Wild Things

 We made a trip to the Oakland Zoo. 
See the bubbles around the midsection of Mr. Alligator (or Crocodile, whatever). He was (in what we guessed) trying to get the attention of the lady gator across the way and made them while he sang her his looooovvveee song. 

Grandpa Bob came with us. Great to have a semi-retired Grandpa around to make memories. 

Conveniently placed grain, huh? Right by the fence where the people will stand so they can watch the animal in it's "natural state".

The skies were overcast and the air was cold. Poor Addison was pretty sad about it all. 
She asked to see the pictures I was taking and I told her no. Unless she showed me her happy face. 

Lexi and Grandpa Bob took the sky chair ride. Lexi loved it!
I think we tired them out!


Update on the Update

I shouldn't be surprised by the information I found about Apraxia of Speech. When they brought in another therapist to "confirm" the diagnosis, my mommy gut got a little tight.

I did more research when I got home. Now, the internet is full of mis-information and exaggeration, but I did find one major consistency when reading about her condition: It's gonna be a long, hard road. 

It definitely would NOT resolve on it's own. And 75% of kids who have apraxia of speech are also dyslexic.

Therapy is intense and long. In my ignorance, I requested we only do one day a week because of time and distance. From what I've read, I'm going to need to give this 3-5 days a week with a lot of work at home, too.

"We can report we know of children who ultimately become good speakers and their "problem" is undetectable to non-professionals. In other children, lingering articulation issues follow them. Childhood apraxia of speech is a serious and challenging speech disorder. A lot of hard work on the part of parents, therapists, and child needs to occur." - www.apraxia-kids.org

Know of? Like, the successful kids are these mythical creatures that can only be confirmed through fuzzy pictures and campfire rumors?

One site had a lot of words such as "special education, with a classroom assistant, and homeschool" when describing if kids with this disorder can assimilate into the traditional educational system.

Another site had more hopeful numbers. Ninety percent of the kids treated with early intervention and a lot of dedicated support can become "normal verbal communicators".

I'll admit, for a minute, we let the unknown grip our hearts. As Allen read the information we were given, he held back tears. Not because he felt sorry for us or tired after what has seemed like years of dealing with health challenges with our little ones. He felt insanely protective of his baby. He doesn't want Emily to have to struggle. He doesn't want her to be teased by the ignorant. He doesn't want her to be "classified" and made to feel "different".

You know, when Lexi was born, we were told she would have a number of delays. We were told she would be in therapy for months and months and likely face a number of challenges. And when we went to our second occupational therapy appointment, they were amazed that she not only met her milestones, but was passing them all by leaps and bounds. She wasn't going to be contained by the odds.

Emily is still young. She has the whole world in front of her. She is intelligent. She is driven. She is tenacious. All of those things will only aid her on this journey. She is surrounded by people who love her and will encircle her with protection and support.

The best way to approach things of this nature is one day at a time. We aren't going to let statistics determine our attitudes about Emily's potential. We'll work hard and cross each bridge as it comes our way.


Emmy Speech Update

At Emily's two year check up, our regular doctor was out on leave. We saw another doctor who was in that day. She asked me, "How many words does Emily have?"


"No, really. Can she say milk?"





"No. She has no words."

"Hmmm. Don't worry {dismissive hand wave}, she'll come around."

A couple of months later, we were in to see our regular doctor and I mentioned this to him. He raised an eyebrow and suggested we see a speech therapist. He wasn't particularly worried, but figured early intervention would be better than waiting for her to come along on her own.

Today we saw the speech therapist. Emily has what's called: Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS). It's classified as a "motor speech disorder". According to the information we received, CAS is:

"Not a muscle weakness or paralysis. The brain has problems planning to move the body parts needed for speech. The child knows what he or she wants to say, but his/her brain has difficulty coordinating the muscle movements necessary to say those words."

Indeed, this is a completely accurate description of Emily's efforts to speak with words. We practice making sounds at home and she watches us intently. But, when she tries to get her mouth and tongue to work together, she has real trouble. You can see the understanding in her eyes and the effort she puts into making words and then her mouth and tongue just not behaving. 

Her version of "cheese". She has a hard time bringing her teeth together to make a smile so she usually does this instead. Sometimes she gets it, but more often than not, it's an open mouth like this and the sound "eeees".

She uses a lot of gestures and symbols as word replacements. She deletes certain sounds in order to get her meaning across because making the correct sound doesn't happen for her. All of her sounds come from the back of her throat. She tongue thrusts a lot instead of making words. 

They would like to see her two times a week, but the office is about a 35 minute drive so we're gonna start with once a week and see if that is enough. I suppose if we did nothing, she would develop speech on her own, but it is seen in older children, too, so maybe this isn't something time alone would fix. Perhaps she would have a significant speech impediment and be in therapy later. Early intervention is usually more successful for this type of issue, so I'm glad to put a name to her delay and will get her on the right track. 


Pinecrest Lake

We had a Riddle reunion in Twainharte at the beginning of June. 
We took a little trip over to Pinecrest Lake while we were up that way. 

Gathering pine cones while waiting for the family to find us.
The "men folk" took the kids out in the kayaks.
Hannah babysat Addison for most of the day.  Thanks Hannah!
Lexi with Uncle Brent.
Dani and Papa out for a peaceful tour of the peaceful lake.
Peacefully and securely enjoying the serene mountain views on the calm lake.
Oh look guys! Here comes Uncle Allen. See how excited Dani is to see her uncle?
Aaaaaahhhh! We're all gonna die!
Way to go Uncle Allen.
Happiness restored. 

Addie insisted on rowing. 

Cuddling with Grandma to get warm.

 We had a great time! There was something for everyone to do and not a meltdown in sight (pretty amazing for 10 kids 10 and under, I say). I highly recommend a visit to anyone looking for a good time.


Onward and Upward

Welp, we've made it through kindergarten. 

I think we all fared well. Lexi worked hard, made good friends, had an exceptional teacher, and had a good overall experience. She's sad to leave behind her Mrs. Finton, but ready for the challenges of first grade. 

Lexi, at the start of the school year. 
Second to last day of school. Everyone had their sack lunches ready for a field trip to the park.

Mrs. Finton. Can I just say how much we love her? First of all, she's a mom to a kindergartner so she totally gets it. She is enthusiastic and loving but has boundaries. And she made every student their own memory binder with pictures and projects from throughout the year. Then, she gave them special summer homework packet to help us prepare for first grade. Having an awesome teacher is such a great way to start off a school career!
Lexi on the last day of school.

This year has been a great one for Ms. Lexi. She is an excellent student. She is a good friend to others. She tries hard to be helpful. She's learned some good life lessons along the way, too. 

We know she'll do great as a first grader and can't wait to see what adventures we're gonna have next year.


You Know...

Me {yelling, frustrated with technology}: What a piece of shit! I hate this thing!

Addie {teaching voice}: Mom, you know we don't say hate.

About Me

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What started as a way to communicate with far away friends and family has become a place for this horse trainer/HR manager turned stay at home mom of 3 girls to hold on to a bit of her own identity. It's my take on the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the thoughts and feelings, the mistakes and triumphs of this family as we bumble our way to eternity.