The House of Doo

The House of Doo

Thursday, November 13, 2014

An Eye-Opener

I have to be brutally honest about something.

Yesterday, Colt and I were out running errands and we had just parked at Academy when a truck pulled in and parked in the handicapped spot beside us. I was trying to finish my coffee before entering the store, so I was just sitting. I glanced over, noticed it was a young couple, maybe late 20s or early 30s.  I watched them get out (the woman closest to me) and thought to myself 'Boy, they sure don't look handicapped to me' and carried on finishing my Starbucks and trying to talk Colt into finishing his milk. The longer I sat there, the more they annoyed me because well, I didn't have anything better to think about, I guess.

Finally, Colt and I got out of the car, distractedly passed by the back of the truck, and went inside. We got what we needed and came back out. This time, we walked in front of the truck. This time, I noticed a tag on the front of the truck stating something about the US Army. As I walked between my car and this truck, I noticed a knob on the steering wheel and an extra "gear shifter". At that moment, I started to get it. I put Colt in his car seat and backed out. I went behind the truck and actually looked this time. He had a tag with some kind of award hanging between the numbers. It honestly looked like a Purple Heart, but it was covered by a plate around the edges saying "United States Army" so I couldn't be sure.

This was the day after Veteran's Day. Suddenly, I was so ashamed of myself.

How could I be so judgmental?  I wish now that I had parked the car again and waited on the couple to come out so I could thank that man for his service and his sacrifice.  I wish I could thank him for being able to sit in my nice warm car, drinking overpriced coffee, without worrying about being blown to smithereens.

So, to that man, his wife, and every other Veteran - Thank you. Thank you for fighting for me, for my son, for my family, for our freedom, and our safety.

Thank you, God, for allowing us to be born into the Land of the Free, BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE.

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Big Win!

Well after a re-evaluation and two meetings with a bunch of school-system people,  it has been decided that Colt is "Significantly Developmentally Delayed" (or SDD). This will qualify him for physical therapy and occupational therapy, along with the speech therapy he is already receving, through our school system. I am very happy. Don't get me wrong, I am not happy that he needs it, but I am happy that he is going to receive the help he needs. The first time I was told he wasn't "bad enough" according to the "system" but everyone who evaluated him agreed that the system is flawed. The county school psychologist went to work on Colt's case and figured out a way to get him the services he needs, in a way that had never been used before. I appreciate her hard work and the rest of the therapists and teachers/administrators that helped us. I am hopeful we can catch Colt up in gross and fine motor skills before he starts Kindergarten with their help. Yay! It means three different therapies a week, but that is a win in our book.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Real talk.

Nothing major has really changed since my last blog post, but I have found myself in an ugly, discouraged state. I am struggling. Part of it is Colt - he is an incredible gift but he is exhausting and difficult at times. Part of it is just me.
What I am struggling with most is just being a mom. It's hard. Especially when something is wrong or different about your little one and there's just nothing you can do to help. It's been mentioned to us by a few different people (teachers, the school psychologist, physical therapists) that he appears to be ADHD. I have no doubt about this, but he's also 3 years old. (4 next week) I do see it, though. Every day I see it. At nap time and bed time these days especially. He just absolutely cannot shut his brain down. It's exhausting. Have I mentioned that? Someone else (not just a regular Joe, this person is legit) mentioned they believed he had Asperger's. We've looked into this, but I don't think it's the case. There are some definite similarities, but some of the others, I think absolutely not. It's frustrating to hear this stuff and know that there is definitely still something going on (especially when you see him with his peers) but no one can seem to put their finger on it. He is "just Colt".
He is crazy smart. CRAZY smart. He can sight-read words that no one has ever sat down and "taught" him. He just remembers them - from books, street signs, commercials, and store signs. He can tell you directions to places because every time we turn, he wants to know the name of the road. This week in the car, he has been making me spell words. While on the phone with my mom, she asked me what we were getting him for his birthday and I spelled, "B-I-K-E" and Colt said, "A bike?!?" Dude. He shouldn't know that, right? When he wants you to talk, he'll ask you to talk about weird stuff that kids shouldn't find interesting, for example yesterday at lunch he said, "Tell me how we got to Myrtle Beach." So I said, "Well, we started on 75 south to Atlanta" and he said "Then we got on I-20 east to get to South Carolina!" Um, yes we did. Last month.
With all that being said,  he still isn't even close to being potty-trained. I am beating myself up over it. I feel like I have done something wrong and missed our chance. He will go when you take him, but can't seem to stop what he is doing and go himself. We put him in undies because people say he won't like being wet. It doesn't phase him in the least and I wash a lot of clothes and couch cushions. I spent a ton of money on rewards for a reward box and sticker chart and he doesn't care. I downloaded a "potty app" but he would still go between our set times. I am absolutely at a loss. Colt is awfully big for his age (he wears size 6 clothes) and I can FEEL people judging me when his shirt comes up and they see he is wearing a Pull-Up. What do I do? :(
Maybe this has nothing to do with me, but it feels like a mommy failure. I just try to remind myself that he is truly his own person and doing his best.
I never imagined this amazing, talkative little boy would be the same boy that didn't speak until well after his third birthday. As we were leaving his speech therapy yesterday, I overheard the school principal telling someone, "That little boy is a miracle." and it brought big fat tears to my eyes. He is just that. A beautiful, brilliant, miracle baby. Those moments, those proud, long sought after moments are what help to slowly but surely drag me out of this ugly hole I get sucked into so easily. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Bad News.

