Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

I've been meaning to post our holiday card, but haven't been on the right computer. If you click the photo you can see it larger. The images span December 29, 2006 to December 3, 2007.

We wish everyone a very happy, healthy 2008!

Decorating the Tree

Thane's 4!

After weeks of “I can’t have a birthday” and “I can’t have four,” Thane celebrated his birthday pretty happily, despite his birthday being postponed on account of snow.

The big surprise for our family was that Thane decided to join us at the table and frost his own cake. I have some shaky video of his first lick of frosting, and the way he cringed and said “No way!” when we asked if it was good. I thought he might lose it, but he is gaining so much control of hi s gag reflex.

He really enjoyed blowing out the candles. In fact, we had to light them a couple of times so he could do it more than once.

He also enjoyed opening his presents. The biggest hit was the Pat Pat Rocket that Karen and Wayne managed to get for us while they were in stock at a Target in Biddeford. Of course, it is easy for me to say it was worth the effort because I didn’t do the work! Seriously, though, Thane really loves it and Karen tested it for lead before she mailed it. If you look at the picture, which also shows one of his new horses, he is actually moving a character up the stairs into Rocket. It may not seem like much, but it actually shows something pretty major a little guy on the autism spectrum!

My biggest laugh comes from my warped sense of humor. Dave didn’t put S’Mores together beforehand, so check him out screwing in the batteries. This wins for my obscene toy photo of the year. When Braeden was in Montessori, we were doing a 4th of July Parade and Dave was inflating Uncle Sam. The air inlet was . . . guess where?

And, in case that photo of Dave wasn’t silly enough, check him and Braeden (and Dora) out wearing mini Bilibos.

Last is a not so great photograph of Thane’s cake at his birthday party. The back story on the cake is that I finished baking it and let it cool on a rack – first getting a nice grid pattern in the top of one half of the cake. I figured that would be the bottom. I put the cake on a pan and started frosting it. It seemed to be going well until I put the top layer on. As I was frosting it I realized that it was really rather lopsided. I am not sure how it happened, but I was grumbling in my mind about my ugly cake. Thane walks in and in his charming and very breathy way said, “Wow! It’s perfect!”

After I started writing on it, Braeden decided he wanted to come in and help. His initial idea was to use white to make a symbol that it wasn’t for children under three. He decided instead to go around it. Thane came in and decided he wanted to do the red. In fact, he wanted to use all the red. I figured I should let it all go . . . besides, who would notice the fact that the cake is lopsided when it had kid graffiti all over it?!? They were happy! And everyone enjoyed eating it . . . other than Thane.

Another amazing thing to see is that the boy next to Thane with the blower is six months older. At one point he was close to six inches taller than Thane and 15 pounds heavier. Nothing makes it more obvious that Thane is no longer Failure to Thrive than seeing him next to a peer! He sure has changed a lot in so many ways!

All right, I have one more. The dog just looks cute under the tree.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A Gift for Santa

Thane makes me smile a lot lately. Today he saw that I had purchased a small Santa for someone. He was interested in it, so I told him I had a different one for him. I pulled out a little musical Santa with a gift box. He jumped back when it started singing, but he warmed up quickly and opened the box. There was nothing in it as I had planned to use it on Christmas, so he ran to go find a present for Santa. He tried several little cars until he found the right one. He also spied the reindeer in the bag, so he pulled it out and had it say “Hello, Santa.” Santa replied, “Hello, Deer!” Maybe you had to be there, but I was totally charmed!

Snow Day!

These photos were taken late afternoon on Monday – about mid-way through our snow accumulation of 14-15 inches total. It’s funny because two towns to the south there is only about six inches, and two towns to the north about eight, but we have a bit more elevation around here than a lot of coastal towns.

Thane had no school on Tuesday either because most places had a 2-hour delay. Around noon he started asking for his “Snow Soup.” It took me a minute to figure out he meant his snowsuit as I would have never thought he wanted to get bundled up like that on purpose. Luckily his big brother was willing to take him out afterschool because I wasn’t really up for having to chase him through that much snow!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Heard Around

“Good job, Bwaeden! You’re a hero!”

“I wuv you,” from Thane without saying it first.

“Mama, mama, I peed in the potty! I so so big!”

Upon seeing a Santa getting into a Ford: “Where is Santa’s sweigh? Where is the sweigh? Where does Santa go? Santa goes to the North Pole!”

