Friday, October 31, 2008


Photographs from Trick-or-Treating for Halloween:

Unfortunately, I have to say that this was one of my least favorite Halloweens ever. Thane was so contrary and out of sorts, and Braeden was pretty ambivalent about it all. Braeden was cheerful, don’t get me wrong, but he just didn’t seem that interested in hooking up with friends from school, his old school, or even the kid who seems like his closest friend. Instead he chose to be with us and with Thane, and then to meet up with friends for a hayride at the local Baptist church. He stayed with them and went home with them for a while before coming home at 9 p.m.

The day was pretty mellow before Braeden and I went to pick up Thane at school. I sent Braeden in to get him, but got out of the car when I heard Thane crying and screaming. He wasn’t hurt; he just didn’t want to leave with us. The hard thing is that it really had nothing to do with me or with Braeden, but it sure felt like it. I wanted to cry because I felt really hated at that moment. I felt like his teachers must think we take him home and beat him and then stuff him in the closet with duct tape over his mouth.

The teacher who was trying to help him transition ended up being knocked off balance by Thane as he tried to hide behind her. There were also a couple of parents going through to get their kids too, so I felt rather on display (though the moms were perfectly nice and supportive, it is still so uncomfortable when your child is yelling that you don’t love him).

In some respects, we were lucky. Thane went to knock on a door and the lady opened it before he got there. He was about to fall apart, so she quickly closed the door and let him knock. It’s nice to run into someone who is both insightful and accommodating. Dave said he did need to explain to some people that his autism made some of this difficult – he wanted to do it, but he didn’t necessarily want to accept candy from everyone. I do wonder if it was worth it or not. Just as I wonder if it is worth even trying to go on the Polar Express. When Braeden was younger we did anything and everything to make his holidays special and fun. With Thane, sometimes it feels like our efforts to have him even participate in holiday activities is a form of torturing him. I think the hardest part is that one can’t always predict when he will have fun and love the effort, or be miserable and totally stressed. And am I totally dumb that I can’t figure yet when to push and when to just stay home and let him do his thing.

At the end of the night, Thane ended up having one of the cameras we took with us fall and hit him in the cheek as he was being difficult about getting out of the car – so now he has a big bruise that might look like it confirms how evil I am. Dave’s reaction – toward the camera – was frightening to me, so at that point I finally broke down in tears and declared it the worst Halloween.

I suppose I should end on a good note . . . The church did a really nice job with their festival – Braeden had fun. I also have to give kudos to the local fire department and the King Solomon’s Lodge. They had a nice set up in town where they gave out bags of treats, light up necklaces, maze pens, and allowed the children to enter a contest to get a ride to school on the fire truck. Braeden took down his carved pumpkin from Cub Scouts and it was lit and placed on the fire truck – which I have to say looked really cool! I doubt either boy would actually get a ride to school on a fire truck since neither goes to school in town, but it was nice to see such a nice community effort. Definitely a bright spot in an otherwise lousy Halloween.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Talking Too Much

Yes, this is too many posts in one day, but I am more awake than usual. The last couple of nights Braeden has been reading to Thane again. What's different is that Thane has been listening and even participating. As a mom, it is so cute to see them in a recliner together. Thane still likes footie pajamas, so he was sitting there in a bright red sleeper which gives him that last bit of baby look. Braeden was looking like a mini-teenager that you wouldn't expect to be reading to his little brother and enjoying it. Not only did Thane listen and "baaaa" in the right part in one of those song books, but he listened to three books in a row. We're moving beyond books that only have a sentence on a page too, which is really cool.

I also had those "I remember when" memories because I used to read Braeden as many as 20 books in a day, and now he is reading some of those old favorites to his brother.

Difficult Time

I wasn’t feeling well yesterday, so Braeden was trying to be the one to help Thane out of the car. Braeden and I both said I was having a difficult time and Thane replied in a very angry voice, “NO! I am having a difficult time . . . . . . . . FOREVER!”

He won. I helped him out of the car.

