We returned to Atlanta tonight from our whirlwind weekend in Savannah, and I am feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. It is amazing what a little quality time with the people that you love most can do for the spirit. Throw in some sunshine, a little sand between the toes, and a proud little man having the time of his life learning to surf, and it would be hard NOT to be happy!
We had a great dinner tonight with Aunt Gogi, Uncle Bill, Aunt Kris and Alana, and even got to swim for almost an hour! The monkeys are all sleeping like little angels, and I've completely unpacked and put away everything from our trip (definitely a first, I think!) I thought I would take a few minutes to update everyone on some things that I learned last week, and some positive and different things I have noticed recently with Aidan. This post may be a little scattered, so please bear with me!
First of all, I have added a couple of things to the blog that you may not have noticed. You can now post comments anonymously, without having to sign in to Google or any other profile. I have gotten a few emails and voice mails from friends and family expressing difficulty in commenting on the blog directly. For some reason, the "anonymous" feature was not turned on in my settings, but it's all fixed now. You can now just choose "anonymous" from the profile list and post away - we love reading the comments! Feel free to add your name at the end, if you'd like, as it will post as "anonymous" on the blog.
Second, I added a link to the Change Your Brain Foundation's website, and a few words describing this worthy cause and why I support it. If you haven't already, please scroll down and take a look.
Finally, I added links to two other blogs by fellow Brain Balance moms that I have met here in Atlanta. All of our kids are different, but Brain Balance is truly helping us all in so many ways. Check them out!
Ok, so back to Aidan...I met with Dr. Pete on Thursday of last week, mainly to discuss Hurricane Aidan! If you read my earlier "Hurricane" blog post, then you know that we had a really rough week and a half or so, behaviorally speaking. Aidan really was all over the place - intensely emotional, extremely angry and aggressive, very hyperactive, rude and disrespectful, and very blatantly not listening or following directions. All of this I have seen before (though not usually all at once, or nearly this intensely!) But he was also lying left and right, and being extremely manipulative where his little brothers were concerned, constantly trying to get them to do things they shouldn't. Frustrating, to say the least. As always, Dr. Pete had some answers for me, and some very helpful suggestions. Aidan is making great progress in the Brain Balance program, and very quickly. The behaviors I have been seeing are a necessary part of the process, and often the quicker a child moves through the stages of the program, the more intense the behaviors can be. Really targeting the right hemisphere and improving its function and connectivity with the left hemisphere is hard work on the body and uses lots of energy. At the same time, we had an extremely busy week and half, touring Atlanta with our City Passes. HE'S TIRED! And the more fatigued he becomes, the more intense his behaviors will become as well. We need to get back to our "regular" routine of something fun in the morning, Brain Balance, some down time at home, and maybe swimming in the evening. And he needs more fuel (read - food, particularly protein) more frequently throughout the day, and lots of water to help battle the heat. Hydration, fuel, and REST! (We put this new plan into place that day, and I noticed an immediate change - things were MUCH less intense and quite a bit calmer.) With regards to the lying and manipulating behaviors, seeing these behaviors is actually cause for high 5's at Brain Balance. Why, you ask? Well, lying and manipulation are actually extremely complex brain processes, governed by the right brain! If you think about what goes into these behaviors - knowledge that you've done something wrong, awareness of the consequence, and planning a way around the consequence (or setting someone else up to take the fall) - it requires a high level of brain function to lie and manipulate. The fact that Aidan is now capable of these more complex brain processes is great news! Now, I still have to deal with the behaviors as they arise, and there must be consequences. I MUST remain calm, cool, and consistent! (I'll be meeting with the behavior specialist sometime this week to devise a system to target and eliminate some problem behaviors.)
All in all, a very helpful and informative meeting - Thanks Dr. Pete! And while I was meeting with Dr. Pete, Aidan was working hard with Ms. jennifer and earning another star for the Brain Balance wall!
Afterwards, we headed across the street to PLAY place for a while, and the boys had great fun monkeying around!
I even managed to get all three of them in one shot! And so what if only one kid is looking my way...;)
And after that, a treat at Yogli Mogli, our favorite hangout spot! At the rate Aidan is earning his rewards, I'm gonna need a bigger sorbet budget!
That night, thunderstorms kept us out of the pool, so we brought out "The Box" and the boys made art projects!
Aidan's focus and attention to detail is really improving. These were the flowers that I made to show them what to do.
And here are Aidan's - with NO help from Mom! See what a great job he did!
Ace and Ash made a flower too - can you tell which kid made which flower? ;)
Aidan's drawing skills are improving by leaps and bounds as well. These are from less than a month ago.
Now look at these from last week. I was especially floored by the cat drawing - he has never even attempted to draw an animal before, saying it's "too hard." He drew this in about two minutes, and I don't even think he was copying anything! Amazing!
Another thing that I have noticed recently is that Aidan is extremely aware of his surroundings. The kid is becoming a human GPS right before my very eyes! He can navigate every turn (there are 5) between the condo and Aunt Gloria's house without missing a beat. And he is almost never wrong in telling me which direction to turn. He has learned where places we frequent are located, and even which side of the street they are on! When we get on GA 400, he'll say "it looks like we're heading into the city, Mom" and again, he's usually right. The boys LOVE driving on GA 400, because you have to stop and pay the "troll." Sometimes I correct them, but usually I just relish the giggle it gives me! Just last week, I got a fast pass for my car, so I don't have to stop each time and pay the "troll." The first time we used the fast pass, Aeson started yelling "STOP Mama! You forgot your quarters for the troll!" It was hysterical! It took me a full 5 minutes to assure him that I DID pay the troll, er toll, and I'm not really sure he was convinced!
Aidan has always loved music, and has constantly amazed me with his ability to learn song lyrics and sing melodies. We are HUGE Zac Brown Band fans, and tend to listen to a playlist I've made with lots of ZBB, Levi Lowrey, Sonia Leigh, and Nic Cowan (other Southern Ground artists we love), and he sings his little heart out in the car (he is SO my child!) He loves the Dave Matthews Band (again, my child) and frequently asks to throw a little Dave into the mix. Lately, he's been asking me to play the theme song from the Deadliest Catch all the time - Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive." Usually, I play the song, and then we go back to what we were listening to before. But on Friday, I played his song and everyone was in the mood for something different, so I let the whole album play. And I think we might have a SERIOUS Bon Jovi fan on our hands now! His new favorite song is "You Give Love a Bad Name" and all weekend long he has randomly busted out at full volume with "Shot through the heart and you're to blame, you give love a bad name!" He REALLY is my child! Oh baby, Mama's got some music to teach you! 80's and 90's hair bands? Yes, please! I may have a little rockstar on my hands, and I am loving it!