Sunday, February 27, 2011


JT found a friend today at the park.

He has a certain slide he LOVES. He climbs up, slides down. Pretty much over and over, the whole time. He takes breaks to find Audrey, go play elsewhere, but he comes back to the twirly slide.

Today there was another family there. There were 3 kids - two older boys (I would guess 8 and 10 maybe?) and a little girl - about 1.5. They were playing on the slide, too.

I was afraid JT would get upset, be too rough... but no. He happily shared his slide, and he thought the little girl was SO cute. He'd get up and move every time she came down the slide so she could get off easily.

After about ten minutes, the family started walking to the other end of the park (they must live close). JT was SO sad. Somehow, he knew the little girl's name was Allie!

It was *adorable* and so sweet and sad. He kept yelling, "Hello, Allie, not goodbye" and "Play all day Allie" and "AAAAAALLLLLLLIIIIIEEEE" as they were walking across the field.

So precious.

He must have a thing for younger blonde girls. His other 'love' is Abby (another "a" name), Audrey's boyfriend's little (3yo) sister. We drive past their house every day, and he chants "Abby, Abby" over and over the entire time.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

To further my point...

To underestimate a child with autism is doing them, and us, a HUGE disservice. They are capable of amazing things.

Separate but NOT equal.

Before I get into our situation (which, by the way, appears to be going just the way I hoped - hooray for blessings), I want to share what upset me so much.

We live in Wake County (around Raleigh), North Carolina. Our school district is notorious for the de-integration of the schools here last year.

As it turns out, they also segregate disabilities.

They break down disability by type, then assign special ed kids to the specific classrooms just for those disabilities.

It seems great on the surface... I mean, you've got qualified personnel working with a single type of disability.

What got me was the fact that the AU (autism) program here results in a certificate of attendance, NOT a high school diploma. They modify (aka DUMB DOWN) the curriculum for these kids, even though autistic kids are not all intellectually impaired. That way, it's almost impossible for them to ever mainstream (if they're getting more and more behind every year, HOW will it ever happen???) and get on track for a real diploma.

There are three tracks of modification in the AU classroom. None of them are standard curriculum. They are saying that NO child that comes into that room can earn a diploma, because they CAN'T choose a standard curriculum.

Even worse, even if the teachers are teaching the AU kids standard or above curriculum, they *still* can't get a diploma! Their curriculum tracks are the ONLY choices, so they choose the top 'modified' and then write-in what your kid is doing. WTF?

How is this right? They take a group of kids, who, because of their disability, have behavioral issues. These behavioral issues are NOT indicative of intelligence. And the behavioral issues aren't aggression in many of the kids - we're talking stimming, inability to sit still with a typical class, stereotypical autism movements... I mean, disrupting enough to need an alternate setting in some cases, but they are perfectly capable of learning the same material as their peers in a setting where they can be accommodated.

See? They have taken 'accommodation' and forced 'modification' into it. Instead of ACCOMMODATING behavioral differences, they force a MODIFIED (dumbed down) curriculum on these kids, which therefore doesn't hurt their schools in the No Child Left Behind Funding (school test scores have to meet requirements, and any kids on modified curriculum don't count into the score... nice). It's all about the benjamins, baby. Or laziness. It would take more effort to educate these kids to their potential. But isn't that why the ratio in that class is lower?

And I have to wonder... these parents that let their kids go in there... have they given up? Do they not think their kids are at least average intelligence? What is going on in a parent's head when they decide at ANY point putting their kid into a program where they can't earn a diploma unless they can prove they can get out is a good idea? I get it if you know your kid isn't capable. But if you're on the fence, WHY?

How is putting all the AU kids into a modified program NOT segregation? And if we were to replace 'autistic' with 'black' or 'female', would this fly?

Absolutely NOT.

More teeth!

Audrey has lost 2 teeth now :) And she has 4 (!!!!!) more loose.

Following the same pattern as when she got her teeth... at 13 months, she had no teeth. Within 2 weeks, 6 had grown in.

