Tuesday, December 28, 2010

seeing smoke

There's an episode of Spongebob where Patrick becomes the marketing director for Plankton's restaurant, The Chum Bucket, after lamenting that Plankton's sign, "Chum is Metabolic Fuel" makes his "head sad." He comes up with the catchy slogan, "Chum is Fum," which drives hoards of customers away from Plankton's arch nemesis and rival Mr. Krabs at the The Krusty Krab. Plankton pushes him to come up with more slogans to divert his customers' attention away from the fact that his food is deplorable before Patrick settles on, "Fum is Chum," and turns in his resignation. As he walks away, he cites being burnt out as a reason for leaving; the back of his head literally has a hole in the back of it, singed as if from an iron.

Sometimes, that's what my brain feels like. It's like the effort of organizing my body, Punkin's life, meeting our needs, and thinking about putting one foot in front of the other while maintaining a steady level of patience is all together too much. IT BURNS MY BRAIN.

The week of Christmas Punkin didn't have school and I did. Isn't that lovely? Here's where I COULD go off track and rant about his respite provider and the program they work with being unable to properly communicate their policies, but that would take too long and my brain is already starting to smoke again. So instead I will just tell you that for months I thought I had lined up certain arrangements and then a few weeks before Christmas it all fell apart. It made me angry.

He had SCL and respite on Monday. Two different workers filled the six hour shift, during which the second worker never gave him lunch. The first worker didn't pass along the fact that there was a note on the fridge about what to give him, but I'm pretty sure most individuals over the age of 12 would think to feed a child during the day. It made me angry.

The rest of the week he stayed with Oma and Opa. Apparently he was an angel until I came home. Sometimes my son is very typical; perhaps he was angry as well.

Then Christmas happened. It was exciting, but rushed and confusing and involved traveling. This is when the food strike started. He broke down Sunday afternoon and ate watermelon and pizza. Now we've been home for a couple days, but today I tortured him with a desperately needed haircut during which he made a face such as I would make if a bird pooped on my head, and now tomorrow is more travel time, loud time, family time.

All of this has turned my son into a 47 pound magnet, and he is only attracted to me. "Hold you? Hold you? Mom? Sitta you? WHAAA!!!"

But that's not what tested me today -- perseveration did. I was trying to help my mom and all I could hear was, "Square song! Circle song! Mommy does it!" I kept telling him, "You try, you try." I must have pushed him too far because when we got back from the store, which involved many tears over being denied new markers, he asked me to draw him a square and a house. When I once again told him, "You do it," he broke down, came up behind me, shoved a marker in my face, and with tears in his eyes shouted, "DRAW HOUSE! MOMMY DOES IT!"

Okay, then. It made him angry, apparently.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

also known as The Loud Family

Church is always sort of like an episode of WWF -- or is it WWE now? Certainly the "E" for "Entertainment" is more fitting for those watching Oma and I wrestle the fifty pound fish with ADHD known as Punkin. It's because of the paper shredding. He wants to shred paper, but if I let him, he starts making lots of weird noises and that's not socially appropriate or conducive to worship. So no paper.

Since he's taken a liking to coloring things have been a little easier, though. Except that he insists on one of us singing either the circle or square song and drawing them for him. And if you sing "The Square Song," you have to, "DRAW HOUSE! DRAW TRIANANGLE, DRAW DOOR, NOW DOORKNOB, WINOWS, CHIMMEY, GRASS TOO, A SUN, CIRCLE SONG, A BODY, EYES, NOSE, A MOUF!"

So last week he's doing this and in an effort to quiet him I gave him the book, "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," which is one of his favorites. So what does he do? Why of course he opens it up and, "A MOON! A EGG ON A WEAF. SUNNAY MORNING. POP! ONE SUNNAY MORNING!"

I put him on my lap during the baptism, "A CANNLE. MINE? I HAVE IT? BLOW? IS MINE?"

"No, the candle isn't yours. Quiet voice, Punkin. Quiet. Put a bubble in your mouth."

He puffs up his cheeks to capacity, let's the air out, and starts clapping, "I DID IT!!!"

Monday, December 20, 2010

someone has a new friend

Punkin's teacher's mom, otherwise known as Santa, brought every student in his class a giant bag of toys on Friday. One of them was this panda pillow, which kept him company on a recent trip to bring Auntie her new car. He also loves his new Crayola Glow Board, which I highly recommend for any art enthusiast. Super cool.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

my son, the comedian

You know that scene in Toy Story 3 where Jessie whispers, "Get the tortilla!" during their escape plan and then Mr. Potato Head slinks his parts out of the sand box and attaches them to the tortilla so he can slide along the windowsill? You don't? Punkin does. He reminds me of it daily. And then he shuffles off to the refrigerator, grabs the entire package of our tortillas, and takes off to his bedroom while I plead, "No, no tortillas. Not today. We EAT tortillas."

It's all my fault; I'm the one who showed him how to do it one night before dinner because I knew he'd find it funny. It's a hard line to walk -- having a child with a good sense of humor and an impeccable ability to imitate behavior.

I caught myself today telling him, "It's your turn," when he wanted me to draw a square and sing the square song AGAIN. It suddenly hit me that once again I may have created my own monster, because if you are in our living room on Saturday mornings you will probably overhear this conversation:

"Cars."

"You want to play cars?"

"Ya, sure."

"You can play cars. Go get them."

"No get them. Play cars."

"If you want cars, go get them. You can play cars."

"No get them. Mommy's turn."

Monday, December 13, 2010

but i'm wearing my hat!

Go snow? Brrr. Cold snowman? Go snow?

How 'bout now? Is it time now?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

little mr. smarty pants

I've mentioned before that Punkin is using a program called TV Teacher, which is a handwriting program on DVD that teaches shapes, numbers, and letters. At first I was thrilled simply because he was interested in coloring. Granted he was coloring on the walls, but it was still progress. Now, exactly two months after he wrote that first letter "D" on the wall, he can write an E, A, B, V, and I. He attempts "R," but it isn't recognizable yet. I am seriously impressed!

And, AND, he knows 17 of the 26 letters of the alphabet and can identify the numbers 1-10. Kid is brilliant and he loves showing it off.

One of the DVDs in the program talks about shapes. There's a song for each shape and then she talks about how the shape resembles everyday objects. She draws a circle, colors it in and draws lines out to make a sun. Or at least that's what I gather from Punkin's nonstop chatter.

"CIRCLE SONG!"

"A circle has no sides/A circle has no sides/Start at the top and curve around/A circle has no sides."

"Color it in!"

"Okay."

"OUT! OUT!"

"Lines out."

"A SUN! A SUN!"

"We made a sun."

"CIRCLE SONG!"

Apparently there's a section of the DVD that goes into drawing a house. The teacher associate in his classroom helped him with this one, but I am forced to draw this same scene approximately 532 times a day.

