Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Teething at 10

"Molars, in the back, are usually shed between ages 10 and 12, and are replaced with permanent teeth by about age 13." (, 2011)

My poor baby. She is losing two front molars. It is completely painful! She can't eat or think. She is focused on the gum and jaw pain. Her left permanent molar is pushing out the baby tooth and pushing back her other molars. There is really nothing I can do but to give her ice and medicine. If the pain continue as bad as day, we will be taking a trip to the dentist tomorrow afternoon.

I am worried about my baby.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Turning Five Meeting

So today was THE meeting. The Turning Five meeting was held at PS 32 - The Belmont School. Big Bes attended this school for a short period in time, 1st grade and 2 months of 2nd grade. I met the school's: psychologist, Sp. Ed. Assistant Principal, K special education teacher, general education teacher and someone else.  (I can't remember who she was, sorry) We sat down and the meeting began. We started with the paperwork I had to bring and my question. Will I be able to enroll Big Al in a school outside of his zoned school? The answer to that is: I have to go to 1 Fordham Plaza to request the change. (That means a fight)

We continue the meeting by reviewing Big Al's new new IEP. (Now, remember on Friday I received a new IEP during his last CPSE meeting.) This new new IEP starts as of September 2011. His new new IEP was created on the New York City Department of Education's (NYCDOE) new Special Education Information System (SEIS). SEIS the format of handling IEPs. The IEPs are located on an intranet and can be access by staff members with privileges to it. This new process is stressful for all that is trying to learn it. (Yay! Something new for me to learn) We started with Present Performance. What was written was head on. We continue with evaluation results, developmental areas, etc. I agreed with everything. Weird...right?

Here are Big Al's IEP changes as of September:
His classification: Preschooler with Disabilities to Speech/Language Impairment
Program recommendation: 12:1:2 to 12:1 (: means ratio)
Occupational Therapy: 3x30:1 to 2x30:2
Physical Therapy: 2x30:1 no change
Speech/Language Therapy: 2x30:1 to 2x30:2
Counseling: 1x30:2 no change

Whoa, that's a lot of numbers! It's ok if you had to read that

Slowly but surely he is moving forward.

The IEP is not finalized just yet. Small changes need to be made to the content and I need to submitted forms and scripts. Once that's all done the paperwork for Turning Five is done.

When the meeting with done, I shared my story about my children and how we are a military family, etc. The school psychologist ask me, "Have you ever thought about being a parent advocate?" I laughed because I have been asked that many times. Just two weeks ago the EI psychologist asked me the same question(Little Al + PDD-NOS). I did the same thing today what I did two weeks ago, give them the card to my blog. I enjoy sharing my blog and I hope they share it too. :-)

Just like when Big Bea attended PS32 the staff of the school is lovely. I can get things to work out so that he can stay at PS32 but with my husband being active (on and off) military, I can't see how things can work in my favor. As of now, Big Al has a special education seat at PS32 and a "normal" seat at PS50. Time to think.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Last CPSE Meeting for Alex

Today I had Big Al's last CPSE meeting. This meeting was a review of his IEP. His prior IEP only covered him until June 28, 2011. Thanks to the great people at Easter Seals they were able to justify summer school for him and the CPSE representative agreed. So his IEP was extend until his 5th birthday. GREAT! This was the easiest meeting I've been to in a long time. There was only one bump on the road.

On the Final Notice of Recommendation of IEP form, OT was changed to 2x30mins in error. The rep read off the letter and right away I pointed out the error. She said, "Well that's what the new IEP says." I said,  "Well the last IEP said 3x30." I got the impression that she was going to leave it. Alex's teacher got the old IEP from the file cabinet and pointed out the OT 3x30. The rep looked at the new IEP and indeed will stay 3x30. Thanks, Helen. The rep fixed the error. I told the ladies that I will see them soon for his little sister. "Jokingly", the rep said, " You don't intimidate me, you know." My head I said, "I should." and I laughed.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Major Improvements!

It's been three weeks since Little Al started receiving the increases in services and OMG there has been major improvements. When I ask her, "What's my name?" She says "Mommy."
"How old are you?" "3"
"Who is that?" "Daddy"  It's great that she is answering questions. She can also make animal sounds. Horse - Na, Sheep - Ba, Cow - Moo. She is starting to couple words. Pretty bird, puppy dog, eat more. Her word list is getting londeg... which is very excited.

She is also much more active. She hasn't got her leg braces yet and she can climb up and down the large steps to our apartment building. Where were impossible for her four weeks ago. She is going flying up and down those steps with the braces. I can't wait.

She is also exploring different body positions. Hence the picture. She started hanging off of the sofa a few days ago. She is able to get out of those positions without falling on her head. Awesome!

It's really amazing what a few weeks of more service can do.

It's always worth the fight.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Are You Losing Weight?

So I lost 5 pounds this week. I didn't exercise on bit however I did eat more greens. But what bugs me is when people come up to me and say, "Are you losing weight?" or "Did you lose weight?" I wish I could just wake up and be thin and then I wouldn't mind the questions.

Are You Losing Weight?

So I lost 5 pounds this week. I didn't exercise on bit however I did eat more greens. But what bugs me is when people come up to me and say, "Are you losing weight?" or "Did you lose weight?" I wish I could just wake up and be thin and then I wouldn't mind the questions.

