Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Try This Tuesday: Finding things


Do any of your kids (esp those with autism) have difficulty finding things they are looking for?

Mine do. I suspect it may be sensory-related, but I don't know for sure. They are very observant about noticing details and things like that, but when they need to isolate and pick out one thing to search for, they really have a hard time. There are so many times they look and look for something, and when I go to help them I practically trip over whatever it was they were looking for (literally sometimes - I found one toy lying on the floor in their doorway, after they'd been searching for several minutes and had apparently stepped over it several times during the search, and it was an average-size toy, not too small). I can give them suggestions for where to look, and I think they do, but somehow they are still prone to miss whatever it was they are looking for.

Case in point - it's been a while since we played hide and seek, but I typically have to hide in pretty obvious places or I will be MIA for a while, waiting for them to find me. One time I actually "hid" on my bed, on top of the blanket, but with a pillow over my face. They came into my room and looked around and I was sure I was caught, but somehow they didn't spot me.

This can make for some frustrating times when they lose things. Especially small things, like DS games. Granted, those games are small, about 1 inch square, so it would be hard for anyone to find a lost one.

This weekend we had just such a search. Cuddlebug nervously admitted that one of his games was missing (we have stressed many, many times that they need to put the games back into their DS bag every time so they don't get lost - those games aren't cheap!). If they lose one, they are grounded from playing any others until they find it (or a reasonable time, if it is not to be found but thankfully only one has ever been truly lost).

I suggested he look in their "treasure box" because that is where I found the last missing item. He told me it wasn't there but he went and searched all over his room and his little brother's room. He came back to report he couldn't find it. I gave him some more suggestions and asked again if he'd checked the treasure box. He went back and looked again, but returned saying it wasn't there. After a couple more return trips (I try to give him a chance to find it on his own first) I offered to help him look. Within about 5 minutes I had found it - in one of the game cases, in the treasure box.

He was so relieved that he gave me five hugs, followed by a "mega hug." That's new, and I wasn't quite prepared for it. He actually jumped up and wrapped his arms and legs around me. I managed to catch him and keep him from falling, but barely. He's a big kid! It reminded me of when he and Bearhug used to climb up on the kitchen counters only to leap off when we walked by. I was always afraid I might not catch them, but I always did (thank goodness). They never doubted that I would (well, that and they were and still are pretty oblivious to any sense of danger). But they were only 2 back then - he's obviously a lot bigger now!

He was so excited that he even added a "bonus hug" (sounds a lot like bonus points from his games, lol). What a sweetie!

So back to my original question - I don't mind helping him and Bearhug find things, but I won't always be there when something gets lost. How do I help teach them better searching skills?

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Magic Marker Monday: Badges of honor

A family that lives a few houses down the street from us has a bike ramp that the neighborhood kids like to ride over. Cuddlebug really, really wanted to ride over that ramp too, but he was nervous about it. A few times, he tried only to swerve and avoid the ramp just before he got to it.

He was so proud of himself (rightfully so!) when he worked up the nerve to actually go over the ramp. He did it a few more times and then immediately came home to make himself these two badges:

The one on the left says, "I can't believe I went over the ramp 5 times!" and the other one says, "I ran on the ramp 5 times!"

I was really proud of him too. Knowing what a big deal it was for him, I offered to walk down and take his picture going over the ramp. With a big grin, he said yes, so off we went:

Later when he came home, he taped his badges onto his shirt :).

This was last month. Since then he's been over the ramp dozens of times if not more, and it's not a big deal for him anymore. But his badges serve as a reminder that conquering one's fears IS a big deal, worthy of being acknowledged :).

For more Magic Marker Monday, visit 5 Minutes for Special Needs.

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

A day in the life

It's long overdue, but in response to K's idea to do "day in the life" posts, here is mine. Brace yourselves for some intrigue and excitement (haha). :)

This is from last Saturday, June 20 (the one day I managed to take pics throughout the day after many attempts - it's harder to keep up all day than I thought it would be!)

The day started off as most Saturdays do, with Bitty waking me up. He and I are usually the first ones up in the morning. Saturdays I try to sleep in but he typically has other plans. He's gotten so nice about asking for things though, that I can't help but want to get up when he asks me to.

For example, he used to climb into bed next to me and then try to physically shove me over the edge of the bed when he wanted something, followed by pulling my hair and poking my eyes if that didn't work. Resistance was futile, haha.

Now, after well over a year of working with him on using the phrase, "I want ____ (fill in the blank)," he does pretty good with that. At least he does when he's not tired and cranky, and he's usually in a good mood when he wakes up.

So that morning he greeted me with a very deliberate, "I... wah... chwokka-miwk" (chocolate milk). I opened my eyes just slightly and saw him grinning at me expectantly. I smiled back. "What do you say?" I asked gently, trying to wake myself up. He bounced up and down as he answered, "chwokka-miwk... PWEEZ!" Once he got the "I want" part down we figured it was time to teach him to say "please." He does pretty good with that too now, but usually needs the prompt.

I got up to get him a sippy cup of chocolate milk, and stayed up after that.

He and I enjoyed some quiet time together, me half-dozing next to him on the couch as he drank his milk and played with his "letters" toy.

