Sunday, March 27, 2011


JT eating his favorite food at 22 months: fettucine alfredo.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Smithsonian Crystal Growing!

Our newest science experiment:

Audrey is SO excited. You make 3 different crystals: yellow, blue, and turquoise.

We boiled the water tonight, mixed some powder in (colored), and added a rock in a plastic cup.

It's supposed to take a few days to get the full effect... we'll be taking some pictures to show the progress of crystal formation.

So cool!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

SO cute!

JT loves the SpongeBob Marble iPad game.

You have to guide the marbles to the exits, and you use this red paint to direct them.

It's not easy to use the allotted paint and get all the marbles to the exits without them going off the screen or into 'goo' (both 'pop' the SpongeBob marbles, and you lose the level).

JT was playing the game, it was close to bed time, he wanted to do it himself. He was frustrated.

We were getting his drink and bed ready, and all of a sudden JT comes running up...

"MOMMY!!! I DID IT!!!"

SO proud of himself. And SO excited about it and showing me what he'd done!

It was awesome. And amazing. The winning and the excitement to show me :)

Parents Magazine Mess-up

April is Autism Awareness Month!

Here are some fun stats for you (and by fun, I mean terrifying):
On any given day in the US over 12,000 babies are born….
2 with Muscular Dystrophy
5 with Spina Bifida
16 with Down Syndrome
112 will have an Autism Spectrum Disorder

One in 110 children is diagnosed with autism, making it more common than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes and pediatric AIDS combined.

An estimated 1.5 million individuals in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide are affected by autism.

So, to celebrate Autism Awareness Month, you would think a magazine, say, Parents Magazine, would run a feature. 1 in 110 (it's actually under 100 now!) is a big number. And rising. And lots of parents reading their magazine may wonder, does my child have autism? What are the signs?


Better yet, they didn't publish anything in print after it was brought to their attention last year.

But in their defense, seriously, they posted that they had a product featured (read: advertisement) for bed tents, which can be used for autistic and special needs kids. SERIOUSLY.

After getting more and more complaints, they finally relented to 2 online-only articles, and now are offering a blog series online.

No print articles. Print articles that would be in every pediatrician's office, the ones that parents pick up to read before appointments. No articles in the hands of a mother at home wondering does Andy have autism? Something's not right. Nothing in the print magazine directing readers to said articles or blog.

Sorry, Parents Magazine. We're through. You obviously write only for 'typical families'. Thanks for clarifying.

If you want to read the Facebook thread, or better yet, comment on it and let them know what you think - here it is.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Kids Together Park

We had a blast playing at the park yesterday...

Here are some cute JT pics from our fun time!

From 2011-03-20

From 2011-03-20

From 2011-03-20

From 2011-03-20

Park Time!

We went out and enjoyed the gorgeous weather this past weekend at Kids Together Park here in Cary.

The kids had an AWESOME time - here are a few of my favorites of Audrey!

From 2011-03-20

From 2011-03-20

From 2011-03-20

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Next year, we're getting the shot.

Audrey has been super sick this past week.

She missed Monday with a stomach virus.

Tuesday, she went to school. She was fine Tuesday morning.

Tuesday afternoon, she told me her throat hurt her. I didn't really think anything of it until about 6pm, when she came into the kitchen sobbing because her throat hurt so bad. I felt her forehead, and immediately grabbed the thermometer. 101.7.

She started vomiting that night.

The peak was Thursday afternoon. She was fine one minute, wrapped up on the couch watching tv. Suddenly she was writhing and crying... Grabbed the thermometer. 102.9.

Gave her tylenol. Waited 20 min. 103.2. Called The Hubs to come home, he hurried back. Another 20 min pass. 102.7. Ibuprofen now, and cold washcloth baths. Another 20 min. 102.9. Thank God it fell after that. Every few minutes I was taking her temp, trying to decide if it was urgent care/ER time. Narrowly escaped that one. About 30 min later, she was down to 101. She got up, and promptly threw up everywhere. And for the first time in 2 days, her temp went down to 99.

During that long hour, Audrey looked at me and said, "Mom, I wish I would have just gotten the flu shot."

I hope she remembers that next year when we're in line. Because we're not doing this again if we can help it.

Audrey is now the proud recordholder of highest temperature by a kid in our house. Hoping that we don't ever contest this title. Scary.

Friday, March 11, 2011

More JT. :)

The anniversary.

Yesterday, I had a realization. I searched through the archives of my blog just to be sure, and indeed, happened upon this:

Developmental Evaluation

February 20th marked the third anniversary of 'd-day' - the day we knew for sure our son had autism.

Two things struck me.

First, the day passed without me noticing. In the past, d-day has been spent in a complete funk, with crying and everything. Maybe it's a sign of MY progress. And that makes me happy. JT has done his part in the progress arena for sure. Apparently moms need a little more time to come around.