It's good bonding time. He's pretty bossy, though. That house better not be short one window and that door better have a doorknob!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

even my car likes duct tape

This is what happens when you forget how to drive in the snow. Punkin shredded an entire IEP Parent's Rights Manual and watched Toy Story 3 on his portable DVD player while we waited for the police. The good news is that everyone is okay and that Opa found some parts online for $140. The bad news is that I get to pay for those parts. The even worse news is that my sister was also in an accident, hers was much worse, though. She is physically okay, but we are all feeling more than a bit deflated and certainly worried since we are far away from her. Punkin is so in love with the snow this year, but it has not been kind to us so far!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

communication 101

I've received a couple of emails lately related to speech, so I thought I would post some of my response here in case anyone else came looking for similar information. When Punkin was 18 months old, it was clear that he knew I was the most important person in his world, but never looked to me when asked, "Where's mom?" He didn't know labels for objects or people, which is a common problem for children with Fragile X, autism, and other developmental disabilities. Here's what I did.

I used my digital camera to snap a bunch of close-up pictures of some of his favorite toys, people, and most important objects: his toy truck, his sippy cup, his high chair, me, his grandma, his grandpa, etc. I printed them at a local store and slid them into a small photo book. Then I wrote the words on the sticky labels and stuck them on the bottom of the pages. You can also print off the sign language signs off the internet and stick them on the page or slide them in the page next to the picture. Then just "read" them book with your child. This may be easier said than done, I understand. (My son loved being read to at that age, but he doesn't like it very much now.) Be sure to point out the actual object with the picture if possible. For instance, if you are on the truck page, point to the picture and say, "truck," then pick up a toy truck and say, "truck." This helps make the connection. If you can get the sign in there, that's even better. It's one more visual aide to assist learning. Sign is never a bad idea as long as you pair it with speaking. My son learned that everything has a name this way. It worked for us.

After he picked up a few words from that, I was able to make a communication board using those same pictures. I took the sippy cup picture, the blanket picture, and several others and used velcro to stick them to an old piece of furniture. I showed him how he could hand me the picture, while saying the word, and then get the object. This took a little longer, but it helped with decreasing the frequency of crying fits. And even if he was already crying, I could say, "Can you show me?" and he could sometimes find the picture of what he wanted from the board.

Once you get this mastered, you can move to Boardmaker, which is the standard program that is used in special education classrooms. It's expensive, so if you can't afford it, ask your speech pathologist or occupational therapist if she has it and can print some pictures off for you. You can also use clipart. The idea is basically that you're moving from real pictures to representative ones.

There are options for voice output devices as well. They range from one button switches that you can record to say anything you want when pressed to thousand-dollar multi-button electronic devices. For example, with a simple one button device, you press the button and it says, for example, "juice, please" and then the child either learns to press the button every time to fulfill that need or hopefully learns to say the words herself because she hears them modeled. Here are pictures of what these devices look like and an article about how they can help.

If your child does have Fragile X, it's been shown that results are best when eye contact is not demanded and when the instructor sits next to the child. Most activities should be play-based to ease anxiety and to get the most out of the sessions. It's sometimes difficult to convince professionals, specifically speech pathologists, not to demand eye contact, because they think the child isn't listening. This is not the case with children who have Fragile X. Allowing them to look away increases their ability to concentrate and take in information because it isn't as visually stimulating.

I hope this information helps. I'm certainly not a professional myself, just a momma who's been through a lot with my kiddo. If you need articles or advice from experts, the National Fragile X Foundation offers their Foundation Quarterly online through their website. They have really good information in those. It's along the right-hand side of the front page. Also, you can email them and they will email you back. I have done this several times and they have been very pleasant and helpful.

(I will post this here now and may move it to a tab up at the top later. I just wanted to make sure it was seen.)

Monday, November 29, 2010

relationships are full of compromises

I realize that this is a horrendous photograph, but I just wanted to finally show you what my son looked like on the day we put up our brand new Christmas tree. On November 5. He has pants on under those swim trunks, FYI, and those are swim goggles. Also, I don't recommend taking a child prone to perseveration Christmas tree shopping unless you intend to purchase and set up the tree that same day. Just sayin'.

Friday, November 26, 2010

go see da train!

While Oma, Auntie, and I were finishing up dinner preparations yesterday, Opa was busy entertaining Punkin. Opa may have suffered some minor bruising in the process, but I think they both had fun.

Punkin has always liked trains (they have wheels!), but he's become fascinated since we visited the Festival of Trees and saw their expansive German village with five trains running simultaneously. I'm pretty sure he would have sat there the entire day. Opa's train isn't quite as fancy, but it's just as exciting when you're five.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

i don't even care that i got charged $40

On November 5, I wrote on my Facebook wall that I was missing a tube of prescription face cream and my toilet was broken. Three visits to my apartment later, the maintenence people couldn't locate the source of the problem and I was unable to locate my rather expensive face stuff. The toilet kinda worked after I showed them a part that needed replacing.

On November 16, I wrote, "I'm tired of being a grown-up. My toilet overflowed again." That is 11 days later. ELEVEN DAYS.

Well, long story short, the landlord fired the property manager and hired a company that has their own maintence people. They came out on the 18th (that's THIRTEEN days after the initial problem) and when I came home I found this note:

In case you can't make that out, it says, "Toilet works. Tube of cream stuck in toilet."

HA!

Monday, November 15, 2010

i can say "i told you so" to the internet

I'm the type of girl who breaks things. I also happened to have given birth to a child who breaks things. We own it; we know what's up. Because of this, I make sure to purchase warranties that cover accidents and other sorts of breakdowns. I even buy roadside hazard for my tires.

When I purchased my last notebook PC I had the opportunity to purchase a rather expensive warranty from Best Buy and considering I was replacing a notebook whose motherboard had failed, it seemed wise to just go for the whopping three-year deal. A month later Punkin threw a toy and cracked the screen from corner to corner; they replaced it with no questions. A year after that they replaced my power cord. And just a month ago they replaced my battery. So far the warranty has paid for itself and the Geek Squad has been extremely pleasant.

When I had the battery replaced I also told them that the computer was failing to boot. It would take maybe five or six tries, often showing a black screen, and even then would boot very slowly. Of course it booted just fine, if not a little slow, for them, and they basically told me that I needed to wait until it was completely broken before I brought it in again. It just wasn't broken enough and the warranty company wasn't going to pay for them to take my computer apart and figure out what was wrong with it.

Considering my warranty is up in April, I certainly didn't want to wait around for the thing to fail in say, June. Their answer irritated me, but I felt stuck until, like the toilet situation, the proverbial and literal poo hit the floor the week we were quarantined. The computer would not boot AT ALL.

So the quarantine is lifted, I have respite, and it's finally my chance to be able to take the machine in to the Geeks and make them admit that there's a problem. It's obvious! Except he still tries to argue with me because he pressed a couple buttons after a minute or so and got it to boot. Because that's normal.

