Saturday, April 21, 2012

Judah, Judah, Judah

The house is quiet. That would mean a lot more to you if you had been here 20 minutes ago, before Jared & my brother took our 6 oldest kids (the 2 "babies" are napping) to the park. It's a whirlwind of activity when all 8 are awake and playing; but we're having a good time together, and before I know it they'll be all packed up and backing out the driveway to go home. I thought I'd better use these few minutes I have to myself to get a few thoughts and happy tidings down.

I wish each of you could spend some time with Judah. It's amazing to me how much he's growing and changing; how much he's picking up on and learning as we and his early intervention team work with him. He's a phenomenal little boy! Such a joy to be around. So affectionate. So laid back. So curious and mischievous.  So opinionated...and yet so go-with-the-flow. So loving and compassionate. So determined and driven. I had no idea how God was going to bless and enrich our lives through Judah. Anyway, on to his many new achievements! He's become much more communicative in the last several weeks. He's initiating sign language and responding with it consistently and without being prompted. He's saying "more", "up", and "eye". I LOVE hearing him say words! No one else would recognize them as those words; but I know all the cognition and skill that goes into being able to voice something specific, so every time he says something I can't help but grin from ear to ear and cheer him on! He just underwent testing through his early intervention program because he's turning 3 and will transition into a new program. His gross motor skills are the most delayed, landing anywhere from 10 mo. to 14 mo. But he's always improving, and his fine motor and cognitive skills are not quite as delayed. And really, who cares? OK, every once in a great while it's hard to see what his peers are doing...but really, it's OK. He's amazing all by himself, and he's achieved much more than some people ever thought he would. He's standing! He can stand himself up without holding on to anything else, and balance for 3-4 seconds. That's HUGE! He's cruising along the whole length of the couch! He's climbing up and down from the ottoman! He's taking steps with us! He's met all but ONE of his goals we & his team set for him just 6 months ago! It seems like he's almost always doing something new!

We're really excited about Judah participating in "summer school" for 4 weeks in June & July. It's a special ed. class for 3 yr. olds that meets twice a week for 1 1/2 hrs. It's basically a prep. for pre-school...which we haven't decided about one way or another yet. I was adamant that he NOT go to pre-school, but...I might change my mind. That's really for another post. Judah is just so social, and we're excited about the opportunity he would have to be with other kids like him and receive his services with them at school. He would even get to ride the "special" bus. Speaking of which... I had this idea in my mind that Judah riding that bus was going to be so cute. The other day I pulled up to an intersection and stopped right next to the LaVista/Ralston Special Services bus. There it was. Handicapped sign on the bumper. Special seats inside. "Special Services" on the side. I called my mom and broke down. It really hit me that my kid was going to be on that bus. The bus that mean, "normal" kids make fun of. The bus for handicapped kids. The bus that no parent ever says, "Hey, sign us up! We'll take a seat in the front." It hit me again that Judah will probably never have a normal school experience. He'll never have the privilege of enjoying a Christian education like my other kids do. He'll be one of the kids that gets pointed out or labeled by the "normal" kids. These are things I almost never think about. I love Judah so much - I'm so proud of him and so thankful he's mine - that I don't get caught up in what will be or what is coming. But sometimes... Sometimes I'm reminded and faced anew with the reality that Judah is different and will always need to be treated that way. It's hard, because this was another reminder that grief, in varying degrees, will always be a part of my life. It's like singing for the 1000th time a worship song that praises God as Healer, and sobbing suddenly because that 1000th time it reaches something deep inside that's still hurting.

Enough about that.

We saw Judah's endocrinologist this week. Judah grew another 1/2 inch in 3 months and graduated from the length measurement to the height measurement! He can now stand (read: I hold his feet and legs against the measuring stick & the doctor holds his head) to be measured! He didn't gain any weight, though. I think mostly because he's moving around so much more; and it's hard to add avocado and sour cream to the table food he's eating. How do you put avocado on cut up pizza? I made him his own batch of snickerdoodles - 90 calories per cookie - and he gets to snack on those during the day. Lucky boy:) His peanut allergy makes finding appropriate store bought, processed foods a challenge. Homemade is better anyway. He's drinking about 8 oz. a day, doing amazingly well on the nectar thickness liquids. Every oz. he drinks on his own is an oz. closer to saying good-bye to that button. My guess is that it will be another 2-3 yrs. before we can take it out and leave it out, but at least there's light at the end of the tunnel!

Pray for Jared and I as we make the decision about pre-school for Judah. My concern is his health. I'll be talking to his pediatrician about the possibility of sending Judah just 2 mornings a week, rather than 4, so he can be with his peers and receive services there. I'm really anxious about the whole transition that happens at age 3 into the new special services program. I'm nervous that I'll be an inadequate advocate for him, or that I'll forget something, miss something, drop the ball on something. He has so much potential, so much promise, and I want to see him succeed and live his life to his absolute fullest capacity! It's a scary, daunting thing to know that a lot of that rests on my shoulders as his #1 advocate. When I hear myself say that I realize that I need to be going to the Lord with all of this. HE is Judah's #1 advocate, and mine, and HE is 100% adequate - MORE THAN SUFFICIENT - all of the time!

That's all I have time for now.