If you missed it, you can read Part 1 of this riveting saga here. That was in the early 60’s.
Now here I am in 2013, and I am knee deep in swim lessons again! But, not for me…for Levi. And, not just any swim lessons. These are the ISR lessons, which teach kids from 6 months to 6 years to self rescue if they happen to end up in a body of water. The Center for Disease Control states that the leading cause of death for children ages 1-4 is drowning. But, students who complete the ISR program have a big advantage. Over 40 years of reasearch has gone into perfecting these teaching methods. The children are taught to float…swim…float till they can get to a place of safety. To learn more about the ISR program and what all it teaches, you can find information here. The lessons in Dothan are given by Holli Closson.
Levi had not been in the pool since last summer, and he didn’t know Holli, so it took a day or two before he was comfortable enough to turn her loose!. But soon, he began to understand just what it was that she wanted him to do. She uses a touch method that the children soon learn means to float or turn over and swim or go back to float. He had it down in just 9 days!
He got it! And after only 9 days!
And, here he is in the middle of clapping for himmself! He was so proud that he had done it!
Then came the day, he had to practice in summer clothes, including shoes. This is to see if they can still float and swim with the added weight of clothes.
He did it just fine…
And, he was not happy when that lesson was over and he had to get out of the pool!
He practiced every M-F for 6 weeks! And, by the end, he was doing very, very well! Ms. Holli was pleased, too. Then came the final test. He had to go in the water with winter clothes. He had blue jeans, sox and tennis shoes, a long sleeved knit top. He passed this one with flying colors as well. But, sorry, no pics.
Levi soon got to the place where he was so comfortable in the water. He would get in at the side and push off and just float so peacefully.
So, the course was completed and our daily swimming was over. It was amazing for this grandmother to see all the children in this class doing so well. The youngest was 8 months! Can you imagine? But, she did it! Don and I feel so much better living around a pool, knowing Levi has this knowledge! I try to keep him within my sight when he is with me, but now I have an extra bit of protection in case he were to get to the pool without me. And, I have no doubt that if he could get out of the house, that is exactly where he would go! He loves it so! His other grandparents have a pool, as well. They are as thankful for the lessons as we are.
I encourage you to look into classes for your little ones up to 6 years old. This is a nationwide program and you should be able to find a qualified teacher in your area of the country. Remember it is ISR…Infant Swimming Resource. The lessons are for 6 weeks, M-F, 10 minutes a lesson and one on one instruction. She works with only one child at a time, so she and they will be the only ones in the pool. It could be the best gift you could ever give your child or grandchild.
I talk. I talk too much. I sometimes get in trouble for not keeping my mouth shut, but I just love sharing what’s going on with me with those I care about. (You do know that includes you, my faithful readers.) I don’t know why I think everyone should be interested in what goes on with me. And, it’s not that exactly, it’s just that I like to talk. A lot.
Well, I’m not into making big changes here in the ‘mature’ years of my life. Today, I wish to continue to share with you the story of my grandson, Levi. You walked the way with me as we waited for him to be born and have shared my joy as I have spent days with him here at home. You have shared his birthdays and Christmases with me. He has been such a joy and continues to delight us day after day with his determination and spunkiness! He is a wonderful gift to this family.
We began to notice, when he was 10-14 months old, that he was not verbally where we thought he should be. He was not saying those first words that we were all waiting to hear…”MaMa…DaDa…ByeBye…Go…Ball…you remember. When it was first mentioned to a pediatrician (not his regular one), he said “no problem…he’s just a boy. He’ll talk soon.” His parents and we grandparents noticed how he was often frustrated when trying to communicate with us. He would go to the refrigerator and make sounds…loudly…but there was never any “BaBa”. I began teaching him some very simple sign language. He quickly learned “please, thank you, cookie, more, eat, drink, all done, help. ” He picked these up and soon it was easier for him to communicate with us. This seemed to make him less frustrated. However…it was always obvious to us all that he fully understood all that was said to him. We slowly began to hear Ma and then Da…finally he began to wave bye bye…but not say it. Still, he was not making the sounds that seemed to lead into recognizable speech. He surely tried…always making lots of sounds…but they weren’t the right sounds.
