Sunday, July 22, 2012

Briar Rose needs vision therapy, and other updates

A trip to Mt. St. Helens (no, it's not in the background)
I've totally went on a blogging freeze lately.  I've been on the computer more than ever in my life.  Jay and I chat morning and night most days (the old fashioned way-- on MSN Messenger).  And if we're not chatting, I'm writing him an email that's essentially journaling my day and every single detail I can remember about the kids.  So why blog? 

So, I'm three weeks away from having this baby, barring an early labor.  I had a dear friend pass away the day before my 32 week appointment, and thanks to that and the stress that occasionally surfaces with deployments, I was a sobbing mess when I talked to my midwife.  When I asked to schedule the induction date, the midwife kindly said OK, like she was patting me on the head.  Only now, after speaking to so many other soldiers' wives who've wanted inductions but have been refused them, do I know how lucky I am to have a date.  Maybe it's my very swollen veins and the pain they cause, maybe it's that I asked two months in advance, maybe it's that I need to have a date confirmed so my mom could schedule her flight up here, maybe it's because they felt bad for me because I was a sobbing mess.  I don't know, but I got lucky.  I'll take it.

I homeschool, and I love it, and it's the hardest thing I could ever do.  I am NOT a teacher by nature, and I've been really kicking myself because Liesl has not learned to read.  We'll start first grade this fall, and she is behind with reading and writing.  Sure, I'm to blame for some of it (we did buy a house and move, I got pregnant and sick, and Daddy did get deployed; that's an adventurous year), but for a while now, I've wanted to know if there was something else the matter.

I attended a homeschooling conference in mid-June and was there venting to someone about how Liesl can add three numbers in her head, listen to me read to her for hours, and recall information I've told her about bugs, but she refuses, refuses, refuses to try to read herself.  She complains that it's too hard.  She knows phonograms and can sound out words, but she refuses to practice.  She's had a hard time learning to write.  Etc. etc.  The lady I was speaking to teaches a how-to-homeschool course, and, having encountered this problem before, asked me, "Does she ever skip words or lines?" Yes.  "Can she remember what she's read about?"  No.  "Can she remember words she read on previous lines?" No. "Is she uncoordinated?" (I hate admitting this because Liesl loves being physically active...) Yes; she falls off chairs and can't catch balls.  There are other indicators that I can answer yes to: Does she put her head close to the page, tilt her head, or squint?  Does she take time to sound things out? Does she rub her eyes a lot?  Does she love being read to but hate trying to read?  (Keep in mind that she was seen by an opthamologist last September, and he declared her vision was perfect.)

The lady then referred me to a vision clinic, who gave us a free screening, and they said that Yep, she has a vision tracking problem.  I found a second, more affordable clinic to get a second opinion, and they verified it.  We start vision therapy in October (after she gets used to the reading glasses she also needs).  I'm very excited to start that up, and I can't wait to see the results!

Learn from me: take it as a sign that there's a problem when your otherwise intelligent child can spend an hour looking through a book she enjoys (an animal encyclopedia is just one example) and never try to sound out a single word. Looking back, it's obvious she's had a problem, but like I said,  I was going off of his opinion this entire year. It wasn't until we had her functional vision checked with an OPTOMETRIST that we discovered the problem.

Vision tracking has to do with how well eyes follow something together-- words along a page, a thrown ball, a moving light.  It's an eye-muscle thing, not an acuity thing.  If the eyes can't work together, it takes more work to get words to focus, and if the brain is working too hard to focus, it cannot retain any information.  Hence, she couldn't remember the word LOOK from one line to the next in a Dick and Jane book, nor could she remember what even happened in the story.  It's very frustrating as a parent when you don't know something's wrong.

Playing peek-a-boo

My baby belly makes a good pillow.
Marshall turned two in May and is still the sweetest, most tender-hearted little boy on the planet.  He's discovered a love/obsession for all things automobile (bikes, trucks, tractors, diggers, planes, trains, etc.), and a distaste for all things loud such as thunder, my power tools, and air shows.  He is learning to speak and doing it so cutely.  When the planes were flying over our house during the air shows, he would beg me to come inside.  He even fell asleep on my lap, waiting for the noise to subside.

We sing a lot, and he has a repertoire of over a dozen songs he can sing near pitch-perfect.  He's not actually singing here, so much as singing along, but you get the idea.


Playing with the new Gears! toy.
Mira turned four earlier this month, and she's also grown an inch since Daddy left.  I'm always sad to encounter yet another of my kids' birthdays, and having a fun little girl leave the age of three (my very favorite age) is a bittersweet occurrance. She promised me, however, that she would still be my silly girl. That's true so far, and she still gives me lots of hugs and kisses.


  1. What a fun post JeriLynn. It's nice that you've got an induction all, scheduled!! Crazy times that you will be the mother of 4 soon.

    I love how you explained the whole process with finding out about Liesl's tracking problem. I think that is SUPER useful to moms!!

  2. I am so glad you discovered the eye thing. It is amazing the difference knowing why something is happening can make. What a blessing to have someone point you in the right direction.

  3. Hi Darling. I'm sorry I've missed your posting. It's been...well, an interesting summer with a lot of hospitals involved.
    I'm so sorry about your friend. My prayers are with you. I'm also so glad you get to be induced! When is the date?
    And finally, so glad about the vision therapy! It must have been so frustrating not knowing the problem!