I texted my friend Jennie, "I think I just used the teacher voice."

I think my exact words to them were, "I paid a lot of money for a warranty and I really don't think it's too much to ask for you to honor it. I'm not taking this machine home. It's a paperweight."

They took the computer in for diagnostics; the hard drive failed. They replaced it for free. But now I have to order recovery discs from HP and have them installed. So we're looking at another week and a half.

Between this and the toilet I feel like people just don't believe me when I say things are broken. Is it the blonde hair? Honestly, maybe they just don't want to pay for me anymore. But like I told Jennie, "It's not my fault they sold a warranty to a girl who breaks stuff."

Saturday, November 13, 2010

almost a poop story

While Punkin and I were quarantined for Pertussis, I posted the following to my Facebook page: I'm missing a tube of prescription face cream and my toilet is broken. Anyone see where this is going? (My cousin found this to be infinitely amusing. It's okay if you laugh, too, I won't ever know.)

This was on a Thursday night and the toilet had just overflowed. While I was cleaning up the mess in the bathroom I needed more towels and walked out into the hall to see Punkin smearing strips of paper around in about a half a can of overturned Pepsi on top of the glass end table. And the age-old mother's conundrum hit: Which mess do I clean up first? I opted to save the carpet/punish the child before sopping up toilet water.

I called my apartment manager and left a message. She called the next day and said she'd be over to look at it while we were at my parents' house. That night it still wasn't working properly, so I called her again. Turns out all she had done was plunged it. Super helpful. Hadn't thought of doing that myself.

It overflowed again the next morning and I left again to wash towels and buy groceries since Punkin's test came back negative. Supposedly they came that day with snake to look in the drain. On Monday the thing was STILL not quite right and I was about over the edge, so I called my landlord who assured me that someone would be coming to take the toilet off of the floor to look at it the following day.

Let me say that I change the diapers, clean up the vomit, and wipe the noses of other people's children all day every day. I don't have a glamorous or particularly yummy-smelling job. I also watch my son eat, which generally involves rubbing condiments in his hair and picking up cottage cheese with his fingers. But I really don't know how plumbers do it. The rancid smell eminating from the bathroom as that brave man searched for the clog was quite amazing.

And he didn't find anything. An hour and a half later he put the toilet back with no face cream or other foreign objects discovered. It did flush again, though, so I thought we were back in business. Until it didn't STOP flushing.

Yep, there's a part inside the tank that's broken and I have to manually replace it every time we use it. That doesn't feel yucky at all. So I called my apartment manager, a week after the first time I had originally called her, and told her the problem. It's now Saturday and I'm wishing on a star that when I go home it's replaced. Who wants to take bets?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

the things i do

It's me, milking a fake cow. Just for you, George, 'cause you asked so nicely. :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

pink's back, babydoll

Punkin picked up his favorite blanket at bedtime, started crying, and threw it over the footboard, crying, "NO WAN NIT NO MORE!"

Uh, okay. Think fast. Think fast.

"NO WANNIT NO MORE! NO WAN NIT!"

"That's okay!" Think perky. "You can pick a NEW blanket!"

"NO WAN NIT NO MORE!"

I pulled out a Rubbermaid, "There's a blue blanket, there's one with footballs . . ."

"Booballs."

"there's one with a raccoon playing baseball."

"NO WAN NIT NO MORE!"

"There's a green one. Oh, it's soft. There's a pink one. Look at this red one with Mickey and Minnie."

He stood, hands on hips, for about 45 seconds, "Hmmm. Hmmm. What one a ya want? Hmm."

"Pick one, please. You can have any of them."

"MY PINK! MY PINK! DIS ONE!"

"Okay, get in bed."

"Is mine?"

"It's yours."

"My pink?"

"It's your pink blanket."

"On on on na bed?"

AfterI laid it out on the bed, he stood and twirled, "Is great! Is beauful!"

"It is beautiful."

"Night, mom."

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

pick, pick, pick a fat pumpkin

"A PUMPKIN! A PUMPKIN! I GET IT! I GET IT!" He proceeded to fill a wagon with various pumpkins and pull it around the field, which I'm not so sure pleased the driver of the wagon that took us out there. Oh well! Can't please everybody now can we?

Before the giant meltdown at Auntie's, we decided to go to a pumpkin patch. This pumpkin patch had a KITTEN PALACE (oh yes it did), a giant sandbox, a swing set, a fake cow for milking (I may or may not have a picture of this), a petting zoo, and a super stinky barn with chicks. Super stinky. Auntie insisted on going in there. I said no, but she REALLY wanted to see it. As the three of us ran for the door, mouths covered and gagging, I may have mumbled an, "I told you so."

After the meltdown we hung out for a bit and then took Punkin to dinner, where he was an angel. He continued to show off his mad skills as he wrote As, Es, and Ds all over his notepad and ate his salad with impressively low gross-out levels.

The next day was Trick-or-Treat and I have yet to hear the end of "My pumpkin? My candy?" Although the real highlight was when a woman gave him a bag of snack size Doritos. If you felt the earth shake at 6pm on Sunday night, it's because my child was THAT happy.

It was a good one. Thanks, Auntie.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

the one where i don't have the answers

I had the distinct pleasure of taking my son to my doctor with me today (asthma issues). And then we went to his doctor. And then we went to a lab. You know who has lots of paper? Doctors. You know who likes paper? My son. It was super fun.

Pertussis, better known as Whooping Cough, is making its way around our area, and since Punkin has some symptoms they decided to go ahead and test, quarantine, and treat him to be safe. That means we can enjoy nothing but each other's company until Monday! That's five more days, y'all.

Do you know how they test for Pertussis? A swab up the nose. That was good times. Took three people. And they wanted him to wear a mask! HA! A mask! They're so funny.

Anyway, life has been interesting lately as his anxiety levels have seemed to sky rocket over recent weeks. He's afraid to go into any room that isn't part of his typical routine, he has wet the bed several times, and like I said in a previous post he has started crying any time I leave him except at school.

Over Halloween weekend we went up to visit my sister and he asked for a snack. I gave him several options and he chose a Pop Tart. He sat down with it and immediately started fake crying and asking for Lucky Charms. I said no, he chose a Pop Tart. This continued for several minutes until the Pop Tart ended up on the floor and toys were ricocheting off the walls. It ended in my sister and I restraining him for at least 20 minutes until he could refrain from hurting himself, hurting us, or damaging anything in the apartment. It sucked. He was stuck, red faced and overcome with tears, in a complete meltdown that he wanted no part of until finally something clicked and he let go of the tension.

