Saturday, January 28, 2012

2:1 Conference

Why I Want to Attend the 2:1 Conference

The Homeschool Classroom is hosting a giveaway for one ticket to the 2:1 Conference and so I am going to touch on why I want to go.

The biggest reason is that I want to be the best homeschool mom that I can be. The lineup for speakers at the conference is amazing. Carisa from 1+1+1=1 one of the speakers that I am most looking forward to hearing. Her blog, after all, is the one that made me realize that I really could homeschool my boys and has been a huge help in our homeschooling journey.

Another reason is that I feel the encouragement that would come from the conference will be huge for me. I'm 99% sure we will homeschool next year, but next year will bring new challenges as I will also begin homeschooling Luke for preschool. Two boys, one with special needs, at the same time. Who wouldn't need encouragement?

And finally, when I learned that the 2:1 Conference was going to be within driving distance of my home I was so very excited. I have yet to go to a homeschooling conference. Our decision to homeschool this year came after all the conferences had already ended. As I look into the various homeschooling conventions for this year, the majority are quite a distance away. With Luke's needs, me traveling to a conference is not an option. So for one to be so close to home is an amazing opportunity.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sensory Processing

I've avoided talking about this because, well, I don't really want to add anything else to the list of things related to Luke and his therapy.  But a month or two ago his speech therapist told me that she thinks Luke may have a sensory processing disorder.  Basically it means his body hasn't matured to deal with everything sensory related.

Is it a diagnosis?  No.  

Does she seem pretty confident that it's another thing we're dealing with?  Yes.

The day she told me, I drove home in tears.  It was just one more thing to add to my list of worries for him.

She sent me home with The Out of Sync Child.  I read it.  Mostly.  I'll admit that I did a lot of skimming.  Yes, there were things that sounded like Luke.  But there was also a lot that doesn't sound like him. And there was quite a bit where I said, "don't all kids do this?".

She referred us to an occupational therapist.  I contacted her - but in the end, we decided to hold off.  Financial, logistical and time reasons were behind our decision.  More money out of pocket than we can handle right now + lonnng drive at least once a week + already full weekly schedule = too much to deal with at this moment.

Every session the speech therapist brings up sensory.  She feels that it's keeping him from benefiting as much as he can from speech.  He moves around a lot.  He becomes startled if someone picks him up quickly.  He has days where he doesn't want her touching his face to do the PROMPTs.  He works on their activity for a minute or two then moves on to something else.  Etc, etc.

One thing I read in the book is that we ALL have sensory issues.  Everyone has one or two things they don't deal well with.  For instance, I can't stand the dentist.  And it's not a pain thing.  It's the noises and smells that freak me out as soon as I walk into a dentist office.  I don't like to wear hats or anything too restricting around my neck or wrists.  If I'm sitting in a chair and someone even slightly tilts me back, I start flailing like a chicken because it scares the living daylights out of me.

So I'm on the fence.  I want to do whatever we need to do to help him.  But, he's only 3.  I want him to have a chance to come through things on his own.  I don't feel that the sensory issues affect his daily life, and so I don't feel that it's anything urgent to deal with right.this.second.  We're working on them at home, using sensory activities, and I feel that it's a good start.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Be Kind

Last night I stumbled across a blog post written in regard to parents who deal with food allergies.  In it, the person talked about how when her older child started school, there was a child in the class who had a food allergy.  This child's mom was always "hovering", watching him very closely.  The blogger admitted to making fun of the other mom for this (and for being ashamed of it).  But now, the blogger has a food allergic child of her own, and understands where the other mom was coming from.

Reading the blog post made me think of the quote I have posted above.  I stumbled across this quote awhile back on Pinterest, and it really struck me.  It is so very true.  You never know why a person does what they do, but chances are there is a very good reason for it.

One of the common complaints is about moms that hover.  Helicopter moms as they are often called.  Mom's that are germaphobes or are terrified of their kids getting hurt.

