Thursday, January 31, 2008

kid in a bucket, again


Wish I could say something exciting happened today, but it would be a lie. Little Man woke up at 2am with a fever, and I don't think either of us really ever got back to sleep. So we spent most of the day waking up, or at least I did. And no, he did not take a long nap -- 45 minutes at 8am. But the long snuggle in his super-soft Little Man bathrobe after his bath totally melted my heart and almost made me want him to stay up longer. Almost. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

argh!

I stayed up solely to watch a new Project Runway, and it is a rerun! This would not happen if I had digital cable, as I would have checked it about 12 times. Not like the internet holds this information, or even the newspaper.....shutup I'm going to bed.

Punkin is doing so well in his new room! His teacher loves him (duh). Today they were painting, and he decided to forego the brush to use his hand. His entire hand. I think we've been watching too much Curious George. There's multiple scenes where George paints with his ... monkey hands? It's really no wonder George and toddlers get along so well; he does all of the things they do plus the things they think about doing but are too well supervised to get away with. I think they are wearing him out, though, because the past two nights he has started asking to go to bed at 5pm. I kept him up for another hour and happily obliged.

We've found a new addition to our bedtime routine that his OT suggested using at school--rolling a therapy ball over his back and the back of his legs as he lays on his bed. It took some convincing to get him to lay on his tummy, but now he loves it. Plus, (knock on wood), it seems to be helping, as he has only gotten out of bed once each night the past three nights before falling asleep (afterwards is a different story).

Did I say I was going to bed? Maybe I should work on that. You know what else I should work on? Going to the gym tomorrow. Y'all better bug me about it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

i did it!

Went to the pediatrician yesterday and got a prescription for Prevacid as well as a referral to the sleep clinic. I am not looking forward to this visit, as I envision electrodes stuck to his head (which he will hate because of the way it feels and the necessity of someone other than me touching his head to apply them), wires spilling out of said electrodes (which he will pull on, causing pain to his head and restraint of his arms, which will make him scream), bright lights, sleep deprivation, the necessity to lay still and go to sleep in a strange bed, and new strange people talking to him and stealing his Monna's attention. But perhaps I overreact. Maybe it will be consultative? Maybe it will be kind of okay? In any case, I will save my worry for another day.

Now for the Prevacid. Dropped it off yesterday afternoon. Went to pick it up today. They said that Medicaid required prior authorization from the doctor. Now, call me crazy, but isn't a prescription doctor authorization? Why does the doctor need to prescribe it twice? I shouldn't be surprised--this happened last time every time I went to fill a refill. I guess I am too much an optimist. And why can't the pharmacy call me? And and and .... grrr. So I found some kiddie antacid to hold us over.

Back when he had ear infections over and over again, the doctor would write a prescription for a high strength antibiotic, but Medicaid would tell us that he couldn't have two scripts for the same medicine so close together. So the pharmacy would have to give us a lower strength and double each dose. So I had to fight with a feverish, squirming, orally defensive baby to make him take 2 teaspoons instead of one. It's this kind of ridiculous red tape that makes me crazy, and makes me wonder how people ever get what they need.

In other news, I got him some Moon Sand for his birthday. It's kind of expensive, but it molds really easily and doesn't dry out. I've seen him play with it at his new school, so I figured he'd like it. But for whatever reason, he does not want to touch it. He got as close as holding both of his hands over the bucket repeating, "I touch?" about 17 times. Then he grabbed a shovel out of the bucket and said, "I did it!" No, Punkin, that doesn't count. But it was a three-word utterance with an appropriate pronoun!

cake pictures

Look at that smile! We are singing Happy Birthday.
A fork! In his mouth! In 2.2 seconds it will morph back into "DA FIGHDER!"
Mmmmm.
Best art toy ever! It has a dry erase board, a clip to hold paper, a chalkboard, and it stores the markers, paint brushes, chalk, eraser, and magnetic shapes it comes with inside the blue part when it folds up. (By Parents, available at Target.)
See? Go Aunt Menamee!

Monday, January 28, 2008

meme i stole from kristie

MOUTHOLOGY

Q. What is your favorite fast food restaurant? Culvers, but I do love Sonic's slushies.
Q. What is your favorite sit-down restaurant? Thunder Bay Grille
Q. On average, what size tip do you leave at a restaurant? 20%
Q. What food could you eat every day for two weeks and not get sick of? pizza
Q. What are your pizza toppings of choice? Pepperoni is good. Extra cheese is great. Easy on the sauce
Q. What do you like to put on your toast? Butter or jelly

TECHNOLOGY

Q. What is your wallpaper on your computer? Punkin with "DA FIGHDER!"
Q. How many televisions are in your house? One in the living room, one in the closet.

BIOLOGY

Q. Are you right-handed or left-handed? Right
Q. Have you ever had anything removed from your body? Tonsils at age 17 and gall bladder at age 22
Q. What is the last heavy item you lifted? Punkin
Q. Have you ever been knocked unconscious? Yes, during my heinous head cold and accidental overdose of anti-depressants (my doc upped my dose and it was too high). I went to the bathroom at 5am to get Ibuorofen and woke up on the floor with a nasty headache.

BULLSHITOLOGY (If you'll excuse the term.)

Q. If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die? Nope.
Q. If you could change your name, what would you change it to? Kristie already took Barbara Manatee, so I guess I'd settle for Jenny from the Block
Q. What color do you think looks best on you? I'd love to get my "colors" done. Do people still do that? I love all things pink, but apparently other people enjoy my purple sweater.
Q. Have you ever swallowed a non-food item by mistake? A bead in like 4th grade, which is admittedly too late to be swallowing non-food items.
Q. Have you ever saved some one’s life? No
Q. Has someone ever saved yours? The doctors and nurses when I was born blue from not breathing. I was the only 9 pound 21 inch baby in ICU.

