Sunday, November 30, 2008

5 Months

This has been quite a month for our little Piper! As you can see from the first picture, she has grown so much and is getting to be quite the personality. This month, Piper discovered she can make noise at will and spares no moment doing just that. She squeals almost constantly, but most of the time she's happy. She is such a delight and keeps all of us smiling throughout the day. Piper is still a very happy baby. She wakes up with smiles on her face, not crying, and goes to sleep smiling too. She loves being at home and loves it even more when we are all with her. While we have heard Piper giggle a little a few times before, this month was when we were able to get her to laugh out loud. She loves to be tickled and will laugh for just Jes and I when we play with or tickle her. It is really the sweetest sound!
This past month we all celebrated Halloween. We, as a family, do not participate in the traditional activities of the day, but rather prefer to go to church for a Fall Festival type of event. This was the second year that our church in McKinney decided to have a different, but equally beneficial, event for the community, so we went to my parent's church. My parents joined a new church this year, so we were ill prepared as what to expect. We were blown away at the event that they had planned for their community! Both Caleb and Piper had a great time and P got to wear her pumpkin costume. She was the cutest pumpkin there! Here she is with myself and Caleb (Larry the Cucumber again this year!).
This month, Piper has become quite mobile. She rolled from her back to her belly just after she hit the 4 month mark, and just a couple of days ago, she rolled from her belly to her back, the harder move, all on her own. I thought for sure it was just a fluke, but she did it again just a few minutes later, proving me wrong! Piper is just very motivated to get moving, it seems. We have observed her scooting and moving across the floor just to get to a book or toy that she wants. I think that she'll be moving much sooner than her brother ever did, as she just acts like she so wants to catch up with us! Piper, just like her brother, also loves to jump! She is going to build up our biceps and triceps with all the jumping that she does when we're holding her. Some times, especially right after a nap, she is not content to just sit in our laps, but wants to be standing. If she's standing, she feels like she needs to be jumping. What can we say, she's a girl on the move!
Piper has started really eating solid food this month. We gave her a little cereal as her first food at the end of her last month, but she has really taken to eating the good stuff this month. With Caleb, I wanted to make our own baby food, but with all his health issues and the anxiety of being a first time mom, I just couldn't get it together enough to do it. I was determined to try it with Piper and that's all she's eating! We have a type of indoor farmer's market near us where I go to buy the produce for Piper's food and I just cook it and freeze it in ice cube trays. Piper's favorites right now include an apple/pear mixture with oatmeal, sweet potatoes, squash, blueberries, and bananas. She's still not too sure about peas, but that one is our current project to get her to eat!
Piper loves, loves, loves to go places! We keep a pretty busy schedule around the Mathis house, with something to go to and do everyday of the week. Lately, it's actually been somewhat cold around our neck of the woods, so I have had to bundle her up quite frequently. This blanket that you seen in the bottom of the picture above is her absolute favorite. If this is in her car seat, she has a tight grip on it and may chew on it from time to time. I have to sneak this away from her at night every once in a while to wash it so that it doesn't get too gross. This blanket was made by my cousin Ashley, so I may need to see if she has anymore of this material to make another, just in case!

As you can see from the last two pictures, Piper has this finger in her mouth quite a bit. She liked her pacifiers in the beginning, but has completely given them up in the past 2 months and her first finger has taken it's place. She doesn't really suck or chew on her finger, it's just in her mouth. It's really quite funny.
Yet again, this month has brought out many fun things in our little girl. Many moments, Jes and I are looking at her and at each other wondering how to freeze time for a little bit so that we can enjoy her a little more at each stage. Piper is a wonderful baby, hardly fussing, and is just such a joy to us all the time. She is so very laid back about most situations and just loves to watch and observe. Her mind is constantly going and you can tell that she's just taking in all of her surroundings at all time. We are so very blessed to have such a sweet spirited baby!

