Friday, April 29, 2011

A Special Community

The day I started this blog, was the first day I took a deep breath, somewhat a sigh of relief, or a sigh of acceptance more to speak, over Aiden's deafness. It was after spending days upon days reading many other's stories reassuring myself everything was going to be okay. It was the day I said to myself, "OK, here we go." I started this as a journal, not only for myself, but for others. I wanted to be true to myself and to anyone who followed my emotional and physical roller coaster, of what was to be Aiden's story, on our journey to help him hear and speak.

I open(ed) my heart, sharing my deepest thoughts, heartaches, simply.amazing moments, lessons learned, milestones reached; sharing each small step taken, each set back, each triumph, has all helped me release my feelings. It was (and still is) my best therapy. In the same sense, I wanted to reach out to other families who were going through the same thing (whether before me, with me, or after me) - I wanted to be a part of a community who knew what I was going through, but even more so, to give back to a community that helped me see the light and provided me the strength I needed to move on.

I hope(d) Aiden's story would provide someone a sense of relief, a sense of "it's ok to cry my eyes out and say this all sucks!", a sense of HOPE that their child (or grandchild or niece or nephew or friend) may hear and speak one day too.

I want(ed) to provide an avenue of lessons learned and resources, but more than anything I want(ed) to provide the truths of a journey that is not an easy one, not a quick one, yet a simply.amazing one with a lot of hard work and true dedication.

Every once in awhile I'll receive comments on my blog, comments on Aiden's You Tube videos, a Facebook message, or an email from a new parent/professional/relative. Sometimes the emails are asking specific questions, sometimes they're thanking me for sharing Aiden's story, other times they're introducing themselves and their journey; a lot of times they are filled with emotion and I wish I could just reach out and hug the person. Each one touches my heart. Each one means a lot and I can only hope that my words back provide some sense of relief and guidance. There is a whole community out there once you become a parent or relative or any acquaintance of a deaf child. A whole new community to take a hold of and never let go.

We provide each other support and hugs when another is down - whether it's someone just starting the journey or it's three years into the journey and it's just one of those "I know my child's deaf and it still sucks" kinda days; and we provide each other high fives and more hugs when a child meets a milestone; we share tears in both happy, sad, and angry moments; we provide each other ideas when we feel like we've hit a brick wall. We watch each other's children grow up. and most of the time, we've never even met, but friendships are made, relationships are built ... ones that I truly cherish and know will last a lifetime.

we provide each other our arms of acceptance that, "I know exactly what you're going through and I will always be here for you," that not everyone looking into our world truly understands.

This community is beyond amazing.

I received a message that touched my heart on Facebook a little while back. This amazing person is from Italy and had been following Aiden's journey. As I read her message to my husband and mother-in-law, I was moved to tears. Here's a little piece of it.

"... my nephew was diagnosed only last march (he was 18 months old ) with profound hearing loss in both ears. He was born deaf like Aiden. Six months of hearing aids followed with practically no results and then last October he received Cochlear implant in his right ears . He has been hearing for 5 months by now and we have made good progress: he turns when we call his name and he's starting to say something ( vowels sounds, “pa” “ma”) He can hear now and that really is amazing and a miracle but sometimes it is so hard. ... I am so worried about him ... I would like to be able to find listening activities that may interest him and help him to speak more, I would like to be able to do much more to help him and his parents in this journey toward sounds and some days progress seems so slow ... then I read Aiden's blog and you can't imagine how this help, how encouraging it is to read about your journey and Aiden progress and success and well I really would like to thank you so much for sharing all this ....
I posted Aiden's video on my facebook homepage since it is so encouraging and I wanted my brother and sister in law ,and everyone else who don't know anything about being deaf, to see it and what amazing miracles can happen with a lot of hard work. You have a great family, Aiden is a lovely fantastic boy and you are a great mom and I really want to say thank you thank you thank you :)"

My eyes leak whenever I read this. One, it takes me right back to the beginning days, but even more so, this is a woman who has so much love for her nephew and has taken the time to research, to understand, to LEARN, to reach out in this vast support community. She is his aunt (his AUNT!) who has become one of this little boy's biggest advocates! I don't know this family, but I know this little boy is one lucky child to have an aunt who loves him so much and who will stop at nothing to help him hear and speak. HOW AMAZING IS THAT?!? and that's why my eyes leak.

and that's also why I love being a part of this community and being able to give back through our story.

