Ollie 2.6

Dear Ollie-
On May the Fourth, you turned two years and six months old. Also, happy Star Wars day! (May the Fourth/Force Be With You.) I dressed you in a Yoda shirt, since you are a little young to have a say in the matter.

It’s been a busy past two months for you. You’ve greatly improved all your animals sounds, and enjoy playing that game more than ever. You can also recite the entire alphabet. For a while, you could do pretty much all of it, except when we got to “L” you would emphatically insist that the next letter is “P” completely ignoring the letters M,N,&O. You also sometimes skip J and V, but most of the time, you’ve got it down.

You have come SO FAR with transition points. You still often cry at drop off, but your behavior when we take you out has improved dramatically. I’m not exactly sure what changed, only that you’ve started to follow directions a little better and not freak out when we go out. Eating out improved first, and now when we go out, you might fidget or want to be entertained, but you don’t start crying and having a fit anymore. And the last week or two, you’ve even been okay with me putting you in a cart when we go shopping! It’s been so wonderful, and I’m so proud of you.

You had a pretty major appointment at the Melmed Center with Dr. J on April 18th, just before we started seeing major improvements in your transition point behavior. The doctor spent a little time with you, looked over a very extensive questionnaire your Dad and I filled out, and interviewed all of us. In the end, she came up with the following:
-Developmentally Delayed
-Developmental Language Delay
Encephalopathy of unknown origins
-At Risk for Autism

At risk for Autism really through me for a loop, but the more we work with you, the less I think that Autism could even be an issue. Both your speech therapist (Vicki) and your DSI (Lorraine) feel that you are doing great, and that if you are autistic, that you are very high functioning. I don’t think you have Autism, based on all of my research and your rapid improvements since we had the tubes put in your ears. All and all, it doesn’t matter too much what they label you with, because you are awesome, just the way you are. Based on Dr.J’s assessment, we have added an OT (Stephanie), who has now been out to see you twice. She is very nice, but the two of you are still getting the feel for each other. This means you are up to three therapies a week.

You’re making strides towards Potty training. You stay dry most of the day at school, which is awesome. You are hit and miss at home, but we’re still working on it. You do seem to like going peepee in the potty, and you enjoy the candy you get when you go. Hopefully we can get you trained before you turn three. That would be amazing.

In March, we took a Cabin trip and went hiking. At the time, you were still not doing good around transition points, and did not enjoy the hiking. Despite the fact that you love to run everywhere, you did not want to run on the hikes, but instead wanted to be carried. Other than that, you had a good time though. The first night we were there, it was very cold. You woke up in the night freezing, because you always kick your blankets off! I got up and touched your skin, felt how freezing you were, and put you into bed between your father and I to warm you up. You (unlike your older brother) immediately cuddled down and went back to sleep without issue or kicking.

You are engaging in pretend play more and more! My personal favorite is the relatively new Phone game. You put the flat of your hand against your ear and face, and then say “HELLOW” I mimic you with the hand gesture and a “Hello! How are you?” You respond “I’m good BYE!” and put your hand down.

For Easter this year we went to the AJ Egg hunt again. You did rather well, collecting a couple of eggs and not freaking out at a new place with new people. For Easter you got a board book with pictures of yourself and our family going on adventures, which you really seem to enjoy reading.

At night when we put you to sleep, you tell us “Night Night!” But then you stay up and play with your toys. We let you get away with your little rebellion, because it makes you happy and you are relatively quiet.

You are slowly adding more phrases to your vocabulary. You tell me “TV on?” or “Turn it on!” and point at the TV. You’ve started telling specific people hello and goodbye, as in “Hello Dada!” and “Bye Bye Landon!” This morning you told your Dada to “Have a good day!” The two word combos you do on your own make me so happy. You are growing every day.

I’m really proud of how far you have come. I have a lot of faith in you. I know you will continue to grow, and that you are absolutely amazing. I love you very much.

