Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Gym Makes My Sphincter Clench

Four years ago at this time, we were living in Northern Cali.  Audrey was going on 3, already diagnosed, and in Early Intervention.  Our beloved EI therapist Kitty suggested that we try one of those kiddie gym places:  My Gym, Little Gym, Gymboree, Uncle Gymmie's No-Tell Ball Pit Emporium, Concussions R Us, Parachutes 'N Pus.  You know the ones.

In the beginning, all three of us went together.  Two adults for one little toddler.  I still couldn't handle it.  Those were such dark days, seeing all of the other kids, some much younger than Audrey, doing so many things that she couldn't.  She could talk, but wouldn't say her name during the welcome circle, hated being motored through the gesture songs, melted down when another kid cried, and was incapable of doing the basic gymnastic moves.  She couldn't jump at all, and couldn't hold on, even for a nanosecond, to a trapeze bar.  She couldn't wait her turn without making a scene.  She was completely inflexible and always had to have the same swing or have a certain toy or piece of equipment all to herself.  I cried all the way home after every session.

A few weeks ago, I started thinking about signing Audrey up for some kind of camp during her winter break.  It so happened that Lauren was going to be an aid for another one of her charges (yes, she has the nerve to have others) at a camp that My Gym was running.  I wasn't feeling very creative, so decided to just cop the other mom's idea and sign Audrey up.  I tried to go enroll her during what I thought would be a down time, but, wouldn't you know it, a toddler class was just starting.  They started singing that welcome song and it was like I was hearing the choppers back in Nam.  I had the most visceral reaction I've ever experienced.  I'm not exaggerating when I say that I felt physical pain upon hearing that song.  I could not get out of there fast enough.

Lauren accompanied Audrey to the camp three days this week.  I very rarely brag about Audrey on this blog, so if you will allow me...per Lauren's daily report, Audrey:
  • Introduced herself every morning without any prompting
  • Participated in games, including one where she had to go to the center of the circle, pretend to be her favorite animal, and confirm to the others if they guessed right (she was a doggy, take that kitties!).
  • Waited her turn, counting down the allotted time that the person in front of her was allowed.
  • Did soooo much more gross motor-wise, including jumping (she basically has never stopped once she figured out how), swinging from trapeze, and holding on to a zip-line.
  • Never cried or had any behaviors.
OK, so it's been four years and not four months, but still.  I'm happy for progress, no matter how slow it is in coming.  I feel like I've been telling a lot of fellow special needs parents of younger children that it will get better.  And it does.  It's just so hard to see when you are in the throes of it.  Hopefully next time it won't take me four years.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sh*t My Daughter Says

As "The Christmas Song/Chestnuts Roasting" was playing on the radio:

"I need some goodies."


Audrey:  "Jacob was sad today."
Me:  "Oh?  Did Jacob have a rough day?"
Audrey:  "Yes.  I had a smooth day.  My day was smooth."

She had my iPhone and was playing various songs of hers -- by the Wiggles, Jim Gill, and others that make me lose the will to live -- that I have loaded on it.  Suddenly, the guitar intro to the Hollies' "Long Cool Woman" comes on:

"This song is not fun."


"I do not like Smarties or differences."

Sort of weird, but not really for her.  I took this as her usual airing of grievances, somehow marrying up her dislike of non-chocolate candies with her desire for all things to stay the same all of the time.

It took me a few days before I realized that she was talking about one of her therapy programs called "similarities and differences".   I like her name for it better.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

On Playing Santa: Machete and Batteries Not Included

The actual name of this clipart? Happy
Caucasian Family of Four Opening
Presents on Christmas Morning
I'd never heard of anyone receiving their gifts from Santa Claus wrapped until my sister got married, and she argued with her husband over it.  When we were growing up, we would awake on Christmas morning and run into the living room where our gifts were free from wrapping/packaging, fully assembled, and ready to go.  I never knew that there was any other way.  Santa doesn't have time to wrap every gift.  Sheesh.

