Monday, August 31, 2009


yes, this is how crazy my son looks every morning on the way to school. he is carrying a finger pointer, a light-up star (aunt kim!), and a spinning 101 dalmations toy. he LOVES the backpack and even wanted to hold it on his lap once he was in the car.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

of course there's always the breakfast-flavored dental floss

Legally Blonde is on; it's the montage where she gets her act together and becomes a real student. I LOVE happy/working-it-out -towards-a-goal montages.

Punkin is very into backpacks these days, and I scored a Toy Story one this weekend for $8.50. I was out of town for a bachelorette weekend, and when I came home and gave it to him, he put it on right away -- just a diaper and a backpack. Sexy, sexy little man. I'll work on getting a picture with him clothed to share with you.

The bachelorette weekend was SO nice. We shopped and slept and ate yummy Mexican food and drank Boones Farm and ate homemade chocolate scones and lingered over old yearbooks from college. It was relaxing and low-key and a perfect way to help one of my very dearest friends celebrate her upcoming wedding.

I owe Oma big time for babysitting so often this summer. I love knowing that not only can I enjoy these special events with my friends, but Punkin cherishes spending time with his beloved Oma and Opa. I thought about getting her an Obama bobblehead at Urban Outfitters as a thank you gift, but I was pretty sure she already had one (wink wink).

once upon a time four girls tried to go to dinner

I work at a preschool in a room with 3, 4, and 5 year olds who have special needs. My workplace is also 98% female. When you work in a school with a bunch of women, you tend to form bonds with them. A few of us decided to have a Girl's Night last Wednesday -- just a simple dinner and a chance to have an adult conversation.

Well, let's just say we ended up spelling half of the words in our sentences.

I had to bring Punkin and my friend ended up having to bring both of her girls because her non-custodial parent decided at the last minute that hanging out with his daughter was inconvenient. The hostess sat us in a large booth near the kitchen and we were able to box in Punkin, which was quite necessary since we met them at the restaurant at the exact same time his Ritalin lost its effect.

He happily climbed back and forth underneath the table, settling mostly between the two childless women on the other side, who used their cat-like speed and reflexes to snag steak knives out of his hands.

I felt better about the fact that he was stealing everyone's straws and asking to smell the plants on the ledge above the benches when the younger girl, who is the same age as him, decided to salt her water and claim a bowl of salsa for her own. Of course, that was probably a good idea and one I should have considered for Punkin, who doesn't yet understand "double-dipping" etiquette.

Really, it was a very nice time even if a little more chaotic then intended, and everyone (including us teachers) were very well-behaved. Some of us even used the potty because we saw our friends doing it!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

in all seriousness

It's time we had a talk. Just you and me. So go fetch yourself some coffee or tea or a nice cup of hot water (Oma) and settle in for a little chat-a-roo.

See, there are times in a person's life when she must accept that certain tasks should be left to professionals, which, unless she is one of those professionals, means -- don't try the following things at home on your own:

1. Anything having to do with plumbing.
2. Anything having to do with electric.
3. Cutting your own hair.

And yes, some of you will argue about the last one -- but it's cheaper, but it's just a little, but I know what I'm doing. FINE. I concede. Just don't do it when you're hungover, in a hurry, or both.

Case in point: my bangs. This is probably a hairdresser's worst pet peeve. Women come in with wonky, cropped, ridonkulous bangs because they got frisky with some scissors and they're crying for salvation.

Hungover from the second wedding in two weeks + tired + in a hurry to make it to church + overdue at the hairdressers turns these bangs, which were admittedly long and a little awkwardly styled,

Looking a little better here. Sorry, Laura -- good thing you have a sense of humor, right? =)

The middle-split-or-else-they're-in-my-face look.

(I just like this picture because I look really aloof and you can see the pattern on my dress.)

into this -- a cropped, wonky mess that will hopefully grow to an acceptable length by Sept. 19, at which time I will be holding back tears of joy at Laura's wedding.

My friend Kathy assured me that they WILL grow, but I think maybe she was just playing along when she agreed that I'd wake up tomorrow and they'd be back to normal.

p.s. These photos belong to Sarah.

Monday, August 24, 2009

about a thousand dollars later ....

It's been deduced that I am most likely experiencing migraines. All of my tests -- CT, MRI, MRV/MRA, EEG, and opthamologist exam -- came back normal, which is good news because otherwise the options were like brain tumor, stroke, seizure, optic nerve disease, blood clot, glaucoma, retinal detachment, ect. So I'd say migraines sound pretty darn good in comparison to any of those things.

