Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I took this video of Riley watching Signing Times. It is his absolute favorite and pretty much only thing he will pay any attention to on the TV. It usually buys us a few minutes of freedom where we know just where he will be. As you can see he is glued to it. I am totally and completely amazed at how many signs he has picked up just from the videos. He was signing something at me the other day and after looking it up I discovered he was saying school. Enjoy!


  1. I was delighted to find something new on the blog. He is just amazing in a million different ways. gramma

  2. He is just too cute! I'm glad you found something he likes on TV.

  3. Signing Times???? My wife and I must be the only ones on this blog that thinks that by having Riley focus primarily on signing, it undermines his ability to use/practice on verbal skills as his primary way of communication.

    When Christina and I were taking care of Riley, we would emphasize using words rather than signing. Like all children, including children with special needs, they will always take the easiest way out. The shortcut. We know what the purpose is behind teaching Riley to sign, but he was learning new words and using them all of the time. Talk, talk, talk. And now for some reason signing apparently is his forte'.

    When Riley started walking, he just didn't stand up one day and walk across the floor. It took a tremendous amount of effort on his part. Practice & Repitition were essential. Love, dedication and patience. He was CHALLENGED! And guess what? He PERSEVERED!

    The therapists at the Guild School seemed to be the only people to show any appreciation or give any words of encouragement and support us for Riley's accomplishments. That goes for his speech as well.

    Riley isn't deaf and he is so much smarter than he is given credit for. It saddens us to think that he is being intentionally limited on his abilities and that is a shame. To sit him in front of the t.v. to have a few minutes of "freedom" is unbelievable!

    There was a segment on "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" on HBO, that showcased a young man with Downs. He and his family were from a small town in either Mass. or Conn. and the premise of the show was that when his parents learned that their son was going to have D.S., they made the decision that they were going to raise that boy normally, like they would any other son, and maybe, by some kind of chance, their son would be self sufficient, and confident. What a concept!

    Their son went to regular school, all the way through high school. They didn't expect the state to take care of, educate, strengthen, teach, coach, or whatever. They took on that responsibility. He also loved sports and was accepted on the Varsity basketball and soccer teams.

    Was he the best player they had. Well, of course not. But when the basketball team gave him a uniform and he realized he was accepted on that team, that meant the world to him. Then, they had a practice game against the other team during half time especially for him to play. We both had tears in our eyes. To see him dribbling the ball down the court and MAKING his shots against the other team. He was definitely the star player.

    His friends loved him and he loved them. And the most important part of his story was that he actually received his H.S. Diploma. He GRADUATED! Hopefully, Lord willing, some day, we will see Riley TALKING intstead of signing. He can do it. He just needs to be motivated. But that also takes motivation!

  4. Hey Ron, keep your idiot comments to yourself. Yes I realize this is a blog and is open for communication, but attacking our parenting methods online is cowardly.

    Do you have a child with special needs? No. As a matter of fact do you have a child right now at all? No your wife is pregnant, which by the way we are very happy for and wish you nothing but the best for a safe and healthy pregnancy.

    That being said however, how DARE you comment on how much Mary and I think he can achieve. Signing Times isn't a way for us to limit him, it's a way for him to communicate with us because he can't always tell us what he wants. We would be limiting his abilities WITHOUT it.

    Do you live in this house? Do you see him on a daily basis? Do you see the achievements he has made over the past several months? Are you one of his trained therapists who is encouraged by his progress? The answer to ALL these questions is NO. A big fat NO.

    He is challenged DAILY to speak more words by not only us but by his babysitter and his therapy at the Guild School.

    Words cannot describe how upsetting your little uninformed rant has gotten me right now. Go back to your TV shows while the rest of us live in reality.

    Lastly, I want to personally thank you to all of you who show support to Mary through this blog or just simply read it and find some of it helpful. Your words count for more than you can ever imagine.

    Thanks for your time. With BOTH our boys the sky's the limit so keep reading Mary's blog to see them learn and grow.