OMG! She is going to be 10!

Me, my sister & Dominick
Ten years ago.... I was 41 weeks pregnant. The baby growing inside of me didn't have an official name yet. I had set names for genders.  I didn't want to know the sex of the baby. I wanted it do be a surprise. My 41st week I found out the sex of the baby by mistake. I was scheduled of a sonogram every other day because I had gone over 40 weeks and It didn't look like I was going to pop any time soon. So at my first appointment, the technician was doing her job and checking my fluid levels and the baby's heart rate, etc. At the end of the sonogram she said, "She is doing just great." ....."WHAT!" She put her hand over her mouth and most have said I am sorry a million times. I cleaned my belly off, fixed my clothes and walked out shaking my head.

As I was walked to the bus stop, I saw the bus leave me in the dust. I had some time before the next bus to think about the information just given to me. What a surprise? I am having a girl.....this is awesome. Now, I just have to wait for my baby girl to come into this world. We'll see what your name will be...

Ten years ago, I went to the back to the hospital for a follow up sonogram to check for fluids, etc. The technician notice that my fluid levels were lower then a few days ago. They hooked me up to the belly monitor to make sure that everything was ok with the baby. It was so nice having people doing things for me for a change. The wonderful staff at Einstein Hospital tried to make me as comfortable as possible. Pillows, blankets, comfy chair and apple juice. I was hooked up the monitor for about 30 mins before the nurse came back to take the chart to the doctor. The doctor came back and asked, "Do you feel like having a baby today or tomorrow?" The doctor said that I was ok to go home but suggested to induce labor because I was leaking fluid. I wasn't leaking a lot of fluid but enough to have to come back to the hospital every day to check levels, instead of every couple of days. Who really wants to do that? I told the doctor that I feel like having a baby day...or at least start the process day. I called Becky's dad (Erick) and told him not to worry but I am having a baby today or tomorrow. I was transferred to the labor &delivery floor and start paperwork and meds. I called my sister to let her know it was going to go down soon. My sister and my mom showed up with food...I hated them so much since I couldn't eat now. Thanks guys. Erick, my sister and I laughed for most of my contractions. Gas, poop and skinny arms where the topics that kept us laughing. After 10 hours, I asked for drugs for the pain....I slept like a baby after I got them....

After my long nap, I woke up to A LOT of pressure. I had no idea that what I was feeling was pressure. My brain was telling me I was in a lot of pain. The doctor said it's time to push. My brain was racing... How the hell am I going to get this baby out of me? Pushing? Are you for real? I feel like I am being pull apart. I didn't think my knees could go back that far and why the hell is Scooby-doo playing on the TV? Why is Erick wearing a mask? (weak) What is it so cold in here? My sister has skinny arms. If that doctor does that one more time I am kicking her.....suddenly the pressure was gone. I finally got to see my baby girl and her name, Bea. All the pain in my body went away. I finally got to hold her and I felt warm.

Flash forward....
I every moment that passes I feel that warmth. Today my amazing little turned ten years old.

She special request to go to a museum for her birthday. Normally we have a party with the family but we changed things up and headed down to the Children's Museum of Manhattan. Big Bea loved this museum so much when we went last year; she's craved to go back ever since.

The exhibit on the main level was The Wizard of Oz. It was very interactive. We made twisters and a rainbow out of soft building blocks. It was as tall as me! Big Al was very upset when a boy came over and tried to kick it down. He tried so hard to stop the boy. The boy stopped but told his daddy he wanted to kick it... what a meanie. I knocked down the rainbow with Big Al so that no one can take the knocking over away from Little Al loved the model of a cow. She ran right up to be and said, "Cow! Moo!" The cow mooed back and she ran away. Very funny! Big Bea loved the farmhouse that was tilted as if it was in a twister.

We travelled to all the floor and our favorite floor was the Dora and Diego themed floor. This was Little Al's first visit to CMOM and she was in heaven when we reached this floor. Big Bea and Big Al teamed up and went to all the different areas on their own. Little Al found a toy fish and run all about with it. She was so happy playing with all the Dora and Diego areas she had a sensory over load. She was walking around with her eyes close and a smile on her face. I knew then that leaving was not going to be fun. Sure enough when I took the fish away she had a complete meltdown. She didn't stop crying until we were out of the building. Big Bea was trying to explain to her that the fish belongs to the museum...Little Al didn't understand what she was saying, she just wanted the fish.

Note to self: I have to stop going to museums on a Sunday afternoon. There is way too many people there.

Happy 10th Birthday Big Bea!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Autism is NOT a Four Letter Word!

Two out of three of my children are on the spectrum.

When I say, "My son and daughter have been diagnosed with PDD-NOS." I get a look and they say, "What's that?" Then I go into the long explanation about what it means. The moment I say,"It's a form of autism." I get the "I am so sorry" face.

What is there to be sorry about?

What do you see when you hear the word autism?

Little Al is following in the foot steps of her brother. Those are great foot steps to be in.

Why you say?