And what really clinched it is that, oh goody, I started getting headaches about a week ago to go along with the blurred vision. They are definitely moderate and controllable with typical pain meds, so I count myself very, very, very, very lucky in that regard. However, they are happening about 6-8 times a day and bring with them the feeling that my head weighs approximately 127 pounds. So she prescribed Topiramate (Topamax) to take twice a day and told me to come back in a month. I will probably have to have a repeat MRI in a year because a small, tiny, most likely nothing something came up on the MRI and it's standard operating procedure to repeat the test later.

I am SO SO fortunate to have good insurance. However, no insurance (except Punkin's) pays 100%, so I am awaiting a few hefty bills. The peace of mind is worth it, though, and I know they will let me make payments.

In other news that is not related to me talking about my health problems ad nauseam, Mr. Punkin did two very typical things this weekend. I love it when he does regular kid stuff -- even when it's coloring all over the walls with dry erase markers that won't completely wash off -- because I can so clearly see beyond his disability in those moments. He's just being a kid.

The second thing? He's decided that the Elmo DVD case is a pizza box. I kid you not, people; I canNOT make these things up. He comes up to me, "Whas iside? Whas iside? Is it? OHHH! Pizza!" and shoves it in my face, "Num num num!!"

The kid is pretending. PRETENDING. *Proud Mama Smile*

Friday, August 21, 2009

meanwhile it feels like october in august (it's chilly today)

So. Right now there are two kids in Punkin's self-contained preschool room (self-contained = just special needs kids). Three adults and two kids is not very exciting. In fact, it is rather depressing for the little man as all of his BFFs have moved on to kindergarten. But in an effort to keep things interesting and to provide some much-needed social interaction, Punkin's class has been combining parts of the day with another integrated (integrated = special needs and typical kids) class that is also low in numbers. Sometimes Punkin's class goes to the other room, sometimes the other room comes to him.

Well, today they spent almost the entire day in the other room and Punkin not only survived the change in schedule and number of kids, but he flew along with flying colors. *Beams with pride*

Well,that is until he got home and spontaneously combusted from all of that socially appropriate play, imitating correct speech patterns, and assisting with baking cupcakes for a friend's birthday.

After devouring two hot dogs and a half a can of mandarin oranges (at 3pm, and I'm sure he ate lunch), he proceeded to ask for chips, which I denied him, and wander around the apartment crying and muttering something about socks being broken. All because I told him to put his plate in the sink. You know, THE PLATE WITH WHICH HE WAS FINISHED.

Eventually he flung his head back and accidentally hit his head on the table, which gave me an "in" to cuddle him and calm him down, at which point I found Spongebob (his new love) on Nickelodeon and once again peace reigned.

And in case you're wondering, I really don't know why the sock was broken. He was holding it and every stitch appeared to be in order. The kid is obsessed with my socks. Every morning and every afternoon he walks into my room and picks one sock out of my drawer -- just one -- and puts it on, yanking it up all the way to his knee. Then he walks back to his room, puts on one of his own socks, and puts on his sandals. Most times I stop him from leaving the apartment in this unsightly state, but sometimes I let it slide. And the past few mornings he's insisted on carrying the sock with him to school, which wouldn't be that noticeable if he wasn't also dragging along an adult-sized pink fleece blanket.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"for i know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord"

I was going to write all about one of the most beautiful weddings I've ever attended -- an outdoor ceremony with a mountaintop backdrop and a bride and groom worthy of the cover of a magazine. The bride wore, as I spied after the ceremony, lime green patent leather heels underneath sparkling lace. And I've never seen the groom, a good friend from college, look so happy as when he saw her walk down the isle.

I could also write about the 12 million course meal (pistachio soup and mushroom-stuffed ravioli) and the open bar (whoo!) or about how my camera disappeared* (Maybe it is with Ducky?) or about how I explored much of Connecticut with Lion and Boo in search of a decent restaurant only to end up at Burger King. BUT,

something amazing happened. Something orchestrated by God, I have no doubt.

I flew into NY on Saturday, stayed the night with a friend, and then we drove to Boston on Sunday for the wedding, and drove back to NY on Monday. Anyway, I'm settled into my seat on the plane in NY when a woman comes up and tosses her boarding pass and license onto the seat next to me. "Oh, you're from Iowa, too?" We established that we live in the same city and she convinced me (in a rather remarkable "I mean it" voice) that I should go get a mammogram (like, yesterday) after she shared that she's a breast cancer survivor and I shared a brief family history.