DAREOLOGY

Q. Would you kiss a member of the same sex for $100? Sure
Q. Would you allow one of your little fingers to be cut off for $200,000? My first instinct is like, "Sure! Cha-ching!" but then I think I would look at my hand for the rest of my life knowing I sold out a chunk of my body for money. Now if it was a desperate situation where Punkin needed life-saving surgery, oh yes. Bring it on. I guess I am also assuming there would be anesthesia....
Q. Would you never blog again for $50,000? Hmm, probably not.
Q. Would you pose naked in a magazine for $250,000? Nobody wants to see that.
Q. Would you drink an entire bottle of hot sauce for $1000? Sure, and then I would barf.

DUMBOLOGY

Q: What is in your left pocket? I can't stand putting things in my pockets.
Q: Is Napoleon Dynamite actually a good movie? Yes, Kristie, it is an excellent way to spend an evening. "Eat the food, Tina! Gosh!"
Q: Do you sit or stand in the shower? Sit? In the shower? I though the point was to stand.
Q: Could you live with roommates? Only Lion or Sarah.
Q: How many pairs of flip flops do you own? Sadly, one. And they are pretty ugly.
Q: Last time you had a run-in with the cops? I got a speeding ticket about 2 years ago.
Q: What do you want to be when you grow up? I have no clue.

LASTOLOGY

Q: Last friend you talked to? Jennie
Q: Last person who called you? Oma
Q: Last person you saw? Punkin

FAVORITOLOGY

Q: Number? 8
Q. Season? The three days of spring we get every year. I love the way it smells.

CURRENTOLOGY

Q: Mood? Sleepy. I also found a "festive" mood on Facebook, which is totally cute. So festive.
Q: Listening to? Some ridiculous teenager on Make Me a Supermodel talk about how his necklace is too heavy.
Q: Watching? Make Me a Supermodel
Q: Worrying about? Having to take Punkin to the sleep clinic. Can you say electrodes on his head?

RANDOMOLOGY

Q: First place you went this morning? Work.
Q: What can you not wait to do? Curl up with my blanket.
Q: What’s the last movie you saw? Curious George
Q: Do you smile often? Yes. Even when I don't want to.
Q: Are you a friendly person? Yes. Sometimes I don't talk enough and sometimes I talk too much. Where is the happy medium???

Now everybody else needs to do it!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

correction

On January 24, 2007 in the post entitled "the birth and pre-birth story, in grueling detail," the other lion incorrectly reported that her labor began on Saturday night and Punkin was born on Monday afternoon. Happily, the other lion's labor was not nearly this long. She in fact went into labor beginning Sunday night. Her first child was born spectacularly quickly, to the shock and amazement of friends, family, and medical caretakers. We at the other lion apologize for this misprint and hope you will continue to trust us as your source of potty-training and Elmo news.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

the after-party

"Two points!" As soon as his Auntie gave him the new ball, he started looking for his basketball hoop in the closet. It hasn't been there in at least a month, but the last time he played was with his Auntie, who also taught him to say, "two points." She graciously decided to become the hoop herself, which led to more than one bonk on the head. Love the new blocks. Still love TV. I think we're watching Curious George at this point. Very cute movie.
A little more intent. Do you see the sorting skills?
Best laugh ever!
"Cheese!"
It lights up and the gears spin. WAY fun. Last minute, brilliant purchase.

Classic kid-in-a-laundry-baslet photo.
Just like Bob the Builder and Handy Manny.
Loving the new Cubs outfit.
He's getting into lining things up. Again, note that they are all blue. This is no accident.
What, mom? You thought I wouldn't try one?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

the birth and pre-birth story, in gruelling detail

Such a fun party yesterday. Pictures will have to follow tomorrow, as I don't have any on my camera. Now everyone has pressure to e-mail me the photos ASAP. =) He smiled so big when we sang Happy Birthday. It was a huge relief when he came home and was excited about the balloons and beautiful decorations my sister put up. I thought he might be angry that his home looked different.

He was supposed to start his new 3-5 room today since it's his birthday, but at about 11pm last night he woke up crying and threw up monumental amounts on his bed. He was sick this past Saturday, but I thought we were in the clear. I think it's his acid reflux, though, because he woke up asking for food and besides being a little sleepy is acting okay. I stopped giving him his medicine a while back because it gave him really yucky diapers. But obviously he still needs it, and probably always will. (FX kids often have reflux. Last time putting him on meds helped a lot at bedtime.) We have his 3 year checkup on Monday, so I'm sure we'll be getting a prescription.

A few people asked for it, and I didn't have a blog when I was pregnant, so here goes:

It was my senior year of college. I was looking for stability. Unfortunately for me, I sought it out from the most unstable person on earth--Punkin's dad. We dated for about 5 months. Even as I write this, it sounds so ridiculous. Five months?? He didn't even go to my school. He was a friend of a friend and lived in another state. So we dated, long distance, for a few months before we determined that we were obviously meant to be together forever.

