Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Love is a Jello Salad

Justin had his annual visit to the ophthalmologist last week.  It was the first time they could actually do a real vision test.  They gave Justin a sheet of paper with 4 letters on it and the they put one of the letters up on the screen.  They patched one eye and had him say which letter it was.  He did SO good at identifying the letters!  Until they got too small.  As it turns out the eye with the myelinated nerve fibers (his left) has poorer vision.  So the doctor offered patching the good eye as a solution to bring the poor vision back up even with the other.  So now we have to patch Justin's eye for 2 hours a day every day for 3-6 months.  For some reason that just put me over the edge.  One more thing to fit into my day.  I might have whined a little.  I asked for other's opinions to see if it's worth it.  Because if the poor vision is caused by the nerve fibers, patching won't help.  But there's no way to know without trying.  And can you believe that Justin does not enjoy having his eye patched?   The first day I heard low whining interrupted by the occasional "it hurts".  It was a long 2 hours.  For everyone.  I may have whined too.  (I just want to interject and say how awesome Travis is with everything we have to do for Justin.  He gets in Justin's face with the enthusiasm of a sports trainer and encourages Justin through every blood draw, every tough physical test, and every mental challenge.  And there's always a hug at the end!)

So I was feeling a little blue when I got a call from a friend asking if I was coming her way that day because she had a jello salad for us.  When I told Randy he kind of looked at me funny and said, "A jello salad?"  But you women understand, right?  It was a jello salad full of love!  That jello salad was perfect!  And the boys loved it.  Travis even used the word "awesome".  It was something for Justin to enjoy while he endured his time.  (We might have had one of those hand washing incidents that day too, thus the lack of shirt...)

Did I mention Alaina learned how to say "cheese"?

So to the DeCarlo family, love is a jello salad.  Thanks Glenda, you made our day!

Monday, September 23, 2013


The wait is finally over....

Alaina's hair is long enough for pigtails!

I love it!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I Try

One of our struggles with Justin has been how to know when he is ready to take over more responsibility.  I really thought we were going to have to do a lot of things for him for a really long time.  And in some areas we have had to continue to do for him.  And in others he is making loads of progress.

One thing that has made me laugh is Justin's eating.  He can feed himself just fine.  He really has no major problems.  He loves dipping: ranch dressing, ketchup, guacamole, hummus, salsa, anything!  For a while he was really messy and we couldn't let him down from the table without cleaning his hands and face.  Now he is much better, but he still insists on using a bib.  And sometimes, that's a good thing!

Another thing we let him do now is wash his hands and face himself.   We had to get a slightly taller stool for him to be able to reach the faucets.  Most of the time it works okay, but there are some days when I walk into the bathroom after I send Justin in and find the hand towel completely soaked, water running down the front of the cabinets, water all over the front of Justin's shirt and soap in his hair.  I ask what happened and I get a shrug and a "I dunna know".  The fact that it has happened more than once confuses me.

We have been working on getting Justin to be able to dress himself.  We started with the shirt (and OT helped with this too) and he can mostly do that himself.  If the shirt is the right size.  He has a few larger shirts and those end up with an arm through the neck hole and on backwards.  Or maybe a head through an arm hole.  That's a funny sight!  Now we're working on underwear and shorts.  He can find the tag just about every time, and he can get it facing the right way, but getting one leg in each hole, especially the right hole, is still really hard.  It's about fifty-fifty getting it right.  And then when it comes to pulling them up, he still leaves quite a bit of cheek showing.  It's very pinchable!  Socks will be the most difficult I think.  We haven't tried that yet.  Justin has also started trying the first step of tying his shoes.  That seems so grown up to me!

When we started working on potty training with Justin we decided to face him backwards on the big potty and that's the way we have been doing it ever since.   It was difficult for him to balance facing forward and keep everything pointed the right way.  (Very important!)  This means that Justin always needs help going to the bathroom to get up on the potty.  So when we were in Arizona, Justin came into the room carrying his underwear and shorts and said that he had gone potty.  My heart sank.  I assumed that meant there was a big mess for me to clean up in the bathroom.  But low and behold, that was not the case at all!  Justin decided he was going to do it himself and he used the edge of the counter to hike himself up on the toilet and plant himself forward facing and then reverse the process when he was done.  He did great!  So I wondered if he was going to do it again, mostly so I could watch.  He did, a couple of days after we got home.  That's when Justin busted out his new favorite phrase, "I try!" accompanied by a hand in my face.  The hand I could do without, but I like that he has a strong desire to do things himself.  He hasn't really shown that attitude before.

It has translated to many different areas:  He wants to use the TV remote to control his Veggie Tales movies;  He tries to repeat his new memory verse for school before he truly has it learned; He wants to order for himself when we go out to eat;  He wants to read me stories (usually ones he knows form memory); He wants to open doors and hold them open for other people coming in; and he is very excited about doing his own homeschool.

Justin's new "I try" philosophy has been very difficult for Travis.  Like me, he is very used to helping Justin and when Justin pushes away his help (the hand often makes contact when it's in Travis' face) it makes him mad.  I remember one of Justin's first hearing tests and we were in the booth with Justin.  Travis kept wanting to help Justin when he heard the sound.  I had to tell Travis that I knew how badly he wanted to help Justin, and I wanted to help too, but we couldn't help if we wanted to know if Justin could hear.  Somehow that sunk in with Travis and later that night Travis said, "Hey Daddy, Mommy and I both really wanted to help Justin with his hearing test but we couldn't."  We are both having to learn to ask Justin if he wants help and be patient while he struggles.  And it's great to hear Travis' encouragement when he does succeed.

Justin has also learned that he can teach Alaina new things and this is particularly interesting for him.  He likes giving Alaina little bits of food and telling her she needs to swallow before she can get more.  (She's a chipmunk when she eats...)  He puts his hand over hers to show her how to play a game.  The thing that I love most is that Justin is very patient.  It gives me the biggest smile!

So we are deep in the "I try" phase of Justin's development.  It's kind of interesting to see where it will take us.  It's some big time learning for us all.  And some extra cleaning up too...

Friday, September 6, 2013

Justin Lost a Tooth!

So I was brushing Justin's tooth last night and the bottom tooth was sticking out at an odd angle and it wasn't offering a whole lot of resistance against the brush.  So I wiggled it a little and it wiggled a lot!  It was to the point of "we're not going to bed until this tooth comes out" loose.  I didn't even realize it was that loose!  We were at Me-Me and Pop's house helping with their garage sale and so I didn't have a tooth pillow for him to use or anything.  I didn't even have a camera to take a picture so we had to borrow one to preserve the moment.
Since we were at Pop's house I decided to let him pull it out.  I thought Justin would like that.  But it turns out Pop didn't want to make Justin hurt so I had to be the one to pull it.  It was so loose it practically fell out!  Baby teeth are so tiny!  (I am holding it in my hand right by Justin's cheek.  How could he bite anything with that??)  Travis was more upset than Justin since he knew what it would feel like.  Justin didn't really even mind.  He didn't even want me to hold a towel in it to stop the bleeding.  He was ready for a bedtime story from Pop!  I guess it all worked out.  And the one next to it is loose too!  The tooth fairy is going to be making another trip to our house soon.  I hope to be better prepared!