Nora – Tutoring

I hired a personal tutor for Nora. It’s over Zoom, which isn’t perfect, but gosh, everything seems to be over Zoom since COVID. I’ve been doing a ton of my own research. And I’m convinced Nora is dyslexic. I’ve read tons of books about it. I’m pretty much convinced. Of course, our appointment at the University to test for learning disabilities isn’t until November. Which is almost another half a grade away. We noticed Nora had an issue with sight words in Kindergarten, and here we are, two years later.

Our tutor specializes in learning disabilities, specifically dyslexia. She uses the Barton Reading system, which I’m told is one of the best. Nora’s first session was this morning, and so far, so good. Nora actually seemed to enjoy the time online. They will meet one-on-one three times a week for 50 minutes in the summer, and then drop down to just two days a week during the school year.

Nora will still meet with the special education teacher at her school for 20 minutes everyday. Although the tutor said, if Nora is dyslexic, the way the school teaches reading/spelling may very well just confuse her. In fact, she said homeschooling would be really great. Um… nothing against homeschooling, but I just don’t think I’m cut out for it. But I do know the school does do some things that seem to be killing Nora’s self-esteem, like taking turns reading aloud in class, presenting in front of the class, writing on the board, etc. Would an actual diagnosis of dyslexia change any of that? We have an IEP for her special education needs, but the accommodations don’t mention anything about not calling on her in class…

My heart hurts for Nora. She is so shy, hates school, hates reading, and I assume it’s because she finds reading and spelling so difficult. Fun fact, apparently as many as 1 in 5 people are dyslexic. Um… that’s a lot of people! I really want to talk to Nora about dyslexia, but without an official diagnosis, I feel like I may be putting ideas into her head that aren’t true. But how else can I convince her she is a bright child who just might need to learn differently? I hate to see her struggle… I want her to love learning and reading as much as I do.

Special Education Approved

The report recommended Nora for special education in reading. Surprisingly she is doing really great in math, which strikes me as odd, since she is pretty far behind her peers in reading. Why does it seem strange to me that in one area she excels and another she is so far behind…?

Since tomorrow is the last day of 1st grade for Nora, this will all start next school year, when she begins 2nd grade. Nora will start by meeting daily for 20 minutes with the special education teacher at our school, maybe one-on-one, but more likely in a group of two. I’m a little confused, as I thought special education wasn’t offered in a private school… but apparently we do have a dedicated special education teacher onsite.

Honestly, that’s all I really know right now. I’m really sad for her. But they assure me that kids are taken out of class very, very often for a variety of reasons, so Nora certainly won’t feel singled out. I know she and many others are already taken out of class daily for special help. And Nora’s teacher tells me the students actually get excited when it’s their turn. And this isn’t for always. We will have goals for Nora, lots of updates on how she is doing, and lots of discussions on what, if anything, needs to change with how and when she receives help. She was also approved to take tests in a quiet room with an adult she feels very comfortable with, as they have found Nora’s shyness is sometimes a big hurdle.

Eric and I talked about hiring a summer tutor for Nora, mainly so she doesn’t lose any knowledge over the next few months. And it’s nice we have a university in town with an elementary and special education major. Lots of great contacts for possible tutors.


Well, I’m sort of vaccinated. I received the first of my two Pfizer COVID shots last week. A sore arm for a few days, and maybe a little tired the second day, but really no big deal.

It’s another Monday, and Nadia is still home with me. We are still struggling with her not wanting to wear pants or underwear. I had her try a pair of underwear on this morning… Nope she took them off, said it makes her feel ‘wet’ with them on. We did have our first physical therapy appointment last week. The therapist put some sort of electrodes on her upper legs, hips, and bottom. She said it appears that Nadia is tensing almost all the time, meaning when she was just sitting on the exam table, appearing relaxed, she was tense as if she was pushing to pee or poop. I have no idea how that is possible… We were given a list of a few exercises to do several times a day and told to try to make her go to the bathroom every few hours. Nadia lately hates going to the bathroom, so that’s going as well as you can expect! We have another PT appointment this Friday.

I have another follow-up with our naturopath tonight at 11:15pm my time, as she is in Australia. We’ve been slowly increasing some doses, so now we are up to one Candex tablet three times a week to kill yeast. And Nadia is tolerating the first of three bottles of herbs the provider sent us which we can do twice a week as prescribed. Yesterday I gave Nadia a small dose of the second bottle of herbs, and I didn’t notice any reaction, so maybe we can increase that to the maintenance level soon as well. The herbs are for a variety of Nadia’s problems, one being to remove mold from her body. I will say that Nadia seems a lot better lately (sleeping awesome too) except for this lingering wet feeling. It’s odd to me that this still remains, as in January we were able to get her over that… but now it’s back. So frustrating.

