Sunday, May 31, 2009

Two Bits (bit 1 of 2)

For the longest time, James was pleasantly pleased by everyone and everything (excepting vacuum and blender-type noises). Although I was pretty sure he knew who I was, I felt like I was on par with the cat, a bottle of milk, or anything that spun: pleasantly enjoyed while it lasted before being succeeded by the next pleasant thing.

After reading about some common signs of autism, I noted that while he did go up on his tip toes, flap his hands, turn in circles, and jump up and down when excited, he did not line up his toys or exhibit compulsive behaviour. Until he started closing all the open doors in the house. Then all the lights had to be either on or off (and our house has multiple light switches for the lights, so he'd put on quite the light show trying to get everything either lit or unlit).

Then he started latching on to his blanky, carrying it with him wherever he went. This made me happy, because it's a key developmental milestone, and made me feel I was getting to know James better as he showed real preferences.

Here is James with his Bear Bankee, a hand-me-down from a cousin (thank you, cousin!):

Now James adores his Bear "bankee," and wants it to go almost everywhere with him. He must be tucked in with him before going to bed. There is only one thing he wants more than his blanket, and that is his family. This makes me super happy. His number one favourite right now? His Mommy. This warms my heart, except if I need to go to the garage to do laundry, or say goodbye to someone out front. Then there is a problem at Mission Control ... it's called a meltdown.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Personal POPCORN

Remember dialing on your phone to find out the correct time?


Now gone the way of the dinosaurs. Except if you have children (and/or neurotic pets).

No later than 5:20 am, most mornings:
  "Mommy!" *pause* "A-MOMMY!! Open Door? Peese?"
  "Mommy? Is Morning! Goo' morning! Open door!"

Except this morning. James went off at 3am and 6am.

Luckily, he took a snack and a nap after the first awakening.

Lucky he is cute.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Go Fish

              5 Minutes for Special Needs

Reminds me a bit of how our budgets get passed ...

Big sister is teaching little bro and doll daughter to play cards (aka "I Win Again!")

At least James is learning his numbers and is practicing some fine motor control. Oh, and turn taking.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

No Friggin' Way

Speaking for myself and James, I would never submit him to this treatment.

Personally, I consider it to be a form of lobotomy.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

World Explorer: Preston Winery

Today we went to one of our favourite local places for a rustic lunch -- Preston Winery. Everything is artistic, organic, friendly, and thoughtful. The kids love to chase around the myriad cats who own the place. The chickens have amazing feather colours and patterns. Everywhere you look is a still life in nature and man-made materials, with rich, soothing colours.

James loves to play with water He was at this fountain for quite some time. Until he suddenly soaked his shirt. Then, he could not ask to get home fast enough. He wanted a new, dry shirt!

I am glad he is having so much fun with exploring his world. He was using some words on this trip to tell me about what he was seeing and interested in:
-- "Mommy: come see cat."
-- "Mommy, is a airpane!"
-- "I want more chips, puhhhhleeze!"

Wow! Wow! Wow!

Sleepy Bugged

James stretched his afternoon nap into a quasi all-nighter. He bounced awake at 3, happy & ready to play with Mommy. No.

I got him a drink of milk and a small snack (because he didn't really eat lunch, let alone diner) and then got him back to bed.

Repeat at 5. And 5:30. And 6. That's when I threw in the blanket and got up with him.

Now he is out running errands with his dad. I am thinking of catching up on some of that sleep.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Adventures in Baking

Chapter 4.5 -- James discovers the oven

Well, we had a deadly 40-minute gap to bridge until SHAPE started. They kids were tired and I am trying to cut down on the TV. I decided to have the kids help me make and bake scones.

One of the first things I do is turn on the oven. Luckily I always peek inside the oven when I turn on the gas, because this is what I saw there, lying on a baking sheet:

After I went "OMG!" and laughed hysterically a bit, we got down to business. It was good OT for James, who has trouble holding a fork and using it to stir dry ingredients and low muscle tone in his hands.

His big sister got a kick out of being the mentor, and they both loved kneading the dough.

(Shhhhhhhh! Don't tell her that James and I made them again today by ourselves)

I think it was good for me to cup my hands over his to help him gish the dough with his fists. He'd hold the dough, but not scrunch it. He needs more scrunch action. Darn. I think we'll just have to bake again!

Monday, May 18, 2009

This is Only a Test ...

James has always used his feet as a second pair of hands. Exhibit A:

When he was exploring his hands with his mouth, that meant all four of them. If we gave him something to play with so we could get his diaper changed on the changing table (because otherwise it was like trying to pin a diaper on a thrashing ferret), all four hands would be used to explore and handle the play thing.

What is it with the feet?

I get the going barefoot thing because I do it too. I just can't see using my feet to help me read. Or fling (not kick) items across the room. Or being used to help tell me about a new object.

Maybe I should try it. Even Mommies can learn something new every day.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Puppy Love

James has a new love. It's the Scavenger Hunt game for Clifford the Big Red Dog on the PBS Kids web site.

Oh. My. Goodness!

He really gets into looking for the items, and is getting good at saying their names. I think he's doing a bit of echolalia for the locations that he has to choose from, but wow, he is turned on!

