Saturday, April 26, 2008

Playing in Backyard

I think this may be one of those spring vacation weeks in Maine that people will remember for years to come – “Remember that one April vacation where there was sunshine and warm weather every day . . . and no mud!?!”

Dave spent a good portion of Monday, Patriot's Day, and Saturday continuing to put together a play structure in our back yard. Braeden had a friend over and they were planning things for their new rock band – The Green Bandits. Thane and I wandered outside and stayed there most of the day. Every time he got a chance to try a new feature on the structure he was right there and thrilled about it!

He hasn’t really been able to stay off it, so even with Daddy building he would climb up and check things out. He is growing and changing so much. Thane was actually being careful enough that we could let him explore!

My favorite part of the kids playing together at the end of the day was Thane sing-songing “you can’t catch me.”

I had to add a picture of the line of vehicles – it isn’t an afternoon out back without them. And, of course, our Siberian muttsky, Mist.

Freaky Photos

These lovely wasps are definitely one of the downsides of living in an older home, but the nests are actually pretty interesting to look at.

More Planes

In case anyone doubted that I take pictures of lots of airplanes, here is some proof. If you look carefully, you can see that these are each different planes.

He Loves Me Too Much

“He loves me too much,” is probably one of the silliest things I have said recently without meaning to be a goofball. Thane has been smothering me a bit over vacation week. I think I would have handled it better if I didn’t have bronchitis, but I have been sort of tired and he has been rather demanding.

Of course, there are a lot of good things to be said for his affectionate streak this week . . . he seems more and more “typical” in his behavior. A typical 4-year-old wants to spend time coloring and such with mom. Probably the biggest difference is that most would try to draw some themselves. It seems that Thane is a perfectionist and since his pictures aren’t what he wants, he won’t do anything purposeful with a writing tool. One thing that is encouraging him to try is my backing off from worrying about my laptop computer and letting him use the pen stylus as a mouse. It seems to be working some as he is now putting his hand on mine when I draw or do other tasks. There is something sweet about it, and I also think it helps him get an idea of how to do it for himself, but it has been hard on my carpal tunnel in my right wrist. I suppose I should consider getting that fixed, but . . .

We’ve also had an interesting week for eye contact and discussion of emotions. Thane will come in and grab my face so that he can talk to me and stare at me without my being able to move. He is a bit disarming when he does this because he has a very, very intense gaze. He also likes to give nosy kisses while exclaiming “Na, na, na, NA!” which makes me giggle every time. He’s a little wild man about it. The stare is intriguing because it almost seems like he is trying to stare me down. It doesn’t work, but I can see where it might work on others, especially if he grabs their face to do it!

Yesterday a family friend opened the van door and asked Thane for a kiss, and he gave it! That was a shocker. He doesn’t usually give kisses on the mouth if he can avoid it, and certainly not to people outside the immediately family. She was thrilled too because I don’t think she expected it either.

I am still having so much trouble deciding what to do about next year for him. The place where two-thirds of the kids are typically developing seems pretty good. I wish there was something exactly like it in the same direction as where Braeden goes. The class he is currently may expand to 15 children and have a longer school day – which would honestly be a lot better for me and probably make sense to do for that reason alone. I find that I am pretty useless by Thursday with our current arrangement, so it might be better for both children. I wish I wasn’t such a third child about making decisions!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Meeting the Horses

Wow, this is my 200th blog post!

Thane goes into the Freedom Riders stable for the first time, safely in Daddy's arms. He handled everything beautifully!

He was a little hesitant at first to pet Lucy. He wanted to rename her Pinto, like his Fur Real Pony, which is named after a horse in Dora or Diego.

He did pet her a couple of times! She's the smallest we saw and very seems very sweet.

Braeden got to know Lucy, too.

There were a lot of beautiful horses. Quite a variety, and all very pretty.

It was really easy to get Thane to try on a special hat for riding horses.

He looked so cute -- I wish the lighting was better but I didn't want to use a flash in case it bothered the horses.

What a cute silhouette!

Thane did not like the idea of the belt at all, but because he won't be in a saddle it is important to have some handles so the guides can hold onto him. He'll be working with three people -- one leading the horse, and two on either side to keep him safe.