Tonight I also plan to chat with the naturopath about Nora. I’m not sure if Nora technically has any issues we can work on, but I want to ask. Nora is so so so picky, only has a few foods she likes, and none of them are healthy. Often she just looks sick to me with very dark circles under eyes. It’s tough to get Nora into school, like I have to almost push her in, the teachers sometimes escorting her in the building. I mean she goes, unlike Nadia, but it’s not easy to get her there. She also cries/whines a lot, somedays on and off most of the day. She doesn’t sleep well, clings to me often like Nadia… I don’t know. Just makes me wonder. I am sending in a urine sample of Nora’s for the organic acid and mold mycotoxins tests. Just starting with those two to see if they show anything before we investigate any further. I figure it can’t hurt to see what is all going on in Nora’s body too as I assume both the girls have been exposed to similar things over the years.

Ah, somehow it’s afternoon already and I still haven’t showered!

Nora’s 6th Birthday

I don’t know how my first born is six… Or how it’s Friday of spring break and I feel like most of the week was wasted inside. We went out to play for maybe five minutes yesterday before our fingers were freezing. I think it’s supposed to be a little warmer today, we’ll see.

Nora’s birthday was Tuesday. Eric had to work, but the girls and I had fun. We slept in a little later than normal, Eric and I had decorated the house Monday night so Nora woke pretty excited to see a huge mermaid balloon hanging in the entryway along with some other festive pieces. After breakfast and baths we had a quick lunch and headed to Barnes and Noble, one of the girls favorite places. Mine too. We got cookies (and a mocha for me) and then browsed the large selection of toys, games, and books. I let them each pick a toy, I shouldn’t have, as we have too many and more would be opened that evening, but I’m weak. Nora also picked out a book, which I’m always up for buying. I love books. I would have bought some for myself but I have way more than I need and little time to read these days. Thankfully Nadia agreed to pants for the hour or so we were out of the house.

Later in the afternoon we made chocolate cupcakes with marshmallow frosting, per Nora’s request. They were delicious! I highly recommend that frosting recipe!

Eric thankfully was home shortly after five, but he’d had a horrible day at work so wasn’t in the greatest mood. I guess it’s good kids don’t always focus on and notice the same thing adults do, as Nora appeared completely clueless that daddy had had a hard day. Our original plan was to eat out, although restaurants are pretty limited here, especially since COVID closed many. We ended up ordering in from Texas Roadhouse as Nora wanted to get right to opening her presents, and playing with them.

We ate, sang Happy Birthday, enjoyed the cupcakes, and just like that it was time for bed. Another birthday in the books. I feel a little bad I didn’t plan an actual party for Nora, although we will get together with family in a few weeks. I feel like Nora’s to the age where I’m supposed to invite her school classmates over, but with COVID I guess I don’t know how the other parents feel, or how I do. I don’t even know the other parents really, as again, COVID seems to have ruined lots of normal interactions.

Nora’s 4th Birthday

I’m skipping over my 39th birthday, which was March 11th, as, well, I’m not sure. Maybe I don’t want to be one year closer to 40. Getting older scares me. Another post for another day I suppose…

Nora’s 4th birthday was Saturday, March 16th. And I hope with all my heart she had a wonderful day! I struggle a lot with the girls’ birthdays. The days themselves evoke a ton of stress, anxiety, sadness, and fear in me as I remember the days of their actual births. Certainly not happy memories for me. And as much as I try to focus on how great the girls are doing now, I fear their birth days will forever be sad memories for me. That said though, I also struggle with overcoming my own sadness and finding ways to make the days extra special for the girls. Like, what can I possibly do to make the days as wonderful as possible for them?? I constantly feel like nothing I could plan would be good enough. Do all moms feel that way?

So how did we spent Nora’s birthday… I planned a small gathering with our immediate family and my mom and step-dad to eat lunch at the Mellow Mushroom and then we all played at the Iowa Children’s Museum. I think most of the adults were slightly, okay, probably really bored, including myself, but what mattered was that the girls enjoyed the afternoon. And I think they did!

After lunch and playtime at the museum we went back to our house for cake and ice cream. I let Nora open her presents from me and Eric, but we’ll gather again with my extended family to open presents from them. Yesterday Nora wore a birthday shirt to school and took chocolate chip cookies and popsicles to celebrate. I’m sure she enjoyed everyone singing happy birthday to her again!

Nora – 28 Months

My baby is 28 months!!! Hopefully one of these days she’ll slow down, use less energy, and gain weight, as she’s still only 23 pounds, with clothing and a wet diaper. Or perhaps the feeding therapy will help. I expect a call from our pediatrician tomorrow with the referral. Nora definitely has her terrible two moments, but the sweet kisses before bed make all the headaches so worth it!



