Monday, December 31, 2007

Home a day early...

Well, Jayce and I made it home from Atlanta just fine. Although it rained the entire drive which always kinda freaks me out. I left Jaina at my brother Jeff's house with my mom supervising. They should be home later this evening before Brian and I go out for New Year's Eve.

I have 300 pictures to sort through... hotel, stone mountain, christmas at my dad's, christmas at Jeff's... Its going to take me several days and several posts! Just keep checking back!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Morning, 2007

Because of going to FT and Nancy's house, the kids didn't settle down and go to bed until way after 11:00 PM last night! So, 6:30 AM came awful bright and early! I was awoken by Jaina who announced, "Santa brought me a bicycle AND a scooter!" I didn't understand what she meant until I saw Jayce's toddler tricycle that she claimed was "her new bike". Uh-oh...

Christmas morning was very different this year. Thankfully, Jayce was not overwhelmed or over-stimulated to the point that he screamed at all! YAY!! He was completely overjoyed with every single one of his gifts. My mom and I took turns unwrapping his presents. As soon as one got opened, he abandoned the previous present for the new one that made noise. Now that everything is open, he wanders around to all his toys, playing with each one for a few minutes.

The VTECH Vsmile game system is a little above his head right now. He just wants to turn the whole system off and on, so I'll have to find a place to put it up high so he can't turn off the game while Jaina is playing.

Jaina, on the other hand, was a bit disappointed this Christmas. See, last month she had asked for a scooter, an mp3 player, a diamond necklace, and a stuffed bear. Santa is a good listener and came through with all her requests. The problem? Her requests changed at the last minute, yesterday to be exact. She sat on mall Santa's lap and said, "I want a remote control car, a dog that walks and barks, and a big horsey."

Um, excuse me?

Last night, Jaina received some hair stuff, a baby Bratz doll (of course, she'd receive the one thing we don't allow in our home), some puzzles, and a UNO attack game. Jayce got some trucks and a remote control doggie that barks and walks. Jaina quickly claimed the dog for herself, and that electronic dog has already been the subject of many fights between the children.

Jaina has seemed very jealous this morning. Jealous of Jayce's boy themed toddler toys? Why would she want his tricycle when her barely a year old bicycle is just outside? What about her scooter? Why did she insist on taking a bath immediately with Jayce's new Diego bath toys?

I think my eldest is feeling a little let down from the holidays and a little jealous of all the attention that Jayce normally commands from the family. Let's hope that mommy can find a way to bring some joy back into Jaina for this special season.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

My poor baby




Its not easy to see in the pictures, which is probably a good thing, but the other day, Jayce got his finger stuck in one of the oven's vents. I pulled his finger out not knowing how sharp the metal was and almost ripped off the majority of his nail. It was pretty traumatic for him, especially since he hates band-aids (and stickers, for that matter). However, I insisted on a spongebob band-aid and put a new one on every time he took it off that day. Now he can't live without it! As soon as it gets loose, he takes his finger and shows me and asks, "Spongebob? More spongebob?" Thank goodness, because he's going to have to keep it covered until the new nail grows in and we can cut the remainder of his ripped one off. Makes me squeamish just thinking about it!

Friday, December 21, 2007

The "Open Sleigh" song

Jayce's version of Jingle Bells, helped along by my mom, Gray. Jayce calls it "Open Sleigh" :)
video

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Family Pictures:

Melissa, who is an awesome photographer, granted Grandma's wish for a nice family group picture. Since we were dealing with a 6 year old, a 5 year old, two 2-year olds, two tired moms, an extremely busy dad/brother, and a gray-haired grandmother, there was no way we were going to attempt pictures at a portrait studio. Justin helped Melissa set up her camera, a Nikon D200. Boy that thing was intimidating! Melissa is so knowledgeable about how to use it while it intimidated me.

The kids just ran around while we picked our location and got set up. Melissa used a white sheet to take the reflection off our faces. Luckily the sun wasn't on us too much and the lighting was good. It was fairly difficult to get Jayce to sit down, so my mom gave him her camera to try to take pictures with. Funny thing... all of us either wore sage green or pastel yellow. And we didn't plan that at all! Anyway, my mom got her wish and we had fun modeling for pictures.

Jaina, especially!

Florida Revisited!

