I have problems.

JRap neurotic face

The title of this post is probably the most overly-simplistic statement ever made about little ol’ me.

I don’t really have problems, and if I do, they are first world problems which are not really problems.

But functionally, I have problems. I am functionally disabled. This is why I can’t ever seem to quite clear my kitchen door frame even though I’m pretty sure it’s a) big enough for me to fit through and b) not moving from the same space it’s always occupied.  Or why I often hit my head on the top of our van door frame when I’m buckling Jonah into his seat even though…right, it’s dimensions are never going to change. I lack depth perception, yo.

ANYWAY…my current functional disability is mental. As in the kind that’s really all in my head.

It’s kind of hard to explain, but I’ll try. Here’s a great example: recently Jonah’s private speech language pathologist, the famous Miss Kristen (also Sophie’s beloved SLP), finally was able to get him to cooperate for some actual testing so we can actually! know! for sure! what he needs to learn. That’s pretty exciting stuff, because then we can start working on these things and knocking them out one by one, just like we did with Soph, and get him where he needs to be faster. So I was pretty happy about all this, as I am one who likes direction and concrete stuff to work on with him. (Because I don’t actually know what I’m doing.)

Kristen gave me the results of both his expressive (what he can communicate) and receptive (what language he understands) evaluations and they were almost identical, which is fine and good (Sophie’s was much lower on the receptive back in her day). They both show that he scored just one standard deviation below average. Which isn’t terrible. Kristen was quite pleased. I mean, it’s ONE level below average, not two, not three. Sophie was tested when she was about 5 months older than he is now and scored way worse than he did. And she is a fully-functional, super-smart, socially stellar kiddo now.

So naturally I should be quite encouraged by these results and by the fact that we really know what parts of the evaluation he didn’t do great on so we know what to work on with him. And I am glad, of course, that his result was not worse. Because I didn’t exactly expect  him to like, knock it out of the park or anything.

But the way I actually feel, is not the way I should feel. What I feel is just tired of dealing with it. I feel like I want this to be over. I feel like I don’t want to do it anymore. I feel like I want to fast-forward to two years from now when Jonah will be “Mr. Typical” (ohpleaseohplease) like his sister is now “Miss Typical”. I feel like a jerk for feeling that way because there are some kids who will never be “typical”, and are perfectly awesome just the way they are.

I’m just worn out by all the extra effort it is taking/has taken to help my kids learn language when everywhere I look there seem to be kids with parents who DON’T shower them with love and attention who are developing perfectly normally. (But on the inside I know their sweet hearts and self-esteems are probably not developing perfectly normally.)

What I want to feel is relieved. Relieved that we have goals, have a plan, have a road map to getting Jonah caught up on his language. I want to just sit back and bask in how awesome he is and how far he has come.

But what I want to do is take a short cut.  I want this part to be over. I want to not have this worry in the back of my mind all the time always.

I’ll get over it, I will. But that’s where I’m at right now. Just being honest.


Post to Twitter

Frozen, Planes, and Marvel – oh my!

The Wonder Forge provided me with these games to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own.

If you’ve been hanging around this blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I LOVE reviewing board games, especially when they are made by my favorite board game-makers, the Wonder Forge. I used games a lot when I was helping Sophie with her developmental delays, and thanks to this review, I’ve now started using them with Jonah to work on speech. Yeah! I was excited to see that two of the Wonder Forge’s newest games are matching games, which are perfect for his age, and that they are two of his faaavorite themes, Frozen and Marvel. Jonah looooooves Frozen (we don’t let him watch TV in general, but we went on a bit of a Frozen bender after we got it on DVD and whoops…he now pretty much has it memorized. Whoops! Mom Fail.) and he also loves the Marvel Superheroes – Spiderman, Ironman, Wolverine, and the Hulk especially.

Disney Frozen Matching Game

Marvel Matching Game

Jonah and I have been having great fun with these games (and Sophie is ga-ga over the Frozen Matching Game as well.) These are your classic, uncomplicated matching games, but the graphics are wonderful and there are 72 cards each so there are tons of different pictures. Here is how I play these with Jonah to work on speech. I take out about 20 or 24 of the cards so we’ll have 10-12 matches – that way the game will be a reasonable length of time for a lively 3-year-old. These games teach some great concepts in speech: turn taking, same, and different. So before each turn, I have Jonah say “my turn” or “mommy’s turn” and then no matter who’s turn it is, when the two cards are turned over I say, “Are they the same?” And he will answer either “yes” or “they are different”.

I need to note here that before we started playing these, Jonah already had the concept of “same” down pat. But we did use this for him to learn to articulate “not the same” or “different” and he caught on REALLY fast! I’m so pleased!