Well, at the age of 2, Big Al was:
-almost non-verbal, with 5 words in his vocabulary (Mommy, Elmo, Baba, Baby & Daddy)
-had many repetitive behavior
-very little eye contact
-zero affection

At the age of 2, Little aL was:
-almost non-verbal, with 10 words in her vocabulary (Ball, Go, Spider, Hooray, Red, Blue, Eat, More, Dada & Cat)

-had many repetitive behavior
-little to no eye contact
-lots of affection

Look at my son now..... What do you see? The happiest little boy you'll ever seen. He smiles so brightly and wants everyone to feel his joy. He wants to play with any girl or boy. He draws like an artist. He dances like an old man. Did I mention that he has been enrolled in dance classes for eight months? He enjoys every last minute. He knows what he wants and can ask for it too. He can tell you if he feels cold or hot, mad, sad or happy. He can tell you when he has to pee pee too! He can spell countless amounts of words and he favorite word is "S-T-E-V-E." He was silent for so long and didn't have the words for many thing...he is trying to catch up... listen to him talk.
I see so much potential.... There is no label on him that says "Autism"...but he is autism and so is she. I am too...and so is Becky .......and Aston.
I am proud that Little Al is following his foot steps. I can't wait to listen to her tell me a story. In two years, I am going to blogging about how much progress she has made.
Autism is not a four letter word. It is not a life sentence. It's a challenge I have taken on and continue to battle with every day.

Can you tell I am mad?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Marathon Meetings

Yesterday was Little Al's Psy Eval.
Today: Big Al's pre-Turning Five meeting with the social worker and Big Bea's Parent- Teacher Conference. Mommy is tired. I totally needed a cape today.

This morning's meeting with the social worker went very smoothly. However, I was very upset that she didn't have any paperwork for Little aL except his address and phone number. So I had to tell his story from the beginning... I really didn't mind. After I told his story she laughed and asked, "And why is he in special education?" She was very impressed by his progress but she did see why he is in special education. I planted the seed to have him attend Becky's school. The social worker was so impressed by my knowledge of special needs children and special education, she is going to push it. Hehe.

This afternoon's meeting with Big Bea's teacher went even smoother. The teacher didn't have much to say but that she is awesome. She just needs adding detail into her essays to get a 4. I am not worry about that one bit. Her report card was amazing! Dang near perfect. She is truly a genius.

I am a proud mommy.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Little Al + PDD-NOS

Today, Little Al was diagnosed with mild PDD-NOS. Her psychological evaluation was done right after work at my sister's. The Doctor was a little bit late but that's normal; parking is terrible on my sister's block. Little Al showed off her stuff for the behavior observation. Flapping hands, running back and forth and no eye contact. My sister and I answered the questions together. It was great to have her support. My husband rushed to my sister's in his dress blues to make it in time for the evaluation. He doesn't know much about what happens during evaluations so he was a little confused.  For the cognitive testing she showed off her fine motor skills, block stacking skills, imaginative play and peg placement skills. The doctor was very impress with our family. She asked me if she could share my number with parents trying to cope with a PDD-NOS. I did one better...I gave her my business card for my blog.

Plant the seed and watch them grow.
I've known for some time now that PDD-NOS is what was going on with my silent child. I am positive that with the fleet of service providers she is follow in her brother foot steps. So what are can we do:

"According to the Yale Developmental Disabilities Clinic, treating children with PDD-NOS could prove tricky: Sometimes, they may not get the help they need as quickly as those whose behavioral patterns are more clearly definable as autistic. Health-care providers may not provide a diagnosis of PDD-NOS until after they've considered all the other "types" of autism; in short, they may arrive at their conclusion after essentially a process of elimination.

As with other conditions, it takes a village of doctors, psychologists, teachers, therapists, and family members to arrive at an action plan that would work best for someone with PDD-NOS. A "one-size-fits-all" approach usually doesn't work: A multi-pronged regimen may be the most advisable. These treatments could include:

-Various behavioral regimens, including play therapy, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), sensory integration therapy, and more
-Medications, including anti-depressants
-Social skills training, which teaches children how to interact with their peers for specific situations
Alternative therapies such as martial arts therapy, wherein they flex their muscles literally and figuratively (they get stronger and learn how to function in a group setting); music therapy, which has kids learning how to communicate with the help of songs; or facilitated communication, in which children are taught to use computers or other equipment to make their thoughts known, especially if they have trouble expressing themselves verbally. (It supposedly is helpful to some children with PDD-NOS, says the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities.)" (Autism Speaks, 2011)

How to cope....
Well... I have been dealing with double service providers for 14 months. PDD-NOS is going to help me sleep easier. I don't have to worry about summer school. I got ABA covered already. Her former home-based special instructor does ABA and he is willing to change his schedule for her. (Yes, I called him right away.)

Blogging about what is going on helps me cope. Sharing with my readers the ups and downs help me map out what just happen and what is my next steps.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

BronxMama Appreciation Dinner

Last night, Nicole, creator of Bronxmama, open the doors of Bronxmama headquarters for an appreciation dinner for the team. Chef Geronimo showed off his cooking skills. Buffalo wings, chips and dip for appetizers. For dinner, baked chicken, salad and a baked potato bar.. Yummy!
Bri, Big and Little Al played the night away.  It was great to have conversations with adult for a The food was so amazing I took pictures of it but forgot to get a picture of me, Nicole and Lisa. Too funny. Can't wait for the next get together.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Vacuum Cleaner

I try not to vacuum everyday but it's so hard not to with three kids. Bits of paper, fruit loops and what is that ends up on the living room rug. I have taught the older two to hop onto the sofa when the vacuum comes out. Little Al on the other hand is terrified when it rolls out. She runs to the sofa and covers her ears. She is unable to balance her senses appropriately. Hence all the services she gets. I wish I could take all the fear away.