Today we had our usual 6 month visit to the pediatric eye specialist. I had a couple of concerns going in and left with more coming out. Not what I was hoping for, I have to say.

Lately Colt hasn't wanted to wear his glasses in the evenings,  saying his "eyes are tired". We have also noticed one eye starting to turn in a bit. If you remember,  Colt has had three surgeries to correct this already.

Well, Dr. Peterson noticed it immediately. It really is turning in. Also, the vision in that eye has gone from 20/40 to 20/70 in the last 6 months. He is concerned about the crossing mainly because when there is one "good eye" and one that crosses, the brain will stop using the "bad eye". This is what leads to the vision loss and this can be permanent.  Now Colt's glasses are not strong enough,  but Dr. Peterson wants to wait to change the prescription.

So. Now, we are supposed to patch the good eye for two hours a day, which will force his brain to use the bad eye. We have been through this before but only for one hour at a time. If the patch helps,  great! If it doesn't, we are looking at a fourth surgery. We have to go back in two months, rather than our usual six. This is not what I wanted to hear and really breaks my heart. I really thought that door was shut for good.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Three Year Old Responsibilities

Things at the House of Doo have been kind of hectic lately. Summer is winding down but it is still miserably hot out, so the family ice business is crazy. There are also about to be some changes, so Ryan works a lot. Colt and I spend A LOT of time together when Ryan is working. That is a good thing, however, some days I LONG for Colt to go to bed. Don't act like you don't know what I mean.

Anyway. Colt seems to go through cycles of really great behavior, followed by really terrible behavior. It seems the latter stage has been lasting a few months, but I was starting to notice it was worse after eating certain foods. Especially fruit snacks. He was a monster every time he ate them! About a year ago, I took foods away that contained dyes. It helped tremendously. Then i got lazy and let him have them back. Well, I have taken them away again. It seems to be working, or maybe it is a coincidence. Either way, I am happy.

Colt is also VERY strong-willed. I have been reading articles and blogs about parenting strong-willed children and have found them very helpful. One thing that really seems to work with Colt is to let him have responsibility. We have been to the mall twice this week and both times,  I let him walk. I LET MY VERY DEFIANT THREE YEAR OLD WALK THROUGH THE MALL. WITH NO LEASH/STROLLER/BACK-UP PLAN. ALONE. (Me, not him) If you are a parent of a very defiant, stubborn, clever three year old you know what kind of disaster could have ensued.

Guess what. It worked like a dream. Now please know I threatened the devil out of him, but it worked. I let him know what a privilege it was to be allowed to walk and not ride in a stroller but if he even thought of running away or grabbing anything,  his little hiney would ride in a stroller forever. It worked. It worked. It worked. We went in stores, we walked long hallways,  we went in a "cafeteria style" restaurant and he pushed his tray down the line and chose his food. He even went in the bookstore, chose 2 books, and patiently let me pick one! I am so proud.

Tomorrow is a new day and things may change,  but for now, I am thrilled. I love allowing him some freedom and responsibility and he loved it too.

Now, if we could only get him potty-trained

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Reaching Out.

Following our geneticist's recommendation, I am now trying to get physical therapy through the school system for Colt.  Here is my latest email (minus names) to the county Special Education Services:

Ms. I.,

I have a little boy (Colt D., 3 1/2) that receives speech therapy through Cherokee Ridge. He was tested by T. C.  in October 2013, after aging out of Babies Can't Wait. We were assured he would qualify for Special Ed Pre-K because of his delays, but indeed, he did not. I was told his cognitive ability was too high. I realize that is a good thing, but it left us with a lot of problems and no solutions, also nowhere to go. We ended up at Siskin Children's Institute and love it, however, because we live in Georgia he cannot receive therapy through them. I mentioned we get speech and I am thankful for that, but he was receiving PT through BCW and wasn't approved for it through the school system. I was very unhappy with this testing and I feel that because he DOESN'T have a diagnosis, he is allowed to let "fall through the cracks." Luckily, we see some amazing doctors that are trying to give us direction, but none can seem to figure out why our school system isn't helping us more. We recently saw Dr. Stevens, our geneticist, and she strongly recommends Colt receive PT again. Can you please help me? What can I do? 

I was referred to you by C. H., a dear friend and W. County teacher. She has a son that has some similar issues to my son now and she has been a wonderful resource and sounding board. 

Thank you in advance for any help or direction you can give. I refuse to let my precious boy fall through the cracks. He doesn't deserve that.


 So, here's hoping we can get a little help and hopefully add PT back in to our life.  Wish me luck!

Monday, August 4, 2014

One Year Genetics Follow-Up

Today was our follow-up with Colt's geneticist,  Dr. Cathy Stevens. If you have been following Colt's journey for the last couple of years,  you will know he has been through lots of testing to try to find the root of all of his developmental delays. We had two rounds of genetic testing done with no answers and decided to stop for a year and see what happened. Colt was having nightmares and it was getting harder and harder to watch him scream and fight while they put him to sleep or poked him with needles.

