"Love me when I least deserve it, because that's when I really need it."
~ Swedish Proverb, from Dr. Robert Melillo's book, "Reconnected Kids"

Sunday, June 26, 2011

More catching up...

Once again, I find myself playing catch up. And as I scrolled through my earlier blog posts, it occurred to me that I haven't told you about some of the subtle changes I am beginning to see in Aidan. I'll try and do that in this post. Don't worry - I'll tell you about all the fun stuff too, and I have lots of pictures and videos to share!

Aidan is making small, but steady improvements, almost daily. The changes are subtle, but definitely noticeable to me. Aidan is slightly calmer, in general. He still has bursts of hyperactivity, and they can still be very intense. But the periods of calmer behavior seem to be stretching out just a bit. His emotional outbursts and overreactions are still present, but seem to be slightly less intense and don't last quite as long. Three weeks ago, he would get SO upset over what often seemed like nothing, and simply could NOT stop crying at times. Rarely, we could talk him through a meltdown, but often, we would have to send him to his room to cry it out, which could take up to a half an hour. I still occasionally have to send him to his room, but not usually for more than five or ten minutes. And I can really see him TRYING to control his emotions, to stop the tears and use his words to tell me why he is so upset. This is pretty huge to me - that I can really see him making an effort to control his emotions.

The first week that we were here in Atlanta, every time we left a fun place (the pool, spray ground, museum, etc) was a nightmare. He tried to run, would scream and yell, sometimes all the way to the car, getting his brothers riled up in the process. I was really fearful at first that I'd never be able to take them anywhere by myself! We finally devised a system - if anyone pitches a fit when we leave, they earn a five minute timeout at the start of our next adventure. NO ONE likes to sit out for five minutes while everyone else has fun! We still have moments, but they are ALL much better, and I give them plenty of notice before we leave anywhere. We start counting down at 15 minutes, and usually, leaving is pretty smooth.

We've been working on our scents daily, and Aidan's sense of smell is becoming very sensitive. He is the first to notice if a diaper needs changing, or if I'm cooking something in the kitchen (or even taking something like fruit out of the refrigerator). And he is becoming less resistant to doing his exercises too, so that is very helpful. We break them up into 5 minute periods throughout the day, and he's getting TONS of very physical exercise almost every day, which is great!

So the last three days...We were so very lucky to have Hannah and Delanie with us through Friday morning this week! Wednesday morning, the boys rode their bikes around the complex with the girls in the morning. We dropped the girls and the little boys off at my Aunt's house to play with Alana, and Aidan and I headed to Brain Balance around noon. He earned another reward, this time a trophy!
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(There seems to be no difference between stars and trophies, and apples are used for completing books or levels in academics, usually) Sorry for the blurry picture - Aidan only gave me about three seconds to snap a photo, and then he was ready to go get a treat! Wednesday afternoon, the rain changed our plan for some pool time. After dinner, I brought out THE BOX, and the girls helped the boys make monster faces. Even Ash got in on the action - for some reason, I have NO photos of this adventure!

Thursday, Aidan had Brain Balance at an earlier time slot, so we left here around 10:30 am. The girls kept the little boys here at the condo with bubbles, sidewalk chalk, and their plasma cars (and helmets) to entertain them. I did some grocery shopping at Trader Joe's (my new favorite store) while Aidan was at Brain Balance. After his session, we headed home, loaded everyone up, and drove to Sensations for the afternoon. Sensations is a super cool sensory gym and the kids LOVE it! I think the girls had fun too! We got to play one last time with our new friends Brody, Wyatt, and Hazel. They are heading home to Utah this week and we miss them already!
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You see, the girls and I were on a mission - wear 'em out and no matter what, do NOT let them nap. I had plans with Aunt Gloria on Thursday night - a much needed little break and some good music from Nic Cowan at the Dixie Tavern in Marietta! Anyway, I wanted the little darlings to sleep for Hannah and Delanie, and our plan worked perfectly. They were ALL in bed for the night before I left with Gogi at 9pm. Amazing - almost never happens! The Dixie Tavern was very cool and the show was awesome. I even got to school a couple of military guys on the pool table - 'cause that's how I roll! We had a great time, and will definitely be back if the opportunity presents itself! After the show, Nic was nice enough to make a quick video shout out for Aidan - he was SUPER upset with me when he found out I was going to see Mr. Nic Cowan without him! Check it out - sorry you have to turn your head!

This past April, we took Aidan to a BBQ festival in Thomaston, Georgia to see Nic Cowan and Levi Lowrey AND to Clemson, SC to see Nic, Levi, Sonia Leigh and the Zac Brown Band play at the Southern Ground Music Festival! We're BIG Southern Ground Music fans in the Pence household! I'm afraid we've created a little monster! Thanks Nic - you made Aidan's day with the video!

