Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Look Who's Talking!

When Leah turned 3, all therapy with the Early Steps program ceased. This is because it is only for children up to the age of three. I was mostly concerned about the speech therapy because I knew her speech was still delayed. Once they outgrow the program they are retested and the public school system takes over. I was not happy about this at first. Those of you that know me know my issues with our public school system. However, as luck would have it, the most wonderful early childhood program that accepts children with mild disabilities and language delays happens to be in our neighborhood. I visited twice and observed the classroom and was impressed. Suddenly I am excited about this. Could it be? Leah can go to a wonderful program FOR FREE? NOT!!! Turns out that when my baby is tested, she does not qualify for speech! Yes! This is good news! Sort of. Her expressive language is still below average but her receptive language is the opposite. Our little munchkin understands more than she can express. Well, we knew this! BUT SHE NEEDS TO SPEAK! Hence, my issues with the public school starting to be clear? So although the speech class is for children that cannot speak, if they can understand its OK that they don't speak. This is a fine example of our tax dollars at their best. So, they qualified her as developmentally delayed because she is not potty trained completely ( this is another post) so she can get into a program. I guess they figured at least she is in. Except that the program they wanted to place her in was not in our area school! I would have to drive an hour each way for her to attend 2.5 hours per day. But I visited anyways with an open mind. Turns out that the teacher speaks with a very heavy accent that I could barely understand. Under normal circumstances I don't have an issue with this. I mean, really, we live in South Florida, accents are everywhere and I love that! But my baby needs to learn to SPEAK! How is this helping her? Does anyone recall the movie "Nell" with Jody Foster? I figured Leah would come up with her own language that only she and this teacher could speak. So, after speaking with our neurologist and pediatrician, I decide to just place her in a regular preschool program. After all, Leah is one smart cookie, I figured being around other children would help improve her language anyway. The trick was finding one with a curriculum that I liked and small student/teacher ratios. After searching America, I find a wonderful program. Leah started 2 weeks ago. It was a hard decision because we had tried this once before and it was not a good choice. Currently she was a sitter that watched 3 other children but she was the oldest and I could see it was delaying her even further. So she started this new school 2 and a half weeks ago and WOW! All of a sudden she is talking up a storm. Sometimes she forgets that she can just tell me what she wants and I have to remind her to just use her words! The first day of school she told me to "sit down". I was shocked! That was fast! Then she lines us all up and makes us march around the house as she says, "march, march" with every step. How cute is that? Today after she woke up from nap we went outside to play with bubbles. She had me start then took the stick from me and said " Leah do it". I freaked out! I couldn't believe it! Then she gave it back, took it again and said "my turn". OH MY GOODNESS! her MRI indicated that she many never speak! I was so excited I interrupted our bubble session to call everyone! Leah thought I was nuts and kept saying "come on". Who needs speech therapy? Preschool children learn best from each other! I was trained to know that, why didn't I trust that? Regardless, my baby is talking and this is a miracle!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Birthday Party!

On February 14 we celebrated the big event. Since it was also Valentines Day and the first day of Chinese New Year, we had a day filled with celebrations. Leah had a wonderful time as did all in attendance. My Clubhouse was the perfect location for the party. It has something for everyone. It is very safe for the little ones as they can roam on their own, run, jump, climb and be safe. It makes a big difference when you have the place to yourself, unlike some other places that have several party rooms and more that one party going on at a time. Leah was a great little hostess. She played with all of her guests and greeted everyone at the door. Her usual cuteness and sense of humor kept everyone entertained. Who needs to hire a clown?

My big girl going down the big slide by herself

Happy Birthday!

Loving her cousin Chris

One happy birthday girl!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Leah Turns 3!

Our little turned 3 today! What a proud mommy and daddy we are. When we look back at last year's birthday pictures and first months home, its hard to believe how much Leah has accomplished. Yes, she is on hyper mode all day and a challenge to keep up with, but the love that pours out of this little body, and the sunshine she spreads to everyone she meets is a gift to our entire family, her family at lasy. We will forever be grateful that God has chosen us to be her parents.

She woke up this morning and knew it was her birthday as we have been telling her she was going to turn 3 for a few days. Even though when we asked her how old she was today, she still says 2. It took us forever to reprogram her and get her to stop saying 1! But she knew today was special. She wore her "Birthday Girl" shirt and wanted to dance, (picture 1). Later that morning her friends at the sitter's house sang "Happy Birthday", only she is the only one that knows the song word for word. Later we did it again at home after dinner. Finally she wanted to pose with her dog Roxy.

Happy Birthday, NeNe, we love you soooooooo much!

Mommy, Daddy, Danny and Mimi