Here's another message I just received this morning on Aiden's You Tube page from the video I made for Aiden's first hearing birthday, From Silence to Sound.

"This is absolutely adorable! I have hearing aids and have had them since kindergarten, and I've always felt different from everyone else. Until, of course I got to know my aunt who is also hearing impaired. But, even still, that feeling still remains, just at a slighter level. This little boy has given me an inspiration though. He has showed me that it's okay to be different, because that's what make you, you. Thank you so much for this video! :)"

and this is why I write, why I share Aiden's story through words and video. Not only to be a part of an AMAZING support group and for my own therapeutic benefits, but even more to see how his story is giving back, ENCOURAGING, providing HOPE and INSPIRATION, just as so many others continue to encourage and inspire and provide hope and guidance to me.

and for all of you, I am thankful.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ten on Tuesday (or Thursday - late again!)

C'mon Spring!

1. I am right in the middle of cleaning out the kid's winter clothes to see what they need for Spring/Summer. I am so blessed that my mom is a wonderful end of season shopper and all the loot she gets the kids for the next year. Aiden is totally set with tons of outfits, Kailyn just needs a few pair of shorts, and Ryan, well, he's another story.

2. Ryan's getting at that age where I don't even want to buy him anything because I usually have to bring it right back. I did buy him some nice cargo shorts and polos the other day and was surprised to see him wearing them to school. He's such a basketball shorts with t-shirt type of kid. He looked so handsome and I choked up at how much my first born is growing up (and has now surpassed my height - oh my).

3. Less than 7 weeks left of school until summer break. Where did this year go?!? Do you realize I'm going to have a 10th grader, a 5th grader, and a preschooler next year?!? Where does the time go?!? I'm not old enough to have a 10th grader! lol

4. IEP #2 is on the way. We won our fight with Kailyn's school and they finally tested her. We're thankful she does not have a learning disability, but the tests did reveal some other areas of struggle, which I'd been trying to tell them about all along. Why do some districts assume they know your child better than you?!? So effin' frustrating.

5. We had a beautiful Easter! Aiden had so much fun finding all the eggs. Unfortunately though, the Easter Bunny hid Kailyn's basket in the oven and in my hurry to get brownies in before church and before the kid's got up, I turned the oven on without realizing the basket was in there. Thank God Kailyn's daddy turned it off before it was totally preheated and nothing caught fire, BUT in the end, Kailyn's big 'ol chocolate bunny looked like the Wicked Witch of the East and was nothing but feet. Not cool (literally).

6. Funny story #2: The day before Easter I took the kids to the mall and stopped to see the Easter Bunny. While waiting, Kailyn whispers, "So mom, are you and dad really the Easter Bunny?" to which I tried to ignore in a line full of little kids and nonchalantly changed the subject and started talking about the cute baby in front of us. Kailyn then asks, "So mom, how do babies get in your belly anyways?" No more long lines with this girl.

7. Bella has an ear infection. Do you realize how NOT fun it is to try and put drops in a puppy's ears? She bit the vet. Thank goodness she worships me enough not to bite when I put them in. Guess the old saying is true, "Never bite the hand that feeds you."

8. We are loving Aiden's school! After a few weeks there, Aiden knows his days of the week (we've also been doing them in AVT and at home)! He recites them from Sunday right up to Saturday and when asked to find one out of order, he points right to it! Also, everyday when we leave he'll tell his teacher (Mrs. J), "Bye-bye J!" So cute!

9. In a couple weeks Kailyn will be making her First Holy Communion. This is a sacrament that is typically made in the second grade, but with all our moving the past couple of years, Kailyn's making it a little late. It has worked out perfectly though, because my niece (and Kailyn's BFF) is making hers this year too. SO my SIL and I are in the process of planning a nice celebration for our gals and their special day! It's going to be amazing!

10. I've been watching the horrible news about the weather down south and keeping all the families there in my thoughts and prayers. The weather everywhere lately has been insane and I can only hope it calms down for a nice peaceful summer.

Hope all of you have a beautiful weekend!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Listening, Language, and Speech Development: 2 Years Hearing

I haven't posted a speech sample in quite awhile, or really, even given an update on Aiden's language development in quite awhile. I don't have any "official" scores from standardized testing, BUT I do have my "mommy" thoughts, (and a video clip at the end), which I think, are actually more "official" than any test.

As any therapist or teacher starts a meeting with parents, they usually start with the strong points (and if they don't, I'd find a new one) and Aiden has many, but here are a few (or five).

