Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Desperately seeking Skarloey

I’ve blogged before about how we keep a box of trains in the attic and just a few out at a time to play with, and Bitty will often come around asking for specific ones he wants me to bring down. Every now and then when there are too many out, I take a bunch of them up and we start over. We finally brought the whole box down a few days ago and put it into a closet because I got tired of climbing up to the attic on search & rescue missions several times a day. Anyway, a few weeks ago, he wanted me to bring Skarloey down.

I searched and searched for Skarloey but couldn’t find him. I brought down one of Skarloey’s friends, Rheneas, instead and told him Skarloey was “all gone.” He wasn’t happy about it but he moved on. Sort of.

He keeps asking me for Skarloey. And I keep telling him I don’t know what happened to Skarloey. He’s all gone. And now Bitty seems to have gone into a sort of mourning. He comes up to me several times a day to tell me, “Skah-wowee aww gone,” and I confirm that yes, Skarloey is still all gone.

I remind him that he has Rheneas, Stepney, and Sir Handel and can play with them (they are all fellow narrow gauge engines who are friends with Skarloey, and yes, I should probably be embarrassed that I am so familiar with the Thomas characters but what can I say?). I know he likes to set up scenes from Thomas books and videos with his toys and I’m sure there’s one with Skarloey that he wants to do and can’t, and it’s probably driving him nuts. About as nuts as he’s driving me with the constant proclamations of “Skah-wowee aww gone.”

I have looked everywhere I can think to look. Eventually we’re going to have to just buy another one, maybe for Christmas if we can last that long (ha!). It’s not that I mind buying one, but my goodness we have sooo many trains. Our family has been slowly collecting Thomas trains (the little metal ones) for about 6 years now. And chances are, as soon as we buy one, the original Skarloey will turn up somewhere...

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SEW & WW: Hug


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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Try this Tuesday: Deep pressure

I'm opening this one up for suggestions / input.

My boys like deep pressure and muscular resistance, Bearhug and Little Bitty in particular. Especially Bearhug. To be more accurate, Bearhug not only likes deep pressure, sometimes it's a necessity in the same sense that oxygen and water are needs.

A recent example:

Bearhug and I were sitting on the couch together. I had told him a few minutes before that it was almost time for bed, and that it was time to settle down (he and Cuddlebug had been running around in circles and screeching loudly). Cuddlebug had gone upstairs to get ready for bed, while Bearhug joined me on the couch for a few minutes of tv before bed.

After a few minutes of silence, he told me, "Mama, my brain is angry." He sounded perfectly calm and not angry at all, but I know better than be misled by his tone of voice. If he says he's angry, he feels angry. However, enough time had passed that I didn't immediately know why he was upset.

"Why are you angry?"

"My brain is filled with anger. There's no room for anything else."

"Maybe you should think of something that makes you happy, and let that push out the angry."

"I can't do that."

"Why not?"

"Because if I get rid of the angry, my brain will be empty."

"Couldn't you fill it up with happy?"

"No, that won't work."


I tried again a few times, rewording my suggestion and giving him ideas of some things he likes that might help him focus on something "happy" and forget about the "angry." Each time I got the same response. Then he told me I was making him more angry, so I decided to back off for a few minutes.

Then I had a thought. "Are you upset because I told you it was almost bedtime?"

"Not just that."

"Is it because I told you guys it was time to settle down?"

"Yes. I don't want to settle down."

"Sorry, honey, but it's time to settle down for bedtime."


I backed off again. After a few minutes, he jumped up, laid face-down on the couch and said, "put all da pillows on me, Mama."

I stacked the pillows from the couch on top of his back and legs.

"Put da other pillows on me, too."

So I started piling up the couch cushions on top of the pillows, knowing he was trying to get some deep pressure and that unlike his younger years, one cushion was no longer enough.

With about 4 feet of pillows and cushions on top of him, he asked me, "Is that all dem?" It was, but it still wasn't enough.

So I gently leaned onto the top of the cushions to add a little more pressure, being careful not to press too hard. Then I stood back up. He was quiet, and seemed a little more relaxed.

After a few moments, he slowly pushed himself up, relishing the resistance from the stack of pillows as he did. He gave me one of his signature oxygen-defying bearhugs (hence the nickname) and then trotted off to bed, clearly no longer plagued by an anger-filled brain.

As I put the cushions and pillows back in place on the couch, I felt a mixture of gratitude for his ability to instinctively figure out what he needs when his system is "off" and a little worry about the increasing levels of resistance and pressure that he seems to need at times.