It was May of my senior year in college. I was "late." The previous month had sent me to the hospital for some serious pain in my midsection which turned out to be a cyst on my ovary. I was still waiting for the cyst to go away, and I still had a little pain. Add that into being late, and I thought something was wrong. I called the dreaded college health center. The same health center that had a reputation for suspecting everyone of being pregnant, even when they came in for ankle pain or a sinus infection. This same center didn't see a need for a test. ??? I called my doctor at home, who was concerned about a tubular pregnancy. So on a quiet day during my last little stretch of college freedom, I went into my roommates room to rouse one of them to accompany me to the health center for a test. (They weren't really my roommates anymore, they lived down the hall, but they had been my roommates the year previous and they will always be labeled my roommates. One of those situations where we didn't need to knock or ask permission to do things anymore.) Sarah got up and went with me. The health center nurse rather reluctantly obliged to test me and light-heartedly asked me to pee on the stick. A few minutes later, she returned with stick in hand, glanced down, and froze. "It's positive." She immediately began apologizing for not taking me seriously and even called later that night to reapologize and make sure I was okay. Anyway, after Sarah and I stared at each other for a while, we left hand-in-hand to rouse Laura (aka: Lion) and tell her the news. I phoned my doctor to tell her the results, and she insisted I go to the hospital to make sure the pregnancy wasn't tubular.

The hospital was a 30-minute drive, so we had plenty of time to say our "what ifs" and call Punkin's dad. Now, I know some people are cut out for dealing with stressful/emergency situations and some are not as gifted in this particular area, but I would have to say Punkin's father takes the cake. He called the emergency room EIGHT times during my brief visit, after our previous five conversations on my cell phone. I eventually had to give them permission to tell him I wouldn't take any more calls. The emergency room doctor didn't do much; I basically paid $100 to find out that I was pregnant, which wasn't the best deal considering I already knew that. In the meantime, I had called my parents to tell them where I was and, gulp, why. It's a good thing they had that hour drive to calm down before I met them at a restaurant and confirmed the news. My dad said congratulations and ordered a beer; my mom sighed and asked for a margarita. (Here I was with the perfect excuse to join them and I couldn't.) But they were very gracious and forgiving. I'm sure they were most upset that I had lied to them about my lifestyle choices. I got back to school and made an appointment the next day to see my doctor at home and have the ultrasound I should have gotten in the ER. I think I fell in love the minute I saw his heart thumping away in black and white. I even got a second ultrasound a week later to rule out twins (phew!).

Punkin's dad and I started fighting more and more. And as I settled into the realization that he was in no way ready to be a father, I admitted that he was also not ready to be a husband. I was visiting my sister for a few days when I finally called off the engagement. It was the first week of July. I was almost 3 months along and hadn't stopped puking since the beginning of month two. I lost at least 15 pounds before I finally starting gaining. Blech. My body felt awful, but my heart felt good. My sister said the relief was evident, and she kept me busy painting pottery, going to movies, and playing putt-putt. During this time, Punkin's dad started harassing my family and friends with phone calls and e-mails. Funny how someone who manages to isolate you from your friends and family turns to them in an effort to win you back. Not so much a good strategy. Many thanks to everyone who stuck it out.

Once I stopped barfing and started gaining weight, life was pretty good. Punkin started moving and grooving inside me; my belly grew bigger every week. I worked at a grocery store. Very glamorous job. When a pregnant woman ventures into public, she is assaulted with looks, comments, and questions. When a pregnant woman is ringing up groceries, she is bombarded. "How far along are you?" "You're so skinny!" "Boy or girl?" "What will you name it?" "When I was pregnant....."

I'd say the best comment was from a young man. He noticed that there were quite a few pregnant women working that day. "Yes," I said, "I know of four people besides myself." "Wow," he replied, "I know what you guys do in your spare time." Nice.

I had asked a few times about being tested for Fragile X. I went to a group practice and had to see all of the different doctors during my pregnancy. One of them told me, "Well, that sort of thing is something we usually worry about in kindergarten if a child is showing delays." He had no idea. But once I had the ultrasound that told me Punkin was a boy, my mom and I were more serious than ever about being tested. My main doctor at the group, also a member of our church, hooked me up with the right people.

I knew that my mom and grandpa were carriers, and I wanted to be fully prepared. I had been tested in high school, but my mom was always suspicious of the results because they were very vague. We knew that there were different kinds of tests and that one was much more accurate than the other. Turns out my mom was very right. I have a full mutation of fragile x (over 250 repeats) and the gene is completely methylated (turned off). This meant I needed to have my baby tested as soon as possible after he was born and find a pediatrician who knew something about disabilities.

I also had a fainting issue. Very Scarlet O'Hara. Just a result of really low blood pressure, I guess. Then I had a gall bladder issue. I thought I was dying. My mom thought I was overreacting, because, let's face it, I overreact when it comes to my body. Well, one night I was pretty sure I was having a heart attack along with contractions that felt much stronger than the Braxton Hicks that started around 22 weeks. After I got sick a few times, my mom drove me to the hospital. The pain was IN-TENSE. An ultrasound and an exam revealed that I was not in labor, but that my body was rejecting the french fries and brownie sundae I had indulged in earlier that night. I have to share this next part with you regardless of how much it grosses you out. The way I see it, if I had to experience it, then you have to hear about it. I got sick in the hospital. It was green. Like if you blended up grass. (Hot, right? What? You want my number, right?)

Well, the very nice surgeon said he didn't want to operate on a preggo lady unless he had to, so they monitored me overnight and sent me home on a low-fat, bland diet. Now it's a good thing I was eight months along because I don't think I could have gone any longer than four weeks without a Hostess cupcake.

This is when the insane itching began. A crazy, unexplained internal itch from my toes to the top of my head. My face itched. My hands itched. The bottoms of my feet. And there seemed to be no apparent reason. I woke up with bruises on my arms from scratching in my sleep. That is when I hated being pregnant.

