Wednesday, June 29, 2016

I Spy with my Malingering Eye...

In the fall of 2015, the 1st graders in elementary had their regular eye and ear screenings by the school nurse. I never knew anything about the screenings until later in the school year when Kaitlynn brought home a note from the nurse. The note stated that Kaitlynn had failed her eye exam at school on 3 separate occasions, so we were asked to take her to an eye doctor for a follow-up exam.

When I first read the note, I just assumed Kaitlynn had "failed" the exam because she didn't understand the nurse's instructions. As in, maybe she read the wrong line of the chart or read from the wrong direction. I kind of laughed it off, and I even texted my girlfriend about how Kaitlynn somehow managed to screw up the eye test, ha! My girlfriend was shocked by my callous attitude and told me I should probably take it more seriously.

Properly scolded, I tried to casually ask Kaitlynn a few questions about the eye exam and whether she had trouble seeing anything. She is not the most articulate communicator at times, so I ended up feeling more confused and actually wondering if she might truly have a vision issue. Jeff and I made up a makeshift eye chart and had Kaitlynn stand back to read us the letters. She struggled a bit and eventually revealed that she couldn't read ANY of the letters. The letter were quite large and from the distance she was standing, she should have easily read them all. Jeff and I were stunned.

How could we not have caught this issue? I felt AWFUL but I tried to keep a nonchalant attitude in front of Kaitlynn. I told her that we would go see an eye doctor to check her again to make sure her eyes were working as expected. I tried to drop the topic until our appointment, but we were quite worried. Every now and then, I would ask Kaitlynn some questions about whether she could see or read certain things, but I always received mixed responses leaving me more confused.

Finally, the day arrived for Kaitlynn's appointment. She sat down in the big chair and seemed perfectly comfortable and not a bit nervous. The nurse came in and began showing Kaitlynn some letters to read, but it was clear right away that Kaitlynn wasn't seeing the same thing we were.

The nurse was patient with her and switched to pictures for her to describe. Kaitlynn still wasn't describing them accurately despite the nurse showing the largest pictures on the screen. The nurse used all her tricks, but then decided she needed to take the exam a step further. She had another nurse come in to dilate Kaitlynn's eyes so they could look at them through the fancy machine (no idea what it's called). After having Kaitlynn try to read different pictures through the machine on 3 separate occasions, it was evident that Kaitlynn still couldn't follow the directions asked of her by the nurse.

At this point, the picture was becoming more clear with Kaitlynn's exam. The nurses weren't saying anything, but they were "on" to her. Back in the exam room, the doctor came in and continued the exam. Kaitlynn was still all over the place with her responses, cheerful but evasive. I had a bit of a smirk on my face, and finally, the doctor turns to me with his diagnosis.

"She is what we refer to," he says, "as a malingering patient." At my confused look, he continued. "We see some patients with these results... perhaps she has a friend with glasses and she decided she wanted glasses as well. Most patients like Kaitlynn will try to 'trick' the school nurses and then once they are at the doctor, they will start telling the truth. In your daughter's case, she is sticking to her guns. But she is fine, her eyes are perfect. 20/20. See you in 2 years for a follow-up."

In other words, she's a FAKER! Oh my goodness, this girl!! The doctor was so gracious with her, not officially calling her out but delivering his diagnosis gently. Kaitlynn seemed unfazed.

As we left the office, she asked, "So am I getting glasses?"

"Nope," I replied. "The doctor says your eyes are perfect!"

"Awww!" she responded in a disappointed tone.

What am I gonna do with this girl?!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Thanksmas 2015

We had another great trip to Michigan for our annual Thanksmas celebration. This year, Collin wasn't able to join us due to his work schedule in North Dakota. It's never the same when we aren't all together.

Goofing around in the rental car.

This year we didn't have our usual snowy Michigan weather. So we made sure to snap a picture of this patch of snow while we were out one day. Ha!

Connor's 4th grade curriculum at school included the study of Native Americans. So of course, when we saw this elaborate tree carving of a Native American in Saugatuck, we had to stop for a pic!

Kaitlynn and Lennyn loved playing with baby cousin Roslyn.

The ultimate toy for Connor, a cardboard box.

Boxes were a big hit all around. Love these sweet girl cousins.

Santa hats for our annual Christmas caroling.

Connor and Kaitlynn's favorite part of Thanksmas -- the gifts!

Another Thanksmas tradition, Jon and Jeff peeling potatoes.

The weather was crisp and cool, perfect for some cousin playtime.

The big girls tackling a gingerbread house project.

And now, moving on to gymnastics. Headstands all around!

And now for a bridge! Love these girls, oh-so-cute!

After all that hard work, they needed some refreshment from the pantry, a.k.a. pantry shots!

Courtright boys enjoying some play time in the basement.


Courtright brothers, Jeff and Chris.

The rental car wasn't quite big enough for the Courtright/Spencer clan. Don't tell the traffic police that Jeff snuck in the back!

The Courtright/Spencer clan at dinner. Such a nice time!

Nope, he sure didn't sleep on the plane ride home.

We are so thankful for our family gatherings at Uncle John and Aunt Patti's home in Michigan. The fun and family bonding time are memories we will cherish for a lifetime!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Reading and Texting

In the fall of her 1st grade year, Kaitlynn really took off with her reading. She enjoyed the variety of library books from school, and she worked hard to convince her teacher that she was ready to read chapter books. It warmed my heart to see and hear her reading with confidence.

Love this sweet moment -- Kaitlynn practices her daily reading by sharing a story with Connor.

Reading before bedtime.

After-school reading time.

Taking over Mommy's office for her reading time.

With her growing reading skills, Kaitlynn quickly escalated to writing. Or more accurately, texting! Oh, and making lists. Two VERY important activities in a 1st grader's life, ha!

Her new favorite activity -- texting!

Using Jeff's phone to text me. Emojis are a common form of communication, ha!

Her most important to-do list of all time!