Ava: “It boings.” (speech evaluation)

I’ve written in the past a little bit about our concerns over Ava’s speech. She’s had difficulty pronouncing certain sounds – S, TH, J, R, F, Z. I mentioned it to her doctor at her 3 year check-up (ooh, that reminds me, I still need to get Julian in for his 9 month chk-up. He’ll be 10 mos. in 4 days.) and she suggested that I get her hearing and speech tested. Her hearing test was normal and covered by insurance. The speech test was not going to be covered by insurance so I set out to find a free or low-cost testing alternative.

I discovered a program called “Child Find” which is free (paid by tax dollars) that is actually operated through our school district. A friend of mine had her daughter assessed a while back and it took a couple of months to have her seen. When I called last week to schedule an appointment for Ava, I figured we wouldn’t get in until November. I about fell off my chair when she said they had an opening for a week hence – today, and I took it. Jody made plans to stay home from work for the morning to take care of Julian so I could take Ava to her appointment.

The testing, developmental tests including sight and speech, only took about 45 minutes and it all went quite well. Ava was shy at first, but it didn’t take long for her to warm up and she cooperated very well. I admit that it was hard for me to sit there and observe and not try to help Ava answer some of the questions or give her prompts in some way. But I didn’t want to interfere with the diagnosis (or get kicked out) so I kept my mouth shut. ;)

One of the tests involved placing different objects in front of Ava and the woman giving the test asked her to “tell me everything you can about this.” It was so interesting to hear her responses. The first object was a red ball. Did Ava say, “It’s a red ball?” No. She said, “You can bounce it.” And then, “It boings” :) and “you can kick it.” And then the woman asked her what color it was, what it was called and what shape it was and she answered all of those correctly. It was cool to me that her first response was not, “It’s a red ball” as mine would have been, but instead she described what you can do with the ball. :) It’s so cool the way kids’ brains work – so vastly different from us as adults.

Next came a blue button. This time the first thing Ava said this time was, “It’s a button.” And then something about it can be on your shirt or on your shoes. When asked what shape it is she said, “It’s a circle as well.” The woman got a kick out of “as well.” She’s been saying “as well” a lot lately at home. hehe.

Lastly, when she was shown a yellow car, she said, “It drives.” And then, “It crashes into other cars if it goes too fast.” LOL Wonder where she picked that up? ;)

Anyway, Ava tested normally for everything, with the exception of being assessed as having a “possible delay” for speech. The woman who did her testing said that she did well with repeating back when she had her watch her mouth when she slowly said the sound or word, so she thinks we just need to work more with her at home and have her watch us and repeat back to us. And I think she’s probably right. Just in the past couple of weeks I asked her to repeat back some F sounds for me and she did it. And now she’s saying most of her F words (well, not *that* F word) correctly. So I guess it’s just going to take some work and practicing.

I admit I kind of shied away from asking her to repeat sounds back to me in the past because I didn’t want her to get a complex and think that she wasn’t speaking correctly or something, even though that is the case. But I think maybe if we don’t do it all the time and aren’t constantly correcting her, she should be OK. Right? Or should we be consistent and correct her all the time? Anyone else go through something similar and have any advice for me?

I’m glad that I went ahead and scheduled the testing even though I had my initial fears of “Oh no. Is there something wrong with my child? How could she not be perfect?” The thing this has helped me realize is, of course, that none of us are perfect. Even our children, as hard as it can be for us to admit it, have their quirks.

I think it’s important to have these types of things assessed so that help or treatment can be sought if needed. In our case, it doesn’t look like Ava needs extra outside help, but we are aware now that we should start working with her to help her get a handle on these sounds. If for some reason she’s not showing improvement in 6 months, I can take her back to be evaluated again. And I will if that’s the case, because I’d rather get her the help she needs now than have her suffer or be teased or have trouble communicating later because we didn’t.

