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    Today, G, you are 5!

    August 29th, 2013

    Aw, Little Dude. How much you’ve grown this past year!
    Today you are funny, sweet, considerate, kind, (occasionally) generous, and athletic. You are as perfect as I could ever ask for.
    A year ago, your Daddy and I felt so intimidated by you, and so imprisoned by your temper. You have worked SO hard to manage and express your feelings, and it makes me so proud! You’re accomplishing something that is hard for adults to overcome, and you’re doing so great!
    You continue to lighten up our day with your jokes. You think ‘butts’ and ‘poop’ are funny, but thankfully your attempts to come up with one liners is far more overshadowed by your natural expressions, and actions.
    You’ve been an awesome brother to S2. You help him get snacks (even when he shouldn’t have more), you help him with his toys, give him ideas on how to play, and invite him to spend time with you. Your patience with his crazy episodes is increasing, and you impress me by your maturity about it.
    You offer to buy people gifts, when you hear them say they like or want something. It’s simple gestures, but so wonderful to see.
    You ask to write your friends birthday cards so that they know they’re special to you.
    You continue to be a great athlete. You are an excellent soccer player, ride a balance bike with ease, and swim better than me!
    You like to makeup rhymes, and although you’re shy about it, I’ve caught you singing to yourself from time to time.
    You like to play cards, and kick my butt at Memory, and often Go Fish.
    You like working on your workbooks, with connect the letters/numbers as your favorite. You do basic addition now, and prefer working with numbers more than letters. Science experiments get you excited. You’re truly your mama’s and daddy’s boy.
    You like to help me cook, and I’m looking forward to my little sous chef come this Thanksgiving.
    You’ve done an incredible job adjusting to your new school, and have made some great new friends. It seems that no matter which school you visit, your classmates want to give you hugs. You think it’s funny to run away from them while they try.

    You weigh 36.4lbs and are 40.5″ tall.

    I love you so much, Little Dude. This next year will be your last before you go to kindergarten. I’m excited to see all that it will bring.

    Now here’s you in your own words:

    What is your name? G****?

    G-what? G****** R*****

    How old are you about to be? 5!

    What’s your favorite color? Blue

    Who are your best friends? Torrey, Gabe, Caitlin, Milo

    What is your favorite book? The Big… Red… Barn

    What’s your favorite song? Anything

    What’s your favorite movie? I will tell you: Peppa Pig! That’s a TV show, though, isn’t it? What about a movie? Ok. Dinosaur Train.

    And Peppa Pig is your favorite TV show? Ugh-hmn.

    What is your favorite animal? Gi-raffe! What do you like about giraffes? Their long tongue and neck.

    What’s your favorite food? Duck-legs! Duck-legs? Yes. Really?!?

    Do you have a favorite shirt? The one I’m wearing right now! Your new Gryphons jersey? That’s a recent favorite then πŸ™‚

    Tell me something that you think is really important or wise. I just don’t know!Β  That’s actually pretty wise!

    What makes you mad? When somebody takes my eye out. That would make ME mad too! Is there anything else that makes you mad? If someone took our TV away?

    What’s your favorite toy? MY favorite toy is the granite crane. The what crane? The GRANITE! A granite crane? Where do you play with that? At school.

    What do you want to do when you grow up? I’m want to try to read a book with closing my eyes. And what about a job? What kind of job do you want to do when you grow big? A storyteller. You want to be a storyteller when you grow up? Yes. What happened to the crane driver idea? Huh? Yes, I don’t want to be. Ok, well thank you very much! No, no! I want to be a crane driver. Are you sure? What about story-teller? Storyteller? Nah! I did that at my new school.

    [vimeo http://vimeo.com/72576018]


    Things to make me feel ornery…

    August 27th, 2013

    I bought myself a new computer. It arrived with Windows 8 installed. The interface is just not something I’m familiar with, and the learning curve is making me cranky.

    I am driving a rental for the week. It’s a Toyota Avalon, and after driving the Honda Fit around for years, the Avalon feels like a boat. The car has a key-less control system, and I’m living in constant paranoia that I’m going to exit the car, forget to take the key with me and lock myself out. It also took me a few minutes to realize that the radio display was touch screen.

    It’s just too much “newness” for me, and I’m not digging it right now. I’m a creature of muscle memory, and my current, long to-do list is only lending itself to tasks I can complete quickly through familiarity with my tools. I’m just not in a good mind space to dedicate myself to taking it all in to figure out it.

    PS, Yes, I recognize that in about 10 years, when I come back to read this (or better yet in 20 when the boys do), all of this will seem like rudimentary stuff and looking back on this confusion will just sound dumb. But today, this is my life. Now… get off my lawn!!!


    Times when having children is entertaining

    August 24th, 2013

    Every once in a while in this parenting journey you’ll get the opportunity of quiet snickering while you laugh AT your children.

    Imagine, as a matter of fact, a little boy that never pronounces his R’s and is showing you his little train toy.
    What he’s trying to say: ‘Look! A little Percy!’
    What he’s actually saying? I’ll let you figure this one out on your own. It may help to say it out loud though… as long as you’re not in an office environment. I had to ask S2 to repeat himself, to his Daddy, so we can both enjoy this.