I have to say, it's gotten better in that he can express what he's feeling now. When he was younger, I finally figured out that he was finding ways to get into trouble on purpose so I'd put him in time out. He and Cuddlebug never stayed in time out without me having to sit them on my lap and hold them there, which gave Bearhug the perfect opportunity to spend his time-out trying to get off of my lap to get "resistance." If I didn't try to hold him on my lap (trying to redirect and avoid the wrestling match), he'd keep escalating his misbehavior until I did. Thankfully now he can find less confrontational methods and can ask me directly if he needs help.

So that's my question - any suggestions on how to help him get the resistance and pressure he needs sometimes? I'm fine with doing some "pillow" therapy or "Bearhug sandwiches" to help, but I worry that he could get hurt with some of his other methods like crashing into things as he gets bigger. Maybe some exercises like push-ups or something?

Same question with Bitty although obviously he's not as big yet (and thankfully he's good with tight-squeeze hugs and no longer feels a need to head-butt me all the time!).

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Quote of the day

Yesterday dh told Cuddlebug and Bearhug, "when I'm old, you can put my shoes on for me" (not sure what the context of that was, I missed the first part of that conversation).

Bearhug responded, "that's ok, Dada, but you're going to have to get strap shoes."

LOL, maybe it's time to teach the boys to tie shoes... we haven't really needed to since they wear shoes with velcro straps.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Autism at church: Part 1

I started to write a post about some of the challenges we've been having at church for the last few months when I realized I needed to share some background and it was taking a while to get to my story. So I decided to split it into separate posts.


Going out in public in general is challenging when you have kids on the spectrum. Going to church is all the more challenging. Why? Because at church, people (including children) are expected to be reverent. From an outward perspective, that is typically interpreted to mean sitting still and being quiet (although there's obviously more to it from a spiritual perspective). I know all kids have difficulty with that. No one is shocked to see kids fidgeting in their chairs or whispering to the person next to them, maybe even (gasp!) talking.

However, behaviors such as running up and down hallways or around the chapel or classrooms, screeching and laughing hysterically, flipping lights on and off repeatedly, opening and closing doors over and over, climbing on top of pews (you know, because you can make a cool tunnel with your hands on the one in front of you and your feet on the one behind you), hiding under tables, crawling in and out of the "holes" in folding chairs, removing clothing, and rolling around on the floor are generally frowned upon. And that's before we even get to meltdowns. Wrestling with your screaming child in the foyer to keep him from running out into the parking lot, or having him disturb Sunday School with screams that can be heard for blocks? Also frowned upon. Even more so as they get older.

It wasn't a big deal when our twins were babies / toddlers - lots of families with kids the same age joined us in the foyer. But over time, those families managed to stay in the chapel with their kids and new families with younger children joined us. More time passed, and those families went back into the chapel and new families with even younger children joined us. Instead of the "I feel your pain" smiles we started to get the "aren't your boys a little old to be out here?" looks. And rather than join us they started to keep their distance, perhaps not wanting their kids to be unduly subjected to the influence of kids who were so much older and still needed to be taken out to the foyer. No problem, because before long we couldn't stay in the foyer anyway. We had to go outside or find a room to hide out in to avoid causing too much of a disruption.

I should interject here, my kids are good kids. We get frequent compliments from people who know them (and have seen them in their comfort zone) about how polite, kind, and well-behaved they are. But putting a child who simultaneously avoids auditory and visual overstimulation while craving tactile and proprioceptive input (translation: does NOT like crowds, loud noise, bright lights, and LOVES movement, spinning, deep pressure) into an environment with crowds, organ music, microphone squeals, and singing, where one is expected to sit still is a recipe for major overstimulation and potential disaster. It's not an excuse, and knowing that certainly didn't mean we stopped trying (quite the opposite), but we found that in the interest of maintaining some shred of sanity (ha!) we had to adjust our expectations a bit and just accept that it was going to take longer for our kids to reach a point of being able to handle being in church and learn appropriate behavior than it would for their neurotypical peers.

It's been tough but we kept at it because it's important. It's important because we want our boys to come to know and love their Heavenly Father, and to feel His love for them. It's important because that is where God wants us to be - to gain knowledge, to develop our relationship with Him, and to be spiritually uplifted.

To be honest, more often than not over the last several years I have felt more exhausted than uplifted by the time we left church every Sunday. On those days, I am often reminded of Ecclesiastes 3:1, "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." I knew our persistence would eventually pay off, and until then we'd just have to do our best.

