Monday, December 20, 2010

Woo hoo!

My dad just called and said that this morning my mom was suddenly conversational again. She told him where the Christmas tree ornaments are, and which grocery store has the chicken nuggets that the twins like.

Keep the faith!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Strange parallels

Recently my mom was in a one-car accident, which caused what was essentially a stroke. When she first woke up, she seemed very alert and able to converse. Since then she has talked less and less, and now comes out with occasional clear sentences every day.

As I talk to my dad, who is there with her, I keep being struck by the similarities with my first years that I knew the twins had autism. They would say something, and then not talk for weeks at a time. It was a kind of torture.

I don't really know if it's true, but I told my dad that I believe my mom still has it all inside her. Right now her body is working on another part of her recovery-- she's getting a lot of physical and occupational therapy. Maybe that's taking all of her brain power right now.

One thing I've found, even though the twins still don't talk much, is that it's ALL still in there. They still know what they used to know, and much, much more. And I'm pretty sure that my mom does, too. It's another situation that calls for more patience than I ever thought I had. Hopefully we'll go back to making progress soon, but meanwhile don't look too far ahead, and find joy in every little good thing that happens.

Friday, November 19, 2010


We have a new IPad and we are loving it! Both twins can use it, although it's a little easier for G. than B., as far as I can tell.

Met with the school psychologist today, and she is going to look into a grant that might give them some IPad funds.

I enjoy watching the kids use the IPad, but so far the only app I've used much is an Air Hockey game. I play it on the kiddie level, when I try to move up to the "Easy" level, I lose very, very fast.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Time to relax

Things are going better at school. I don't know why, but he's not screaming, not scratching, and back to his smiling self. Phew.

Also, he counted to 25 on an abacus yesterday. That's the kind of note a mom wants to get from school!

Monday, November 8, 2010

School district sues special needs family

Wonder why parents in Texas don't demand better services?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

File under cuteness

I have to get a movie of this following, but taking movies is not my thing. B. just figured out how to turn on the spray nozzle attachment on the garden hose. I set it on "mist" and he tries to drink it.

Today, every once in a while, he would turn it on and say, "Ah-choo!" It was the funniest thing. I've only heard him say "ah-choo" one other time, when he had just sneezed. When they hardly ever say things spontaneously, it always seems so surreal when they do!

The other thing, cute but also downright amazing, was that yesterday I'm almost certain he said, "Juice box empty". An adjective! An adjective that hasn't been on Signing Time or Baby Einstein or anything!!

Just have to brag, when you get a chance.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The good, the bad, etc., etc.

First the good: J. is now riding his bike with no training wheels! It makes me so sentimental watching him. His bony legs stick out to the side, and he sits up so tall. You can just feel the pride coming out of him. He's also enjoying karate-- his teacher is a wonderful, patient man.

And for the not-so-good: Despite the new, oh-so-promising teacher, G. seems completely stressed out by his self-contained kindergarten. He has started the angry pinching which B. used to do during his brief stint in public school

This class, or one just like it, is all our district offers. I'm thinking maybe the boys can go to school in the morning, and I'll home-school in the afternoon. G's teacher says he spends a lot of time covering his eyes or his ears, and just recently, pinching the teachers. Maybe he'll adjust?

Now, back to the good: B. is still singing up a storm. Recently it's been a lot of Christmas songs, with a few counting songs mixed in (Five Little Ducks, Five Elephants, etc). He is so sweet doing it that I can't resist putting on a Christmas CD in the car. It's been in the upper eighties, but B. and I are driving along singing "Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time". Works for us!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Open House

Last night was G's Open House at school. We were the only family who showed up for his special needs class ("Alternative Academics"), and I imagine it was enough for the teacher. B. explored the room thoroughly, pried some circles up which were taped to the floor, sucked red paint off of a paintbrush and generally made himself at home. He may join this class in January, which I hope, hope, hope and pray will go better than his last try at school (lots of crying and previously un-seen aggression).

Also in the picture is our life-saving helper who has been with us since the twins were six months old.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Things continue to go well at school, and they've even added an aide without my requesting one (!) We ran into her in the public library this weekend, and she seems very nice.

The only remarkable thing about today was an unfortunate poop-ocalypse, as my husband would call it. It started out so sweet, with B. coming all the way downstairs to hand me a little CD player, with the nicest smile. He has been getting more assertive about requesting things, so I was tickled. Then I thought to myself, what is that on the tip of his nose?, and it was downhill from there. I felt bad that he looked so crestfallen as I cleaned him and many other things up. That is one pair of Transformers underwear which he will never wear again!