So, it's been a year and here we are, a whole year of unbelievable progress from our precious boy. We have so many people to thank for that - therapists, praying friends, fantastic teachers, and a very supportive family. Dr. Stevens was VERY pleased with Colt's journey. She couldn't believe how much he can say, when only months ago, he communicated with signs and very, very few words. She says he is still terribly large with a large head, but now thinks the head size may be genetic. Thanks,  Ryan. ;)

She is still a bit concerned with his low muscle tone. She thinks we should get back in with a physical therapist and is writing us a recommendation. She thinks that should also help with jumping, climbing steps, etc. The speech therapy should continue for enunciation/clarity purposes.

She also would LIKE another MRI to check his brain damage and see if it has changed at all. However,  we are going to wait. It really won't change anything for him right now,  so maybe if he is still behind his peers before starting Pre-K, we will have another one.

So, there we are!  Continue therapy and wait it out. Now though,  I have no idea how to go about getting PT started again without the help of Babies Can't Wait.

I am very happy with the visit and thrilled to know she doesn't think we need to pursue any more testing for now. Our hard work and awesome support system is paying off.  I can see that in Colt every day.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

White Boys Can't Jump

It's been over a month since I last posted. Life is pretty good these days. 

The best thing so far to happen lately... We sold our house!  We sold it to a nice family with a three year old little girl.  They got transferred here from Albertsville, Alabama and they are super nice.  They are truly an answer to our prayers.  I hope they love that house as much as we did. 

Colt is doing pretty well these days.  For a few weeks, we had some serious behavioral issues, but the last 4-5 days have been much better.  I am hoping it was a phase and we're through it.  At least until the next phase.  ;)  I am learning that's what childhood is - a bunch of different phases.  Some good, some bad. 

Colt can pretty much say anything these days, but it's still hard to decipher sometimes.  He leaves off the first letter of many words, and sometimes says the wrong sound for a letter.  D's are often G's, for example "Gaddy" for "daddy" and the L sound for W - "lotter" instead of "water" and so on.  Still.  It's a beautiful sound, no matter what.  

I think I have mentioned before that Colt has begun to sing.  It's my favorite thing in the entire world, right now.  He LOVES the radio and knows just about every single song they play, on any station.  He is his mother's child, for sure.  :) 

Developmentally, he has made amazing progress.  He is SO close to being right where he should be, in my opinion.  Most people probably don't even notice anything is different about him.  The only time you really notice is when he is surrounded by other children his age, like at a playground.  Yesterday we went to a trampoline park here in Chattanooga called the Jump Park.  It is a really awesome place.  Colt and I both had a great time and left dripping sweat.  I can't wait to go back.  However, being there made it very obvious that Colt is different.  There was a bit of a problem on the trampolines...  Colt can't jump.  He doesn't know how.  He tries but his feet never, ever leave the ground.  I held his hands to see if that would help, but he just bends his knees.  I did a lot of jumping to bounce Colt, hoping that would kind of "stimulate" the jump in him.  Hm.  He had physical therapy for a while and they taught him how to climb steps, but still no jumping.  The only thing I really know to do about that is to keep going to the Jump Park.  It can be our own version of physical therapy and a great workout for Mommy.  Plus, it's crazy fun.  :)

Lately, Colt seems really bothered by his glasses.  It started with him saying he couldn't see with them on.  I wondered if his prescription was changing.  That has happened before, his prescription changed very rapidly with his first set of glasses and he needed new lenses after a couple of months.  That scares me a lot.  I wondered if that was what the problem was.  I didn't ask him about it to see if he'd let it go.  He did.  The other night, totally unprovoked, he said "Logan and Will don't wear glasses."  Those are neighborhood/church friends of his.  I replied, "No, they don't.  But Mommy and Daddy wear glasses.  So does Libby.  It's okay to be different from your friends."  He let it go.  Yesterday, we were driving home from lunch and he said, "I can't wear glasses when I play football."  Just pulled it out of the air.  He's obviously thinking about it a lot.  It makes me wonder if someone is saying something to him about him being different or if he's just noticing that he's different.  I continue to stress that it's a good thing to be different and that it makes him special.  Colt and I watch the Braves just about every night.  He knows every player on the team and what position they play.  I told him to think about Freddie Freeman.  He wears glasses when he plays baseball!  He kind of smiled at that.  Last night, I looked up a bunch of different athletes that play sports with glasses.  I think I might try to make him a book of sorts with pictures and stories of athletes with glasses.  Maybe I can find a book about kids with glasses too.  Here are some of the pictures I found:

B.J. Upton
Freddie Freeman (my personal favorite)

Landon Ard

Reggie Jackson

Brian McCann (Colt loves catchers! I miss B-Mac but love Gattis.)

Does anyone have any other suggestions?  I am open to anything.  I don't want him to be ashamed of them or embarrassed.  Thanks in advance. 

Here's my little white boy...not jumping.  ;)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Where We Are Today.

I am currently sitting in Panera, in the most obscure corner I can find. I was so excited to have a few moments to myself (thanks to my mother-in-law and brother-in-law, Adam) and now I sit here missing the busy-ness that Colt brings. The past few weeks have been long and hard. It is officially summer in our business and Ryan works every single day, often late into the evenings or night. I know it comes with the territory, but it is still hard. Colt cries for his daddy and I know Ryan desperately misses Colt too. It's at times like these I feel like a single parent. (You guys are amazing, by the way.) Whew, I am tired. It is hard for me to NOT feel guilty about not doing anything for a bit, but I keep trying to tell myself I deserve it. We all do. 