I got my film back! I will now bore all of you with a ton of pictures from our trip :)

Build-A-Bear Workshop:

Several years ago when Jaina was 19 months old and Joshua was about 2 1/2 years old, we took the cousins to the Mall of Georgia to get pictures taken at The Picture People. While waiting for our pictures, we took the kids to Build-A-Bear workshop to pick out animals. Jaina picked out a stuffed dog (later named Alli). What was special about her dog was that it had two satin hearts enclosed. One kissed from Jaina and one kissed from Joshua. She has never forgotten that, probably because we remind her all the time about the two hearts, so one of Jaina's requests in Florida was to go to Build-A-Bear again. This time, Jayce and Justin got to participate as well! Jaina picked out another dog (shocking, I know!) while Justin and Joshua got some type of wild cat. We added sound buttons to them as well. My mom and I tried desperately to find an animal that Jayce would want, but he has never been interested when you give him choices at a store. Even things you know he would like when he gets home. Although it does make it easier only having one child that is tantruming because you won't buy them everything they see at a store, its also kinda sad because Jayce usually doesn't end up getting anything in the process. However, he did finally show minimal approval of a dark brown teddy bear. Jaina did the stuffing part while Jayce discovered the computers with Grandma! The keyboards were very kid-friendly with shapes and colors on the keys so the kids would know how to create their animal's birth certificate by themselves. The computers kept Jayce very happy and occupied while Jaina figured out the best clothes for her doggie, named "Sparky" btw. Jaina picked out a set of diapers for her dog, since she knew she could use them with her other stuffed animals at home. We also bought Superman PJ's for Jayce's bear, although he just brings the bear to you and says, "off? off?" because he feels that stuffed animals should be naked. All in all, we had a wonderful, yet hectic, time at the mall. I forgot to mention that there was no place to sit to eat lunch at Chick-fil-a or in the food court, so we had to sit on the floor to eat while the kids were in the strollers shaped like cars!





Jaina and Joshua riding the small Christmas train outside of Build-a-Bear. Jayce loved the train so much, he asked to ride it again and again and again. Too bad it was fairly expensive per ride.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas Parade










This was our first year attending the Christmas parade downtown! We had so much fun! Even Jayce, who didn't like the crowds, ended up liking the marching band very much. He'd say, "More drums?" after they walked by. Jaina had a great time with her MOMS Club friends there, as well :)

Monday, December 10, 2007

70 and Sunny

The high will be in the low 70's today. WTF? If I recall correctly, the high never made it above 47 degrees on Friday. Of course, Friday was the day of Jayce's OT eval at the hospital so I had to find parking in the freezing parking garage, walk all the way over to the tunnel, down the elevator, out in the cold again to the entrance, pushing the stroller the whole way. Why couldn't it have been 70 degrees THEN?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Its Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas

Anyone who knew me in High School knows that I like to sing "Its Beginning to Look A lot Like Christmas" not only at Christmastime, but all year round. I guess you could say its my favorite song. Yet, funny thing is... I don't even know all the words to it!

Still... we are getting ready for Christmas here! After spending a week in beautiful sunny Florida, it was kinda shocking to get back here to SC and find the temps in the 50's, 40's, and even 30's at night. way too cold for my Florida-born blood. Immediately I developed dry and cracked skin and static when I brush my hair. All the trees lost their leaves while we were down there so it really is looking like winter here.

I love our new house, but its FREEZING in the winter, I've discovered. Drat those damn windows all over the place. Yeah, I love the natural sunlight that bathes my living room each day. But I could really live without the drafts.

Two days after coming home, we put our tree up. Jayce was very curious about the process, even though he's already been taught "Christmas Tree" from seeing the trees up at Walmart a month ago. He could not figure out why we were putting lights on the tree. "Off?" he asked, while pulling a strand. "Off, please?" When that didn't work, he pulled another phrase out of his little brain, "Clean up?" He's just so damn cute. Anyway, he's used to the tree now so all is well. We did have to put a big rubbermaid box of toys in front of the electrical outlet. He got too much pleasure out of plugging in and unplugging the lights.

Anyway, I'm not done posting about Thanksgiving in Florida, but Part TWO will have to wait until I get my 3rd role of film back. I'm so anal like that :) I think Brian's OCD is rubbing off on me!







Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving in Florida

Day One: The drive

Honestly, it wasn't as bad as I had imagined. I mean, 13 hours in a car (9:00 AM to 10:00 PM) wasn't a huge picnic by any means, but neither kid screamed the whole time :) Jaina got rather bored, even with the DVD player borrowed from Sharie. Jayce occupied himself with a new toy from the dollar store from grandma. We made too many stops for too long of a time, but we made it fine :)

Day Two:

The kids actually slept rather late... maybe 7:30 if my memory serves correctly. By nine, everyone was up (except Jeremy). But we didn't actually get dressed or moving until way after lunch time. Its a combination of being in Florida (where people sleep later and go to bed later) and being on vacation (not having anywhere to go). Melissa let Joshua skip school. The kids played all.day.long very very nicely! Jayce enjoyed playing with their sliding glass doors in the kitchen.

Day Three:

Thanksgiving!! Melissa made squash casserole and I made potatoes with parsley. We drove up to Uncle David and Aunt Diane's house by 2:00 PM. I tried desperately to get Jayce to go back to sleep at her house to no avail :( My mom and I took turns being his shadow to make sure he didn't get into any trouble. He was all over the place! Diane and my cousins took all the kids on a golf cart ride around their neighborhood. Joshua and Jaina played with a remote controlled shark and diver in their pool. There were 3 turkeys... fried, smoked, and oven roasted. My favorite was the smoked! We had a great time :) We left by 6:00 pm because the kids were all exhausted from no naps.










Friday, November 23, 2007

Sunny Florida

Well, we made it! The trip wasn't TOO long :)

Monday, November 19, 2007

I'm insane

... Because I think its a good idea to take two kids and my mother, pack us into a car, and drive 12 hours to Southern Florida.

Oh, well. Even if its not a great idea, we're doing it anyway tomorrow!

See ya on the other side!

Friday, November 16, 2007

How Many Troopers Does it Take?

As I was heading back to my husband's workplace after lunch today, I noticed flashing blue lights in my mirror. I turn to Brian and say, "Um, is he trying to pull ME over? Was I speeding? Did I not use my blinker?" Brian just looked at me and shrugged. I had just gotten on an entrance ramp to a small highway and Brian's work was only two exits away. I slowed down, put my blinker on to let the trooper know I had seen him, and then pulled over on the side of the road at our exit.

Jaina asked, "Why are we stopping, Mommy?" Then she saw the state trooper walk up.

"Do you know why I pulled you over, ma'am?" he asked.

"No, sir, I do not," I replied, trying to use my best manners, since I heard that can help in situations like this.

"I noticed that your tags expired last month."

Brian and I looked at each other. Where was that damn sticker thingy? Brian thought it was on his desk upstairs. I thought it was on the table in the eat-in kitchen area.

"License and registration, please," he asked. Brian looks in the glove compartment and hands him an expired registration from 2004. Whoops! Brian looks again and finds the most recent one. Along with the 2008 tag sticker!!! That's where it was!

I hand the officer my license and the correct registration and show him the missing 2008 sticker we just found. He walks back to his vehicle. In the meantime, I'm searching for my insurance card, just in case he asks next for it. When I find it, I realize that its my old one that expires on November 6th, 2007. Goodness knows where my new one is. Brian's desk, perhaps?

Jaina pipes up from the backseat, "Mommy, are you going to jail?"

"No, sweetie."

"Then why is that man mad at you?"

"He's not mad, he just pulled me over because I don't have a sticker on my car."

"So, why don't you just put a sticker on your car?"

"We will in a minute."

Silence.

"Is he going to give you a ticket?"

Daddy answers this time, "I hope not. It would be really stupid if he did since we have the sticker right here with us."

Then Brian notices the second trooper car. "How many troopers does it take to give a car a ticket for expired tags?"

He finally comes back and hands me my stuff.

"I'm going to let you off with a warning, Ma'am," he says. "I'd go ahead and put that sticker on your tags now." He hands me a written warning and goes on his merry way.

"Did you get a ticket mommy," asks Jaina.

"Nope, just a warning," I answer.

"What's a warning?"

I think for a minute. How do you explain a warning to a kid? "Jaina, its like getting a yellow star at school. But its not as bad as getting an orange star and losing recess time."

"Oh," she says, understanding. "Then I guess you don't get to watch TV today!"