I suppose since I have worked with young children all my life, I noticed it first. And, also, having the history we do with our 3 boys, we know the importance of watching carefully and picking up things early. Early intervention and early diagnosis is what saved Adam’s life. And Ian came into this world fighting to eat and suck. And, we knew if there was a problem with Levi, it needed to be discovered early. Adam and Suzanne are such good parents and have been closely watching Levi. They read with him every night and he knows many words…when they say them, he will point to them. We have all worked with him to get him to speak. And, he has recently rewarded us all with ‘tact-tor’. His Papa rides on one to cut his yard. He’s has his own version of ‘turtle’ also, but I couldn’t express it to you how he says it. It is obvious to us how badly he wants to speak.
When he went to his two year check up, Suzanne and Adam talked to his regular pediatrician about this and fully conveyed their concern, and he suggested that the first step was a hearing evaluation. Levi seems to hear well, but there are times when he doesn’t acknowledge us at all. It’s as if he’s turned his hearing off. But, the evaluation showed his hearing was normal. It was then suggested that he go to a speech pathologist for a full evaluation. And, that was where we found ourselves on Friday.
Because Ian was born with a cleft lip and palatte, he spent much time in speech therapy. But, both my other boys did, too for short times. We were so fortunate to have the therapist that we did. And, even more fortunately, she was willing to take on Levi. We know what a blessing this is and are so excited to have her guiding our sweet Levi.
So, does he have just a problem with pronunciation or a lisp or stuttering? No, none of those and we knew it wasn’t that before we went. He has a disorder called Childhood Apraxia of Speech. Bet you never heard of it. Well, we know lots about it now.
“Developmental apraxia of speech is also known as childhood apraxia of speech. This condition is present from birth, and it affects a child’s ability to form sounds and words. Children with speech apraxia often have far greater abilities to understand speech than to express themselves with spoken words.”
“Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder. Children with CAS have problems saying sounds, syllables, and words. This is not because of muscle weakness or paralysis. The brain has problems planning to move the body parts (e.g., lips, jaw, tongue) needed for speech. The child knows what he or she wants to say, but his/her brain has difficulty coordinating the muscle movements necessary to say those words”. From the American Speech-Hearing-Language Association
“With apraxia of speech a person finds it difficult or impossible to move his or her mouth and tongue to speak. This happens, even though the person has the desire to speak and the mouth and tongue muscles are physically able to form words.”
So, this is where we find ourselves now. We have a diagnosis which is always the best first step. And, so we begin to tackle Levi’s speech. He will require extensive speech therapy for years. Another thing that is a concern is the speech in CAS often aquires a monotone sound with no inflection. So, as we work on the proper pronounciation, we also have to work on the inflection he uses. Inflection to me is like the ‘music of speech’. It is almost like a melody line as we speak normally. The highs and lows we use in our speech (such as in “UH! OH! or BYE-BYE) is like the melody line in a written piece of music. (This is a Tonja explanation. If it doesn’t make sense…consider the source!}
Some children may require sign language on a permenant basis or a word pad that says the words as you type them or touch pictures. We, however, are believing that God is going to help Levi have the best outcome possible! This is not on the autism spectrum or a form of Asperger’s. Levi is very intelligent and quite strong willed. He has a determined spirit and loves to figure out ways to do what he wants. (This sometimes gets him in trouble.) We are, at this point, teaching Levi how to listen to speech. He has to learn that what he hears can be spoken. This seems to be his greatest need at the present…to learn how to listen. Funny thing… I can hear myself saying “You need to listen”…or “Why don’t you try listening?” to my own boys through the years. But, in this case, Levi actually has to be taught how to listen.
We have such a wonderful opportunity here to show just how God works. We had a problem, and at first, we did not know which direction to travel. After prayer, God impressed upon us the need to talk with the pediatrician and to continue on with the followup. When it became known to us that we needed a speech therapist, we knew who we wanted to use, but I also knew she did not take many patients anymore. We all prayed about it and she agreed to see Levi for evaluation and for therapy. Isn’t God good? He is meeting every need as it comes up. I have seen Him do this before. And, since we know that He never changes, He will continue to help us as problems comes up. I do not know about you, but this is one of the dearest truths that I hold onto in my life.