Now, I know this wasn't really over a Pop Tart, though it seems that way on the surface. There was some kind of communication breakdown coupled with not getting his way and being tired and being in a different place. It all added up to overwhelm him. And I know he wasn't being naughty. And I know he hates meltdowns as much as I do, though I don't think he fears what will happen 5 or 10 or 15 years from now. But I don't know what to do about it. What's the next step? Do we try Zoloft again? Do we try therapy? Do we go see Dr. Berry-Kravis? Where is the instruction manual, people?!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

moooommm!

You're always making me smile for your silly pictures! Can I go play on the slide now?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

breaking it down

Punkin has always been a light-hearted kid. Even when he melts into rage, he can bounce back extremely quickly. As he's growing older, though, the meltdowns have sometimes become more difficult to manage as he's bigger, stronger, and a bit more prone to becoming stuck in his emotion.

Simply put, it's hard. It just sucks. It sucks to not know how to help him, to not be able to predict when we'll be able to go out in public and be successful and when we won't, and it sucks knowing that he can seriously hurt himself and others when he's upset.


I'd say that 75% of the time he is aggressive because he isn't using his words, not that he doesn't have them. He has the words, he can say the sentences, but when it comes down to the heat of the moment, he loses all of those skills and relies on some pretty combative body language.


20% of the time he's just angry that he isn't getting his way, which is what's going to happen the next time we go to the toy store. See, in the past we've always been able to walk through the aisles and play with the toys and then leave. But the last time we went to look for Halloween costumes, he fussed and tugged at my arm until we reached a Disney/Pixar Wonderland and discovered a Mac truck, actually Mac the Truck, from Cars. Ya.

"I hold it."
"No toys today."
"I hold it, Mom?"
"Put it back. Let's go."
"Mmm. I hold it."
"Not today."
"I hold it?"

It was a quiet persistence complete with giant saucer eyes, and I gave in citing the fact that I wasn't buying a costume that day (so I'm not buying one ever?) and that he really needed it for his set of Lightening McQueen cars that he's become rather attached to lately. COMPLETELY logical, right?

So ya. The next time we go to the store should be interesting. I envision hitting, kicking, yelling, toys flying off the shelves, me restraining him so that strangers can pass by unharmed. You know, the usual stuff. I might just go ahead and set it up the next time I feel thick-skinned and energetic to get it over with.

And the other 5% of the time? He's apparently turned into the kid who cries when mom leaves and I CAN'T HANDLE IT. He tries to be so brave; his bottom lip quivers and his eyes fill with tears as he says, "Bye, Mom. Love you," and then he just breaks down. And I have to give him extra hugs and kisses and then leave before I break down. Honestly, I think I prefer when he's pissed off. I can't handle sad.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

dear punkin,

I really shouldn't be so surprised each year when you suddenly seem so grown up, and yet here I sit in amazement of your burst of development over the past few weeks. You're gigantic, for one. And you're playing with your toys more than ever before, especially your kitchen. The most shocking development, though, is that you like to color. When did you decide that? And why did it take so long? See, I told you it was fun. Didn't want to believe your momma.

Anyway, you certainly haven't given up shredding paper by any means, and in fact you're playing with a few strips of newsprint as I write this. Whenever I ask you about the papers you tell me they're sharks, but it seems to me that they're the characters from your cartoons.

And today. Today we had probably 34 crayons and 12 markers spread out on the table and we started drawing faces. Well, I started drawing faces and you ignored me until you decided it was fun. I found out that you can draw a circle on command, which is sweet. I mean, you were probably doing it for your preschool teacher a long time ago, but there's no way you ever would have done that for me. After a couple minutes you ordered me to draw a circle (you are extremely convincing), you said, "eyes, eyes, mouth," and this was the result:



It's the one with the V-shaped mouth, just an FYI. I love it. And I know my car is super awesome, you don't have to tell me.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

bad choice, momma

So this one time about a year ago I decided I was really, really, REALLY sick of watching that one awful Christmas movie that may or may not have "accidentally" ended up in the garbage recently and turned on Spongebob. I eventually gave in and bought our first Spongebob DVD.

Fast forward to last weekend when I was talking to a college friend about cartoons and said something to the effect of, "I let Punkin watch Spongebob sometimes, but just certain episodes."
Ya, that was a lie. I didn't mean to lie, I think it was what I hope to do from now on rather than our reality.

See, there's this one episode where Spongebob is at Mrs. Puff's Boating School and a new student, Flatts the Flounder, sits down next to him. Spongebob leans over to greet him and Flatts answers, "I'm gonna kick your butt." Flatts, Spongebob, and a myriad of other supporting characters including an angry, middle-aged fish who chases a senior citizen fish down the street repeat this choice phrase about 37 times, maybe more, during the 13 minute episode.

Why? Why would I not skip over this episode on the DVD? Why would I let him watch it multiple times? Because I forget.

I forget that my little guy has a fantastic memory and when he's sitting on the potty he may begin throwing fists at me as if I am a punching bag while "pow-pow-powing" in hushed tones. "What are you doing?"

"I kick ya butt."

"Punkin, Flatts made a bad choice....."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

this is how we're feeling today

Erika with the Windy Yellow Hair
Travers/Holridge
Cherry Lane Music Publishing Co, Inc. - ASCAP

Erika with the windy yellow hair
Dancing through the day or moping by the stair
My joy to know my Erika with the windy yellow hair

Yesterday I met her running home from school
Her face was tear stained, she didn't know I knew
But I do, I do

Today she had a song to sing and a poem she knew
And with a kiss and a hug she dashed away, she had things to do
I do too, I do too

Lithesome child, I turn with care
When viewing you on step or stair
All my hope and love for you,
My Erika of the windy yellow hair

Thursday, October 14, 2010

i don't ask questions

I just help rearrange the couch cushions.
As an aside, even with the complaing about the apartment, I really do like it here. It's big and my landlords are nice. I think there's communication issues sometimes, but hopefully they see me as a good tennant and want to keep me here. I really don't want the hassle of moving.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

everything you've heard is true

So things with the new stove and faucet have been going well. I've had other repairs on my mind, though, with regards to the apartment. And I have to say that if you're feeling like the place you're living needs work, you should just stay away from HGTV all together, specifically Income Property or Holmes on Homes. The Income Property guy is a dream landlord. Of course his apartments probably rent for as much as a mortgage, but we're not talking about money right now.

Anyway, back to me. Because it is all about me. I called my landlord and talked to her about a few things, the first of which was that my bathtub won't drain. And since it's old, the drain is weird and I can't figure out how to take it apart. She said she'd send someone over to clean it out, for which I am forever grateful. The thought of cleaning hair out of a drain is way worse than the day I stepped on a turd in Punkin's room. Like 56 times worse.

I also talked to her about the hole in the sink, and she was irritated that it hadn't been repaired, and about my fridge. The bottom shelf is sort of broken and the drawers are barely working. What happens is that every once in a while when you pull the drawer out, the entire bottom shelf collapses.