The big open indoor arena was appealing for a good run -- something he won't be able to do once therapy starts! We were lucky because I asked if I could come by and get some photos and they let us all come in for a look. He starts riding in two weeks!!!

He kept the hat/helmet on for 5 minutes, which is pretty good for him. We didn't bother to take one home as he really seemed like he was going to adjust to this well. I am sure he will be scared when he first gets on a real horse, but I think he'll decide to like it pretty quick.

His team will help him do things for himself from the start -- here he is getting out of the belt.

It may work out that Braeden can come with us and watch, which would be nice (and helpful for me) . . . but he may be starting up with the theater troupe being formed in town. He also begins spring sailing the same week as Thane starts horseback riding. I have to say, I think my kids are pretty darn lucky they get to do these things.

Like a . . .

Chatty boy is definitely tickling our funny bones around here.

Thane was told he couldn't have a treat he was asking for until he ate some real food for lunch. His response:

“I know, how about a hot dog? It's like a food?”

I guess it is like a food, as opposed to actually being food!

This afternoon he had Braeden giggling. They were playing and Braeden had a penguin. They were discussing who the penguins best friend was (and I forget, so much for my storytelling!). Braeden asked Thane if he had a best friend. He thought for a moment and said, “Yes. Me!” Seems accurate.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Airplanes & Changes

April is Autism Awareness Month. I have meant to do something about it, but somehow between lists, some minor efforts on FoggyRock, and life, it simply hasn’t happened in any form other than my usual journal blogging.

I took the above photos of airplanes flying overhead as I sat out back on the deck this afternoon watching the boys as Dave worked on putting a new swing set together. For some reason, I have always liked to take pictures of airplanes, even though one can’t really get a good picture of something that far away that is moving so fast. I also took about 200 pictures of the kids.

I was thinking to myself that the children have really changed a lot since last spring. Braeden had just had his hair cut short again so the difference in how he looks is really dramatic. For Thane, his looks haven’t morphed that much in my opinion, other than the fact that he is bigger. But in other ways, he has changed so much.

At 2 years old he used to scream, hide, run into a house or car when a plane flew overhead.

At 3 years old he stopped what he was doing and would point out airplanes, often using sign language to make his exclamations clear. He moved through being nervous about them, but the sound always impacted him.

At 4 years old now airplanes going overhead today didn’t faze him at all. In fact, I pointed an airplane out to him when he didn’t even notice it.

Thane also played with his sand table. Then he got into the sandbox! We walked from wood deck, to stone path, to grass, to crushed stone, to wood border around play area . . . without hesitations.

He’s speaking in much more elaborate sentences now, which has been really wonderful and fun!

He still lines things up.

Braeden is taking on more responsibilities, but also testing limits a bit more. He walked the dog only to the stream today, which was a limit I gave him. Dave wants him to go further, but this seemed good to me. I had to laugh at the face in this last photo – I wonder what he was thinking? He was trying to do routines on the trampoline and Thane was getting on and off, so perhaps Thane was too close to allow him to do what he was trying to do? Check out the teenager hair!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Stick Under Car

Today my car started making some weird sounds – it seemed like perhaps I got a stick underneath or something like that. Braeden was kind of tired after school and I had to wait outside about an hour with Thane as he was still asleep – he often naps when we go get Braeden in the afternoon.

When we got out of the car, I asked Thane to look under the car and see if there was a stick. He squatted down and said, “No stick. A rock. There’s a rock under the big blue car.” I see the one little rock on the pavement and chuckle to myself as it more pebble-size in my mind.

Thane stood up and started down the path to the house, but he stopped and said, “There’s a stick!” He picked it up, walked back over to the car, and put it underneath. “There Mama, there’s a stick under car.”

He is too cute!

More Thane Conversations

Thane was upset with me for having him hold my hand as we walked from school to the van. We had been exiting a back door where no one parks, but I switched because the kids are playing outside until pickup time this week.

I said, “I know you don’t like it, but I want to keep you safe because I love you.”
He replied in an upset tone. “I don’t want to love you! I don’t want to love you!” Then he sighed and said, “I love you.”

I thought it was great communication because I bet it is just what he was feeling.

