Friday, November 21, 2008

Explaining Birthdays

One of our challenges has been trying to figure out how to explain birthdays and age to Thane – how does one explain this kind of thing to a child with autism?

I know I have posted before that Thane decided over the summer that he was “just one” because there was only one of him. Of course, people like to ask little people like Thane how old they are and the look on their faces when he said he was “just one” was priceless.

I thought perhaps the Montessori Method of marking birthdays – the child carries a globe around a candle that represents the sun – might be a way to do it. Time and years don’t really make sense to a child Thane’s age regardless of their development, so certainly taking a child who thinks a bit differently and explaining age and years is a challenge.

Thane’s speech therapist suggested we make him a birthday book – like a social story – showing him as he has gotten older. I have been reluctant to do it because I had to sift through the “failure to thrive” photographs before he started eating a gluten-free diet in 2006 and sprouted up 8 inches and gained about 10 pounds over the next year. I also knew it would start us on the path of him wanting a birthday party and a birthday cake.

To teach Thane his name – and to answer the often-asked “What is your name?” – I wrote him a little book with pictures and named off a bunch of people he knew. It took a long time, 5-6 months, but it ended with a priceless moment of me calling him peanut and him saying, “No, I Thaney!” that I caught on video.

Anyway, last night I decided that with less than a month left until he turns five – gasp! – I really should get the book done. I spent a few hours putting something together, being repetitive in my text as suggested, and printed it out. Braeden wanted to read it to Thane, which was fine with me . . . though Thane wanted to just grab it and read it himself. Thane was happily looking through the pictures of him as a baby, and some of Braeden when he was younger too, but he has decided that on his birthday he will be nine. He doesn’t want five. He wants nine! He gave the book back, probably in hopes I would fix it and make him nine . . . but pretty much after all that effort he ran away screaming.

Picture Day

Today is Picture Day at Thane's school. He'll get his individual portrait done, and then pictures taken with the class. I ordered a medium-sized set of prints so I hope they come out well.

Braeden's pictures were done at school yesterday. I think the photography teacher, who does the pictures at his school, saw that he had his hair cut and figured it was as good a time as any.

We had Amy Wilton, the photography teacher at Riley and a professional photographer, do family pictures a couple of weeks ago. I will just post a couple of my favorites here.

Busy, Busy, Busy

People can blog from their telephones and all such, but it would be really nice if you could just be waiting to fall asleep in bed and think “I should add this to my blog” and somehow it would magically appear without having to reconstruct at a keyboard later! There certainly would be more posted here that way.

Life is a little crazy around here, but as my friend Melissa pointed out, it is all positive. Dave is taking a stage combat class and he his friend are having fun with that. It is just one evening a week, which is why I signed them up for it (they were thinking about it, then I got an email about a couple of spots left and I just went ahead and registered both of them!). Dave is also doing a bell choir and appearing with Braeden in the Waldo’s “Believe.” Add to it that this week Braeden has two performances of “Going, Going, Gone with the Breeze” at school and then both Dave and Braeden are appearing in something on Saturday night too . . . it’s a lot of things at once.

We had vaguely considered driving to Rhode Island for Thanksgiving, but it would be so hard on Thane. We figure it would be best for him to do a day trip – so get up early and drive down, stay for awhile, and then go home. Then we decided it might be better to try something like that on a day less travelled – it just seems safer. One thing I can't really figure out is how much trouble to go through for Thanksgiving.

Do we make it all gluten free and egg free so that Thane can eat whatever he wants, or do we buy a couple of pies and things like that realizing chances are slim that he'll want to try any of it?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Braeden Then and Now

The black and white pictures are some of Braeden's school portraits that gave me quite the chuckle in 2007. The color shots are ones I took while sitting in the backyard a couple of weeks ago. He looks a lot different, in my opinion, but there is a sameness in the images nevertheless.