I also mentioned that my sliding glass door doesn't shut all the way. And then I apologized for complaining so much. But she sent someone over TODAY to fix everything. The sink has a stainless cap on it, the tub is clear, and they looked at the door. (My dad ended up showing me last night how to adjust it myself by turning the screws on the bottom of the door, so it was fixed before the guy showed up, but he inspected it anyway.)

The jury is out on the fridge. It looks like something may have been repaired in there, but I'm not sure. I called and left a message thanking them. Thirty minutes later while clearing the dinner table, the brand new garbage disposal stopped running. (Yes, I tried pressing the reset button.) I AM SUCH A PAIN.

But that's not what I really came here to tell you. See, about a month ago my neighbors across the hall moved out. They had about 17 kids and 3 adults living in a 2 bedroom. No biggie. Okay fine, it was more like 2 adults and 4 or 5 kids. When my apartment manager came to deliver my new stove she asked if I had a bug problem.

"Uh, no. If I did, you would know about it."
"Ya, I hate bugs. The place across the hall is crawling with roaches. They're everywhere, and I get to clean it! They trashed the place. I'm going to have your place sprayed too just in case."
"Thank you. That's really disgusting."

So the pest control guy came and sprayed and I felt so good knowing that it was just a precaution and that we were getting them before they could get me.

And then a week later I had to squish a couple of beetle-looking buggers. The second one especially caught my interest, so I googled, "cockroach" and quickly realized, to my horror, that they had in fact invaded my living space.

The pest control guy claims we will still see them for a couple weeks and then they will just go away. He is coming back in about a week to double check, though. In the meantime, if you've ever wondered if the description of cockroaches scurrying across the kitchen floor when the lights turn on is an exaggeration, it's not. Thankfully it was only one or I may not have been able to go back to sleep for fear of one of them crawling in our ears.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

cow has been begging for cookies all week

and with giraffe recovering from three broken ankles, we figured it was the perfect time to indulge him.

Friday, October 8, 2010

you have to admit, that's a pretty sweet "D"


I guess TV Teacher is working. Must reinforce paper idea. PAPER, not wall above couch. Paper, paper, paper. Look at that little one, though! It's perfect! I had to put him in timeout, but the whole time I was thinking, "That's AWESOME!"
As an aside, someone asked me how in the world I do things like take a shower in the morning without having my house destroyed. Well, all I was doing while this happened was changing my clothes. So there's your answer!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

angela lansbury, come solve my mystery, please and thank you

Y'all, what is wrong with my sweet child? My sweet, sweet, potty-trained child? He went into the bathroom last week, stood in front of the toilet, and peed on the floor. Both yesterday and today he has not only declined the opportunity to sit on the potty, he has chosen to flail his arms and legs with the force of ten men in protest. My forehead almost met his stepstool this evening and he smacked my face with that ear-ringing open palm smack (gah!) all because the kid needed to try and poop and, guess what, I'd rather not have it all over my couch every single day. Wait, allow me to clarify. That makes it sound like I'd accept it every other day or something. NO. No poop. Never, please.

In cleaner news, Opa saved the day by fixing this beloved truck

thereby drawing attention away from Pink and Orange, which are thankfully now hiding behind the loveseat. (See, they really are there, and they're not going to move. If I move them, I WILL regret it. Oh, and that white thing is part of my blinds. Why have I not learned my lesson? Was it nineteen broken slats on the blinds in our last apartment before I finally took them down?)

Pink and Orange were threatening my sanity. They are just simple accordian tubes I picked up when my mom and I took Punkin to meet my sister for her birthday. He wasn't too keen on shopping, but these entertained him as we walked around.
The problem was that they soon became a source of self-stimming and barking. Normally when that happens, I can take the item away and tell him that we're "all done right now." Not so much with Pink and Orange. The tears were huge and they were from the heart. I am being forced to let this particular toy take its natural course through our lives. I'm sure we're not done with it yet, but the repaired truck that he's currently snuggling in bed with sure is a nice distraction.
Meanwhile he keeps asking for "pink," but he doesn't mean the pink tube. He means, as far as I can tell, an episode of SpongeBob. Which episode? I have no idea. Something to do with Plankton, I think. You're all welcomed to come over and play the, "Is this it?" game with him for a day. It's super fun. He doesn't become agitated at all. Neither do I.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

um, it looks better from this angle?

if i had a dollar for every time i said the words, "get off of the tv," i could at the very least afford to take a day off work.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

ridiculous

My first car was a 1985 Volkwagen Jetta, lovingly nicknamed The Jedi. I shared it with my sister, and I'm pretty sure the only reason we called it The Jedi was because my friend joked that you had to summon The Force every time you turned the key, not because we are Star Wars fans at all. In fact, I've only seen Star Wars twice and one of those times it was in German.

Towards the end of The Jedi's life with us, it had fun little quirk called deciding not to start. We'd drive it to three or four places and then at the fifth place we'd run in, run back out, attempt to start the engine, and nothing. No noise. After several minutes a click could be heard. After leaving it sit for 20 to 30 more minutes, it would start immediately upon turning the key. We replaced numerous parts with no success in solving the problem.

It's funny how our parents didn't seem that aggravated by the car until they got stranded themselves. By that time we were so accustomed to it that we just said something to the effect of, "Oh, it's clicking again. Get out and let's sit over here and wait." And we got out our books or phones or whatever to pass the time.

My second car was a hand-me-down from my sister. It was a 1990 Chevy S10. It had one of those sliding windows in the back of the cab, and my sister taught me how to open it from the outside with a butter knife and a flip flop just in case I ever locked my keys inside. This skill came in VERY handy.

The truck didn't have much power, but it drove me from place to place. Of course towards the end it too had its issues, the main one being that the needle on the gas tank didn't read correctly. I still owe my friend Sarah big time for making her walk to a stranger's house when we ran out of gas on the way to Wal-Mart in college. I think she was sick at the time. Not good. Not good.

The second best memory I have of that truck is the time I was driving to see Punkin's dad (back before he was Punkin's dad) and I kept hearing a THWUNK THWUNK THWUNK as I sped down the interstate. I finally found a place to pull over and discovered that the metal stripe detail along the side was coming off. Not knowing how I could possibly stand the noise any longer and fearing for the safety of other drivers should the piece free itself, I yanked it off and threw it in the cab.

The best memory I have of that truck was when I was pregnant, about three months along, and on my way to a garage sale with a girl who I had just met but who is now a very good friend. It was a very hot day so I had the air conditioning cranked (you had to turn it off before you started the engine, though), and as we're driving, one of us noticed smoke coming from the dash. "Ya, that's probably the air conditioner. Sorry. We'll have to open the windows."

A few months after that incident I purchased the 1998 Camry that I drive now. A few months after I got it I started having trouble with the door to the gas tank. I would pull the lever inside the car and the door would pop open, but it would immediately close again. After a few embarassing encounters with asking strangers for help holding the door open at the pumps, my dad gave me a small block of wood to hold the lever open. Problem solved.