At this rate, the tooth fairy is going to be broke very soon!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sick day.

Last night JT was really sick, so today was a sick day at home.

Let's just say little man is doing much, much better. While he spent the morning wrapped up in blankets on the couch, by the afternoon he was painting, coloring with markers, fighting with his sister (who he shared the 'poopy cold' as she called it with), singing SpongeBob songs, taking a really long super bubbly bath and playing in the sandbox.

Boo to stomach viruses, but hooray this one was short lived!

I'll be glad when he goes back to school... he insists I'm a 'mean mommy' every time I turn off SpongeBob or make him do anything he doesn't want to do. I think he misses it, too... After he got out of the tub, he ran (still bubbly) and wiggled into his backpack. "School time!" he said... Um, no.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Oh dear.

We attempted a hair cut tonight. We were successful in cutting hair off.

Too successful.

JT bucked and knocked the clipper guard off. So his hair went from 3/4 in to no guard (ie bald).

He was really upset about it. He spent a good ten minutes after standing in front of the mirror wailing dramatically, "MY HAIR! MY HAIR ALL GONE! MOMMY MEAN! WHERE MY HAAAAIIIIRRRR????" etc, etc. It was very, very sad. He got in the bath, and would stand up every few minutes and begin wailing again.

Finally I explained to him that JT's hair grows. He seems to understand this, and has told his daddy, and stopped wailing and crying.

A little while ago, I walked in the bathroom to find JT making all kinds of faces looking at himself in the mirror :) I quickly walked away before he caught me, but he spent a good 5 or so minutes in there just looking at himself.

Then he ran out excitedly screaming, "TWO EARS!!! JT HAVE TWO EARS!" (Maybe we waited too long between hair cuts?).

Fingers crossed it grows fast.

Poor bald baby.

Open windows.

With the beautiful weather outside, I've been leaving our windows open all day (they get closed and locked at bedtime).

I realized today that we have never done this in this house. We moved here in July of 2009.

JT used to spend at least part of every day screaming, screeching or throwing fits. Even last fall we were still dealing with having to go around and close windows several times a day as to not disturb our (close housing) neighbors - to the point where it just wasn't worth it to open them.

I've had the windows open the past 3 days. Not one. Not a single fit, screaming match, tantrum or any other event that would necessitate me closing the windows.

We really have come a long way.

Making Ooze

Today we mixed cornstarch with water to make a really weird, messy, yucky, cool ooze.

When you kept it moving, it was a solid. But as soon as you stopped, it was a liquid.

Here's why:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Trying to get my thoughts together...

So much going on with JT's upcoming transition to Kindergarten. So many thoughts/feelings/emotions... and so many things I want to say about the whole thing.

Once everything in my head settles down, I'll be back to post more about it.

One thing I will say: NO WAY they are putting JT into a program where he will get a 'certificate of attendance' rather than a diploma.



Raw egg, left in white distilled vinegar 3 days.
We learned the acid in the vinegar causes the hard shell to become
soft - and you can see the inside!
Here's more info:

JT loves SpongeBob

It's his favorite show ever... this was during one of Plankton's many attempts to steal the crabby patty formula.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

"He's not shy, is he?"

That's what the DirecTv person said to me when we were talking at the front door yesterday.

JT flew out the door in *just a t-shirt*. He must have pulled off the diaper in the 2 minutes I was standing right outside the cracked open door.

So, we're working on keeping at least a diaper and shirt on now. Showing off your goods is not appropriate...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Strange connections.

This whole 'disability' world... it's a funny thing, I've discovered.

All of us moms of kids with varying disabilities face different challenges. Behaviors, learning issues, physical issues... our roads are so different.

I often think to myself, "I can't imagine dealing with that... what an amazing mother." Not in a trite way, or to downplay my own child's issues. It's just completely different, and I cannot imagine it, literally. I try to picture putting on different 'shoes' - how it would feel, being in their place. Our lives, from the inside, are nothing alike, aside from loving our children and doing anything for them. Then again, that's not so different from any other parents. We all are capable (and all my friends do) love their children in the 'no matter what happens' way.