So the big due date finally came. I'd been having pre labor for about a week, so I was starting to dilate and thin out. A week later and still no baby. My doctor said she would induce first thing Monday morning (it was Friday). At about midnight Sunday I realized that the pre labor was turning into real labor. At 5am I woke up my mom and my sister, and we called my doctor. After I was admitted, they ended up giving me pottossin to speed things up. I insisted we watch The Price is Right. I'm taking a bit of artistic liberty when I say my doctor broke my water during Bob Barker's Showcase Showdown, but I do know it was sometime during the ten o'clock hour. I wasn't progressing very quickly at all (only 2cm), so no one bothered to check me until two hours later when I asked for medication around 12:30pm. At this point the nurse was shocked to discover I was over 7cm. This meant happy meds! Hooray! But before the nurse could get the doctor and get permission for the meds and get the meds from the pharmacy and bring them back, I looked at my mom and told her I was ready to push. He was born at 12:53pm. Four pushes, but no happy meds.

9lbs 1oz and 21 inches long. So much for the little baby all of those grocery store customers insisted I was carrying. Two weeks after I had him, I went in for gall bladder surgery. I weighed 32 pounds less than before I got pregnant. My body has been on a roller coaster for over three years now. (12, 6, 4, 6, 8) But that night I had the most restful nights sleep I've had my entire adult life. I remember a few things from the day of my surgery: my blood pressure was about 54/90 and every time I was almost asleep the heart machine would beep because my heart rate dropped to 40, the operating room looked a lot like ER, my sister brought me a Charleston Chew, and I had the best phone conversation with Lion ever.

The day after Punkin was born, we met a more loving, patient pediatrician than I could have imagined. I called his office after I had my genetic testing and found out that not only did he have other patients with FX, but that he had even attended a conference with them. On his one month birthday, he called me with the news. I was living with my parents at the time. We cried.

But even to this day my biggest fear is not having a child with FX or how to handle his behaviors and his needs, even though I struggle with those things every day. My worst fear is what happens when I'm gone; that's what keeps me working with him even when he hits and kicks me. That's what makes me open my mouth when I am afraid to ask for help or disagree with a professional. Because someday I won't be here, and he needs to know how to help himself. And now I think I need to move on because there are tears.

So that's what I was doing three years ago. THREE YEARS. In the meantime we have moved into our own apartment and made some truly significant gains. In the past year, Punkin has:

    • Stopped blowing his nose in his bread at dinner. Although this can only be counted as a half gain because he has stopped blowing his nose altogether.
    • Started speaking in one and two word phrases, relying less and less on pictures and sign language.
    • Learned how to sit on the potty, dress, and undress.
    • Learned how to take off his diaper and poop on the carpet.
    • Become less defensive about touching grass and not defensive at all about touching the snow.
    • Learned how to draw a circle and a vertical line with a crayon.
    • Learned how to stack small objects, put beads into a container, and begin to put together puzzles.
    • Learned how to express his wants, likes, dislikes,and began to learn how to make a choice.
    • Started to learn how to catch a ball.
    • Learned how to pray before meals and bedtime.
    • Learned how to delay bedtime by asking for water or to go potty.
    • Learned my name, his name and age, and the names of other important people in his life.
    • Learned his basic colors and begun to learn his shapes.
    • Learned how to say, "I love you" back.

We've come a long way, baby! Happy Birthday! We've had a lot of help along the way, and I'm warning you that we will need more. =)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

happy saturday

First, I hit my nose on the edge of a door yesterday. Right in the spot where I have a teeny tiny zit and a big bump. Now I have a very red zit and an even bigger bump. Second, I took Punkin to the mall today so I could get an Orange Julius. On the way out he saw the little merry-go-round with four cars on it. Before I knew it, I had inserted four quarters and very loud music was playing as he spun around. Now, he was fine at first; then his eyes widened and his arms froze. So not only were people staring because of the motion and music, but because the cute little boy riding on the tractor was holding the hand of a red-nosed reindeer, err, mother walking in a circle beside him.

In other news, my sister is having a mother/daughter night at her church to celebrate being uniquely female. In the spirit of this fabulous event, I give you my list of reasons why it is fantastic to be a girl:
    • I get to cover up my red nose with concealer and no one will call me rude names.
    • Skirts and dresses are super-comfy, super-pretty, and super-easy on the figure.
    • Girl talk. Talking about your feelings and laughing till you pee a little is cheap therapy.
    • Being pregnant is the coolest. (This is merely an opinion, as some women find it horendous--and if you asked me at 8 months, I may have agreed. Although I think it's not so much carrying around the baby as all of the ways a body reacts to said baby. Examples include but are not limited to the following: water retention; gas; an undeniable need to eat 3 slices of cheddar cheese, one container of raspberry yogurt, and 2 pickles every night before bed; barfing all day; elephant cankles; unexplained internal itching that keeps one up at night because even one's face and the backs of one's hands itch; and a gall bladder that gives way.) Doesn't that sound awesome? Don't you want to go out and try it? Seriously, though, knowing that I was sustaining a brand-new person and feeling them move inside me was a sweet reward.

Taking a break from the list to mention that Punkin is so his mother's son. All I have been hearing for the past 15 minutes is a soft "ca-clunk" from across the room as he attempts to keep the doors to the toy cabinet closed with one hand, eat an apple with the other hand, and never take his eyes off of Mickey Mouse's Christmas Carol. The poor kid is doomed in his task; I have been trying for months to get those doors to stay closed.

Okay, the ADD won; the list is over.

Ca-clunk. Ca-clunk . . . Ca clunk . . . Ca Clunk.

