Saturday, February 27, 2010

SOOC Saturday: Life Balance

How techie are we? This week's picture was taken by James' wonderful SHAPE assistant during his PE class at the second preschool. I love it!

James balances for fun

His godfather and uncle are both surfers. It's great to see him having a ball, trying this.

Meanwhile, I am trying to balance, well, life. Work, cleaning, volunteering, home and marriage stuff, school things for the kids ... I am almost biting my nails because somewhere in the next two weeks we will hear if they got into the small charter school that I think would be awesome for us all.

Fingers crossed!

Meanwhile, I have organized a fundraiser for the fabulous CATS Program, a local autism organization that supports families and provides information for caregivers and professionals. If you will be near Powell's Sweet Shoppe in Windsor on March 16th, download and print a flyer (click on the image below and print at 90%) and stop on by!

Happy to connect with Melody at her Slurping Life's SOOC! Won't you visit too, and share a connection of your own? SOOC Saturday/Sunday entries are wonderful moments of life

SOOC Saturday

-- have a balanced and relaxing weekend!


Saturday, February 20, 2010

SOOC Saturday: Dino Guy

James, Dino Guy

James woke me up early, yelling "Roar, Mommy! Roar! Roar! ROAR!!!!!!!" Because he was awake, and wanted to quote from his favourite book. Lucky that kid is cute. I turned on his light and let him read, explaining that it was too early to get up. Half an hour later, he actually came out of his room and hunted me down, explaining that "Is morning. Not early. NOT!"

Well, close enough to our regular morning time. I got up. I can't really complain, as this is the first time he's come out of his room in the morning on his own. Also, I like to reward good sentences. He's been full of them and I want them to keep coming.

James is getting much better about dressing himself and playing with others. He loves it when he can join in and be silly or jump around. Potty training progresses. Yesterday, for over an hour hour, he played quietly in his room while his sister made up exciting soap opera drama (and songs) with her dolls in her room. During this interlude, James got up by himself and used the bathroom, flushing the toilet and redressing himself each time.

He is more confident in his climbing and talking. He even asks for things in a dinosaur roar sometimes. Like this morning.

The Slurping Life dusts off and starts anew. Visit Melody and check out SOOC Saturday/Sunday entries past & present!

SOOC Saturday


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Special Exp./ Wordless Wednesday: Bravery

James in the middle of a redwood grove

Sometimes I forget what it's like to be small. With everyone towering over and around you.

I listen to the wind making noises as it whispers and roars through the redwood grove and think that sometime this must be what people around him sound like when they talk.

James, seated, in the redwoods

Look how calm he is. This is one of James' best blessings. He was born this way, and at times his calmness and quiet happiness humble me.

My brave, confident guy. Love you!

For more great images or to join in the fun, Visit Special Exposure Wednesday at 5 Minutes for Special Needs.
5 Minutes for Special Needs
and ... Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Praying for Guidance

Although it's been many years since I was a regular church goer, I pray almost every day. For families, friends, everyone in the same crazy boat as I. Sometimes I pray for patience, inspiration, or to be a better person.

As a parent I pray that I will know enough about what I am doing to raise my children as happy and well adjusted as possible. I know that being a parent is wonderful, frustrating, rewarding, and makes the soul grow ... like a LOT.

As James' mom, I pray for guidance. Am I paying attention to the right things? Am I on the right track? Making the best choices for him? What do I do *now* when confronted with (insert random/favourite issue)? Does it really help if I shout at him? Will he hear me if I don't? How do I best advocate for getting him what he needs? Am I *really* prepped for his IEP?

I ask experts and read material; I sometimes ask James. I find that sometimes praying for guidance and opening myself up for suggestion and ideas can help us find some good suggestions. I hope they are answers. It will be years (or never) while we wait to see.

Right now I am in the throes of kindergarten choices for James. Schools, classrooms, and class types. If he gets into one school that we think will be great for him, I have a whole new routine to learn and he will be in an unfamiliar place on his own for the first time ever. If he goes to the main school I need to find and target a short list of teachers who do well by full inclusion students and James in particular. Because we have chosen to have James in a full inclusion classroom with a full-time aide.

Oh yes, a lot of praying for guidance going on around here right now!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

SOOC Saturday: Signs of Spring

Spring daffs

When we first moved into this house six years ago, my mother gave me a lot of daffodil bulbs to plant in our new garden. My daughter, who was learning to walk, helped me to plant them. Every Spring they come back as another miracle. Despite the nearby and invasive cacti, potatoes, and now lavender.

The vase is an engagement present. There are rosemary sprigs in there as well. Rosemary is for remembrance.

I need a little inspiration and remembrance of the good things right now. Our family is going through a prickly, hurtful, dry, hard time. We need our little miracles to keep us going to another day.

The Slurping Life is stormbound. Visit Melody and check out SOOC Saturday/Sunday entries past & present!

SOOC Saturday


Friday, February 12, 2010

A New Experience

James woke up crying around 10 one night this week. Sobbing. He never does this. Once he's down for the night, he sleeps until morning (unless he is sick).

