Taking the Scenic Route

Tuesday January 23, 2007

23rd January 2007

Tuesday January 23, 2007

With the snow recently, we had to keep going outside to brush the snow off the dish every few hours.  I went instead of Zach because he hurt his toe (we think sprain..and the poor toenail isn’t happy either) and the boots weren’t too comfy for him.  Zach took the picture out of the window, unbeknownst to me until I took the pictures off the camera.  lol. 

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Cleaning this week I was putting the current crop of drawings that cover our pantry, fridge, and all our kitchen cabinets down to make room for the new ones that will come as the new semester begins.  I realized I didn’t get a good photo of this drawing.  I was really proud of this one, so here it is, even if it is a few months old now.

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Yesterday he started back at the speech therapists that work in the preschool.  He transisitioned from last semester’s student clinician to the new one.  By the end of the session he was ready to go.  Zora kept busy during the session, walking around the hallway.  She hates observation rooms, so somebody always misses at least part of the session. One rather odd feeling is when I was watching him, the neighboring clinician room (that the observation room shares walls/one way mirrors with) had a younger kid in it.  I couldn’t help but watch him (body language, I had the headphones on that went to Zane’s session)   The little boy reminded me so, so much of Zane at that age…just bouncing around the room like a pinball.  The mom had a look on her face that I am sure my face has held over the years.  I just wanted to hug her and tell her it would get better in time.  She would learn, he would learn, and it isn’t that bad.  I hope I can meet her and tell her that some time.  Zane might not be anything near typical, but the world makes a lot more sense now than it did when that was our lives.  It was so odd…like traveling through time and looking at yourselves from just a few years ago.  It makes me realize how far we have all come.

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So very ready to GET OUT OF HERE

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23rd January 2007

Tuesday January 23, 2007

Celebrating Zane’s 5th Birthday

It took a while, but finally, we were able to get everybody well and schedules coordinated to celebrate Zane’s birthday on January 15th.  What is funny is that I didn’t remember it was my own birthday until my mom mentioned it.  lol.  Attending:  Grandma & Grandpa S, Robert & Dori and their 3 kids.  It was rather crowded and crazy, as usual, but it was a lot of fun too.  Zane, once again, wanted a Thomas theme. 

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23rd January 2007

Tuesday January 23, 2007

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19th January 2007

Friday January 19, 2007

You know, I thought I would be a parent who severly limited or didn’t have tv on at all, and then I had Zane.  For the longest time I felt guilty about letting him watch tv, even though I was very careful about what I let him watch.  I have seen the studies and read the opinions, and as Zane has gotten older, I just don’t agree that it is true of every child. 

I absolutely agree that we need to moniter what our kids watch.  Unlike my friends, I don’t think Star Wars is appropriate for a 3 year old to watch over and over and over again, even though I love Star Wars myself.  I find it particularly funny that the same friend criticizes us for letting our 5 year old watch Boobah and Teletubbies because ‘it sends the wrong message’.  I can concede that for *some* 3 year olds it might be ok to watch stuff like that, but I tend to think anything that shows violence should wait until much older. 

With a child who does not understand social or cultural clues innately, I find that television helps this a lot.  First of all, it gives his therapists and teachers a starting point…something that will grab his interest to help explain or teach a concept (what is Dora holding?  When Micky talks to others, he looks at their face.  Who is bigger, Dora or Boots?)

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18th January 2007

Thursday January 18, 2007

Instead of attempting to spell words, he kept drawing pictures of the word.  When the test giver would point to the paper to try and get him to spell it, he would instead keep adding detail to the picture.  lol.  The other thing he couldn’t do was “fill in the blank” (verbally) when trying to make a rhyme to a word.  I am not sure that he understood what we were wanting, but I also am not sure if he is able to make the discrimination on whether or not words rhyme.  There were a few things he was not demonstrating that I know he knows because I have seen him do it before…specifically things like “point to the bottom/top of the page”.  However, he was able to point to the correct thing on several words I did not know he understood the meaning for.  He surprised them a few times with understanding some more complex words.  He was also able to do things that he absolutely could not do a year ago, like “point to the one who is crying, point to the person who is excited, point to the one with the cap on the chair” (as opposed to under, beside, ect).  The one that shocked me the most was when they told a story, putting down a sequence of 4 pictures, and then asked him to tell them the story.  He wasn’t able to just tell the story, but when they asked him questions about the story he first used the pictures and pointed to the relevant card, and then would try and use a word, and even a 4 word sentence to answer the question.  It was by no means perfect, not really even close, but it was the first time I have seen him respond at all to a question sequence like that.  He used to just stare back and obviously not understand what they were wanting at all.  The fact that he was at least trying to respond, and doing so in an appropriate (even if deficient) manner gave me a lot of hope and really excited me.  I am so proud of him!  Heck, even the fact he can sit for a test like this is a HUGE HUGE improvement from where he was less than a year ago.

