Friday, January 30, 2015

Where We Live

I'll never get tired of turning a corner and finding things like this:

... and that's just this week. We live in a wonderful part of the world. I am glad we can share this with our kids.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


It has been a month of early morning trips to SF before school and work with James. We enjoy time together and the break from routine. But James is now getting bored with the long wait in a coffee shop.

He hasn't wanted his iPad this morning, choosing instead to work math problems and write letters in my notebook. part of me is thrilled. Part of me is thinking maybe it is time to start working some walks into this routine, if it continues into another two-week session.

The sessions are definitely helping. While the weight gain is not really happening, he is getting cleaned out and holding steady at 61.5#. He is starting to eat whole sandwiches, tortilla chips, and blueberry waffles again. Thanks to his wonderful teacher and classmates, he is trying new foods with his Lunch Group.

Now that James is getting healthier and more energetic, his ability to just sit goes down. And that's okay with me. He's got things to do. Places to go. As he should be.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Foghorn Morning

We're back in the City again. Lots of fog everywhere, beginning with a dense ground fog coming off the fields around our house. Then came the river fogs off the Russian and Petaluma rivers. Finally, the ocean fog found us in Marin County.

Down at Baker Beach, dense mist swirled slowly over the water. Fishing boats signalled each other with their horns as they passed each other while the Golden Gate Bridge fog horns blared and boomed in the background. The sound of the waves crashing on the shore seemed unnaturally loud in the muffled air.

James was fascinated. He's never been in a thick fog near the Bay before like this. He said the foghorns sounded like they they were talking with each other, and we had fun trying to imitate their hooting conversations.

This week, James is writing and solving math problems for himself in my notebook (up to five pages so far). He elected to leave his iPad in the car. He likes seeing all the children here in Starbucks. I actually forgot to bring his shoes, but luckily I found a spare pair of mine in the car, so we're sharing.

This week we are going to try James going by himself to the therapy session. I will be sitting in the waiting room, finishing my coffee, and enjoying the foggy morning.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Slow 'n' Go

It's winter. Holidays for me are over until May. February, a typically gloomy month, approaches. My energy is long gone, but work, obligations, and challenges remain.

On the bright side: had some success with James, using images from his biofeedback sessions. I think bringing out the box with the home enema kit in it was the stronger motivator but having the biofeedback to talk about made a really good start.

Trying to keep positive, as I keep trying to move forward.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Things in Places: the Good and Not So Good

While James has not exhibited typical behaviour of lining up objects as a way of playing with them, he has always liked Things in Their Places. This means that he can recite who lives or works at a city or off an exit as we drive down the freeway. He knows which of his doctors/therapists (and there are a lot of them) live/work in which city. It sometimes frustrates him that he does not know where his teacher and aide live. He has a much better idea of North, South, and how to find a place in our town than, say, his older sister. He dislikes it even more than I when Trader Joe's changes up the layout of their stores.

He LOVES Hide-and-Go-Seek. Likewise Blue's Clues. I think the reason he did not embrace Joe is because he displaced Steve from the house. His favourite bedtime stories have been a combination of hide-and-go-seek and his favourite people/tv characters. We have a lot of fun with that one. He has 3 favourite settings: Caillou's house, his grandparents' near us, and the beach house. Most of the characters have to hide in a certain spot and he won't let the story go until EVERYONE has been found.

We've tried to interest James in non-iPad play things, such as stuffed animals, toy cars, books, and building objects. Hand puppets, costumes, and drawing materials have had a pretty strong success with truly active play. The most he's done with stacking or lining up activities are sporadically holding onto recorded media. Over the past few months, however, he has started to obsess in particular over the Baby Einstein videos and DVDs that we've amassed over the years and never given away, because he still like sthem. Now they are "his" and we are immediately corrected if we call a VHS a DVD. We are expected to know which are marked "FHS" and the difference between the originals and the re-released. We have discussed at length Julie Clark: he hair (and it's length), and whether or not we can call the Baby Einstein logo Julie Clark because she drew it.

Frankly, I am up to here with Julie Clark and the Baby Einstein collection. They are better than The Teletubbies or the Wiggles, I give you that. And yes, they have turned him on to classical music, which he prefers even as his sister heads into Maroon 5, Taylor Swift, and Tween rap, for which my ears and my sanity are thankful. But I have to talk him out of taking them EVERYWHERE with him, including school and trips to the specialist in SF. The horror of losing one, or the DVD, or having one break is not to be imagined.

I'll end on a positive note: His penchant for Things in Their Places sure comes in handy when it's time to clean up his room or around the house. I can hardly wait to try him at coding.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Thought for This Rainy Day

found on Pinterest. 100% accurate.

Yes, I can. And this is what I imagine James says a lot to himself. 

Because he is talking, in a regular classroom, and partaking in learning and doing. So much more than we were told to expect he could.

Never give up believing in your child and what they can do.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

End Run Around Behaviours

Yesterday I had a conversation with James' adaptive PE teacher. He's been resisting classes and this week he went beyond resistant into very bad behaviour territory. Three Letters of Apology have been written. Talks at Home have been had. No iPad. He's really hated that last one. I even tried asking James why he'd done what he did. His answer "I don't like it."

James is weak from having lost so much weight since August. He also knows how to use distracting behaviours to get out of disliked activities. Gah.

At times like this, it seems more effective to do an end run around the situation, once Consequences are over with. Because let's face it - having once been so effective at getting out of what he didn't want to do, he's likely to try it again. If he does, Consequences (losing iPad privileges, Talks at Home, Letters of Apology). However, I think we would all rather be doing something more positive, and there's more than one way to get something done.

So we are going to try adding music and some dance into his adaptive PE. He is always doing these activities at home and seems to enjoy them. Then slowly he can be doing more work toward his IEP goal of being able to do jump rope. Hopefully it will help James see that his sessions can be fun too, and he will stop trying to fight them.

We are so lucky to have such a great partner with James Adaptive PE teacher. She truly loves what she's doing and cares about the kids. Here's hoping this strategy works.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Back in The City Again

Feels like a routine already. For the first time, we got views of fog on the Bay. Some hovered over the bridge, the rest steamed through the Gate and across the water into the East Bay.

James and I are in the coffee shop again, waiting for his appointment. Sure beats waiting on the freeway!

The area was bright and sunny, but now I am looking out the window, across the street, and watching the fog roll over the top of the hill and down the street toward us.
It is good to be back.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Double Digits

Today James turns 10. It's been quite a journey.

Happy, Happy Birthday James! Love you always.