Monday, March 31, 2008

Spring Sledding

The boys decided to make the best of what could be the last sledding around here as the snow is melting away.

This photo makes it look like Mist is pulling Dave and Thane up the hill, but she was really just running right in front of them. Toward the end, Thane was trying to catch her tail!

Thane was rather demanding, and insisted on riding back up hill.

Braeden has been enjoying snowboarding so much, he made himself some sled jumps on the lawn. The only problem was that every time he went over the jump, it turned his sled around so he was going down backwards.

Braeden is working on a Special Interest project for school about forensic science. I asked him to make a couple of footprints in the snow so that I could take photographs, so he chooses to go thigh deep into a snow pile.

All the humans ended up in mud at least once. Thane was very upset at first, but he recovered really well, which is fabulous!

I asked Thane to smile for a photo after he was unmasked, but he insisted on running away laughing at me. Pretty standard, but at least I caught this.

Good Eggs

Today has been a good day . . .

Braeden went snowboarding and had fun. He came home to an Easter Basket, egg coloring, egg hunt and a nice dinner. I hear he behaved beautifully and I was thrilled that neighborhood friends wanted to take him all the way to Sugarloaf. He left at 4:45 a.m. and came home a bit after 7 p.m.

Thane was cute pretty much all day long. He and I played with Playmobil dinosaurs and had fun. He had trouble because he can't apply a script so he ended up jargoning more than I have heard in awhile, but I was impressed with his efforts and the joy he was having. It is so nice to see him happily push himself, if that makes sense. Before we changed his diet he was so unlikely to challenge himself, and certainly not do so and still enjoy himself. He is blossoming!

He was totally charming about coloring eggs, something I didn't think he would necessarily do with us. I thought Thane might ask others to do the dipping for him so he wouldn’t get wet with colored dye, but he was very happy to plunge right in. He got a couple of blue-green freckles on his face and they lasted through two or three baths.

The other problem we had was that we forgot to purchase white eggs, so we only had brown . . . and we only had a dozen to work with. Three cracked in cooking, so the two kids had to share nine eggs. No one complained! Isn’t that bliss?!? I love that my kids take such joy in little things.

I thought it was interesting that dying brown eggs resulted in mostly blue and green eggs!

We put little toys and not so much candy in the eggs for our hunt and really they were just happy to collect the eggs. Braeden was especially cute because he was helping his little brother find eggs, even though Thane tried to nab each egg Braeden collected. In the end, they gathered them all together in one pile and shared the contents rather appropriately. Thane got some tiny stuffed animals that were squished into some eggs and Braeden got some other toys. It worked well. If only all holidays could go so easily and happily!

The icing on the cake, Thane tried ham for dinner. He didn't have to be pushed to touch it, or feed a piece to me, and then he actually was willing to eat more. He ate 10 small pieces, probably close to a square inch of a slice of spiral ham all total. Perfect! One can't get much better than that for a sampling session. No fuss! Yay Thane!!!

Thane has tried ham a few times without really opting to eat much, but not fighting it either. He has worked on chicken as well, but again he is willing to eat a few bites and then he wants his stand-by foods. He actually requested the chicken once, though he didn’t eat much of it. It has taken a few months to get to sampling, so I guess it probably stands to reason that this part goes a bit slowly too. At least a major part of the stress is gone.

Life is good!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Spring!

I made this card and meant to mail it, but I couldn’t find the envelopes and life was too busy. Hopefully those who would have gotten it by snail mail will see it here. I had to include the melee afterward, which included the adult male, because it is just so typical of these guys. Who knew smiley-face flowers could make swords?

A Great Man

We had rather high winds on Friday in the midcoast area. I assume the winds are the reason we lost power in the afternoon. Thane was pretty upset about the television not working. When the power restored and I was able to reset the television, he looked at me and smiled his happiest grin:

“You fixed it, Mama! You’re a good man, Mama!”

Of course, he made me giggle. We’ve had conversations about gender confusion and having opposites backwards (up is down, down is up. Part of it may be his over-specifying, as in our conversation about our dog:

Thane: “There he is!”

Me: “Mist is a girl. There she is!”

Thane: “No! That’s a Misty.”

Me: “Yes, and Misty is a girl – a she.”

Thane: “Misty is like a dog.”

Me: “Yes, Misty is a dog.”

Thane: “He is like an animal.”