    Riley and Rex's Dad,

  5. Justin, I am just stating the facts. I think you are forgetting that my wife watched him for 8 months. She is the one that primarily took care of him during that period. She is the one that worked with him daily. She is the one that sent me the video of him taking his first steps without any assistance.

    The videos of him saying words. Riley's accomplishments at that time were of no interest to you or Mary. It was all old news. No big deal. "Oh, he always does that". Or,"He's been doing that for a while now".

    Is that why the Guild school was surprised to see his accomplishments at that time or were they just being polite and acting like they were suprised.

    We treated Rex and Riley as if they were our own. We did for them above and beyond what was expected and what kind of appreciation was shown?

    Well, for starters when you and Mary interviewed us, you wanted this relationship to be more than just a babysitter/parent one. You guys wanted it to be more like a family one. Well, we weren't invited to Rex's or Riley's birthday parties.

    There was never any WRITTEN OR VOCAL form of gratitude what-so-ever when Christina found out that she was pregnant. When she was sick she told Mary that she would still watch Riley, if she could just drop him off over here for a time being.

    No! That was the end of it all and on to the next "babysitter". In the meantime, you were asked to come over and pick up Riley's belongings. No phone call from Mary saying anything at all. No thanks for this, that or the other, and nothing since except when you couldn't find a babysitter for the kids so you and Mary could go see the Shock game.

    Then we get there at 6pm and the kids haven't been fed and Riley hasn't had a bath. Since then, not one word. Nothing to see how my wife is coming along latley with the pregnancy. Not a WORD. My wife has reached out to Mary on numerous occasions and maybe once Mary has replied, but just very brief and to the point.

    Nothing but complete silence It doesn't take a certificate in developmental training to figure it out. Common sense/courtesy is a large part of it. Now how's that for a rant!

  6. Sorry everyone he's obviously off his meds and this is the LAST thing I'll post about this. He's not worth the time. I apologize with how juvenile this has gotten.

    Let's all move on with our lives and have a great weekend!!!


  7. To everyone who reads this blog:

    No, I do not need, nor take meds to deal with life, or any other psychological issues. Besides, if I was on meds, I don't think it would be Justin's position to tell everyone I was taking medication.

    Justin, I gave you the opportunity to end this dialogue last night and apparently, you chose not to. It says your last blog on here is your last, so if you stick to your word, I'll stick to mine and this will be my last.

    What Justin isn't telling everyone is that he called my wife's phone and left this profane laden tirade directed toward me after my second blog, so as you can imagine, when your 6 months pregnant and you here some babbling, screaming person in your ear, that could tend to startle a person. Now that was "juvenile"

    I was out feeding the goats when she comes out with this blaring through the phone. Justin I wanted to call you back but my wife wouldn't let me. She hid her phone and erased your number so I couldn't call you back. You really scared her, So again I ask, please don't call her phone again.

    I sent you an email on your sassy kibbe acct last night and you must not have received that email because you chose to keep this going on here.

    Everyone, please continue to watch and support Rex and Riley on here and watch them grow and learn more challenging and new things. This is a good website and it is nice to see the boys on here when we can. Most of all, pray for the whole family.

  8. Oh boy. I HATE when people who THINK they know everything comment on blogs. I first want to say that Riley actually has a ton of words, and verbalizes WITH every sign. Just like the THERAPIST (ya know the people who actually know what they are talking about) teach him and my daughter to do. Signing is incredibly important, it is a way of communicating. You act as though Riley was speaking in sentences when Christina was watching him, give me a break. As I said Riley has a LOT of words, more and more everyday.

    The walking thing, again give me a break. My family spends a lot of time with the Kibbe's. They are nothing but WONDERFUL parents who are doing an excellent job with their children. We spent MANY of hours practicing walking with Riley while our families were hanging out.

    The Guild schools excitement, ya, they do that with everyone.