I was never much of a hoverer with Cody.  I was also never big on using hand sanitizers or that sort of thing.  I wasn't one to follow him around the playground watching his every move.  Then Luke came along.  Between his 5 bouts of pneumonia in less than a year, and his food allergies, I became very paranoid about what he touched or put into his mouth.  Have I mentioned that he puts everything in his mouth?  Last summer we were driving home from a playground when Cody told me Luke had something in his mouth.  I pulled over, dug in his mouth, to find that he had a few rocks stuffed into his cheeks like a hamster.  He managed to do this even with me watching him as much as I could.  He's a food thief.  He will take cups or food that is left sitting unattended, and it immediately goes into his mouth.  He also has no fear at the playground.  With Cody I was lucky, he was (and still is) very cautious.  He wasn't one to climb up too high or jump off the equipment.  Luke will do both of those things in a heartbeat.  So yes, I hover.  Isn't that my job though, to know my child's personality and know what I need to do to protect him until he's old enough to understand better?

Back to the everyone has a battle quote.  When I became pregnant with Cody, I also became active on various parenting message boards.  Through that I have met many wonderful moms.  I've also learned of several tragedies involving kids.  I'd like to talk about a couple of them to go along with the quote.

One of them lost her 3 year old son to meningitis several years ago.  She will never know where he picked it up at, but an innocent exposure to germs lead to her 3 year old baby losing his life.

The other one lost her 9 month old daughter this past summer to something equally as innocent.  The baby was standing at the sofa, as many babies do when they're first learning how to stand and cruise the furniture.  The baby lost her balance and fell backward, as many babies have done.  She landed on her back, the back of her head hitting the padded and carpeted floor.  Not concrete.  Not even hardwood.  Not the table.  Padded and carpeted floor.  The baby sustained a fatal injury to her brain from this fall.

I've never been in this kind of position, but it's not hard to imagine what going through something like this would do to a parent.  If a mom appears to be extra cautious about germs, or their child being injured, or what they put into their mouths - cut them some slack.  You never know what their story may be.  They could have gone through something as tragic as losing a child.  Or their child could have just been diagnosed with life threatening food allergies or immune deficiency.  The mom going overboard with hand sanitizer may have a child at home fighting cancer, and the family may be doing their best to keep everyone healthy.  

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mama Gets Crafty - SLR Purse Insert

I got a sweet lil' SLR for my birthday this week.  I'm in LOVE with it.  I spent a good part of the week looking at camera bags.  You know, the type that look like a purse and not an actual camera bag.  I fell in love with several on the Epiphanie Bags website.  I mean, who doesn't love those?  But the price was way out of my range.  So I started looking into tutorials for a DIY version, and found this.  Except I didn't feel like dealing with the sewing machine.  Or velcro.  So I busted out my trusty hot glue gun, and got to work. 

I used 1" foam, and wrapped the pieces in fabric like I was wrapping a present, securing it with the hot glue.  The only problem is that the 1" foam is a little too bulky, and the camera + extra lens takes up most of the bag.  So I either need to re-do it using 1/2" foam or get a bigger bag.  I'm voting for the bigger bag =)  But in all, I was pretty pleased with myself!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Top 7 Lies about Homeschooling

This is a hilarious video, it goes over the top 7 lies about homeschooling!

I love how he points out that there are shy kids in public schools (I was one of them)

How he points out that if being "sheltered" means not being introduced to sex, drugs and violence in middle school, then being "sheltered" isn't so bad.

And my favorite - pointing out that a world without Lady Gaga isn't so bad =)

And finally, I'd like to add something to my reasons of "Why I Love Homeschooling".

I'm learning things that I never learned in public school.  Not because I didn't pay attention, but because it was never covered.  Last week we learned about knights and castles.  It ended up being one of Cody's favorite unit studies from everything that we've done, and I enjoyed it greatly as well.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Can't Stop Thinking

Ammaria Johnson has been on my mind a lot. She's not the first food allergy death that I've heard of since learning of Luke's own life threatening food allergies, but her death has hit me harder than any other. Maybe it's because she was so close to Cody's age. Maybe it's because she died somewhere that every child should be safe. Maybe it's because every time I read or hear that she died of cardiac arrest it makes me think back to Luke's first reaction, and how naive I was at the time that he could have easily gone into cardiac arrest. And how scared she must have been. Or maybe it's because we were going to put Luke into preschool this fall.