And the funniest in awhile, complete with arms crossed, puffy pout, and stomping. “I mad! I stomp! One, two, three four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty five, twenty-six, twenty-seven” pause “twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty five, twenty-six, twenty-seven, twenty-eight, twenty-nine, twenty-ten” pause, look at fingers, see everyone else laughing and give up being mad.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Catching Up A Bit

Life has been a bit busier than usual around here. Wait a minute! How could that be? Well, somehow it has happened.

First, we have been working on cleaning up our house and yard a bit better. It is actually making some progress, slowly. I think my friend Kim will be coming once every week or two to help us out, which will be good now that we are no longer having developmental therapy at home or many home visits over the next month or two from anyone.

Dave’s parents came to visit. That totally thrilled Braeden – he liked having people to pay more attention to him. He’s actually harder in that respect than Thane as he always wants people to play or do something with. Grammy got to play lots of games, go ice skating, etc. Thane knew who they were, and even hugged them when they came. He didn’t pay a ton of attention to them while they were here, but he paid more than I really expected . . . and he was regulating himself well. He didn’t let himself get too upset – if he had to go do his thing, he did. The 5-hour drive is a bit uncomfortable for them, but I haven’t really figured out how to travel well with my machines.

Thane has been cute. I was sitting at the kitchen table with Braeden having a talk, and Thane came out and said “Hand.” I gave him my hand, he grabbed it, started shaking, and said “Nice to meet’cha Mama!” Braeden and I started laughing because he was just so adorable. I assumed he learned it from school, but I think it was actually from one of the series two Signing Time! videos.

Along with worrying about him not learning the potty, which he did as quickly as any neurotypical child, I was worried he would have trouble learning letter sounds since he knows the letter names. Again, courtesy of a video (Leap Frog), he learned all the sounds in a day or two. But that brings me to our latest discussions about his behavior. The analyst suggested that he doesn’t have trouble generalizing, but rather than he over-specifies, which appears common in autism spectrum disorders. I think people have a tendency to think that with all his delays and early intervention that Thane probably isn’t all that intelligent. I, on the other hand, think a lot of his “issues” could serve him well. His powers of observation are excellent. His memory is absolutely amazing. His He sticks with things, opens his eyes wide, and really challenges himself to understand (he also just put his undies on his head, but that’s another story!). Perhaps his ability to look at things differently than most of us will help him find the key to something that needs figuring out . . . and his ability to completely tune-out naysayers would actually come in handy!

I’m doing the newsletter for Braeden’s school now, so that is a new challenge of the variety I generally enjoy. I am finding out that my carpal tunnel doesn’t like handwriting much – the computer is actually better. I am also trying to help out with public service activities at Thane’s school, including freezing plates of food for elderly people. We helped out with the Thanksgiving drive, and will help with the Christmas activities as well. I have everything wrapped for Chanukah – and Thane can say the word this year! His speech is so different. He has a lot more scripts that he uses well, but he also is using more original speech so it really wouldn’t stand out to anyone who doesn’t spend a lot of time with him.

Thane just went in and told Dave, “You’re you!” and he likes to say “Yay! You found you!” Maybe he knows we’re lost while we don’t!

I guess that’s all for now. No one would want to read these long messages!

Skates, Trains & Portraits

I got to see Braeden’s school portraits this week – the child is such a ham. I was prepared not to like them because I rarely like portraits, so I waded through photos of a bunch of the other kids I know at school . . . and some where I really wanted to put a picture with a name. There were serious pictures, smiling pictures, and pictures posed against or in trees. Then I looked at Braeden’s. His black-and-white pictures got me calling for Dave to come check them out. He was making faces. My favorite resembles Edvard Munch’s The Scream. I didn’t see anything else like that. He has a future as a clown, I think. I know I should post them after talking about them, but I don’t want to violate the copyright.

On Thursday, Braeden is a train conductor in the play “Fussin’ an’ A-Feudin’” at his school. We have a babysitter for Thane lined up and we’re hoping to have some fun. I wish it was earlier in the week as I have noticed that I am very out of energy by the time Thursday rolls around.