    When Christina was sick I'm pretty sure she called in sick for a week and then on Saturday called and said Mary would have to drive Riley to your house (not for the time being, it was more like Ron doesn't want me to drive out there anymore) and that would take about an hour, so was Mary supposed to spend an hour driving Riley out there and then go back up the hill to take Rex to school. Seriously??? They were left in quite a bind with no notice.

    As far as Justin goes, how dare you, Justin, call and defend your family when someone slams you (on your wife's blog no less.) Don't you know when someone slams you you are just supposed to sit back and take it : )

    When, Ron, your child is born, IF it has a disability then feel free to comment. Sitting your child in front of an educational video for a few minutes so that you can you know take a shower or go to the bathroom, that's something parents do, when you become one maybe you will figure that out. If you were looking for a fight you got one. NO ONE on this blog is going to give your rant any worth. You're an idiot, keep your stupidity to yourself.

  9. Ok.... I have to make a comment on here too. I usually don't, but here we go. I am a parent of a child with autism. He is nine years old now. We got an "official" diagnosis when he was two years old, even though I knew things weren't quite "right" well before then. He had been qualifying for services since he was 10 months old. That has given me SEVEN years to learn about autism. It has also given me SEVEN years to LIVE with autism. Any parent with a child with any type of disability can tell you that it totally changes your entire world. Everything you knew from before gets thrown out the window. When you have SEVEN years under your belt, it gives you plenty of time to reflect back upon what you have lived through and I can guarantee you, I wouldn't change a single thing. Chance has brought life into our homes. He has changed people's lives in our community. What a blessing and positive thing AUTISM has been in our lives.

    At 10 months old, they started teaching him sign language. He learned several basic signs and even at age two, his only verbal words were "uh oh". TODAY, I can't get him to QUIT talking! What a blessing those hundreds and thousands of hours of therapy and work it took to get him to be able to do that. As with Riley, verbal speech will come! Signing is a stepping stool. And a wonderful blessing to be able to know Riley's needs.

    It amazes me when people who don't have children find it so easy to judge those that do have children. I remember having dinner with a couple who didn't have any children and we were relating stories of our two boys and the wife made several comments on "Oh, when I have kids, they will NEVER do that!!!!". I just smiled and kept my mouth shut.

    Fast forward five years and she has two boys and is adopting a special needs child from China. She has since changed her opinion from they will NEVER do that, to they ALWAYS do that!!! :)

    That is life and that is how it goes. We need to live it and have experiences and grow from them. It is what you call maturity.

    Ron: You really believe in what you are saying right now. In a few years, you won't feel this way.

    I have come to love this blog. I read it all the time. Through this blog I have found other blogs of mom's with children with special needs and your words uplift me and inspire me and thank you so much for posting them. You are wonderful parents. (Tsquared417 and Kacey Bode, I love you and don't even know you)!!!

    Justin and Mary: You TWO are amazing parents. Not just to Riley, but to Rex too. Parenting is a tough business and it has been a pleasure to travel along this parenting road with you. Keep doing what you are doing. Live life and enjoy it!!!


  10. I have been following this blog, for awhile know.
    I personally know Christina and Ron, and know the type of people they are.
    They love Riley and Rex and only want the best for them.
    When Christina was caring for them Mary knew that Christina was trying to have a child of her own and seemed to be supportive of that. But when Christina became pregnant. She actually thought she had caught Riley's flu he had the week before, and that is what she told Mary. When the sick didn't go away over night she told Mary she was still sick, and wasn't sure if she was pregnant, Mary still seemed supportive and told her to just take it easy, once Christina found out she indeed was pregnant Mary seemed happy, and Christina told her she was still really sick but wanted to continue watching Riley, if they could work something out. Ron was even willing to change his work schedual to be home to help. Because they Love Riley and wanted to continue, and did not want to leave them without a sitter. It was Mary who chose to end the relationship. After everything Christina and Ron had done for the kids and the way Riley was progressing, you would have thought Mary would have been more willing to make sure Riley was kept secure in his surroundings and with the care givers he had grown to love. After all Morning sickness only last a month or so she couldn't work something out for the sake of Riley.