“And, my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of
His glory in Christ Jesus” Phillipians 4:19 NIV
This little boy is so fortuate to be surrounded by family and friends who will be constantly helping him. So we walk this new path with thanks and gratitude for his determined spirit and strong will. We give thanks for his fine hearing and for his ability to learn. We give thanks for the ability to pay for his private lessons. Nothing, nothing, nothing good comes to us by any means other than God. So, Levi will learn to talk slower than most children…and he will learn to talk a whole new way from most children. And, we parents, and grandparents and aunts and uncles will all learn how to help him and encourage and all will be well! We claim that promise!
“Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy
What a fun weekend we have had! Levi turned two on the 29th and we had his party on the 30th. I could tell you all about it, but I’ll just show you a few pictures. Well….maybe more than a few. But, hey! I did whittle them down from 148! The theme of his party this year was Little Red Wagon…be sure to notice his shirt!
Oh and one more for his Lulu…
Betcha can’t guess what his favorite gift was? Took him a little while to realize how to make it go, but he finally got it! However, he did not want to sit in the wagon for a picture like John Thomas! Too busy for that! It was a fun party…Suzanne did a wonderful job decorating and putting it all together!
Two years with this angel…God has blessed us so much, and we are grateful with our whole being! He has brought such joy and laughter into our lives. He can make us laugh even on a dreary day.
“God has given us these times of joy.” Nehemiah 12:43
Someone said to me today, “I check your blog everyday…but there’s nothing new there.” And it’s true. I haven’t written to update my blog in way too long. There are several reasons why. And, I’m going to share them with you. But, I bet you knew that, didn’t you? After all, you did ask, didn’t you? Thought so.
1…..There are few things so vile and dastardly as that cruel, unrelenting curse that is the stomach virus…AKA ‘stomach crud’. We started with sweet Levi. Bless his heart after the vomitting stopped, the diarrhea started. He was with his parents for the vomitting. So, you know what that left for me…the other end! We managed and he got better. But, when Suzanne came home from school a few days later…she couldn’t make it past my couch. She was so sick with it. That same night, it decided to visit Adam. We tried to keep the baby away from them as much as we could. I had day duty and Levi’s other grandmother, Mia, had nights. They eventually got better as well. Then, one night soon after, Don woke me and said he was dying. Only, he wasn’t…he just wouldn’t have minded if he had. Four days dedicated to him. But, on the second day…Alex cheered us with the news that he had joined the Up and Down Club! We were on our 3rd week with this stuff. And, who held out and nursed the others and cheated death by willingly exposing herself to the ‘bug’? That would be moi! And, who succumbed, finally, to the plague that it is? That would also be moi! I should have lost a good 5 pounds, if you know what I mean.
2…..DH and I have been taking care of some out of town business. And, through the process, I have learned something. You should keep your social security card in a safe place. How have I lived these many years without knowing that? Or maybe I did know it at one time and just forgot. Whatever…I did not have it when I needed it. I know I have it somewhere. I have even seen it recently. But, the exact place eludes me. So, the next thing I needed was a birth certificate. I know I have one. I even know where I put it…..right into DH’s hand. Because the last time we used it, he said “Let me have that and I will put it in a safe place with our other papers.” And, I did. I know for positive I did! But, he can not find it. He doesn’t even remember what he said. So, I have had to spend the morning at the Health Department getting a new birth certificate. It’s fine…I ‘m good. But, listen to me, please, and be witness of the fact….I took the certificate to him and then I left it with him. I gave it to him at work, and it did not leave the building with me. I swear and attest to this fact, being of sound mind and all on the 30th day of the month of May in the year of 2012!
3….I’m a big scaredy cat! At least that’s what DH says to me! I don’t think there are that many things that scare me, except lightning, and bugs (SPIDERS). And, drowning or getting so far away from the shore that I can not see it or get to it in a few hops. I can go fishing if we stay right up next to the shore. And, I prefer one of those air conditioned boats with the cover over the top and a cute guy to bait the hook and remove the damage.