My family's way of doing things is even more justified today since toy packaging has gotten so much more complicated.  When you've got a kid chomping at the bit for his new toy, it feels like it takes for.e.ver. to extricate the stupid toy from the packaging.  I think a good rule of thumb for toy manufacturers is that any packaging that requires tools that are not allowed on airplanes is too much.  I know that I needed box cutters, a machete, and some minor explosives this year.  Toys that require batteries also beg for this approach because who remembers to have that small Phillips-head screwdriver on hand, let alone the right size batteries?

In the end, I decided to go with a combo of some wrapped and some unwrapped presents for Audrey.  She has recently begun to get into opening presents, so I didn't want to deny her that.  But when it came to Barbie, I really didn't want to be handling sharp objects at 6:00am with no caffeine in me.  So in the waning hours of Christmas Eve, Barbie and I spent some quality time together.  Either Barbie is way into bondage or her manufacturer is concerned that neither a hair on her head nor a CFM shoe on her freakishly small feet move even the slightest fraction of an iota during her long journey from the Far East.

One of Audrey's gifts was Equestrian Barbie and her horse Tawny, who requires 4 AAA batteries.  I was so proud that I had Tawny all ready go, posed under the tree with Barbie mounting her.  Audrey came down the stairs and I immediately pushed Tawny's button and had her trot over to Audrey...who was completely freaked out by it and asked me to turn it off.  Yes, the first words out of her mouth on Christmas morning were "Where's the off button?"  Outstanding.

But I knew that all I had to do was create some crazy and semi-sadistic play schemes and Audrey would be all over it.

Barbie is in a sugar-induced coma, and her disproportionately long neck has been broken from multiple Tawny tramplings.  She is currently face-down, legs akimbo, and covered in dried up Play-Doh in between the couch cushions in the dolly hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010

From our house to yours...
Wishing you the merriest of Christmases, 
and all the best in the New Year!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Audrey's Cavalcade of Christmas Carols

Audrey loves Christmas carols.  Like a lot of cities, we have a radio station that plays 24 hour Christmas carols starting round about August 1.  She is completely addicted, and I'm not sure that she'll understand it when the station goes back to playing odious Colbie Caillat songs on December 26.

Audrey's absolute hands-down favorite carol is the instrumental version of "Sleigh Ride" by the Boston Pops.  She gets positively gleeful when it comes on the radio, especially when she hears it from the beginning.

She has been completely spoiled by TiVo, and thinks that there is nothing in life that cannot be rewound...or as she says "downloaded".  So when I flip on the radio and it's already in the middle of "Sleigh Ride" she gets pretty annoyed, "We can't download it."

I waited until just yesterday to clue her into the fact that she could no doubt find plenty of versions of the song on YouTube.  Needless to say, she was over the moon.  In fact she was so excited that she made about 20 videos on my iPhone of the YouTube video playing on my laptop...

Seems like an unnecessary middle man, but whatever.  It killed about of 1/2 hour of what already feels like an interminable winter break, so who am I to straighten her out?

Audrey shares her mother's taste in Christmas carols that lend themselves to dancing a peppy polka.  When I was little my mother and I used to dance the length of our house to "We Need a Little Christmas".  This is admittedly not that difficult a feat in a small Chicago bungalow, but it still left us breathless.

I have not been successful in turning Audrey on to that particular tune, but here are how some others break down for her:
  • "O Holy Night" is the "pretty song".  Which would be ever-so-heartwarming, except it's as in "I do not like the pretty song."  I'd like to think this is more of a statement on Celine Dion and Josh Groban than the song itself.
  • "Holly Jolly Christmas"  is the "singing snowman song".  Hooray for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer references!
  • "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" is the Winter Wipeout song.
  • "Baby, It's Cold Outside" is the date rape song.
OK, that last one is mine.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

To Do List

**SPOILER ALERT**  Don't read on if you want to figure this out all on your own.  As always, keep it clean...and please, no wagering.

These were the steps she had to follow in order to go outside and play in the snow.  I guess just the first 3 are truly to-do's...where "them" in the first step = her pajama bottoms, and "squirt" in the second step = our unfortunate nickname for her twice-daily supplement cocktail, so named because we squirt it into her mouth via medicine dropper.  I can't have her taking her supplements while pants-less, can I?

Lest you think I was making her write this 100 times before she could go out in the snow, I only just found this on her desk and it actually took me a minute or two to figure out what it was related to.  

