Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

This is our first year that both kids really got excited bout and participated in Halloween -- yay!! James was a puppy (gotta love costumes that last for 2 or more years!) and his sister was a fairy queen.

James hung in there with us for about 20 houses. He loved walking around at night and being out with Big Sister. He said "Trick-a-Tee" at quite a few houses and was very good about saying thank you. The only tough times were at the homes with dogs. Especially the one with a friendly collie. "I want UP!!" Yessir! Irony, how I love you so.

Anything with flashing lights were instant fascination for him. I thought we'd never get him away from our neighbour with a strobe light on his front porch. We did get a splashing of rain after a bit, and headed home. James looked very pleased with himself. I am very pleased -- I know there is no way he's going to eat more than 5 of those candy pieces in his treat bag. Score!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More in SHAPE

James has started working with his new SHAPE person! So now he also gets some special one-on-one time Tuesday, Wednesdays, and Fridays, instead of just Mondays and Thursdays.

I stayed out of James' line of sight in the next room, reading a book. Just to check in that they didn't need me. They certainly didn't. So after about 20 minutes I moved down the hall to my office. It's dusty! Kidding! Kind of!

James' speech is getting much clearer and he is now saying 3-syllable words that others can easily recognize. Um, I think 3 weeks ago he could not do this. He is working on letter recognition and has a pretty good grip on the alphabet. Listening in today made me smile. There is so much more give & take in the verbal process now in his SHAPE sessions. It used to be almost a monologue for his first SHAPE assistant. He has better focus and can stay with a task much longer than before.

Except if he is cranky. Cranky=all bets off. Cranky prompted throwing of puzzle pieces into the sink (nice arc on your throws, James, BTW) when alone with Mommy and got him another Time Out. Cranky wipes out speech and brings on the screeches and screams. The tears. Cries of "A-Daddy! A-Nana!" And many many tears. James gets tropical storms of emotional outbursts -- fierce, loud, wet, and mercifully brief.

James likes to work with his word cards and can actually talk about what he sees on them. Not a lot, but he's talking!

Sometimes lately, I catch him sizing me up thoughtfully while I am busy at something. His sister does this all the time. I am seeing him do it more and more. It reminds me that I need to watch out for bad habits -- like swearing. A few weeks ago, he repeated a word I'd really rather he forget I said. Yikes! How about a popsickle, James? A red one? Yes, talk about *that* all you like!!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pumpkin Express

I got to come along for the 4-class bus trip to Grandma's Pumpkin Patch last week for James' first field trip! He liked the bus ride, the mini corn maze, and playing on the old tractors. When it came to choosing a pumpkin, he was uninterested, but maybe his focus on chips and apple juice from another classroom's snack time had something to do with that.

It was a picture-perfect day, with a cloudless deep blue sky and the sun making things warm, edging on hot. All the moms I talked with agreed that we appreciated the fact that the lot was securely fenced. My guy and several others kept checking the perimeter, just in case ...

Many of the kids fell asleep on the ride home. Not my guy. He wanted to drive!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I See You

Sometimes, this is how I feel, with the real James peeking out through a window from behind a wall of autism/sensory integration issues/language delays. It makes me desperate to see more of him.

I want to get him out of there.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Au Revoir, Ennui

Saw this on the blog these are the days. It looks like fun. Here goes!

Two 'Fer(remember, only two):

1. Name two things you did yesterday/last night.
2. What are two of your current favorite foods
3. List two things you are looking forward to
4. Name two things you fear
5. What are your weekend plans

1. I took both kids to the pre-Halloween Trick & treat event at the North Bay Regional Center. It was fabulous! Then I took both kids to a birthday party at Funky Monkey. It was good crazy fun.
2. Just ate them: bacon and scallops (I love Trader Joe's)
3. Our upcoming trip to Disneyland! Having both kids going out trick-or-treating for Halloween this year.
4. The economy. My dad's health.
5. Supporting our PTA fund-raising school carnival (mission accomplished) and RESTING. I wish we could have gone to the rally in Oakland to push for getting therapies for autistic children covered by health care insurance. More on that soon, because my master plan is to NOT GET SICK AGAIN!

Your turn!

Mission Improbable: Potty Training

Warning: Potty talk ahead.

Good news: James has met all but one of his IEP goals and his next meeting for next year's goals has been moved up 6 weeks!

Not so good news: That elusive goal is Potty Training. James is happily ambivalent when it comes to Potty Training. Other people on the potty are fascinating. But sitting on that seat? No way! He literally digs in his heels and locks his knees, yelling "NO!"