Ammaria's tragic death has changed our mind on Luke starting preschool.

I know some people will think we are being too protective.

Some will roll their eyes and say we can't keep him in a bubble.

And that's ok. But to those people I would say, watch your child suffer an anaphylactic reaction. Not just a few hives, but a full blown life threatening allergic reaction.

Watch them turn blue and lose consciousness. Watch their head flop around because they don't have the strength, due to lack of oxygen, to hold it up. Stand in an ER and watch a team of 6 nurses and 2 doctors fight to stabilize your baby while he is staring at you, crying, with eyes pleading with you to help, while you know there's nothing you can do. Whisper to him, promising to never leave him. I can tell you that it's haunting, and something that you would never be able to get out of your mind.

Then imagine your baby having a reaction, away from you, because someone who didn't know better failed your child. Failed to protect them, failed to realize until it was too late how serious the situation is. Know that what happened to Ammaria could happen to your sweet child. All it takes is one slipup.

That is where my decision is coming from. I refuse to put Luke in that situation, hoping that the school has their act together as well as it appears they do. Yes, Ammaria's mom should have left an EpiPen with the school. But based on the fact that the school called the mom before 911 tells me they didn't know how serious the situation was. If the school isn't educated on WHEN an Epi is needed, it doesn't really matter if one is available.

His life isn't worth that risk.

I know that not everyone is able to keep their food allergy kids home, that homeschooling isn't an option for most people. I also think telling parents of kids with severe food allergies to just homeschool is wrong. But for us, at least at this point in our lives, it is an option. And it's an option that I'm more than happy to take advantage of.

So sometime between now and September I will begin formally teaching preschool to Luke. It will probably be closer to September, but I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Heavy Heart - Food Allergy Death

On Monday in Chesterfield, VA, a 7 year old girl named Ammaria Johnson died of cardiac arrest due to a peanut allergy reaction.

Seven years old.

I can't even begin to imagine.

Schools need to take food allergies seriously.

Schools need to be prepared to deal with allergic reactions.

School employees, administrators and nurses need to be trained on how to detect a serious reaction, and how to properly handle them.

Children need to have ready access to their medication.

I understand that schools don't want seven year old children walking around with epi-pens.  But, the epi-pens need to be with them at all times.  Perhaps a medical kit that goes everywhere with the child, and is controlled by whichever adult the child is with at the time.  Lifesaving medication should not be stored in an office, locker or anywhere else  away from the child.  When a severe reaction happens, there's no way of knowing how much time you have to stop it.  It could just be seconds.  Taking 1, 2 or 5 minutes to retrieve an epi-pen is unacceptable. 

Benadryl and other antihistamines will NOT stop an anaphylactic reaction. It will NOT save someone's life.  It could possibly mask anaphylactic symptoms and cause you to believe that the reaction isn't as severe as it really is, resulting in wasting precious time.

As parents, we must make sure that schools have all medications that our children need. According to the video, the mom was told by the school nurse that they had all the medication they needed for her child, and refused to take the epipen, albuterol, etc, that the mother brought in to keep stored for Ammaria.

I am not pointing a finger at the mother, but please learn from this mistake.  If the school refuses your child's medication, ask to speak to their supervisor.  Do not let your child be anywhere without their prescribed medication.

The school is claiming that she "got into" peanuts while outside the school, on the school grounds.  

This is why peanuts should not be allowed on school property.  To the people who whine and complain that their child has the right to eat a peanut butter sandwich.  That their child will whither away if they don't get to eat something laden with peanuts during the day.  This story is a wakeup call.  A seven year old child died from accidental exposure to a peanut product.  Is it worth it?  Is it worth risking a child's life?  Which right is more important?  The right to peanut butter sandwiches, or the right to live?