Little Al is has not been diagnosed with autism yet. Her psychological evaluation is set for Monday.

Deep breaths......

"This Book is So AWESOME!"

Yesterday, Big Bea was in the library (you know the school library I work at) dropping off books from her class. She had to quickly pick out two new ones. She quickly requested a cook book and she picked out "More Diners, Drive-ins, Dives." by Guy Fieri. She know what to pick out next. I requested "Smile" by Raina Telgemeier. She looked inside and saw the comic book format and quickly rushed to the line to check it out. A few weeks ago, Ms. Holloway, the librarian (aka my Bestie) picked up this very book from Barnes and Nobles. The tweenage girls there suggested the book.

While Big Bea was waiting for me to pick her up after school yesterday, she started reading it with her cousins. Right away she said, "This book is good." On the ride home she continued to read. When we got in the house she was stuck like glue. She said, "This book is so great." For the next couple of  hours she had her nose in the book smiling and laughing. I asked her how's the book. She said, " This book is so AWESOME! I can't stop reading it."

Now Big Bea is an excellect reader but never reads a book non-stop. We usually read together or she reads for a little at a time. The first thing she did this morning is crack open that book.

So what is this book about?
"When she was in sixth grade, Telgemeier tripped while running and lost her two front teeth. In the years that followed, she went through a torturous series of dental surgeries and repairs, the trauma of which was mirrored by the social struggles she experienced during her adolescence. A minor complaint is that there is no mention of when all of this took place, and readers may be puzzled by seeming anachronisms such as old-school Nintendo games. Telgemeier's full-color artwork is confident and light, and her storytelling is appropriately paced. This straightforward and entertaining autobiographical comic is sure to please."—Douglas P. Davey, Halton Hills Public Library, Ontario, Canada

Awesomeness is free of charge.

Friday, March 11, 2011

My Body Image

What I see in the mirror is not what is real life. I see a much bigger person. I see a whale. What can I do to change that? When I was in high school at my thinnest I thought I looked the way I look today. I have to stop mentally making myself bigger than what I am.

The fact that I am not living for myself hurt my image even more. I do do do for everyone  around me and I don't have time to do for myself. When I do try and do for myself something comes up and I plans change. What do to? ....Here's what to do...

"To appreciate your body more:
  • Seek a Healthier Body:  Make it your goal to become healthier through activity and proper nutrition.
  • Spotlight the Positive:  Admire and accentuate the things about you that you feel good about.
  • Keep Magazine Images in Perspective:  When we look at people whose job it is to look gorgeous, we tend to under appreciate ourselves.
  • Value Your Body:  Cherish what your body does - breathes, moves, smiles, hugs and laughs.
  • Surround Yourself with Confidence:  Build a network of people who contribute to your healthy lifestyle and eating habits." (Calories Per Hour, 2011)

My Body Image

What I see in the mirror is not what is real life. I see a much bigger person. I see a whale. What can I do to change that? When I was in high school at my thinnest I thought I looked the way I look today. I have to stop mentally making myself bigger than what I am.

The fact that I am not living for myself hurt my image even more. I do do do for everyone  around me and I don't have time to do for myself. When I do try and do for myself something comes up and I plans change. What do to? ....Here's what to do...

"To appreciate your body more:
  • Seek a Healthier Body:  Make it your goal to become healthier through activity and proper nutrition.
  • Spotlight the Positive:  Admire and accentuate the things about you that you feel good about.
  • Keep Magazine Images in Perspective:  When we look at people whose job it is to look gorgeous, we tend to under appreciate ourselves.
  • Value Your Body:  Cherish what your body does - breathes, moves, smiles, hugs and laughs.
  • Surround Yourself with Confidence:  Build a network of people who contribute to your healthy lifestyle and eating habits." (Calories Per Hour, 2011)

What is Your Public Image?

15 years ago I would have never thought that I would be a mother blogger of three children. I also never thought that computers and the Internet would development to the awesomeness they are today. I remember when dial-up was the word! Now, I am sitting on my sofa, typing away on a thin laptop, blogging over my very own wireless network.

Along with all these new things come new ways of socializing. Social networks are EVERY WHERE. I am apart of many of them. Ever wonder what your public online image looks like? Your real-time image may or may not be like your online image. Chubby chaser? Super mom? Sex addict? Depressed? Born again? You can truly led a double (or more) life. It's (almost) possible to hide this double life.

I think that if you want your public to be naughty or nice it up to you. But what if you have a nice image and you other half doesn't. What does that say about you? Public officials have people that help keep a shiny image and so do celebrities. I know of a few people that need a image shaper (or what ever they are called).

I don't understand why a person would change who they are when they are with other groups of people real time or cyberspace. What are your thoughts on why the double lives and public images in cyperspace?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Photo Scavenger Hunt March 2011

What are scavenger hunts?