Love always,
Mama

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Landon letter 5.7

Dear Landon-

You are five years and Seven months old. Let me start by saying that, for the first time ever, your Milk allergy has improved. Your numbers are down from where they were last year, and you dropped from a class 4 allergy to a class 3 allergy. On March 5th you were 47 lbs and 45.5 inches tall, so you have been growing as well!

You love your Video Games! I purchased Epic Kirby and you and I played through the game together, which was so much fun. I do enjoy playing video games with you! You love to play on the Nintendo DS, and your favorites are Mario, Kirby, & Sonic.

We recently changed how your chores work in the house. You were earning “stars” and 10 stars got a prize. Now you are earning actual money. You decided to save up for a Kirby game ($50) and have actually been working on that goal! I’m really impressed, and I hope you hold out and make it to $50. You’ve almost bought small toys a couple of times, but reminding you of your goal has you making the choice on your own to put back the toys and wait!

There is a little girl in Kindergarten at your school, but not in your class. She is in your Kid’s Corner (after school care program) class. She apparently has a crush of some sort on you, and always wants to kiss you. When I pick you up, she often says “Bye Boyfriend!” You are not happy about this, and always vehemently deny any association. I’ve been told that she is not allowed to kiss you, and that you guys play together fine most of the time.

You’ve had some minor issues in school. You don’t understand Spanish, not at all, despite spending half a day in Spanish for the year. You also moved down to the second best reading group, which still puts you above the average, but I know you can do better. You are in the top math group, and you really like that. You and I have talked at length, and you have decided you’d rather not learn Spanish. So for first grade, we’re going to switch to the close school, and you will spend all day in English. I think it’s the right choice for you. Overall, your grades are above average, and you are doing very well.

You’ve been through the six week Karate course twice now, and you really seem to like it. Swim class is going well. You are still level six, but they informed me this week that all you lack is the backstroke. Basically if you can master that, they’ll move you to level 7. The issue seems to be that you sink, rather than float, and kick down, rather than up. It’s okay, your father also sinks. And, for the record, so did you maternal grandfather.

You had a case of Strep Throat that wouldn’t quit. It started in January, while we were taking a weekend get-away in Tucson. We went to the Zoo in Tucson, and you were MISERABLE. Sad, complained you were cold, and just were not having a good time. By the time we were done at the Zoo, you had spiked a fever. We kept you resting, and took you to the doctor. You got an RX, but when you finished it, you came right back down with strep. Then you got another RX, and came right back down with Strep Throat again. The third RX finally kicked it. There was talk of taking your tonsils out, but if you can avoid strep for a little while, we may let you keep them after all.

You recently decided that you love science and want to be a mad scientist (or an evil scientist) when you grow up. I find this amusing on many levels. Your hero is Dr. Doofenshmirtz, from Phineas and Ferb. You still really like that show! Which is nice, because your dad and I really like that show as well. Oliver even seems okay with it sometimes! For Christmas you got a couple of science kits, and now regularly beg us to do “science” with you.

A side effect is that you became obsessed with the story of Frankenstein, asking me to tell you the story in the car on the way home from school almost every day. I finally found an abridged copy of the book, supposedly aimed at kids ages 4-8. Your dad and I were both a little upset by some of the things that happened in the book, and aren’t sure that it really is age appropriate for you. That said, you love the book and keep asking to re-read it. I’ve put the book away until you are older, even though you suffered no ill effects from hearing the store once through.

Your Dad and I decided to add to our family via adoption, so we’ve been talking to you about the process and how you will get a baby sister. You want us to name her either Candace (from Phineas and Ferb) or Goomba (from Mario)! I think it’s adorable, although not the name we will probably go with. You are excited to have a little sister.

Ollie and you are getting along most of the time. I think as Oliver learns to talk more, you’ll have more fun together. Currently you are so good with him, and you don’t lash out at him when he grabs at you or tries to take away items from you. We’re working with Oliver to respect you, but you are a wonderful big brother and a great role model for your little brother.

You continue to warm my heart every day. You love to sit with me or to cuddle. You enjoy giving hugs, and you are very sweet. I am so proud of you all the time. I love you very much.