We braved the negative 53 degree weather to pick up some molding sand at Toys R Us before heading to the mall for the much-needed smoothie. On the way out of the toy store, Punkin was carrying a bag of animal crackers (He asked so nicely and even tried to get me a bag of my own. Not sure if this was out of pure kindness or foresight--he didn't want to share.), was holding onto me with the other hand, and had his ducky blanket in his mouth. As we started climbing into the car, he said, "Uh oh! Duddy! Uh Oh!" I looked down, assuming he had just dropped it next to the car. Not there. We walked around looking, all the while he repeated, "Uh oh! Duddy! Uh Oh!" with increasing emotion. And there it was, about halfway between the door and the car. Now why on earth are you supposed to be excited about this story? Because he's BRILLIANT, that's why! He knew his bestest friend was gone and he used his words to tell me.

I'm being called to "Jump. Monna? Jump? Pease?"

Friday, January 18, 2008

good long day

Went to the big behavior appointment today. All they said about the bouncing was, "Well, we're glad you found a way to quiet him." ! They totally "get" Punkin. One of them even commented, "I bet diaper changes are a real struggle." Yes. . . *exhales* . . . Yes.
But the best news? I am not doing anything wrong! The very first thing the behaviorist mentioned was developing a picture schedule. I've been wanting to do this for a long time, but just didn't know the best approach or really where to start. I was so excited! And they know all about FX and even put together a FX conference and led a FX study. They even demonstrated how to work through the entire schedule process. And Punkin cried and whined and they still made him work. It was awesome. I'm glad he wasn't all smiles. He gave them a clear picture of our daily challenges, which helped them help us. The poor speech pathologist, though, got to him second to last and didn't get anything out of him. But we talked, so it was okay. I just wish he would have showed off a little more. =)
After the picture schedule we talked about time out--how it should be immediate and not in one particular spot because of the non-existent attention span. I've been doing that already, but he just gave me ideas for developing it. He said I should sit, looking away, with my hand out. When Punkin takes my hand, the time out is over and I stop ignoring him. Ignoring the self-abusive behavior was another point. And--bonus--he gave me a [text]book about behavior modification. It's a good read so far. Communication-Based Intervention for Problem Bahvior: A User's Guide for Producing Positive Change. Perhaps not as compelling as, The Starter Wife, which I finished last night, but definitely more useful.
And then we talked a bit about potty traning. So excited! It will still be a long process, but we are so much further ahead than I expected.

OOhhh--check out this! I'm working on it! If I can't use the back-pay account from SSI to pay the rent, I'm buying a trampoline instead. Very logical, right? I have a long list of other sensory toys I think we need. Like a Rainbow Maker. (WARNING: Creepy kid in photo.)

I decided something. If other people think that I am a good person and a good mom, then maybe I am a good person and a good mom. Very revolutionary over here. Some days I just feel so stinking sleepy and exhausted. But then I also think I shouldn't be exhausted at all because I didn't do enough that day. I didn't work with Punkin enough; we didn't really even play, I didn't make him use his fork at dinner, ect. I know I am only holding myself up to unrealistic (and honestly undefined) standards--no one else is--but the standards keep rising and I therefore continue to dissappoint myself. But what is the payback for this behavior? Behavior, as I have learned and was reinforced today, always serves a function. So what do I get out of making myself crazy? (Kind of a downer, I know, but it's been on my mind.)

Very excited about the birthday. My big sis is coming into town Tuesday to help with preparations for Wednesday. And he turns THREE on Thursday! CR-AY-ZZAYY. Maybe on Thursday I'll grace everyone with the birth story of my nine pounder. Or maybe not.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

ask me if i'm an orange

Are you an orange?
NO!

A most monumental occassion: we survived the first thirty-four page IEP. He has five goals, some are social-emotional and some are academic. All are realistic and exactly what I would want to see him achieve this year. One of them has to do with being able to transition better, another has to do with handling his emotions, and another has to do with increasing from one-word utterances to three-word sentences. The fourth goal has to do with basic math skills like sorting by color and the last one addresses fine motor skills. I feel very blessed to have such a dedicated, down-to-earth, trustworthy team working with us. They genuinely want the best for him and take my role seriously, too. Another way the Lord provides for us.

From now on, I am scheduling all of my WIC appointments for 5:00pm. Oh my goodness! Everyone was in such a big hurry to go home that the entire visit took maybe 30 minutes. Compared to the usual hour, this was a majorly pleasant surprise.

Tomorrow is the big day at the behavior clinic. Then comes the birthday party. (CAKE!) THen the first full day in his new room. Then comes the doctor's appointment. And then birthday stress settles into regular life again. I'm excited, though, because he's already doing such a nice job in his new room. There will, of course, be challenges once the transition is final. But overall, I am feeling very hopeful.

My next project? Getting him a small trampoline with a bar on the end to keep at home. Doesn't that sound crazy and fun?

Okay. Here's the deal: 1. If you read this, leave a comment. 2. What do you want to hear about? Ask me anything!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

i won $15 at bunko! go me!

