Appointments, Appointments

The ‘nanny’ I hired over the summer sucks. I’d fire her, but we have only this week and next with her yet before she moves back to college for the school year. I’m home currently, in our office, while they are playing hide and seek. The girls can’t find her so they are in bothering me to help them look for her. I know she is in one of their bedrooms, and thus can hear them bothering me. Wouldn’t you just come out to prevent the mom from being bugged? Clearly she doesn’t understand why she was hired. And honestly, for two weeks, I don’t have the energy to train her.

Nora’s tutoring is going well. They are on lesson 7 of 12 of the Foundation in Sounds program. I was afraid at first Nora wasn’t catching on, but she must be now. I’m excited for her to realize her own progress! Hopefully a boost in her self-esteem.

Last week was Nora’s first play-therapy session, and our next is this Thursday. Hard to say after only one visit, but as we walked out Nora said she loved the woman. So that’s a good sign. The only downfall is that the woman is a 35 minute drive each way, I know, nothing to you who live in bigger cities, but that’s 35 miles to us, and only sees patients during the day, so for most of our coming sessions I’ll be taking Nora out of school, and hopefully not Nadia too based on driving and school pick-up times. I know school is very important, but I think this play-therapy could help Nora a lot, so it’s important too in my mind.

I had an appointment with Nadia’s doctor in Minneapolis last week, over tele-medicine, of course. We are going to focus back on the basics, mainly healthy eating, so gluten-free for sure, and hopefully dairy-free in the future. We did cut out some supplements to maybe add back in when Nadia’s gut is healed. And we switched to some combined supplements so I don’t have to give so many different items each morning and night. We are doing okay gluten-free. I don’t purposely give her anything with gluten, but sometimes I mess up. I have no idea how to eat out, so everything so far I’ve made at home lately. Which is so hard coming from a family who ate out maybe half the nights before COVID shut down the world. Of course I haven’t seen any improvement in Nadia yet, I realize it’s too soon. But her anger issues are just AWFUL! So awful that I emailed the child psychiatrist Nadia sees at the University of Iowa and made an appointment for August 18th to talk. I don’t love her on medicine, so my fear is they will want to add in another… Ugh. They seem to love medication. She is so young for medicine in my mind. I worry how it will affect her growing brain long-term. Honestly, that is my biggest worry right now.

Haircuts, Tutoring & Gluten-Free

Finally got the girls’ hair cut. Tangles were seriously getting the best of us on a daily basis. One night after baths I considered just cutting off the tangles myself… They cut around five inches each. So much easier to handle!!

Nora and her tutor are slowly progressing. The original plan was to start on the Barton Reading program, but Nora didn’t pass the third section of their screening. So instead we need to complete the Foundation in Sounds program first. I swear they were on lesson one, which teaches the sounds for m and n, forever. But today she finally got to move onto lesson two, which I believe is the sounds for v and f. Slowly but surely I guess. The more review the better, but of course I’m anxious to see progress. I actually own both of these programs, but getting Nora to sit down with me and learn feels darn near impossible. But with this tutor she is excited to meet. So that’s a blessing.

This particular tutor has been a teacher for over thirty years, so quite a bit of experience. And while she has no medical background, and thus can not diagnosis any conditions, she mentioned some things to me last week… She sees a lot of ADHD symptoms in Nora. This was actually a little shocking to me, as school has never mentioned such. So of course I started researching… I highlighted the ones that apply to Nora from my perspective. I have no idea if these are enough symptoms to qualify for such a diagnosis, or who even handles this sort of thing. We have that learning disabilities evaluation in November, but that seems so long from now. And even if she does have ADHD, then what? Medication with tons of side effects? That doesn’t sound very fun. My further research pointed me right back to square one… remove gluten from the child’s diet. And dairy, and soy, and sugar. So everything. Okay, sorry, I’m being snippy. But Nora is so picky already. I was doing kind of good with cutting gluten, but lately I’ve gotten more lax, ya know, because it’s really hard, and takes time to cook everything at home, from scratch. But I guess I need to be better at this.

This morning I was feeling a little ambitious and made these gluten-free blueberry muffins. I honestly thought they were quite tasty. Nadia tried them, said they were gross. And Nora refused to try them. And this is why gluten-free feels so hard. So much time and food is wasted. And then I panic and need to feed them and go back to something that is horrible for them. Dinner tonight is supposed to be this chicken and rice casserole I found online. Although I’ll be using dairy, so butter and regular cheese. Which I probably shouldn’t be, but… Anyway, I have a strange feeling they won’t eat it, won’t want it all mixed together. I’ll try to think positive. Am I making meals too complicated? I mean, there are so many meals to make. They can’t have plain chicken, or salmon for every single meal. And they don’t do veggies all that well. Ugh, motherhood.

Nora’s 2nd Tutoring

This morning Nora and her tutor worked on the sounds /m/ and /n/. By the end of the session Nora seemed to have an okay understanding. Although honestly I was surprised she was still confusing these. But 50 minutes of just two sounds feels incredibly slow. I know, patience. And so far Nora needs a computer, headphones with a noise cancelling mic, a mirror so she can see how her mouth moves with certain sounds/words, a smaller mouse for her tiny hand, and a stress ball, as she has a hard time sitting for the entire session. Which means I move my computer and hook all her devices to it daily. Pain in the butt. She needs her own computer. She probably even needs a larger table, as this is the tiny table the girls used when they were three… Is she too young, she’s seven, for a desk and computer in her bedroom instead of her in my office? God, I can’t believe she had a toddler beds a few years ago and now I’m wondering about her own desk and computer. Using one of our iPads would be easier, but it won’t work since she takes control over the tutor’s mouse for some of the skills. Do you think in a year I’ll be saying, wow, Nora has made so much progress??

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.