And this evening, his sister sat with him and coached him even more on the words. I am happy for several reasons: James is practicing fine motor control and verbal skills with this game. He is getting social interaction with his sister. They are playing nicely together! And he feels like a winner.

Thanks, Clifford, Cleo, T-Bone, and Mac! Signed, a very grateful Mommy

Friday, May 15, 2009

Making Plans, Saying 'Bye

Today was filled with busy conversations. We may be zeroing in on a preschool/daycare location for James to attend three days a week next year, with his SHAPE assistant in tow. The biggest hurdle will be the tuition, because I am not working. However, we may be able to get some assistance from the Regional Center, which could help make this a reality.

Especially nice for me is the fact that the assistance becomes available if I go back to work or school. I am definitely interested in going back to school. It's been almost two years since I was actively out there doing web developer work on a regular basis. I am sure there's a lot to get caught up on, although thankfully enough remains the same for me to keep my head above water.

Paperwork has been filled out and submitted to help get our daughter on a better track at her school for first grade.

This afternoon we had our end of term party for the CATS Program. While it was sad to goodbye to some of the wonderful people who were part of our lives for several months, how much we all learned! And some great connections were made. I am hopin to participate again next year.

And now, James has just come up to me and used his pop sickle stick as a tongue depressor on me. He made me open my mouth and go "Ahhhhh", and then he said "Doctor." OMG, he is play acting!!!!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tipping Point

... from playing well with sister to chaos and sibling rampages is ... about to be reached.

It's like watching a nature show. He circles his sister. They are communicating with arms, raspberries, and "yyyyyyyep!" She responds with dancing about, singing "daffodils! look at me? have you seen a really big ship before?"

He snatches up the big, red "We're #1" foam finger ....

... and the fun's over. She whines and yells as she chases him down, and he runs from her room, screeching with glee. She catches him in the hall.

"That's MINE!"

I have reached my tipping point. The red wine is tipping out of the bottle, into the glass. Alderbrook Zin, 2003.

Bed time comes now!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What is That Thing?

James has a new game. He points up to the ceiling and asks "Table?" before looking at you expectantly.

I have no idea where this came from. It's been going on for almost a week. Today, we had a change-up. Still pointing upward, he will ask "Swing? Table? Watermelon? Monkey?"

My husband says the "Watermelon?" is a giveaway that he is trying to be silly.

He could be right.

But then again, it could all be about the "table:"

Monday, May 11, 2009

Planning for Next Year

James' preschool teacher came over this afternoon to talk about plans for summer school as well as preschool and SHAPE sessions for next school year. He will have good people, whom he knows and likes, working with him this summer -- yay!

The thought for next year is to have him continue services and academics with the preschool four mornings a week, then do a daycare two afternoons a week with a SHAPE person, and continue with a SHAPE session Friday mornings. I am liking the sound of this. My homework is to scope out day care places and possible costs involved.

James is making good progress, already completing 3 of his 5 IEP goals set in November. His teacher reports he is a little more agitated while at school, but otherwise continues to reach new achievements, particularly in speech and toilet training areas.

For a while today, James was overwhelmed: His teacher, AV, E, and his Daddy were all in the house at the same time. Nana and his sister popped in & out. Grand Central Station, that's us. Normally, I bring James home for an hour or so of down time before SHAPE starts with just one other person. It took a while to calm him back down and get him to focus on his tasks before I could melt back down the hall to the home office and close the door.

And I'll bet James is still not happy that his Daddy took him to school this morning in the van, not the blue car! Buddy, I know you like your patterns and habits, but it's time to flex a little. Love ya!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mothers' Day Poetry By James



*big smiles*

Music to my heart.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

The Latest Saturday Morning Routine

James has just danced out the door with his daddy, who is taking him out on his dump runs. Melted my heart to see James running with his daddy's hand in his yelling "Blue Car!!!!" and his dad looking so happy. Happy trails in the Jetta, dudes!

Last weekend they came back with a car that needs to be thrown. It then talks to you. Could it be any more perfect for a little boy? He has been throwing it allllllll over the house, crowing and laughing his adorable chuckling laugh.

His sister, meanwhile, is reclining on the sofa with a fleece blanket, schnuggling with the cat, who is very relieved that the noisy little guy has gone. I am working on mug #3 of coffee; James woke me up at 5:30 for a diaper change this morning. Ouch. We are snorting over Phineas and Ferb.

James is starting to call me "Mom," because his teachers at school prompt him to "say 'bye to mom!" at the morning drop-off. Luckily, he still says "Mommy? Mommy-mommy-mommy!" when he is excited about something at home.

Thank goodness it is not raining this weekend. last Saturday, he went out back with me ... and immediately found all the biggest puddles to splash in, then went swinging on his tummy on the swing set, dragging his feet and legs through the muddy pond under him.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Hungarian Folk Dancing at its Finest

James had a good SHAPE session this morning, but was a little hotter than normal and a bit fussy afterward. So I ditched the plans to go to the gym and instead got him hydrated and then down for an early nap.

He woke up feeling so much better. He and his sister are both playing with each other. I am trying not to breathe too much and enjoy it while it lasts. The are playing hide & go seek and chasing each other through the house ... and the classical music station is playing the Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody #2 (forever immortalized as the dueling duck pianists scene in Roger Rabbit for me).

Their door closings and shrieks are a wonderful punctuation to the music!