Friday, November 28, 2008


I had high hopes to post some deep and thoughtful (or at least picture laden) words about Thanksgiving yesterday. However, after a fun filled day at my parents, we brought home two exhausted children and crashed.
It seems that the stomach bug that has been going around has come back to visit the Mathis household. Both Jes and Caleb have it, but there is no vomiting happening, just the opposite. It was so bad for Caleb yesterday that right before we left my parent's (and the catalyst to get home) we discovered he had had an accident and his little legs were burned from the acidic poo. Today, he has only had one incident, but it was so bad we had to just put him in the shower to get him clean.
So, all in all, I've been up to my elbows in poo and the associated laundry that goes along with all this fun! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Just Add It To The List of Things To Do.

We just got home from the ENT. Caleb passed his hearing tests with the audiologist, but he was determined to have a little fluid in one ear. This is the same song and dance we went through last year with the other ENT (remember the one with the PA who called our house and tried to pressure us into surgery, called us bad parents and generally harrassed us?).
Anyway, when I was talking with his (fabulous!!!) ENT, we discussed our options. Here they are:
A. load him up on more medication and see if it fixes the problem.
B. put tubes in his ears.

The problem with choice A is that Caleb already takes 4 different medications just for allergies and the things that are associated with them, middle and inner ear fluid included. If he has this fluid on all that, one more is not likely to fix the problem.
We chose option B. While it is another surgery to add to the list, this should fix the issue.
For those of you not familiar with what the problem is, let me put on my professor hat and explain.
There is a tube that connects your middle ear (the part behind your eardrum) with the back of your nose/throat area. In an adult, this tube is more vertical and all the fluid and gunk can drain into the the nose/throat area and then down to your stomach where the germs cannot survive and are done away with. In alot of children, this tube is more horizontal than vertical, so any fluid or stuff that gets in there will just sit, stagnate and the bacteria will multiply, causing infection and hearing loss. The older you get, the more the connection is made correctly between your ear and the nose/throat area and the less likely you are to get infections.
Caleb's ears are not so bad that he's getting infections, he's never had one in fact. However, fluid in your ears impairs hearing. Just imagine what it is like to try to hear correctly when you are under water in a swimming pool. That's what it sounds like when you have too much fluid...
Anyway, the tubes should fix the problem. We should be able to get in and have them done next week. I'll update when I know when and where.

Our Comings and Goings

Friday, I took Caleb for his hearing and vision screening with the school district. This is just a normal thing that they do for all the kiddos to get some type of baseline. Caleb passed his vision screening with flying colors, but failed the hearing. When I say that they did a hearing screen, I mean they put little sensors in his ears and a machine measured the movement of his eardrum and other associated structures. Caleb has probably had 10 to 12 of these test in the past 2 years alone and has passed 1. We are going, today, to the ENT to meet with the audiologist and have another round of extensive hearing tests done to determine if there is truely a problem.

Just as a side note, we were at the ENT just last week and his ears were completely clear. While I know that things can change in a heartbeat with these kids, I don't think he has any hearing loss. If he's anything like his Mama, he will have fluid in his ears from time to time at all times without it affecting his hearing. We'll see what the doctor and audiologist have to say today.

We have all been sick in our house lately with the exception of little P. That has all changed. She has officially succumbed to whatever it is that has been plaguing us for the past week. Caleb was the first to have it and Jes and I are on the tail end of what ever this is. This morning, P woke up with her eyes watering and she's coughing, sneezing, etc. I'm very thankful that I'm not still in the big middle of this illness and having to take care of 2 sick kiddos. That ends up in disaster for all involved... Anyway, we're sucking out lots of snot, holding of each other and I'll be tenting the house and spraying it down with Lysol later. If you drive by and it looks like we have a termite issue, you now know it's really a germ issue.

Yesterday was my Mama's birthday. I won't tell you how old she is, but I will tell you that she has a 31 year old daughter who people often confuse for her sister. She a young 'un, even still.

A picture of my Mama and her favorite people.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Change In Perspective

Caleb has been a hellion lately. He's not been acting right and isn't making anymore improvements on his behavior. I'm thankful that I have him. He's here and, while he does have his issues and difficulties, he's mostly healthy and we are lucky to even have him. He's our miracle baby, after all.

