison's changing table. She has no objections.

And cute siblings bonding over daddy's phone

April ADHD Update:

After a 2.5 month long wait, we finally got Tyler in with an occupational therapist. He'll have weekly visits until the OT decides he's caught up with his peers. She mostly confirmed what I suspected about him having the sensory seeking form of sensory processing disorder, but we learned a few new things as well. It's such a weight off my chest to finally work with an expert on the sensory issues.

As she began her evaluation she immediately picked up on how advanced some of his fine motor abilities are, particularly his building skills. I'd often suspected what he can do with Legos to be beyond his years, so it was nice to have an expert confirm that. She basically said "this is an intelligent little boy with a lot of potential. That's all the more reason we need to get to work on his sensory issues. He needs to be in school, he needs to be learning and developing his mind, and he needs to understand how sensory processing fits in with the skills he already has." She further explained that the brain is still developing rapidly at his age, so we're doing the right thing by targeting his sensory understanding now before it cements in his mind around 7 or 8 years old. It becomes very difficult to re-train the brain at that age and beyond.

One of my primary concerns has been when Tyler laughs after deliberately hitting or knocking down another child. It's the one thing that's made me wonder if I'm just blinded by love and living in denial. She explained that Tyler sees the world differently than most children, and he's misinterpreting their response to him. As far as he's concerned he's just trying to give and receive the strong sensory input he craves. When another child cries or gets upset, he doesn't know what that means because he wasn't trying to hurt them. He laughs because he's happy and he wants them to be happy too, not because he's enjoying their distress. This was particularly comforting to hear after the management at LA Fitness Everett treated him like some sort of dangerous budding sociopath and shut me down when I tried to explain that he was probably trying to hug/play with the other kids, not hurt them. I'm becoming more convinced that the main issue there was a high amount of turnover among the caregivers and the general inattentiveness of the staff. At least when incidents started happening at preschool and the YMCA, the caregivers could tell that Tyler is obviously a very affectionate little guy who doesn't seem to understand how rough he's being around the other kids.

He has his good and bad days/hours/minutes. We really never know what we're going to get. For example, Tyler's great day at swim lessons/healthy kids' day/el dia del nino was followed up by a terrible morning and afternoon at church the next day. We didn't have much of an issue with sensory seeking, but the ADHD/ODD was very strong. Even after he managed to calm down for 20 minutes, he then threw an enormous meltdown when I led the kids in class with "popcorn popping" (a song he loves and usually participates in happily). I never fully got him out of the funk from that one. He stopped crying but was still unhappy and defiant, and he melted down again on the way home. I rarely give him nap in his bed anymore, but I knew he needed it that day. He screamed himself to sleep in less than a minute after I left the room. I began wondering then if he had some sort of mood disorder on top of the ADHD.