Today Braeden advanced levels in ice-skating. He was pretty happy and proud. He passed on being in the parade at Christmas-by-the-Sea this evening, but he is planning to skate as one of Santa’s elves on Friday night. I have to say that I have always thought he looked a bit like an elf – a Santa’s elf, not a Tokien elf.

Potty Learning

Well, it looks like we're good to go in underwear now . . . though Thane has a rash on backside from unknown origin. It may be from cranberry. He hadn't had any in awhile, and then had a fair amount of it two days in a row. It was the only part of Thanksgiving Dinner that he ate (tmenhough he tolerated other items on his plate without vomiting or fussing, so that's pretty major!).

We met the behavior analyst on November 15th. He suggested we use a timer and have Thane use the potty every 20 minutes. If he didn't go at 20, then try again in 10, and then at 5 minute intervals until he went or had an accident. We were supposed to show disappointment if he messed himself, and cheer on successes and give a reward (we chose gluten-free gummy worms and bears). He did very well through the morning, but got angry about the process in the afternoon and had some bowel accidents. As luck would have it, he was having some issues with his bowels, which sure didn't help us any. But on day two he had no accidents and we could move to a 30, 15, 7.5, then 5 minutes schedule. Bowels were the only thing holding him back from stretching the schedule further until Thursday.

I was getting worried about him running to the potty every time an alarm sounded as it was obvious from day one that the timer was a big influence. He ran and left the table when it went off in the middle of dinner. He was also going in between timers whenever he needed, so it seemed like he understood the concept.

Mid-day Thursday, before all the Thansgiving timers went off, we stopped using his timer and let him self-regulate. No problems that day or Friday. Today we had one accident related to bowel trouble, so again I feel like that is really to be expected given his celiac disease and general tummy issues.

I have to say that Thane continues to amaze us. He has made so many changes and come so far one would hardly know he is the same child. This went so smoothly after the first day, when I was hormonally compromised and shouldn't have chosen that day to start anyway!

My favorite quote for the week is that I said, “Thane, you’re beautiful.” He replied, “Yes, I beautiful. And I big!”

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Safe Toys

With the holidays approaching, and Thane's fourth (gasp!) birthday, I've been putting a lot of thought into what to purchase. I am very reluctant to buy toys made in China because we just don't need that kind of risk. One of the blogs I visit has been developing a lead-free toys list for awhile now and it is very helpful.

We seem to have a taste for German toys around here such as Playmobil and Bruder, but I am having little luck finding a rocket for Thane.

There is also a toy giveaway going on throughout the month of November. This week it is a wooden tool chest from Natural Pod. They have a bunch of stuff that looks cool.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Treats from School

Thane's SLP-A made treat bags for all the children in his class. Thane didn't really understand it at school, so I took pictures of him checking it out and made her a card. He was so cute about it. He was very excited to find a smooshed grape fruit leather and asked me to open it immediately so he could eat it. He drank his organic apple juice right afterward. She very clearly went for healthy treats that were safe for his allergies and intolerances, which I thought was extra nice. There was also a homemade book in it which he's already gone through several times.

I'll post more on our Halloween tomorrow. I'm tired! You can click on the picture to make it larger.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Nap and Silly

I hate that there are so many “that was cute, I have to write that down moments” in a day that I am left scratching my head and wondering what it was that had me laughing so hard during OT. I guess it will come to me at some point and hopefully I can write it down then.

There are two cute things I can remember from yesterday, other than this photo of Thane napping in what I consider my chair . . . he was singing a lot yesterday, including:

“Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily . . . merrily, merrily
life is but a dream”

Then Dave didn’t something and Thane said:

“Don’t worry, Daddy, I’ll help you.
I’ll help you fix it. We’ll make it better!”

Thane drags his potty chair over to in front of Dave, climbs up onto it, lifts Dave's shirt up and rubs Dave's stomach with his hands.

“There! All better, Daddy.”

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Colorful Backyard

Some photos from around our backyard showing some autumn foliage.

Back to Battie

This picture of Braeden makes me see how those teenage years are coming!

Thane's on top of the world! (OK, it is a short mountain, but he is pretty happy!)

Portrait of Mommy

It's not often that I post a pictures of myself, but this one is rather charming to me. My little artist was working with his occupational therapist to create this picture of Mommy. The sweetest part of it was when he was trying to draw to the mouth. He didn't care what the hair looked like, and he only drew dots for eyes, but the mouth had to be smiling. He tried to draw it and was frustrated, so he asked for hand-over-hand support to make a big smile . . . it had to be a big smile. I guess I just think it is sweet that if he is drawing my picture he thinks it should have an ear-to-ear grin on my face.

