Thursday, June 28, 2012

No Words Needed...

...just tears, cheers and shouts for JOY! 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Judah's 1st Stroll

One more thing! I took this video of Judah walking with his shopping cart after his birthday party. Sorry it's sideways. I'm not super computer savvy. But at least it's here!

1st Day at Summer School

Our Little Lion made it through his 1st morning at summer school, his 1st van ride home, and is now sleeping soundly! We left the house at 10:10 this morning to get Judah to school on time. I feared that I was going to hyperventilate on the way there, but I made it without incident. Lots of deep breathing. Holding Jared's hand. Texting my "support group". Finally, we made it & we ALL got out of the van to take him to the entrance of the school. ALL of his siblings AND Daddy gave him big squeeze hugs and kisses before Mom walked him inside. His OT met us at the outside door, which was awesome, and she & I walked Judah down the hall and to his hook to hang up his backpack. As soon as I actually took him into his room he let go of my hand and hit the floor to explore. He found some toys right away, a table he could reach and stand up next to, and the plastic bin containing the song cards for circle time. That boy loves his song cards! He gave me a kiss good-bye, but he didn't even look at me as I stood up to leave...and he certainly didn't turn around to look for me after I walked out the door. I checked. He looked so adorable in that room, crawling around, exploring, a look of wonder on his face as he took in his new surroundings.

Judah's OT sent me this short video during school time, and texted me later to tell me that he had done GREAT & he was on his way home! I love her.

We were ALL waiting on the front porch for Judah's van to pull up. My heart broke when I saw him through the window, crying inconsolably. I grabbed him as soon as I could and just about squeezed the tears right out of him! His driver said he didn't like the stops, but did fine as long as she was driving. His van rides are now at the top of my prayer list.

He got plenty of snuggles and hugs as soon as he got home; lunch, and then off to bed. I imagine he'll be taking a nice, long nap today!

Judah's backpack full of non-school supplies. At least it's lightweight! 

Has there ever been a cuter preschooler?

He gave me lots of lovins before we left. Smart boy.

He made himself right at home!

Did I not say I got the PERFECT backpack?!


We had a small "family" party on Saturday, the 2nd.
Judah's favorite song card is "All the Fish", so the fish cake was perfect!

He loved every bite.

He had LOTS of birthday cards & pictures to look at, thanks to his siblings & friends.

This year he really got into the presents!

I'm surprised we made it this far into the party without a picture of Judah AND Lydia.

Big Boy Flashlight


He got a shopping cart to walk with & a bike to ride! He is so over the stroller.

1st walk on his new bike

On June 4, we turned around his car seat! 

We sang again & had birthday treat, just us Stewarts.

He wanted to touch the candles. The whole blowing thing is a mystery to him;)

Still his greatest to Mommy.

333333333 Happy Birthday, Champ! 333333333 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A 4-Letter Word

I know there a lot out there, but the 4-letter word I'm thinking of is spelled C-H-A-N-G-E. That word is at the root of my avoiding this post like the plague; because it revolves around change. As I've said before, "Change is hard. Even good change". The last 2 months have been really tough for me as we transition Judah from home-based services to school-based. Yes, you read that right: SCHOOL-BASED. Judah will be attending preschool 2 mornings a week in the fall. There's so much involved in making this transition to school, starting with his summer class, that it's often been overwhelming for me. We had to meet with the school nurse to create 3 - THREE - health plans for Judah. Plan 1: What to do in the event of an allergic reaction to peanuts. Plan 2: What to do in the event that Judah's G-Button comes out. Plan 3: What to do in the event of an emergency or trauma when Judah needs an injection of solu-cortef to replace the stress hormones his body doesn't produce. This boy will have things in his backpack that no kiddo should have to have at school: an Epi Pen (although at least he's not alone on this one!), a G-Button kit, and med/needles for an injection. Not to mention the cup he has to take to school with pre-thickened water in it. Oh my. It's a lot to take in. Is it any wonder I've shed more tears in the last couple months than I have since...well, last summer? My emotions have been all over the place, and letting go of Judah is proving to be much more difficult than I thought it would be. And I thought it would be REEEAAALLY hard! I have been a part of every single aspect of his care since we brought him home from the hospital. I have slept with him through every hospitalization, minus 1 night when Jared insisted I go home to sleep and be with the other 3. I have never missed a therapy session, or a doctor's appointment, or a consult, or a team meeting. I've been there for EVERYTHING! But I can't be there at school. I can't participate in therapy, or translate, or encourage, or comfort, or advocate. I can't cheer for him when he does something new at school, or give him a kiss when he's frustrated by something he's trying to learn. What if he takes his 1st steps at school? What about all the words he says for the 1st time at school? What if he needs something, but his teacher doesn't understand what he's trying to communicate? What if another kid is mean to him, and he can't tell the teacher? I have to let go of all of these things - and so much more - and learn to trust other advocates and providers. Other adults who I know will love him - how could anyone not? - but don't know him like I do. I know that God IS & WILL BE with him, but God isn't going to tap on the teacher's shoulder and say, "Excuse me, but Judah is trying to tell you that he's thirsty." Or whatever. This is SO hard. I'm not alone. Judah's OT & teacher have both reassured me that this is very difficult for each family that walks this road. It's flooded with the tears of moms who love their kids and struggle to let go. 