Second, that post is remarkably calm and collected. The reality of that day was not pretty. I was ripped to shreds. I was broken. I was an absolute mess. Back then I internalized it all - I had no one. I wanted no one to know that I was so devastated, so I put on my happy face and acted the part every day.

That day will never disappear from my memory. The autism specific test involved a remote controlled bunny, and JT FREAKED OUT when they moved it. He was hysterical. He wouldn't look where they pointed. He wouldn't look anywhere. He spent most of the time climbing up and down stairs they used for the gross motor eval (4 steps up, sort of looked like a podium). The plexiglass 3-sided box with one side open, a rubber duck underneath, watching JT struggle and become increasingly frustrated because he couldn't get it.

Hearing my child was likely never going to speak. Hearing he was likely intellectually impaired. What I didn't include in there was a 'severe' after the moderate descriptor. She said he was 'moderate to severe. Leaning to the more severe side.'

D-day is over, and it truly is getting easier every year.

Jess was right. If you're new to the game (or you just want to cry), Welcome to the Club.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Flu enlightenment.

JT is home sick. Again. So is his sister, now, but I digress. The flu has hit our home hard.

Last Friday, after a playdate where JT was a little challenging (he's usually super laid-back at these playdates, and he was just a little more insistent and strong-willed this time, nothing too dramatic at all), we had to go pick up Z from work.

Within 2 minutes of getting in the car, JT started. It takes 20 minutes to get to Z's work, then 20 minutes back. It built. And built. And built. It was epic. He was screaming, thrashing, sweating, clenched, and so simultaneously sad, angry and frustrated that it was horrifying.

I had flashbacks to JT, at almost 3, sitting under a table doing this exact same thing every single day. Me having to put him in his room with the door shut to protect his sister and to protect me. He was so locked in his world, so gone, so unreachable.

I was terrified. My stomach clenched up. I could feel my blood pressure rise. What if? What if this is going to be our normal again? What if I have to relive all those days? What if everything we've worked so hard for is gone?

About five minutes from home, Z and I gave up trying to console him. We sat silently in the car, just his screams and yells filling the space. Z looked at me after a few minutes and said, "This is just so sad. You can hear how his little mind works, it's just bombarding him." In those few minutes of listening, shouts of 'no seat belt' 'lemme outta here' 'wanna go home' 'light green' 'please go' 'i'm stuck lemme out' 'just go' 'lets get out of here'... and so, so many more, poured out of him. Almost like he was begging.

He calmed down right after we got home, and within 30 minutes had started the vomiting. Poor kiddo.

But that feeling of terror, of the 'what if', that's hard to shake. It's always there, just waiting for something to pop up and remind me of the past. I hate that. I hate feeling like I'm walking uphill in sand, and any moment we could just slide back down.

Strange realization.

Friday night, right before JT got really sick, he was throwing the most EPIC tantrum I have seen since he was... 2? Maybe? I haven't seen him scream and kick seats and just be downright inconsolable and angry in so long that it was a shock (not to mention the fear and panic that set in when I started thinking "what if?" - what if this is going to happen again? What if the progress was an illusion?).

We had to pick The Hubs up at work, and then drive back home. It was about 40 minutes in the car.

Almost home, we finally heaved a heavy sigh and gave up on trying to talk him down. He was too far gone.

After a few minutes, The Hubs looked at me and said, "this is just so sad. You can just hear how his little mind works, too many things going on at one time, just bombarding him." And it was. He was screaming about everything - go home, hungry, tummy boo boo, move, go, go car, get away, leave me alone, no seat belt... Thrashing and bucking (almost like he was trying to get away from his own thoughts). It was like trying to keep up with twenty conversations at once.

When we got home, he did calm down (and within 30 minutes, had started the vomiting).

But that five minutes of just *listening* really makes you understand how hard it must be to be JT.

Opposites and Funny

JT's FAVORITE thing right now is opposites. In any situation, he loves to tell us the opposite of what the correct answer is. If it's yes, he says no; up is down; boy is girl (which really irritates his sister, serving a dual purpose, haha); wrong is right; emotions are screwy (oh he's so happy when obviously he's mad...)... He LOVES to trick us. He waits until we don't catch him, giggles hysterically and says, "THAT'S NOT RIGHT!"

In other news, our son has now figured out where both Papa John's and McDonald's are. For the record, these are his favorite places to eat, and he gets them once every week or two... When we go pick The Hubs up, he's started asking for 'pizza' and telling us 'go that way' when we get close. Last night was the funniest - we passed McDonald's, and JT suddenly yells out from the back seat, "HELLO, FRENCH FRY!!!"

He is finally feeling better, and is losing the irritability that came with this (who ISN'T irritable when they don't feel good?). He's been helping with puzzles, reading books and collecting crayons (the coloring thing did not work out in my favor. SpongeBob coloring book is untouched, but all 24 crayons have a special place in JT's heart and hands right now).

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Yertle the Turtle

JT is really into this book by Dr. Seuss.