At this point Cuddlebug and Bearhug do really well at church for the most part. Every now and then they still need a "break" but those are few and far between now. I no longer have to keep an eye on the door of their classrooms for fear they'll go bolting out of the room (can't tell ya how many times they did that, and my biggest fear was they'd end up in the parking lot before anyone could catch them). They have come a long, looooong way.

Ever since Bitty was about 2 yrs old though, it's been "here we go again," even more so since January when he "graduated" from nursery and started going to Primary (Sunday school) with the "big kids." More on that in the next post...


Related posts:
Autism at church part 2: Bitty wears. me. out.
HE DID IT!!!!! (Autism at church, part 3)
Monday Mumbers #1 (a typical day at church, by the numbers)

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bitty's latest phrase

"how coo' mie?"

The first time he said it I thought, surely he didn't just say...

"Did you just say, "how cool am I?"

He grinned with a happy dance that confirmed that was exactly what he said and repeated, "how coo' mie, 'Bitty'?"

LOL, "you're pretty cool, 'Bitty'"

I'm not sure where he heard it, it's not a phrase his brothers really say. I'm not sure if he really knows what it means either, but it's really cute whether he does or not. And now he says it all the time!

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009


This is from May, I wrote it and apparently forgot to post (oops).

"Mine!" is a word heard often among young children. I'm not sure at what age it typically starts, but in our family, 4 seems to be when it originates. That was the point at which we first heard Cuddlebug and Bearhug say "mine" and recently Little Bitty said it for the first time too.

We were at a church event and Cuddlebug and Bearhug were looking at one of Bitty's books. Little Bitty was unimpressed, and came out with one of his clearest sentences yet:

"Mine! Dass MY book!" he yelled.

He clamored across my lap in an attempt to yank it from Cuddlebug's hands.
"Dass MY book! Dass MY book!"

Cuddlebug seemed oblivious, so I nudged him and asked him to please give Bitty the book. He was about to protest when I handed him a different book. The trade was accepted, the original book returned to Bitty, and the escalating scene was diffused. Whew!

This was in the middle of an otherwise quiet moment. Perhaps it might have sounded rude to the other people there, and I worked quickly to diffuse the situation, but I couldn't help feeling excited for his reaching this developmental milestone.

Good for you, Bitty. That IS your book, and I'm proud of you for recognizing that fact and for not being afraid to say so. I'm grateful that you used your words (albeit loudly) to say what you wanted, rather than just jumping across my lap, smacking your brother, and yanking the book from him.

I was equally proud of Cuddlebug's reaction. No screams of indignation. No squeals of "but I had it first!" He accepted the trade peacefully enough, and he moved on.

Meanwhile, Bearhug was pacing vigorously in the back of the room. When that no longer helped, he laid down on the floor and started rolling around. I knew it was overstimulation and not misbehavior, so I didn't intervene. He was in the back of the room where he wasn't distracting anyone unless they happened to turn around. I was proud of him too, for finding a quiet outlet for his overstimulation and actually staying in the room with the rest of us.

Luckily, it was a fairly short event :).

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SEW & WW: Playing with leaves


Monday, July 13, 2009

Magic Marker Monday: Exploring professions

Here's another comic book that Bearhug wrote a couple of months ago. When I first read the cover, I cringed a little at the title, "The man who couldn't get a job." Not being able to find a job is no laughing matter in any time, but especially in these economic times. But as I flipped the page and started reading, I was cracking up laughing. Bearhug's main character actually has no problem whatsoever in finding a job, and actually he is able to get hired into a whole range of professions from doctor to teacher to stand-up comedian. His challenge is in keeping any of these jobs... read on to see why:

I love the copyright note he put at the top :).

This man can't get a job. Here are the jobs he tried.

1. Football (don't ask me about the pee / poop thing... Captain Underpants is definitely an influence there, and I'm guessing it just goes with the territory of being an 8-yr-old boy) Anyway, as you can see from his jersey, our protagonist is on the "pee" team, which based on the scoreboard is losing pretty badly. Might have something to do with the fact that our guy is kicking field goals in the wrong direction... ("his goal" to the left, the ball headed to the right)

2. Deliveryman pretty self-explanatory, hehe

3. Computing
"I won't drop this one, sir."
"Hey! You said you wouldn't drop it! that's the 50th computer you dropped!"

4. School this is apparently not someone we'd want teaching in school, lol.

5. Hat maker Those are underwear coming across the conveyer belt, they're supposed to be hats...

6. Boat driver I love the oblivious smile as he's crashing into a rock, lol. I feel bad for his passengers :/

7. Gardener I'm pretty sure Cocoa Puffs won't grow even if you plant them...

8. Actor
"What happened when I walked? I kept walking"

Our guy's comedy routine is apparently not well-received.

