Monday, January 29, 2007

No longer "on the verge"

For reasons mostly having to do with my husband worrying about me, I'm no longer blogging as "momontheverge". That had just popped into my head when I first started commenting on blogspot. I was thinking of the movie "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown", and meant it as humorous. Not that it didn't seem pretty apt. At that point I was sleeping between three and six hours a night, and feeling pretty loopy. I've calmed down quite a bit since then.

Anyhoo, I want to mention how sweet and giggly B. has been the last few days. And not just the kind of giggly that he gets in the middle of the night, or when the credits of a movie start scrolling past. He'll look right into my eyes and giggle back and forth with me. We took him off milk a little while ago, but he keeps getting hold of G's sippy cup, so I don't know if I could point to that as the reason.

On an unrelated note, I had resolved to start getting up at 6:30 and walking the dog, figuring this would reduce B's tendancy to run through, jump in or sit in the doggie waste which we have failed to spot and clean up. I was up, dressed, and feeling oh, so, virtuous when it became clear that the dog did not want to be walked. The dog had jumped up onto my side of the bed, where it was nice and warm, and she was not going to budge. Maybe I can get up at 6:30 and patrol the backyard with the "pooper scoop". Somehow that's less appealing.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Early Morning Pondering

Yes, yes, yes! The sun is shining after what seemed like weeks of rain! The beautiful winter weather is what usually makes me feel that living in Texas is somewhat reasonable (my apologies to Texans, but I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Yankee who can't help herself) The past few days have begun to make me feel a bit loopy, or I should say, loopier.

This morning I'm taking J., my NT son, to be given a full evaluation by the school district. He only receives speech therapy right now, but he failed the motor skills screening, so they want him back. He didn't like the testing last time, so he wouldn't even try on a lot of tasks.

I've packed a bunch of bribes or shall we say positive re-inforcers. Last time we were there I found myself thinking, "He's at least average, I'm sure he is!" Having two younger ones who will definitely need special ed, I find myself really hoping against hope that J. will be for the most part "typical".

J. is adopted, and I don't think he got great prenatal or postnatal nutrition, but he's the funniest, most creative kid around. With all the articulation problems that he has, I imagine that learning to read will hold some challenges for him. That may be the dyslexia teacher in me jumping to conclusions.

Well, I'm taking the sunshine as a good omen, and we'll just see what comes. I'm trying to cultivate a more Zen-like approach to things in general. Yoga breathing while in traffic, etc. So far, so good.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Seeing Progress

It's funny, I would normally feel uncomfortable "bragging" about my kids' achievements, but since they're so far behind, it feels okay to go on at length.

Tried to get G. to wear rainboots for the first time. He threw a big fit, and kept pulling them off. I heard J. say to him, "You want to wear boots or shoes?" G. then signed "shoes", which he's never done before. J. answered him by saying, "Good choice," which sounds like an echo of my special ed. teacher-y way of speaking.

G. later allowed me to put the boots on him when he realized it was the only way to get to splash in puddles with J. Luckily the pants I was wearing were essentially mud-colored to begin with.

Other recent G. triumphs:

I said, "This is a book about hats", and he patted his head.

He pretended to sleep on a pillow on the floor, and imitated our fake snoring.

He falls down on purpose, and laughs when we do it together.

I hate to ignore B. in this post. His progress is a little harder to track, because we have a lot of "Did he just say that?" moments. The speech therapist heard him say "Ready, set, go!" very faintly. He also said "Q,R,S", after we paused in an attempt to get him to sing "P". He uses a few signs, but very tentatively, often when he thinks no one is looking at him.

On the other hand, he is definitely the only boy in the house ever to have urinated in the potty! This happened last night at bath time, and I think it was an accident of timing, but we cheered like crazy. Now if it would just inspire some competitive feeling in his big brother.
A funny J. moment: After having a toileting accident, J. apologized to the character on his underpants-- "Sorry, Benny!"

