Update on Tyler's eye dr. appt:
Everything went well. The dr. said that he has made some progress. The progress is slow and is happening in very small steps so it is harder for us to see but the dr. assures us that each time he can see some improvement. The first time we went in and when we started doing the patching, Tyler couldn't even see the eye chart. He couldn't even see that there was something there for him to be looking at. Now, even though he can only see the biggest picture on the chart, he can at least see that there is something there. And you can tell that he is trying to see it. As the pictures get smaller though, I can tell that he loses his ability to see it and his eye starts to move around the room and doesn't focus toward the chart.
Anyway, the dr. said that his vision is at 20/80 now and that he wants it to get to 20/60 or 20/40 before he will do the surgery to correct the muscle. Then, after the surgery, it should improve even more. He thinks that we should be to the point of doing the surgery within 6 months to a year and then we will probably be doing some level of patching throughout all of his childhood years. Once the vision gets to the optimal point the patching will only be for 1-2 hours a day to maintain the progress.
I have a hard time not being frustrated because the progress is so slow and I feel so bad that he has to do the patching for so long. I can tell that he is more aware of it now and self-concious of it because he doesn't like it when people notice it or ask about it. He gets embarrassed and hides. He also tells me that he doesn't want to wear it in front of people because he says "they will think I look weird in my patch." I know that he is making progress and I am definitely thankful that we are able to correct the problem. It is just hard to think of his entire childhood years being associated with the patch. The dr. doesn't want him wearing the patch at school - which is good because he won't be embarrassed, but also bad in the sense that it means he will only have the patch on for about 3 hours a day after school. So, it just means that the progress will be even slower because he isn't wearing it as long each day. It's one of those situations where neither option is optimal. Although, I do agree with the dr. that it is better to not have him wear it at school because we also don't want it to affect his learning if he can't see the teacher, chalkboard, etc.
Anyway, that turned into a long explanation, but that is where we are at. My heart just aches for him especially now that he is embarrassed of it. We continue to pray that it will keep improving and hopefully we will see some jumps in progress over the next few months.
Matthew started school. He is in his 2nd year of preschool and he goes 3 days a week this year. His first day was actually August 1st. I am just slow in posting the pictures. He goes to a preschool right here in our neighborhood - up at the clubhouse and he absolutely loves it! We don't know any of the kids in his class this year but I am sure that he will make friends quickly! He is so out-going and friendly. It is pretty much impossible for him to not make friends!
Tyler was the star student this last week at school. We made a big poster with a bunch of photos of him and our family. We also put on there a bunch of things that he loves to do and some of his favorite things.
Here are the things he wanted to say on it:
I like to play with my brothers.
My favorite candy is airheads.
I love to play video games.
My favorite basketball team is the Phoenix Suns.
I love to go boating.
I love to go to Utah to see my grandparents and my cousins.
My favorite movie is Everyone's Hero.
I love sports - baseball, basketball, soccer and golf.
My favorite color is orange.
My favorite food is special pizza. ("special" because it is gluten and dairy free)
My favorite baseball team is the NY Yankees.
I like to read to my brothers.
I love to go golfing with my dad.
He was very excited to be the star student and to show his poster to everyone! He is still loving school and is making lots of friends! His favorite things about school right now are recess and eating lunch there! He thinks it is so cool that he gets to eat lunch at school!
I went to curriculum night at his school last week and his teacher seems very nice. She has a really soothing voice and I think she seems like a good fit for Tyler. They have a positive reward system in their class where they earn "mile marker" sticks for following directions and following the rules, etc. When they get 10 sticks they can turn them in for a prize and then start over again. Well, he has already earned two prizes and is working on his third!
I thought it sounded like a great system so we are doing it here at home now with all three boys. We have been doing point charts and they can earn something of their choice with their points. It has worked well when we are consistent with it but I thought it would be fun to change it up a little and try this new system. We aren't doing it exactly the same as Tyler's teacher because I thought that some prizes should be worth more or less sticks.
So, I bought them each a little silver bucket for them to put their sticks in and they decorated them with stickers and their names. Then I also bought a bunch of prizes - gatorade, candy, coloring book, a dvd, and some other little toys. I showed them each prize and we assigned a stick value to each prize - ranging from 2 sticks (for one air head candy) to 50 sticks (for the dvd). Then I put all the prizes in a big plastic storage bin and we are calling the bin - mom and dad's store. Now they know that they can earn anything in the bin by earning sticks.
The idea is that we are focusing on good behavior and positive reinforcement rather than giving attention to the not-so-good behavior. Even though Nathan is only 2 and doesn't quite get the whole thing, I am hoping he will catch on and that this will help teach him about following directions and rules and about picking up after he makes messes, etc. I also think this will work better than the points since they can see the prizes and they can cash in for the prizes right here at home instead of having to wait so long. We were also just doing big rewards before with the points so it took a long time to earn them and Matthew, especially, would often lose interest. This way, he can earn smaller things more quickly and so I think it will keep his attention better and keep him focused.
Ty and Matt both already have something in the "store" picked out that they want to earn. Tonight when we put them to bed, they were all the quietest they have been in a long time! Matthew didn't come out of his room once and was asleep within 10 minutes! Tyler and Nathan share a room and they usually talk, laugh and play for at least an hour. Well, tonight I didn't hear one word out of Tyler and I could hear Nathan trying to talk to him and get him to play but Tyler just stayed right in his bed and went to sleep so quickly! Then of course Nathan fell asleep because he didn't have anyone to play with! :) They definitely earned their sticks tonight! Let's hope that it keeps working this well!!