Later the same day, we headed out to get Braeden from school. Thaney fell asleep in the car, so he didn’t notice me pick up Braeden, and he stayed asleep until after we got home. I stayed in the car with him for awhile, and when I finally woke him up he looked around and said:

“No Braeden. We didn't find her. Good try, Mama. We can try again. Maybe next time . . .”

I explained that we did pick up Braeden while he was asleep in the car, and that Braeden was in the house already. He took off for the house calling “Bwaeden!” at the top of his lungs, and flung himself at big brother when he found him.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Thane Conversations

Thane has been filling in two sides of a conversation for awhile . . .

He'll start with a sneeze, often fake.


“Thank you, Thaney.”

“You’re welcome, Thaney.”

Today was a little different. We got to school and he saw a bunch of the play things outside. He said:

“Oh, it’s a slide! I want to slide!”

“Me too!”

“Me three!”

This could get interesting.

Give an Inch, Take 3 Miles

I think for the post part I post positive things about my almost 10-year-old son, Braeden. In general, he’s a pretty good kid. Yesterday, though, he plain and simply scared the crap out of me!

He came home from his play and he looked at his To Do List, which included the standards such as piano and guitar practice, as well as one money-maker which is a job out of the normal activity range. He decided he would rather walk the dog than do the money-maker, which is absolutely fine. Usually the two of them go perhaps to Castner Road and back, which is not far beyond our property line. Sometimes he will go up Oak Ridge, which runs through our second parcel. He can have some trouble with Mist because she is a pretty big dog with few manners – she was never formally trained, and huskies, even if they are muttskies, like to pull. Brae will get nervous if she is too bouncy and come home.

I expected him back before Dave even headed to the grocery store. Dave left and called me after he stopped and chatted with Braeden about a half mile down the road. They were doing well and I was told not to worry. I got side-tracked for a bit and then I realized he still wasn’t home. No biggie, he is probably skateboarding in the driveway and the dog is watching off leash. Nope, not out front. Not out back. I call his cell phone. It’s on his desk, and not even on, so that didn’t work.

I called Dave and he was rather dismissive. Thane was asleep so I didn’t know if I should wake him and try to drive around and find Braeden. I called Dave again and told him to come home. A few minutes later, Braeden called. Of course, I didn’t have the best greeting for him – “Where the hell are you?” is what I asked.

If I had half a brain, I would have realized from the Caller ID, but sometimes I forget that the home phone is not like cell phones – it gives you the name if the person calls from a registered phone, not just any phone you plug into your contacts list. I was thinking he might have met up with members of this friend’s family down the road, but no, he was at their house – three miles away. It was one of those moments where you want to cry with relief, hug your child, and throttle him at the same time. Three miles is way too far for a boy two weeks shy of 10 to be walking with only the protection of an 11½-year-old dog, even if she weighs 89 pounds. I asked him to get permission to stay there until Dave could pick him up – he was ready to start walking back!!!

On the one hand, I am proud of him for controlling the dog and walking so far. On the other hand, what on earth possessed him to think that was safe? His school has a policy where they don’t make rules until they need to – I definitely understand the concept more and more over time.

On a side note, the old dog was pretty funny today. I had someone here from HughesNet as I tried upgrading my service and the new modem wouldn’t commission because of a receive error. The repairman came today and Mist got up and sniffed him for a second, and they just lay down on the floor, in his path, and stayed there. She didn’t follow him out or any of the usual stuff. Poor dog had only started her arthritis meds on Saturday so she probably needed to take it easy today.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Wind in the Willows

Our town has an historic old theater that has seen a lot of change over the years we have lived here (well I suppose anywhere would, we have been here 20 years already!). Braeden was in a production of Treasure Island just after he turned eight, but didn’t want to return because he didn’t work well with the people running the youth program. We missed the boat on some of the productions with new people in charge, but he auditioned for The Wind in the Willows. I'm proud of him for giving it another chance. His initial role was that of the gypsy king (gypsy queen Zelda in the book). He ended up playing a policeman and a weasel as well. His stage fright was related to changing from Zeldon to the Policeman in only one page of script, as opposed to all the lines he had to speak!