Coming soon...5 easy steps to writing a to-do list.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Ghosts of Christmases Past: 2009

OK, I think I've ridden the crazy train to the end of line as far as mocking Christmas form letters.  As far as 2009, I would just like to commemorate the greatest portrait sitting in the history of the world.  One that I expected never to be topped, and in fact was not at this year's.  But you'll see what I mean in a few more days.

For now, behold our masterwork from one year ago:

Now that I think of it, I should have just used some of last year's shots for this year's card.  Audrey hasn't changed that much.  If I were more talented, I could have photo-shopped a new outfit on her and voila.  Or viola, as my friend Aimee likes to say.  To which I say "Don't call me Viola".  But I digress.

Do I continue with the portrait sittings to try to have some semblance of normalcy in my life?  So that stupid people will think "It sure doesn't look like anything's wrong with her"?  There could be some of that, but I honestly think that I would be this crazy if she was a typical kid.

I love dressing her.  I love getting a picture of her that shows how cute she is...that shows the beautiful little girl that I see when we are goofing around and I'm making her laugh.  I've been trying to freeze time for over 6 years now when I look into those big, brown, laughing eyes.  But she keeps defying me by continuing to grow up.  At least I'll have these pictures to look back on if my memory ever fails me.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Blog Gems: My Very First Post

Jen over at The King and Eye hosts a Blog Hop every fortnight (yeah, I had to Google it too) called Blog Gems.  This time around she's having us feature our very first post.  Mine was posted back in April, fittingly on Autism Awareness Day.  Go check out how amateurish I was compared to the polished professional that I am today...

...and then head over to Jen's for more first posts!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Ghosts of Christmases Past: 2008

Dear fucktards:
I tried to be nice last year, but everyone said that they missed the crazy so here goes.  If anyone unfollows me, I will hunt you down, kill your dog, and use his severed head as a Christmas ornament.

I couldn't be bothered with a picture this year, as I still haven't regained full control of my left eyelid after last year's JC Penney portrait sitting.  So check out these craptastic candids of my kid:

Yeah, those suck hard.  How wrong would it be to use a picture of a kid that isn't mine in my Christmas card?  Cuz I got a great shot of my niece showing off her new holiday mittens...

Each finger had a different holiday character on it, and it only took 20 minutes of coercion to get her to show me just the Santa finger.  What?  Santa is my favorite!

That bird she's flipping is for all of you turds that continue to send me your annual dry hump manifestos Christmas form letters.  I know for a fact that all of your lives cannot be that perfect, and you know it too. I'm sick of hearing nothing but the good stuff -- I want to hear about the greasy underbelly of your lives.

I'll make it easy on you.  I've provided a handy multiple choice format at the bottom of this letter that you can tear off and send back to me.  You can even keep it anonymous.  Just give a girl the best Christmas present she could ever get...

a)  Is a bundle full of seething resentment wrapped in lost dreams and Merona sweatpants.
b)  Tipped the Toledo at a deuce for the first time ever...easy on the nog there, Lard Ass!
c)  Invented a cocktail of Nyquil, Tylenol PM, gin, and juice that she drinks nightly.  It's called the Sleepy Stepmom because after drinking it she staggers around slurring "Where in the fuck did all these kids come from?"

a)  Lost his six-figure job and now just sits around watching internet porn.
b  Was caught trying to squeeze into little Maddie's princess costume.
c)  Gave Mom a mean case of genital warts.

Jacob and Madison:
a)  Are of completely average intelligence.
b)  Have little-to-no athletic ability.
c)  Both of the above.

Our family wishes you:
a)  Happy Holidays!
b)  Merry Christmas!
c)  Would blow it out your ass.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Downers Grove Christmas Tree is Rubbish

Or at least covered therewith.  I have a feeling that someone thought it would be a "green" idea to use garbage found objects to decorate our town's Christmas tree this year.  Sort of a "one man's trash is another man's treasure" vibe, which would prove that these items could be re-purposed to good use rather than chucked into a landfill.  Except when the tree is taken down in January, I'm pretty sure that's exactly where they're going to end up.  