9. Stapler I wasn't aware that being a stapler was an actual job, but you can see the results when our guy tries his hand at it...

10. Doctor
"Eat 5 cheeseburgers every day"

ROFL, I'm sure a lot of people might like to have a doctor who told them that, but following that advice could be hazardous to your health!

11. Scientist the formula there shows how to mix two beakers to make ice cream, but based on the "ka-boom" I'm guessing he didn't quite follow the instructions.

12. Pizza place hmm... more pee and poop references (eww!), I definitely would NOT want to visit that pizza place. I think the customer's face says it all...

Looks like this man can't get a job. The end.

Books by Bearhug
The Man Who Couldn't Get a Job & the series of Sulu the Bionic Hamster
(I'll have to scan & post some of those later, it's a series of 8 comics)

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Our story part 14: Bitty in pre-pre-K


Bitty's progress between age 2 and 3 was slow but he did make gains during that time. By age 3 he still wasn't talking very much, but he was more and more engaged, less in his own little world. It was slowly getting easier (not necessarily easy, but easier) to get him to interact. With therapy he had good days where he participated and not so good days where he resisted any kind of participation. As his third birthday approached, we had transition meetings and evaluations to set up his move from Early Intervention to the school system's program for children with special needs.

He started the 5x/week class the Monday after his third birthday, at the same preschool his brothers attended when they were 3-4. The school has preschool classes only, with special needs preschool, headstart, and regular ed pre-K programs all housed there. The elementary school that Cuddlebug and Bearhug go to is right down the street from there, so it works out well from a logistics standpoint for drop-offs / pick-ups. :)

While Little Bitty liked being at school, the separation part in the morning was really, really hard on him (and us, mostly dh since he dropped him off most days). His teacher assured us that he usually calmed down within a few minutes of arriving in class (which was and still is typically the case when we drop him off anywhere, not just school). He was always in a good mood in the afternoon when we picked him up, and he made good progress in his first couple of months of school.

Then it was time for summer break, and we were concerned about interrupting his progress but he didn't qualify for ESY. We continued to work with him at home, and put him back into private speech therapy over the summer. We tried putting him in a gymnastics class, but that didn't go so well. He had zero interest in following anything the class was doing, and just wanted to run around the room climbing and bouncing. Needless to say, that didn't last long.

Aside from that, he did pretty well over the summer, and when he started back to school in the fall (still age 3), it was clear he'd made a lot of progress even just over the summer. He was starting to wave hi / bye. He held his palm facing himself and moved his hand from side to side, it almost looked more like he was waving to himself but it was really cute :). After a couple of weeks to readjust to the school schedule, his mornings slowly started to go a little more smoothly too.

He spent another year in a 5x/week self-contained special needs class (most if not all of the other kids also had autism). This last school year has been one of a lot of progress for Bitty. He's slowly started to talk more, to interact more, and to have less meltdowns. We experimented with PECS schedules and some other things to help him adapt some of his school progress to home. He (slightly) expanded his very small repertoire of what he was willing to eat. He worked on coloring and other artistic endeavors, and even learned to write his name with help. He started learning to get creative in getting his point across, an ability that continues to be extremely helpful to all of our sanity and well-being :). As the school year progressed, he had opportunities to spend a little time with NT peers, first during recess and then slowly adding things like computer lab and some other activities.

He doesn't interact much with other kids yet. He does with his brothers sometimes, and I think he did in school when it was a structured activity, but when neighborhood kids are around and at church, he kind of does his own thing and doesn't seem particularly interested (even with structured activities). Hopefully that will be an area of progress for the upcoming year :).

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Just a few random pictures



Little Bitty

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SOOC Saturday

Today's SOOC Saturday post is over at my photography blog. Go check it out and let me know what you think. And hurry back :)

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Technical difficulties... fixed (I think)

My blog has been having technical difficulties off and on for the past few days. I've tried a number of fixes and it seems to be resolved now.

