Not Annoyed in the Slightest

On Friday we had a flurry of appointments for August. First, an evaluator from Early Intervention came and did a speech evaluation. August was not his best. He ignored pretty much everyone, threw toys on the floor without playing with them, wouldn’t raise his arms to be picked up, and refused to make eye contact with the evaluator. This, added to his actual delays with things like waving “Bye bye” pretty much made him look like a human disaster area. Because I know everyone from when they worked with Charlie, they told me on the way out that they’d definitely be recommending him for speech therapy. The evaluator also pointed out a bunch of other little issues, but I think that was more a personality thing than an actual disability thing. Or I’m in total denial. One or the other.

From there, we raced to a nearby town for an evaluation by an audiologist. This time, the audiologist is an old sorority sister, so we gabbed for a bit about what was going on, what I was seeing, what I was thinking, etc. She pointed out how friendly August looked and acted, and then we went in for the actual test. The good news is that his “hearing” is fine. As far as I can tell, this means that his ear drum and bones are all vibrating appropriately. The bad news is that both ears are full of fluid. Since fluid can come and go without a parent knowing, this probably explains the pattern of good/bad that we’ve been seeing with August. When his ears are full of fluid, he’s not responding. When they’re not, he does a lot better.

I was advised to take him to an ENT who can tell us what the next step is–I suspect ear tubes since Charlie had ear tubes because of chronic fluid build-up.

The first available appointment is at the end of the month. Next moth that is. Meanwhile, I guess my kid just has to wander around listening to the world under water. I’m sure that’s going to be great for his speech and overall development. Sigh.

That Update I Promised

Well, it’s been a couple weeks since my big August announcement and I think it’s time for a bit of an update although I feel even more clueless now then a few weeks ago.

At first, there really seemed to be an issue with his hearing–he wasn’t turning his head when you called his name and he seemed to ignore his favorite toy when it was out of sight. He was also playing with one of his ears a lot. Then, that started to clear up. He is now responding to his name, but you do have to give him a few seconds–he’s in no hurry. He was almost completely silent and now he’s babbling pretty regularly.

He’s still got no words and he’s not great at eye contact. To be fair, I suck at eye contact as well–I know it can be hard to tell through the computer screen. If he wants something very badly, he has trouble taking his eyes off of it and will whine and whine, but never look at you. He doesn’t imitate as far as I can tell, but neither does Louis–they both pay very close attention to each other and spend a lot of time trying to get their hands on whatever the other one is playing with. Sometimes I wonder if twin interaction overrides interacting with grown ups.

boy getting a hair cut

1st haircut time

We are going to get his speech evaluated by Early Steps and he’s supposed to get his hearing tested this week as well. Meanwhile, we’ve spent a lot of time doing what we can to get him alone on a regular basis. When he’s with Louis, he seems to withdraw. I *think* that Louis is such a personality that he just overwhelms August. Louis is overwhelming to me sometime and I’m 33. Just the other night he decided that the absolutely best place on earth to sleep was directly on top of August. Sheesh.

When we have him alone, we see so many good things in August. He will immediately cross a room get near you. He has learned to turn pages in a book and has a different favorite book than Louis. He will very occasionally glance up at you while reading a book together or if he’s doing something else that is really fun–like splashing in the bath tub. He stands independently and can walk if you hold one of his hands. He LOVES to walk and laughs his funny little “heh, heh, HEH!” while he’s doing it.

boy getting his haircut

So. . . still not really sure what we’re dealing with, but the trend seems to be positive right now. As I mentioned in my previous post, both of the twins are delayed, however, so I think we’ll be having an on-going relationship with Early Intervention, which is fine by me. Having an extra set of eyes on things can’t hurt.

boy chewing on a comb

I will update if we learn anything else definite–in the meantime we’re just plugging along, doing our best to keep all the kids alive and in one piece. Some days that’s harder than it sounds.

boy sitting in a woman's lap and reading a book


Vigilante Katy

So I know I’ve told you guys about my recent obsession with handicap parking spaces.

I’d like to say that there’s been some improvement in this area, but that would be a lie. If anything, I’ve become more aggravated by the whole thing. Everywhere I look, I see people parking in loading zones, blocking ramps with their cars, or non-vans using van spots when there are plenty of other spots available.

So the other day when I saw that someone had parked their SUV in such a way as to completely block the graded entrance to the local gas station, I snapped. I whipped out my cell phone and took a picture. Please don’t ask me what I thought I was going to do with that picture–I had no idea–but I felt better having documented the offense.

A few days later I met bicycle man, and that’s when things started rolling down hill in the wacko department. You see, Charlie’s Feldenkrais lady works in the French Quarter. If you’ve never been to New Orleans, the French Quarter is like an old European city with narrow street and not nearly enough parking. It was built, ya know, pre-car. Around the corner from the Feldenkrais studio are the only two handicap spots in the area.

With only two spots, you can imagine it’s hard to get a chance to actually park in them. Well, last Friday I couldn’t find a place to park anywhere. I didn’t have money for the garage, there were several broken meters, and since it was a gorgeous day in the middle of tourist season, there were people everywhere.

So I dropped Charlie off and proceeded to circle around looking for a place. That’s when bicycle man appeared. He biked up to the his van that was legally parked in a handicap spot. He got off the bike, folded it up, and then loaded it into the back of his van. Then he drove off.

I was incredulous. I mean, he had a handicap license plate, but was this man actually handicapped? He had the strength and vitality to both ride a bicycle and load it into his van. I figured it was just one of those things. It wasn’t

The next week the very same van was parked there again. This time I found a spot, but rather than going into Charlie’s appointment, I hung around waiting to see if bicycle man would appear–and  he did. Again he rode his bike, folded and loaded it himself. I did it again with the camera–took a couple of pictures. Again, not knowing why, but feeling better for documenting the event.

I was recounting this story at lunch later, and my Dad said, “well, he still might have been disabled.”

And I mean, he’s right. The man could have had a prosthetic leg or something, but it got be wondering about the bigger issue–what do we, as a society, think of as disabled, and is that reflected in our current policies regarding handicap parking spaces? For me, it’s directly related to walking distance–how far am I going to have to haul Charlie and is it worth it? If we’re taking the chair it’s less of an issue, but for places like the supermarket or Target, it’s nice to be able to park and then use a cart when we get inside.

But my definition isn’t the same as everyone else’s–mine is colored by my own experience. We all define it differently. A person who breaks their ankle is considered disabled in Louisiana and gets a one-year pass. I broke my ankle when I was thirteen and never would have considered myself disabled. There’s a boy at Charlie’s school with a broken leg and he’s also got a one year pass.

When I find myself, yet again, parking in a regular spot. Or worse yet, when I see an elderly person limping painfully across a parking lot. I think that if we can’t find accessible parking for Charlie who is the quintessential definition of disabled, then who is getting the spots? I could count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen someone with a wheelchair using a handicap spot. Actually, I think I’ve seen it once.

So what do you guys think? Are there just too many disabled people and not enough spots? Do we need more spots? Are we overly-generous with our definition of the word? Do you think there’s a lot of tag abuse? I’d love to know your thoughts. . .

Boy in wheelchair looking off into distance

This was gonna be a great shot--and then he spotted the bus.

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