1) Aiden is a genius. Seriously. Ok, maybe not a genius, and I know he's my kid, but the boy is mr.smarty.pants. He has this photographic memory that is utterly scary. He picks up on new concepts very quickly, which puts my mind more at ease because for a word to become part of a CI child's comprehensive vocabulary, they typically need to be exposed to it 100 plus times.

2) Receptively, he is doing phenomenally. He listens better than his hearing brother and sister (mainly because they choose to only have selective hearing).

3) Expressively, he's doing pretty good. His vocabulary list of what he says comprehensively is huge. I don't track it anymore because he's picking up on new words so quickly. He knows nouns, verbs, a good handful of adjectives, prepositions, articles, plurals, etc. and uses pretty much all of them in the proper context. He does a pretty good job enunciating single words or two words together. He's communicating his needs and wants and is definitely vocal. BUT .... (list of "buts" to come after all the non-worries).

4) He does a great job discriminating different environmental sounds and has great auditory comprehension skills all around.

5) his voice quality is good. There are times I worry about him sounding a bit nasally (which could mean he's getting too much high frequency input), but I keep my mind at ease through his AVT and his school teachers/therapists that tell me he has wonderful voice quality. He also has no problem imitating different sound durations (being able to hold a long sound - i.e. baaaaaaaa vs. a multi-syllabic sound ba-ba-ba. Six months ago, this was very hard for him. He could hold a long sound for a short time and only repeat up to two-syllable short sounds - ba-ba, which had a lot to do with his breath control and his low tone) and different tonal ranges (deep vs. high, whisper vs. scream - which screaming has become his newest favorite thing to do).

Now onto the "buts". Don't get me wrong, I believe Aiden is coming along WONDERFULLY. I really do. and how positive is it that he's speaking at all! BUT, in the same breath, I have my worries. This journey definitely comes with struggles and roadblocks, everyone's is different, but nothing we won't conquer.

Here are my mommy observations:

1) Aiden's just not much of a talker (except in church). While he plays, he talks to himself, as he walks around the house, he talks. So I should say, he's not much of a conversationalist (I know, it seems like a lot to ask). He's almost like his mind is constantly racing to stop and just talk. He's not one to ask questions (yet) and doesn't have a lot of conversational speech going on. He is just starting to answer simple "w" and how type questions. He's definitely mastered the "yes/no" question asking phase and has a perfect sounding "yes" and "no" (this step typically has to come before they'll start answering the "w" questions). Right now he does a lot of imitating, almost as if he's gotten too used to all of us modeling everything for him. The good thing about this though is he imitates me when I expand on his one-two word phrases. For example, he'll say, "wow truck!" and I'll say, "I see the truck. It's a big yellow dump truck!" and he'll repeat back, "see yewow dump truck!" He's getting there.

2.) Most of the time he talks in one to two word phrases, but we're starting to hear him put three and four words together more and more and speak more directly with us. The other night he asked me, "Mommy, bears please?" (he wanted to watch the three little bears on my computer) and he asked WITH the proper intonation so I knew it was a question. this was definitely a first (usually he would say, "bears mommy" or just simply, "bears.") my eyes leaked.

3) When he does combine more than two words, his articulation gets weak and jumbled, as if he's mumbling (he does this too with a word that has more than two syllables). We understand him, but a stranger walking down the street would probably only pick up on the first word or two. Our immediate family (gmas, aunts, uncles etc) is starting to understand him more though and have shared how he's come such a long way in the past six months. He sings songs, and I hear that tune in his voice (thank you God!), but it's hard to understand what it is he's singing. His speech can sometimes sound "lazy", if that makes sense.

4) He has trouble with his bilabials (/p/, /b/, /m/, /w/ (which is caused by low tone in his cheeks and lips) among a few other early sounds he should already have (like /t/ and /d/). (NOTE: I'm not including sounds that even a typical hearing three year old wouldn't quite have yet, like /f/ or /k/ etc. What's funny though is Aiden says a perfect /s/ and /sh/ and most of the other s blends.) There are times he says these perfectly - sometimes in isolation as when we do CV (consonant-vowel) syllable practice, and sometimes just in the beginning, middle, and/or end, depending on the word. For example, he says a PERFECT, clear as day, melt your heart, "mommy", but milk, is still "Nilk". He also says a PERFECT "baby", yet when he calls our dog Bella, it's "Dewa". The /p/, is usually perfect at the end of words (pop is "op", stop is "stop") but is completely absent in the beginning and middle of words (no matter how hard I try, I cannot get the boy to say apple, it's "ah-le".) We know he can repeat these sounds (so it's most likely not a mapping issue), but when paired with different sounds, it's either easy or difficult (like, "boo" and "moo" are very hard for him to say - yet he repeats a perfect "oo" or "ba" or "ma" in isolation). This not only has to do with poor lip closure, but also breath control and having to put multiple steps together (in the brain and orally) to produce these (see #5). Even in all this, he says "chocolate" pretty close to perfect. Go figure.

