Monday, December 9, 2013

Super Cooper is 4!

So much has happened since I last wrote on this blog!  I started this blog when I found out I was pregnant with Cooper and did pretty well chronicling his first year or two of living on Earth but time has gotten away from me...

Cooper turned 4 on November 1st and 2013 has been quite the doozy for him.  He had a surgery in March to repair a hernia.  He was diagnosed officially with Autism in August (more on that later in the post) and he has surgery next week to repair a PDA (heart murmur) that still hasn't closed and is enlarging his heart.  But, through, it all he has kept his smile and loving spirit! 

He continues to receive speech therapy twice a week and occupational therapy once a week.  He's also attending a special needs preschool four mornings a week and is doing really great in the program.  He loves his teachers and is learning every day! 

He uses an IPAD to communicate as he's functionally non-verbal.  He's a whiz with his IPAD and I'm just beyond thankful that this technology exists!  He also uses sign language but daddy and I are really the only ones that can interpret them as he often morphs signs together. 

The Autism diagnosis wasn't a huge shocker for us and we were prepared.  We've been researching and observing Cooper closely over the last couple of years and it was apparent that there was more going on than the Apraxia.  Just because he can't converse doesn't mean that kids shouldn't exist to him which was the case with Cooper.  He's quite social with adults but doesn't relate AT ALL to other kids (because he can't).  He's extremely loving and communicative with my hubby and I and other trusted adults but kids that are mildly on the spectrum can be.  He does have moments where he's in his own world and has quite the list of "quirks" (some are cute while some are not).  We've worked really hard on some problem behaviors such has head banging (which was a huge problem earlier this year so much so that I couldn't trust him to stand next to other kids) with brushing/joint compressions and being very aware of when he's going into sensory overload.  He's come a long way and we're looking into getting him into ABA therapy and we're always twerking our home program. 

Cooper is the light of our lives and despite all the daily challenges of raising a child with special needs, is an absolute joy to be around every day.  He loves trains and Curious George.  He loves to "read" books, especially Pete the Cat books, and we have a weekly date at our local Barnes and Noble to read books and play on the train table.  He is a ladies man and loves to give hugs.  He's such a big kid at therapy (he's been going 3 times a week at least since he was 6 months old!) and walks up to his therapists, takes their hand, waves goodbye to me and he walks off.  He's also at that age where he wants privacy in his room and will tell me "no" and wave bye and if that doesn't work, he'll just take me by the hand, lead me out of his room and then close the door.  He's too big for his britches some days, haha! 

I know all Coopers have the nickname "Super Cooper" but my Cooper truly is just miraculous.  From surviving a terrifying pregnancy, being born at 31 weeks and all of the challenges that he's endured since coming home while still maintaining his resilient and loving spirit despite it all is something to brag so I do, all the time ;)  He's simply fantastic!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Cooper, Junior train inspector

Cooper was invited to a friend's 3rd birthday party a few weekends ago and it was held at a train museum!  This place is every little (big) boy's dream!  To say that he had an awesome time would be an understandment! 

We even got to take a ride on a real train! Fun!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

History buff...

Coop is such a history buff and is always pestering us to take him to historical landmarks.  Ok, that's not Coop, that's me but he does enjoy a good afternoon trip to take in local sights, lol...

Kennesaw Mountain and battlegrounds...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A day at the museum

Chuck and I took Cooper to Fernbank Natural History Museum a few weeks ago and loved it.  It's really the first time that we've gone as a family of 3 so that was fun.  You see everything different when you're seeing them through the eyes of your 3 year old.  Is that dinosaur in the lobby impressive as an adult?  Why yes, but it's spectacular when you see your 3 year old break into this huge smile and his eyes become the size of saucers, lol...


"I'll be right here, mommy, just chilling with the T-Rex"

That's the look of awe that I was discussing earlier :)

The interactive nature exhibit was Coop's favorite...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Playtime with Daddy

Coop has a great daddy!  The look on Cooper's face when Chuck gets home in the afternoon is priceless.  These two play together all evening, it's like I no longer exist when daddy gets home but I've had him all day so I can share :)
One Sunday morning, we took him to a local indoor play area and even though it was a madhouse (note to self, never again go on the weekend) the boys had a great time.  It was the easiest visit to this place for me because I just took the pictures, lol...
Follow me, daddy!

Doctor and Daddy

Cooper is such a nurturer!  He loves, loves, loves babies and is such a big helper around the house.  I've been trying to foster this loving and nurturing side of him because I have no interest in having one of those boys that only wants to get dirty and wrestle.  I understand that the wild boy side also needs to be fostered, hence I don't stop him from doing the obstacle course on the couch, lol, but I do want him to understand the positive sides of being a gentle boy at times, too...
He received a doctor's kit for Christmas.  Ironically, his favorite part is giving you a shot which goes against the whole being "gentle" thought behind this gift, lol...

Coop got this doll for his birthday.  This baby talks and pees in his diaper (oh, and he's anatomically correct!) but mommy doesn't put water in his bottle anymore.  That doll can seriously pee and soak through his diaper, lol...But, Coop loves him and hugs and kisses him daily.  He's imitating what happens to him every day!  :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Finding Nemo

Coop is finally getting to the stage where we can watch a movie and he truly understands plot and isn't just watching things move on the screen.  One of his new favorite movies is Finding Nemo so that's the game that we play when we go to the aquarium.  I purposely make the Clown fish tank our last stop to keep the game going which is smart mommy 101.
Coop and a sea dragon. Aren't they both cute?

Coop and this penguin were having a moment, lol...

The big viewing wall is my favorite spot in the aquarium.  It's really a sight to behold and it's this view that makes me love this place so much!

Merry Christmas!

This will be my last 2012 post because it's just embarassing!  So, I have to document Christmas, at least, right?
Coop was exciting about his new monster shirts and want to put them on immediately... 

His grandparents gave him the Big Wheel.  He's still learning how to pedal it but loves it when I push him on it, lol...

I must've been a good boy because look at all this loot!

Coop investigating all the stuff in his stockings...

Monday, February 4, 2013

A visit to Pittsburgh

We made our Christmas trek to Pittsburgh the second weekend in December and had a lovely time.  We were hoping to see some snow while we were there so that Cooper could play in it but it just rained the whole time!  I wish that my in-laws lived closer because Cooper really loves seeing them!
Three generations of Nolf men :)

He can find a Mickey ornament on any tree, lol.

My mother-in-law makes about a dozen different Christmas cookies and Coop was a huge fan of that tradition :)