It's important not to get confused between treasure hunts and scavenger hunts. Treasure hunts involve following a set of clues that lead you to a hidden treasure. Scavenger hunts involve two or more teams, each with a list of tasks the team members need to accomplish during a predetermined time. Here are the rules:
  • Build your team. Your team needs to have at list two people in it of any age.
  • The hunt starts March 10, 2011 @ 9:30pm and ends March 24, 2011 @ 11:59pm. All photos must be taken within that time frame and post by Sunday, March 27, 2011 @ Noon.
  • Since I like multiples of three, you must take 12 photos from the list below. Your team must be in at least 3 photos. (Face, foot, dirty photos) Post those photos on your social network of choice (Blogger, Facebook, Flickr, etc.) and share your link on the comments or email me at and I'll share the link on a future post. You can do all 25 if you'd like. Please label your photos.
  • It's very important to be kind and respectful with strangers, and with that said - always be on guard and stay safe, use your healthy judgment when it comes to people you don't know.
  • NO harassing citizens of your town, physically or verbally for items or photographs. It is their right to choose not to help you and you should respect that (even if you think they are lame for not helping you).
  • If businesses or private individuals lend you items it's okay, but please note that it is each team's responsibility to return any borrowed items to their original owners (if requested).
  • Photo MUST be original. No google image search. I'll know if you did.
  • Judges determinations after the scavenger hunt are final.
  • Prize: bragging rights.
1-toilet paper roll
2-1999 penny
3-Target bag
4-sweet-n-low packet
5-old shoe
6-25 cent coupon
7-blue balloon
8-pink crayon
9-Ziploc bag
10-restaurant napkin
11-take-out menu from a Chinese restaurant
12-copy of the front page of the local newspaper (can't buy the newspaper!)
13-fortune cookie (extra points if the word "happy" appears in the the fortune cookie note)

14-change of address card from the post-office

15-"buy one, get one free" coupon

16-business card of a lawyer (extra points if his first name is "John")

17-A stranger's autograph (extra points if his/her name is "Amy")

18-At least 50 cents worth of money found on the floor (May be done with many photos)

19-Something that begins with the letter "Z"

20-Picture from inside a car

21-Do exactly what the sign says (any sign can work)

22-Capture your reflections in an unexpected place

23-Make yourselves appear really small

24-Mimic a statue -- fountains also work well

25-Make a picture with this caption: Surely

Culture is Cool

After a long day today I came home to a wonderful package. It was from Cool Culture! They sent me and the family a thank you package, picture below.

This is what the thank you card says, "Dear G's, Thank you SO MUCH for the time and energy you gave in order to be the featured family in our Family Time newsletter. We really appreciate your enthusiasm and your help in spreading the word about fun museum visits. Best wishes for many more cultural adventures! Warm regards, Cool Culture"

Thank you Cool Culture for everything you have giving our family.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Why Does That Baby Have A Book bag?

Yesterday while coming home from work/sister's, an older lady (we'll call her Red because she dyed her hair crayon red.) that lives in my neighborhood started to scream down the block to get my attention. "Niña! Niña!" She did get my attention.. but I kept walking with Big Bea and Big Al holding hands two steps in front of me and I'm holding Little Al's hand. Red started to walk quickly so that she could catch up to us. "Niña, ¿por qué ese bebé tiene una mochila?Parece demasiado pesado. Ella está caminando mal." Translation: "Girl, What doesn't that baby have a book bag. It looks too heavy, she is walking badly." I told her in English, "It's not heavy, sorry I don't speak Spanish." She started to go on and on about Little Al being to young to carry anything because it is hurting her back and that's why she is walking funny. I rolled my eyes and kept going.

Are you for real? My baby's yellow and black book bag that has a notebook and nothing else in too heavy and making her walk "funny"? I should slap her with Little Al's IFSP. People just have to get in the business. I wish I had my driver's license so that I didn't have to do deal with the public looking at my children like I am a bad parent. ROAR!

Monday, March 7, 2011

iPad, Autism and My Children

In four days the new Apple iPad2 will be released. Every time I see an iPad commercial I start to drool and quickly say, " I want one!" When I saw the video introducing the iPad2, I wanted it even more but not for myself.
I googled iPad2 and autism....To my delight, lots of articles and YouTube video came up about research and success stories with this post-PC device. I am the proud owner of apple i products. I was able to make that possible by saving my pennies. I am happy that I finally own an iPhone 3Gs.

When I got my iPhone June of 2010 I handed down my iPod Touch down so that the children can use it. I downloaded tons of educational apps (almost all the free ones). Big Bea loves any app I download. Big Al loves the letter tracing and puzzles apps. Little al loves the apps make farm animal sounds and labels colors.

I can see their love for these apps expand if we owned an iPad. Especially if it was loaded with proloquo2go. Proloquo2go is a "full-featured augmentative and alternative communication solution for people who have difficulty speaking." In another words, it's a digital PECS! I have created a PECS system for Big and Little Al. They were very successful in using it.
This application is amazing. I wish I could see in action, hands on. The cost is WAY out of our price range, $189.99. Oh my. So is an iPad.

That's a great dream.

Orthotic Devices: Ankle-Foot Orthosis, Supramalleolar Orthosis & Bilateral Hinged Ankle-Foot Orthosis.