Not to mention that I do rather look like a big round ball with arms and legs sticking out . . .

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Me & My Shadow

Thane went on a walk at Beech Hill yesterday. He loves shadows, as you can tell from all the photos he took (I left all of them in, unedited in any way).

Happy Thaney

We got Thane a twist trike that can be used as a regular tricycle or a Big Wheel-type vehicle. He was thrilled and had a blast. You can also see some of how he has been playing with his mouth lately. He's pretty excited to be gaining more muscle control!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Mount Battie

Tuesday was a gorgeous day here (unlike today!) and we decided to go to the top of Mount Battie in Camden before picking Braeden up after sailing. I figure this also gives me a good opportunity to show Thane's new haircut and his overalls, complete with bats on the back.

I know this isn't a wonderful picture of Thane and Dave, but I rather like other aspects of the picture (the sky, the light and shadows) . . . and we have a very similar picture of Braeden at about the same age.

Thane has so much hair we decided it was time to layer it so it didn't wedge so much in the back. We've gotten a lot of comments that it makes him look older. If you ask me, he does look like he is going to be turning four in a couple of months . . . ACK!

I hate when I get this little hexagon invades my images, but in this case the placement is sort of amusing and makes Thane look like he is casting a spell in front of a castle.

If I hadn't already done my Halloween cards, I might have used this photo. Of course, when I had him in costume and tried to get him to pose, he kept running away. He was actually moving when I took this too, but he's looking up at least!

Here's Thane flying over Camden Harbor. I was expecting the fall color to look more impressive from above than it did on Tuesday. My drive home was beautiful, but it is a little more inland and a lot of red maples. If the bad weather today doesn't knock all the leaves off the trees, perhaps we'll go back next week.

I have to include the back of the overalls because there are bats on his back on top of Mount Battie.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Fabulous Day

I’m so excited! Braeden had plans to visit a new friend at school today, which always seems like a good thing. Then last night we got a call from one of the families we are carpooling with. The mom had to go somewhere today and her babysitter needed to leave early. She asked if we could cover the time in between. Her boys are both six months older than my two.. I said yes because she has been helping me out by making sure Braeden’s ride gets him in the afternoon, she’s been taking him to sailing, and because she also agreed to have her four-year-old come over and do developmental therapy at home with Thane as his peer role model.

The big problem that we were seeing is that the boys hadn’t connected yet. After a month of a riding next to each other in the car, they still weren’t talking to each other. The last time I watched the boys, the four-year-old asked as they left why Thane wouldn’t play with him.

It only took about 15 minutes to break the ice today. The older boy sat down in our swing chair in the living room. His brother climbed in on top of him, then invited Thane. Thane accepted and got in too. Then they sat together in a chair chatting while the older boy played computer games.

We got into a discussion of Halloween and we pulled out some of Braeden’s old dress up clothes. Braeden loved to be “Hero Boy” and stuff like that. The four-year-old settled on Superman and asked Thane to put on a Spiderman outfit . . . and he did! Who would have thought Thane would agree to that! The two super heroes bounded on the trampoline outside, ran around on the old play sets, raced around the yard, etc.

“Thane, would you like to do something else now?” the new friend asked.

“Yes!” Thane answered, and off they went on another adventure. The fact that Thaney is answering questions is rather recent and it is so nice to see. This whole thing was amazing and so worthwhile. I am so happy with how it worked. The boys’ mom came after only about an hour, but then stayed another hour or more because the little ones were just so cute together.

Another big thing is the size difference – Thane has caught up so much. He was such a teeny little thing and looked so small in comparison to this boy who is almost exactly 6 months older. But Thane has grown so much in the past year that there is much more typical two inches or so in height. It makes the catch up seem all the more dramatic.

Braeden had a blast with his friend too, so all around a good day.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Rockland Waterfront

I went with Dave to pick up Braeden at sailing this afternoon. I took a picture of Braeden on the Atlantic Challenge dock with my cell phone. I guess he has one more week to go before it is done. Then he might start ice skating.

I have lots of things I could type about Thane's IEP and first dentist appointment, but I am going to bed instead.