Love always,
Mama

Oliver Letter 2.4

Dear Oliver-
You are 2 years and 4 months old today. You have had such a language explosion in the last two months I’m not even sure where to begin. It started with the word “Star” a few months back, and has gone on to be all shapes, and COUNTING. You can pick up the numbers 0-9 and identify them. You can count, with minimal prompting, up to 20! You actually ask for Apple Juice! It’s so amazing. When we are riding in the car, just you and me, on the way to school, you like to count the whole way to school. We’ve also started playing the animal sounds game, you like to tell me that a duck says “Quack Quack!” But that’s the only one you get with consistency. You will repeat other animal sounds to me, so I expect you to be an expert at the game soon!

You’ve still got issues with transition points. You don’t like it when we first get somewhere; you tend to throw a temper tantrum. You are very stubborn; this is probably your key personality trait! I am actually very thankful that you are so stubborn. I don’t think you could have made it through your very rough start (with ICU when you were newborn) if it hadn’t been for your undying stubbornness! The frustrating part of your stubbornness is that you want to do things your way. This means you don’t want to sit still when we go out to eat, or ride in a cart. Instead you get very frustrated and cry. We’re working with you, trying different methods to get you settled, but so far we haven’t found anything that works with regularity.

Your speech therapist (Vicki) and your DSI (Lorraine) are both very impressed with your progress! They think you are learning well. Your teachers at school are also impressed, saying that you are talking a lot more, even if they have trouble comprehending what you are trying to tell them. You really like playing with puzzles or shape sorters, and putting things back in boxes, only to “dump” them out. You gleefully shout “Dump” and then start the process over.
You still seem to have a chronic runny nose, but we took you to the allergist, and he said you have no allergies! At least all the ones we tested for came back negative. On the bright side, he says you are no longer allergic to Milk or Soy! We’ve had such fun re-introducing foods. It’s so nice to be able to share a pizza with you! You do love cheese and yogurt and are very happy to be able to eat them again.

Your brother spent most of the last month fighting Step throat. Due to your lack of tonsils, you managed to mostly avoid getting it, but you did end up with a brief bout of Impetigo under your nose. It was pretty gross, but, with the help of antibiotics, it passed quickly. (Thank goodness!)

You had your first dentist appointment on Feb 22 2012. She said all of your teeth looked really good. Your two year molars are starting to come in, and you are NOT HAPPY about it. You’ve been a little extra cranky and have been slapping your cheeks when you get mad. I am assuming it’s due to the teething currently. Hopefully this will pass quickly. You only starting having issues the past week, and seem to have been a little better the last two days.
You are doing amazing. I’m so proud of how far you have come!

Much Love,
Mama

PS, here is a 55 second video of Oliver counting. He skips Seven, saying Nine instead, but it’s an average run of him counting up to 20.

Landon is five!

Dear Landon-
You are five. How did this happen? It seems like just yesterday you were a tiny little baby. Yet here you are, already having started Kindergarten! I am so proud of you. You are such a good, smart little boy. This past month we’ve had some fun adventures together.

We explored the local aquarium again, and we attempted to eat at the Rainforest Café. You were so frightened by the animatronics animals and fake thunderstorm that we left before we could even order. You and I went to see our first play together, a children’s theatre showing of Pinocchio at the Hale theatre in Gilbert. You seemed to really enjoy the play. We also went to a baseball expo, where I realized you have not really learned anything about the sport before. Teaching you how to hold a bat and throw a ball was fun, but you need some more work on it. You don’t seem to be very interested in sports, overall.

Swimming on the other hand, is something you do enjoy. We hit the local water park and I got to take you on the waterslides for the first time. You thought this was so much fun. You had no fear, and insisted on going down the Banzi slides, which are some of my least favorite slides in the park. You swam very well, although you had some trouble at the bottom pools swimming away from the slides. Your swim class is going very well too, and you love to get in the pool.