Wednesday, Caleb got a pretzel/marshmallow concoction lodged in his throat. The Heimlich maneuver was performed and he was ok. I'm thankful that he had a teacher who knew that procedure and cared enough to jump into action before harm was done to him.

Even though we are working SO hard around the Mathis household, this recession, or whatever they are calling it, is causing us to make serious cuts around our house. I'm thankful that we have things we can cut and we're not losing our house or our livelihood.

Jes and I get crazy sometimes with all the stress and tend to snipe at each other. The economy and our busy schedules make it hard to always be nice. I'm thankful that no matter how hard things get, I have a man who committed to staying with me 7.5 years ago and he's not going anywhere.

We have just about decided 100% that we will pull Caleb out of the Mother's Day Out program that he's been in for the past 3 years due to both the issues he's dealing with and financial strains. I'm thankful that he's been able to go for that long and that he's made some lasting friendships in the process.

When Caleb transitions to home, I will start teaching him with curriculum that I chose long ago to keep him on his upward path toward the knowledge that he so craves. He's got this momentum and drive and curiosity that I am committed to continuing for him. I'm thankful that I am able to homeschool him and that our state government won't try to harrass me for this.

Jes told me just a day or two ago that his company has started letting people go. He's in the aviation industry, one that does not weather tough economic times well. We wonder everyday if he's next. I'm thankful that my husband is brilliant, is high up enough in the company that the whole thing would have to fold and that he has a job to begin with.

I am crazy busy with the end of the semester stuff, grading, test making, etc. It takes a little time from my family and is sometimes a drag to get to since it is getting dark so early. I'm thankful that I have this job, that they are so supportive of me and that I continue to have students that are highly loyal and fill my classes every single semester (when other classes get cancelled due to low enrollment.).

All in all, I'm thankful for all I have. This blog and my writings here may not reflect that all the time as I'm not great at seeing the positive in all things, yet. I know that we are held and that all our steps and actions are led by Him. He has a plan that we don't know or see, but it's the best way for us. He has given me a loving and wonderful husband who works so very hard to support us, a brilliant and caring and spunky son who pushes me everyday to be a better mom and a gorgeous and sweet natured little girl that is the bright spot in my darkest of days. I'm a lucky and blessed woman. That's why I'm thankful.

Have a great Thanksgiving all!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Caleb's Evaluation

Here's what we found out in Caleb's evaluation. Since I'm quite tired, I'm falling into bullet form. It's the only way I can keep things straight right now...

1. He does not have autism, sensory integration disorder, etc. There was no official evaluation for just those problems, but from what the diagnostician and the speech pathologist were able to observe, they were fairly certain that those issue do not exist. We knew that anyway.

2. Caleb will be having vision and hearing to rule any problems out with those. He had extensive hearing test done back when the ENT tried to force us into tubes for him, about 1.5 years ago. He passed those tests and had no hearing loss then, but to rule out problems with his hearing we're going to test him again. It is a normal screening that is done for all kids that are being evaluated to any program within the school district, so we're going to jump on that one. One less copay!

3. The speech pathologist said that his verbal skills are good but he may have some articulation issues that we need to work on. We set up an formal evaluation for that in January, after the holidays, to have that done to further investigate if this is even an issue. Some of this may be tied to the issues that Caleb had with swallowing as all of those movement are somewhat tied in together. If he has to have some speech therapy, fine. If not, we'll continue to work with him at home.

4. Both the diagnostician and the speech pathologist said that Caleb has very good problem solving skills and was able articulate his answers well. He is not behind, but ahead somewhat in his verbal capacity, so we're not worried with that. Again, the official evaluation in January will tell us more.