Here’s a link to Child Find which operates in six states – Connecticut, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire, and Vermont. If you aren’t in any of those states and are in need of a similar assessment program, my advice is to call your local school district. They should be able to tell you what is available in your area.

Green lunch kits for back-to-school and a contest

Updated: The winner of the bags is #41 – Jill H.! Congratulations, Jill. And thanks to everyone who entered. A new contest will be coming up next week!

“According to the New York State Department of Conservation, parents who pack a child’s lunch in disposable bags or containers generate 45 to 90 pounds of garbage every year. That equates to 18,760 pounds of lunch waste for just one average-size elementary school.”

When Ava went to the farm camp this summer, I went through a lot of plastic sandwich bags (Disposable plastic baggies can take 1,000 years to decompose!) and napkins and felt that there had to be a better way to pack a lunch and cut down on the trash. I started looking around for a reusable lunch kit to use for preschool and found the Laptop Lunch Kit at Reusable Bags.

laptop lunch kit

I bought the Laptop Lunch Kit for Ava to use for her preschool lunches this year. I love that the small colorful containers allow for a variety of healthy foods to be packed, better portion control, and I won’t have to use 3 or 4 sandwich bags each time I pack her lunch. The kit includes a thermal, zippered carrying case that houses a large snap-shut tray, five reusable microwave safe food containers, a sport bottle, and a stainless steel fork and spoon. Also included is a 96-page “User’s Guide” loaded with healthy recipes and tips for reducing throwaways which I’m sure will come in very handy on those days I’m feeling less than creative about packing a lunch.

I really think this will make packing Ava’s lunches more fun for me and more fun for her to eat. And we will be doing something good for the environment.

1st bento

Here’s a picture of the first lunch I packed in her snazzy new lunch box. It wasn’t that creative (I’m still learning), but I thought it looked pretty. :) It included an almond butter and jelly sandwich (no peanut butter allowed because of another child’s allergies), mandarin oranges, cucumbers and baby carrots, Ranch dressing for dipping in the little blue container, and Annie’s whole wheat bunnies.

Ava’s preschool teacher loved the lunch box and asked where I got it. She is thinking of getting one for her mom to take with her to work. :)

Even before I heard of this study, I’d been having my concerns about chemicals from plastic leaching into the kids’ drinking water and had been on the lookout for some stainless steel cups for the kids. I came across the Klean Kanteen Sippy Cup, also sold at Reusable Bags, and decided to get one for Julian. Ava heard me talking about it to Jody and chimed in that she wanted one too, so I got one for each.

I stumbled across an online coupon code for 20% off my total from Reusablebags.com, which helped soften the blow a bit. If you are in the market for some cool lunch kits for your kids or other reusable bags, water bottles, etc., feel free to give the code – mth6cp – a try yourself. :)

Win it!
And now for the giveaway…

Reusable Bags has offered up two of their best-selling reusable bags to one lucky winner : the
Workhorse Style 1500 and the Lightweight Recycled Cotton Tote with Dual Handles, both made by ACME Bags.

Workhorse ACME bag Cotton tote ACME bag

If you’d like a chance to win the bags, please:

  1. Sign Mr. Linky below
  2. Link to this contest on your blog (or tell a friend about the contest if you don’t have a blog)
  3. Leave a comment

The deadline to enter is 10 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26. The winner will be chosen at random (using random.org) on Thursday, Sept. 27, and announced that day. Good luck! :)

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Co-sleeping for sanity

Welcome to the September Carnival of Breastfeeding where this month’s topic is something that weighs heavily on every parent’s mind and eyelids – SLEEP.

Ava in bed - 4 mos. old - Oct. 2004 Julian in bed - 3 days old - Nov. 2006

During Ava’s first few months of life, she slept in a co-sleeper beside our bed. Being first time parents, we were too nervous to have her in bed with us, plus our queen-size bed seemed a little too small for three of us. Because I had to remember to put her back in the co-sleeper after each time she nursed, I’d force myself to stay awake and not nod off while she was at the breast, even though I really wanted to. This, as you can imagine, lead to some serious sleep deprivation on my part.