I have been wanting to post about Colt and update on all of his little victories and setbacks too, but I am not sure I am up to that from my smartphone. ;) 

I can say this, he can be very difficult but that little boy is pure magic. He laughs constantly, he smiles at everyone, he introduces himself and shakes hands, he says "yes, ma'am" "no, thank you" etc. without prompting, he loves his mommy, daddy, grandparents, and family with no limits, and he sings, HE SINGS!! The kid that may never talk, now SINGS. He loves music, loves sports, loves being outside, and loves to swing.  His personality is starting to show and he has gotten to be very funny.  I think that because he doesn't have to think quite as hard when he is talking, he is able to be more expressive in his words and tone.  His face has ALWAYS been very expressive, but to hear it in his voice is like hearing music for the first time.  He still stumbles over his words a lot, but that is getting better every day. 

Now, he still isn't potty-trained but we are still getting there. He does great everywhere but home. Maybe he gets comfortable or lazy there? He also behaves better in public than at home. We are often going somewhere for that reason.  Colt is having a hard time with a bit of a "bullying" situation at school, but I am hoping it has been taken care of. I will find out for sure, you better believe that.
We recently went to my allergy and asthma doctor to see why Colt gets bronchitis so often. He is sure Colt has asthma and wanted to run a test, but we aren't going to do it because our insurance sucks and it won't change anything. There isn't a way to prevent it from turning to bronchitis, so nothing will change, we just treat it.  I was pretty disappointed with that.  We pretty much knew it was asthma, I was just hoping we could find something to prevent it from turning into bronchitis so often.  

Other than that, things around our house are pretty much the same as always.   I will end this post with some of my most favorite pictures from the last few weeks or so. Sorry for the photo overload. :)

Friday, May 9, 2014


I apologize ahead of time if this blog gets a little personal but I feel compelled to write it anyway.  Maybe for me to go back and read later.  Maybe for someone else to relate.

This Sunday is Mother's Day.  I used to really struggle with this day, but the past few years, it has held a very different meaning for me.  This will be my fourth Mother's Day as a mother.  Wow.  I am a MOTHER.  That still blows my mind sometimes. 

Many of you know, my parents divorced when I was a baby.  Maybe around a year old or so?  honestly, I don't remember.  I don't remember my parents ever being together and the thought of them together makes me laugh.  My mom had a lot going on that we won't get into, but long story short, I stayed with my dad.  I cannot imagine it any other way.  For about five years, Dad was mom AND dad in a lot of ways. 

I experienced a lot of things growing up that I still struggle with, going back and forth between families.  I wouldn't wish some of those experiences and disappointments on anyone.  Ever.  Throughout my teenage years and college years, I always wanted children but really, secretly, doubted my ability to be a good parent.  How could I be a good mother when I didn't know what that meant?  My "growing up" years were hard. 

Fast forward a few years.  Ryan and I got married.  We wanted children but I was still secretly terrified.  Five months after we got married, we found out I was pregnant.  Oh my goodness.  No going back now!  Could I do this?!?  I didn't think so. 

Now, Colt is 3 1/2.  I am far, FAR from a perfect mother.  I am many times very impatient.  I lose my cool sooner than I would like to admit.  When Colt drops a big glob of ketchup down the front of his white shirt, I almost die.  (But really, who puts a white shirt on a 3 year old?)  My house is FAR from clean.  The laundry is piled up.  I nap when Colt naps, when I should be cleaning or catching up on laundry or making an amazing Pinterest craft from Colt's footprints.  I should shower, but instead, I nap.  Or read.  No one is going to see me today anyway, right?  I am NOT PERFECT. 

I didn't have a shining example of a mother, but with God's help, I am a darn good one despite that fact.  I never could have imagined crying over first words, first steps, and little, bitty victories.  I never could have imagined kissing bloody knees, or cutting someone else's toenails (I am disgusted by toenails), or catching someone else's vomit in my hands, or wiping their snot on my jeans or my shirt when I don't have a tissue, but I do it.  I do it because I have never in my life loved anything or anyone like I love that grinning, snotty, beautiful, tornadic little monster. 

I guess I say all of that to say this, YOU can break the cycle.  You may not feel like you are doing a good job, but if you love your babies as much as you possibly can, you are good enough.  And really, "good enough" is all they need.

Please know that my mom and I have a much different relationship now.  She has a story you wouldn't believe.  She is a strong woman and I love her.  Please don't ever think I don't.  We butt heads, but isn't that what mothers and daughters do?  Anyway, I just needed to write this out to encourage me when I needed to go back and hear it (every day) and maybe to encourage you. 

Your past is NOT your future.  Your past is not your child's future. 



Thursday, April 3, 2014

Getting My Butt Kicked

Do you ever have those times in your life when you feel like just one more thing is going to make you lose your mind?  I am at that point, or pretty darn close.  It's a bunch of little things and a few not-so-little things, but they are piling up quickly and my burden is heavy. 

First of all, my windshield in my car is STILL busted, three months after it happened.  Not serious, but a couple hundred dollars to fix.  Also, my air conditioner in my car is broken.  A FEW hundred dollars to fix that.  It wasn't a big deal in the winter (haha) but it's getting hot.  On top of that, Colt has bronchitis (again) and when it's hot, he coughs to the point of puking.  I hate to make him ride in my hot car because it makes him cough.  Bah. 