This is one busy week at the Punkin house! Today was his OAP Meeting, which is basically an IEP for the Waiver Program. He has lifeskill goals that the respite workers help him with twice a week. This year we decided on the following: putting his shoes on, verbalizing when he needs to go potty, jumping, and working on puzzles (fine motor skills). It was exhausting because three people all had to agree and the goals had to meet certain guidelines as well as be tolerable/achievable for both Punkin and his workers. Last year I suggested feeding himself with a fork and spoon; I was told by his DHS worker that the goals shouldn't "take away from the mother's role." Then I suggested dressing and undressing and was told that it was developmentally inappropriate, among other things. We finally settled on learning to sign and verbalize new words. As you may have guessed (duh), this is nearly impossible to work on for an entire hour with anyone, let alone hyper-destructo-toddler man. This year she again suggested a communication goal--learning the names of clothing and such. I settled on verbalizing when he needs to go potty (rolls eyes because this will never happen if we keep getting new people for every shift). Then THEN she said, of course, "What about eating with a fork and spoon? How does he do feeding himself? And dressing and undressing?" *Twitches* I am very happy with his new goals, though, and I am gad that there are four different things to work on during each hour-long shift.

Tomorrow we are having some serious bonding time in addition to doing laundry.

Thursday is his very first IEP and we have to go to WIC. Bleh, WIC. Love the free milk and juice. Hate everything else.

And then Friday we are going to the local university hospital's behavior clinic. I'm not sure what all the visit will entail, though I have no doubt there will be plenty of questions for me. And I have a few questions for them, such as, "Why does my son want to be upside down all the time?" and "Why did my son hand me his poopy diaper yesterday?" (I know! Isn't that kind of exciting? It's a readiness sign--and it was neatly contained INSIDE the diaper. It was NOT, I repeat NOT smeared into his face.)

This is all in addition to him transitioning into his new room this week and next week. I'm taking him with me right away in the morning and then driving him back to his current school later in the morning. The roughest part so far has been the before school program that I work with another woman. He just can't handle having me in the room and sharing me with the other kids. I think that it will be good for both of us in the end; it will just take time--and a few tears.

Birthdays are SO fun, right? Change is really great, too, right? AHH!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

what was that i said about sharing my margaritas?

I think I may need them for myself after all.

It started last night. I wasn't even going to blog much about it. Mostly I was going to tell Kristie that I think our sons communicate telepathically. Blake somehow told Punkin how good it feels to be diaperless. It was so frustrating, and hilarious. As soon as I would get one on him, he would rip it off. When bedtime rolled around, he took the diaper off and peed on his bed two different times, finally falling asleep nude. Pretty good story, right?

Oh, no.

I don't remember why I checked in on him at naptime--if it was too loud or too quiet. Either way, I slowly opened the door to discover my beautiful, almost three-year-old bundle of joy standing in front of his bed, butt naked, covered in a mysterious brown substance. Behind him on the bed, the source of a remarkably foul odor: a big pile of poop. Yes, poop. The "mysterious" brown substance, I realized, not only decorated the creamy white arms, legs, and FACE of my little cherub, but was also smudged across the carpet and MY sheets.

AH EWW AHH EWWW. OH, GOD. OkayWheredoIstart? The face. I start cleaning his face first. Then the hands. Okay, I'm putting him in the tub. Where's the antibacterial soap? Can you safely marinate someone in Purell? No. Definitely not. Soap. Lots of soap. Might as well wash his hair. Now I have to clean the tub. No, it can wait. First, throw away poop pile and sheets. Then get him dressed. What can he not take off by himself? Overalls? He hates those. Footie pajamas? OH--inside out footie pajamas. Good one. Now put on a video. NOT Elmo's Potty Time. Toy Story. Okay, now clean the tub. Gross. Where's the bleach? Tub is clean. Now, go buy carpet cleaner. Weird looks in Walmart.
Clerk to me: Did he do that or did you do that?
Me: What? His pajamas?
Clerk: Ya. Me: I did it. He likes to take his clothes off.
Clerk, with a smile: My nephew does that.
Me to myself: Bet he doesn't play with his poo.

Home again. Spray, scrub, spray. We need to go to Oma and Opa's.

Oma just laughed. Jerk. =) Actually, about two hours after I first found him, it became funny. But not nearly as funny as it was to Oma. But she did agree to go see the new Veggie Tales movie with us in an effort to help me relax. It was Punkin's first theater experience. He didn't say a word the whole time. I thought for sure he would point to the enormous screen and shout, "Larry!" But he just sat on my lap and ate my popcorn and drank my soda. That is until he wanted to bounce upside down on my lap. But I know he loved it because he had a huge grin on his face on the way out.

And yes, after much struggling, he is happily sleeping in his inside-out jammies. This Monna ain't takin' no chances.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

uh, ya.

Next time I think I'll share my double bubble margaritas with a friend. WHERE is my Advil??

toy influenza

It started out pretty simple. We had a bin of toys and two small bins of books. Now this bin, which once held 80% of his toys, holds just his big trucks.
And now we have this.
And close-up pictures of individual toys or groups of toys like this one...

...labeling each spot in this cabinet. (I covered the photos with contact paper to make 'em stick.)


And labeling each bin on this storage system, which I love even with it's bright colors and complete lack of "I'm trying to disguise your child's toys." So baby and accessories are in one cubby, small cars are in one, Little People in another, beads for stringing in another, ect.
Think that's too many toys for ONE child? You haven't even seen the Cars table and chairs, the Little People House, the Little People Car Ramp, the adorable wooden kitchen set, the Jumbo Legos, the Duplos, the musical instrument set, the books in our bedroom, the art supplies, the shopping cart, the stroller, or the vacumn cleaner.
My apartment, by the way, is just 600 square feet. It basically looks like a preschool threw up in my living room. My sister hates it. But I love it because it makes my life simpler. This way Punkin can help himself to what he wants and more easily put it away. Besides, I can't put the toys in our bedroom--he has enough trouble sleeping already.

You can get our cubby thing at Target, but I got mine at Lowe's. They have other ones in more muted colors and with baskets so the toys are more hidden.