  11. I think that if Ron and Christina would have came to Justin and Mary and explained their feelings, that Justin and Mary would have done anything to try and fix that.

    Instead, Ron chose to attack Justin and Mary's parenting. And quite honestly, you just don't do that. Parents don't appreciate that and when Ron and Christina are parents, they won't like it either.

    I have known Justin his ENTIRE life. I have known Mary since he started dating her. Well before marriage and kids. They would never hurt anyone's feelings intentionally. It is too bad they couldn't have addressed it privately.

  12. I am with Bobfosterjr. I don't understand why anyone would call out a parent in such a public hurtful way. As for signing being his primary focus-how would you know what the primary focus is if as you said you had no communication with the family in months? You had to have know that attacking parenting skills would get a response like you got. I just hope with your child you don't get judged in the way you judge! As for the comment on them only calling for a sitter for the shock game-your wife offered on facebook-Mary never asked her. Not that the even matters. As for trying to make it work for your wife watching him?? Working moms have it hard enough when they know what the day will hold. Having a sitter who may not feel well is not the best for the kid or sitter! And is Mary suppose to call in sick when ever it just didn't work out for Christina? Working moms don't have that luxury. Please think before you decide to challenge ANY parent like this!! Oh and this is the person who was Riley's sitter for WAY longer then your wife!!!

  13. Hello from Florida! This is from Great Grandma Elsie, Aunt Judy, Uncle Roy and Grandma Debbie. I want to express how greatful we are that Mary takes the time to keep us in the loop when we are so far away. Whan we purchased the Signing Times video it was after the Guild School Suggested that they are benificial. I am so impressed with Riley's progress. Mary and Justin are amazing parents and make us all proud every day. We celebrate Rex and Riley's accomplishments and the video of Riley allowed us to see how much Riley loves our gift and how much of a difference it is making in his life.

  14. You better believe I'm commenting...No kids yet & you're judging someone on letting him watch AN EDUCATIONAL video that is helping him communicate more fully with those around him?! Absolutely not! You're acting like signing is this appalling habit in which Riley is being taught. Are you against bi-lingual families? Because that is what sign language is, a LANGUAGE!!! Frankly, I was shocked by this thoughtless comment, Mary is part of us via my sister so I don't talk to her like she does, but just from her blog & in general, it seemed as though they found your wife to be a God send. Shame on you for judging Mary & Justin on their parenting style! They are wonderful, loving parents...I'm a little thrown by your accusation that they are dismissive to Riley's accomplishments, as Mary CALLS my sister long-distance whenever new & exciting things are happening in BOTH they boys' lives. Frankly, it sounds as though boundaries were overstepped-I watch children myself, and you better believe when they were coming upon milestones such as walking or crawling, if I wasn't certain they'd done it for mama yet, I wasn't shouting from the roof tops what they'd accomplished for me. Yes, as a childcare provider, you get a lot of time with these kiddos, pardon Mary & Justin for providing for their family, but you do NOT replace the role of the child's parents just b/c you provide childcare. Are you an important part of the child's life? Yes, absolutely, but don't for one second think you know what's better for this kiddo or love & support him more than his family does. Good luck on the perfect parenting you seem to think you've got in the bag before your child is even born.
    Mary, Justin, Rex, Riley, we love you over here, looking forward to the next post & visit!

  15. Okay, I don't usually comment on these things, but I feel the need today. I think it is important that we understand development. Due to Riley's physical limitations (large and thick tongue) he will not be able to communicate verbally as fast as children without this issue. That being said, it is imperative that children learn to communicate during a certain period of brain development in order for them to have good verbal skills in the future (including reading, writing, language). Therefore, the therapist at the guild school is encouraging Riley to sign so he is able to develop those neural pathways for future use not just so he can communicate now. I think it is important that we do not belittle parents and educators for what we don't understand. In addition, this blog is proof that learning to speak instead of sign first still does not help people who refuse to use effective and appropriate communication to resolve issues (i.e. not a blog).