Happy Halloween

We only did a Thane-based Halloween card this year as Braeden is getting a little old to dress up and pose for me . . . though he would have if I asked because he is such a sweet kid. (Click on the pic if you want to see it larger)

Diet Blues

Yesterday was the first time in awhile that Thane’s diet restrictions bothered me. I guess it started on Monday when one of his teachers offered him candy corn. I’m glad he refused because it was a triangle because it had an allergen warning on it for both wheat and eggs. The problem is that he decided later on that he wanted a candy corn and we simply couldn’t find any that was safe for him.

I saw these nice looking new gluten-free crackers and I really wanted to get some for him to try. The reviews were all wonderful, so it sounded so promising. I had searched them first on Amazon, but Amazon has stopped listing full ingredients. I had to check one of the gluten-free sites and found that it contained eggs. I told Dave it really made me want to try Thane on eggs again because avoiding gluten and eggs is harder than gluten alone, but the last time he had egg he was in so much pain. Plus now isn’t the time . . . the child hasn’t had a solid bowel movement in awhile. I know that is too much information for some, but anyone who has a child on a special diet, a child with stomach trouble, celiac disease, or anything like that can understand that this becomes worrisome.

He still seems to be growing fine – he is moving into size 5 just before turning 5 years old, so that seems pretty typical (especially in a family where mom is only 5’1”!). But we did buy the slimmest looking “regular” jeans we could find, and still need to crank down the adjustable waist by 6-8 button holes . . . and they still are loose. I am trying to decide whether we should try slims, but he just doesn’t really look like a slim build to me. I’m probably being silly.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Backwards Day

I’d like to that we’re continuing the fabulous skill development that we saw over the summer with Thane, but while we’ve seen some progress in areas, we’re also seeing some steps back. The most noticeable is how stressed he has been getting about things. I am seeing him stim (self-stimulating behaviors) a bit more – like rocking his head back and forth against the headrest in his car seat, some more obsessive behaviors (“I know I am not supposed to peel the labels of crayons, but I have to, really I do. In fact, I will sit here for hours and peel crayons. And since I know I am not supposed to, I will either apologize with puppy-dog eyes or sit in a corner doing it and try to hide. If there is a crayon anywhere, it needs to be peeled!”), and he is definitely being defiant and a bit more backward than usual.

I’ve been trying for awhile to get Thane to say what he means. Often he will say “I don’t want to play [insert game name here]” but what he really means is that he does. Or he says he can’t when he means he wants to. I noticed my pushing was stressing him a bit, but he does need some shoves in this manner because otherwise he won’t be understood by the vast majority of people he encounters.

Today he has been a bit more backward about other things – not just negatives. For example, he told someone to stop leaning on him when he was the one leaning.

As usual, I find myself grabbing the humor where I can . . . I hope that doesn’t make me a bad person! He was offered candy corn at school. Luckily he didn’t take it because it was a cross contamination risk with wheat, gluten, and eggs. The humor part is that his reason for refusing it was “I don’t like triangles.” That’s right, no triangle food for Thane.

Braeden got the mail out of the mailbox and came back and told Thane he had two letters. Thane said he didn’t want a letter. Actually, he told us three or four times that he didn’t want a letter while I was backing up the driveway. I told him it was okay, he didn’t need to have a letter, but he still repeated he didn’t want one. Then as we’re getting out of the car, he looks at Braeden and says “I want a you.” Huh? This is where repeating comes in handy as he added something: “I want a letter u.” Brae is much quicker than I am and replied, “That’s good, because you got a U – I just unbuckled you and unbuckled starts with U!” And yes, that worked and Thane was perfectly content.

Halloween at the Stable

We had no power on Sunday so we decided we might as well go out. In the next town over to the south, there was a Halloween event at a stable that someone suggested we consider as a place to get riding lessons for Thane over the winter. It was a good excuse to check the place out. It was pretty impressive and Thane had fun (Braeden did too, but it was definitely the type of thing that is geared toward the younger kids). Braeden played photographer. The first is part of the horse costume parade. The second one is Dave and Thane on the hayride.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Getting Portraits

I guess the best reason to hire a photographer is to get good portraits . . . we haven't done it in years! These are some that I took as a practice run. Thane was mostly uncooperative and I am totally unskilled at dealing with the light. Hopefully the photographer images are better!

