Monday, August 29, 2011


I've mentioned before here that we've been a bit worried about Raf's speech and language development. He's still not putting 2 words together and, while he seems to understand a great deal he can be a little selective in his understanding. A couple of months ago I called CDS and they suggested we come in for an evaluation. So last week we took the trek to Norway for his appointment.

Honestly, I have been very nervous about the entire thing and as we drove an unknowing Raf to his appointment I was sort of regretting it. Although we have no concerns about Raf's cognitive abilities, motor skills, or emotional and social skills the assessment looks at all these dimensions in addition to the speech and language. So when we got there we were introduced to 4 people, each assessing a different aspect.

The actual assessment was completely fine! Basically Raf played in a little room with all of us in there and the assessors interacted with him in varying degrees. The speech pathologist was fantastic with Raf and soon Raf had really warmed up to him. Raf was incredibly sweet, and although they couldn't get him to do everything (things he can do quite easily but he had no interest in doing then and there), they saw enough to draw some conclusions.

First, in the social and emotional department he did very well. He was shy going in (he had also just woken up) but he was very friendly, and toward the end he was having a fine old time playing silly hats with two of the CDS people. One of the other assessors commented on his sense of humour, and all of them said how sweet he was. I was very proud of Raf.

He also did great in motor skills. The woman did comment that he lies down to play a lot, but the speech pathologist noted that it seemed as though Raf was just enjoying being on the same plane as the toys he was playing with (especially the cars and trucks). She also couldn't get him to do a few things - which she said would bring down his score once they wrote their report - but really nothing at all to be worried about.

The speech pathologist was really helpful. He didn't think that Raf required any services and that he was probably just low/average in the language department. He had some very useful suggestions and helped us understand why he might be a little lagging in this area. During the assessment he had noted that Raf kept on returning to one particular truck which he was filling with bricks and Raf had also had a bit of a meltdown when the guy was trying to get Raf to look at something when Raf was really wanting to play with a particular toy.... this led him to suggest that we work on increasing Raf's flexibility. I'm not sure if this is a big issue but we'll certainly try to mix things up a bit.

Finally, the cognitions woman also felt that Raf was fine. Again, in the scored report he'll score lower than we would expect simply because he didn't do everything she wanted him to do. That, and some of the tasks were language based...

So it was all good. It was a relief that Raf is in the realms of normal for language and speech and good to hear that he was doing very well in all other areas. I did almost cry when they did their summing up as I was very proud of little Raf, and he seemed so vulnerable as everyone was watching him, especially since he had no idea what was going on.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


The end of summer is looming... classes begin next week and Raf will be in school more often. He is loving it, but, you know, it is lovely to see him blooming but also a little heartbreaking that he is growing up so fast.

The one thing that makes it all so much easier, though, is Raf's very affectionate nature. He is the biggest 'kisser' I know! Kisses, kisses, kisses... He likes to kiss Rich and I at the same time so he holds out his arms (one directed toward each of us), air kissing - until we go over and jointly give him a kiss. In fact some meals are very long because we literally have to kiss him after every mouthful.

Actually, in the middle of writing this blog I went upstairs to help put Raf down (difficult night) and after every page we read we had to stop for a kiss.

Of course the day will at some point come when the idea of kissing us is simply mortifying, so for now we'll really enjoy it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Terrific Twos!

Wow. Raf is growing fast and is actually a bit of a monkey - as all 2 year olds should be. He is such a funny boy and has such a fun sense of humour. Yesterday we drove down to MA to visit the Ikea store they have there. We planned to leave in the morning to time some of the drive with Raf's nap.. well, of course this didn't work out quite as planned. He was tired as we went into the store and whilst it was a bit challenging, he still was funny as we walked around the showroom. At one point he climbed on a showroom bed and tucked himself in by pulling the duvet up to his neck and lying down!

Here are a few new things...

1) When we walk the dogs in the evening, Raf INSISTS on walking the dogs himself. It is very funny to see as he is just deliriously happy as he drags the poor pups around, but that happiness can dissolve into despair if a) the dogs don't do what he wants, b) he drops the lead, c) a car comes and we grab his hand/pick him up. Today he was almost inconsolable as a cyclist went by and Sammy started barking like a lunatic... Screaming child and yapping dog. What happened to our nice relaxing evening walks.

But look at how cute they all are!

2) As regular readers know, Raf does adore his trains. Right now, though, he loves an audience as he plays with them. Alas, the trainset it set up in the spare bedroom and when he wants you to watch him (ALL the time) he has a new thing whereby he grabs your hand - or, if a hand is not available, a skirt, trousers, etc) and runs - dragging you along after him. He is VERY insistent.