Now that the car is paid off, little things have began to come up. The clock fell into the dash one day when I was trying to set the time. The plastic part on the volume knob broke off. The parking brake light is always on. The fan sounds like a training session at NASA. But the car runs and the insurance is cheap.

The other day, though, we pulled up to church, I got out, and I walked to Punkin's side to get him out. I pulled on the handle to open his door and nothing happened. I looked down and I was holding a piece of plastic in my hand. I looked at the door and saw that a piece of plastic was missing. I pulled the handle off of his door. I put it in my purse and walked to the other side.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

little things i've been wanting to share (kind of like really long status updates)

1. As I walked up to my building Wednesday afternoon, the maintenance man pops his head out at me from the basement apartment (they must be gutting that place), "I got your new faucet and disposal all finished. Even put in a sprayer for ya." Sweet, I thought, as I walked in to check it out. Well, I have a new stainless steel faucet and white sprayer, but I also have a hole where the old faucet used to sit. I just laughed.

2. Every year the grocery store near my house is invaded by giant inflatable Halloween decorations, most of which are cute as well as obnoxious. One, however, that sits atop the frozen food aisle, is a downright ugly depiction of Frankenstein's monster. At first Punkin wouldn't even go down the aisle. "No monster. No monster." But I assured him it was okay. Over the next few visits he became less fearful and began repeating me, "No hurt you." So what does my son shout from across the store yesterday when he sees it? "MONKEY! DER HE IS! MONKEY!"

3. I snuck into Punkin's room earlier tonight while he was sleeping to put his laundry away and felt something cold under my toe. I picked it up but couldn't figure out what it was; it felt like chewed up food. As I walked back into the light of the hallway, I looked down and discovered that I was holding a turd. Punkin pooped his pants earlier because he's apparently forgotten that he's potty-trained and as he walked to the bathroom for a change it must have fallen out. A turd.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

baby steps

When I moved into this apartment two years ago I accepted the fact that it was an older place and that the landlords weren't willing to update certain features, such as anything. So I am assuming that the stove, sink, and fridge I have been working with are from around 1978 when the place was built.

The faucet in the kitchen is like none I have ever encountered before. To those who meet it for the first time, it is probably rather jarring. It turns ONONONONIT'SREALLYONFULLBLAST and OFFOHIT'SOFFOHGOOD, once you figure out that the only way to shut it off is to shove the base down and not the handle. Of course I've learned to give only a gentle tug to the handle over time to avoid being sprayed and have become rather accustomed to the feisty piece of metal.

The faucet has been shrugged off twice by two apartment managers, but when I started seeing sparks from the cooktop of my stove and hearing what sounded like rocks in my garbage disposal, Oma pressed me to bring it up again when the manager came by to investigate. She lifted up the top of the stove, "Ya. This is really old." Then she turned on the disposal, "Woah! Okay. That's broken." And then I casually mentioned the faucet, since the disposal was being replaced anyway. "Oh my gosh! What in the world?"

My new stove arrived a few days later, my disposal the day after that (although it's still waiting to be installed), and I am still waiting on that darn faucet. It's hard to know what to be most excited about, although I probably have to say the stove since the risk of fire and disease (it was impossible to clean the old one without it falling apart) have been greatly reduced.

So I'm in the shower on Sunday morning, running a little late because of, what else, Facebook, and I come out to the living room to hear Punkin call out, "Momma, Lookit!" Someone got busy, Harold and the Purple Crayon Style all over the wall, floor, and brand new stove. I have never in my life been so grateful for Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

The thing is that Punkin has never really been very interesting in coloring or writing like he has these past few weeks. At first I was blaming it solely on his newfound interest in Blues Clues, but his teacher reminded me today that he's been watching his TV Teacher every day. It's a pretty cool program that teaches handwriting through videos and I think between seeing it and watching his classmates, it's having an impact. Why he hasn't caught on that most people use PAPER, I don't quite know, but we're working on it.

just wondering

I know this is completely out of nowhere, but do you ever wonder what Seinfeld would be like if the characters were introduced to Facebook? I just keep thinking about the drama over Jerry's girlfriend and which order she put people in on her speed dial and I can't help but wonder how that would translate to status updates and tagging photos that accidentally get seen by your boss.

But which one would be the first to get addicted to FarmVille?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

he's like a cat; he knows his way home

You guys, Toodles is back! Oh ya, "I'm back babydolls!" What? You haven't seen The Pineapple Incident of How I Met Your Mother 500 times? Too bad for you. You should check that out. Ted just keeps coming back to the bar for more, even after his friends put him to bed. Kind of like our little Toodles. Punkin keeps tossing him away and yet he still ends up back in our apartment. That Toodles, I told you, he has something special going on.

You must be wondering how we got him out of the wall. Well, Opa came over to babysit on Tuesday night and discovered that the vent underneath the hole in the drywall was actually a cold air return and open to the wall (no duct work). So he unscrewed the vent cover and found about 20 toys piled up in there. And then Punkin proceeded to drop Toodles down there again after Opa had the wall put back together. Of course.

He did it again the next day and someone jokingly suggested hanging a picture over the hole. After some consideration, I decided it was worth a try. I took a large frame, made a collage of photos, and hung it smack dab over the problem. So far so good.

We have lost Toodles three more times since then, the most memorable being at Oma's school. He was tossed into the bleachers in the gym and I thought he was a gone for good. The next day at work I reached in my purse for my cell phone and there he sat, faceless and yet smiling at me.
He's currently somewhere in or around the loveseat. I gave up looking, knowing that he'd find his way back to us eventually.

I had to warn the respite worker who came on Friday to stop him if he tried messing with the picture because there's a hole back there and he might lose some toys in the wall. I realized half way through the sentence that I was giving away my super-clever disguise, "Hey, the wall is messed up, so I hung a picture over it." This, naturally, was after Punkin greeted him with an overly chipper, "Hi Daddy!"

YEP. Someone has taken to calling all of the 20 something males he sees "daddy." That's not awkward at all.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

i can't bear the heartbreak


So Punkin has this playset based on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. His second favorite part is the car, and his most favorite part is the little Mickey ears on top of the yellow building. His name is Toodles and he flutters around the scenes of the cartoon bringing Mickey and his friends the Mouseketools they need to complete their missions. (Hey, I don't write the stuff, I'm just telling you about it.)

Punkin scoots off to his room every time the show is on to find Toodles and runs back with him, shouting, "Oh Toodles! Oh Toodles!" and then later when the mission is complete insists I shout, "Say cheers" with him.

Well, Toodles is small, his head is about the size of a nickel. And he rests on top of a short blue stick. So you probably won't be surprised to learn that he was lost for several months and that during that time Punkin wanted little to do with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. That is until, low and behold, I found him buried underneath a large basket of trucks. Oh, the rejoicing!