Last week I posted about Big and Little Al are toe walking, New Legs. Today, I got the prescriptions and additional paperwork before we can get the new legs. Let's go through the steps on how we can get our new legs:
First, someone (me or a service providers) needs to suspect that their is something not right. Big Al's OT noticed that he was toe walking with his right foot last year. The same OT noticed Little Al s bilateral (both feet and legs) toe walking when she got off the school bus last week. Next, she refers the children to be looked at by a orthotic specialist, with my permission of course. Then the orthotic specialist looks at the children to see if an evaluation needs to be done. Once orthotic specialist gives the OK, he and the PT evaluated the children to determine a diagnosis and what type of orthotic device is needed.  A prescription is created and needs to be approved by a doctor. Next, an appointment is made for casting. At the casting, a mold is taken of each leg. The cast only takes a few minutes to dry and is cut off. Then we get to pick what color/design plastic the brace will be. The cast is sent off to the shop to be made. Once the braces are paid for (via cash, credit or act of God) the braces are delivered to the school.

Hinged AFO
The first week, the leg braces are wore two hours at a time. This is so that the body can adjust to the equipment. Big Al is being fitted for a larger size of the same type of braces he was fitted for last year. One ankle brace and one leg brace from toe to right below the knee. Little Al is being fitted for the first time for braces from toe to right below the knee for both legs.

Big Al is a right foot toe walker. So that means he needs a hinged ankle-foot orthosis (AFO)(Cost: $600) for the right foot. It forms his foot to prevent toe walking. He need a Supramalleolar Orthosis (Cost: $400) on his left to so that his arch does not fall and he become flat footed because he is leaning on his left foot.
Supramalleolar Orthosis
Little Al is bilateral toe walker and has tight Achilles tendons which is deforming her calves and ankles. She walks like a ballerina.She needs bilateral hinged ankle-foot orthosis (Cost:$600 x 2).

Total Cost: $600 + $400 + ($600 x 2) = $2,200 (Who has sticker shock? I know I do)

If paperwork is correctly done early intervention will cover Little Al's braces, totally $1,200.

Now, the amazing OT figured out that my private health insurance will cover part of the cost of the braces if additional coverage is purchased. The coverage falls under the title Durable Medical Equipment (DME). The cost of that is small but there a catch. I have to wait for the open enrollment period which is in the fall. SMH! At least, Little Al  second pair and Big Al's maybe third pair of braces are partially cover. They cover $500 per patient per year. That's way better then nothing.

My children need a sponsor.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Mom's Favorite Children's Books

I am surprised I haven't made this list already. I've worked in an elementary school library for 10 years, I'd think I would have made a bunch of these lists. Here is a list of children's book I enjoy reading with my children.
This is 80% of our family library.

1-The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger. This is my number one pick to read with Becky. "Tommy, the only question is whether or not Origami Yoda is real. Of course he's real as a small puppet on Dwight's finger. But does the oracle possess magic power? In order to find out, he decides to compile scientific evidence from the experiences of those who asked Origami Yoda for help. His friend Harvey is invited to comment on each story because he thinks Yoda is nothing but a "green paper wad." Tommy also comments because he's supposedly trying to solve the puzzle. In actuality, the story is about boys and girls in sixth grade trying to figure out how being social works. In fact, Tommy says, "…it's about this really cool girl, Sara, and whether or not I should risk making a fool of myself for her."

2- Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems. Aly's Favorite."When a bus driver takes a break from his route, a very unlikely volunteer springs up to take his place-a pigeon! But you've never met one like this before. As he pleads, wheedles, and begs his way through the book, children will love being able to answer back and decide his fate."

3- I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry. "A bright blue giant squid cruises through the ocean, proudly noting that he is bigger than all the creatures he encounters."

4- What Will Fat Cat Sit On? by Jan Thomas. Alex's favorite."What will Fat Cat sit on? The pig? (Oink!) The chicken? (Cluck!) How about the dog? (Grrrr.) Everyone in this bumbling animal gang (understandably) hopes the victim will be someone else! Leave it to Mouse to come up with a brilliant solution that satisfies everyone, even Fat Cat himself. Filled with hilarious asides and an interactive question-answer format, this irreverent young picture book will delight toddlers who love to shout "NO!"

5- Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt. "In a tongue-in-cheek tale that may help to prod anxious readers out of their hidebound routines, a squirrel discovers the pleasures of leaping into the unknown. As the world's a scary place, what with the killer bees, green Martians, tarantulas, germs, and sharks that might be lurking about, Scaredy Squirrel keeps to his tree, and to a precise, minute-by-minute daily schedule--until a supposed "killer bee" actually wanders by, causing Squirrel to dislodge his suitcase-size emergency kit. A wild lunge to rescue it turns into a long glide (portrayed in a gatefold), as Squirrel discovers to his astonishment that he is a flying squirrel. Eventually, Squirrel returns in triumph to his tree and from then on adds a daily glide to his accustomed rounds."
6- Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems. "Trixie steps lively as she goes on an errand with her daddy, down the block, through the park, past the school, to the Laundromat. For the toddler, loading and putting money into the machine invoke wide-eyed pleasure. But, on the return home, she realizes something. Readers will know immediately that her stuffed bunny has been left behind but try as she might, (in hilarious gibberish), she cannot get her father to understand her problem. Despite his plea of "please don't get fussy," she gives it her all, bawling and going "boneless." They both arrive home unhappy. Mom immediately sees that "Knuffle Bunny" is missing and so it's back to the Laundromat they go. After several tries, dad finds the toy among the wet laundry and reclaims hero status. Yet, this is not simply a lost-and-found tale. The toddler exuberantly exclaims, "Knuffle Bunny!!!" "And those were the first words Trixie ever said.""