Now that it is such a lovely temp here most days….about 90-95 degrees…I begin to think about sweet Levi and how to keep him safe. The pool, she is a beckonning at me…… pulling me in her direction. And, even though it may be considered an assult to the eyes…I will happily don my swimsuit and enjoy the water! And, while I may or may not be a bathing beauty, I for sure am not an expert swimmer. I don’t worry if Adam or Suzanne or DH are here swimming, too. But, if Levi and I are swimming alone…he will be properly attired. Because, you do know don’t you, that ‘water wings’ or ‘swimmees’ or any other such offering are NOT life preservers. As a matter of fact, some very official looking swimming aids have symbols or seals on them. But, it must say US Coast Guard Approved. If it does not say those words it is not a lifesaving device.
While there are lots of swimming aids that are fun to use, be sure not to depend on them to save a life. Here is what I found for Levi.
Here’s the offiicial words from the manufacturer.
The Stearns Hydroprene Life Jacket fits nicely around your infant so they can stay protected while in the water without compromising their comfort. This stable jacket will help them confidently learn how to swim and play in the water while being safe. With a zipper and two buckles they can fasten in comfortably and securely. The PVC Foam Front and PE Back are high-quality and ensures floatation. Coast Guard Approved and offering a grab handle in case you need to lift your infant out of the water, the Stearns Infant Hydroprene Life Jacket is stylish and super cute choice for your child. . Material: Foam, Closure: No Zip Entry, User Weight: Less than 30 lbs., Covering: Nylon, Coast Guard Approved?: Yes, Kidsafe?: Yes, Coast Guard Approval Type: III, Model Year: 2012, Product ID: 267338, Also Known As: Life jackets are also commonly referred to as Life Vests and PFDs (Personal Flotation Device).
I bought this one at Wal Mart. It is manufactured by Stearns and is Model #2000009389. It was located in the sporting goods department…not where they sell the pool toys. These are also available at other stores as well as on Amazon. The one I bought cost less than $30.00.
I wanted you to see exactly what this looked like…so I found the CUTEST MODEL IN TOWN to show you. None other than sweet Levi!
He took to it just fine and after we got it fitted to him well, he just laid back, crossed those feet and floated around! What is so nice about this model is that his head is well supported and even if a wave was to cause him to turn over…the suit is designed to right itself immediately.
*****This is not a paid endorsement of this product. It is my honest opinion and research was done by myself*****
4…..My Pop is in excellent health and does all he can to continue as such. He stays up on all his doctor’s appointments and never misses an appointment. Today, he had some tests run and the results were wonderful! Praise the Lord! Thanks, Pop, for taking such good care of yourself. We want you around for a long, long time!
5…..I love this song. Everytime I hear it, my heart melts a little. I’m not a ‘teary-eyed type’, but this touches me every time. I’m sure you have heard it a thousand times, but look over the words once more. It is the simple things…isn’t it? The blue skies, the red rose, the baby’s cry. Gifts from God, all
What A Wonderful World lyrics
Songwriters: Thiele, Robert; Weiss, George David;I see trees of green, red roses too I see them bloom, for me and you And I think to myself What a wonderful world
I see skies of blue, and clouds of white The bright blessed day, dark sacred night And I think to myself What a wonderful world
The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky Are also on the faces, of people going by I see friends shaking hands, sayin’, “How do you do?” They’re really sayin’, “I love you”
I hear babies cryin’, I watch them grow They’ll learn much more, than I’ll ever know And I think to myself What a wonderful world
Yes, I think to myself What a wonderful world Oh yeah
6…..Now that school is out, I won’t have Little Levi on a regular basis. That is good for his Mom, but sad for me. I’ll miss him coming over early in the morning. I’ll miss his rubbing those eyes to signal time for that morning nap. I’ll miss our luch together and his sweet little mouth awaiting every bite! I’ll miss watching Bubble Guppies with him and trying my best to get a little rocking time in before his afternoon nap. It’s usually a losing battle, for he’s so, so busy now. No time to rock! His Mommy manages to get some nightime rocking in, though, and I’m so glad. I want that to last as long as possible for her!
Suzanne brought him over for a few hours on Thursday and we took a little stroll in the front yard. Alex snapped some pictures while we were on our walk.