His dad and I came in, to find him sobbing "It's okay, Wubzy ... it's ooookay!" After rubbing his back and letting him hold on to us, we asked him if he was okay. He said there was a monster in the closet.


Our daughter had a good year of monsters and bad dreams waking us up throughout the night. This was the first time James had this experience.

My first thought was "Wow, that is such a cool sentence! Awesome" and the next: "My poor baby!" So I held and rocked him while his dad explained there are no monsters. Then we closed his closet door and he relaxed and went back to sleep.

Since the disaster of frenetic activity from mid-December-mid-January and recovering from the latest bad-ass cold, James has emerged as almost a different child. More talkative. More snuggly. More relaxed and confident. It's wonderful to see.

P.S.: Let me add that both our kids have watched and loved Wubzy for many years. Wubzy = Good Guy.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Special Exp./ Wordless Wednesday: Swinging the Other Way

James loves to swing now

James used to scream if we tried to get him on or near anything that swung.

When he was a baby, I used to be able to swing him in the bucket seats no problem.

Somewhere around age 18-24 months, swinging became an act of torture for James. He was terrified of losing control and contact with solid ground, I think. The OTs, his Dad, and I tried everything we could think of to coax him onto something, anything that moved. Sometimes we had a little luck with him sitting on a lap while the lap was on a beam. Oddly enough, he loved sneaking into my home office and so he could sit on my chair and twirl himself around.

Swinging has swung back into the fun zone

I think James has swung back to enjoying the ride. Vestibular issues are a mystery to me!

For more great images or to join in the fun, Visit Special Exposure Wednesday at 5 Minutes for Special Needs.
5 Minutes for Special Needs
and ... Wordless Wednesday

Saturday, February 06, 2010

SOOC Saturday: Discovery Kidz

James and friend, waiting to see what the waves will do
Last month, my Mom and I took the kids to the Discovery Museum. James showed his joy of playing with others.

Three's more company!
I will never get tired of watching the joy children have of playing with the world around them and laughing with each other.

The Slurping Life has a magic number. Visit Melody and check out SOOC Saturday/Sunday entries past & present. Share your stories too.

SOOC Saturday


Friday, February 05, 2010

Bedlam, In A Good Way

Busy day today. Both kids off to school so I tried to atone for a week of being housebound with a sick child. First, I pick up some forms from a language presentation by James' preschool, then hit a Costco, Trader Joe's and Target triple slam. On the way home I stopped by my daughter's school to drop off her homework folder (that girl!) and register James for Kindergarten for the district. Then back home to unpack shopping items and have something to eat, punctuated by fielding phone calls.

Picked up James from the mainstream preschool. Heard that his SHAPE asst. might be losing her job with her home school district (damn budget cuts!). I play devil's advocate and tell her if she's interested, I'd love to have her for James' assistant in the Kindergarten inclusion classroom next year and I'd even write it into the IEP that it's been reported to me that he has done best with this particular assistant and that he needs he for his classroom aide. I've even approached the SHAPE supervisor with this possibility and was told it does happen sometimes. This might actually get off the ground ...

Of course, James had wanted to play in the sand at said preschool. Of course the sand was muy wet after pouring down rain the past few days. So as soon as we got back home, I had to strip him down, de-sand him, and get him settled for a snack (with Benedryl) and some Baby Einstein (which helps his vocabulary, BTW). Still fielding phone calls. You don't even want to know.

Half an hour later I swept up James, protesting all the way, and got him into bed for a much-needed nap. We read the two dinosaur books that he's been loving lately: How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? (50 cents at a library sale) and How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon? (a gift from a wise person).

Fielding phone calls, yes. What IS it about today?

I got some laundry done and picked up the family room. I wanted to vacuum and blend myself up a smoothie before picking up James, because he still screams and cries at the sound of a blender. The hairdryer gives him the whim-whams. Just seeing the vacuum out makes him cry and run sobbing to his room "Nooooo vacuum? PEASE?!!" I plugged in the iron this morning and he started to cry and howl. The iron. Fah!

I ran out of time. There's always tomorrow.

Query: I wonder if James would warm up to the vacuum if it had an ignition key and a steering wheel? Hmmmmm ...
James loves things with steering wheels and ignition keys

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Getting Better

We have had ourselves a sick week this week. James' cough from last week picked up a fever and sore throat by last Friday evening. Saturday he was one sick little boy. Sunday he was better, but Monday morning found him fever-bound again. I started giving him Benedryl to help him rest from the nasal run and coughing. It had the added benefit of helping him reunite with his forsworn afternoon naps. The periods of restfulness did wonders for him.

I have been skating around this for two weeks. My husband has spent a couple of days in bed over this. Half the kids in James' class have been out all week, and there have been a lot of absent students and parent volunteers in my daughter's class across town. This is true Evil Cold Stuff.