It's a surprisingly long book, and JT sits through all of it (happily explaining when someone is 'mad', 'happy' or 'sad'). He especially likes the part where Mack (the bottom turtle) burps and knocks Yertle off his turtle throne.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Bittysaur vs flu.

Keeping the towel close.

Flu Day 3

JT is feeling a little better... back to talking, rather than just whimpering on the floor in the living room. He's eating a little, and back to drinking his regular amounts... yay. No more vomiting, either. Phew.

Unfortunately, fever is still high. We hit 101 or higher as soon as the tylenol/motrin wears off.

He pretty much didn't move at all yesterday from the spot he chose in the living room, wrapped up in blankets. He slept off and on all day. He was out by 6pm, we just carried him upstairs. Aside from waking up (and getting more fever reducers) a few times during the night for 2 minutes, he slept until 7am.

Hopefully he'll keep improving. Pitiful JT makes us all very sad around here. He's usually our little goofball.

Audrey's Book to JT

Audrey = sweetest. child. ever.

Some Mothers Chosen By God

by Erma Bombeck

Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures and a couple by habit.

This year, nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children.

Did you ever wonder how mothers of handicapped children are chosen?

Somehow, I visualize God hovering over earth selecting His instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation.

As He observes, He instructs His angels to make notes in a giant ledger.

"Armstrong, Beth, son. Patron saint, Matthew.

"Forrest, Marjorie, daughter. Patron saint, Cecelia.

"Rudledge, Carrie, twins. Patron saint… give her Gerard, He's used to profanity."

Finally, He passes a name to an angel and smiles, "Give her a handicapped child."

The angel is curious. "Why this one, God? She's so happy."

"Exactly," smiles God. "Could I give a handicapped child a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel."

"But has she patience?" asks the angel.

"I don't want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wears off, she'll handle it."

"I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence that is so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I'm going to give her has his own world and that's not going to be easy."

"But Lord, I don't think she even believes in you."

God smiles. "No matter. I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness."

The angel gasps, "Selfishness? Is that a virtue?"

God nods. "If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, she'll never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child who is less than perfect. She doesn't realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a 'spoken word.' She will never consider a 'step' ordinary."

"When her child says 'Momma' for the first time, she will be present at a miracle and know it! When she describes a tree or sunset to her blind child, she will see it as few people ever see my creations."

"I will permit her to see clearly the things I see… ignorance, cruelty, prejudice… and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side."

"And what about her patron saint" asks the angel, his pen poised in mid-air.

God smiles. "A mirror will suffice."

Sunday, March 6, 2011

It's the little things...

You know what I wish for?

Bet it's not what you're thinking of!

I wish...

:I could use my vacuum cleaner without my son having an outright panic attack complete with insanely rapid heart rate, running to plaster himself against the back fence in terror and screaming for hours. In other words, I wish I could vacuum while my kid is here.
:I wish I could use my mixer to mix while my son is home. See the above example for his response to turning it on.
:I wish haircuts didn't involve the fear of CPS being called on us for the insane amount of screaming (which, in all fairness, is truly fear, not a fit). Even scissors elicit this response. A necessary life activity that I have to hold down my terrified son to do.
:I wish my husband could use his beard trimmers in the mornings without the screaming and terror that my son experiences if he happens to be snuggling in bed with me.

I wish Sensory Processing Disorder (which goes along with autism) wasn't so darn hard. I wish there was a way to make my son understand his fears aren't rational. But they are to him.

So, for now, I can't use my vacuum or mixer while he's home, I pin him down so he can look decent, and deal with the disappointment of a snuggle cut short because my husband's beard needs to be trimmed.


Oh no... vomiting day 2. Definitely the flu :(

Poor baby man.

Pitiful bittysaur

The coughing and fever have commenced.

Poor bittysaur :(

Saturday, March 5, 2011

OH NO!!!

JT had a horrible night last night, and kept telling me his tummy had a booboo.

Tonight, he was hysterical, screaming the same thing.

Then he said, "Ah choo". I was like, 'Achoo? You need to sneeze?'

Less than 30 seconds later he threw up ALL OVER ME.

Please don't let it be the flu, please don't let it be the flu...

Funniest. Thing. EVER.

I usually just go about my business and leave the doors/window open and listen to them (the backyard is very secured - privacy fence with locks and hook and eye locks about 6' up so they can't get out).

JT apparently has been throwing balls over the fence into the neighbor's backyard.

Anyway, JT was humming around out there and I happened to walk to the back door just to say 'hey' when I heard our neighbor over the fence (just the rustling noises, not talking)... I noticed JT's eyes were HUGE and he was staring at the fence.

I looked up there, and right above the 7' privacy fence top was a soccer ball, hovering. As soon as it dropped, a giant medicine ball floated up and hovered, then dropped. Because the lady is short, you could never see a hand, it really looked like the balls floated up and dropped back over.

He was frozen for a few seconds, then took off like a bat out of hell into the house. He insists there is 'a monster' out there.

I'm willing to bet he won't be throwing any more balls over the fence, or at least won't be doing it for a loooong time.