Where the connection with other moms facing caring for a child with a disability comes is in the external way. How people view us. Judge us. View and judge our children. The issues we deal with - educationally, medically, emotionally (for us)... while they differ, they are greater than that of 'typical' families.

This random thought (and it is totally random) came to me as I was in the carpool line at Audrey's school a few days ago. The line winds through the parking lot in single file, sort of making a 'P' shape.

I saw a van go to the left of all the cars, passing them by, breaking the 'single file' rule.

I saw mothers (I don't see dads in cars usually) roll their eyes, I saw their mouths move angrily, I saw angry stares.

In other cases, I might have been angry, too. But I knew. Because I pass all the cars when I go pick up JT from his 'special class'.

She passed the cars, and instead of turning at the 'P', she headed straight. To the 'severe disability' class. All the children in that class are wheelchair-bound, severely mentally and physically affected.

I shed a tear as I saw how happy this mother was to pick up her child from the smiling teacher/aide, lovingly lift her from her chair, and buckle her in. She loaded the wheelchair (struggling), and got back in the car with her daughter and another infant.

I hoped, in my mind, that the other mothers felt terribly guilty watching this mother. Just like I hope that when I see them do the same thing as I pick up JT, sometimes struggling to drag him to the car, sometimes screeching, flapping, repeating things over and over.

I don't know if she saw, but I smiled as she passed me. It may not be a 'preferred' club, but as long as I'm around, I'm showing support for my fellow sisters.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Playground drama...

Perhaps I should do this in Llama Llama style.

Baby Llama took a toy
To the park to play
Mama Llama said 'let's share'
And took the toy away.

Baby Llama screamed and cried
He even tried to bite
Mama Llama felt so bad
That she even tried.

Daddy Llama (hey, he's new) got the toy
And fixed the Baby Llama
Mama Llama shook her head
At all the Llama drama.


Yes, we went to play at the playground. JT took a toy truck. He was all stressed out, didn't want to go anywhere and it's how we got him to go out the door without freaking out. He was just holding it... the kid at the playground kept asking for it, so I tried to facilitate (LOL) a sharing opportunity. FAIL. JT freaked out. The kid's mom was glaring at me (both before and after he shared) and talked on her cell phone the entire time. NICE.

JT was playing appropriately and making good eye contact (playing chase and taking turns!) up until Mama Llama jacked it up.

Lesson learned: just tell the other kid it's his favorite toy and he can't share it.

Too bad lessons are learned the hard way around here!!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Case of the Missing Tooth

Audrey lost her first tooth!

In true Audrey-fashion, there was drama involved.

She was wiggling it at school... and then pulled and was shocked it came out.

She put the tooth on her tongue (why???) and promptly swallowed it!

Apparently she freaked out and two of her best friends took her to the bathroom and helped her swish her mouth out (it was bleeding) and assure her she would be fine with a swallowed tooth.

She doesn't believe in the tooth fairy (*sigh*, when your kid is too smart for you it's not much fun... haha), so she came home ready to negotiate a price for her tooth. Her beginning offer was $1000 for the tooth, and I'm happy to say we did talk her down a bit ;)

She's got another tooth about to come out (the other bottom tooth) and her top two are now getting pretty loose.

She's convinced she gets more for her 'silver' teeth. Oh boy!

Sweet Honey

JT has been very sweet and polite lately, which is a big 'thankful for' around here.

'Please' and 'Thank you' are getting to be normal phrases.

Today JT did something especially sweet that made my day/week/year/life. :)

We got home from school, and JT was in the car dawdling. He usually does this, it's no big deal. I kept asking him, "JT, please get out. Let's go inside!" And then he replied, "Honey. I honey." When I asked, "Honey, can we please go inside?" he smiled and hopped out of the car. Super cute.

