Wednesday, February 4, 2009

some days feel like the poker hand has a joker

What else could it be? I mean, after all, life here is (supposed to be) perfect, right? Everything goes according to the carefully scripted plan, no one ever misbehaves or makes mistakes, and certainly no one has way more issues than originally anticipated.

Yeah right. Not this week. Nothing huge, nothing insurmountable, but still, the discouragement is hard. The little guys went with me Monday morning to observe at a preschool we were considering for them. A dear friend of mine is the director, and she kindly offered the opportunity so we took it. Ryan was enchanted. He loved every minute of it and was disappointed when we left. No surprises there. It would be an awesome fit for him, one where he'd thrive and grow. It's the kind of thing I want for him before he is old enough for kindergarten, especially since we'll likely homeschool both of them then.

Watching, though, I came to the gut wrenching realization that Logan's probably not ready for this. It's not his academic ability--he's smart as a whip and proud of it. :) It's not his attention span--he can sit for long periods if he's interested in what's going on. Those things don't concern me at all. It's the language portion. His speech is coming along, but we're still years away from being mostly comprehensible (to outsiders). His hearing is a problem, one that we're working on, but a solution is probably months away yet. We hope and pray that restoring some hearing will help with the language, but that's not certain. It's not even certain that we can restore hearing! The biggest issue with overall language is his inability to do oral motor planning. What does that mean? Well, you and I don't spend any time thinking about what to do with our mouths when we talk, where the tongue goes, what shape our lips should be in, how the air will flow. For Logan, those are HUGE issues that he must think about and make decisions on. For EVERY sound. He talks a blue streak, but if you want to hear more than just vowel sounds, it's painstakingly slow as he sorts through the facial gyrations necessary for each consonant. And it's frustrating for him! Poor guy--having a conversation is grueling work.

His gross motor skills are still delayed quite some. Not enough to qualify for physical therapy, but the delay is still quite obvious. His tumbling class has helped quite a bit but I'd venture to say that he's a minimum of 6 months behind his same-age peers. His fine motor skills are also delayed. We think he's qualified for help from the school system in this area, but don't know for sure yet. We'll know more on that next week. His sensory integration issues are a big deal and hold him up often. Again, he's borderline here, so he doesn't qualify for therapy. We wonder if he has an auditory processing issue or if all his difficulties with language are hearing and motor planning related. There are some things that make me think at least a portion of it is auditory processing. In addition, he (and Ryan!) have some minor health issues that we never anticipated. Not enough to require treatment at this time, but they still need to be monitored for the next year or so.

So now we get to make decisions. Because of his cleft and his hearing, it's highly likely that Logan qualifies for preschool through our local public school. The preschool operates on a "peer model" basis, so Ryan could attend as a "normally abled" child. (Such PC terms! UGH!!) I don't know if I really want my guys in preschool 4 days a week! They do NOT need to be away from home that much and I am concerned that for Logan it might be overwhelming initially. We see huge declines in his coping ability when he's overwhelmed. And if things are too much, then we have horrific struggles with the "who's in charge" portion of life. Yes, we still have control issues. They're better than they were but changes can trigger horrible, long, drawn-out tantrums. Only time and reassurance that no matter how much he dislikes it, Mama and Daddy are still in charge seem to help. He HATES that he's not in charge but if given any control he freaks out. It's a balancing act to be sure...

The big questions as we move forward: Will they allow us to enroll the boys only 3 days a week? Is this truly the right place for them? Do I allow the school to separate the twosome? They do amazingly well together at preschool on Tuesdays and my gut says they'll both do better together. Will the school system go for that? How hard do I push? Where do I compromise and where do I stick to my guns? Too many questions...and too few answers.

The joker of unexpected needs is interesting, to say the least. Logan is just like any other child of ours--OURS. Forever. That part's easy. The harder part is knowing how to negotiate the system to get him the help he needs without sacrificing any of the other guys. But we'll make it, and we'll thrive. After all, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right? :)

In the meantime, we cling to the things we know:

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." Is 43:2

Grateful for supernatural strength,



  1. You've got some really hard decisions to make, Jennifer! But I know you'll find the right path... it just isn't easy sometimes, is it? (((hugs!)))

  2. Jennifer, you know I can relate to quite a bit of your post. We'll talk more when we get together on the 13th, but I do have to say... Preschool has been the best thing ever for Linlee - and she had all the same issues you describe for Logan (and more, I think). Four mornings a week nearly broke my heart in the beginning, but now both Linlee and I look forward to preschool. Just our experience. I know you will do your best to make the right choice for your guys.