We took two trips out of the heat this past month. The first of those was a weekend at the family cabin. You did very well on all the hiking and had a blast playing in the water by the falls. You love to attempt to skip stones and splash around. Laura’s family was with us, and you and Darion had a great time playing together all weekend. Your love of video games knows no bounds, and you spent a lot of time on the Nintendo upstairs as well! The second trip was an overnight trip to Sedona. You did not have as much fun on this trip, and you expressed to us multiple times that you would rather sit and play games as explore or shop. You did well on our hikes, but shopping is not your thing.

With school just a few days away, I took a little time off work to spend time with you! We went bowling, roller skating, and to Gameworks to play video games. You had a lot of fun playing and learning how to skate. You still fall down a lot, but you got better the longer we practiced! It was so much fun.

Of course, the big news this month is that you started Kindergarten on August 10th! You are attending a local school, but we are driving you out of zoning so you can be in a Dual language class. So far you don’t love the class, you told me that it is “too loud,” and that “some kids don’t like me.” I’m a little worried about that second one, but we will see how it goes. After school you go to the onsite aftercare, and you really do like that. This morning you asked me if you could skip kindergarten and go straight to the aftercare class.

Your recent new love is Phineas and Ferb. That show and Mario are your too favorite things right now. You are always asking us to put on another episode of Phineas and Ferb. Your favorite character is Ferb!

You are still an incredibly picky eater, which limits what I can send with you for lunch even more. I’m not sure how to get you to eat new foods.

Your birthday party went very well. Your dad and Melanie made an awesome Mario cake just for you!
Landon's cake
You had a lot of fun at your party with all your friends in the pool. Once your birthday was over you asked me when your next birthday was. For lunch on your birthday we met up with Uncle Jack and Uncle Sam over at Red Robin, where you enjoyed your noodles and orange slices.

You are so excited to be five! It’s so much fun to spend time with you, you are an awesome boy! I’m so happy to have you as my son.

Love,
Mama

1.9 Ollie letter

Dear Ollie-

You are now 21 months old, and you seem so huge! You are wearing mostly size 3T or 4T shirts, but some 2T pants still fit you. It has been an exciting month for you, as we went to the cabin and up to Sedona this month. It is so hot outside that escaping the heat has been a major mission for us. We discovered something interesting; hiking seems to put you to sleep. You fell asleep in your carrier every time we went hiking. It was rather cute.

Falling asleep at the hotels and the cabin went about as well as it does at home, and most nights you manage to sleep through the night. We have it happen once or twice a week where you wake up in the night. Most of the time, turning your music back on will help you fall back to sleep, although you tend to wake up multiple times a night when you are waking up at night.

We did some more local fun stuff too, so on top of two trips out of town, you also took your first trip to Sun Splash. Sun Splash is a major water park, and you liked playing in the sprinkler area and going down the small kiddie slide. You did not like the wave pool. We also went to the science center with Laura, and you enjoyed running around with your brother very much.

You are on some allergy meds that do seem to be helping your snoring and breathing issues at night, but you still have issues, so we have a follow up later on this month to check into it.

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You are becoming more understandable when you babble, and starting to make some mild sense in communicating to us, which is handy. You still don’t have a lot of words, but it is clear you understand most of what is going on now days. It’s good to see your little mind working.

We do have issues when we go to the store or go to do something you aren’t too keen on. You are just very stubborn, and in a whole new way that is all your own. You do this thing, when you decide that others are just being completely unreasonable, where you give a long blink and sort of roll your eyes. It’s a cute expression, and I’d love it more if you didn’t tend to follow it up with a temper tantrum.

You are getting better about dogs. You are no longer afraid of our dogs, although you don’t like to be out with Latvia, which is understandable, as Latvia is a great dane who will knock you down. You do dislike barking dogs though.

You love to give five and play high five. You are great at this game, but I think it has made you a little predisposed to hit. We’re working on teaching you to be softer. You also love to run in circles around an adult, particularly your father or myself. You laugh and giggle while doing it. You generally enjoy bath time and love getting in the pool. It makes me so happy to get in the pool with you and watch you throw yourself into the water. I can barely wait until you start swimming. I suspect next summer you will be a fish!

Much Love,
Mama!