On the flip side of all that... I am very excited for Judah. Because I know this is best for him, I can celebrate what school will do for him. What he'll learn; the adults he'll grow to love; the kids he'll interact with and learn from, and even teach; what he'll experience there that he can't at home; the ways in which he'll be challenged. I'm excited to see his progress. I can't wait to see him improve his skills and add new ones! He'll get to play on the playground. He loves that! He'll feel like such a BIG kid in those chairs, at the tables, during song time. Oh my goodness, song time! He LOVES music!! He's ready to go! He always handles change better than his mama. 

I've been impressed with everything I've heard about preschool so far. We even went for a classroom visit. That helped. We asked a LOT of questions. We met some of the people that will make up his new services team. They're totally committed to doing everything they can to teach Judah skills that will help him become more independent, as well as provide the care, comfort, & cheering he'll need along the way. I was a little worried about how little he is. His feet don't even touch the floor when he's sitting in the tiny-to-begin-with preschooler chair! But I learned from his current teacher & OT that they will adapt everything for him in the classroom. They'll adapt his chair with some kind of foot rest, so his feet will touch "floor". They'll teach him how to climb up into his chair on his own. He'll learn how to wash his hands at the sink, and they'll adapt that situation for him so he can do it himself. He'll learn to recognize his name, and how to hang up his backpack on his hook by his name. The help will be there for him whenever he needs it; but the goals will be to equip him to do what he needs to on his own if at all possible. Speaking of his backpack, I found the perfect one. This was kind of a big deal to me. I know he doesn't care, but I did. A lot. And when I say perfect, I mean ridiculously so! (Pictures to come. My camera is dead.)

It has been cool to see God's hand in this process of transition. More often than not, it's been through the encouragement and affirmation of his OT; but it's also come through some big deal kinds of things, too. We discovered that all but 1 of the van drivers are grandpas! They call the kids in their vans their buddies. Some of them decorate the insides of their vans with colorful, seasonal stickers. They love what they do! [Does anyone else think that this is my dad's calling when they move to Omaha?] I also met one of the school secretaries when she brought a van out to see how Judah's rear-facing car seat would work. It didn't. Long story short, he is now forward-facing! WOOT WOOT! That wonderful woman took 30 minutes to listen to me and encourage me. She allowed me to cry (I told you it's happened a lot recently) and then totally affirmed me and shared from her own experiences as a mom with a special son, now grown. That was amazing for me, and I know God did that. The biggest thing for me is who God assigned to be Judah's teacher. We know her family through CCS, because her dad served as the president of the school board for quite awhile. She grew up going to CCS. She loves Jesus! She's going to be wonderful for Judah this year, I know it. 

This has been long. Thanks for sticking with me. With Judah. Although, he's super easy to stick with. It's that man-sized charm squeezed into that little boy body. He's irresistible.

One more thing. If you happen to see me out and about tomorrow morning, don't be alarmed by my red, puffy eyes, or the paper bag I'll be desperately clinging to. That will just mean that I was actually able to drop Judah off for his 1st morning of summer preschool. If you have the courage to actually come near me in such a condition, just calmly put your hand on my arm and say, "Look, Honey, you're growing!" 

Maybe someday "change" won't be a 4-letter word to me. Maybe it'll just be a word.