(TV is Jaina's consequence for receiving yellow stars at school)

Ducks in the Water



A friend of mine and her little girl joined us at the park the other day. Jayce was fascinated by the ducks swimming in the water. He loved running back and forth on the bridge looking for ducks through the slates of the bridge's side. Of course, he didn't quite understand why we couldn't go swimming with the ducks! Yucky water!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Interesting Diet Information

The following is an excerpt from a book I just picked up from the library: Unraveling the Mystery of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder

Almost universally, I heard the complaints that their children were very limited in the foods they would eat. But the foods were almost always the same foods: those containing dairy and/or wheat. The most commonly craved foods in almost all of these children were: milk, pizza, grilled cheese, macaroni and cheese, pasta, cheerios, crackers, bread, and breaded chicken nuggets or fish- all foods composed of wheat or milk.


Dude, that's almost what Jayce's diet solely consisted of before going gluten-free. Well, with the exception of pizza. Jayce has never even tried pizza.

Interesting.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Fall Colors

I do realize that the Fall Season comes every year, pretty much around the same time, too. Yet this year, I am just amazed at the world around me gearing up for winter. The Fall foliage never fails to catch my eye every time I step outdoors. Maybe its because we've moved and I've never seen such beautiful and colorful trees before in South Carolina. All I know is that I wish I could capture it. Unfortunately, landscape photography is not one of my skills (some would suggest that portrait photography isn't either!) but here are my digital snapshots of Fall anyway :)



Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I'm too busy

Too many times do I find myself saying to my husband, "I didn't have time today. I wasn't home at all today."

Eek. I need to slow it down some, I think. But how do I do that? Between MOMS Club functions (and I only go to about 1/2 of them!), Jayce's therapy, running errands, carting Jaina to and from school, and actually taking my kids to the park to play, I find that I'm not home much.

Of course, there are positives to this:

1. My kids are learning about the world around them
2. My kids hardly ever say they are bored
3. They tend to not get much TV time when we have busy days
4. I'm not constantly asked to play Barbie or Thomas (not that I mind once in a while, but being a kids' playmate as an adult is not as fun as one might think)

And really, the only negative I see is this:

1. I'm home long enough to make a mess, but not home long enough to clean it up :)

Obviously the pros outweigh the cons by a majority. My husband will just have to get over it!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I seriously love my son's therapists

I just have to say that I am bowled over right now with gratitude that my son has so many wonderful people on his team. I never knew it was possible for people other than family to care so much about my child's health and happiness. Jayce's EI has 18 kids she sees and his ST has 35. Yet both those women make me feel like Jayce is the ONLY family they take care of. There seems to be nothing they won't do for our family. Whether its rearranging their schedules, answering tons of insurance questions, making phone calls to get me answers, or constantly checking out options for more therapy, his current therapists definitely go the extra mile.

Now I just have to think of really good Christmas presents for them!!!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Co-Sleeping

Now, don't get me wrong. I agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics on a lot of things and I respect the board's research and knowledge. But I have to agree with McKenna on his statement below:


Book Disputes Advice Against Co-Sleeping


A new book, "Sleeping With Your Baby: A Parent's Guide to Cosleeping", disputes advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers fro Disease Control and the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission and makes a case for parents sleeping in the same beds with their babies.

The Platypus Media book written by James McKenna, director of the mother-baby behavioral sleep laboratory at the University of Notre Dame, explores issues around co-sleeping while claiming it is important, it may be done safely and it has become intertwined in politics.

McKenna and Platypus Media cite statistics that out of 720,000 infant deaths over a recent 18-year periods, only 102 can be confirmed as having suffocated on an adult bed while an adult was present - meaning that fewer than six infants in the US each year are confirmed as dying this way out of 4,000,000 births annually. Babies put to sleep in cribs have a suffocation death rate more than double that of babies who sleep with an adult on an adult bed, according to McKenna.

"The vast majority of scientific studies on infant behavior and development conducted in diverse fields during the last 100 years suggest that the question placed before us should not be 'Is it safe to sleep with my baby,' but rather 'Is it safe not to do so?'"

McKenna says it is a natural part of the mammalian biology and 5,000 years of human civilization for parents to sleep with their babies, and he said specific steps make it safe. He said certain situations and environments promote and protect maternal infant health while others pose risks.

Reports from the American Academy of Pediatrics caution against co-sleeping, saying the practice of bed-sharing can increase potential for suffocation and sudden infant death syndrome.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Fall Pictures 2007

Fall Pictures 2007


These pictures were taken with my 35 mm SLR film camera. Unfortunately, either the film was old or the color chemicals were not balanced at the photo place. Have I said how much I miss my digital camera yet?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Jayce funnies

As much as this precious boy of mine frustrates the heck out of me with his behavior, he never fails to make me laugh or smile throughout the day. The first thing I do is call my mom, who in turn, tells me, "You'd better be writing this down!".