And so our tree is covered with old vinyl LP's, CD's, plastic bottles, paper plates, and takeaway containers.  I think that at least some of them represent someone's idea of a children's art project, but their garbage-i-ness is ever-so-thinly veiled.  And three weeks of snow, wind, and rainstorms hasn't done them any favors.

Art project or reindeer vomit?
Someone's Dad is gonna be pissed when
 he tries to seal the deal with Mom
and reaches for a little Air Supply.

Not even trying.
Spends its days and nights longing for
the nearby train station trash can.

One man's compost heap is
another man's Christmas tree. 
Either a dough-based art project
 after 4 days of rain, or a
severed coyote head

Audrey poses next to the St. Elmo's Fire soundtrack.
"Momma, tell me again about growing up in the 80's
and how John Parr was your generation's Bob Dylan."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How Many Reindeer Are There?

Cuz we haven't made it past Prancer.  She'd better get a move on if she plans on writing them all before Christmas...

I can assure you that she is not referring to a
self-injurious habit.  Other than that, no idea.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Ghosts of Christmases Past: 2007

Hope this letter finds everyone well!  Sorry about last year's letter :(   Thanks to those of you who participated in the intervention last January.  To those of you that didn't, hopefully this Christmas card doesn't violate the terms of any of the restraining orders out against me.

I've finally found the right balance of meds, and my therapist has me enrolled in an intense bitter management program.  One of the steps in that program is to write a Christmas letter that is profanity-free and focuses on the positive, so here goes.

In May, we relocated back to my hometown of Chicago.  This is positive!  It made me very happy!  We have a beautiful new home in a cute suburb with an awesome school district.  There is absolutely nothing bad that I can say about that!

Audrey started preschool in the fall and we are thrilled with the program.  It is all good, as the kids say!  You can see from the picture that she has really grown up this year.  And if you are noting that her left cheek appears to be a little rosier than the right, it is not all because she had 1/2 of her face chewed off by a Norwegian Elk Hound just before Halloween.  Not at all.  She is flush with the glow of the glorious holiday season that is upon us!  Just more so on one side than the other.

I sincerely hope that nothing bad has happened to any of you during this past year.  Thank you for your consideration.

cc:  Dr. Thaddeus Fink PsyD LCSW LMFT LMHC LCPC

Sunday, December 12, 2010

How Not to Dance: A Prom Social Story

We just received the winter/spring catalog from our local special needs recreation association, and I saw in the teen section that they are holding a prom in March.  There was even a little picture, presumably from last year's dance, and it was very sweet but I couldn't help but get a little bit sad.  School dances and proms are #873 on the list of things that I'm not sure Audrey will ever do.

It also reminded me of articles that I'd read a couple of months ago about special needs students being allowed to appear on ballots for Homecoming courts, with several of them even being crowned king or queen.  I'd love to think that Audrey might have enough friends or popularity for that, but I'd be more than happy for her just to attend.

Who knows where we will be when she reaches that age.  Will she have friends?  Will boys be interested in her?  Where will her social skills be at?  Will I still be writing social stories for her to help her adjust to new situations?

Going To Prom

On Saturday, I will be going to my high school prom.  I'm so excited to be going to my prom.  

But I should not get too excited if the music is loud or if there is a mirrored disco ball.  I should try to keep calm hands and arms.

I should try not to kick shins, punch kidneys, butt heads, or poke out eyes when I "dance".

I should only smell my corsage once.

I should not touch all the food on the buffet or take a bite out of something and put it back.

I should not eat off of anyone else's plate but my own.

If someone starts crying for any reason, I should not laugh at them.

I should not kiss any boys or let them kiss me (Ed. note: this has nothing to do with her autism)

I will be wearing a beautiful strapless gown and sandals that my Mom let me get only if I promised not to rub my fingers in my armpits or between my toes and then smell them.

Hopefully we will not still be using a reinforcement system.  And if we are, God help me if she is still motivated by Baby Einstein DVD's.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Ghosts of Christmases Past : 2006

Hey-O!  2006 y'all!  What a festering pile of months that was, huh?  Audrey finally started walking in January.  Sure would have been nice if she could have pushed that up a month or six so that I would have had something to brag on in last year's letter!