I made Dave a collage of pictures of mostly Braeden (I had already done Thane a week ago).

Below is what Thane really wanted to be doing . . . walking in circles around the base of the tower on top of Mount Battie.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

Horse Show Pictures

The ride begins.

Smiling at Dad.

Concentrating on a job . . .

Displaying the smiley face he made.

Another ring (and some help).

Placing a ring on a post.

Thane takes the reins.

The joy of trotting!

After dismounting, Thane pets Frost.

Thane feeds Frost some apples.

Marcie presents Thane with a ribbon.

Doesn't he look proud?

Monster in My Closet

Braeden just finished a 5-show run of "There's a Monster in My Closet" at The Waldo. We tried to convince Thane to go see the show, but he was against it and we didn't want him to ruin it for anyone. He tried to see a production of Braeden's over the summer and it was really too over-stimulating for him. The whole idea of lights going down, noise he can't control, and all of that is a lot for him to handle.

Braeden had fun, though. He gets the jitters, but seems to get over it pretty well when it is time to go on. I'm not sure what is next for him, but he may audition for a chorus to do some holiday singing, and there may be another youth theater production in the winter. At school he is working on "Going, Going, Gone with the Breeze."

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Blue Ribbon

I'm really wiped out, but I didn't want to go to bed without sharing a picture of Thane and the ribbon he got for participating in the horse show today (everyone gets a ribbon just like it). He was thrilled by it, and Braeden made sure it was placed on the mantel next to his and Dave's trophies (from Cub Scouts).

Friday, October 10, 2008

Another First

Today was the first . . . the first time Thane, only two months shy of his fifth birthday, decided to talk with his father on the telephone and have a real conversation – a real back and forth discussion!

It started with a very happy, smiley Thane asking if it was Daddy on the phone. I said it was, and asked if he wanted to speak to him. He replied with a joyful, breathy, “Jes!”

During the conversation, he was able to tell his father he went to library story hour with preschool today and “watched stories.” Dave told him he bought him a book today and Thane asked about it and was very excited to have Daddy come home later and read it to him. It was really sweet.

Both of them were so happy afterward. Another special first!

Braeden caught this image of Thane napping this afternoon. I love that he is asleep with the remote control!

Portrait in Glass

While doing my usual relaxation peruse of eBay checking out artisan lampwork beads, I found one that I found totally entertaining and completely unexpected.

While I don't think it would have ever occurred to me to create a glass bead that looks like Vice-Presidential candidate and Alaskan Govenor Sarah Palin, I'm impressed with it. It can't be easy to make a hot glass portrait of someone!

Rosie the Horse

Thane had his last horseback riding session until spring. He is in a little show tomorrow so that he can demonstrate what he has learned, giving Daddy and Braeden a chance to see how far he has come. Neither has seen him ride since May! He's in a saddle, learning to direct the horse, and even getting to trot . . . the trotting is something he totally loves, but between the dark barn and the movement, I didn't capture a single decent image of that.

I am going to post two pictures from this week, just because I haven't featured Rosie yet. Thane has switched horses a lot during the past two months. He has handled it well, but he seems to have developed a preference for Othello, or Fello as Thane calls him. He's been paired with Lucy, Manchester, Othello, and Rosie, hopefully I am not forgetting anyone in there.

In the first picture, he's brushing Rosie. In the second one, he is carefully counting out six apple pieces to give to her.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Gourdo Gets Dressed Up

With Halloween coming and all, I couldn't resist this gorgeous owl bead. I made it into a pendant and rather than wearing it myself, I put it on my friend Gourdo.

Gourdo stands guard over my LAN and modem wires, but he really isn't doing a great job of concealing them!

The Power of Wind

Thane has decided that since the wind blows leaves off the trees, it also is responsible for the leaves changing colors.