I recall a few occasions where I woke up with a start in the middle of the night and, in my half-conscious stupor, had no idea where Ava was! My first thought was that she’d fallen off the bed. I’d quickly sit up and survey the room (we had a small night light to assist in nighttime parenting). On the floor? No! Whew! But not on the bed either. Hmmm. Ah-ha! Safe and sound and sleeping peacefully in her co-sleeper. Of course.

The second time around, with Julian, I wised up and he came directly into bed (a king-sized bed we’d purchased just months before his birth) with my husband Jody and me. He was born at the foot of that bed and he spent his first night sleeping in it. :) Not having to worry about moving him back and forth from the co-sleeper to the bed made my nights so much more restful. He would stir to eat often (heck, he still does), but I would latch him on and we’d both fall back to sleep together. Ahhh. No more middle of the night startled waking to find “missing” babies. :)

Having Julian in bed with us has truly been a lifesaver for me. There’s no way I could care for a baby and a 3-year-old if I wasn’t getting some half-way decent shut-eye. I think as long as some basic safety (common sense) guidelines are followed, co-sleeping can be a very safe and very helpful (think sanity-saving) practice when breastfeeding. :)

Please take a moment to read some of the other carnival participants’ take on sleep:

Grilled panini – recipe

It’s been quite a while since I shared a yummy recipe on my blog, so to get back into the groove, here’s a delicious one I discovered this summer.

I have to say I am quite fond of this new recipe for Grilled Panini with Provolone and Basil I got out of Vegetarian Times. I am also fond of the fact that I got to use fresh basil right out of my garden for it. :) (I’m so excited to have my mini garden this year.)

Grilled panini

Grilled Panini with Provolone and Basil
Serves 8 – 30 minutes or fewer

1 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
3 cups shredded smoked Provolone cheese (about 8 oz.) – if you can’t find it shredded, simply stack sliced provolone and cut into thin strips and then smaller pieces
1 15 oz. can white beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped red onion
8 5-inch sandwich rolls (or 8 5-inch pieces of French bread), sliced open
Optional: Additional veggies. I added chopped spinach and mushrooms to mine.

1. Preheat grill to medium high. Combine basil and mayonnaise in small bowl, and set aside. Toss together cheese, beans and onion (and spinach and mushroom if you include them) in medium bowl.

2. Spread 1 Tbs. mayo mixture on each roll. Divide bean-cheese mixture among rolls. Close sandwiches, spritz with cooking spray and wrap in foil.

3. Wrap 4 bricks in foil. Place 4 sandwiches on grill, and set bricks on top of each. Grill 3 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.

Eat ’em up! :) They taste great the next day as leftovers too.

Taking care of (bloggy) business

First of all, there’s this cool new (FREE) service available to help drive traffic to your blog called BlogRush. Most of us want more readers and more traffic, but don’t have the time to go out and find new readers. This is where BlogRush comes in. Basically all you need to do is sign up, insert some code into your blog (see the widget on the lower right side of my blog?) and that’s it. Sound too easy or too good to be true? Well, you can promote it on your blog by writing about it like this which helps too, but it’s not required. Check out the short video on BlogRush to see for yourself how BlogRush can work for you. Gosh, I sound like an infomercial. Too bad I’m not getting paid for this. ;)

Secondly, there’s a sweet contest going on over at Mums the Word where they are giving away a $100 gift card to Natural Pod – an online store with natural and SAFE toys. With all of the recent toy recalls, it’s refreshing to find a store that makes good quality, safe, natural and imaginative toys. There are some amazing toys over there. I clicked through a few of the items yesterday while Ava stood next to me. She was very interested in this doll (I want her too) and this pots and bowls set. Not to discriminate, she also said she wanted one of each of these. Just to be sure Julian isn’t left out, we decided this would be perfect for him. With all of these awesome toys available, you can see why I’m going to need to win the gift certificate for sure. ;)