One thing that seemed to surprise them a little was that he could point out things like “point to the picture with 4 cookies/the most cookies/3 balloons” and things like that.  I would guess that was a bit unusual considering he wasn’t getting the stuff ‘around’ it in that test, especially considering he didn’t spend much more time analyzing it than it took me to determine which was the correct answer.  I think the speed might have been what was the most surprising though.  I wish I could remember what was around it, but I know it didn’t surprise me he wasn’t getting the answers on that part.

The last thing we did was the most amusing though.  It was to test how rapidly he could ‘read’ pictures.  There was a picture of a tree, a house, a book, and a dog.  The picture sets kept getting increasingly more per line, then more lines, and he was tested to see how quickly he could ‘read’ the lines.  By the second or third page, he was able to read them, not only quickly, but needed no prompt to scan from the end of one line to the beginning of the other.  On a funny note, by that time, he started singing them as he read them…going up the scale one step with each picture until he was squeaking out the word, then would drop down to the bottom of his singing range and do it again.  By the second time, the adults in the room couldn’t stifle the giggles it was so cute.  I had the advantage of long hair, that was loose enough I could just put my head down.  It was so funny.


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17th January 2007

Wednesday January 17, 2007

I have some Grandma bragging material!   Today Zane had part of an evaluation for a literacy playgroup at the university.  They are doing a study of the playgroup, so he has to be evaluated before and after to see if there are changes after participating in this group.  So far, Zane is testing above age level in literacy tests.  Go Zane!  I am not sure how much above age level (although I know he got stuck on some of the 1st grade stuff, but it involved making auditory discriminations, so I was not suprised he was struggling with it since he has a hard time with auditory input anyway, at least compared to visual).  After all the formal letters and evaluations that talk about delays, I can not tell you how good it is to hear “advanced” in reference to a testable skill.  Very cool.  I guess all those years of following him around reading before he would sit with me are starting to pay off. 

*doing a happy dance*

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15th January 2007

Monday January 15, 2007

Seems like I am not having time to post.  Trying to get stuff settled in before the semester starts, and I have less than 24 hours now.  This break both went too fast, because I didn’t get everything done I wanted to, and too slow because the break was too long for Zane.

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13th January 2007


1. Your phone rings. Who do you want it to be?: Zach, Dawn or my mom.

2. When shopping at the grocery store, do you return your cart?: Yes I do.  I park close to the cart return or I unload the groceries and take the kids with me to return the cart and then take them back to the car.  Usually we shop as a family, so it isn’t an issue where we park though.

3. In a social setting, are you more of a talker or a listener?: Depends.  I used to be a chatterbox, but my cousins criticized me for trying to take over conversations, so I tend to hang back in group situations now.  If I know the group I revert to my chatterbox ways. 

4. If abandoned alone in the wilderness, would you survive?: Probably do ok for a while.

5. Do you like to ride horses?: Haven’t done it since I was a kid, but I think I would enjoy it.

6. Did you ever go to camp as a kid?: Every yer from 5th grade until High School, then I was a councelor.

7. What was your favorite board game as a kid?: My favorite game was UNO.  When I was little, I loved Candyland and I remember loving Sorry and wishing I had a Moustrap game at elementary school age.

8. If a sexy person was pursuing you, but you knew he/she was married what would you do? Tell them to go away and if I knew their spouse, tell them their husband is an ass.

9. Are you judgmental?: I am working to be less judgemental, but it is certainly a work in progress.  I tend to be most judgemental about people who are very close minded, which is ironic.

10. Could you date someone with different religious beliefs than you?: It is several decades since I was dating, but I pretty much stuck to people who were Christian, although not all of my dates were Mennonites.  (although they were often a similar belief…Baptist and Methodist were about as far away as I got…oh, exept for the dolt who seemed to worship football more than anything else.  lol.)

11. Are you continuing your education? Every day.  I do plan to continue my formal education.  I still am not sure what the degree will be though, but I am leaning towards Occupational Therapy now.  (I started out being an Elementary Education/Special Education major, changed to Theatre then Communication Arts (one class difference between the two) and got my AA in that.  When I returned to school I was a Computer Science Major and was ready to switch to Human Factors Psychology/Human Computer Interactions when I left school)  Not sure if I would go to school for this, but I would like to learn the more technical aspects of photography.  I have an eye for it and love it, but there is so much more to it that I don’t know and if I ever want to go into it professionally I have a lot to learn. 