Saturday, January 20, 2007

A Very Good Morning

We took one of our favorite outings this AM: Petco and then "Sweet Mesquite". We made a speedy tour through Petco, checking out fish, cats, birds, chinchillas and other creatures in under fifteen minutes. B's favorite moment is always passing through the aisle of dog toys..."BALL, BALL, BALL!" (I've given up on the Wiggles'-based pseudonyms...I don't get enough sleep these days to keep such things straight)
After this we always stop at a family restaurant, Sweet Mesquite (now under a new name, but I prefer the original). They have a cuarto de familla (sp?) which features a slide, one of those sliding bead toys, and various video games.
The last few times we've been, B. has become absolutely fixated on one video game, which features various combinations of scary looking men fighting with each other. He stands in front of it, shaking with excitement. G. and J. are indifferent to it, although at one point when a muscle-bound Ninja type was boxing with a giant kangeroo (!!), J. did comment, "That's not nice". I tell myself he likes the quick movements and flashing colors, but I really don't understand it.
We did manage to distract B. for short periods, during which he climbed up the slide several times. We lucked out and had a really understanding group of kids there. One boy joined B. in climbing up the slide, and the other kids just moved aside. G. spent most of his time eating, but did a little playing, too. J. formed an alliance with a cute little girl, who tolerated him following her around. I think he prefers to play with girls, which is interesting.

It felt like such a laid-back, run-of-the-mill family outing, and I was thrilled. The twins seem to be decreasing in their instinct to run immediately in opposite directions when released from the stroller.
And, I may have imagined it, but I thought B. just possibly might have turned around when I said his name today.

All in all, it was a very good morning.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Other people are starting to notice

We took the twins to Chik-Fil-A (great indoor playground) this morning, for a chance to interact with other kids, and let's face it, to get out of the house. Jeff (big brother) is at nursery school, and Lori, one of our amazing helpers, was along to toddler-wrangle.

On our last few outings, I've noticed some funny looks, and I'm realizing that the twins' differentness is becoming noticeable to others. I believe we're are entering into a whole new phase of autism-parenting: deciding how much to tell to whom. For a long time I've been relying on saying, "They're very shy", which is true in a very extreme sort of way, I suppose. So far it's not actual misbehavior setting them apart. They have an unusual way of approaching playgrounds, they tend to dance around a lot, especially in front of mirrors, and they use signs rather than speech, most of the time.

It makes the twin situation feel so much more real now that others are finally noticing. For months, it's been me trying to convince people (Early Intervention, their dad, their pediatrician) that there was a problem, namely PDD. Now I find myself wanting to explain to strangers that it's not a problem, it's just the twins being who they are.

Favorite twin moments of the morning:
Murray sitting calmly in a "big-boy" chair at Chik-Fil-A, enjoying his chicken nuggets
Anthony attempting to dance "The Pigeon" with Bert on a Sesame St. DVD

Favorite Jeff moment:
The return of his Captain Feathersword pirate costume (flowered sun hat, sunglasses, rain boots, and a giant feather)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Starting out

One or two people have suggested I start a blog, so I'm giving it a shot. The short version of what I'm doing is recording a log of our family's journey through PDD. We have 25 month old twins who have some version of PDD, although they're still undiagnosed. We also have an older son (almost three) who is a fantastic brother, and a real character himself.

The name of the blog comes from the Wiggles' DVD "Hoop Dee Doo Dance Party". We've been watching it a lot lately. It's has a sixties-style psychedelic feel to it, and it sums up my mental state at this point. Nothing is what I expected it to be, so what the hell, let's have a Hoop Dee Doo dance party.

I've been reading other families' autism blogs every night lately. I find it so helpful to see what other people have been they've coped, and the progress their kids have made. And, most importantly, seeing so many bloggers who have held on to their optimism and senses of humor.

Having never blogged, I'm not sure of what level of detail to go into, how personal to get, etc. I think the whole concept of blogs is so cool, I'll just play it by ear and see how it goes.

Our oldest boy is making strange animal-like noises from his room. He's someone who REALLY needs a nap, so I'll ignore it for a little while, since he sounds pretty happy.