5. Both the diagnostician and the speech pathologist will go to Caleb's school and do a 3rd party evaluation of his day there. This is the part of all this that makes me the most happy since the teachers can never give me detailed information on what is precipitating or causing the behavior that they have seen. I have wanted someone to go observe since this whole thing started, but I know that Caleb would not act the way he is now if I were in the class. This is going to answer a bunch of questions for us that we have been having lately, not just related to behavior.
Some of our concern is that Caleb is just really bored with what they are trying to teach the kids. He knows and has known his letters and numbers for nearly 2 years now and is actually starting to read and trying to write (of course with help). Therefore, circle time where they are teaching letters and numbers is so below his ability. We are discussing a school change in the possible future or just pulling him out all together and start doing school at home now.

6. We have a mountain of paperwork to fill out and will be working on that together for a little while. The teachers also have to fill out some paperwork on what they see him doing and not doing, skill wise. I'm not sure how accurate that will be with 12 kids, some of them difficult, in the class, but at least it will give a little insight into what they see or don't see.

7. Today, while it didn't give us any real concrete answers, did provide a measure of relief in knowing that our instincts were correct. Mostly, the diagnostician and speech pathologist think that Caleb is reacting to the major changes that have occured in his little world since Piper's arrival. He went from being the center of our world and having everything revolve around him to not and he is just not dealing with it well. We are really trying to anticipate the behaviors and head them off at the pass, but sometimes it sneaks up on us and he just loses it.

8. Lastly, they were all pretty astounded at how smart our little stinker is. There were particularly impressed that Caleb procured my cell phone and navigated through the menus to find a game that he wanted to play and did it with ease. We have never taught him to do any of this, so that was surprising to them. Caleb can also log onto the internet, type in the site he wants to pull up and navigate that as well. So, at least someone else sees how bright he is and the trouble we will probably be in for in the future!

The observation at school will probably happen right after Thanksgiving, so I'll be able to give more information and hopefully, insight then about what goes on when he is there. We'll be eagerly anticipating that information! Thanks for all your support, well wishes and love!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


So there have been a couple of new developments in the ongoing saga that is Caleb and his behavior.

1. Let me just start with something positive. Caleb has had a few pretty good days in a row at school, at least as far as I know. When I ask how he has been, it's like pulling teeth to get an accurate, straight forward answer instead of a shoulder shrug and, "he's been ok", or "well, you know". Hm. I guess that's a positive thing.
(You have to excuse my attitude with the whole thing.)

2. We found a play therapist here in McKinney and scheduled an appointment a week and a half ago. Even with our insurance, we will be required to pay a sum that is higher than we can afford for each visit. Last night, Jes and I discussed it and decided to cancel our appointment and wait for the evaluation through the school district. This morning I got a phone call from the therapist's office saying that they needed to cancel our appointment because the therapist was leaving the practice and they didn't want us starting with someone who wouldn't be there for the long haul. Ok. Fine with us. Done deal.

3. Thirty minutes later, I get a phone call from the school district stating that they had had a cancellation for an appointment that fell on an earlier date that ours. That day is Monday. As in 3 days from now. I was so excited/relieved/nervous/grateful/etc. that I nearly did a back flip in the PT parking lot this morning. We are just so ready to get this show on the road and get Caleb whatever help he might need. This testing time is right after a busy morning with MOPS, so we will be out and he'll be tired and hopefully ready to "perform".

4. I have had other people who have approached me about Caleb and tried to diagnose him with what they think is his problem. I have had to start telling them to stop. Unless the person is a diagnostician and has intimate knowledge of my son, they cannot make a diagnosis. I really do appreciate all the concern from these people, but most of them have not been with Caleb for more than 2 - 3 hours at a time and really don't know what he is like for a long period of time. I guess we're just getting really tired of hearing that there is "something wrong"

5. I called Caleb's pediatrician last week, after some thought to see if it would be adventageous of us to have a sleep study performed on him. If you know us, or have been following this blog for awhile, you have heard me comment on his sleep issues. These seemed to have resolved somewhat, since the removal of his tonsils and adenoids, however, we don't sleep with him and can't monitor if he is having apneic episodes. The pediatrician said it might be a good avenue to persue, so I made an appointment with our ENT. We saw him today and he did a thorough exam on Caleb, listened to me (the thing I love about him most. Seriously, if all doctors were like him, our medical system would be so much different and better!), and gave me very sound medical and practical advice. His diagnosis: Caleb is a 3 YEAR OLD BOY!, does not appear to have ADD/ADHD and does not need a sleep study that would be very uncomfortable and miserable for both him and his Mama. Thank you very much. Worth the $10 copay!