This is too much information, but my husband is out of town, and I am tired and the boys keep waking up at 4 AM. On the other hand, it was his first accident of the day, and what's a little--okay, a whole lot-- of poop when other things are going well?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Hooray for good teachers and off for a lunch date

After a slow start, I've been getting a lot of communication from Greg's new teacher. Not only can they get him to do work, they don't even have to use re-inforcers. What?? The main problem seems to be his "flopping" as she calls it, so they have him help with lots of errands. I wish I could be a fly on the wall. Oh, and the other problem is that he falls asleep in the afternoons. Maybe all the errands wear him out.

Now I'm off to have lunch in the school cafeteria with J (big brother). It's funny, because he doesn't talk much to me when I'm there, but it makes him SO happy when I show up to eat with him. Simple pleasures (except for the actual food they serve).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Day Two

Today's comment from the possibly-very-good teacher was, "Today Greg did not want to come into the classroom. He got off the bus, but sat down in the hall outside the room. He stayed with the group more today". I'm staying positive, I'm staying positive, I'm staying positive. It's not that I mind that he sat down in the hall, it's just that I'd think maybe something good and worth mentioning happened. Something a little more inspiring than staying with the group more.

I didn't know what to think of this, so emailed the teacher to ask for more details. Haven't heard back, but at about 5:00 I realized G. had a fever of 101 degrees! I have to admit, I selfishly thought "Ooh, I get to have him home tomorrow"

Meanwhile, B. had ABA in the morning, and then we mall-walked to escape the heat. As usual, we made many side trips into stores selling sparkly or metallic things. We had a fun, psychedelic time in Spencer Gifts looking at all the colored lights.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The tables are turned!

For the last two years, I have pleaded for a "daily note" from the special ed. teacher, letting me know what and how G. does at school. I did finally get one for about three and a half months, although other kids in the class never did.

Well, this year, I get a taste of my own medicine. The special ed teacher this year is very organized. Every morning I have to fill out a form stating how many hours G slept, what and how much he had for breakfast, and choose from a checklist of about ten moods to describe his early morning behavior. There is an "other" category, so I'm entertaining myself thinking up more moods I could fill in. "disaffected", "optimistic, but with a twinge of foreboding", etc. But, seriously, I am in awe of this woman and can't believe she works for the same district as G's previous teacher.

Although, for her comment yesterday, she just wrote, "G. is adjusting to kindergarten", which is kind of mysterious.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


B, the much more silent one of the twins, has surprised us a couple of times this summer by saying "Bless you!" when someone sneezes.
One time he even said it to me after I handed him a cup of milk.
Of course, this leads to everyone fake sneezing in hopes of him saying it again.
As convincing as we think we are, we have not fooled him once.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A new teacher and some exciting signs of hope

Greg will be heading off to Kindergarten ("Alternative Academics"--self-contained) next week. So far, the teacher is the polar opposite of the woman he has had for the last two years. This wonderful teacher emailed and then snail-mailed a social story with photographs of the new school and his classmates. She sent home two long forms for me to fill out about how he learns, what he likes, etc. I actually feel teary thinking about this. I've sat in so many meetings trying to explain how he learns and what motivates him, and finally the teacher is actually interested, and even asking me for more detail.

We visited the school last week, and he skipped around taking in all the bulletin boards, alphabet displays, and so on. I almost had to physically drag him out of the library. When we got to the door of his room I told him, "This will be your classroom this year" and he quietly said, "Bye-bye". I think he was telling me I could go, but it might have been that he was ready for us both to leave. In any case, he was very interested in seeing the whole school and especially his room. Mrs. K., the new teacher, asked me all kinds of questions about him, and seemed entertained by him in the way that a proud, nervous mom wants a teacher to be.

So I'm cautiously optimistic... I'm sure the year will hold its challenges. But It's so good to be feeling a little hum of hope about school this time around.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Did he just say that?

I had written a longer version of this post, but managed to destroy it somehow.

The upshot is, yesterday I think i heard G. say an original sentence-type of thing. He can memorize sections of Bob the Builder episodes and reel them off with impressive feeling, but otherwise he is very stubborn about sticking to the shortest phrase possible.

After a trip to the pool, when he thought I was trying to sneak back out the door (I was actually trying to gather the pile of swim noodles and inflatable pool things we'd dropped in the driveway), G grabbed my arm and said, "Come together...(long pause)...IN!"

So, unless he's been listening to the Beatles, he made a sentence!

Sad news from Irving, TX

I just read the news story about the Irving, TX woman who took the lives of her two autistic children. It's so sad... i assume she had underlying psychiatric problems already, but I can't help wonder how much sleep she was getting, how much she could get out of the house and how isolated she was. I don't mean to make excuses for her-- it's a terrible tragedy and I wish it could have somehow been prevented.