  16. oh yeah, I wanted to add.....

    Did you know that "typical" babies are taught to sign? *gasp* How on Earth do they ever start speaking??? You do not have to be deaf to use sign language. The fact that you made that comment shows that you have no idea what the hell you are talking about. I guess that Christina must have forgotten to mention to you that at the Guild school they TEACH Riley how to sign, as well as all the other kids. The congrats and happiness when she took him to Guild school were for Riley NOT for Christina.

    No one is focusing primarily on signing, which is why words are said with the signs.

    I also wanted to say that Riley has had a "language explosion" since Jan. Maybe that is from his new love of watching Signing Times, OR maybe it has to do with his new sitter.

    Everyone knew that Christina loved Riley, that is not in question. However, like I said, it was not an option for Mary to drive over an hour for childcare just to drop him off. I was with Mary during this whole process, it was clearly stated that RON did NOT want Christina watching Riley at Mary and Justin's home. The rest of the working world had to go to work when we were pregnant and had morning sickness, at much more physical jobs may I add. Christina is the one that chose to change things. Mary was not bitter at all about it, even though it took her a long time to find a new sitter that she liked. In fact Mary was still very happy for Christina because she was pregnant and had wanted to be for so long.

    The comment made about it being "unbelievable" that Mary would put Riley down in front of an educational video for a few minutes of, do you plan on carrying your baby with you when you have to use the bathroom, how about when you are in the shower? Surely you wouldn't set it down in a crib or put it in a swing, right? That would be so unbelievable.
    I have been stewing about this all day. I can NOT believe Ron wrote those things. Honestly he is lucky he only got a "profane laden tirade" I don't think I could have been as nice as Justin.

    Ron, you're an asshole. Christina, I hope you have a perfectly "normal" baby, if not you are in trouble because your husband thinks he knows more than the professionals. Good luck.

  17. I love my cousin Riley =]
    And he is very smart.. he also has GREAT parents who have done an EXCELLENT job raising him...


    I also love Rex very much too

  18. Mary & Justin -

    Auntie just has to chime in here. You keep doing what God is leading you to do with precious Riley... and Rex! You have the full support of your Texas auntie and uncle - you know that. We love you all dearly!

  19. Holy Smokes!! I didn't know all this was going on earlier when I saw you at the Guild school. Sorry, parenting is hard enough with out being judged and attacked. As for Riley, what a cutie, and I have commented to Kacey a number of times on how great he's doing. I got a kick out of him calling "DAD!" at school today. I haven't known you long, and I don't really see you much, but I do hear about you all the time from Kacey. I'm glad you all are friends and can share so much while raising your amazing kids (all four) I remember when you stopped by here on Halloween and Riley was taking several steps by himself and everyone was SOOOO excited, and how Riley was so proud of himself and how he laughed and laughed. And thank goodness for sign language, because it would be really frustrating trying to communicate with Ella without it. And she always signs while trying to say the words. Several months ago we were at a store together and she pointed to a little bird and signed and said "quack quack". It was the first time she had done that with me, without any prompting and it brought me to tears. Now she does it all the time. It is truely inspiring to me!!!!! Keep doing what you're doing and keep your sense of humor because you can't let the negative stuff get you down.

    Ella and Hunter's Nana

  20. I haven't read through all of the comments, but am simply commenting on the first attack.

    First of all, I think it is comical that someone who apparently knows the family would come on here and say something like that. What a GREAT supportive person you are!

    Anyway, look at the research. Only uneducated people think that signing will take away from verbal language. If you read the research, you will quickly find that signing enhances verbal language!

    And take my daughter for example. She is 3 1/2. She has DS and she doesn't have many spoken words. She doesn't have a lot of signs either, so your argument is mute here. She has the INABILITY to speak verbally like we would like her to at this point. So what do we have if we don't have sign? NOTHING.

    I could go on and on, but just because you watched this child for several months hardly makes you an expert. READ THE RESEARCH. Every child with DS is different. Spoken language is NOT going to come any sooner if the signs are dropped.

