Taking the Scenic Route

A most perfect day

31st October 2006

A most perfect day

Perfect Day today, link to pictures.

We had the most wonderful day today. One of those the things that made it so perfect was that it just felt so very ‘normal’. I figured you guys would understand why ‘normal’ was so nice.

We went to a corn maze/pumpkin farm. As it happened, we showed up the same time as about 50 kindergarteners and their chaparones. It almost felt like we were with the group, and Zane ran among the kids and, if you didn’t notice he didn’t talk, you would have not known there was anything “special needs” about him. It just felt so normal, like we were on a class trip for him or something. He followed along with them through the maze, mixing in with the stream of kids. Later, he ran alongside the kids in search of the perfect pumpkin. Then, at the last stop, he threw beanbags at the cutouts with the kids, and walked through a string maze thing. (ok, so he wasn’t great at standing in line, but we will let that go. lol)

One of the things that was so neat was that I was able to stand at a distance, amongst the chaparones, and watch him, but almost never had to intervene or chase after him because he wandered off. It was something that most people would take for granted, but it was the first time I had ever been able to do that. All the park play-dates, all the various gatherings, and I had never been able to do that. I almost burst into tears of joy when I realized it, but checked myself before everybody started thinking I was a freak.

The other cool thing: he drew the lines for us to cut out the face on the pumpkin. He actually understood what he was supposed to do. Plus, he helped get the goo out of the pumpkin…although that only lasted so long before he had to wash his hands.

He was so excited and happy today. I just really enjoyed seeing the light in his eyes and his obvious enjoyment of the day.

pictures: http://www.xanga.com/Jennifer_Z/5429…-pictures.html

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31st October 2006

Tuesday October 31, 2006

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29th October 2006

Sunday October 29, 2006

My view most of the day.

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To help Zane, we put up a barrier wall around his computer (which also keeps her from crawling out of the living room/kitchen area).  She is beginning to breach the wall now.  Here is one of her more stress inducing methods.  (However, it isn’t as stressful after you have seen her do a dozen or two times)

…and up

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..oh…this makes noise…distracting me from my purpose…let’s stomp for a while…

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…hey, now I have to start over again! 

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despite the snotty nose, this picture is very much my little girl.

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29th October 2006

Sunday October 29, 2006

http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2006/042006/04182006/181657

 

Strangers bonded by autism

Make a post about this story on FredTalk. Get a printer-friendly version of this page. E-mail this story to a friend.

Autism rates rise

Date published: 4/18/2006

SEVEN YEARS AGO, a doc- tor looked at my toddler son and immediately recognized autism.

Since then, I’ve seen it countless times in the halls of the mall, in grocery stores and restaurants. I will notice a child who seems a little bit different. Perhaps he’s spinning in circles or avoiding eye contact, flapping his hands or repeating phrases from a movie. Right away, I’ll sneak a glance at the mom, recognizing her, even though we’ve never met.

But Miss Manners hasn’t come up with a delicate way to ask, “Is your kid autistic, too?”

And so we pass each other without a word, just a small nod to show our solidarity.

But I want to walk up to that mom and talk to her, because even though she looks nothing like me, somewhere inside we’re the same: Mothers who know what it’s like to lose a child who’s sitting right next to you.

I want to ask her if she ever thought she’d shop for diapers for a 9-year-old. To know if she’s ever sobbed as she scrubbed poop out of a carpet, wondering just how her life turned out this way.

If she, too, lies awake at night wondering what it would be like to hold a conversation with her first-born child. I would ask when she stopped speculating about which college her son would attend.

I want to know how she handles the dirty looks and even reprimands from strangers, because her child doesn’t behave like the other kids.

We could almost speak another language to each other, using jargon like IEP, EEG, ESY and FAPE. After a while, the letters roll off your tongue so easily that you forget the rest of the world has no idea what you mean.

But this mom would know. She would know that single word with six letters can change your entire life.

I want to tell her that I, too, go years in between dates with my husband, because it’s too hard to find a baby sitter. That I’ve been a mother for nine years, but my family has taken only one vacation. Our time, energy and money all go elsewhere.

I want to talk about how my husband and I decided not to have any more kids, not because we don’t want a bigger family, but because after having two kids with autism, the genetic odds just don’t seem to be in our favor.

Mostly, I want to know if she ever noticed the moment autism stopped being a tragedy and simply became a fact of life.

Of course, this mom and I are not exactly alike. In fact, besides autism, we might have nothing else in common.

That’s the reality of autism: It can strike in just about any family.

As parents of children with autism, we cross all races and nationalities. We’re rich and poor, single parents and married couples, conservatives and liberals. Some of us are shy; others are loud.

Just about anyone can be inducted into our club. In 20 minutes, there will be a new initiation.

That’s how often a parent hears “Your child has autism.”

This year, doctors will say that 24,000 times.

That’s a lot of parents who know just what I’m talking about.

To reach AMY FLOWERS UMBLE: 540/735-1973 Email: aumble@freelancestar.com

Date published: 4/18/2006

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28th October 2006

Saturday October 28, 2006

_green  3/4 of us are sick.  Zora still has the ear infection, and Zach and I now have the stomach flu.  We have spent the day taking turns sleeping and watching the kids.  It really sucks that both of us got nailed at the same time. 

