Friday, October 27, 2006

Mom! What'd you do that for?

Thane came into my office buck naked, pulled open his bureau and grabbed a diaper. He brought it over for me to help him get it on. He stepped into the Easy Up and he started trying to leave before I was ready. I yanked up fast and he started waddling away with the diaper half up his tush -- I gave the poor kid a wedgy!

He stopped in his tracks and called "Help! Help! I stuck!"

Then he yanked the diaper out of his tush and ran off.

The Hamster Again

This Kung Fu Hamster is getting a lot of giggles this week. It's the same one that Thane said, "Sorry Mouse" to . . .

Braeden was squeezing the hamster's paw and singing along, but he changed the words:

"Everyone the skunks were fighting!
Those cats were fast as lightning!
In fact it was a little bit frightening . . . "

Yes, I think kung fu fighting skunks would be pretty scary. Or really funny! I suppose on some level it makes sense that the hamster would be singing about skunks . . .

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Big Leaps

I was thinking about Thane's development today. I guess I really expect him to be almost "normally developing" if he sticks to his diet, but have more clearly autistic behavior if he doesn't. He still has some autistic tendencies, but they aren't so overwhelming . . . and I think we all have some issues here and there. Now we're playing a bit of catch up delays from before the diet change -- no one learns well when going through life stoned. On one of the lists I am on, they talk about children recovering from autism. I am not really sure how that works, though, if they don't stay with the food restrictions.

Anyway, I noticed another big leap forward and I have to say each one of them is totally exciting to me. His speech may still be a year behind typical for his age, but the clear improvement also means he isn't falling further behind. I hope that made sense.

Back in August he was doing a lot of echolaliac talk -- copying what others would say. At first he was doing it as an affirmative:

Me: "Do you want a cookie?"
Thane: "Want a cookie."
If he didn't, he would say, "No."

Then it moved to, "Want a cookie. Yesh."

Then we moved on to scripting . . . he would take phrases that he heard others say and repeat them over and over. We joke about him placing his order. We went to a drive through and ordered french fries, milk, diet coke, and a plain sundae, no sauce. Whenever we are within a mile of that place, Thane places that order. And then he might repeat it for the rest of the drive.

He also was watching "Kipper" on Sprout. Arnold the pig got away and Kipper has to catch up. Kipper says "Wait for me, Arnold!" Thane started it yelling it at the TV, and then he would repeat it. Then we got in the car and he amended it to "Wait for me, car, wait for me!" This is still a kind of scripting, I think, because he is taking a phrase from elsewhere and not coming up with his own sentence.

This morning, I asked if he was hungry.
He replied, "Of course! Popcorn?"

That's totally independent speech!!! No echo, repeat, copy, script or whatever you want to call it -- he came up with it on his own!

And speaking of big leaps, Braeden was just cast as a skomorokhi in the Russian fairy tale "The Snow Maiden." Basically, he's a clown doing physical comedy throughout transitions in the play. He's a little worried that he won't get laughs, but in all honesty he gets them daily with his over the top physical reactions to things. It's the perfect part for him, in my opinion.

Monday, October 23, 2006

"I Sorry, Mouse"

I have a Hamster Dance hamster sitting on a CD holder near my desk -- something unearthed in the weekend's cleaning. I haven't dared let it go off since Thane would be terrified. He came in and knocked it over with the ball he had in his hands. He looked over and said "Sorry mouse! I sorry, mouse" and straightened out the hamster.

We have had a couple of G.I. Joe incidents. Thane found a brand new in a box G.I. Joe doll and he asked to have it. It was a gift that Braeden never opened. We agreed, opened it, and Thane started undressing him. Dave saw a button on G.I. Joe's belly and pressed it. The G.I. Joe spoke, mouth moving at all. Poor little Thane was totally creeped out and ran away screaming "No! No! NO! NO!" I feel bad that we opened it, because he will not touch it again!

But last night he found some already open Max Steels. He was carrying two around and having them talk to each other. He took them upstairs at bedtime. Braeden ran downstairs for something and Thane stuck G.I. Joe's head through the fence and in a different voice called "Daeden? Daeden" Where you going, Daeden? Daeden?"

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Long Week

It has been a long week. I had complained to Thane’s case manager that the preschool program was shortening school days if not many children were there. It wouldn’t generally be a problem, but if I had an appointment or something it would be. I got a call on Monday saying the teachers and therapists decided to shorten school to two hours every day.

I was angry at first and wondering if I should just pull him out of school. It makes the day short enough that I can’t come home, go to the pool, or anything like that. But he seems to be responding better to it – he didn’t ask to skip like he had been doing.

We made an offer on that piece of land I posted pictures of back in September. We were pretty excited, but it looks like it will fall through. The seller is changing the amount of frontage for the lot we were looking at, and taking away the pocket beach we really liked. We expect to withdraw the offer next week. So we’re thinking about what we might do to make our home nicer and forget about the vacation home idea.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


I’ve developed a passion for custom overalls . . . I know it may be a bit silly, but they are so hard to resist. My most recent pair features Kipper the dog. Thane loves Kipper and will point to the Kipper on his pants saying “Oh look, Kipper!”

I have some pirate ones ordered, and I have been trying to get some penguin ones made that will include the graphic we used on his birth announcement. I hope I can work that out. I figure there is only so long that I will get to dress him the way I want . . . before he favors camouflage and plaid – together! – like his big brother.

Braeden's doing well!

What a huge change! Last school year my 8-year-old son was constantly getting into mischief at school. We had him a Montessori elementary program so he could learn at his own pace, but they really have a lot of structure as to when you have to finish this, what you have to do in order to move on to another kind of math, etc. And the math always looked wonderful when you went to see him working at school, but it didn’t translate into the real world at all.

We had several conferences about him floating around the class and not working, and I challenged the teachers to engage him – after all, that’s the job of a Montessori teacher! It never happened, so when he visited another school and asked to stay, we agreed.

Yesterday we met with three of his teachers at Riley to hear how he is doing. It was so nice to hear total emphasis on the positive! Mostly it was a report on what he was working on, his very positive attitude, and his strong motivation to work. A lot of these self-paced schools aren’t a good fit if a child isn’t self-motivated, but luckily we have a child who enjoys learning. He has some frustration with math, but mostly because he is a perfectionist and really likes to be correct. We discussed that some of this was the adjustment from one school’s methods to another, but already we see his math applying to the real world so much better.

Riley is rather like a little college campus for kids 4-14. They get to move between buildings, study science outdoors, each building has a big deck outside for having lunch or doing classes outdoors. It’s a very peaceful setting and the kids always look like they are having fun. We were welcomed to come by any time and visit, no planning necessary. I offered to drive for the Friday afternoon activities program, so hopefully I will get to know some more of the kids – other than my afternoon carload of boys!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Tiny Type

It's amazing how hectic life can be . . . and Dave has been home for over two months so you think it would actually be easier. He goes back to work on Tuesday and I will be fully responsible for all the driving again.

Yesterday was Thane's IEP with his case manager, teacher/developmental therapist and speech therapist. His occupational therapist wasn't available and his doctor never attends. After filling out all sorts of paperwork and discussing Thane's diagnosis, I found myself thinking about labels . . . and that his label would require really tiny type to fit all the diagnoses. Yet it all seems a little strange because while he is a different learner, he doesn't seem so unusual to me.

We did get confirmation of his early reading skills. I've always heard about some children reading young, but I guess I didn't think it would be one of mine. He's only 2 years and 9 months!