Liam, Like a Chicken

At first, when I saw him eating with his hands behind his back I laughed because it was as if he were practicing for a pie eating contest. But on second thought, it looked exactly like a chicken, pecking his feed off the ground. That's Liam, like a chicken.

Speaking of Liam, he was recently seen by a Pediatric Gastroenterologist for his growth issues. They basically took one glance at him, asked a few questions and told me there is nothing more to look at as far as they are concerned. "He doesn't look sick, he doesn't act sick, he's most likely not sick" was their basic assessment. That said, their expert opinion was that he needs more calories so they gave me a handout with High-Calorie, High Protein food ideas to try to beef up his growth a little. It included things like eating fried foods, rather than baked, adding cake frosting to bagels and dipping fruit in marshmallow cream. That lucky little devil! Anyway, being a bit on the health-nut-ish side myself, I have to admit he will probably wither into nothingness before I start adding cool whip to his sandwiches.

This week, the school system's early childhood specialists finished up their assessments of Liam as well. We met a few days ago so that they could give me the evaluation.

"So, we have found that Liam basically qualifies for all of our special ed services," she said. "I basically found that he is below the curve in all areas of Social skills and development."

"Hmmm, Liam is behind in social behavior? You will have to explain. I mean, he is always interacting with everyone, always makes eye contact and does things so that others will interact back with him as well," I said.

"Well, it isn't just social skills but adaptive behavior too," she explained. "For example, when I pointed to some socks on the couch and told Liam to look at the socks he looked at them and smiled; but when I told him to go get the socks and bring them to me, he laughed but didn't go get them." (Sounds about right...) "We like to see them follow commands."

Holding back a little snicker, I answered, "Hmmm, sounds a little like ALL my kids but ok, I see what you mean."

She continued, "And also, we would like him to be a little bit more organized in his play."

"Rrrright, organized. Perhaps you can work with my other kids on that skill, too," I joked.

"Oh, I hear ya. But what I mean is, he likes to take out a toy from my bag but instead of playing with it, he just puts it back and gets out another one and then puts that back and gets out another and well, we would like him to focus more on playing with just one toy at a time."

"Gotcha," I said, holding back my amusement. I mean, I don't want to bite the hand that feeds me or anything but really? Organized? Perhaps the play to Liam IS in the taking out and putting back. And as far as I can tell, that would make him super organized because after all, he is making it very easy to clean up and put away! What a good kid!

Then we got to the Physical Therapist and the motor skills section of his evaluation. Ironically, if it weren't for his delays everywhere else, the PT wouldn't even be able to come help him with his lack of walking, the very issue we had him evaluated for in the first place! Apparently, his fine motor skills are so good that it offset the fact that he isn't walking and thus, he passed the motor skills evaluation. But of course, because he isn't walking and he qualifies for services from the speech therapist and early childhood specialist, the PT can come as well. All for free. And if he lags behind just a tiny bit for the next year he will then qualify for FREE preschool and even busing to and from preschool! Woo hoo! Go Liam! (Something about cheering for that just doesn't seem quite right.) But really, free preschool! Woo hoo!

Finally, they asked me:

"As part of our write up, we need to know what your goals are," she said.

Hmmm, goals. There's the first problem I suppose, hee hee.

"Really, for some reason, I'm not very worried about all this," I said. "I mean quite honestly, if it weren't for all the other people worrying about it, I probably wouldn't have had him assessed in the first place, although, I am certainly glad we did. So, I guess we just want him to get caught up to his peer group and maybe you can give us some ideas of what we can do on our own to help him in that pursuit."

And then, they said the thing any mom of four is thrilled to hear:

"Well, we will be giving you all sorts of ideas, like pulling pillows off the couch and having him climb over them, and moving furniture around for him to walk between, so don't think we are just trying to totally destroy your tidy house but it may feel that way with all the things we will want to do...."

I stopped listening because WOO HOO! I have permission to let the house go! I can hear the conversations now:

(Kurt) "Um, Karen, why does the house look like a tornado hit?"

(Me) "Oh silly husband! It isn't that I didn't clean today but you know how those early childhood specialists are; this is what will help Liam! It's all for Liam's sake, really it is!"


Up next week: Neurology! Woo hoo!

Have a Happy Halloween. Be safe and watch out for those chickens crossing the road!