Storage Shelf with Bins - Primary Colors : Target

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

after our arts and crafts disaster on monday, i bought him an aquadoodle and molding sand for his birthday

Kristie and I were e-mailing back and forth about our sons' pickiness, and I thought, "Why not make everyone read about it?"

Okay, Seriously. He knows when I start typing. It's like a sixth sense. He's been in there, almost asleep, for twenty-five minutes. The second I typed 'pickiness,' I heard pitter-patter and the door handle. Or was it the door handle and then pitter-patter? Yes, the second one, as carpeted bedrooms and toddler feet do not produce a pitter-pattery effect.

ANYway, ahem, in no particular order, the Punkin's oddities:

1. Must wear both shoes and socks or be barefoot. Socks alone are impermissable and subject to wild meltdowns.

2. He must be naked when he potties--shoes, socks, shirt, and pants. Except, of course, at school or when Oma takes him at her house.

3. Lunch meat and other fillings that others might slide between two slices of perfectly good whole grain bread must instead be placed inside a hamburger bun. Again, school wins in this case, because all of their sandwiches come on buns.

4. "DA FIGHDER!" A love for all things long and skinny. Forks, spoons, pegs hooked together, snap beads linked together, wrapping paper tubes, shovels, straws. You get the idea.

5. He will eat fish sticks but not chicken nuggets. WHAT CHILD WON'T EAT CHICKEN NUGGETS???? My parents would claim that it's a cruel irony--punishment for years of going out to nice restaurants and ordering the chicken strips basket.

6. He loves being upside down. I must say that while I understand that this is new territory for many observers, and while it admittedly looks a but strange, and while I always want to be willing to answer questions in an effort to educate others, I do not need to see strangers' gaping stares in Cracker Barrel or hear them say, "Is that good for him? He's upside-down." No sh*t, Sherlock. I thought he was sitting in his booster seat, coloring nicely while he awaits his CHICKEN STRIPS BASKET. (Or "burder and Fen Fies.") You know, mostly I mind when people openly question my judgement; not the odd fact that Punkin enjoys such a strange sensation. Get the diff? I mean, I wouldn't want to hang my head upside-down for twenty minutes. Can you imagine? All the blood rushing and the pressure behind your eyeballs. No thank you. I don't get it, either. But please don't intimate that I am somehow hurting or endangering him. Obviously we are all happy; and most of us are being quiet and minding our own business, Ahem.

7. No blanket on top of him before he goes to sleep. After, yes. In fact, he may wake up and ask for one.

8. He wants me to rub my nose against his, but he can't bear to get his face that close to mine. He just giggles and turns his head. So cute.

Now it's not fair to pick on somebody unable to defend himself. So in a spirit of comradery, I give you Monna's quirks:

1. I Can Not STAND the sound that the windshield wipers make when they scrape across the frost on my windshield. *Shivers*

2. I wash dishes with a washcloth (a new one each day--I have about 15) or a scrubber with the water running. Meaning I do not, under any circumstance, fill the sink up with water and dunk the dishes. That is like a dish bath.

3. Which leads me to number three. I hate bathtubs. Actually I hate baths. I do not need to sit in a puddle of my own filth. Why would I want to do that? Now hot tubs are different; they have chemicals. And I may be convinced to take a bath at a hotel under the following conditions: a) the tub itself has been cleaned by me, b) I have been drinking wine and am feeling chill, and c) I have already taken a shower.

4. I love drinking soda through a straw--even if it's in a can. Fountain soda is best; it's the fizziest. Then cans, then bottles.

5. Ever since I was little, I have folded a small piece of the edge of a blanket or even an article of clothing and rubbed it against my thumb and forefinger. Punkin does this, too. And it's probably why he likes Legos--it's the same effect. I tried it. (My grandma did this as well. But not the Legos thing.)

6. Everything has its place. I have cubbies to sort toys, and each cubby has a picture on the front of what goes inside. The shelves even have pictures. The trucks are in one bin, and finally the mostly miscellaneous objects in another. I'd like to say that the primary motivation behind this labeling was to help Punkin learn to sort and clean up. And while that played a role, the main reason was because the respite workers kept putting things back in the wrong place.

7. Food should not touch, unless of course it is something along the lines of a casserole or salad. I just don't want any other part of my meal touching the casserole. My Aunt's friend even sent me an adult-sized round plate with dividers. Thanksgiving is kind of nerve-wracking.

8. I love the smell and flavor of oranges, but I cannot bring myself to eat one.

I really have no room to call him picky, do I? Darnit.

Now, it is funny when toddlers get mad. Especially mine. Because he smacks his arms around in attempt to hit me and instead whacks himself. And because he thinks the can pick up the heavy blanket from his mommy's bed and throw it at her. But he can't, so he chucks his blanket at her instead. Good problem solving, though. Hehehehe. This happened at about 6am after I told him to put on his pants. After he finally complied and calmed down, I asked him to bring me his shoes and socks. He brought me his snow boots and went back for socks. He grabbed the socks, and at my request grabbed his regular shoes. He handed me the boots. "No," I said, "Let's wear the white shoes. No boots." I could see a storm brewing inside. I had to make a decision, "Is it really worth it?" No. I put the boots on his feet, wrote a note to his teacher, and stuck the sneakers in his backpack. He looked really silly, though, because there isn't a flake of snow on the ground.

(Oh, and he is going to start transitioning to his new school next week. And I had a parent-teacher conference today. I talked his poor teacher's ear off. I'm just so proud!)