3) At any given moment Raf is a second away from desperate sadness.. well, not really, but he does give a good impression when he really wants something but it's not forthcoming. It's a little bit heartbreaking and I have to admit that I have engaged in a lot of lazy parenting lately to deal with these outbursts. I need some extra strategies when he has a really hard time coping with his strong emotions. Honestly I would say he is on the pretty mild side of tantrums when he has one, but I do want to help him out more with them so if you have tips and ideas I'd love to hear them!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Summer Catch-Up

Goodness me, I haven't written a blog in almost three weeks... thanks to Rich for holding down the fort. It is a shame I have been so remiss as Raf continues to be so much fun. He has been pretty sick the past couple of weeks with bouts of diarrhea, a cold, and perhaps some teething. We're lucky that he remains fairly good natured.

So what have we been up to?

It has been a challenging summer. Rich has been doing an intensive summer class which means that he has to spend a lot of time in class and studying. Every weekend for the past few weeks has involved studying for an exam or writing a paper, so Raf and I have been trying to find adventures on our own. We've been to the park many times (Raf loves to feed the ducks)...

We've been to the lake, gone for walks, visited Borders (which is very sadly closing) and done many rounds of grocery shopping. Raf is getting pretty independent and loves to help with shopping. When we're in hannaford he likes to walk around putting things in the trolley, and in Trader Joe's he has enormous fun pushing around his own trolley! In WF I blackmail him with cartons of soya milk to sup on as I restrain him in the trolley... running around WF is always a bit nightmarish when you're on your own. Here he is running around TJs!

Raf continues to love nursery. Drop-offs are easy-peasy (famous last words) and he has so much fun when he's there. His teachers - Sonya and Jenna - are fabulous and every day that he's there they write little journal entires. Rich and I just love to read them! He loves jumping, yoga during circle time, as well as playing on the slide outside. The most funny entry described how Raf eats politely and carefully and how his friends have started to copy him! It's so funny because he is not a polite eater at home! Other things include how he likes to sleep with his shoes... !

We've also been busy with house stuff. Last week they broke ground on our new place and last night we drove by and saw they had dug the foundations. It was very exciting. We're hoping to be in our new place sometime in November.

Whilst we've had some very lovely times this summer, it has also been a very sad time for us. Very sadly we were expecting another little one but discovered a couple of weeks that the little bean didn't make it. I will try and write a little post about it soon because it would seem very sad to me not to acknowledge this little life even though it's common to be very quiet about these things. After all we got to see the little heartbeat twice, and for a while we were so happy and excited for Raf to have a little sibling. People have been very kind but it's a sad time, too. Thank goodness for Rafi!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Continuing the watery theme - we've had some guests in Rafi's plastic pool - a quartet of small frogs! They have turned up overnight and seem very happy in there. As Rafi got home from nursery we showed him the guest frogs and he seemed quite happy with them and has gone up to the pool a couple of times to look at them - seemingly not scared by their presence - though they hide themselves well around the edges whenever we get too close. Not sure how you go about moving them on - or reclaiming the pool with our wildlife friendly intentions - perhaps they just move on at the right time...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Water Grand Slam

Bringing Raf up in Maine - where we are surrounded by the sea, lakes and rivers - the importance of Raf being comfortable in water as a stepping stone to swimming is a big thing for us so we feel less stressed/anxious as he gets older knowing that Raf could survive any watery experience. At the moment he loves the water of all types and whilst he hasn't gone under the water except for a sneaky one-foot rogue wave at Sebago Lake which went over the top of him - he continues to head for any water, sometimes with his red lil' crab inflatable under his arm. He has been in the sea at Ferry Beach, Saco, the lake (many times) at Sebago Lake - pools indoor and outdoor plus on Sunday the Saco River - which completed his water grand slam for the summer! The Saco River is a beautiful river that starts in New Hampshire, going by our new favorite spot at North Conway before it snakes through western Maine where it loops by our house at a few spots before hitting the ocean at Saco, not far from where we'll hopefully be living by Christmas. One of it's local access points is at Limington Rapids (we also call it the Rocks) - where given the recent rain levels it can either be pretty calm as on Sunday or can be a quite dangerous. We use to take Kiltie down there and he loved to run around a small wooded area - he gave Alex the slip once and he also fell into the river once that lead to Alex jumping in to rescue him - luckily it was the boggy inlet side and not the faster running side.

Raf loved the river - there is a sand bank at one point and you can walk out quite far in two feet of water - it was warm in places too - a lovely unexpected dip in a beautiful river made our Sunday also since it's about five minutes from our house. If and when we move - we will miss the quick access to this old/new beauty spot - swapping the lakes and rivers for the sea, though just happy that Raf loves the water and he'll be swimming before long - which will help his parents relax a little!