Two days ago, we were outside in the yard and kept hearing a weird noise that sounded like someone was trying to start a car and it wasn't starting.  Turns out, it was the air conditioner in our house.  So now it's broken too.  It was 77 degrees in my house when I got up this morning.  Again, not good for the coughing/puking/bronchitisy mess.  Dad came over the night we discovered it and helped Ryan take apart the air conditioning unit.  They think it is just some kind of motor but who really knows.  Also, who knows when it will get fixed.  The motor has been taken out and has been sitting at the ice company waiting to be replaced since it happened.  For now, it's hot at home but it's supposed to cool off soon.  At least for a few days. 

AND THEN.  Sigh...  You know we have the house that will not sell, so we have two mortgages.  It's getting desperate around our house.  Apparently, State Farm will not insure a house that is vacant.  I had no idea.  We got a nice little note in the mail the other day with a (very small) check for our monthly homeowners insurance stating they were canceling our policy on the house that is for sale.  To insure a vacant house is OUTRAGEOUS. 

Our new insurance makes us pay out the rear to even go to the doctor.  The day we went to the eye doctor and got Colt's new glasses it was easily $350 out of our pocket.  To go to the doctor last week, it was $100 out of our pocket for them to tell me he had "the same cold that all of Chattanooga has" even though I knew it wasn't that.  Now (after he has suffered another week!) he's got bronchitis and I spent right under  $100 to get more medicine. 

I am absolutely frustrated and getting desperate.  I feel like I am being punished for something and I cannot figure out for the life of me what it could be.  Why does there never seem to be a break?  

I just needed to whine a bit.  Yes, it's all little things.  Yes, we are all healthy (for the most part) and doing alright.  We have a home and jobs and families and friends, but you know, sometimes life really kicks your butt.  If you are going to make snarky comments, please refrain.  I really might lose it on you. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014


I do not know what has been going on with Colt lately, but I swear to you I think he's been possessed by some monster-like demon.  Or maybe he's just three years old.  He and I have absolutely butted heads for about a week or more now and I am finding myself very, VERY frustrated and tired.  He is testing every single thing I say and every single boundary I set.  Just Tuesday morning I told him 'no' about something and he said "I don't like that!" "You don't like what?" "I don't like when you say 'no!'"  Ah.  Well, get used to it, little buddy.  Is he just being three?

Also, let's talk about potty training.  ALL NON-PARENTS CONSIDER THIS A FAIR WARNING.  He has been doing great with potty training for the most part.  We still struggle to get him to tell us BEFORE he goes, but he will go every time you take him.  Sometimes he even makes it a whole day in the same Pull-Up!  Well, all of a sudden the past week or so (same time frame as the demon possession) he has absolutely stopped all progess in potty training and actually gone backwards, if you will.  Before, he was wearing "big boy undies" around the house and doing great, sometimes even telling us without us having to take him.  Now, a few times this week, he's just peed in them and left puddles on my rug.  I have NO IDEA what to do.  Did I miss the "perfect timing window?"  Did I do something wrong?  Did I not praise him enough when he did do it right?  I know by this point, most of his friends are potty trained or pretty doggone close.  However, Colt has NEVER been on the same timeline as anyone else, so I didn't really expect him to be for this either.  I just thought we would be closer at this point.  We've been actively working on it for a good 9 months or more.  What is the problem?  What have I done wrong? 

I have wondered about the school transition being hard on him.  His last day at the other location was a week ago today.  That was hard, also he's been in a new place this week, so that is probably hard.  On top of that, he's been sick for about 8-10 days.  He also got glasses 6 days ago.  Could it be that he's sick/overwhelmed AND I am pushing him too hard?  I have no idea.

Anyway,  we are STRUGGLING.  I have found myself in tears every single day for the past week over him.  I have yelled more than I would like to admit.  He knows I am frustrated and feeds off of it, it seems.  I am trying to just pray when I get mad or find myself at my wit's end.  I learned a long time ago, you never, EVER pray for patience.  Instead I pray this - Please God, help me know how to parent this beautiful gift you have entrusted to me because I sure don't know how to do it on my own.  So, if you get a second, pray for me.  If you have any ideas or advice, share with me.  I am officially desperate. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Another Not-So-New Adventure!

This weekend was a busy one!  On Saturday, we drove to Rome to see my mom and that side of my family to celebrate Mom's birthday.  We ate at Olive Garden and then went to see my mom's new house.  She is moving from Villa Rica to Rome and we're excited that she will be closer.  While we were there, Colt got some quality playtime in with his great-grandfather.  The house Mom bought has a playset in the backyard and we caught Colt and Papa playing on it.  I got a really cute picture or two of Papa coming down the slide.  ;)

Here Colt is saying "I catch you, Papa!"  I love this!

Look at Papa's face!  Hahahaha!  

Anyway, we had a great time.  Mom's birthday was actually Sunday and she shares it with my dad's sister, my aunt Diane.  We made it home from Rome in time to see her for a little bit at the farm.  Colt got to drive the tractor with my dad, so all was good in his world.  My dear friend and college roommate, Leah, came to visit this weekend too.  She got there Saturday evening, and left this morning.

I am always thankful to have her around, but yesterday I was especially thankful because she went to Colt's ophthalmologist appointment with us.  I knew I wouldn't be able to hold him down by myself, last time it took me and the nurse straddling him on the floor to get eye drops in his eyes!  This time was a good fight, but with me, Leah, and the nurse we didn't have to get in the floor.  Whew.  However, it did take two rounds of drops to get his eyes dilated.  Poor kid has really been through so much.  