Today I let him go to his regular school in the morning for about an hour and a half. He had a good time and was reported to be full of energy. I took him home for a quiet hour and then brought him over to his afternoon program for a couple of hours, where again he did great. He was interested in hot french fries for the first time in over a week. He actually sat down and ate some early dinner tonight. We had BMs in the potty!!! Then I saw this, and swooped him off to an early bedtime:
James, showing he needs a rest ASAP

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Special Exp./ Wordless Wednesday: Dinner Fun

Could dinner BE any more fun?

Dinner time boring? Whiny? Add hats and watch the fun begin!

For more great images or to join in the fun, Visit Special Exposure Wednesday at 5 Minutes for Special Needs.
5 Minutes for Special Needs
and ... Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Tackle It Tuesday: Big Boy Room, part II

This project was actually last Tuesday. I was in a tizzy to clean the entire house before a long-cherished play date took place in our home on Thursday afternoon. Of course, the play date was for my daughter, but I had to start somewhere. Next to my home office, James' room was closest to being declared a natural disaster area. His room is also smallest, so I figured it would give my spirits a boost to have something finished and looking good.

Well, my perfectionist tendencies kicked in, and a room reorganization grew out of cleaning. It was not a bad thing, as we'd been recognizing and encouraging anything smacking of Big Boy lately for James (underpants, BMs in the toilet, chores, talking with a better vocabulary, etc).

the new bookcaseThe results were fantastic. I got ride of a large bag of trash and outdated art projects (man, I do hate to see those go). Two more bags of outgrown clothing left the room (this always makes me choke up and become morose). I cleared the floor. I cleared out and vacuumed under his bed. I washed the bedding. I moved furniture and kept out the things that we use everyday.

The biggest change was his bookcase. It still was partially wrapped from the move to this house *cough* six years ago and full of books & odds & ends. James liked to raid it and rip things up when frustrated, which had been happening a lot lately. So I moved it out into the room more and stocked it largely with his toys (like at preschools).

places for clothing!Because I'd cleared his floor, I'd been able to corral all the clothing that needed washing, sorting, or donation. I cleared out the little wire basket drawers that had flotsam and jetsam of almost a decade jammed into them and dedicated them to underwear (newly chosen and purchased with James' input), socks, jammies, and sweats. The changing table lost most of the baby items and took on fewer things (pants, mostly) in a much more manageable manner.

Because there was now a place for everything and a clean floor, I could move a dresser and the big rocker to make more room for playing and sitting. The roadmap rug became really visible and exciting. Because I'd cleaned out all around the bed, I could put all his favourite friends on the bed shelf. OMG, he started asking for all them and snuggling down with them at bedtime after this!
clean bed -- mmmmm!

We all can get around much easier in his room -- James especially. He seems very proud to have a more Big Boy room and enjoys being and playing in it now. He can look out the window more easily and we all take more pride in putting things away One week later and the room is still looking good!

What did it look like before? Ummmmmmm, kind of like his sister's room:
Only worse, because you could not see the rug in his room due to ripped up paper and things tossed about. They were piled all over. Not any more!

(PS: Yes, the house got cleaned and his sister's room was bright and clean and ready for the play date. I came down with a cold an hour after everyone went home)

Celebrate your victories, big or small, at Tackle It Tuesday. Be inspired, or share your story.
Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Monday, February 01, 2010

Magic Marker Mondays: The Letter U

Exhibit U:

My mind immediately leaps to umbrella, as we've had a lot of rain recently.

The Letter "U" is also appropriate in many other ways lately. "U" is for understand, useful, underwear, unfair, untie, utter, up, and urge. James has been practicing a lot of those "U" verbs. He is Action Guy Galore.

I am so happy that utter is increasing and he has the urge to don underwear. Of course, there have been more instances of untying things, attempts at getting up high into things that will cause mischief, and sibling claims of "unfair!"

Best of all, there has been more understanding -- me of James and his increased vocal communication, James of people speaking to him, and hopefully some others of what it means to work and grow with a child on the spectrum.
magic marker mondays:

Visit 5 Minutes for Special Needs for more Magic Marker Monday.
Special Needs Blog

Who's That Guy?

Every now and then I'll get a new glimpse of the James that's inside the familiar face. Sometimes it's like a peek through a chink. Sometimes it's like a chunk or exterior plaster has fallen away and reveals the living person underneath.
James unwraps a present, and sometimes his facade

James has always liked people and fun. He's noticed far more than we think he does. I've called him a "sleeper" because I will think he's not paying attention to me or the world beyond his shape sorter ... then boom! Out will come a phrase from 2 days ago or he will want that book that his sister has been looking at for a week.

Today James is feeling better after coming down with a sudden, nasty cold. He went from limp in my arms and on the sofa to running around all over the house. He went from one of us to another, engaging us in play.

He circled his Dad on his toes, head bent at an improbable angle, dancing just out of arms reach until Dad finally lunged a bit and caught him up in a tickle and hug. He asked his sister if he could use her computer (and she said "yes"!!!). He'll find me wherever I am and ask me to "Come here, Mommy" and pull me over to help him reach a game or a snack. He had a new grin on his face. It had more James personality to it and less generic cute guy -- it's kind of hard to explain, but I kept staring at this new side of James, and grinning back at him.