Me: “She is an animal.”

Thane: “Bye-bye, Mama!” (Interpretation: you’re annoying me so I’m leaving!)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Mealtime Therapy and Food Sampling

For ages I have been meaning to reply to Melissa’s comment on the mealtime therapy we have been doing with Thane. The problem we have run into is that he has been very self-limiting in what he eats and his first response has been to push things away or throw them, unless they were things he requested. Of course, he was apt to ask for popcorn, cookies or popsicles!

When we asked for help getting him to try new foods, we weren’t really expecting the whole finish everything on your plate thing, or even having to have all meals and snacks at the table. We’re not that regimented around here, though we could see something positive about the process especially because of weight issues in the house.

It was so time-consuming: preparing things, all the separate dishes, sitting until he finished cooperatively, etc. Some days, it was too much. I noticed a pattern for myself where by Wednesday evening I was just done with it all. I was tired of driving around, getting stuck at the table, and having what didn’t feel like a lot of fun with Thane. It was work. It was stress. Even if it went well it just wasn’t natural.

Thane is a visual learner, which I think is part of what the behavioral therapist was looking at when making the plan. Thane also likes predictability . . . though he also wants to control his world. It was clear that he appreciated lunch right after getting home from school – it was his best meal of the day. Afternoon snack went pretty well, but dinner, when I truly wanted the whole family together, was usually pretty awful. The tension spilled over to everyone, and being tired we were all less able to deal with it.

The goal was to get Thane used to finishing his plate of food and drink – even if that was one bite and one sip. That way when we move to sampling, it’s predictable. If you finish that one pea-size bite on your plate, you’re done. You don’t have to eat more than that, but you do need to try it.

I thought long and hard about what Melissa said – is it worth it? Should we let go? It’s not like he is still failure to thrive. This is where ABA and I don’t mix well. I believe in positive parenting and punishing is very uncomfortable to me. Forcing Thane to sit at the table five times a day seemed like punishment because he didn’t want to do it. The only good part was no half-eaten grapes stuck to the furniture in the living room!

The therapist has always been clear that his job is to work with our family – not to tell us what to do . . . he gives us a plan and we decide if it is comfortable. What I realized is that I wasn’t fully honest with him, or I wasn’t realizing that I wouldn’t like it until I got into the treatment. I can be very agreeable at first and then start over-thinking everything afterward.

What we decided was that we did need to back off . . . not back off on the goal of sampling new foods, but back off on the regimented eating plan. We reduced to meals at the table and snacks could be eaten elsewhere without having to finish everything. It was easier on all of us. Thane was even choosing to come to the table and ask for meals and such.

On Monday, we learned how to do the sampling and it went pretty well. We’re going to try a rotation of a few different foods to sample. My problem is that in the process I worry about allergies rearing up again. We’ve had so much trouble with him being ill this winter and he seems like when his body is fighting allergies he’s more likely to get sick. This week may be the first time he gets to school each day since November.

I got paperwork in for a different preschool starting in summer – Thane’s ESY calls for 5 days per week over the summer, pretty much the same services we have during the school year. I also got all our paperwork in for Freedom Riders, so hopefully we’ll get a spot and start that in May. I am very excited about that.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Would You Buy Anything from This Kid?

I have been doing the newsletter for Braeden's school. A lot of times, getting information from there is like pulling teeth. When I ordered a sweatshirt, I had no clue what it was going to look like. This year they started advertising again with no information other than color. After no pictures were forthcoming, I took Braeden outside and had him pose in his sweatshirt. Last week I used two nice smiling pictures, one showing the front of the shirt and the other showing his name embroidered on the sleeve.

This week I am not being nearly so proper. I think they have only sold a dozen or so shirts (probably because they are embroidered, so they cost $25), but I thought maybe no one was paying attention. Across the top of the order form is the string of pictures of Braeden taken in rapid succession with the sport feature on my camera. He's a ham and a half, isn't he? Today we found his school hat, so I was taking pictures. After fighting to get photos of the boys with bunny ears, I decided to go ahead and add bunny ears to the hat. I don't know if it will sell any more shirts, but I think I am funny!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Braeden a Bigger Thane

Thane wasn't feeling well and was sitting with me in the rocker-recliner when Braeden was dropped off by carpool. "Braeden’s home! Look, Mama, it’s me, only bigger!”

Isn't that cute?