Friday morning, we took the girls home (We ALL miss y'all!) and headed to Brain Balance. We ran a couple of errands and tried to swim Friday afternoon, but got rained out again. We put on our PJ's early and had movie night instead. And you all know about Saturday by now...;) Still crossing my fingers that my phone gets returned to Sensations sometime tomorrow! Today, I made a great breakfast and we headed to Gogi's for an early afternoon swim. We came home for a couple of hours to rest - NOT! and then headed back. The plan was dinner, poolside, but the weather did not cooperate. We ate at her house, came home, and watched a movie again! The boys are all sleeping and I'm heading to bed myself!

Much love,

Allie

Brain Balance is AMAZING!

This is not the post that I intended to make tonight. I was working on filling everyone on in on our adventures Wednesday thru Friday, while I had the girls with me. We had lots of fun, and I WILL finish that post tomorrow. But I have to tell you about our day today. It was truly awful, and at the same time, pretty amazing. It started out alright, just me and the boys (I took the girls home yesterday). We decided to head to Sensations, the super cool sensory gym that another Brain Balance mom told us about (Thanks Tammy!) This place is huge, and it has every kind of sensory activity you can think of. There is a huge room with a bike path (think racetrack) and tons of tricycles, bikes, plasma cars and such for the kids to race around on. There is a room with puzzles and games, an art room, a sports room, a toddler play room, a quiet room, and the coolest room of all is the therapy gym - a huge rock wall, monkey bars, tons of swings, and a 55 foot zip line that ends in a ball pit. The kids LOVE it there, and it's very open, so it's much easier to keep an eye on everyone than at the Children's Museum. We got there around 11 am, and the plan was 2 hours in the gym, lunch on the way home, and then a big beautiful nap. We were supposed to head to the pool in the late afternoon as well. I packed a cooler and off we went, ready for fun. It wasn't very crowded and the kids had a blast. Everything was going according to plan. Around 1 pm, I rounded everyone up and we headed to the car - with very little drama. I buckled them in, passed out lunches, cranked up the car and prepared to head for home. I reached for my phone in my pocket to use the GPS...and I pulled out my case, but no phone. That's right, NO brand new iphone, my only link to the outside world. Uh-oh. I ran inside to see if anyone had turned it in...no dice. Ok, well, I guess I'm going to have to hunt for it. I had taken videos of the kids on the zip line no too long before we left, so I knew I had had the phone very recently. I brought the kids back inside to play while I looked for the phone. I'm gonna make a REALLY long story very short here - FIVE HOURS LATER, still no phone. The folks at Sensations were AWESOME, helping me look everywhere for the phone and helping keep an eye on the kids. At one point, ALL of the employees and every parent in the place was helping in one way or another. We tried calling it - straight to voicemail. We emptied the ball pit, searched through all of the cushions and mats (that are EVERYWHERE), no phone. We went through every toy bin in every room, no phone. I called Verizon several times, and there had been no usage on the phone at all, so it didn't appear to be stolen. Oh, and they told me that even though I had ALWAYS carried insurance on my phones and had told my salesman that I wanted insurance, according to them, the phone was not insured! (Not to worry - after we left Sensations I went to the Verizon store where I'd gotten the phone 2 weeks ago, and handled THAT little snafu. It's insured and I can have a new one by Tuesday.) Ok, so we spent 7 hours in the sensory gym and then had to go to the Verixon store - where is the amazing part, right? Well, I'll tell you. Through all of this madness, Aidan was awesome. Totally AWESOME! He played well with other kids, waited his turn on the zip line, watched out for his brothers, helped me find them from time to time, he was amazing. And I didn't really realize just HOW amazing until after we'd gotten home and settled. Typically, he's the kid I watch like a hawk, no matter where we go. And today, he played totally independently, both by himself and with lots of other kids, and there was NOT ONE INCIDENT involving Aidan. (Ashwin, however, would not stop throwing blocks for a minute, and he did bop another kid on the head. Back to the cars he went, no harm, no foul. And Aeson was the drama king today when it was finally time to go, and the ENTIRE time that we were at Verizon.) But Aidan was great, and super helpful getting the brothers to and from the car as well. Thank you Aidan, and thank you Brain Balance for giving me something hugely positive in this record-bad day. I will leave you with a couple of videos, and some more words of wisdom, courtesy of Zac Brown Band.



"We're gonna make this day a little better than the last....Find a way to wash away any regret you have. Don't let this moment pass, live inside this day"


Much love,

Allie
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The Brain Balance Motto

We Believe that Within Every Child Resides...

The Body of an Olympic Athelete...
The Brain of a Scientist...
The Mind of a Poet...
The Hands of an Artist...
The Ear of a Composer...
The Heart of a Saint...

NEVER Stop Believing That Your Child Has Unlimited Potential!