Meanwhile I feel so thankful for the support we get from so many wonderful people. First and foremost, our extended family, and also all sorts of friends, therapists and even casual acquaintances.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Resolving to take more pictures

Here's one of my first attempts:

Monday, July 12, 2010

Brainstorming school ideas

For the first time this year, G. is going to ESY for six weeks. His goals are things like taking off his shoes, walking from one activity to another, looking up from an activity when someone calls his name.

Meanwhile at home he is reading sight words, memorizing Dr. Suess books and trying to order us around all day long.

I've made some progress in recent IEP meetings, but I'm starting to think up a combination of public school and homeschooling that I believe could work. This fall he will be in a self-contained class with kids with all sorts of disabilities (in this district, anyone who can't be mainstreamed is stuck into the same class together, no matter the disability) I like the teacher, but I still think the focus will be on functional skills, which G. is pretty bad at. They seem to get so stuck on things like taking off your shoes that they don't have time for reading, computer skills, etc.

Meanwhile, B. is singing all day long, and actually talking a little less. I think it'll sort itself out with time. At ABA he's working on letters and numbers and many other challenging things. He's not going to public school until I get really organized and recruit a really good advocate!

And J. is as social as ever. I feel like his personal assistant, setting up playdates and pool get-togethers every day!

Friday, May 7, 2010


J. is wrapping up his kindergarten year. It's hard for me to imagine I'll be the mom of a first-grader and two kindergarteners next year. That is, if we put B. back in public school. I have a good feeling about the self-contained class' teacher, so it just may happen.

One thing that is keeping me (close-to) sane this spring has been gardening. My focus is on non-toxic plants, due to our Pica issues. G. in particular sees the backyard as a grazing ground. I've planted beans, sweet peppers, lettuce, thyme, basil, mint and a jalapeno pepper plant (if anyone reading this knows that one of these plants is actually toxic, let me know!). The first day that my relatively huge basil plant was in the ground, every single leaf disappeared, and G. had unusually pungeant breath. The plant survived and is putting out some new little leaves. Maybe a wise metaphor is in there somewhere, but I'm too sleepy to try to nail it down.

We are trying to go down to Galveston this weekend for some ocean swimming. The boys are like little seals in the waves. This time I'll bring life jackets for the twins, so we can relax a little more. Last time I wouldn't let them get deeper than six inches or so. So sad about the oil spill. I hope that the attempt to cap the well works.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

We are still here... spending a lot of time doing potty related things. Also expanding our food repertoire (!) Grapes, rigatoni, baby spinach.
B. is still singing a lot, and occasionally coming out with a phrase, which is always a shock.
We finally got rid of G's orange sippy cup, which is making for a lot of milk puddles, but I think it's worth it. If I could get him to drink out of a straw, we'd really be sitting pretty in the drink department.

Ordered a big (twin sized) bed tent... hope it works because they are about to burst out of their cribs.

G. knocked over our Imac and made it un-useable. Hoping we can recover the hard drive with all of our photos!

J. is six now and seems like a little grown up to me sometimes. He does my "Dancing with the Stars" Latin Cardio work out with me. He is also going through an intense Junie B. Jones obsession. Not your typical kindergarten boy, but always entertaining.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I don't know if I've mentioned this, but since Thanksgiving (well, that was the SeaWorld trip, and I haven't posted since then!), B. has been singing up a storm. At first it was Christmas songs. Frosty, Rudolph, and according to his therapists, even George Michael's "Last Christmas, I gave you my heart".

Now it's anyone's guess what he'll be singing. Yesterday, on a whim I had put a Signing Time CD in the car, and we were on the song I quote in my blog's sidebar, "Maybe we won't find easy, but baby we found the good". That song was such a tear-jerker for me, but I actually have come to dislike it. It reminds me of the hardest time so far in my life, the year or so after I realized the twins had autism and was floundering around about how to help.

So we had arrived at the clinic where the twins had an appointment, and I turned off the car. From the back seat I heard B's voice singing "My hands did so MUCH MORE" very loudly and clearly. It still startles me to hear him singing sometimes, and this one really got me. I never listen to Signing Time music any more, so he was remembering it from back then. Back when I wondered what he could take in, and what he was getting out of all our attempts to connect. He can remember the lyrics to a song from when he was two! To be honest, he's must have heard it a few times since then, but not much.

The twins really boggle my mind... there are so many basic things that are so hard for them, but then they come out with these wonderful surprises.