5) He has motor planning issues. THIS site provides brief examples of the different speech motor planning disorders. Aiden definitely fits into the "Sensory Processing and Motor Planning" and "Movement Execution" areas. I believe once we get our arms around this and his oral motor (he uses his teeth to talk a lot), he'll start taking off, which will then lead to more conversational type speech.

So yes, Aiden is definitely hearing and UNDERSTANDING us. He is also speaking, with some articulation set backs (oral motor) and some trouble putting what he knows together in order to voice his thoughts and create simple conversation (motor planning). He gets it though, and he'll get there.

Yes, I am SO PROUD of him and how far he's come.

Yes, I'm still worried, I'm sure to an extent I always will be, but I will not lower my expectations for him.

and yes, I know that one day Aiden will get there, and this is HIS journey, these are HIS steps. He gets it (he really is mr.smarty.pants) and he's WELL on his way, at HIS own pace.

Here's the latest speech sample I have.

Note: I had a lot of trouble with Overstream, so I included the video uncaptioned and captioned. I hope one or the other work. and don't forget to turn off the music!

This video was taken about a month ago, right after his third birthday (the day we were going to celebrate it though), and about two weeks after his second hearing birthday.


Friday, April 15, 2011

For the Love of Talking.

yes honey. we all hear you.

As I mentioned in my previous post, Ryan's Confirmation was this week. We try to bring Aiden to church, to teach him what it's all about, but I have to say, for my own peace of mind, Aiden's daddy often keeps him at home.

So, let me set the scene. Catholic masses are typically just under an hour. Special masses, such as a Confirmation, can last up to a good hour and a half. We first sat in the "baby friendly" section (you know the part that is out of earshot of everyone else - you can hear the priest but no one inside can hear the babies), but then were told about an open pew, right behind the Confirmation class, so we went ahead and took the chance. We were smack dab in the middle of the church. As soon as we sat down, I handed Aiden his bag of books and when that didn't suffice, my iPhone (minus the volume, and which btw, he is totally addicted to).

and still, Aiden talked. and talked. and talked. When I would "shhh" him, his grandma would look and smile, but not say a word. He wasn't screaming, he wasn't being unruly, he was just - talking. Most of the time loudly, sometimes he'd actually listen to me and use his "whisper" voice. When they played music he would loudly hum along like he was singing; actually he would do this when the whole church was completely silent too. When his daddy would stand up, he'd yell, "Daddy, sit down!" and his daddy would have to sit down to get him to be quiet. When we'd take him to the "unruly kid" part of the church, he'd scream, "NO, INSIDE!" until we headed back to the pew.

Ryan and his aunt (who was his sponsor and therefore sat by him towards the front of the church) heard and even turned around a few times laughing. People around us - some smirked, some didn't; some smiled, some just stared. I didn't care. It was my oldest son's special day and I was going to be as close as I could to see it all and anyways what three year old doesn't talk in church? Well, that day it seemed to be only my three year old.

On the way out, as we laughed about it, my mother-in-law said it best:

"How can you shush a deaf child in church when you're so blessed that all your prayers have been answered that one day he would hear and speak?"

Amen to that mom!

and I just have to know, do other CI/hearing aid moms and dads out there have a hard time "shushing" their child as much as I do? I have to admit, I SMILE very big every time I have to do it. Maybe that's why he never takes me too seriously.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ten on Tuesday (or Wednesday)

1. So I've skipped a few Tuesdays, but like I said, I'm not too great at keeping up with things like this ... just like I haven't posted a Wednesday Workout in awhile either. I do like these though because I feel I can summarize so much in one post. In the same breath, it takes away from me sitting and writing a more detailed one too. With our schedule lately though, these are great!