So, here are some Jayce funnies to share just from today.

1. He is currently, as I type this, running over to the portable phone base, pressing the "Page" button, then running back to the handset and saying, "Say Hello! Hello! Uh-huh...yes...uh-huh...yes... goodbye! BYE! BYE! BYE!" I don't get to see him play pretend often, so this is just too cute to me!

2. Jayce has never cared what clothes he has on or wanted to choose a certain outfit. That was until Monday, when my mother brought over a red long-sleeved T-shirt from Old Navy with a Wiggles Logo (made from iron-on transfer paper) attached. He snatched it up, said, "On top??" and has worn it ever since. I finally had to put it in the washing machine today because he got into the shower fully clothed while I was washing my hair.

3. I got Jayce to repeat the phrase "Trick-or-treat" in preparation for the upcoming holiday. The first time, he would get it right. Then he would say, "Trick-or-cheese". Then he'd say, "Chuck E. Cheese". That would lead to him getting excited and thinking about going to Chuck E. Cheese :) I couldn't actually get him to say, "Trick-or-treat" while we were trick or treating the other night, but today when he ate some M and M's, he said, "Trick-or-treat" plain as day, unprompted :) He'll be all ready for next year!
I'm going to keep adding to these throughout the day or week as they come :)

Halloween 2007

Brian's parents came to visit us right before Halloween. Robert enjoyed Jayce's kisses!


Brian's parents, Brian, and the grandkids:


Jaina thought it was freezing the night we went to the Pumpkin Patch (aka, Church parking lot!) So she bundled up in all our winter accessories that we found in the closet.


Jayce at the pumpkin patch:




The Friday before Halloween, Brian and I went to the 6th Annual Boo Bash. We won "Best Couple" for our versions of a terrorist and an afghan woman. Wearing a burqa for the evening was definitely a different experience and I have to admit I am happy to live in a country that does not require them.



Here are some pictures taken from our Halloween "Week". Thanks to my mother for loaning me her (crappy) camera!! I have half a mind to get her a new one for Christmas!!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Come cry with me...

I will be camera-less for anywhere up to 6 weeks!!!

What on earth am I going to with myself? My camera is a permanent attachment to me. If I am home, I know exactly where it is at all times. If I'm out, its with me. I don't want to miss that "perfect" picture of Jayce's rare smile or Jaina learning something new. Let me tell you, I must be getting older because my brain just doesn't work the same way it used to. I had an awesome memory in my youth (if I remember correctly!) and now, I can't remember what we did last Thursday! Thank goodness for pictures, I say. And my blog :) 'Cause then I can just go look it up!

I really shouldn't complain much. I have an awesome Canon Rebel 2000 SLR film camera that takes beautiful pictures and close-ups. It's fully automatic when I want it to be, or I can fully manipulate the f-stop and shutter speed (not that I know how, though!). It has been fun getting it out and playing with it. However, I've already shot a full roll of film, so now I need to actually drive it somewhere, drop it off, wait for the prints to be developed, scan the negatives, and put on a cd. What a pain! What a cost! And to think that I was very against having a digital camera because I thought that film photography was going to be a lost art form.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

One hand for each

It's 5:00 PM and I'm in my normal state of mad rush to get dishes washed, dinner cooked, and general tidiness in the house before we start dinner/bath/bed routines.

Of course, this is the same exact time my children need me the most out of the day!

Jaina impatiently says, "MOM! Why haven't you gotten my ice yet??"

I reply, "Just a minute, sweetie. I can only do one thing at a time!"

"But you have two hands," she reminds me.

Oh, right :)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Getting ready for Halloween!

Its almost here!!! (That's what Jaina says every morning, you know...) and then, after Halloween, its Thanksgiving, and you know what comes after Thanksgiving, right???

Her train of thought is making me feel old. I once felt exactly the way she did. Now I just think, "Aw, man! Do I really have to drag out another box of decorations again? Didn't I just decorate for Halloween?"

Perspective definitely changes as you get older!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Schoolwork/Homework



I wish I could say that Jaina just absolutely loves Kindergarten, but unfortunately, that feeling of hers only lasted the first week of school. From the second week on, things started going down hill.

It kills me that my baby doesn't like school. :( Who doesn't like Kindergarten? You get to play all day, learn numbers and letters, sing songs, have circle time, are read to often by the teacher, and make wonderful friendships.