It was like falling in love all over again. Toodles went potty with Punkin. Toodles went to school with Punkin. Toodles even convinced Punkin that he should work on writing his letters with is occupational therapist on Wednesday. Toodles has some serious powers. And then it happened.

See, we also have this hole in the drywall. Normally it's covered with duct tape (I love me some duct tape), but on Saturday it wasn't. I think Punkin had powered through it the day before. Anyway, I looked up from harvesting my blueberries on Farmville and saw his little hand on the wall.

"What did you do?"
"Get it back?"
"Get what back?"
"It's gone!"
"What did you put in there?"
"Where it go?"
"What is it OH nooo. Is it Toodles?"
"MY TOODLES!"
"Punkin!" I whined in desperation. "He's all gone. I can't get him back."
"Get it back?"
"I can't. He's stuck in the wall. He's stuck in there."
"OH NO! My Toodles! Is gone!"

And so we went round and round and continue to do so even today. A couple of times I've caught him tapping on the wall or picking at the hole as if attempting to rescue his beloved friend. It's pretty sad. I put duct tape over the hole again, but that agitated him even more.

There is hope, though. There is hope! As I was looking online for a link to the play set I found this:
You better believe I'm the mom who would buy him a replacement toy for the one he threw down the hole in the drywall. Just start working on accepting it now.

Friday, September 10, 2010

what? you have some other use for mega blocks?

Punkin calls these Red and Blue. He likes these particular sizes and none of the other ones. It's the size, not the color, because Oma has some orange ones he likes as well. Sometimes they're airplanes, sometimes they're sharks, and sometimes he can't tell me anything other than their color. He carefully carried all seven of them up the ladder of the slide,

arranged them just so,



and let them go.
Then he did it all again, of course, about 25 more times.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

yes, that is duct tape on my freezer

THIS was inside and apparently making a viable attempt at escaping:

Several hours and a few false starts later, it came off in one huge chunk with the pry of a Pampered Chef Mini Spatula. Just one more joyful adult moment.
Maybe my mom won't be afraid to stay for dinner anymore. (Just kidding, I know it's because of my cooking!)

Monday, September 6, 2010

my guy

I just can't say how thankful I am to Lion's mom, Karen, for giving me this camera so that I can capture every smile, wacky outfit, and fleeting moment of eye contact. He even took time away from Blues Clues to smile for me; I felt very special. And yes, he always picks chairs to bring out the gorgeous in his eyes.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

ups and downs, but mostly ups this week

Two rather remarkable events took place today. The first was when Punkin crawled into my bed this morning and I discovered that his hair was perfectly coifed for picture day. It made up for having to get up two minutes later when he ran into the bathroom for a morning pee and plopped his stuffed snake in the toilet. Well, it kind of made up for that. It helped anyway.

The second was when he reportedly pooped in the potty at school without stripping naked and perching on the seat like a cross -legged bird. I don't care what the kid does at home, but undressing and redressing in public is becoming rather tedious. Does anyone else's child do this?

Kindergarten is going really well. We've had a few small upsets including one rather violent display of affection stemming from feelings of jealousy when another boy was holding hands with his friend. He literally tackled them both and attempted to pry their hands apart. I tried really hard not to giggle as I talked to him about how sometimes it's another friend's turn to hold her hand. And if he wants to hold her hand, he needs to ask, "Can I hold your hand, please?"

He's also a smidge impatient at lunch/recess. He inhales his lunch and thinks he can immediately go play outside. Not so much; you have to wait for the rest of the kids, buddy. So I guess he threw his tray yesterday and his milk today. We had another talk. "We sit and wait. No throwing tray, blah blah blah." Apparently the lunch lady is rather amused by the faces he makes while he sits in time out. I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds it funny!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

briefly

I give up trying to write about our trip. I quit. I'm done except to show you this adorable photo and to tell you that my son is an angel. AN ANGEL. He was perfect in the airport on the way there, only anxious at the security check that his backpack and blanket might not be returned to him, and ecstatic when they came out the other side of the metal box.

Two other things made him very happy -- repeatedly yelling "blast off!" on the plane and watching the luggage carousel spin around once we landed.

On the way back, however, we had a bit of a meltdown in the airport that resulted in an employee approaching us to ensure everything was okay. I'm sure everyone was staring, but honestly, when Punkin's screaming and smacking his face, usually all I can see is him, all I can hear and focus on is him. I just worked on keeping him safe until a distraction (candy and a puppy) were found.

Now without further ado, my son collapsed on the front steps at 10:30pm:



Okay, fine. Here's another picture. But only to help me make another point. And that is, WHY OH WHY do they make the trailers on these trucks detach from the cabs? Why must the toy makers torture me?


The family member we went to visit generously allowed Punkin to pick out two trucks like this and I have spent every moment since putting them back together. It is a pretty sweet truck, though, isn't it? It even says NASCAR on the side. I know, right?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

my dollars!


He lost a tooth, you guys. And he must have swallowed it because it's nowhere to be found. I have no idea if he understands that the Tooth Fairy brought this money, but he definitely understands that it is his!

Monday, August 30, 2010

feeling crabby

I have a post to write about our recent trip, which is the reason for my lack of posting, but I left my camera with the photos at my mom and dad's house. And we all know that you need photos of Punkin to complete a story about Punkin. So in the meantime I will leave you with the following annoyance.

Back in April I took Punkin to the hospital while we were visiting family out of state. It was a short visit but of course cost a fortune as all things at the hospital do, and a few months later I started receiving bills. Since I don't receive any explanation of benefits, as I was promised, from his primary insurance that is under his father's name, I assumed that the bills were what was left over after the primary insurance paid and his secondary insurance -- Medicaid -- refused to pay.

I paid small amounts and then finally one day decided to call them to make sure that Medicaid did in fact refuse to pay. Come to find out they didn't have his Medicaid information on file. What they did with the piece of paper I wrote it on I don't know, but that's not a big deal.

So one bill is taken care of, but I keep receiving bills from another place -- it must have be the actual physician and not the hospital. So I called them today and asked them to make sure they had Punkin's Medicaid number and assumed it would be a simple fix. You know what they say about assuming!

Turns out the primary insurance hasn't sent any payment or correspondence back to them, so they can't bill a secondary insurance even if they did have it on file (which they didn't, of course). They told me to call the insurance company and sort things out. Well, the insurance company won't talk to me because I'm not "authorized" and the policy isn't in my name, which is probably why I haven't been receiving any paperwork from them. Because someone (AHEM) chose not to authorize me.

So I called that someone and left a message asking him to please call them and give me permission to speak with the insurance company and to please sign and return the form they're mailing him. And that's the first time in four years I've had the privilege of contacting him. If this turns into a Thing, I don't even know. I might have to take up drinking only because I truly loathe talking on the phone and I envision this requiring a monumental number of calls.