Everything was cool for a couple of months, and then in March we finally got the official diagnosis that Audrey has autism.  But turn that frown upside down!  It's really not that bad!  She now qualifies for a more intensive therapy program of physical, occupational, speech, and developmental therapy...all for FREE FREE FREE!

Plus we get 24 hours of respite per month, so Steve and I get to have lots of date nights and have seen probably every movie released this year...suck on that!  If it wasn't for the generosity of the state of California, we might have missed out on such classics as Phat Girlz...or even Beerfest :P  Man, we will do fucking anything to get out of the house.  Oops!  I guess most people don't drop the f-bomb in their Christmas letters, but I'm fucked up right now.  Sorry, Jesus!

I'm not gonna lie...I hope that your 2006 was as bad as ours.  And if it wasn't, keep it to yourself.

She's still cuter than your kid, so go fuck yourself.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

National Special Needs Parents Day: Yeah, Nah, or Meh?

Congress is considering a resolution that would establish a national day of recognition honoring parents of special needs children, and I was surprised to see some of our fellow SN parents get up in arms about this. 

Now I've been known to work myself up into a lather over the internet-outrage-du-jour when I don't even have a dog in the hunt -- I'm still chapped about TSA pat-downs and those fee-laden Kardashian Kards -- so I was all ready to get in on the action.

But I gotta say...I don't see it with this one.  Righteous indignation is practically my status quo, but sometimes you have to heed the Hulka and "Lighten up, Francis".  Stripes, y'all!   In this case, I choose to believe the best in people (WHAT!) and take things in the spirit in which I think they were intended.

Here are some of the anti-resolution arguments that I've read:

We don't need no stinkin' pity
Here is exactly what HR Bill 1576 says: and supportive parents serve a critical role in the development of special needs children and in preparing them to succeed in school and in life, and...deserve annual national recognition for their selfless dedication, compassion, and sacrifice...
Funnily enough, my first reaction to this is not so much "Stop pitying us!" as it is "FUCK YEAH!!"

The bill is sponsored by Representative Dan Burton of Indiana, who has a grandson with autism.  I'm guessing that pity is not exactly what he is going for, and that he is motivated by nothing more than his daughter and the challenges that she has faced as a special needs parent.

Send money instead
Count me in on hand-outs of free money to special needs parents, but I'm pretty sure that that was not on the table as an alternative.  I don't think that any of us in the special needs community would argue that there is much that could be done to make our lives easier.  They could start with getting our insurance companies to pay for our kids' therapies and go from there. 

But having a national day of recognition for us doesn't cost the government anything, and doesn't preclude us from continuing to fight for everything else that we want.  I really doubt that someone was in a smoke-filled backroom going "I know they want ABA coverage, but we'll throw a Hallmark holiday at 'em and that oughta shut 'em up."

Doesn't Congress have anything better to do?
You clearly have not been paying attention.  They are doing absolutely nothing.  So they might as well get busy kissing my ass.

For the record, here are some other recent congressional resolutions:
  • Commemoration of 75th anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Congratulating the championship UCLA men's tennis team
  • Acknowledging the on-premise sign industry for its contributions to the success of small businesses
Aren't special needs parents at least as important as the guy who painted the sign for your local BJ McSkankly's strip club?

We already have Mother's Day.  We want to be treated like any other mother and not singled out.
I'll bet that the special needs moms who oppose the resolution for this reason get showered with gifts and slathered with praise and adulation on Mother's Day.  I, however, usually get stiffed, so if the government wants to throw me a bone it'll be one more than I usually get.

Imagine the person who proposed this hearing about a backlash in the special needs community:
"Sheesh, we were just trying to do something nice.  God, these people are a-holes."
"Who are you calling a-holes?  We're parents of children with special needs!  Show us some friggin' respect!"
"I thought you wanted to be treated like everyone else and not singled out."
* *
"Oh yeah, and I heard that Oprah's doing a special "Favorite Things" episode with nothing but the parents of special needs kids in the audience.  I guess you don't want in on that."
Aaaaand scene.
In summary:  I'm not going to exactly organize a march on Washington in favor of it, but I'm not going to get bent out of shape about it either.  Now I gotta go write a social story for my autistic daughter before I drive her to another therapy appointment....