Landon letter 4.11

Dear Landon-

Oh my, has it really been five months since I last wrote you a letter? You’ll be five next month. I’m one month away from you turning five, and you start kindergarten this year! But enough about the future, let’s talk about the last five months. This letter might be a bit long, as we’ve got a lot to cover!

Let’s see, back in February, you came home from school with lice! Everyone in the house got their head shaved (except mama) but you were the only one with the little bugs in your hair. I don’t like your head shaved that close, but you didn’t mind.

In March, we went in for you milk allergy testing. You were 42.5 inches tall and weighed in at 42.5 lbs. Weird, I know. Your milk allergy has continued to get worse, although just a tad worse. Since you are starting Kindergarten this year, the doctor went ahead and prescribed an Epi-pen.

In May, you had a Preschool Graduation for your class. There was an adorable ceremony where you were supposed to sing, but alas, you did not. You would make the motions, but refused to sing. You’ve never really had a love of music, and while you had no performance anxiety, you just weren’t into it. The graduation went swimmingly overall. You stayed at the school until the end of June, and you were a little sad to quit going. We were very proud of you for completing your writing prize chart. You did an excellent job. Your teacher, Ms. Tanya, totally went the extra mile to ensure that your writing improved greatly during your time there.

Landon Preschool Grad (31)

For the rest of the summer, you go to Laura’s four days a week, and stay home with me on my work from home day. Laura has you do a couple of worksheets every day, and I am so impressed with your math skills! You can do basic addition and subtraction worksheets with ease. You now write stories, although you do need assistance to spell or sound out words. You can sound out words to read, but you don’t really like to. Also, the idea of reading quietly to yourself confuses you. Whenever you see me reading, you tell me that I have to move my mouth to read!

You took your very first trip to Disney Land this summer. We went with Laura’s family, and you had a blast. You were very brave, and rode everything once, although some rides scared you. You really hated Pinocchio, Snow White, and Mr. Toad. I thought you would like Mr. Toad, as we had read the books and seen the movie, but you did not. Your favorite ride was “The Haunted Mansion” even though it scared you. You would shake like a leaf every time we road it. The first time through, you asked if we could leave before we got into the Doom Carriages (after the elevator) because you were so scared, yet somehow this was your favorite! You also really liked the roller coaster style rides, and rode them without fear. We also visited the beach and SeaWorld, but nothing topped the Haunted Mansion for you!

DisneyTrip 1 (133)

In more recent events, I took you to your first every play this past weekend at the Hale Theatre in Downtown Gilbert. We saw Pinocchio, and you seemed to enjoy it. I’m not sure if you enjoyed is more than a movie. A few weeks back, your dad took you to see Cars 2, which I know you liked.

I have threatened in the past to ground you from your beloved video games or tv if you did not preform an action, but I had not yet grounded you as a punishment. There are many reasons for this, the first of which is that you are, in general, a GOOD kid. You don’t often need to be punished, and when you do, sixty seconds in the corner is usually all it really takes. Yesterday, after being a perfect angel all morning, we went to the store and you begged me for some Super Mario Fruit Snacks (which you still call bribes). When we got home, you wanted to eat a package. I agreed, but suggested you them in the kitchen where Ollie couldn’t see, so that he would not also want your fruit snacks.

I realized, after a bit, that you’d been in the kitchen for a while, and I looked over and you were still eating. I asked you then, how many bags you had eaten. You told me that you only had one. I told you to finish up and come sit and play then. Unfortunately for you, about 20 minutes later I went into the kitchen, and counted the remaining bags in the brand new box. Simple math proved you’d eaten 4 bags. I grounded you for lying to me, although I don’t think you understand that. Somehow I think you still think you were grounded for eating the extra bags. I’ve explained that I would have just put you in the corner for that, and it was the lying that got you grounded, but it just doesn’t click. You were so bored that you asked to go bed early last night and read extra books, since we were not going to play video games.