If you have trouble accessing the blog, please email me at 3runningincircles [at] gmail [dot] com and I'll see what else I can do to fix it. Thanks!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

SEW & WW: Visitors

We've had some interesting visitors this spring / summer, including the frog a while back, and then a few weeks ago we found this guy in our garage, making himself at home on one of the boys' bikes:

And about a week ago, Bambi wandered out of the forest behind our house (it's protected land, and sometimes the deer wander out to see what they can find to snack on. A neighbor around the corner has a vegetable garden and we've seen deer foraging around there at night several times). I couldn't get too close without scaring him off, but I did manage to get a couple of pictures of him (and these are cropped so you can see him better).

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Triangle mystery - solved

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Bitty's quest for an unknown "twigul" (triangle). He first asked for "dwaw twigul" and then "twigul on da wadder" (triangle on the ladder, in other words, in the attic) but I was at a loss as to what he was actually looking for.

About a week after that, I stumbled onto the answer. I was helping look for the trailer that goes with one of his train toys (that was an easier request to understand - he just showed me the train and I could tell immediately that the trailer part was missing). I was taking toys out of the toy box so I could search at the bottom for the trailer piece and one of the toys I pulled out was a mini-magnadoodle that he hasn't played with in a while. As soon as he saw it, he smiled and said, "dwaw twigul."

I looked at him and the magnadoodle and it made sense. "Is this what you were looking for the other day?" I asked.

"Dwaw twigul!"

I drew him a triangle, which he promptly erased and started drawing other shapes. I kept digging around in the toy box until I found the trailer and we took both of our finds downstairs.

He was so excited to find the magnadoodle, I decided to take some video of him playing with it. He drew squares and a circle (no triangle, he has a hard time with diagonal lines), and even a letter H, complete with a play by play, "start here, make a line to here..."

Whenever he wants to draw something that he's not quite sure how to draw, he'll hand it to me and say, "Mama do." Sometimes I'll hand it back and say, "'Bitty' do," but he can be persistent, and usually ends up physically putting my hand on the little pen to make his point. "Mama do."

He's been having fun with the magnadoodle ever since, he even asks me to draw "cwooz" (clues) from Blues Clues. It took me forever to figure out one of them - he asked me to draw a ticket, a "koontz," and a wand. I could do the ticket and the wand but had no idea what the "koontz" was all about. Finally one day he pointed to the window. "Wih-dow... koontz" Oooohh. Curtains. I drew him a window with curtains and he was so excited that I finally got it :). Then I realized what the clues are - a magic show. I guess that also explains his "hokey pokey" in the video (hocus pocus). Too cute!

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Mondays in Motion #17: Bike farewell

Mondays in Motion!

Bearhug and Cuddlebug were out riding their bikes when I told them we'd be heading to the toy store soon to look for new bikes, because they were getting too big for the old ones (we bought them when they were five, and even though they've just recently started riding them, they've grown a lot since then!). They had become rather attached to their bikes, so while they were excited about getting new ones, they were also a little sad about saying goodbye to their old ones. Although, technically we didn't say goodbye to them, they're still in the garage for when Bitty gets old enough to ride them (we'll have to put the training wheels back on).

They started talking to their bikes about how much they would miss them, and since I was already taking video of them riding, I asked if they'd like to make a video about their bikes. Here it is:

It's your turn to share a video! If you don't make it today, feel free to join in anytime during the week. :)

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

SOOC Satur... uh, Sunday :)

We had a neighborhood get-together tonight for the 4th of July, including fireworks. We do that for most holidays (New Year's, Memorial Day, etc.) and everyone brings food to share (we usually bring desserts and today dh also made salsa to bring, yum!). It seems like every time there are more and more people who come, and there was a pretty big group for today's festivities, which was nice to see.

Cuddlebug and Bearhug even joined in - they played with sparklers (after some initial trepidation) and watched part of the fireworks. They ended up deciding to watch from inside the house due to the noise, but they had a good time. Bitty was happy to join the fun before the fireworks, when we were just walking up and down the street (keeping an eye on his brothers as they rode their bikes). He wanted no part of the sparklers though, and was even less excited about the noisy fireworks so he went inside when those got started. He was tired though, so once he fell asleep he slept through the rest of the fireworks with no problem (yay!).

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Freedom is not free


We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.


We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

~ Excerpt from the United States Declaration of Independence

As we celebrate our nation's Independence Day, please take a moment to remember the brave souls who fought (and many died) to establish a nation founded on liberty, as well as the sacrifices of patriots through the years since that time to defend and protect our liberty. May all of us as Americans today "mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor" and do our part to preserve liberty for the generations to come.

Happy 4th of July!