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Fight! Fight! Fight! Bite! Bite! Bite!: The Itchy & Scratchy & Audrey Show

I've mentioned before that Audrey gets a big kick out of it when other kids, and even sometimes she herself, are getting bawled out, scolded, or generally taken to task.  She thinks there is nothing funnier.

As completely strange, inappropriate, and atypical as it is, I wish so much that I would have had just a little of that in me through my 12 years of Catholic schooling.

"Miss Hudoba, would you like to share that conversation with the rest of the class?"

This more-than-slightly sadistic streak in Audrey's sense of humor extends to her taste in movies and TV shows.  Audrey doesn't yet seem to follow the plot lines of even the simplest shows.  What seems to peak her interest are musical numbers and anyone getting hit over the head with an anvil.

If somehow Tom and Jerry could be set to music, or the puppets in the Baby Einstein videos would start going at each other with truncheons, she would be in hog heaven.

The parts of movies and TV shows that she consistently laughs the hardest at are when someone trips and falls, or gets splattered, pummeled or knocked silly by just about anything.  This puts her level of comedy sophistication squarely at the basest level of slapstick.  Pratfalls, pies in the face, pokes in the eye, 2-by-4's to the back of the head....the worst kind of Three Stooges shtick that I hate with a passion.

Audrey has recently decided that she likes having control of the TV remote, which she calls "being the TV person".  We have TiVo, which is the autistic child's dream because you can rewind live TV and repeatedly watch your favorite bits of shows.  Audrey doesn't discriminate against the commercials either, and this is one of her current obsessions:

Hey, at least it's...festive?  You know where our little "TV person" will be on Thursday, January 6 at 8:00 Eastern/7:00 Central.

Monday, December 6, 2010

2 Hot Pieces of Ass R Better Than 1

I'm Just That Way and That's Just Me

More Guest-Blog-O-Nanza!  I'm over at Dani G's I'm Just That Way and That's Just Me.  I wrote a literally craptastic post that you will not want to miss!

Go there.  Do it.  What are you waiting for?  Am-scray.  Shoo.  Git.  Make like an egg and beat it.  Don't let the door hit you where the good Lord split ya.  That's all I got.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Ghosts of Christmases Past: 2005

In 2005, Christmas came shortly on the heels of my grand epiphany that Audrey had autism.  In my grieving, I must have been somehow even more determined to put up a face of normalcy, because I had an embarrassment of riches picture-wise.

I was bound and determined to get a picture of her sitting on Santa's lap, and also did a portrait sitting.  At that point in her development, she had no concept of anything going on behind her...she only believed what she could see, so the whole Santa picture was actually pretty uneventful.  She could have been sitting on the lap of a feral yeti with his hair on fire and had no idea.

The portrait sitting was slightly more humiliating.  The pimply-faced teenager that was the "professional" photographer gave me one of these:  "What?  She can't walk?" followed by "What?  She can't even stand?"

What did that man say to mommy
to make her cry?
This was actually her Halloween costume...
she went as FDR that year.

And here is how my annual Christmas letter should have read:

Happy Holidays everyone!  Our little Audrey is now 20 months old and finally crawling "right".  And no, she's not walking yet, but thanks SO much to every single one of you that have asked every single time that we've spoken in the last 6 months.  You guys are the best!

The pediatrician said that she’s never seen a child with absolutely no physical disability take so long to walk…calling the Guinness Book of World Records!  The doctor thinks that she’s definitely behind on her milestones but the good news is that she thinks she'll be caught up by the time she reaches 1st grade...whew!  We think that she may have autism :(  but the doctors aren't willing to diagnose her until she's at least two years old.

Some of our auspicious "firsts" this year:
  • First point (at a seagull)
  • First word ("book"...greatest first word ever!)
  • First game of peek-a-boo
These firsts would have been even better if there ever had been a "second" ;P
Oh yeah, and I forgot about her first neurologist appointment...I'm still on the hunt for some "Baby's First MRI" scrapbook paper!

We started physical, occupational, and speech therapy in 2005.  Hopefully these are just temporary to give her a "jump-start".  It's not like I'll be shuttling her around to therapy appointments for the rest of my life!

