Saturday, January 18, 2014

First updose and other developments

This week Big Monkey had his first updose of sorts. It was very nerve wrecking, but also a very exciting moment. I felt like it was the first moment when we would see if this process was working or not. Just three and a half weeks ago Big Monkey's body could barely tolerate the amount of peanut flour we were on. We spent a week battling minor hives before his body decided to tolerate that dose. So, of course, I was nervous about giving him even more. We approached this updose a little differently than I've heard about before by taking our normal dose and then adding a second dose later in the day. I have no idea how this changes things or makes it easier, but it was doc's orders, so it's the new schedule for awhile. The drawback is that each dose is followed by a two hour "calm period" as we call it where Big Monkey has to stay very calm. It's a challenge to keep an active little guy calm for that many hours out of our day! The good news though? So far Big Monkey is tolerating his new dose very well. So something is working!

Calm outdoor activities that the boys have come up with - brushing rocks
With all the time we need to spend calm we've been trying to focus on school again; however, Big Monkey has had very little interest in school and very little ability to pay attention. I believe everything going on has him distracted and is currently wearing him out. He's been more interested in coloring and building and re-building all his new lego sets, so that is what we have been doing.

Even Baby Monkey has his set of Legos (that we're trying to keep organized!)
However, when we did manage to accomplish a little schooling, we all learned a little. Big Monkey is slowly making progress on learning to read. He surprises me on what words he can sound out now that he has learned the basics. We're using the book "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" as recommended by a friend. What an amazing book that gives real results and is not hard! We love it and Big Monkey even writes me letters by sounding out words. Yes, they are often spelled terribly wrong, but phonetically, he is almost spot on in those letters.

I decided this week that Baby Monkey is ready for more formal schooling. Before the holidays I was allowing him to do more free form activities like building blocks, drawing on papers, and cutting with scissors. He was content with that back then. I was also focusing on basic recognition of numbers (1-5) and letters. He mastered number recognition up to 10 very quickly, but did not appear to be able to recognize more than 2-3 letters. That was fine. Then one day last week he was working on a giraffe puzzle that is put together by putting letters in order. I realized then that he can recognize most letters of the alphabet. He is also demanding "work" in his work boxes and he wants real work like his brother's, not blank papers and blocks. So I pulled out the letter of the week curriculum that Big Monkey used last year and let him start on that. So far, he's enjoying it. He will probably do this curriculum again next year unless he manages to master all the skills before summer.

Baby Monkey also showed me that he can almost write his name! I wrote it for him and he "copied" my letters. Others may not be able to read it, but I see the similarities to the letters (oops! I took a cute photo of this one, but realized it would then show Baby Monkey's name, which is something I will not post publicly on my site).

His coloring also improved 100% overnight. He went from scribbles to this very orderly, color along the lines first and then fill in the insides method. It's quite interesting to watch.

Coloring by outlining first
This past year Big Monkey was diagnosed with a red-green color deficiency (a form of color blindness). I knew I was a carrier, so I had him tested. Basically, Big Monkey can see most colors; however, there are certain shades of green and red that he does not see as green and red. Any color made up of those particular shades of green and red will also look different to him. For example, if a purple color is made from a wavelength (shade) of red that Big Monkey cannot see, then he only sees the blue shade and thinks the color is blue not purple. We had a good chuckle this week when Big Monkey was coloring an apple tree and he looked at me and said, "did I color this green?" I told him no, that it was brown. He laughed and said, "ahh, I thought it was green. Oh well." Needless to say, I help him find the green crayons often.

Big Monkey's "green" apple tree
Hopefully not much will change for a few weeks. I'm hoping no excitement and thus nothing much to post about. Until next time stay warm, stay well, and stay happy friends! 

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