Frozen Matching Game Collage

Other ways to use matching games for therapy: have your child name the object on the cards he or she turns over. You can say: “Who is that?” or “What is that?” and encourage your child to answer. If you’re using cards that aren’t people, you can also use them to teach function. For instance, if the matching game is of common objects, and your child turns over a picture of a swing, you can say “What do we do with a swing?” and encourage/teach him to answer “We play on it.” or “We swing on it.” For the matching games like the Frozen game, you could teach gender by asking “Is Queen Elsa a boy or a girl?”, etc.! Just some suggestions! 

Jonah Frozen Matching Game

Jonah likes these games so much he will even “play” by himself sometimes! His favorite cards are “Olaf Snowman” and “Monster Snowman”. :)

The next game I reviewed from the Wonder Forge is for the slightly older set, ages 4-10, but I imagine I will be able to start playing it with Jonah within 6 months or so. In the meantime, the big kids and I really enjoyed it! It’s the Disney Planes Sky Race game.

Disney Planes Sky Race game

Like many of the Wonder Forge’s games, this is extra fun because it requires the players to be active and move about the room. I LOVE that! You set numbered markers around the room, and lay out an instruction card for each – it will tell you how you need to throw your plane – laying on your belly, between your legs, with your eyes closed, etc. It makes for some funny and silly plane racing!

sophie planes game

planes game card

Another feature I love about this game is that the game is won through part-skill and part-luck – if your plane lands closest to the marker, you get to keep that instruction card, but the cards all have differing point values, so even if you have the most cards, you might not end up with the most points – that gives the game a level of excitement because you really don’t know who the winner is until you all tally up your points at the end.

When Jonah is ready for it, this game is going to be awesome for working on following multi-step directions. In the meantime the big kids and I will keep enjoying it!

Do your kids need some new games for spring or Easter, or just because? I highly recommend all three of these! Thanks as always to my friends at the Wonder Forge for allowing me to share them with you!

Post to Twitter

Such a Turn-Off


I’ve always been a kind of “everything in moderation” Mom, so what I am about to say may shock you.

A couple of months ago, I stopped letting Jonah watch TV. Like, at all. For awhile previously I had him down to one show a day, and used that mostly as a reward for potty training. But soon I realized even that was too much. Even though he was only allowed to watch one a day, he obsessed over that one show, and he talked about it all day long. He has a really good memory, and he’d memorize parts of shows and walk around reciting those parts instead of talking and interacting with me and our family.

For a language-delayed kid, this is just not healthy.

So, we pulled the plug. We knew it would be hard, and it was, at first. But it wasn’t hard for very long. I was surprised at how soon he just stopped asking to watch. I was also surprised at how soon we saw an improvement in his language. Very, very soon we were able to see that we’d made the right decision. After a couple weeks, Jonah stopped talking about his shows and started talking about the world around him. Instead of re-living scenes from a Leap Frog adventure, he reminisces about our special “Mommy-Jonah” speech time we have together every day, or about what happened at school. And he observes and comments more on what’s happening around him as it’s happening.

It’s been kind of a bummer for the big kids never to be able to watch TV or play Wii upstairs in our living room, so we created a play area for them in the basement where they can do those things (on designated days). When Jonah’s older and past his delays, we’ll all be able to do those activities together again one day, and I hope then we can keep it moderated.

Because now, honestly? It’s really nice. Sure there are some days when I have a TON of work to do and I WISH I could just plop Jonah down in front of Netflix and buckle down, but the truth is, and I have SEEN this with my own eyes, that even doing that once in awhile is not ok for Jonah. Whatever work I have to do, or think I have to do, what’s best for him is vitally more important. And so I work around the inconvenience of not having a digital babysitter. I make it work. I stay up later, work in small spurts instead of one nice big chunk if I have to, and I hustle hustle hustle when he is at school. I make it work. We make it work as a family.

Bobby was more hesitant at first, he said to me, “I feel like we are taking away everything he likes.” (Because some other things that had a screen, even electronic kids books on kindle or an app, were also a problem). And he was right. But even he agrees that we immediately saw results – and now Jonah has NEW favorite things that are better for him.

I certainly don’t think screens are evil – like I said, my big kids still use them. But I don’t think they are good for kids with language delays, and I DO think they are probably used too much among kids under 5 today.

I wanted to share this with you because this is working for us. It was a hard decision to make, but I am SO glad we did. Jonah still watches a movie with us when we have family movie night, but other than that, he doesn’t watch TV at all. And it’s pretty great!

So, if this is a decision you’re mulling over in your house, I encourage you to commit to it and give it a try. It may not be what’s right for every kid, but it sure was the right thing for ours!

Have you ever done a no TV experiment? What were the results in your house?

Post to Twitter