2. I'm throwing this post together quickly as I have so much to do (who doesn't?) Details below.

3. I talked to one of my sister-in-laws on the phone this morning for TWO HOURS! We talk nearly everyday. Everyone needs someone like this in their life - where you can talk and talk and talk (and laugh), and typically about nothing at all, and before you know it, two hours have passed. I can say though, while I talked, I also got two bathrooms cleaned, the downstairs dusted, and all beds made. Multi-tasking baby.

4. My mother-in-law and another one of my sister-in-laws are coming in today for Ryan's Confirmation tonight and then on Friday my SIL from #3 above and her family are coming in for the weekend (hence all the cleaning). Which is really why I should get off this computer and finish cleaning this house; but that two hour conversation wore me out and I needed a break. ; )

5. Have you heard of Pioneer Woman? Well, I found her photography blog looking for tips and am in awe with her talent. I couldn't find my mom's sheet cake recipe this morning, so as I looked up a recipe for Chocolate Sheet Cake (Ryan's favorite, and it is his special day so he gets a BIG OL' SCRUMPTIOUS CHOCOLATE CAKE - damn I need to get off this computer!) low and behold, I found out that this amazing photographer cooks too! I'm really going to love her site! (her recipe is similar to mom's yet a little different and they're both from Wisconsin so I'm sure it's just as DELISH!)

6. Aiden has finally figured out that he will not win our morning wrestling matches and has taken a completely opposite stance. Now he can't get enough snuggles or kisses. It makes our mornings so much prettier. All other behaviors are still the same, except he's added performing skateboard like tricks while in the bathtub like the walls are a half-pipe (is that what skaters call it?). On the plus side, the kid's bathroom floor gets wiped down every night. He's a maniac.

7. This is Baby. He is HUGE. His brother Bonesy (or Bonz) is just as fat (and believe me, it's not all fur, the cats have "muffin tops".) I really need to get these tub-a-lards on a diet now that winter is over. Especially with mousing season coming up.

8. I can't believe there is only NINE MORE WEEKS of SCHOOL! I'm not ready for summer! Although, I am getting very excited about our upcoming trip HERE. More to come in a separate post.

9. I was going to write a bit on Aiden's school, but I'll save that for another post. Who knows when I'll get to it, so I'll just say his teacher tells me he's talking all the time. Love it. This Friday they're putting on a little program for the parents. His class is singing "Five Little Monkeys Swinging from the Tree". He's going to be one of the monkeys - imagine that!

10. Do you ever have one of those moments where you feel God throws something in your lap right at the time you need it most? Yesterday I was driving along thinking about my dad (his birthday is coming up) and how I wished he was here for Ryan's Confirmation (and next month for Kailyn's First Communion). He was a very proud Catholic. He loved his religion and he'd be so proud of his grandkids. and I cried. and cried. and cried. and I got ANGRY he was taken from us so early. I was feeling sorry for myself. I miss him. TERRIBLY. Then last night, I was looking around the Internet and found this photography website (again in search of tips and ideas). What I didn't know is that I'd stumble upon the other blog she writes. She lost her brother and her baby. Her strength is amazing. Her words are amazing. Her FAITH and BELIEFS are AMAZING. This woman.IS.amazing. Her story gave me that boost I needed - cherish what you have (and I truly do, it was just one of those days). After I read her blog (and cried throughout), I went upstairs and gave each of my kids the biggest kiss on their head - you know the kind you just sorta hold on to and don't want to let go. I'm so blessed to have what I have. Enjoy today, kiss your kids and your husband, call your siblings, mom/dad out of the blue and tell them you love them, just because, you never know what tomorrow will bring.

I hope you enjoy your week.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


(where I want to be)

Right now I am sitting at Starbucks. Alone. in an overstuffed comfy chair. Just me, my coffee, and my laptop. with nothing to do but enjoy. I have an hour before I have to pick up Aiden and whisk him off for a good hour plus drive for an AV appointment. I can't remember the last time I was in this type of situation. peace.and.quiet.

As I drove here my mind was calm, not racing like it usually is. I remembered back to when I was young, when I was constantly trying to define what kind of person I wanted to be, what career I'd hold, how successful I could possibly become, working for a big corporation downtown Dallas, if I worked hard at it. what my future looked like.

and I smiled ... or more like smirked ... and laughed at myself.