12. Do you know how to shoot a gun?: Yes, learned as a kid.  Most of my experience is with a bb gun, but I have had my shoulder ripped off by a shotgun a few times too.  lol

13. If your house was on fire, what would be the first thing you grab?: After I knew the people were all safe, I would grab photos…the external hard drive first (baby photos of the kids) and the old photo albums second.

14. How often do you read books?: Every day.  I have a lot of non-fiction reference type books that I consult regularly.  I am currently reading an autobiography and would like to read some fiction again soon.  I read very quickly. 

15. Do you think more about the past, present or future?: I spend the most amount of time on the immediate future…later today, this week.  Right now I am planning for the upcoming semester, so I am thinking out until May, working on finding materials to maximize Zane’s preschool.  I requested the list of books they are going to be using and make sure he is introduced to it during night time reading two weeks before, and then try and do some activities (I try and do a homeschool type thing every afternoon to carry over his therapies) and more directed reading the week before  he reads it in school so he can work on the language and social skill without having to work so hard at comprehension at this point. 

16. What is your favorite children’s book?: According to my mom, Green Eggs and Ham.  lol.  I like “Harold and the Purple Crayon”, and just got one of my childhood favorites “Caps for Sale”.  Anything Dr. Seuss is great, but my favorite of those is one of his unusual ones, “Many Colored Days”. 

18. How tall are you?: 5′6″

19. Where is your ideal house located?: Semi-rural with a storybook garden surrounded by natural landscaping.  Temperate climate.  I would love seeing Mountains, but I don’t want to be in them because I find it confining.  Lots of green around me.

20. Last person you talked to?: My baby girl

21. When was the last time you took pictures in a photo booth?: Only happened once, when dh and I were dating.

22. When was the last time you were at Olive Garden? Last Fall was the first time in years.  Loved it. 

23. What are your keys on your key chains for?:
Car and house.  What else is there?

24. What did you do last night?: Sorted through my diaper stash to donate the excess to somebody.

25. Where is your current pain at?: My neck, shoulders and upper back (shoulder blades area).

26. Do you like mustard?: I don’t like yellow table mustard, but I like hot mustard with Chinese food and brown mustard on sandwiches.

27. Do you like your mom and dad?: Very much.  My folks are very loving and supportive of me.

28. How long does it take you in the shower?: If I am washing my hair, the shortest I can do it in is 7-10 minutes, only if it well brushed before hand, and even that is pushing it.  I usually take closer to 20-30 minutes or whenever the hot water runs out, which ever comes first.  I hate the thought of getting wet, but once I am in there, I don’t want to leave. 

29. What movie do you want to see right now?: I don’t know what is out in the theatres because we almost always wait until things come out on video.  The only exception to that is Star Wars movies, but since they are over, the only time we watch movies in the theater is on a date night, which happens maybe once every year or two.  lol.  (yeah, we need to do that more…childcare is a real issue though)

30. Do you put lotion on your dog or cats?: That sounds insane.  Why would you do that?  We don’t have any pets right now anyway.

31. What did you do for New Year’s?: I don’t really remember.  I actually forgot it was New Years and missed the NYE Rockin’ Eve thing. 

32. Do you think The Grudge was scary?: Creepy with a side of funny because of who we saw it with.  Zach’s best friend watched it with us and he likes to lean forward & jump at the tv and talk back to the screen in his alien language (that he made up in childhood) during the creepy parts, so it really takes the edge off a scary movie for us.

33. Do you own a camera phone?: If I duct tape my camera to my phone, would that count?

34. What’s the last letter of your middle name?: e

35. Who did you vote for on American Idol?: Last season?  I have never voted, but I liked Taylor.

36. How many hours of sleep do you get a night?: I aim for 8, usually get 6ish in 2-3 hour segments.

37. Do you like care bears?: Don’t hate them, but I was more into Strawberry Shortcake and Holly Hobbie as a kid.  Holly Hobby is too modern now so I don’t really see myself getting into it with my dd.  I liked HH for the “Little House” similarity.

