Polite as a Princess

Friday, March 22, 2013

HJ and her cousin E
Phew, it's been a rough couple weeks for our family, especially HJ. Last night while she was sleeping, I heard HJ say very clearly, "Nooooo! I don't want to share... You're not my cousin anymore!" So as much as she loved having her cousin E from California visit, playing dress-up with her and running around holding hands, there's been more than a bit of lingering anxiety about having to share her toys.

To add to the fun, Grandma from Korea was visiting too, which HJ loved, but it required some extra adjusting for everyone. What HJ actually loved was going up to the guest room and trying to wake up a still jet-lagged grandma by knocking loudly on the door and saying, "Yoo-hoo! Grandma!" and barging in, with Lila not far behind.

Grandma has been very patient, trying to teach them life lessons by reading them books like "No more Junk Food" and "Polite as a Princess," and trying to show HJ how to use different colors when she paints. Unfortunately, HJ has not been so kind in return, telling Grandma, "I don't need help!" and proceeding to paint the entire piece of paper brown.

Topping it all off, we've had a couple dentist appointments (broken filling probably from her grinding her teeth at night), resulting in one successful cleaning/xray appointment and one spectacular failure of an appointment today -- literally being carried to the dentist against her will, refusing the laughing gas, reconsidering for a moment as she was shown a tempting basket of prizes, and ultimately rescheduling for another time when she would be feeling better. Or another time when Daddy may be able to help Mommy out, because HJ is getting just too big for Mommy to physically force her to do anything.

And in the midst of everything, HJ still says and does those little things that make me laugh and help me make it through the day.

Like the other day, when HJ was bringing home her updated IEP in her backpack, she took it out and pretended to read it to me. According to HJ, the "note" said, "We will be having swimming class tomorrow. Please wear your swimsuit to school."

Or her tendency to sing old school gospel songs to herself lately, which comes from watching her current favorite DVD, "100 Bible Songs" -- where she doesn't quite know the words, but she stills sings with confidence anyway, "Go, tell it on the children, over the mountains and everywhere!" or "Knock, knock, knocking, if anyone hear my voice, if anyone hear my voice, I will come in!"

One week of spring break to go, and hopefully things will be "back to normal" relatively soon... Although I may just have to accept that this is as normal as things are going to get for us these days...

One year later...

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

HJ March 2012 (yes, she's wearing a winnie the pooh nightgown to school)
We had our IEP annual review for HJ today. I didn't realize how stressed I was about it until it was over! Last year's meeting was such a big ordeal for us. It was the time we decided to take HJ out of her regular preschool and put her into the special ed program. It was the first time we officially learned about her diagnosis of apraxia. And last year Lila was also at the meeting causing a little ruckus, so I'm sure that didn't help matters.

This year, it was smooth sailing, in more ways than one. First of all, Lila was happily staying with our neighbor and her BFF zoey, so we had no distractions. And more importantly, we knew and trusted all of HJ's teachers and therapists, which made everything easier. The overall message I took away from the meeting was encouraging... They gave us example after example of how much she had blossomed in the past year. How she had gone from struggling with saying the ending sounds of words to telling them stories about Daddy's bday and Lila's antics. How she went from being shy and quiet in class to coming in and saying, "Hi guys, I'm here!"

She still has a diagnosis of apraxia, although the speech therapist said it was more mild than moderate now. We realized that she can sing a lot of the words and sounds (r, l) that she can't normally say correctly, and we learned that's because singing is more automated and uses a different part of the brain whereas speaking is spontaneous and a very complex process in comparison. And she still has low muscle tone, so much so that they have her sit in a chair during group time rather than on the floor, and she still has some personal space/social issues at times...

The end result, though, appears to be that all her teachers and therapists seem to be recommending that she move on to kindergarten. It will be a special ed program, but it will probably be all day, so I'm still nervous about how she'll handle that. Her occupational therapist said, I think HJ will be able to rise to the occasion... I'm hoping so. I don't want to underestimate her or overprotect her, with my mama bear tendencies, and I do have peace about the decision for now. They will make a final determination closer to the end of the school year, in May. Until then, I'm going to keep praying about it, trusting God, and maybe getting my sister to tutor her in her letters and phonics... I know, she's only four... But I guess I'm still a Korean American mom (aka tiger mom) at heart! With all the progress she's made this past year, who knows how far along she will be at her next annual review. Really, overall, I'm just thankful for how far she's come...

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