Sunday, August 30, 2009

Oh yuck.

I'm not a big fan of teeth. I like them for the purpose they serve, but the whole falling out and leaving bloody gums in their wake? Yeah, not so much.

Yesterday, as I helped George get ready for bed, I reminded Emma that it was time to do her chores. "Just a minute, Mom, I'm going to pull my tooth out!" Oh yuck. I quickly left the room and sure enough, by the time I came back, she had a bloody tissue in her mouth and a tooth in her hand. Blech. I'll be really happy when this growth phase is over.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Boys & Water

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Yes, our water bill may be a touch high this month, but when an active boy can find fun in water, dish soap, and a variety of plastic bowls for over an hour, I am all for it. Even if he does hate to get even a drop of water on his clothes and therefore, removes them as they get wet. Leaving me with a very clean sink (and counter and floor) and many very Internet-inappropriate images on my camera's memory card.

I was going to write a nice long post about Autism and sensory issues. But, see that late summer sun coming in through the window? I'm going to go enjoy it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Talent Wasted

All summer, we have had several therapists (or tutors, as this particular program calls them) come into our house every weekday to work with George. They have been wonderful with him and he has so enjoyed "playing" with them. They have worked on his writing and cutting skills, how to correctly hold a pencil, categorizing, letter sounds, reciprocal conversation, and they have taught him his full name, phone number, address, school & teacher name, etc.

He has learned so much and is just soaking up every little thing they try with him. By watching them work with him, I learn ways to teach him, too. (He learned his phone number within five minutes when they let him use a cell phone to call our home phone, which they would then answer. Instant association and gratification! Why didn't I think of that?)

Today, we said a very tearful good-bye to his favorite tutor. She had the most contact with him, and the most success. She was willing to be playful with him, but kept him at his assigned task, not letting him off the hook if he whined and cheering him when he would finish. He would ask for her by name on the days they didn't meet, and seeing her face on his daily activity schedule was a sure way to get him to move along in the mornings.

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Two weeks ago, she gave notice to the organization that we work with and after today's session with George, she got into a U-haul and headed up the freeway. I'd love to say that she's found a terrific opportunity that will utilize her skills. That she'll be working with even more children who need someone like her. That she'll be changing more lives the way she's changed ours. Unfortunately, I can't say any of those things. She's moving two hours away, back to her home town... to sell insurance.


She can't afford to live on the money she makes working here. The organization that employed her can't afford to give her enough hours or pay her enough for her to pay her rent. The organization that exists to help children like mine that need a little (or a lot) of help beyond what school can provide can't afford to pay their employees a living wage.

So instead of being a lifeline to kids and parents, instead of changing their lives, she will be selling them insurance. She doesn't want to and many tears were shed by everyone involved when she made that decision. But she ran out of choices. She waved good-bye with tears running down her face.

There is something very wrong with that. No, I'm not bitter, why do you ask?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

By the end, I couldn't feel my legs...

All year, Emma looks forward to one particular week. As soon as that week is over, she begins the countdown to the next one. The week of the County Fair. In our house, it is a Big Deal. She can easily spend hours in the animal barns, is very willing to go through the art & baking exhibits, and isn't too pushy about going on rides. All in all, a very good fair-going companion!

This year, we discovered something else (or rather, had it reinforced): Emma is a very good big sister. For the first time, we decided to take George with us to the Fair on the day that they have unlimited rides for a set fee.


We had no idea how he would handle it. The Fair is a LOUD place, there is a lot of WAITING in line involved, it is usually HOT, and sometimes you have to SHARE the seat. Guess which things can be troublesome for George?

However, while the Fair was setting up in previous weeks, we drove by and George said, "I want to go on Roller Coaster." Okay dude, if you're going to use a full sentence, completely unprompted, I'm going to honor it. So, we went.

And it was awesome. SIX FULL HOURS of awesome. George was fairly wide-eyed and quiet at first, taking it all in. Emma took him by the hand and excitedly suggested several rides to go on. By the end of the second ride, they were in cahoots and took off running for the ROLLER COASTER! A small roller coaster, but still!


From then on, he knew what to do and it was non-stop until we left. I even got to go on a couple!


His favorite ride was the blue, slightly larger, VERY LOUD roller coaster. He kept his hands on his ears the entire ride, but loved every minute. This was the only time we had any problems, but only because he would get frustrated by waiting in line. He would come racing off as soon as the ride attendent released him, run down the stairs and back round to the entrance. Sometimes he could get right back on, but often there was a line. And George does not like lines. But we dealt with it. And got back on. Approximately 102 times. Approximately.


And then we ate wonderfully nutricious food. Yum!



It was all so much more fun than I had hoped for. And now there is one more thing that we know George can handle. I'm starting to wonder what he can't handle, something to think about.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sweet Music


Sweet Music - Via an amazing gift from Grandma Sharon & Papa Ray.I am so grateful to our Beverly family. Two incredible grandparents that gave us their piano. One musician brother-in-law who is always available with advice on how to encourage Emma’s natural ability without pushing too hard. Now, beautiful music drifts upstairs to me every day.


Emma shares Jason's ability to "play by ear"; after hearing a song, she can reproduce it fairly quickly on a keyboard or piano. She also composes amazingly complicated songs, using both hands properly with chords or other harmony in the bass clef. She astounds me with her skill and I love that she chooses to play music almost daily. Adam, my brother-in-law, has advised us to let her explore on her own without lessons for now. She is the type (profectionist, hard on herself) that could easily shut down and give up if she feels she's not playing correctly. My opinion: if she's making music that pleases her, she's doing it correctly! And I reap the lovely benefits!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Crawling toward the end of summer

Are your kids bored like mine? Well, just hand them a 24 pack of new pencils and a pencil sharpener! Guaranteed to provide at least 24 minutes of quiet fun!


Also, yes, that IS a movable, circular train bridge you see in the foreground! Brilliant idea, I think.

Obviously, we're knee deep in Thomas the Tank Engine again these days. Just when I was starting to think that it was time to box everything up, everything came back out. And I do mean everything.


This photo was taken by George. The books and trains are propped up on the entertainment center, in front of the TV which was playing a Thomas DVD (more can be seen below, resting on the DVD player). The trains are out, the books are out, the DVDs are in constant rotation, Thomas activity books are a favorite, we're even listening to Thomas audio books in the van. Luckily, Thomas is fairly likable and there are so many stories, that I don't have to hear/watch/read the same ones too often. And George relates to/interacts with them differently now that he's more verbal. I love how he "discusses" the story lines with me, really dissecting the emotions and actions. THIS is why we rarely throw out old favorite toys and such, they almost always cycle back through and serve a new purpose.

AND, as a super bonus, I found a discarded train table on the side of the road a couple of weeks ago. These can run anywhere from $80-200, so I was never willing to buy one. But, thanks to a ton of sanding and a bit of spray paint (thanks, Papa!), it's looking wonderful and will move into George's room this week!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Too busy to breathe

How is it that I used to complain about summer being too long and too boring? We have been moving and doing non-stop. Relatives rotating through town, record heat locking us to the slip 'n slide, summer school & therapies keeping every day full.

I have so many things to share, but I'm in the middle of a huge project. One picture that's being used in that project made me laugh out loud when I saw it, so I thought I'd put it up here for your viewing pleasure.

Supposedly, that's me in the middle of two of my cousins, Molly & Sarah. But I would swear that it's really Emma wearing 70's clothing.

More soon, I promise!