You love swim class. You understand now about levels (Thank You Video Games!) and that you are a level five swimmer. You want to be a level eight swimmer, and are working rather hard in swim class to move up. It amuses me that you swim awesome in swim class, then get in the pool with us at home and still have days where you act like you can’t swim at all! On the bright side, you love the water and tend to swim quite well most of the time now.

Pool in June (19)

You do not like to try new foods, and it’s a struggle to get you to eat things outside of your small comfort zone. I keep hoping exposing you to the flavors will help over time. I know I was a picky eater as a child too (and still am) but this is getting silly. You hate eating new foods, and will act like you are going to throw up when I make you take one little bite.

You still love cars. You talk about how you want to be a “tire man” when you grow up. You are a so smart, and you love to talk about video games and Super Mario. You get excited and wave your hands around in a spastic manner that makes me smile. You love to wrestle and play with others, but are okay playing by yourself too, especially on the computer or DS. Your favorite TV shows are Phineas and Ferb, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and Pink Panther or Pokemon. You are an amazing little boy and I love you so much. Each day with you is better than the ones before.

Love always,
Mama

Ollie letter 1.8

Dear Ollie-
A few days ago you became a 20 month old. You have had an exciting month, because you took your very first extended family vacation last month. We went to California along with our wonderful friends Laura, Dirk, Damia, Elaira, and Darion. We stayed at the Disneyland hotel, where you found yourself exploring Disneyland.

You seemed to enjoy most of the rides. The very first ride that you found yourself on, Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters, freaked you out some. I had to hold on to you, but in the end I think you started to enjoy it. Your favorite ride of all time was “It’s a Small World.” You wanted to sing and dance during the boat ride, and were sad when the ride ended. You did manage to see most of World of Color on our first night. You had slept up until it started, but woke up for the show. You were fascinated by all the lights and colors. You did a great combination of riding in the stroller, being worn in your cinchworm, walking, being carried, or riding on your parent’s shoulders on vacation. You did not really like the characters walking around in their costumes, but by our last day at Disney, you were willing to tolerate them. You also went to the beach and Seaworld, both of which you seemed to enjoy, but you didn’t get down to the water at the beach.

While on vacation, we noticed that you snore, rather loudly. Your breathing pattern seemed odd to me, and overall, you mostly breathe through your mouth. I was worried, so I took you to the doctor when we got home. We’re trying some Flonase at night for 30 days to see if it helps. The thought is that if you have allergies, which could be causing the issue. I think it is helping some, but I’m not sure it’s enough. We’ve got a follow up with the doctor in a couple of weeks to check and see.

You really love it when we sing the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” or other songs. You will take my hands and help me do all the motions that go with the song. You and your big brother are starting to play together more, which is awesome. You like to chase him around and grab onto him. The two of you seem to be getting along pretty well overall.

You love to swim. Or perhaps I should say you love to attempt to drown yourself. You cannot swim as of yet, but getting in the pools thrills you. You’ll walk down the steps and then throw yourself into the water; your head quickly disappears below the surface. I grab you and bring you back above water, and you just look around confused, or smile really big, depending on if you were under for one second or three. You prefer the briefer dunking, but I keep hoping you’ll start to get the concept that you cannot breathe under water! But you are like a fish, you want to swim so badly. I think next summer we will start you with swim lessons for sure!

You are so independent and stubborn! You do not like to hold hands or be lead. You want to lead and seek and find things on your own. In the pool you’ve decided you don’t need floaties of any kind. You do not want to be in your raft, you want to be out there in the water! When we go to a store, you don’t want to ride in the cart, you want to push the cart or run down the aisle. When we cross the street, you do not want to hold hands, and will sometimes attempt to throw a temper tantrum in the middle of the street rather than hold hands. And if we pick you up? You struggle to get down!

I am looking forward to when you find your words, so you can tell us what it is you want. You understand much more than you say and can follow simple directions when it pleases you.
sea life (21)
You are loving and adorable. You like to give kisses and will high five just about anyone. You have cute hair that sticks up and big brown eyes. When you are mad or frustrated you will scowl at the source of your irritation, and then slowly close your eyes and scowl harder. It’s so cute.

We love you so much little man!

Love
mama

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