Sunday, February 28, 2010

Practicing for the big day (a first!)


Every year, as Bitty's birthday gets closer, we start talking about it but he has always remained oblivious to the whole concept. Last year's birthday marked the first time he showed an interest in opening his presents (once he realized there were trains inside of some of them!) :).

Recently, we started making comments about his upcoming birthday, expecting the usual non-reaction, but for the first time it seems to have clicked. He got excited when one of his parapros made a little picture for him of a birthday cake with candles, and the words, "Happy Birthday 'Bitty'" written on the cake (something she did trying to keep him busy while we finished his IEP meeting).

Since then, he's been repeating, "iss aw-mohss yoo berf-day!" Last Thursday, he found the birthday candles in the cabinet (yes, he likes to explore, ack!) and wanted to "practice" with a little piece of angel food cake we had.

He put the candles in, insisted that I light them ("fire? fire candoos?"), and started humming the "happy birthday" song to himself :). In the picture at the top of this post, he's admiring the candles and signing "more"... if it were up to him we'd have piled on every candle we had and lit a mini-bonfire on the cake (haha) but I convinced him we needed to save the rest of the candles for his ACTUAL birthday. It's coming up but still almost a month away!

It's really fun to see him getting excited about it! I think we're going to do a Cat in the Hat cake this year. If the weather cooperates, we're still hoping to be able to take him to the petting zoo for his birthday :).

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday


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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Snow day, February edition

Some pictures of last weekend's snow.

Day 1: the snowstorm

Taken with my phone from work:

Meanwhile, the boys were having a great time playing in the snow at home:

Bitty tried to catch snowflakes on his tongue :)

Even the cat wanted in on the action:

Day 2: sunshine and snow

The next day, Cuddlebug and Bearhug were back outside for more snow fun.

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

"Autistic football player an inspiration to many"

Came across this last night, what a great story!

Here's an excerpt (full story is here).
Kyle Weafer had never played football before, but that wasn't the only obstacle to his goal of making the varsity team his senior year.

Shoes. They were the biggest hurdle.

Diagnosed with autism near age 3, Kyle has obsessions that define his world, and many of them posed a problem for playing football.

But Kyle's commitment was stronger than his compulsions. He has so inspired his teammates and classmates at Blue Valley Northwest High School that he was one of 30 semifinalists for a Rudy Award, a national recognition that will go to a high school football player who embodies character, courage, contribution and commitment like Rudy Ruettiger, the famous Notre Dame football walk-on.

Weafer came close, finishing as one of two runners-up for the award, announced Feb. 3. He won a $5,000 scholarship.


It all started last January, when Kyle, now 19, abruptly announced to his dad, "I play football."

Bob Weafer was skeptical. Here was a kid who every day — no matter the weather — wore a purple T-shirt, silver shorts and flip-flops. Shoes, never. How would he wear the uniform, the socks, the cleats?

But his son was insistent. Dad talked with Northwest football Coach Mike Zegunis. He explained Kyle.


Meeting with Kyle and Bob Weafer, Zegunis was understanding.

Zegunis so loves football that he'll let anyone play as long as the player makes the commitment. Conditioning sessions in the off-season, 7 a.m. summer workouts, a weeklong summer camp, practices every day after school during football season.

"Don't be lazy," Kyle agreed.

Zegunis and Bob Weafer came up with a plan to ease Kyle into the routine, starting with once-a-week workouts in the weight room. Eventually, Kyle was there four times a week, just like everyone else. Kyle got stronger and stronger. He lost 37 pounds. He flexed his new muscles in the weight-room mirror. "I'll tell you what, he was a kind of a pudgy kid, and he started to look to like a football player," Zegunis said.

The other players noticed, and they noticed his positive attitude, how he was having a blast working so hard, just being a part of the team.

"You couldn't help but feel the same way — 'I am really lucky and blessed to be here and play this game,' " Zegunis said. "That's what football is, it's a game. We're blessed and lucky to play it, and I think he taught a lot of us that."