I just wanted to give a short update as I haven't been around to update the blog lately. We are entering the end of the school semester, so I'm up to my eyeballs in grading and test making, just like every other semester. I will, however, update when I get some type of answers from the evaluation on Monday.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

A Snapshot of My Morning

6:30- Up and at em. Getting Caleb ready for school and Piper and myself ready for the day.

8:25- Begin to load Caleb's backpack and get his folder out to take out his sheets from Tuesday.

8:30- Try to decipher what the teacher has written on the paper.

8:45- Realize it says "Don't forget to bring a pumpkin Thursday!"

8:45:30- Have a minor panic attack!!!

8:45:45- Yell to Caleb to run, run, RUN to the car and get in his car set. He, thankfully, does what he is told, this time.

8:48- On the road, both kids in tow.

8:50- Call Jes frantically, asking where I might find a small pumpkin. At this point, my two choices are Home Depot or Albertson's.

8:53- Decide that, in fact, Albertson's is my best hope at this early int he morning.

8:58- Pull into Albertson's and drag Caleb out of the car and tear Piper's carrier out on the way.

9:01- Run into the store, find the first clerk I can and ask where the pumpkins are.

9:03- Grab the pumpkin, pretty cute and just the right size, take off toward the checkout.

9:05- Try to check out at the self checkout line and be polite to a woman who wants to oohh and ahh over Piper. Try not to look too frazzled. I am a southern woman after all. Politeness is key!

9:07- Back in the car, on the way to school. Whew...

9:20- Make it to school with a few minutes to spare.

9:21- Drag the stroller out (too much to carry to hold Piper this morning). Put Piper in and Caleb on the back (we have a sit and stand).

9:23- Small fit from Caleb because he wants to hold the pumpkin.

9:24- Give in and let Caleb hold the pumpkin. But tell him DO NOT DROP IT!!!

9:26- Make it into the school. Telling Caleb, "DO NOT DROP YOUR PUMPKIN!!!"

9:27- Tell Caleb (who is sitting very quietly holding the pumpkin (ADD my foot!)), "DO NOT DROP YOUR PUMPKIN!!!!!"

9:28-9:29- Tell Caleb, "DO NOT DROP YOUR PUMPKIN!!!!!!"

9:30- Caleb hands me his pumpkin. Guess what?

I dropped the pumpkin...

It cracked right down the middle and started oozing pumpkin juice.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A Couple of Updates

1. Today, I was able to find a play therapist in McKinney for Caleb to go see. Our first appointment is next Friday, the 14th. However, this appointment is just for Jes and I, so we're now looking for a baby sitter for Caleb from around 2:45 to 4ish. Any takers?
Our insurance will cover this therapist, but how much they cover is based on how serious his issues are and how they code them. It seems that the sicker he is, the more they will pay for. Now, doesn't that seem counterintuitive to you? Anyway, we're going to try it until we get into the testing for the school district and see what needs to happen. Hopefully, we won't have to sell a limb/house/car/first born (oh, wait that would cause another problem now wouldn't it) to pay for all this... (I wish I were kidding...)

2. Yesterday, after I got home from my MOPS meeting, I discovered a message on the answering machine from the Frisco School District. This is the school district we live in and they are the ones doing Caleb's evaluation for testing to see if there is something to all the claims that he may have something wrong. Seems to be that a conference just magically appeared that EVERYONE in the testing area his HAS to go to so we've been pushed off until December. I was pretty mad about this, but what can we do.

3. Yes, I voted. Don't ask me for whom. If you know me at all, you know that answer.

That's all I know now. Thanks for playing.