Oh, wait... that's how Kindergarten was when *I* was in school. I keep forgetting that I'm old now! (29 next month! EEK!)

Kindergarten nowadays is what First Grade was to us back then. I think all this stuff with the "No Child Left Behind" crap has made our society think that learning things younger is somehow better? Yet if you ask a Child Developmental Psychologist, they would remind us that not only do children develop new skills at their own pace, but that there are just some things that children are not developmentally ready to learn until a certain age.

So, school for Jaina is much different than it was for me. They sit out in the hall, with no talking, before school starts at 7:40 AM. Then there is no talking while they hand in their homework folders (yep, there's homework to do every day). Then, still, no talking while they say the pledge, sing the star spangled banner, and listen to the morning announcements. Then, while still sitting in their seats, they are given busy work to complete while the teachers get ready for their day. Next comes calendar time (still, no talking!). Lunch is very early (10:45) and they only have 20 minutes to eat. Hmm... wonder why Jaina comes home with a full lunch bag some days? I feel bad for the kids that have to go through the lunch line. They get even less time to eat! Then, they do get recess after lunch. It usually involves running around the pavement since the playground equipment is wet. Because the past years, Bush has looked down on recess and physical education, the schools are not required to let the kids have much recess time until some random year down the line when they up the requirements.

Now, I guess I should be lucky that they do have art once a week, PE twice a week, Music once a week, etc. I just wonder if they have time to be kids at all for the almost 7 hours that they are there sitting at a desk, doing worksheets.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Louder Than Words

Wow.

This book couldn't have come at a more opportune time. I feel like it was written just for me. Evan, her son, is Jayce, just minus the seizures (Thank God!)

The similarities between Jenny's son and Jayce were pretty astounding.

I know... you are sitting there thinking, "Wait... doesn't Jenny McCarthy's son have Autism? How can he be like Jayce then? Jayce doesn't have Autism!"

Yeah, I'm hoping you are right. Praying that you are right. With every ounce of my being. After all, he's certainly not like the boys I worked with in college who had Autism. Jayce doesn't head bang, or spin, or rock all day in a corner. He's bright, affectionate, can make eye contact. He just has a speech delay, right?

Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), Autism is such a broad diagnosis nowadays. On one hand, it puts needless fear into the hearts of many parents who immediately start thinking that their child is going to be institutionalized later in life. After all, there is no "cure" for Autism. On the other hand, labeling a child as having an "Autism Spectrum Disorder" opens up so many doors for therapies and interventions. And it seems as though these kids need the intervention, despite being "high-functioning".

We won't know what "label" Jayce has until we get our appointment this Spring at the CARE (Center for Autism Resource and Evaluation) team in the next town over. And most likely, he will be getting a label. There are just too many red flags.

That's part of the problem, I think, when it comes to evaluating young toddlers. There are so many different characteristics that can point to Autism. You can take two children, both diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, and they would be completely different. One would be verbal, the other not; one could have excellent motor skills, the other one with an obvious delay; one child suffers from seizures, the other from chronic immune disorders; one child has sensory issues galore, the other child is oblivious to sights, sounds, and smells.

That's why I was so shocked at the similarities between Jenny's son Evan and Jayce. But she did as I did... she had an excuse, reason, or answer for all of her son's "quirks". When you dissect the behavior of child with Autism, each little thing by itself isn't so "abnormal". Some of it can just be chalked up to typical two year old stuff. Its when you start adding up all those quirks, or looking at their intensity, or looking at its frequency... then you kinda can't ignore it anymore.

Jenny mentioned that her and her husband used to predict that Evan was going to be a mechanic because he just had to know how everything worked. If I had a dime for every time me or Brian said, "Wow, Jayce is definitely going to be a computer programmer! Just look at how he loves computers! Always has to be pushing the buttons on them!"

But it wasn't just pushing buttons. It was the impulse to watch the CD-ROM drive open and close and open and close and open and close. And then there was the toe-walking and hand flapping that he did while he watched it. "He's just excited," my mom would say. His pediatrician said that it was not considered a self-stimulating behavior because it "had a purpose" (his OT has since told me that she was wrong). While Jenny referred to her son as a "Little Bird", Brian's co-worker has given our son the nickname "Chicken" because he flaps his arms and hands like a chicken.