7…..I have been busy getting ready for Vacation Bible School at church. It starts Monday week, and I am doing the crafts for all the age groups. I wish you could see my studio floor! I have little piles everywhere! Not complaining…it’s so much fun! And, if one child comes to know the Lord, then it is all worth it!
8…..I love this time of year! And, I love to be outside and feel the sun and the shade and the cool breeze. Life is good and we are blessed. I wish you loads of blessings in the coming week!
That sweet boy who was born into our lives just a little over a year ago has officially celebrated the momentous occasion of his first birthday! And, what a party we had! Attended by most of the family, we ate hot dogs with great fixins and opened presents and sang and had cake and played and laughed and added another sweet memory to our family book.
Oh what fun! Suzanne had planned a baseball themed party and Levi was dressed to fit the bill.
The table had his cute cake, various baseball hats, baseballs, big buckets of peanuts, cookies, chips and all sorts of goodies to coax a big appetite!
Before we ate, we had a sweet blessing of thanks by Pop. What a priviledge it is to stand in a circle holding hands with the ones you love the most! We feel so blessed…and thankful. Here is our sweet Pop, followed by Levi’s Granddaddy Owens and Papa Horn. And, sweet hugs by Levi’s Mia and Lulu. Also attending were Aunt Tara, Aunt Lori, Uncle Ben, and great aunt Joy.
Our eldest ‘little’, John Thomas, came in toting a big package, which was quickly forgotten when he saw Levi’s toys spread across the den floor. So much to explore. The boys were happy to see each other and played well together. Levi was having such a good time he was just dancing across the floor!
After all the guests arrived, Suzanne served us a hot dog lunch, complete with all the great fixing! Then she changed Levi into another baseball shirt, and put him in his high chair. She said something about ‘cake.’ But, poor Levi didn’t know what that was. Besides, she was taking waaaaaaay too long!
“Finally, here she comes! I don’t even know what cake is…I usually just get beans and carrots! It sure looks yummy, though…and just like my baseball, too! LOOK OUT! it’s on fire! Whew! she blew it out.”
“You mean I get the whole thing? Aren’t you afraid I’ll choke or something? I’ll be careful. What’s this green and blue stuff? YUM! I like this!”
“This stuff is good! Now that I’m one, do I get to have cake everyday?” (Sometimes too much of a good thing can be too much!)
And after all the cake got cleaned up…from the boy and the table…the big cake was cut and the rest of the party got to see just how good it was. We agreed with Levi…but we ate a little neater!
Then, it was present time! Levi wasn’t quite sure what to do, but caught on quite quickly when his daddy showed him the ropes…or the ribbon.
“I got a wheel ! What does it go with?”
“Levi! Levi! Wait! You don’t know how to ride yet. Let me show you how!”
“Well, I know how to ride this boat!”
“Uncle Ian, am I supposed to eat this stuff?
“Maybe I’m ‘spose to wear them! Yeah! that’s what they’re for! Wait till I figure out these shade glasses and then I’ll really look cool!”
And, after a little ‘tummy time’ with Granddaddy, the party came to an end. Hugs and kisses all around, we went our separate ways. Paper and ribbons strewn across the floor, Levi was content in Mommy’s arms with an armful of ribbons to chew on.
And, as I looked at the pictures I had made after I returned home, I was reminded of how thankful I should be. What a wonderful son Adam is, and such a sweet and caring father to Levi.
He is one of those ‘hands-on’ dads, and that makes me very happy. A very wise father he is, as well. He married the perfect girl to be his wife and mother to his children. What a sweet family they make. And, they are blessed with an available extended family to make sure they are doing it right….(Just kidding) We are blessed. We “praise God, from whom all blessings flow…”.
I am a Christian woman who has survived many years on the planet. God has blessed me with a wonderful family: husband, 3 sons, a dear DIL, and a precious grandson. I also have dear friends to keep me inspired. I am an artist of sorts and am finding my way through the great blessing of retirement. I recently retired after 20 years as a music teacher. Life is good!
"All your sons will be taught by the Lord; and great will be their peace." Isaiah 54:13
Read their stories... Adam Alex Ian