I hate to complain about the sticky weather, but can the humidity climb any higher?? Yuck. Feels wet just walking outside!

The girls and I ventured to story time at the CF Library this morning, well, actually, we went to meet a friend and her two boys, and just happened to arrive mid-story time. Nora was quite disruptive, but she seemed to somewhat enjoy watching the other kids. After that finished we stayed to play while I attempted an adult conversation with my friend. It’s always difficult with kids, but it was really good to see her. And nice to get out of the house. I stopped on the way home for a Happy Meal for Nora, which she is actually eating now. Surprise surprise. Maybe all the activity wore her out and made her hungry. Next will be her nap, as it’s after 1pm.

Update on that house in Hudson we made an offer on… Our realtor texted me last night that the sellers could now make 600k work. Interesting, since our final offer was 585k. I guess I’m giving up on it. It’s not that we can’t afford 600k, more than we, and our realtor, don’t believe the house is worth more than 585k, mainly since it’s outside of town. So the search continues. Maybe it’s a sign. Makes me wonder if God is trying to give me more opportunities to realize we need to move back closer to Iowa City.

Eric didn’t get home last night until close to 9pm. I’m not sure exactly when he finished his clinic in Ft. Dodge, but he made time to have lunch with his grandparents and mother after. It shouldn’t annoy me, but it does. As him having a late lunch/early dinner with them meant he didn’t start his 90 mile drive home until 5:30pm. He could have been home by then. And to make matters worse, he got a call from the ER on his drive home that he needed to come see a patient. Ugh. It’s never ending. I despise bedtime alone. Nadia is getting her top four teeth, thus she is always fussy, bedtime being no exception. I stopped reading to Nora in her room five times to go calm Nadia. Which never actually did calm her. Nora was finally in bed around 8pm at which point I just stopped fighting bedtime with Nadia and brought her out to play a bit more. In the end, it all worked out, but it totally stresses me out when both are screaming, both need me… I never quite know how to separate my time. Neither want to wait, Nora crying just as much as Nadia if I walk away from her. 

As for Nora’s eating, I’m going to call her pediatrician this afternoon and ask for a referral to feeding therapy. There is a therapist at the same location where I’ve been taking Nadia for speech and physical therapy. Ugh, the thought of going there three times a week overwhelms me, but… Nora isn’t gaining weight. I hate picking her up, she’s just bones. Even her face seems sunken in lately. Or maybe it’s just my imagination, I don’t know. Meals are just so stressful for me. I actually avoid taking her out places because it’s so stressful if events fall over mealtime or involve food. I hate this feeling. I’d at least like them to evaluate her.


I feel like Nora is regressing a bit lately… When it comes to eating… The past week she has eaten much less than what is even normal for her, which is little to begin with. And she’s been crying lately for a bottle. I hate she still takes bottles at two, but… In bottles she either gets Pediasure or toddler formula meant for two year-olds. The formula is probably better for her than any real food I can get her to eat, as she is limiting herself to popsicles, ‘fruit’ snacks, chicken nuggets, fish sticks, cheese, and the occasional frozen gogurt. The pediasure is pure sugar, so although it was recommended by the neonatologists who still follow her from Iowa City, I’m not a huge fan of it. And I know, plenty of moms with ‘normal’ kids will tell me she will eat when she’s hungry, but I’m beginning to think that isn’t the case. I’ve noticed often Nora is extremely moody, but if I give her Pediasure, she perks up and is happy, like perhaps she was just overhungry. Why wouldn’t she connect eating with feeling full?  Ugh…

My other thought is jealously… She sees Nadia getting a bottle and wants the same attention… I don’t know. I’m running out of ideas, but feeding Nora is seriously so stressful for me. I dread mealtimes. I don’t know what to offer her. She just stares at almost everything except her standard mac and cheese. How many meals in a row can a child eat the same thing??? She used to like apples, but even those she turns her nose up at lately. Most vegetables she spits out. She did eat quite a few pistachios at dinner tonight, which shocked me. Of all things for her to eat!

I know Nora isn’t gaining weight, as she steps on our scale every morning as she likes the beeps it makes… Nadia is so much easier to feed, as so far she likes lots of the baby food I’ve tried with her. I wasn’t originally going to do baby food with Nadia, thinking baby-led weaning would be easier. But I did the baby led shit with Nora and see how well that worked out! So Nadia is getting jars of stuff that sometimes smells awful, but she likes it!

Tomorrow afternoon is Nadia’s first physical therapy appointment. I have no idea what to expect, but I’m nervous. I guess I don’t want to find out she’s behind in meeting milestones for her age. But perhaps knowing sooner rather than later is better…