I was struggling with two big shopping bags, a plastic container and a drink, and asked JT to close the car door. He noticed my bags, and closed the door and ran ahead.

He opened the door leading from the garage to the back deck, and waited for me. When I turned around to close the door, he closed it for me, grinning proudly. I made sure to thank him a ton.

Then he ran across the deck and opened the screen door and the back door, and stepped back and held the screen door open for me. Again, I was SO excited and thanked him a whole lot :) He closed the door behind me, beaming with pride.

Usually JT flies into the house to take off his pants and socks and shoes and watch his shows. It was really, really sweet for him to wait for me.

He really does have a heart of gold.

And he's still insisting that I call him 'honey'. He's definitely living up to the sweetness of the name!

(In other news, he ate McD's tonight - the fries and the chicken! Super excited about his slowly expanding back to where it was food choices!).


This is how JT and his cat sleep every night.

He's been sleeping (actually, doing everything) with his backpack on lately, too :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

"Things no one told you about pregnancy/childbirth/parenting."

I came across a blog today that posed this question, and ended in a compilation of answers. Funny, candid answers.

It's times like these (well, among many) that I have to bite my tongue so hard that it surely is about to fall right off.

Things I didn't expect?

How about a child who doesn't communicate until he's 3 - resulting in a whole lot of screaming tantrums that lasted for hours on end where I would have to confine him to his (bare) room for his safety and that of my daughter and myself. A kid who bangs his head on the floor/walls/whatever when he's angry (thank you, God, that phase is over). Early Intervention. Therapies that consume your days, weeks, months. Explaining bruises from your son's bites to your doctors. Having to send your kid to school before you're ready to let go because they're in special education and they *need* the extra help that you're not qualified to give them. Learning about disability laws because you have to know them to get services. Cognitive skills that are delayed and gross motor that are advanced that result in too many ER visits (thank God for good doctors who knew we were good parents). Second guessing every choice you make because in the end, you are responsible for helping your child navigate this world. Of course, there's also - getting a first kiss after 3 years of waiting. Finally engaging a zipper at 5 and zipping up (squeeee!). Cutting on a straight line with 75% accuracy over a 6 inch line (yay). Sitting through an ENTIRE restaurant meal without having to get up or screaming at 4. Using words rather than screams to ask for things at 5.

When I looked at the list, that included things such as 'delivering the placenta' and 'boob leakage' I got that sinking feeling again - the one where you feel all alone. It's the little things that remind me how different our journey is, and how I just don't 'get' the lives of people that don't deal with disability/autism on a daily basis.

I'm not sure if it's jealousy or just awe at the difference - maybe a little of both.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Hey Tooth Fairy...

Keep in mind you'll be here soon.

See those teeth *behind* that are coming in...

New Books!

My dad got my kids an awesome Christmas present - a Barnes and Noble gift card :) Being the super responsible person I am, I somehow managed to delete the email with the number... resulting in a lot more work on my dad's part retrieving the info and calling the BN people to get the information resent to me...

Anyhoo, today we placed the order, and I'm actually excited... probably just as excited as Audrey, and JT is going to be pumped when we get them, too!

Amazing Book of Questions & Answers

Glad Monster, Sad Monster: A Book About Feelings

The Everything Kids' Science Experiments Book: Boil Ice, Float Water,Measure Gravity-Challenge the World Around You!

Space: A Nonfiction Companion to Midnight on the Moon (Magic Tree House Research Guide Series)

The Everything Kids' Easy Science Experiments Book: Explore the worldof science through quick and fun experiments!

Everything Kids' Magical Science Experiments Book: Dazzle your friends and family by making magical things happen!

Llama, Llama Red Pajama

There's No Place like Space!: All about Our Solar System

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

If You Give a Cat a Cupcake

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Wish for a Fish: All About Sea Creatures

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Audrey is really doing great with her reading. Like her mommy and daddy, I think she's going to be a bookworm :)

Here's a short clip of Audrey reading a book perfectly titled "Super Sister".