The ophthalmologist appointment went pretty well, besides the fact that it was 2 1/2 hours long.  That was rough.  I had a few things to ask Dr. Peterson about and he patiently answered all my questions.  I have mentioned before that Colt does this strange head tilt thing when he's studying stuff up close, almost like he's looking OVER a pair of glasses that are not there.  He didn't do it for Dr. Peterson, but he did do it for the nurse when she handed him some pictures to study.  I was glad someone in the office saw it too.  He thinks this is from his Nystagmus.  His Nystagmus is very rarely visible anymore, but it never really goes away.  We only notice it when he's very tired or sick or has been crying.  He thinks Colt uses this head tilt kind of like a null point without it actually being his null point.  I wrote a bit about that after our last visit with Dr. Peterson here.  Anyway, he is indeed using it kind of like a null point, but he didn't seem concerned. 

I asked about Colt's eyes drifting sometimes, and he did see it happen, but he isn't at the point yet where we would consider another surgery.  He thinks the previous surgeries are going to stick. ;)   I asked about Colt's clumsiness.  I have been wondering if it's because of his less-than-stellar depth perception (common with his eye issues) or if he's just clumsy.  Dr. Peterson didn't really have an answer to that.  It could be associated with his eyes, but may not be.  If it is his depth perception, there isn't really anything you can do about it anyway, so I guess we just have lots of Band-Aids handy.  However, it could be because of his vision!  We always knew he was a bit far-sighted (meaning he sees far away better than up close, the opposite of me and Ryan!) but this time, Dr. Peterson could tell just how bad by looking into his eyes.  Colt also read an eye chart, but they use pictures instead of letters for small children.  The last time we were there, Colt signed the answers.  This time, he spoke them.  :)  Yes!  We have wondered about Colt's vision for a while.  He LOVES to put on my dad and stepmom's reading glasses, which are meant for far-sighted people to be able to read things up close.  You know the type.  He doesn't really do that with my or Ryan's glasses, but loves to do so with theirs.  Now I know it's because he can see with theirs and not ours!  His left and right eyes were quite a bit different in their prescription and that's kind of rare.  We ended up leaving with a prescription for glasses.  Again.  We immediately left and went to Pearle Vision to order glasses because sometimes they take a while to come in.  This will be Colt's third pair of glasses and the first two pairs were great, so we went with the same kind.  The second pair was really the same frames just different lenses because of his prescription changing very rapidly as a baby.  They are Miraflex brand and they are pretty much unbreakable.  Only a few places in Chattanooga have this type, so we went where we got them last time. Colt first got glasses at 8 months old and everywhere we went he got a lot of attention over them.  Maybe that's why he's such a ham these days.  ;)  The new glasses should be ready in about a week, but last time they came in much quicker.  I am anxious to see how it goes.  I got him to try on some other types of glasses, but he went back to these every time.  They are kind of "goggle-like" and have a strap on the back to keep them from falling off during play.  :)

Well, here's to another (sort of) new adventure!  I'll post some of my favorite pictures of Colt in his glasses below. 
Colt's very first day in glasses!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Next Chapter.

We have finally made the decision about Colt's school.  We decided to accept the spot at the downtown location of Siskin.  I feel like it would be stupid NOT to take it.  Obviously something about that place works for Colt.  We don't know what exactly it is, but something works.  The class sizes?  The specific teachers (we adore them!)?  The structure?  The curriculum and routine?  The fact that they don't use fluorescent overhead lights?!?  I mean, heck, who knows.  I guess it doesn't really matter, it just works.  So, we are going to transfer downtown and pray it continues to work.  If it doesn't, we'll be heartbroken.  I wish, wish, wish his teachers were coming downtown too, but they are not.  I can't say I blame them.  However, we have Colt to think of and if it works, that's where we will go.  Even with the decision to close the East Brainerd location (which I STILL DO NOT UNDERSTAND), this is an amazing, magical place. 

So, our plan was to stay at the current location until they closed at the end of May.  Recently, we were told by the downtown director that there is a spot open in a class that will fit Colt.  However, there is only that one spot and if we don't take it and decide to stay until EB closes, we will have to wait until they get the new classrooms finished to start.  That same day, we got a letter from the Siskin President saying those classes won't be finished until August.  That would leave us with June and July without the structure and routine Siskin provides for Colt.  Each time I drop Colt off lately, his class is smaller than the last time I left him.  My fear was that with the more and more kids that transfer to other places with the impending close, they will close sooner than May 30th.  With a very heavy heart, Ryan and I decided it was time to move him before we were left with nowhere to go until August. 

Next week is Colt's last week at Siskin's East Brainerd location.  In only 4 short months, that place has changed our lives.  They have provided structure, routine, and stability to my son.  They have provided teachers that love him more than I could have imagined.  They have provided smiling faces and hugs at the front desk each time we have entered those doors.  They provided me with reassurance when I left in tears on his first day.  They patiently answered my check-in calls when he went through some uncharacteristically rough mornings and clung to my legs.  They provided communication through a teacher fluent in sign language when my son of few words couldn't speak but could sign to communicate.  They provided my nearly word-less boy with complete spoken sentences in four very short months.  They taught him to sing his ABCs and to play musical chairs.  Most importantly to me, they provided my son with CONFIDENCE.