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Friday, July 3, 2009


Last week I was getting Bitty dressed, and since he was sitting on the bed I put his shirt on first since that was easiest / most accessible. Then I had him stand up and take off his pull-up so I could put on his underwear, shorts, and socks. Before I could get his socks on, he stripped down and looked at me with a mischievous laugh. I knew right away what the problem was, I had wondered as I dressed him if he'd let me get away with it.

Apparently not. I did it wrong. In the wrong order, that is.

Underwear goes first. Then shirt, then shorts, and then socks.

I started over, in the right order, and that time he kept his clothes on :).


Last night, Bitty came up to me and said "foh an' five." I repeated it back absentmindedly, since I was in the middle of a conversation with dh. "four and five."

He said it again, a little more urgently this time. I didn't know what he meant.

He stopped to think for a moment, apparently reconsidering his strategy although I didn't really take notice at the time since I was still talking to dh.

Bitty grabbed my hand, said, "pull!" and started trying to pull me up. I was still in the middle of a conversation, so I resisted. He was not easily deterred. If pulling wouldn't work, he'd try pushing. He got up on the couch behind me and started trying to push me off the couch.

At that point, I admit I got a little exasperated. "What do you want, 'Bitty'?"

I didn't realize he'd already told me and I missed it. And he's been doing so good lately with requests that I was confused as to why he was resorting to the "brute force" method of asking me for help (on the bright side - he wasn't pulling my hair!).

Have I mentioned he's a persistent guy? I got up and let him take my hand. "Ok, show me what you want." He pulled me up the stairs and into my darkened bedroom. I flipped on the light switch, wondering what he could possibly want in my room and at the same time relieved that he didn't want me to climb up into the attic yet again.

He did his little happy-dance as he pointed under the bed and repeated, "foh an' five."

Lightbulb moment. It was obvious that he needed help getting something out from under my bed, and as soon as he said "foh an' five" I knew what it must be. Sure enough, I looked under and found two coal tenders, one belonging to Gordon (#4) and one belonging to James (#5).

It took a little effort but I was able to retrieve the coal cars and he was a happy camper. I felt bad about my earlier frustration and thinking he hadn't tried to tell me what he wanted before pulling and pushing me around, when in fact he HAD tried and I hadn't caught it.

At the same time, I found myself yet again admiring his tenacity in trying to communicate. He used to show no interest in trying to communicate. Now, he gets creative when he needs to, he gets a little forceful when he needs to, but he does what he can to try and overcome his communication difficulties and my sometimes-lacking detective skills so he can get his point across.


We had some dinnertime battles this week. Most notable was the one where we drew the line and insisted that Bitty at least try the pot roast that dh had made. He wanted "sih-mun" (cinnamon toast crunch). I had already made him a small plate with some meat, potatoes, and carrots, all cut into small bites for him. He took one look at his plate and pushed it away. "Sih-mun"

I know full well that if we push too hard we're likely to end up with a plateful of food on the floor (because he'll feel the need to make his point more adamantly to make sure we understand him)so I tried to be diplomatic.

"You can have some cinnamon after you eat some of your roast."

"No woste. Sih-mun"

"No cinnamon until you at least try some of your roast." I offered him a bite, which he pushed away as if I'd offered him a forkful of worms.

I know he has issues with certain textures, but based on things he has eaten before I knew he could handle what I'd given him. He likes potatoes (sometimes at least) and he likes chicken, and the roast texture doesn't seem to be all that different from chicken.

He started crying because he was hungry but didn't want his dinner. Not wanting to give in on the cereal (which would just reinforce him holding out in the future), we offered him a compromise alternative - chicken nuggets. Luckily he was ok with that.

Meanwhile, Cuddlebug & Bearhug tried gravy for the first time w/ their roast and they loved it! They were skeptical of the potatoes and carrots but they at least tried them. That's pretty huge, they are getting to a point where they'll at least try something new (and if they try it and don't like it, we don't push them to eat any more of it). There was a time they would have thrown a fit like Bitty did.

Oddly enough, the next day when I was eating leftovers, Bitty decided the roast didn't look so bad after all and wanted to try some of mine. I was more than happy to share with him, and he ate over half of my roast :). He even tried a bite of potato and you should have seen his face - all scrunched up like it was awful but he didn't spit it out, he actually ate it (another shocker!). I couldn't get him to try any carrots - maybe next time :).

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sweet sixteen

Time flies... dh and I celebrated our 16th anniversary last month. With all the birthday excitement and everything else, we almost forgot (but we didn't!).

Here's a slideshow I made for our anniversary last year, for any new readers who may not have seen it. Maybe for our 20th I'll make a new one :).

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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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