And then there was the fact that by the age of 20 months, Jayce knew all his alphabet letters, numbers, colors, and shapes. He had such an awesome memory (well, he still does!). All you'd have to do is show him something a couple of times and he'd remember. Same with music. At age 14 months, he could sing the entire ABC song. So I guess I'm not surprised that my pediatrician was so reluctant to say he had a speech delay after seeing that! But now I know that this early memorization is called hyproxia and may mean that Jayce will be able to learn to read at a very young age. The way he looks at Jaina's sight words taped to our wall in the kitchen, it would not surprise me one bit.

Like Evan, Jayce sees the world in shapes and colors. Its how he organizes his perceptions. Its not a ceiling fan, its a circle. Its not Anthony Wiggle, its just blue. That was my first clue that something was wrong. Here was this amazingly bright toddler who knew at least 100 words, but couldn't put any of them together.

Then I realized that all he knew were nouns. And 3 verbs. Yet he couldn't put those nouns with any of those verbs. And then I realized that he was just repeating what he heard from either me or a tv show (called Echolia and also "movie talk"). He honestly had no clue what those words meant.

I've always known that Jayce's receptive language was different than Jaina's. Since I choose to nurse my children well past their first year of life, I've had to practice gentle "nightweaning" to impress upon them that nursing was just fine in the day time, but night time was not for nursing. Most children can understand this concept at age 15 months. Jaina was 19 months when we night weaned. I attempted to nightwean Jayce at least 4 times between the age of 12-24 months. We finally just fully weaned (day and night) 3 months after his second birthday. He is just NOW understanding that when it gets dark outside, people sleep.

Sometimes I wonder if I am reading into all this. Am I looking for ways for Jayce to be diagnosed with Autism? Why on earth would I do such a thing? Yet, here I find myself listing all the things that make him different from typical kids all the time. No one wants to believe that he could have Autism. And when my well-meaning friends say this very thing to me, I feel myself getting defensive and start naming off why I think Jayce is going to be diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. This is crazy?! What am I really trying to prove? That I'm right and all these people that see my child for 45 minutes at a park once a week are wrong?

And then my sanity returns (if I ever had any to begin with!) and I realize that it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. I know my child better than everyone. I see all his qualities day in and day out, good and bad. I know he needs therapy and intervention. His ST, OT, and EIC agree, but at the same time, are very positive and optimistic that he'll loose any label he's given by age 6. I'm going to hold them to that, okay?

My good friend from my AP board told me, "He's still just Jayce". I have to remind myself that every day. He's not a label. He's not a diagnosis or a disorder. He's my baby and he's as perfect as he can be. I'm just getting him a little extra help for him to glide through life a little easier.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Our Week, At a Glance...

On Saturday, I cleaned the playroom and moved the Little Tykes Slide inside. Woo hoo. Exciting stuff, heh?


Last Sunday, we all went to the International Festival downtown. They had music, food, games, a clown, face painting, you name it. But I loved the fact that each country had a tent that you could go and visit. Jaina had to stop and get a bindi from the beautiful ladies of India. Then we bought hand made mermaid dolls at the Chinese tent. Jayce had to have one, too :) He calls her "dollie" and sleeps with her and gives her kisses. The kids also had fun coloring pictures at the Denmark table.






Jaina is officially a Daisy Girl Scout :) She has earned the "center" and two petals to be put on her pinafore. We went with her troop to the fire station to learn about Fire Safety.




Jayce's newest obsession.... its like a Mr. Potato head, except its Elmo and it talks when you stick the objects in. He got it for Christmas last year and just now decided it was worthy of his attention. Now he gives it TOO much attention!



Then on Thursday, Jayce and I went to the park to meet our AP friends :)



I went to a local consignment sale this week and scored some good stuff! I got a Kelty Kids metal frame backpack carrier for $35!!! The receipt attached said it was bought in 2003 for $145 from a hiking store in G'ville. Jayce has already broken it in around the neighborhood. I also got Jaina a few cute outfits. And they each got a toy. Jaina picked a bag of motorcycles and Jayce got a Little People garage.




This morning, I took Jayce to an inflatable playplace in our town. He did not like it, and stayed by the door for the 45 minutes we were there. If it wasn't so darn expensive ($8.50 each visit!), I would go every week until he got used to it. The place is toddler heaven... ball pit, noodle pit, inflatable slide, arts and crafts, tricycles, plastic animals to play with. We went with MOMS Club today and got a special price, so it wasn't too much of a waste.

So much to say, so little time!