    Not autistic

    August 24th, 2013

    A couple of months after G’s therapist had been seeing him regularly, S and I had a debrief. She told us her observations, and recommended that we seek an Asperger evaluation from a specialist. I won’t lie: as a parent, no one wants to hear this. Yet, I’ve had a nagging question in the back of my head since he was 2, if it’s something we need to consider. It made my stomach sink. Deep in my gut, I knew he wouldn’t be assessed that way, but I couldn’t shake the what if’s. Ms. E noted that his case was puzzling for her. Overall, many aspects of his personality & behavior are conflicting to an Asperger diagnosis, but a few items stood out: his deep intrigue with long ‘things’ (sticks, ladders, strings… especially strings),

    Finding an available specialist in this field wasn’t a particular cake walk either. I called a few places that told me they didn’t have anyone available to do the evaluation, or weren’t taking clients. I was warned by some friends that this type of evaluation would likely NOT be covered by insurance and will come out of pocket. They weren’t wrong: the one person that I finally was able to reach that could work with us, notes that she doesn’t bill out insurance, but we were welcome to file a claim on our own, with her invoice, once we paid her.
    So… The evaluation had 4 components: 1) an intake conversation with S, her and myself; 2) a school observation; 3) surveys that S, one of G’a teachers and I had to individually complete; 4) a structured play session with G in her office. I’ll tell you right now that the structured play appointment felt really awkward for me: I got a slight sense at what zoo animals might feel like, or the Royal Families when they’re followed by paparazzi.
    In the interim I purchased myself a book on Asperger syndrome. I read about a chapter and had to put it away. With every symptom I read I began mapping aspects of G’s behavior to it. All of a sudden my confidence that we would receive a negative diagnosis was eroding and it was freaking me out.
    In the end, though, the specialist’s analysis was that G was not on the spectrum and was not a clinical (or even borderline) case of Asperger Syndrome. One of the things that stood out for me, though, was that our survey valuations did not reflect how we described him. What we were describing was G at his most difficult phase, while the G we live with today: the one the survey asked us to describe is a much different kid. It made me realize that we lived daily, paranoid that that time would return, and not appreciate the time with the awesome kid we have living in our home today. It also made me question if we had filled out the evaluation survey a year ago, would it show a very different result than the one we received?

    Regardless, what we are left with is a peace of mind and an answer to a question that’s been on the back of my head for over two years. Not Autistic. We were encouraged, though, to continue working with his regular therapist and reevaluate changes on an annual basis.

    In review with his regular therapist we also, all (with the guidance of Ms. E), concluded that coming in weekly wasn’t really necessary any more. We’ll reduce to every other week and decide if even that needs to change in two months’ time. This works for me. G starts his last year in pre-school in a week in a whole new classroom with a new teacher. Many of his current classmates will join him, for which I’m thankful, but transitions with him still make me anxious.

    Meanwhile I’ll celebrate where we are today; the incredible people that have offered their experience, support and resources during the process, and ongoing if the result had been any different. We’ve got a good village. πŸ™‚


    Engineering solutions

    August 18th, 2013

    S2 bumped his head the gate at his bedroom this morning. He bumped his ear and crying ensured. G was gone for a little while afterward. I got tired of calling him down for breakfast, so I went up-stairs to check on him. I found him building this:

    He was covering his brother’s gate with soft stuffed toys, attached via scotch-tape so that he didn’t get hurt again. Boys. Of course — tape cures all πŸ™‚

    He ran down to eat his French toast, and I took a photo… so S and I can “Aw!” over it. It’s really sweet to him watch out for his brother this way. Don’t get me wrong, he and S2 duke it out, Mortal Combat style several times a day. Still, he’s also attentive to his brothers’ feelings and problems and does things for him, unsolicited.

    He stands up for him, when S2 and us are having a disagreement. A few weeks back, S2 was yelling about having a “smoothie” (read “Pediasure”). S2 loves these things, and since he’s a finicky eater, we give them to him to add some more nutrients to his diet. However, there are nights where that is ALL he would want to eat, so I prefer to give him one after he’s already eaten. So here, S2 and I are having a moment, when G just yells out “Just give him one!”, grabs a little chair from their craft table, carries it over to the fridge, opens the door, grabs a bottle, walks it back to his brother and OPENS it for him. I kinda stood there, floored, he could do all this on his own. Score? Kids 1, Parents 0. I’m clearly proud for doing things for S2, but we need to cover ground rules on when he just needs to let us do the parent thing, even when he doesn’t agree with it.

    Still. Go Big Bro!


    Movie Monday

    August 12th, 2013

    Freeze Dance. They have a future in the mosh pit, I suppose.

    [youtube=http://youtu.be/wdPFkfWni1k]


    An snapshot of a week-end morning

    August 11th, 2013

    I’m watched G chase his brother buck nekkid. Why? S2 was running around the house, while wearing G’s (clean) underpants on his head. He wasn’t smart enough to let the leg holes go over his eyes, so he was bumping into walls like a pin ball…. and thought it was hilarious. G did too.


    He can swim!!!

    August 5th, 2013

    G has been taking swim lessons for quite awhile now. He goes once a week during the school year, but his new pre-school has a pool on-site (that they run only during the summer) and they have swim camps every day. He’s been swimming for the past 5 weeks straight. In return, he can do THIS:

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s42ftN59OEo]

    The kid can swim! S actually has better and longer videos illustrating his diving and swimming skills, but you get the point.

    I’m really glad we did this, but most importantly I’m super proud of our monkey.


    Who let THIS jacka$$ in?

    August 4th, 2013

    S2 has been having quite a week-end. Whiny, disagree-able, confrontational, shrieking, yelling, aggressive… what gives? Yesterday, he was kinda cured by an early afternoon nap. An hour worth of sleep helped him out. Today, not only did he REFUSE to nap, but he was just petitioning to get himself exiled off our island all day.

    It’s as if the terrible threes hit 3 months ahead of schedule, or he’s making up for a relatively mild second year all in the swoop of one week-end. I gave him Tylenol just in case the tooth-faerie was wreaking havoc in his mouth with some molars, but this was beyond special.

    I’m kinda looking forward to Monday… and hopefully a reset.


    S2 counts

    August 1st, 2013

    one, two, free, five, six, seven, F!

    Yeah… he’s working on it πŸ™‚