Monday, January 7, 2008

meanwhile, it's 9:40pm and the child in question is still awake

At first I had grand plans of having Punkin transition to his new room for at least a month. He would visit more and more each day until he was spent the entire day there on his birthday. Then the logistics of this plan became a smidge overwhelming and time flew by as it always does. Now I am two and a half weeks away from his birthday, and he's visited his new room about five times after school. Now he is having major adjustment issues -- in his usual room-- since Christmas break, and his current teacher is very worried about the Big Day. So now I need to figure out if it is possible to bring him to work with me and have him stay in his new room for a few hours until I can drive him back to his current school.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

some people's kids

I can't believe I forgot to mention our other new lamp. Silly Monna. We got it for Christmas from Punkin's Godfather. At first he was just excited because it was a tractor (tra-nner). But once I turned it on, he kept saying, "Wow. Wow. Wow. Light. Wow." Perseveration is a funny thing. It is simultaneously annoying, aggravating, heartwarmingly funny, and charming. Like when he asks for something and I say yes, and he keeps asking me and repeating yes right afterwards. Or when I put him in his carseat the other day in the parking lot of the grocery store when I was feeling frustrated and tired and he asked for a hug. Then he asked for another hug. Then he pulled me towards him and asked for a hug. Then he hugged me again. And again. We did this approximately 15 times. And it makes me think I just wouldn't want life any other way.

But then there's the nights he gets out of bed 40 times in a row. Okay, so maybe it was 20 times. Okay 21. (He just opened the door again.) And I need to remind myself of his sweetness in order to maintain my patience. Like when he crawled out of bed to kneel with me next to his bed and pray. Or when he spontaneously plants a kiss right on my lips. Or when he laughs at me when I try to be stern. How could I possibly be upset with such an angel? Because I'm human, that's how! But the frustration is short lived, and the good times are what carries me.

Friday, January 4, 2008

you look confused



Did you see my new lamps? (Thanks, Aunt Kim and Uncle Mike!) Aren't they pretty? And they work. And they aren't used. I own something that is new! And it's decorative!
I was told by my super cool friends that I need to blog every day. I would like to blog every day. However, someone needs to have a talk with my son about maintaining a proper bedtime first. Speaking of friends, my parents and I met up with them after my mom and I went shopping. I had every intention of just exchanging a pair of jeans. Instead I got jeans, pink pajamas, a skirt, and a sweater. Oops. After much pizza and beer, we paid our bill and got ready to leave. Thirty minutes later, we were still at the table. Apparently when I questioned whether or not we were leaving I looked confused. Story of my life. Anway, all I said was, "Are we staying? Are we leaving? Do I need to get a soda? I could be enjoying a soda." Some people like to pick on other people.
I'm guessing only one person commented on my last post because I looked pretty scary in that picture and all of my readers are too sweet to say anything about it. Their mothers taught them well.
My plans for Saturday:
Wake up
Lounge in jammies (the new pink ones)
Cook something with my new PC cookware! (Go Oma!)
Lounge in jammies
Wash dishes
Maybe get dressed and go watch a basketball game
Cook something else
Blog
Get back in jammies (if I ever leave them)

Oh, this totally gives away where I live, but I have to brag that I went to my very first caucus last night. It was so interesting. And stifling. And a little long. But I was thrilled to be packed in a room with 300 other people if it meant that voters -- specifically young adults-- came out in record numbers. Whoo-hoo!
Oh, and the photos are from Target.com.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

his dad sent singing, light up maracas. you don't need me to tell you what happened next.

Today, children's programming talked about some very important issues facing preschoolers and elementary school children. Arthur was about honesty when selling old toys online in order to earn enough money to buy a video game about mummies. Clifford was about accepting and loving who you are, using the example of Buster trying to change himself in order to impress the new girl dog in town. And Curious George was about helping others, and how peas don't really come from a can. All in all, we learned a lot. But it was kinda weird when Buster met that dog. I thought things might get a little risk-ay for a minute.

New Year's was fabulous. I spent it doing what I want to do every year: eating and drinking with my aunts, uncles, and cousins. Lots of eating. Mmmm. Let's just say the main ingredient in my aunt's sugar cookies is butter. The second ingredient is frosting. And you have to eat a lot because otherwise her kids would feel bad, having spent hours decorating them. I'd say that one of the more memorable moments for me was discovering that it's possible to fight with one of those paper snake thingies. I don't know what to call it. Here is a picture of me, as my mom said, "gearing up for round two" with my cousin:



As you can see, I don't have much of an issue with embarassing myself. Meaning I don't mind taking the opportunity, not that it never happens (duh).

I suppose I should address the resolutions thing. Really I just want to keep it simple; I would like to feel better. My first step in accomplishing this goal is to go to the gym twice a week. Hopefully the endorphins will boost my mood and my desire to eat healthier foods.

Going back to work today was harsh. But only two kids showed up, so we joined another room and basically hung out all day. Sometimes I feel ridiculously lucky to get paid at all; other days there is simply not enough money or patience in the world.

Did I mention Punkin's IEP is in a WEEK?! And he goes to the three year old room in 3 weeks! Did I also mention that I would have more to say tonight if he had fallen asleep before 9:15? Seriously. But his first day back at school went much better than expected, and that is something to smile about.

Something else to smile about? All of the phrases he is saying:

Monna, look!

My work.

What are you doing?

How are you doing?

Punkin's car.

I at home.

Lunch. Eat. (He says this now when he sees a fast food restaurant. Good one, Muddah.)

Monna back?

Monna play?

Monna blanket?

Monna hold you?

Oh yeah, I am Monna or Muddah (mom or mother). No idea where he got mother, but it's growing on me. NIGHT!