It's great that the coach was willing to give Kyle a chance, and Kyle's effort and commitment was an inspiration to the whole team.

Read the rest of the article here.

And here's some video of the story (please scroll down for the video, for some reason the video will only show up at the very bottom of the post no matter where I put the code... sorry!):

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day art by Little Bitty

Cuddlebug: "Valentine's Day is my least favorite holiday."

Me: "Why?"

CB: "Because I'm allergic to LOVE!"

Me: "Well, I hope you're not allergic to MY love." :)

CB: "No, just the kids at school. I'm not allergic to my family's love."

Me: "Oh, ok."

lol, glad we cleared that up.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

SOOC Saturday: Snow - again?!


And this time it was the real deal, a good 3+ inches, not just a light dusting like last time. Fun :)

As soon as I got home from work I ran outside with my camera (of course), it was already quickly getting dark when I took this.

Dh took several of the boys playing in the snow before I got home, I'll post those soon :).

There's yet more snow in the forecast for next week, but I'll believe that when I see it... (if so, there will be pictures!). :)

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Anyone need their floors mopped?

Bitty is your man, as long as you don't mind puddles all over the floor. We have one of those Swiffer Wet-Jets that spray and then you mop. He LOVES the spray.

He got the idea from one of his books (he likes to act out scenes from his books, not entire sequences but one little snippet repeated over and over and over). This time, it was a mopping scene.

He grabbed the mop from the closet and went to work. At first, I was happy to let him. Who am I to argue with a child who wants to mop?

But as I heard him spraying over and over, and realized he was going to use up the entire bottle of cleaning spray if I didn't put a stop to it, I told him "Good job, 'Bitty,' all done with the mop." He ignored me and kept on, leaving big puddles in his wake as he was more interested in spraying than actually mopping up.

I took the mop away.

He went ballistic.

I had to hide the mop in the garage to keep it away from him. And then stand guard by the door to the garage while he raged on about the mop and tried to forcibly move me away from the door. No attempts to redirect worked. He eventually started to settle down and I went on to other things. As soon as he figured the coast was clear, he snuck into the garage and the next thing I knew, there's that spraying sound again!

Bitty - 1, Mama - 0

I put the mop outside on the back porch. He can't open that door so I didn't have to stand guard. He went ballistic again.

After a while, seeing that I was not going to give in, he came up with Plan B.

Plan B involved throwing his sippy cup around the kitchen in an attempt to leave little drops of chocolate milk all over the floor.

Little drops that would need to be... wait for it... mopped up.

Which would force me to bring the mop back in, right?

Ah, I'm impressed with your logic, Bitty. Impressed, but not fooled ;).

Instead of going for the mop, I grabbed a paper towel and started wiping up the spilled milk. (Well, first I tried to get HIM to wipe it up but you can imagine how that went over *snort*)

Oh, he was not impressed. He grabbed my hands trying to force me to stop, shouting, "No NA-KIN, NOOOO NA-KIIIIIINN!" (no napkin).

The mop spent the night outside. As I type this, it has been brought back in but is hiding in the garage. Add this to the list of chores that must be done when Bitty is either at school or asleep (also on the list - laundry because he is forever turning the washer off mid-wash).

I know his mile-wide stubborn streak came from ME, so I guess I have no one to blame but myself... But at least that makes me a somewhat even match for his stubborn self, right? (Oh, who am I kidding?) ;).

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2nd amendment, 3rd grade style :)

This past week, Cuddlebug was studying for his social studies test, which was on our form of government and the very basics of the U.S. Constitution. I take issue with some of what is in his textbook but I make a point not to contradict it (at least until after the test, lol) because I know that would just confuse him and not help him on his test.