38. Do you know how to play poker?: No

39. Do you wear your seatbelt?: Always.  I feel naked without it.  My folks had seatbelts and carseats in cars and pickup trucks long before it was normal and me in a ca

40. What do you wear to sleep?: not much.  lol

41. Anything big ever happen in your hometown?: Other than sports stuff that nobody cares about, nothing I can think of.

42. Is your tongue pierced?: No

43. Who’s the funniest person you know?: My husband.

44. Do you like funny or serious people better? I like a person with a good sense of humor.

45. Ever been to Vegas?: No

46. Did you eat a cookie today?: No, but I will have cake later

47. Do you use cuss words in other languages?: Yes, I can cuss in German.

48. Do you steal or pay for your music downloads?: I actually don’t download music.  I rip the CDs I have paid for into MP3s so I can listen to them online though.

49. When was the last time you said “I love you” and meant it?: About 5 minutes ago.  Several times a day, every day.

50. Is your cell usually on vibrate or ring? We haven’t had a cell phone since Zane was a baby and it didn’t have a vibrate feature.

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12th January 2007

Friday January 12, 2007

Some days I really resent how much harder things are for Zane, and to be a parent of an ASD child.  Since he doesn’t really learn by inference, every detail of everything he needs to know must be taught, and it must be repeated a doggedly insane number of times.  It puts such intense pressure on us as parents to always be doing, doing, doing.  Like we have already lost too much time and any amount of rest is simply being lazy. 

I resent almost never being able to take a break.  A true break.  Nobody wants to change a preschooler’s diaper, heck *I* hate changing his diaper.  He is actually pretty easy to watch if you can hack diaper duty because you can set him up with a video game and he will play it until he either passes out, or you make him turn it off.  So, if you are just needing a break, this is an easy way to do it. 

However, as impossible as it is to find caregivers for him, now his sister is causing her own brand of havoc.  She is on the opposite end of the scale…so demanding and intensly needy that she is difficult to care for.  I have had experienced daycare givers tell me that they are glad she isn’t a regular at their daycare because she is so intense. 

So on one hand you have a kid that prefers not to interact and a kid who demands interaction every.single.moment. 

It is too much to realize we are leaving the confines of the familiar.  He often cries when he realises he has to leave the house.

It is too much to go to anyplace outside the home…he hates to be out and about.  He withdraws when strangers ask him questions, try and talk to him, try and engage him.  The stores are too bright, too noisy, too much.  It takes too long. 
The only good thing about stores is that things are neatly lined up on isles, but has decided that it is his job to make sure everything is ‘faced’ correctly and run his finger down the shelf edge the entire way, whether there are people standing in the way or not.  When there are boxes of unstocked merchandise, he is driven to try and help them put the items on the shelf in the correct spot.
It is too much to remember the entire sequence of how to get ready by himself.  Although he can get dressed, he needs to constantly be prompted continue with the task.

Too much interaction causes him to shut down eventually. 

It isn’t enough to talk to her…you have to be face to face, down on the floor, actively playing with her and she better be able to use you as a jungle gym. 
It isn’t enough to hold her…you must walk and dance and do interesting things or she isn’t happy. 
It isn’t enough to feed her…you have to provide a variety of food and she must be allowed to feed you and mush around in it and throw it.  
It isn’t enough to just hang out with the family…she must be out and about, she must see people, she must smile and interact and engage with every single person that walks by.  She stops traffic and makes it difficult to get through stores because people are always stopping to ‘chat’ with the little social butterfly. 
She must look at everything, feel everything, pull everything off the shelf to examine it.
She must do everything on her own, even when she doesn’t have the ability.
It is never enough for her. 

She cries when the car stops and she realizes we are home.


How do I possibly balance this? 

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12th January 2007

Friday January 12, 2007

We got books for the kids from Amazon.  I realized as I unpacked them that our family has odd quirks that affects our book buying.

I can’t stand paperback books.  Softcovers I can deal with if it is the only option, but paperback books bother me in several ways.  First, makes me nuts to get ink on my hands. I also hate the feel of the spine as the glue snaps when you hold it open.  I hate bent covers.  Plus, my eyes are getting bad enough (although still good by my families definition.  lol) that I have to work a lot harder to read them.  I don’t like the feel of the paper either and paperback books never smell ‘right’.  Total weirdness, I know.

Zane has serious issues with dustcovers.  If there is a dustcover on the book, he can’t pay attention to anything else.  If the dustcover has the smallest imperfection, it will get picked at.  I finally realized it wasn’t worth it and pull all the dustcovers off of books the second I unpack them.  I keep the covers in hopes of being able to afford to frame them and use them as art in the future.  Along the same lines, we STILL can’t have rip lift the flap books.  It is the same compulsion.  It has only been very recent I have seen him able to cope with a flap in a book, but I still wouldn’t leave him alone with it.  Let’s not talk about pop-up picture books.  Oy!

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