I am sorry to see this chapter of our lives end.  I pray the next chapter at the downtown location will be just as magical. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

An Answer to Our Prayers.

I think I have set a new record for me - I haven't blogged in over a month!  I know, I am surprised too.  ;) 

The main thing to catch up on is the state of Colt's school.  We got the devastating news last Monday that they would be closing Siskin's East Brainerd center.  I can tell you that there has been very little sleep happening in the Doolittle household over the past week and a half.  There have been many tears shed on my part.  I am sure the other 115 children and their parents are feeling the same heartbreak we are.  Unless you have been there, worked there, or had a child there, I don't think I can make you understand the magic of this place.  The politics behind it are a little questionable and I am not going to get into that on here.  They did tell us that they are going to expand and make room for a few children at the downtown location of Siskin.  The president told us they have enough room to expand and make MAYBE three more classrooms, allowing room for 36 of the 116 children at the most.  I was devastated.  I just knew that Colt would not be granted a spot.  There are other children that need Siskin and their services more, I know this.  However, I also know that not just anywhere will work for Colt.  I don't mean that in a snotty way, I mean that in an I-know-my-son-can-be-difficult-and-sometimes-needs-more-help-than-others kind of way.  My fear is that he will again "fall through the cracks," if you will. 

Tuesday of this week, after I had (kind of) accepted that there is nothing we can do to reverse their decision to close, I began calling, calling, calling every single place I could think of to find another place for Colt.  I had narrowed it down to 5 places that Ryan and I could tour and see what would be the best fit.  There are some amazing places in this town, but I just couldn't shake the feeling that nothing will be Siskin.  I was calling out to God for Him to show us the right place to send our son.  I was being offered many prayers from friends for guidance and answers too.  Thank you all for that.

Well, yesterday morning my phone rang.  It was the director of the Siskin in East Brainerd.  She said that COLT WAS BEING OFFERED A SPOT AT SISKIN DOWNTOWN.  What?!?!?  I never, ever would have seen that coming.  I feel like we have been handed a precious gift and I wanted to shout it from the rooftops.  Ha.  Silly, I know.  I called the downtown location and spoke with the director there.  She was very helpful.  I was afraid they would only hold the spot for a short amount of time because there is a waiting list a mile long.  People put their babies on the list BEFORE THEY ARE BORN.  Crazy, isn't it?  And we are being offered a spot NOW.  We do want to tour a few places so we know we are making the right decision, including that location.  Anyway, the director told me that she would hold Colt's spot as long as we needed and that they will hold it until Siskin East Brainerd's very last day if Colt wanted to stay until his school closed.  I love that so much.  I love that he can stay with his precious teachers, his precious friends, and that we can take all the time we need making our decision.  What a precious gift. 

Anyway, our prayers have been heard and answered.  We now have options - a few amazing places to check out and now we even have TIME to make the right decision.  I truly feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. 

Thank you, God.  Thank you, praying friends.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

My 2014 Goal.

I've never been one to make New Year's Resolutions, so I hesitate to call it that, but this year I do have a "goal" I guess you could say.  I stole it from a former teacher of mine that has been through so much in the past couple of years.  She blogged through it all and one of the biggest things I got from it was to "be present" in your life.  Also, recently I saw a video that really hit me hard.  I am bad about my cell phone, always having it, checking it constantly, and wasting WAY too much time trolling Facebook.  Take a couple of minutes and watch the video here.  I think so many of us are guilty of this.

Anyway, my goal is to be more present.  The past couple of weeks, when Colt and I are at home playing, we have even turned the TV to a music channel instead of having mindless TV shows blaring in the background.  It has made a world of difference in the way Colt concentrates.  Duh.  I should have done this more ages ago.  We have played AND FINISHED so many games of Chutes and Ladders I can't even count.  We have played trains and with his cash register for sometimes an hour at a time.  That is HUGE for Colt!  Last night, I got over an hour out of him SITTING AT THE KITCHEN TABLE coloring with me while our dinner cooked.  Granted, every time the song changes he says "Is this?"  He wants to know the name and artist of the song.  Ha. 

So, this year I will try to put the phone away and be present with my little boy.  This even means TAKE LESS PICTURES because I always have that phone in his face taking his picture.  Sigh.  I take a million pictures, I know.  I also know that he will not be this little forever and I want to try to capture as much of it as I can to show him later on.  The struggle to capture the moments on "film" versus just logging them away in my head is real.  ;)  In twenty years, when Colt is looking back on his childhood, I don't want the picture in his head to be of Mommy with a cell phone in her hand.  I want it to be Mommy right by his side, laughing, wrestling, joking, making cookies, snuggling, playing race cars in the hallway, coloring, painting, throwing the baseball, and living with no distractions because seriously, look at this face... 

Isn't he worth it?