    So essentially you are saying don't give this child the means to communicate. Now THAT is an injustice.

    One last thing .... sign is always always always accompanied with the spoken word, hence the fact that once they have the ABILITY to say the spoken word, they drop the sign. It is the natural progression and it is how it works.

    PS...It isn't "...young man with Downs" ... it is "young man with Down syndrome". Just to be clear.


    Now I've read more before I published my comment and I see this has turned into "my feelings are hurt for how you treat us...blah blah blah...and now I'm using this to attack you". What do your personal issues have to do with sign language? Keep it private.

  21. I, too, have known Justin all his life and have watched him grow up to become an awesome parent. He and Mary are INCREDIBLY involved with providing Riley the opportunity he needs to develop all his potential. From the outside looking in, no one knows how much time and energy and FOCUS that takes, meanwhile working and raising another child as well.
    If we are going to urge prayer, as their detractors have, then I urge everyone to pray for the couple who are casting stones. Soon they, too, will be living in a glass house (parenting their own.)

    I love you, Mary and Justin (and Riley and Rex!) - Aunt Sue

  22. Thought for the day:

    "I have never been hurt by what I have not said."

    Calvin Coolidge
    (30th President of the United States)

  23. huh. Dang, wish I had known signing leads to a kid who doesnt talk. Are you really, really sure, though? cause my kid never shuts up, frankly. she dropped the sign as she got comfy talking...boy, did she EVER get comfy talking!!

    About that tv as babysitter thing? Guilty. Should I enroll her in therapy, oh wise one? Cause we watched Signing Time, Barney, even Sesame street!!! (You wanna call CPS, or should I?) I feel so bad that she would be stunted by that little bit of tv time. Wish I had known you then, with your 8 months of child care (days) for a background, SURELY you know more than I...or her doc...or the therapists who thought she was actually...GASP!!!...LEARNING....from Barney. why, I distinctly remember them saying she knew MORE than a typical 2 yr old in sign. They MUST be wrong, though, cause, you ARE a professional babysitter and all.

    Truth be told, I shoulda bundled her up and made her watch me shower for that 15 minutes in the morning. maybe she would have invented the next fandangled razor for women, or a shower curtain that doesnt tear when a 2 yr old hangs off it. How cruel I was, in retrospect, to take that time to collect my thoughts and plan my day!! A frazzled, unwashed parent is the best parent, dont ya know!

    I am just so ashamed. How DARE I not call to congratulate the dear dear folks who seemed to be celebrating life WITH us, all the while keeping unwritten score about the audacity of my shortcomings? It isnt possible that those people, to whom we entrusted our children, could be petty, cruel, superficial, self-righteous, aggrandizing idiots. No way they thought every last ounce of good that came from our kids was directed and produced by them. Maybe babysitters should be renamed SUBparents, or...coparents? That might get messy, though, cause even on days when you dont feel well, you HAVE to parent. The bills get a bit outrageous, too, half of those cant be cheap. Sleepless nights, worries for the future? Gee, sharing those would be awesome! You might need to readjust a bit, though, as of now it seems all you want or take from COPARENTING them is the glory, the kudos, and the applause of grateful therapists. There is another side to it, just sos you know. In time, you too will get it, you will learn that with the good comes the bad, with the glory comes the heartache, and with the major investment of time, love and energy come the wings that carry the children we love off into their own more kudos, no more applause (actually, I have yet to ever get the sense that anyone WAS applauding ME, here I always thought the applause was for the KIDS! Silly me!)

    Sounds to me like there are some awful sour grapes here.

    Sounds to me like 2 of the paid help crossed a major line and thought themselves too amazingly useful to ever be uneeded. And now that they are, they strike out in ways that prove just HOW uneeded, invaluable, and petty they always were. Heres hoping that when their child is born, someone keeps score. someone that will think they know it ALL, when they cant possibly. and someone who will use the most perfect weapon ever to hurt them, their child.

    OH, rhetorically speaking, of course. Pound sand, asshole.


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