Because today, in my (later) thirties, I am finally reaching the point where I feel comfortable with me and where I'm at. I've learned that the person I am wasn't going to be predefined in my young twenties, but defined through life experiences and lessons learned along the way. I've learned that success isn't defined in how far up the corporate ladder you climb or dollar signs (although nice). I'm comfortable with my foundation, I'm peaceful, and

I LOVE my life.

Am I where I thought I'd be in my 20's? Hell no. In my 20's I was pure career. Finance major from a big 10 University on my way to becoming a successful business woman. I loved being married. Motherhood - definitely, stay at home mom - never.

and what does my resume look like today?

stay at home mom, soccer mom, speech therapist, cook, house maid, taxi driver, vet, nurse, psychologist (remember, the best therapy is free), moderator, wife, mother, daughter, sister, sister-in-law ... and the list goes on.

and (most days), I absolutely love it.

Today I got teary eyed. Teary eyed as I thought about who I've become and the family I have. I wouldn't change my current resume for the world. Nothing.Nada.Nilch.

I count my blessings

Believe me, there are still days I search for ways to get our from under it all and find ME again. There's definitely stress in my life. It happens. The important thing though is knowing my alone time is just as important as my family time and not to forget about me.

and that's exactly why I'm sitting here at Starbucks, alone, just me, my coffee, and this comfy chair.

cherishing the moment.

cherishing my life.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Testing the Waters at Three

Has anyone seen my sweet little boy? Because I had this sweet two year old, but I think someone stole him and replaced him with this three year old who is testing every.little.thing lately. Oh, and this one comes with tantrums too. Oh yay.

As a mom of a kid with CIs, many things run through my mind. I wonder if his map levels are off - too soft or too loud, which both can be a cause for not hearing clearly and behavior problems (for my non-CI parent followers, remember Aiden hears through electrical stimulation. A "map" sets limits to these stimulations in order for Aiden to hear the softest sounds as well as comfortably loud sounds. Each map is individual to its user and can change over time which is why we frequent the audiologist). Another thought that always comes to mind is his receptive and expressive language. Is he understanding what we're saying to him? Is he frustrated we're not understanding everything he is saying to us?

I'm pretty sure his maps are fine. He repeats all lings perfectly. His speech is the same. He shows no physical signs of the maps being too loud (such as his eyes watering and/or twitching OR him not wanting to wear them). But then again, he was recently "turned up" and has said a couple random times (with a smile on his face and covering his ears), "It's too loud!" But he says it with the simplest of things, such as when Ryan, Kailyn, and I are talking together. Then there's the opposite spectrum where I'm having to repeat myself many times to get him to listen. I call this three year old selective hearing though.

I know he's understanding us.

For example, yesterday his sister was laying on the floor watching Disney channel. Aiden was playing beside her, picked up one of his toys, and threw it at her to get her attention. His daddy stood up immediately, told him to, "Come here," which he did, then told him he needed to sit in time out for hitting his sister. Aiden, without any physical direction, went directly to the steps (his head hanging low as he knew he was in trouble) and sat down. After his two minutes were up, his daddy called for him and told him he needed to tell his sister sorry. Aiden went right over to Kailyn, gave her a hug, and said, "I'm sawy."

This morning I nearly had to sit on him to get him dressed and ready for school. He did not want to take off his pajamas, get dressed, get his shoes on, etc and fought me tooth and nail with everything I tried to do. A solid 40 minute tantrum. Do you know how hard it was to put him on a bus after all that?! Part of me couldn't wait for the bus to drive away with him and part of me wanted to sit down to hold and hug him to make it all better. He fights going to bed (which he's really never done before), he tells us "no" to everything we tell him (and I remember being worried he'd never say NO - oh my), he's not eating his dinner, taking him to any type of store where I can't strap him down in a cart is completely out.of.question, and the list goes on.

I think I have a very active three year old who is showing his age, his attitude, definitely testing his limits, and is trying to take over my household.

I think Aiden is VERY strong willed and VERY strong physically. Whew, he nearly won that wrestling match to get him dressed this morning and it definitely counted as my daily workout.

I think I'm still going to put a call into our audiologist to let her know about the recent behavior changes.

I think I'm truly going to enjoy lunch with the girls today, and I know I'm having a margarita.

Even with all this, I do have to say, the sweetness is still there. Many times a day, he'll run up to me yelling, "MOMMY!" like he hasn't seen me in years, with a big ol' smile, and his hands held out ready for a hug and a kiss.

I think it's part of his plan to get away with all the other things he's been pulling. Call me a sucker, cause it works.