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