But I couldn't help myself when we got to the question about the Bill of Rights, because while it said "Bill of Rights" it really only mentioned the rights contained in the first amendment. Important as the 1st amendment is, that's not the only one in the Bill of Rights! So I was sharing some other rights that are part of the Bill of Rights (figuring that's not contradicting the book, just adding to it, right? they can't count it wrong if he puts an answer that IS part of the Bill of Rights even if it's not one of the ones from the texbook).

Anyway, so after we went over the 1st amendment I started telling him about the others. As I was explaining what the term "right to bear arms" means, he looked at his arms (he was not wearing a shirt) and asked, "so we have the right to 'bare arms'?" He cracks me up. I said, well, yes, but that's not what it means. I explained it again, and he looked at his arms again. "Ok... but we DO have the right to 'bare arms' right?" lol. Yes, we do. It's not technically in the Constitution, but we do have the right to go sleeveless wherever and whenever we choose. ;)

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

IEP's and other updates

It's been a crazy week. Crazy couple of weeks really... I think I've averaged about 4 hours of sleep a night. Finally got some rest last night but my brain is still fried, so here are some random updates:

2 IEP's down, 1 to go... both Cuddlebug's and Bearhug's IEP's are done for the upcoming year. Not a whole lot of changes there. Bearhug's issues at school seem to have subsided for the time being and he is doing well although he still has the occasional blow-out at home. I think all kids probably go through things like that as they get older, but his difficulties expressing himself and sensitivity to certain situations can really exacerbate things at times. And I wonder how much is actually biochemical and perhaps not entirely in his control to begin with? We've noticed that he tends to be more likely to have outbursts when he hasn't eaten in a while, so we wondered if it is low blood-sugar or something like that affecting his behavior. When we mention that to him and offer him something to get his blood sugar up that seems to help him calm down, not sure if it's actually the food or psychological (or maybe just coincidental?) but we will ask the doctor about it at his upcoming appt (we have an appt for him scheduled w/ a specialist next month).

Bitty's IEP meeting is scheduled for next week. His teacher mentioned we will probably discuss transition to kindergarten when we meet. I'm not sure what kind of kindergarten placement will be best for him... the only options I'm aware of are (1) typical class with resource support and (2) self-contained class. The class he's in now is sort of a unique setup which includes some NT peers (a year younger than he is) and some special needs peers. It's a smaller class than the pre-k classes and has three teachers, at least one of whom is a special ed teacher. It has worked out really well for him. I think he's ready for kindergarten from an academic standpoint (he's a great reader and a fast learner) but his delays in social/communication skills are pretty significant relative to his peers (and getting more so the older he gets, despite all the progress he's making). I guess I'm rambling, and I should just quit worrying about it until we can sit down and discuss what kind of options are available...

In other news, Cuddlebug has started having some difficulty with school, not so much with the work but with being motivated to do the work. When he complained to me about school and asked why he needs to learn things, I told him part of the reason is to help him in whatever job he chooses as an adult. To which he cried, "but my WIFE's gonna do that!!" lol. I informed him that if his plan is to be a full-time dad he also needs to "learn things" in order to be able to take care of his kids. How else does he expect to be able to teach them? He wasn't impressed, but stopped arguing with me (a miracle in and of itself, haha).

Later that week, his teacher emailed to tell me he was not participating in literature circles, not that he was in trouble but to give me a heads up that he had some low grades due to that (still has a B overall in reading though). I asked him about it and realized I never should have mentioned future job as a reason for studying when he informed me that the reason he doesn't participate in literature circles is because, "I'm not going to need that for my job." Really? Um, you can start specializing when you get to college, dude. In 3rd grade, you still have to do all the subjects. Sigh.


Some recent Bitty-isms:

"Issa wi-uhl werm" (sounds like "worm," but it's his way of saying "it's a little warm," so cute!)

"BIG bit" when he wants more than just a "little bit" :)

"bunny miwk" his latest name for chocolate milk, so named for the rabbit on the Nesquik package.

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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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