If 2005 is any indication, looks like we are in for quite a roller coaster ride in the New Year!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Special Needs Blog Hop: A New Accomplishment

This will come as a bit of a surprise to those who know Audrey or have gotten a feel for how personable and affectionate she can be through reading this blog...but she has never known how to GIVE a kiss.

Whenever anyone asked for a kiss, even me for God's sake, she would always present her own cheek to receive a kiss.  I think that part of it was definitely pronoun confusion, so when anyone would say "Give me a kiss" she would turn it around so that the "me" was herself.

But part of it may have been general motor skills because I never saw her pucker up and give a kiss to anything.  Until recently.  When I saw her lay one on her Minnie Mouse doll.  The same Minnie Mouse doll that she loves to abuse and put into time outs.  I guess part of their co-dependent relationship is that she has to be nice every once in a while to keep her coming back for more.

Anyway, when I saw that she knew full well the mechanics of it, I started lobbying hard to be the recipient.  And she literally just this week starting planting big, wet smackeroos on my cheek.  And like anything else with Audrey, it quickly became an obsession and now she won't stop.  Which is more than fine with me.

Come on and hop along with us!  This week's topic is sharing a recent accomplishment that your child has achieved.  Click on one of the first two links below to read further about the Rules of the Road for the Blog Hop!


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Ghosts of Christmases Past: 2003 and 2004 Editions

Over the next few weeks I'm going to be taking a walk down memory lane through some of the more eventful Christmases of my life.  With the exception of the 2003 edition, I will be posting the actual picture that was our Christmas card.  I'm also including the annual Christmas form letter as it should have been written for each year.  I don't actually include an annual letter in my Christmas cards, but I absolutely love getting them.  I'm certainly not the first to think of spoofing them, but for me that idea never gets old.

Christmas 2003

Big news…we’re pregnant!  I actually conceived on my 40th birthday during our fantastic vacation in Alaska.  TMI?  Too bad!  We are over the moon!  Had the amnio already and got the great news just before Thanksgiving that we are having a healthy baby girl!  Who said that the odds are virtually 100% for Downs syndrome if you wait until you’re 40?  We are on our way, and nothing will go wrong for us EVER! 

The baby is due in April.  I’m so lucky to be pregnant during the winter…who wants to be as big as a house during those sweltering summer months!  I suppose there are more flues and such going around during the winter, but thankfully I’m covered.  Even though there was a scary shortage of flu shots this year, pregnant women were put at the head of the line and I was soooooo lucky to get one! 

What a year!  Alaska was fabulous!  We ate delicious seafood for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every single day for 12 straight days.  We could not get enough of those bottom-feeding halibut!  I ordered mine with extra mercury…mmmmmm, my mouth is intensely sensitive to hot and cold just thinking about it. 

I hope this finds you as happy as we are this holiday season.  I can’t believe that by this time next year, we will have a baby crawling all over the house and getting into who knows what!  Can’t wait!

Christmas 2004

Audrey is 8 months old now.  She’s sitting up like a champ, but not yet crawling.  We’re sure she’ll be off and running soon and we’ll long for the day when she was completely immobile!  It could be that the nearly constant ear infections that she’s had for the past three months have her feeling a little sluggish.  If it’s not the stabbing pain in her ears, then it’s the dangerously high fever.  If it’s not the fever, then it’s the nasty side effects from the antibiotics…hello, constant diarrhea!  It’s always something around here!

After taking five months of maternity leave, Lynn returned to work in September.  Audrey is in a very highly recommended daycare center.  She made it through a whole month before her first ear infection, but she sure is making up for lost time now!  On the bright side, she’s only had pink-eye once.  And then there was that other little mix-up where she was accidentally fed another mother’s breast milk…oops!  Oh well, one court-ordered HIV test later, and all was well! 

We are off to Colorado to visit Steve’s family for the holidays.  It will be the first time that Grandma and Grandpa have seen her since just after she was born.  I’m sure that they will be amazed at how her personality has developed!  Her mood runs the gamut from fever-induced haze to drug-induced stupor…what a little character!  

Not sure that we can top this one, but I have a feeling that next year will be the BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!!!!