We walked to our connecting flight together and she showed me a picture of her granddaughter. "She is developmentally delayed."

"Oh! So is my son!" And the conversation went on from there. We discussed Fragile X (her granddaughter doesn't have a diagnosis), Medicaid, Social Security, IEPs, and the joy and heartbreak of raising such special people.

I'm pretty sure I met a very special lady. And I hope that because I've conquered a few of the obstacles that she and her family are still fighting, I may be able to help them. God put us on that flight, in seats right next to each other, for a reason. I NEVER and I mean NEVER comment on anybody's anything when I don't know them. God wanted me to see her license and reach out. I'm not sure exactly why yet, but I'm listening, watching, and waiting.

*I absolutely did not lose my camera because of the open bar. It was on the table, I went and danced, and it was gone. Sigh.

Monday, August 17, 2009

i'm here

and i had an amazing whirlwind weekend (you like the alliteration, no?) that i will tell you about tuesday night.

from laura:

A pirate walked into a bar. The bartender asked, "Why do you have a paper towel on your head?" The pirate replied, "ARGH! There's a bounty on me head!"

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

quick update and EEWW

Our friend Kathy is trying to bid on Ducky on Ebay, so don't bid against her! =)

My eyes are healthy. The MRV is next week.

Drops to check blood pressure in eyes + drops to dilate eyes = blurred vision and general drunken feeling. I do not recommend. Unfortunately my blurred vision did not keep me from seeing this:

Also, a tip to parents of boys: Make sure the "little guy" is tucked INSIDE the pull-up to avoid yellow puddles in the frozen foods section at 6:30am.

Monday, August 10, 2009

just so you know

1. We did not find Ducky.

2. I went to the neurologist today for the results of my MRI and EEG. The EEG was fine. The MRI showed something very small in my temporal lobe, which is probably nothing to worry about. The doctor said that regardless of my other results, I will have to have a repeat MRI in a year to watch it. In the meantime, I was referred to an opthamologist and will have to have an MRV of my brain to look at my blood vessels.

3. Because he couldn't cuddle with Ducky after dinner, he asked very nicely if he could hold his swim diaper while he sat on the couch and then later when he went to bed.

"Mine? Water Day?" (Water Day is the day they play in sprinklers at school)

"Yes, it's yours. But no swimming."


"Yes, it's yours. But no swimming today."

"Mine? Hold it?"

"Yes, you can hold it."

"Mine? Hold it? Sit da da der?"

"Yes, you can hold it and sit on the couch."


Sunday, August 9, 2009

dear ducky,

We've been through a lot together, friend, including the time I learned how to say the "ck" in your name instead of pronouncing it "Duddy."

I remember when Oma found you at that cute little shop in Brown County, Indiana. That was a good vacation, wasn't it? Especially the day mommy carried me around in the Snugli and I fell asleep and made her stomach sweat.

We were looking for a nice little blanket for me to sleep with since I had a tendency to wrap them around my head while I slept. (I was only 6 months old -- I didn't know any better). You were the perfect size and were yellow, just like mommy's blanket as a little girl.

We hit it off right away, didn't we? You were always the best traveling companion. And it was because of you that I learned to play Peek-A-Boo and say the word "mine." You were always there, like when I went to the hospital for a 104 degree fever, had tubes put in my ears, fell at school, or wanted to gnaw on your little beak.

I miss you, little guy. And if we can't find you, my mommy will miss me putting my hands up to my mouth and shouting, "DUCKY! Where go? Ducky?" I don't know where you are, but we're searching. If you're at the grocery store like mommy thinks you are, then wait for me by the donuts. I'll take chocolate.



the time my voice went up 12 octaves

So. Friday night I went out with a bunch of girls from work to commiserate with them over our secretary moving to a different state. We're gonna be lost for a long time. A long time. ANYWAY, I' was sitting at the Mexican restaurant innocently -- and delicately -- sipping on my margarita (haha) when a troop of waiters surrounded me, plopped an oversized sombrero on my head, and sang songs in Spanish that I assume had something to do with taking tequila shots. Later, the manager brought a round for the entire table. Note to self: go to that restuarant for every birthday.

On Saturday, Oma called and told me to come to her house around 11am so that we could go out to lunch. As we were driving, it occured to me that she never asked where I wanted to eat; I didn't say anything -- I figured she had something in mind. Then we drove right past one of my favorite restaurants and right out of town. "Where are we going?"
"Okay, don't tell me."
Several moments passed.
"I decided we should take a little drive. To D."
There's only one reason to drive an hour and a half to D -- to meet my sister. (I know, right?!)