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27th October 2006

Friday October 27, 2006

My joyful little ones

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“Fall Party” at preschool.  I was hoping he would want to be an animal, or farmer so I could make him a costume.  He insisted on  being a pumpkin so I pulled out that old pumpkin costume.  He was still cute in it.

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25th October 2006

Wednesday October 25, 2006

Holding the itty bitty 3 month old.  This was the first time I realized how big Zora is getting.

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Zora interested in the baby…as you can see, we had to separate the two in short order.

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relaxed play time

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diaper changin’ time

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Zora is doted on.

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just chilling out.

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after a nursing break in the mall

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The youngest girls play together

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Zora after his gameboy

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Just before bedtime our last evening

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Happy boy

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And finally, the photo that didn’t quite work… lol

group-photo

 

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24th October 2006

Tuesday October 24, 2006

Along the vein of wedding announcements….other announcements

Amazing post on racism on MDC:  http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=533436

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24th October 2006

Tuesday October 24, 2006

Yuck.  Ear infection #2 for Zora.  Zane has yet to have ever had one.  I wonder if it is because Zane’s favorite activity was nursing and she seems annoyed that she has to be still long enough to nurse and almost never comfort nurses.  Heck, she isn’t even all that interested in nursing when she wants to go to sleep half the time.  Such different personalities. 

My poor baby.  I just want her to feel better.

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23rd October 2006

Monday October 23, 2006

We spent the weekend in Olathe/Lenexa area.  We went there to visit with a dental specialist, but spent most of the weekend with my best friend and her family.

First, the dentist stuff, then I will move on to more interesting and happier stuff.  Much to our surprise, he can save all of his teeth if he wanted to.  However, to do that it would be a long process and about $40K.  Yeah.  Not seeing that happen.  That is significantly more than we make in a year and does not include the travel expenses to go there to get it done, just the procedures itself.  It was cool to know we *could* if we wanted to though.  We don’t have a quote yet on various approaches, but that is the top end.  Makes the $14K to fix the front 7-8 teeth seem practically cheap.  lol.  Next appointment in 3 weeks we will know more. 

Now, for the more fun post.

Dawn and her family are doing great.  He son is 3 months old now and a charming little guy, with bright eyes and a crooked little grin, just like her 3rd daughter’s grin.  The girls are 14, 10 and 8 now.  So, the youngest is now the age that her oldest was when we all lived in Hutch together and were dealing with the divorce.  Time sure flies.  It is just amazing to see what neat people they are becoming.  The oldest is a picture of teenage attitude, with a dark, quick wit and brilliant mind.    Her middle is still mama’s girl, affectionate and sweet and a budding music talent.  The youngest is exuberant and outgoing and a joy to be around. All of them were great with my kids and very attentive to them.  It was sweet.  The youngest was especially great with Zora, and one of the few people, child or adult, that Zora willingly let hold her for extended periods of time, even when she wasn’t in a great mood.  Now that I think about it, both of my kids responded really well to everybody in the family and all of her kids were very sweet and attentive to my kids.  I loved overhearing them talk to Zane…they picked up right away that he could do yes/no questions and I could hear the very patient ‘20 questions’ thing going on with them…rapid fire questions too…it was really endearing. 

The neighborhood is nice, a newer, but not brand new, area with lots of trees.  If you are from anyplace other than Johnson County (akin to Beverly Hills of Kansas), it would be considered solidly middle class.  Just the sort of home we hope to own someday.  I am so happy to see her in a nice home after the hell she went through to get there.

We did some shopping at two of the big outlet malls, the first day all of us, the second just Dawn and I and the babies.  It was a dream come true for us, truly.  We walked with our strollers and slings shopping, stopping in a little cafe to have some drinks while we nursed our babies together.  Side by side, just enjoying each other’s company and our little ones.  Simple, but such a big deal for us. 

Zane did really well this weekend too, even had some breakthroughs (although we missed one).  Dawn runs an in-home daycare.  Years ago, she also worked in a group home with autistic adults, so she is comfortable with autistic behaviors.  We left him with her while we went to the dentist.  She said that shortly after we left he went up to another boy and said “Hi”, initiating the contact.  (wasn’t even in response to a greeting, totally initiated by Zane).  Then the boy dropped his fruit snacks and Zane went and picked them up and handed them back to the boy.  The boy said thank you and Zane replied “you’re welcome”.  Apparently, the boy saying thank you was almost as big of a deal as Zane saying ”you’re welcome”.  lol

He also snuggled with both Dawn and Zyg at various points.  After Dawn and I got back from shopping on Sunday, we saw Zane go up to Zyg and give him a kiss (inspiring a room full of smiles and excitement from the rest of the adults), and then ask for an M&M verbally. (inspiring a room full of knowing chuckles at his motivation for the kiss…smart kid. lol) 

It was a great weekend and we felt really at home at their place. 

a few photos…from oldest to youngest…

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All the kids (except the youngest, who was sleeping)

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ahhh…

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Zora interested in the Dora the Explorer cards Zane has.

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putting his socks on by himself

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He found some poker chips stacked up and made this…

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  • Zane's age

  • Zane is 15 years, 11 months, and 22 days old
  • Zora's age

  • Zora is 11 years, 11 months, and 26 days old
  • Random Quote

  • Well, my version of “teaching God with science” would pretty much look something like taking genuine science textbooks that teach real science and writing YAY GOD on the back inside cover with a glitter pen.

    In other words, the instant you start altering the SCIENCE in any way, you’ve lost me.
    — Hala, an online friend

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