Thursday, January 9, 2014


 This is a long one, sorry. :)

It seems as though so much has happened since my last post!  Some good, some not.  I posted last on Christmas Eve, asking for prayers for my stepdad and mom.  Well, as most of you know, Allen passed away the very next morning.  Christmas morning.  I hate that it happened then, but then again, when is it ever a good time to die?  I hate that now we will all have that negative association with Christmas.  (As if I needed any more. I am a total grinch.)  I am, however, thankful that he is no longer suffering.  My mom is doing as well as can be expected, I guess.  The first few days were not as bad as I thought, but honestly, I think she was kind of in shock.  She is struggling right now.  She says she feels like the shock and numbness has worn off.  So please, continue to keep her in your prayers.  I stayed with her from Christmas day until the day after the funeral.  I came home then because I couldn't stand being away from Colt any longer.  We've been back since and Colt got to come.  As soon as he walked in the house, his whole demeanor changed.  He got really quiet and sat in my lap really still.  Finally, he reached behind me and touched a blanket and so very reverently said "Pappy's blanket."  It was.  Bless him.  I think he understood.  :(  Kids really do know more than we think they do.

Other than that, we had a pretty good Christmas.  We all got more than we needed and ate much more.  ;)  Colt seemed to understand more this year, so it did make it a bit more fun for me.  I wanted to give him his gifts so badly!  I got to take a few pictures on Christmas morning but I never went back and looked at them.  I finally looked at them on Tuesday (almost two weeks later!) and realized that almost every single picture is of nothing but Colt's smiling face.  Seeing his smile was worth all the stress and irritation that the Christmas season brings me.  I will post a couple of pictures below.

But first, I wanted to give another update on Colt.  His speech is unbelievable.  I have said it before and I will say it again - it's like a switch got turned on and he's just full of words!  Sentences (sort of) even!  He can repeat just about anything you can say, so beware.  He will repeat it.  He is even forming words on his own, pretty much all the time, and attempting sentences a lot!  Sometimes it takes the patience of Job to not "rush him along" while he's fumbling through the words, but boy does my heart explode when he FINALLY comes out with something on his own!  Listening to him work through the words is VERY similar to listening to a foreigner attempt to learn how to speak english.  It's really adorable.

I mentioned on Facebook the other day that Ryan and I sometimes think that Colt can read.  I know you are probably thinking that is ridiculous, but I assure you, he's got something crazy going on in that head.  As soon as he started to talk, when it was still just basic sounds and people's names, he got this sudden interest in the logos on vehicles.  It did not matter what style of car it was (car, SUV, truck, whatever), he could tell you who drove that "brand" of car.  Any time he would see  a Cadillac it was "Nana!" or Lexus was "Pawpaw!" or Mercury "Mimi!" or Jeep "Mommy!" You get the picture.  He saw Leah and Daniel's new car ONE TIME and every single time after that, when he saw a Toyota, it was "EEEah!!!!" Even when he saw commercials on TV for those vehicles.  It then turned into restaurant logos and would tell you with whom he had eaten at that restaurant.  Soon, it was in the grocery store where he would point out who ate certain foods or drank certain drinks.  Diet Pepsi was Gaga (granddad) or Diet Mountain Dew was Leah.  Starbucks was Mommy!  (smart boy.) 

There are so many examples, I could write a book.  Okay, now.  The last time we went to visit my stepdad before he passed away, there was a binder on the coffee table with a logo on the front.  Colt pointed to the logo and said "that says?"  (We can't get him to say what, where, who, etc.)  Anyway, my mom said "It says 'Tanner'"  (That's the name of the hospital in their area) and Colt pointed at it and said "Tanner Hospice."  IT SAID TANNER HOSPICE.  No one had said it that day or any other day, not around him anyway.  It was what got us wondering about his ability to "read" or recognize the way words look.  Maybe he saw it on a commercial?  In my car, Colt has been absolutely obsessed with listening to Garth Brooks.  He's a huge fan.  My car has a computer screen where the radio/navigation/etc is and it says the names of the songs from the Garth cd.  It only shows three songs at a time, so you have to page down to see more songs.  Colt's new thing is to tell me what it says on the screen, even if that song is not playing yet.  For example, if "Calling Baton Rouge" is playing, it lists "Two of a Kind, Working on a Full House" and "Shameless" as the next two songs.  Colt will tell me which song he wants to listen to depending on what "page" you are on at the time.  If the song he wants is not shown, he will say "Go down" until he sees the song, then he'll point and say "Rodeo" or whatever song he wants!  It's CRAZY.

It's almost like he's just now figured out that he can do this because CONSTANTLY he is saying "that says?" or "that place?" wanting to know what something is or what a certain word says.  Yesterday, when I picked him up from Siskin, every single building we passed was "That place?" On Gunbarrel Road, there are a lot of buildings.  I had never realized quite how many there really are.  Also, his memory is unbelievable.  If you tell him something one time, it's there for good.  HE DOES NOT FORGET.  It is scary, really.  I guarantee you, when I pick him up today, he will tell me what all of those places were that we went over on Tuesday.  We passed a new billboard on 75 the other day and Colt told me what it used to say - Tennessee Aquarium Downtown Chattanooga - with a question mark at the end like he was asking where that sign went.  Ha.  On Sunday at the Cracker Barrel, he asked his granddad what a birdhouse said "See Rock City."  On our way to school, there is a Rock City billboard.  This morning he noticed it and yelled "See Rock City at Cracker Barrel!"  It is very exciting to know that he has these crazy abilities and terrifying too!  What if I am not smart enough to challenge him??  Ahhh! 

Anyway, I realize I wrote a book but I just find myself in awe of him and his abilities these days.  He is amazing.  I want to share his wins because so many of my early blogs were about all of his challenges.  I truly feel like they have turned him into such a brilliant little light. :)