So we had lunch in D, looked in a few little shops, and rode a trolley. Punkin found the trolley exceptionally awesome, second only to the salad with ranch dressing he had for lunch.

After we drove home from D, Oma sent me out to buy pizza and beer for a small party at my parents' house, complete with a homemade FUNFETTI cake (thanks, Super). I decided that if I ever get married, my cake will be funfetti. Sprinkles + cake + buttercream frosting + more sprinkles = A Really Good Idea.

Another really good idea? Oma sending me out with a couple of friends and Opa for karaoke and shuffleboard.

And today? Today I recovered very slowly. We ended the weekend on a high note, though, for sure. Punkin has always loved the water, but swimming with him is difficult because he hangs on me and pushes his feet against my stomach and legs. In short, he's nervous and doesn't know how to kick his feet.

Well, Oma being the brilliant Oma that she is, suggested I buy this crazy swimming suit with a built-in life jacket. Not only did Punkin agree to wear it, but after the initial shock of the cold water wore off, he grabbed an inflatable ring and basically jumped in the pool. A few minutes later, he waved goodbye to me and doggy-paddled away. (I have no idea, by the way, how he learned that.) Granted, he was wearing TWO flotation devices, but he kicked his feet! He really did it! And then. THEN he went down the water slide! I didn't have to hold him the entire time we swam!

I am so proud of him! And he was proud, too. He really does like being independent. Woo-hoo! Guess we'll be using the pool at the Y more often now!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

happy birthday to ME

I have been trying to post this video all morning and it's making me crazy! Blogger crashes every time I try to copy and paste the code!!!!

I just wanted you to enjoy some cake, because that is what I will be doing today. I LOVE the Swedish Chef, so when I saw the video on Cake Wrecks, I had to pass it along.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

meds update number 512

(Supposed to be published yesterday -- sorry!)

I wrote on this very blog not too long ago that Punkin was doing a good job taking all of his medications and "things" were happy.

Spoke. Too. Soon.

It's hit the fan, ladies and gentlemen. Hit the fan.

He outright refuses to take his Zoloft (Sertraline), which is a liquid and has to be mixed with water. Some days he was taking it, some days not. This concerned me, of course, because I know what it does to my body when I'm not taking my medication regularly -- I get tired, moody, sad, and lethargic.

He's also been "timing out" throughout the day, which means he's sitting away from his classmates and self-stimming until he's brought back to the group again. He interacts appropriately with the class and then eventually chooses to "time out" again.

That had me REALLY worried.

So, when it came time to meet face-to-face with his doctor today (a meeting I set up weeks ago), I had a lot of concerns. And Punkin has the most amazing pediatrician! He is so patient with us. He suggested that we give the Zoloft another try, this time at night. He also suggested that we continue using the Ritalin to see if some of the negative side effects go away on their own with time. And he wrote a prescription for another, smaller dose of Ritalin to be given at 12:30pm to help all of us make it through the afternoon and evening.

I left feeling very relieved. And even though it took about 45 minutes, Punkin drank that Zoloft tonight! I know that his behavior will get REALLY BAD before it gets better, but I think that after a week or two, he'll be fine. Because I'm giving it at night, he can cry all he wants and we won't be late for anything -- except bedtime.

Update: He took it again tonight. I promised him a popsicle in return for drinking the stuff, and he drank a little bit and then spit out the rest. Popsicle DENIED.

Monday, August 3, 2009

instructions for a good day, by punkin

Step One: Fill pool with water.
Step Two: Experiment with hose.

Step Three: Gather pool toys.

Step Four: Play!

Step Five: Drink some pool water before mom notices.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

don't bother me with fluffy comforters, you fool!

He originally fell asleep with his head down by the window because he kept peeking outside. We're spending the night at Oma and Opa's to give the new big bed at their house a test run before Punkin has to sleep in it all by himself in two weeks. Actually, he's going to be sleeping there a lot the remainder of the summer while I have adventures/attend weddings and bachelorette parties. (Isn't that exciting, Oma? =))

We weren't sure if he would want to stay in the big bed, but he did great. He never got up; just pushed everything off the bed, per usual. Isn't is funny how some major transitions are so readily accepted while the teensy tiny changes, like using a new plate at dinner or reading a new book before bed, are monumental challenges? I guess the big bed is fun: mommy sleeps in a big bed, the big bed has much more room for jumping, and the big bed has a nice view of the neighborhood.