It's small comfort to me that the school has been encouraging James to use the potty since he began preschool last This January. I have been shirking my duty. I have encouraged interest in going potty and check in with him verbally if he's gone pee-pee or poo-poo. He became rather good at telling me as the events occurred and I praised this. But trying to take him to the bathroom produced distinctly lackluster results.

So his teacher, SHAPE aid and I all agreed -- potty training starts NOW. I set up his potty seat in the bathroom and have started dressing him in big boy underpants (hand-me-downs from his cousin) and a diaper cover under his pants. We periodically take him to the bathroom, even though James prefers to continue bodily functions under cover, as it were. My stealth guy!

Soon he stopped talking with me about pee-pee & poo-poo, parrying all queries with a "NO!" He stopped having bowel movements until he was in his night-time diapers. Sigh. So then we'd do diaper change #2 for the night and make a kind of burial-at-sea ritual out of tumbling the diaper contents into the toilet, and saying "bye-bye" as they were flushed away.

However, on Thursday, his teacher reported in his handy dandy school notebook that he told her that day as soon as he'd gone pee-pee in his underpants. Progress? I'll take it!

I am also writing a letter of support for his teacher's request to move their classroom to a location that has a bathroom attached. I cannot believe I haven't done this before. I would have gone raving bonkers trying to get a small group of kids potty trained across a school campus and down a corridor from where I was also trying to teach said class. Gah! and Duh! (Two words that I will, of course, not use in my letter).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

That Sinking Nap-Time Feeling

James is having an exciting and challenging school year. He is also starting to give up naps. I am so not ready for that. All those in favour of mandatory nap time until the age of, oh say 21, raise your hand *both hands raised*

Okay, that said, James is starting to initiate speech by coming up with the names of things he sees and wants. Sometimes its a word I didn't know he really knew, such as "rabbit" (I usually say "bunny" anyway).He still needs to be pushed to say "I ... want ... ____", unless he is being ignored; then we get the whole thing, LOUD AND CLEAR!

James is starting to get playing with and alongside other kids. His teacher said that on the way back out to the bus one day James asked, "Where is Jason?" Jason was his bus-buddy last year and has been one of his most consistent classmates. Jason was absent that day. Way to go, James!

He knows and can sort and say his colours, basic shapes, numbers up to 13 (especially the number 2), and is starting to fixate on letters. We are working on cutting skills, sitting in his chair, and drawing circles, and H & V lines. Also, we are working to get him to ride a trike.

James will now swing in the classroom swing and asked to swing on our swingset outside with his sister. And then did it for about ten minute!!! This is huge!

Favourite things right now: Popsickles. Especially rrrrrrrred popsi'lles. Think of Tony saying "Redrum" and you'll know how James pronounces "rrrrrrrred." Kinda cool, in a spooky Halloween way. Also, Cars, WALL*E, Thomas, and long-sleeved shirts striped in red, white, & blue. Playing Mine Sweeper on his Daddy's Sidekick. His teaching assistant. His big sister. Swimming. Playing in water. Looking at animals. reading books, like "Caps for Sale," Baby Einsteins, and "Maisy Goes to Bed." Curious George. Cars. Shaking his blinds. Saying "GOOD BYE!!!!" to people he likes. You can almost always cheer him up with watermelon, especially if it's cold. James still adores music, specially if its live.

Does NOT like: Nap time. Potty training. Potties in general, unless I am using it. Then it is fascinating.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Fall Patterns

We are settling into a routine! We all get up, have breakfast, & go to school. First big sister to Kindergarten, then James to his school. I am still driving him. The buses are better at being on time, but still feel better taking him.

James has SHAPE Mondays and Thursdays. He is staying up until about 3:30, when he then crashes for his nap. We are working on getting him to pedal his bike a bit longer each time. He is so good at saying and matching colours and shapes! He counts and is starting to say random letters.

His teacher is getting him to swing each day at school. This is huge because just the idea of sitting in a swing used to send James into a panic, with yelling, crying, and frantic attempts to escape. Each week, his teacher is bringing the swing up a bit. Right now, his toes touch the ground, and he uses this to push himself into some mild swinging. The ultimate goal is to not have his feet touch at all and enjoy some swinging.

We have started the CATs program and I feel very fortunate to have our student partner, who is very motivated, bright, and focused. We attended the monthly parenting class offered by James' preschool and the student had a great time observing James with his SHAPE and teaching assistants. The group was very welcoming of having a student observer and I feel how lucky we are to have such a great support team for James all over again!

We are going through growth spurts again. Before school, James was under 40" -- now he is over 40" and he's up another half shoe size. He is ticklish lately, and very playful and cuddly. I think part of that is because he is growing so quickly he's unsure of where his body is in space. But I am loving the way he puckers up, goes "mmmmm" and kisses me on the lips. So. Sweet!