Monday, August 23, 2010

everyone needs purple stripey shoes, right?


pretty sure i just saw a pig fly

Last Thursday I picked up Punkin from school and the aide in his room told me, "He ate a really good lunch. He didn't want the hamburger, he ate the peanut butter and jelly instead."

Woah. Wait. What?

My son? The child who routinely threw furniture on peanut butter and jelly day for the past three years? The one who matured enough last year to simply push his plate away and say, "No want it" but still refused to eat? That kid?

He chose it OVER a hamburger? Okay. Good to know.

Friday, August 20, 2010

what?


All I did was take off my clothes, drag a chair in here, and find the swimsuit you thought you cleverly hid in my bedroom closet. So when are you going to get it for me?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

is mine? is mine swimming suit?

Okay, so we all know that my son is obsessed with swimming. Lately, though, he's driving me to the brink. It isn't just a matter of wanting to wear his swimming suit around the house anymore, it's asking me every 3 and a half minutes, "Swimming? Pool? Go swimming pool? Cold! Brrr!"

Sure, ya, it's cute the first time - maybe even entire first afternoon. By the end of the week, when he asks you to help him put on his swimming suit for the 50 billionth time, it's not as cute.

So I hid the suit. "Where it go?" I would have hidden the flotation devices as well, but he already popped both of those. (Thank goodness for the dollar store.)

He's gone from asking every 3 and a half minutes to asking every 10 minutes now. But since he can't find his swimsuit, he's focused in on some swim diapers under the sink in the bathroom and insists on wearing them from the minute he walks in the door after school. "Biaper? On?" In fact, he is sleeping in one right now. So I hid those, too, as soon as he fell asleep.

What will be next? Because I know better than to think this is over.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

we love you, billy

Every Christmas Eve as a child my sister and I would run down the stairs in our new Christmas dresses, fight over mirror space in the bathroom, slip on our most uncomfortable shoes (my feet are shaped like extra-wide shoe boxes), and head out the door with my parents and grandparents for the children's Christmas Program at church. On our way out, my Great Uncle Bill would wave goodbye from the couch.

As a child I never really understood Uncle Bill. He confused me because he would repeat the same phrases over and over again. And even when I answered his questions, he would ask me again. Many times I had trouble understanding him. And I didn't always understand why he needed so much help from Grandma and Grandpa.

Uncle Bill had Fragile X. When I learned that Punkin and I have Fragile X as well, I felt like something shifted in my heart. It's the same with my cousin who has FX. Maybe it's because I see Punkin in them, maybe it's because I'm a mom now, or maybe it's because I grew up, but I feel like my love has deepened over time.

One Christmas Eve we came home from the program and excitedly began opening our stockings. Mine was overflowing, but my sister's was nearly empty; this should have been my first clue, I learned years later, that Uncle Bill was a significant part of our Christmas magic every year. It was his job to set out the presents, of course!

And boy did he love presents. "That's all mine. That's all mine. All mine. All those presents. They're all mine." He'd tease me in a husky voice, waving his finger under the tree. "All mine." Actually, maybe he just liked making me mad, "NO, Uncle Bill! They're mine, too!!"

I know a few other things about Uncle Bill: he loved James Bond and Pink Panther, he worked at a newspaper stand and a soda shop in his younger years, and he was very picky about what shoes he wore. I know he played records for the other residents in the Lutheran Home he lived in for the majority of his later life, where he was also known as The Mayor. He told me frequently about the ways he protected his M&Ms from the other residents.

I also know that we spent a solid 45 minutes discussing Father of the Bride one afternoon while he was visiting and boy oh boy did I HUNT for that movie at my parent's house because let me tell you the perseverations do not cease as individuals with Fragile X grow older. Oh no. We NEEDED to watch Father of the Bride. And no, I did not find it. He settled for Adam Sandler. But as soon as it started he asked me if I'd seen Big Mama's House. "No, sorry Uncle Bill. My mom doesn't have that one." He never lost his ability to perseverate OR his sense of humor. You take the good with the bad, I suppose.

He loved his family; it was evident in his face every time we said hello and especially the last time I said goodbye. I bet he puts on a record and dances with the angels until the rest of us can join him.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

was this before or after he dumped water on his portable dvd player?



I've been on the hunt for a Buzz Lightyear that's small and talks; it's harder to find than you might think. Many of them have pop-out wings or karate chop action, but the red button on their chest is useless. USELESS!
I finally found one when Jennie was visiting on Punkin's first day of Kindergarten, so I decided that his first day of school was a good excuse for a present. It was love at first sight. And the funniest part? He's now taken a newfound interest in the Buzz my friend Laura sent him last year because the new Buzz and the old Buzz make TWO Buzzes. We must have pairs of things, you know. The problem? Buzz's wings are detachable. WHO THINKS OF THIS STUFF? Do you know how many times I have reattached those wings? Do you KNOW? Because it's a lot of times.
The smile makes it worth it, though. I'm a sucker for that smile.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

sure can!

I realize I haven't written about KINDERGARTEN! How could I not update you?? The first day went very well. He was happy to leave me and only had a meltdown during lunch when he couldn't have more food. This is one main problem with moving from eating family style in preschool to eating with scooped out portions in elementary school; we work so hard on manners and using words to ask for more food and then suddenly those skills mean nothing. One day Punkin can have as much as he wants, the next day he is promptly denied. Total nonsense!

Monday went pretty well. Tuesday was harder. Today was hard again. I think it will take time and I think it will require a consistent para to be in there before he feels confident again. The classroom para is on vacation, and they've had substitutes instead.

He loves his teacher, who I feel is an exceptionally hard worker and very willing to adapt to meet his needs. And he sees his classroom and says, "My room!" when we walk down to eat breakfast in the morning, which makes me happy. He's also integrating into the regular education room for center time and doing a good job there. I even peeked in on him today. :) He looked happy. Happy is good.

Long story short, "No Ninernarnen!" has turned into "Sure can!"

Monday, August 9, 2010

lest you think i only embarass my son on this site

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Channeling Michael




Posing with one foot in front of the other like they do on the red carpet.
Actually just looks like I have to pee.

Gold for the WIN!


This speaks for itself.

Just in case you didn't catch that, it was my birthday and we stopped for a glass of wine before heading to the mall for shopping. The sparkling wine plus whatever was in the free shot the bartender gave us made my sister and me a little silly. She kept handing me random clothes to try on and my mom humored our little fashion show by snapping pictures. Let me just tell you that I needed assistance in removing most of these outfits from my body. As in, if I dressed this way all the time, I would need a clothing assistant.
We headed to dinner later at The Essen Haus for some German food, and then promptly headed home and passed out. My sister bought me a delicious cake that I'm still eating and I did buy some very nice items when we went shopping courtesy of my mom. It was a fun weekend.