7- Hi Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold. First in the series about a boy, Buzz and his pet, Fly Guy.
8- Magic Pickle by Scott Morse. "What would you do if the world’s greatest superhero lived under your floorboards? What would you do if said superhero was a pickle?! When Weapon Kosher, the Magic Pickle, erupts from the bedroom floor of little Jo Jo Wigman, she has to answer those questions and more! What’s the Magic Pickle’s connection to the Brotherhood of Evil Produce? Just what is "Dill Justice"? How did Danny Johnson get to be so cute? Find out all the answers in this sweet and savory collection of Magic Pickle adventures! "
9- The Hiccupotamus by Aaron Zenz. "There was a hippopotamus who hiccupped quite-a-lotamus.And every time he got'emus . . . he'd fall upon his bottomus!"

10- Bad Kitty Gets a Bath by Nick Bruel. "Bad Kitty and Poor Puppy are back. This time they are featured in a funny, heavily illustrated "how-to" chapter book that is reminiscent of Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise's "Regarding the…" titles (Harcourt). The instructions for getting the feline into the water include begging, cajoling, and reverse psychology. "

Descriptions taken from

What's the Rush?

So after I did some picture day shopping for the kiddies, I joined the strap-hangers on the BX 17 bus stop at Fordham Plaza. I was at the bus stop with two other dude and they were chatting away. As more people gather, I noticed this older couple about six steps away from me. The men was talking about everything and the lady couldn't get a word in. She was looking down and away and he was looking right into her face. I saw that the bus driver enter the waiting bus I walked to the bus stop sign. Me and another lady noticed the bus driver's movements. As the bus started moving in, like at EVERY bus stop in the Bronx everyone crowds around the bus stop sign pushing to be one of the first on the bus. (I hate that so much! Single file people. It's possible. I've seen it!)
As the bus gets closer, the crowd gets closer and closer. The man and lady having that conversation six steps away are now breathing down my neck. As the bus stops, the lady pushes me. I look back and see the lady in my personal bubble and the man in there too. Which is very hard to do because he was standing behind the lady. I take one step and she pushes me again.The man says lets GO!  Instead turning around and telling both of them off I did the civil thing. I let everyone on the left side of me go in ahead of me. HA! Yep, the disabled man and his brother, two ladies and the family that looked like they came from church. As I get on the bus I walk in slow motion. I walk to my seat in slow motion. They had no choice but to wait. HA! What's the Rush? It's Sunday. They sat down and the man rolled his eyes at me. The lady still had her head down. I feel sorry for her.

- Posted from my iPhone using the BlogPress App.

One Month Until....

One month until my birthday.

I stopped working out after only eight days. What is wrong with me? Why can't I just break the habit? I have to figure this out.
Yesterday, I was in Target and he VERY large man was in those hoover rounds provided by target. The only reason why he was in it was because he couldn't walk around the store becuase he was too large. I don't want that to be me. The bad thing is... it can be me. I need to be scared straight or something.

One Month Until....

One month until my birthday.

I stopped working out after only eight days. What is wrong with me? Why can't I just break the habit? I have to figure this out.
Yesterday, I was in Target and he VERY large man was in those hoover rounds provided by target. The only reason why he was in it was because he couldn't walk around the store becuase he was too large. I don't want that to be me. The bad thing is... it can be me. I need to be scared straight or something.

Don't Talk, Indirect Talk or Talk?

To men, women can never get their point across. They always want to beat around the bush. This is known as indirect talk. Men take every word women say literal. Before I became a mom I rarely used this indirect talk. Why be indirect? I had no use for it. For about 11 years now I've used indirect talk because I've notice that when I am direct with a man an argument follows. Who wants to deal with that all the time? So the only time I am direct is for timetables, deadlines and agendas. When I am direct with that I seem to always repeat myself. Which I hate! After saying things three times I figure if that person doesn't get it by now they are not going to get it..I'll do it myself. Which sucks!

MoMA ~ August 2010
I've learned that men don't use indirect talk... they just don't talk. They avoid. BOO! Doesn't that make things worst? Yeah it does. So what do you do? Talk, indirect talk or don't talk? I say grow up and talk but don't talk too Don't talk all your thoughts unless you are surrounded by people drooling over your every word. So you have to find a balance. Balance is very difficult. So here is a decoder to help you along the way:
"When a women says.... She really means...
We need to talk... I'm upset or have a problem
We need ... I want
I'm sorry... You'll be sorry
It's your decision.... As long as I agree
You'll have to learn to communicate... Just agree with me
Do you love me?...I want something expensive
You're being really nice tonight... Is sex all you ever think about?
How much do you love me?... I did something you won't like
Be romantic, turn out the lights...I have flabby thights" (Why Men Don't Have A Clue and Women Always Need More Shoes, p170, 2004)

Finding Time for Mom

Everything I do is for my kids. When in the hell do I actually find time from myself? It seems I never have time for myself. I find myself blowing my top off because of being non-stop or I am so tired that I fall asleep right after the kids are asleep. So I have plan for me time.

When I have 5-10 minutes to myself:
- Plug in. I am going to plug in my headphones and listen to one or two songs on my iPhone.
- Paint my nails. Quick dry polish is the best.