He pulled out some trains to play with.

Cuddlebug came downstairs and joined him.

But before long, Cuddlebug decided it was time to "get some exercise." Cuddlebug has the most boundless energy of any human being I've ever known (and that's saying something, considering his brothers are quite energetic too!).

Bitty joined him and I snapped this picture as he paused in front of the window. I love the soft light around his face coming through the blinds / curtains.

Orion stalks us wherever we go. Seeing him reminded me that I needed to call the vet to schedule his checkup / shots. I wonder if he would still follow me around if he knew that?

A while later, Bearhug woke up and came downstairs.

I decided it was time to go get ready for the day (I did mention it was Saturday, right? that's my excuse for the lazy morning)

Bitty followed me into the bathroom and helped himself to dh's toothbrush (hehe). Just ignore all the fingerprint smudges on the mirror... Bitty likes to play in the water and generally makes a mess pretty much every morning while I'm getting ready for work.

I went back downstairs, picked up a bit, and then relaxed on the couch with my laptop to catch up on some blogging.

Bitty came to me with his mysterious request for the "twigul on da wadder." He pulled me upstairs to the attic to look for it.

I searched but couldn't figure out what he was talking about. I brought down a train for him in hopes that would make up for my failure to find what he was looking for. He was rather unimpressed but he let it go (yay!)

Soon after that I started to feel a migraine coming on. I went through the usual internal struggle of whether to take my medicine right away or wait it out (in hopes that it might not turn out to be a full-blown migraine or might go away on its own). The medicine works great, but it's also expensive (and can make me pretty tired), so I try to only take it when I really need it. I decided I wasn't in the mood to take chances and opted to go ahead and take the medicine.

It knocked me out and I ended up sleeping for most of the day.

~~ ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ~~

(I told you it was an exciting day, lol)

Fast forward to late afternoon / early evening.

When I woke up, dh and the boys were busy playing Lego Star Wars on the Wii. They've been having a blast with that game!

When I went in to check on Bitty, I found this. The entire floor covered in cracker crumbs (those used to be "whale" crackers). Ugh.

He's done this several times since then, apparently it's his latest sensory thing. He crushes the cracker with his fingertips and then grinds the broken pieces into crumbs and spreads them all over the floor. I can see him feeling the texture of the cracker crumbs as he pulverizes them and lets the crumbs fall through his fingers. Nice pastime, huh? And he wonders why I don't like giving him a bowl of crackers anymore (sigh).

Anyway, I cleaned up the larger pieces by hand and then pulled out the vacuum cleaner for the rest.

The boys and I decided to take dh out for dinner to celebrate Father's Day (one day early). With Bitty, we are pretty limited in our restaurant choices so we opted for Five Guys. It's one of the few places we can actually go inside to eat rather than eat in the car, and he usually does pretty good in there.

Dh thought it a little odd that I was taking a picture as we pulled into the parking space outside Five Guys. He found it odder still when I explained that I planned to blog about our day, lol.

Here's Bitty getting out of the car with his trains (which he takes pretty much everywhere) stashed in his shirt.

Cuddlebug and Bearhug prefer to sit at the tables w/ the tall chairs, so we let them pick their own table.

We sat nearby with Bitty, who played with his trains while we waited for our food.

As far as Bitty is concerned, ketchup is a food group (and an important one at that). Dh and I continued to offer him pieces of hamburger and fries to eat with his ketchup.

When we got home, it was dark. Bearhug and Cuddlebug spent a few minutes relaxing in the garage (aka the "man cave" as I call it since dh kicked my car out and transformed it into a guy-friendly hangout). I have to admit he did a good job though, it is a nice hangout :).

Feeling generous, I offered to let them stay up a little late and play Wii...

...but they started fighting so that didn't last long. And then it was bedtime.

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SOOC Saturday: Gratuitous cuteness

Just some random SOOC pics taken of Bitty at Sonic a couple of weeks ago, on a quest for ice cream. Cuddlebug & Bearhug wanted to eat their ice cream outside (not a bad idea to avoid risk of spillage in the car) so we let them sit at a table right in front of the car where we could see them. They had fun but it was hard to get pictures of them. :/

Just ignore all the fingerprint smudges on the mirror (sigh).

Of all things, Little Bitty loves the cherries they put on top of the milkshakes.

For more SOOC Saturday, visit Slurping Life.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Shop til you drop


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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

To my dad, who has always encouraged me and believed in me, and is an awesome grandpa to my boys - I love you!

My dad with me and my baby brother

Me and my dad, circa 1991

This picture reminds me of a cute poem I once saw,
"Twins are for grandpas if you please... that's why grandpas have two knees" hehe

Baby Bitty with his Grandpa

Storytime (a Thomas story - what else?)

And to my husband - aside from being a great husband, I couldn't ask for a better father for our boys. I love you :).

New daddy with his twin babies, taken in the NICU

Sleep-deprived daddy with tiny Baby Cuddlebug

Bearhug with his Dada

Swinging Little Bitty

With the birthday boys on their 3rd birthday

Like father, like son (Bitty). I love this one :)

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About Me

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I'm a mom of three boys on the autism spectrum, 11-yr-old identical twins and a 7-yr-old. My husband is a SAHD.


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