Sick Chicks

Spanish Flu of 1918- This 1918-1920 flu pandemic, was an unusually severe (i.e. deadly) strain of avian influenza (sometimes called bird or chicken flu) that killed some 50-100 million people worldwide. It is thought to be one of the most deadly pandemics in human history. The unusually high number of deaths has been attributed to cytokine storm in the body (which, in short, is basically when a healthy immune system works overtime and produces TOO much of a good thing and the over-exaggerated immune response ends up damaging healthy tissues and organs, or something like that....) Nevertheless, the current strains of H5N1 bird flu (think SARS) has a similar effect. (Thanks Wikipedia for such great breakfast time reading!)

Forget the pigs; watch out for those chickens!

So, last week, we had two sick chicks roaming the house. Madeline and Lily were down for the count: low grade fevers, dry, unproductive coughs, intermittent urges to roll in mud, and the sudden cravings for pelleted feed mixed with ground corn and supplements. Seriously though, I am not fully convinced it was in fact the H1N1 (swine flu) as we never actually took them in to see a doctor (who apparently doesn't want to see and swab the kids anyway) and it almost seemed TOO short and easy to be something that has generated so much hysteria in the news and general public. But rest assured, I gave the little bug numerous compliments and fed it all sorts of warm fuzzies, making it feel as welcome and loved as possible. I mean shoot, compared to our last household epidemic, this was a walk on the farm.

Then again, I was only playing nurse mom and not sick piggy chick. And of course, after reading up on the different flu strains, I am just thankful the urge was to oink and not cluck!


The Chicken Costume

Before I get to today's point, here is a little girl talk:

On the way to school the other day Madeline and Lily struck up their backup conversation about what they want to be when they grow up. Somehow, this one never gets old.

"I want to be a princess when I grow up," Madeline told Lily, as to be expected.

"Well, when I grow up, I want to be a Canadian," Lily announced.

Hey, at least she is going for something a little more human, right?


So, we were in Target the other day and happened to be browsing the costume aisle when I noticed the gigantic, yet overpriced, adult chicken costume hanging there. While Madeline was telling me how beautiful I would look if I bought the matching Snow Queen costume to go with her Snow Princess costume, I was admiring the enormity of the chicken directly across the aisle.

"I think I will try that chicken costume on," I finally announced.

The girls looked at me excitedly.

"Right here in the store?" Aidan asked, looking around at the very EMPTY aisle.

"Yeah, right here," I said, pulling the costume down from the wall.

"You can't be serious," he said, as if I might just kill him first in order to spare him from such humiliation.

"Uh, yeah, I am pretty sure I am serious," I said, pulling the chicken legs over my clothes and zipping myself up to the sounds of little girl and Liam giggles. Right as I was fully chickened, someone turned down the aisle and smiled broadly as Aidan looked at me in utter dismay. (You know he secretly loved it.)

Which brings me to my point: I can't wait until they are teenagers....hee hee hee.


Chicken Turtles

Chicken Turtle-An uncommon cold-blooded freshwater reptile found in the southeast of the United States. Chicken Turtle meat used to be popular in southern markets and their name comes from the fact that they are said to "taste like Chicken." --Wikipedia

Seriously, who'd've known?!

"Mom, what eats turtles?" Madeline asked after looking in the pond on our walk.

"Um, I don't know," I answered, not wanting to go into how some humans think turtles are a tasty treat.

"Well, do hawks eat turtles?" she asked.

"Maybe," I replied. "But turtles are pretty safe in their shells I think."

"Well, I know eagles eat turtles," she said.

"Really, how do you know that?" I asked.

"At school, we read a book about turtles. There was a mommy turtle and she had lots of babies; I think she had six baby turtles; and this eagle came along and ATE ALL THE BABY TURTLES!" Madeline said. "That poor, poor mommy turtle."

Hmmm, must be Disney.


Below is an example of the forgetfulness that sometimes accompanies being a mother hen juggling a few too many things (or chicks as the case may be.....)

Q. What happens when a mom forgets about picture day at preschool?


I'd like to say I was just keepin' it real but no, I simply forgot it was picture day and so they didn't get forced into their storefront best that morning (because you know, I really am the type of person who does that.....she says with fingers crossed behind her back...) That said, this really is what Lily picked out to wear that day--so very true to form. And in the end, this, my fair readers, is how good (or at least honest) memories are created!