Monday, June 30, 2014

Saying Goodbye to EI

Happy Monday All!

It's been an insanely crazy busy month with finally an end in sight soon enough (for a little while at least). I started to write a "poor me" depressing post yesterday but decided to stop myself because despite a lot of the negative things I've been experiencing lately, there is some good.

Miss Autumn belle has been improving speech-wise but her sensory issues seem to be getting more noticeable whenever were out in public and it doesn't help that she's up when the sun rises and doesn't fall asleep until it's dark out so we've been experiencing long days here. The only perk is taking her into the pool. It's where we both feel at ease and sleep more soundly at night after a day of water and sun. 

In addition, this is Belle's final week of EI. She ends on Wednesday and then it's vacation/birthday celebration time. It's also very bitter sweet and it hit me like a ton of bricks while I was driving last week. I can't believe EI is going to be over?! When did this happen? I know I've written about my EI experiences before and love that we've had such a passionate and loving team of therapists who continued to stay consistent and with us even during the move. They were there when we got her diagnosis. They were there during those long winter months when nothing seemed to be going right. They were our light out of this dark facade. Her therapists commitment and perseverance has paid off. We went to have another eval at the school last week and the case manager and Autumn's new speech therapist (her school one), couldn't get over how affectionate and social she was being. They had even questioned her diagnosis for a moment until a routine/OCD tantrum came into play. The case manager stated that they rarely see such jumps in development within a year like Autumn exhibited. I know this is all in part to her therapists working so hard with helping her gain these milestones. Like I've said before, who knows where Autumn would be today if I never got EI involved. Sure, I'm positive I would've helped her as much as I know how, but those extra tools and techniques have transformed this family. I'm going to miss them so much. Thank goodness for cell phones and being close enough to visit.

So what's next? In two weeks, miss Belle has her evals for speech and OT at the clinic and then the IEP with the school district. It's hard to believe that only a few months ago, I was thinking of opting out completely regarding her starting school this fall, but I've realized that it would be doing her a disservice and this is not about me or something personal I've done. I don't see or hear my spouse or other family members taking Autumn's limitations personally like I've done, so why continue to try to be superwoman when I know realistically, I'm human and far from being the perfect mom. Plus, it's about doing what's best for my daughter even if that makes me feel vulnerable and giving in to continued additional help and support. There's nothing wrong with this and I realize it now. If I don't do this for her, who will? So she will begin school half-time this fall. Depending on how well she does and thrives, we may send her full-time half year. Again, it's a wait and see decision. At the clinic, she will receive therapies twice a week: two sessions a day so we will be busy come fall.

With the end of EI also surfaces a lot of emotions that I've been experiencing. The "I can't believe a year had gone by" feelings of bittersweetness. It hurts because part of me is excited to see the year go and Autumn turn three but then another part of me feels like I didn't truly enjoy her being two because of how busy and focused I've been on getting her therapies to better her skills, among other things. It's a double-edged sword for sure. I know that I need to just cut my losses, be proud of how far she's come, and enjoy each day within the moment and that's my goal this summer for the both of us. 

Over the next few weeks I'm going to be busy but will try to update my page and try my best to write here. After this past year, some down time is long overdue. 



This is Autumn's birthday crown that her DI does for each of her kids who are aging out. Can't believe it's complete. Bittersweet for sure! My baby is graduating EI on Wednesday! 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Good Morning and Happy "Hump" Day to all! The past few weeks have been extremely busy and I don't see them slowing down until July 3rd, which is Belle's last day of EI (cry). I'm looking forward to a little break from her therapies so that we, as a family, can enjoy time together as well as celebrating her third birthday. However, once that week is up, it's back to evals with the clinic we will be taking her to for OT/Speech and then the IEP at the school (can't wait). 

Anywho, Autumn has been doing stellar. She recently had her discharge evals through EI and has made tremendous progress. For instance, her expressive language went up from 6-9 months a year ago to 24-27 months! Was I doing a happy dance when I heard that? You betcha I was!! She did well in all of the other areas of development, but we still need to work on the reciprocal piece of language and her sensory issues, which can limit her ability to focus and stay on task.

The eval at the school went well. It was short (thank goodness) and the school psychologist was efficient. She didn't do a lot of things bc of non-compliance, which we figure would occur. I must add that I love that her EI team all checked in with me to see how Autumn made out. As much as I'm looking forward to EI ending so that I can have some free time, I'm going to miss her therapists dearly. They've been like family to us. I'm sure they will miss Autumn as well, but it's time to move forward, which brings me to my "topic of conversation" today that I've been meaning to share for weeks now.

This is the time of year of celebration. It's graduation mode everywhere, which is a sign of growing up and moving on with life. Any who, I know Autumn isn't "graduating" per say, from school, but she's moving on from EI and this is where I get emotional. So you all know how torn I've been about sending her to school this fall. How I've feared the unknown and worry about how she will adjust without her mama bird there holding her hand through the way. My emotions have been raw and have challenged me in different lights, but deep down, I know what I have to do in order to give my daughter the best chance in life. I was listening to the radio as I normally do on my excursions outside of the home and one of my favorite songs came on the radio. As a child I never really took the time to understand the song and what it could mean to me personally, but when I heard it this day, it hit me as if I was sucker punched into my stomach.

This line in particular: "I've been afraid of changing because I've built my life around you." 

Isn't that the truth. For the past three years of my daughter's life, every single decision I've had to make has had Autumn in mind from taking a shower to seeing a client, Autumn's needs has always come first. Just like many parents, I too find myself neglecting me in order to give her my all. Will this stop? Probably not, but just listening to this song made me stop into my tracks and realize that as Ms. Stevie Nicks says, "Time makes you bolder, children get older and I'm getting older too". 

It was in those sobbing moments that I knew it's time to start letting her go. Meaning letting her go to school on her own and putting my trust into God's hands that everything will be okay. It was also in those moments that I realized I need to also start living for me too. Whether that's gardening, exercising, getting more in touch with my spiritual side or working again as a therapist, I know that I too need to stop beating myself up with guilt over this decision to send her to school and over my decision to want to do something for me for a change (work again). 

I firmly believe those "aha" moments happen when we need them the most. So as everyone celebrates their child or children moving on up this June (whether in age, school, life, etc.), remember to go through your own emotions, let it all out, take a deep breath, and be proud of this moment. As difficult and scary the unknown is for us all, if you believe, God will see you through it.



Here's a picture collage of Autumn: newborn, one year, two years, and just recent. Darn they grow way too fast! Hate it but love it (is that even possible?).