When I have 15-30 minutes to myself:
-Open my eReader or a book. I have tons of reading to catch up on.
-Walk around the block. I can take the kids along for this moment...maybe.
-Crochet. I have to finish that afghan.

When I have 30+ minutes to myself:
-Medi Pedi. My finger and toes need some TLC badly!
-Dinner with friends. You know, the friends I rarely hang with.
-Go to the gym. I heart physical activities.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

You Are Here...

MoMA ~ August 2010
In one month I will be 31 years old. I feel like I have slipped into a time-warp. Didn't I just turn 30? What the hay is going here? My life has been such a whirl wind over the last 11 months I don't know where I am half the time. I am the master of running on autopilot (no es bueno). I feel like I am living the life of a 60 year old or something. Heck! I am sure that most 60 year olds lives are more exciting. WE MUST CHANGE THIS!! That's the reason behind the new blog. I have nearly completely lost my sense of self and identity. Don't get me wrong I love my supermom title, I just need more than a mom title. I want adult-like conversations that don't have topics like: potty-training, meds, cookies or IEPs. I want to talk about city living, relationship and life. So it has begun. The non-mom side of Amy. YAY! I am planning on writing a series about each of the topics I mention. These blog topics are going to be diffcult to write about because for the last four years I've mostly blogged about my kids. Wish me luck everyone!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Saying Good-bye to Karen...again.

Tonight was Karen's last session with us. I say us not just Little Al because she is apart of our family. Karen was Big Al's OT when he was in EI. She worked with him for an entire year. She started working with him when Little Al  as only three weeks old. When Big Al aged out of EI, we had to say good-bye then. Just about six months later I called her back to let her know that Little Al was in need of OT. We were all excited to have her back. Now we have reached the year mark again and Little Al needs more sensory work. So we have to move forward.
When Karen comes over it didn't feel like a service provider is coming to work. It feel like our friend was coming over to play and chat. Karen was the only person Little Al really opened up too. Little Al talks, counts and sing with Karen. I guess since Karen has been around since she was born she is comfortable. This is the third time we had to stay good bye to a service provider. Here are those good byes:
Saying Good-bye to Home-Based & Hello to Center-Based and All is well in Alyland.

We are so lucky to have her apart of our lives. We all have learned A LOT from Karen. We will miss you...Thank God we are connected on Facebook.

PS. We are holding her block for

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New Legs

So today Little Al met her new center-based OT today. Guess who that happened to be? Big Al's former OT from last year. Yay! Welcome back to the team! Our family hasn't had too many OTs and when we find one we like to keep them. Lucky for Big and Little Al the orthotic specialist was in today at Easter Seals. They are scheduled to be measured for new "durable medical equipment" AKA leg braces or what I like to call them "new legs." Big Al was sized and fitted for new legs last year here are the postings Orthotic Device: Ankle-Foot Orthosis and Supramalleolar Orthosis and The Sensory Diet, Orthotic Devices and Health Insurance Denial.
Big and Little Al are toe walker.

What is a toe walker?

"Walking on the toes or the ball of the foot — also known as toe walking — is fairly common in children who are just beginning to walk. Most children outgrow toe walking by age 2. Kids who continue toe walking beyond the toddler years often do so out of habit. This is known as idiopathic toe walking. As long as your child is growing and developing normally, toe walking on its own in early childhood isn't likely cause for concern." (MayoClinic, 2011)

Big Al toe walks with his right foot. He use to toe walk with both feet but with time, height and weight he only right toe walker. You can see it when he walks up large steps in height or width.

Little Al only toes walks. She is like a ballerina. It's cute but not healthy. The backs of her feet touch the ground 95% of the time. Not good. The balls of her feet are rough.

What causes toe walking?

"Typically, toe walking is simply a habit that develops when a child learns to walk. In a few cases, toe walking is caused by an underlying condition, such as:

-A short Achilles tendon — the tendon in the lower leg that links the leg muscles to the back of the heel bone

-Cerebral palsy


-Other muscular, neurological or developmental disorders " (MayoClinic, 2011)

What are the treatments?

"If your child is toe walking out of habit, treatment isn't needed. The doctor may simply monitor your child's gait while you wait for him or her to outgrow the habit. If habitual toe walking continues beyond age 2, the doctor may recommend an orthotic device to encourage your child to bend his or her foot at the ankle.
If a physical problem is contributing to the toe walking, treatment options may include:
-Physical therapy. Gentle stretching of the leg and foot muscles may improve your child's gait.

-Leg braces. Sometimes leg braces or splints help encourage a normal gait.

-A series of below-the-knee casts. If physical therapy or leg braces aren't helpful, serial casting may be recommended. At first, the foot is cast in a neutral position. Over the next six to eight weeks, a number of new casts are used to progressively improve the ability to bring the toes toward the shin.

-Surgery. If conservative treatments fail, the doctor may recommend surgery to lengthen the Achilles tendon or other muscles at the back of the lower leg.

If the toe walking is associated with an underlying condition such as cerebral palsy or autism, treatment is aimed at the underlying condition." (MayoClinic, 2011)

Many of our service providers believe that the toe walking is associated with autism in both children. We will seem with in the coming month what Aly's diagnosis is so that we can better understand what is going on with her. I am tired of hearing everyone say, "She'll grow out of it." and "It's a stage." What I want to tell them, "Shut up! You don't know what you are talking about!"