Wednesday, September 22, 2010


His IFSP was wonderful.

Not often you get to hear a parent say that, but hey - the team is united in its appreciation of his progress (steady, obvious and amazing) and in its approach (everyone arrived at similar goals BEFORE talking with one another), and I would not trade any of them. Having worked in fields and positions requiring numerous team meetings, and having therefore seen first-hand what a NON-functional team looks like, I am acutely aware of the rarity and value of this confluence of personality and profession, and the fact that they all obviously adore him doesn't hurt either.

Once we got over how just super-duper fabulous we all are, together and individually (it was quite the attaboyfest for a while there), we moved on to the Big Question of What Next. I'll spare you the backing-and-forthing, since it was all speculative, and get right to it; we finally decided that he would be best served by continuing to stay at home, upping the services he receives from each therapist. Amusingly, I went into the meeting thinking I was open-minded to both the at-home and the center-based therapy approaches, and genuinely seeking to hear arguments for both approaches so I could THEN come to a decision, but since I wanted to jump and down and yell "SQUEEEEEE!!!" each time someone advocated for staying at home, we know the truth.

A number of excellent other items were brought to my attention, as well. For instance, I found out that even when he ages out of Early Intervention and into the welcoming arms (hush, work with me here) of the school district, he does NOT, in fact, have to go to a preschool someplace, at age 3, to receive services. AND many of our current therapists would wind up being his service providers here if we chose to continue keeping him home. AND we could request the others. So.. yay, yay, and YAY!

Meanwhile, Mr. Boy is now shape- and color-sorting like a pro (is there an Olympic event for this?) and babbling up a storm with all kinds of new sounds ("k", "ch", "t") AND...

.. are you ready?...

said "Dada" finally, much to Daddy's infinite delight :)


(brace yourselves)

said "diaper on" ("die-poo ohn") as a I changed him... and nearly wet himself (and me; the diaper in question was still open at the time) laughing when I repeated it at him wonderingly.

#happiness !

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Our most excellent Psych Therapist, Jeff, is soon-to-be-famous! He will be on the Discovery Channel tomorrow night (Thursday, 9pm, "Big Kids") and those who would like to quell their curiosity about at least one of the cast of characters in Jamesy's life should tune in!

Mightier than the Sword

So here's the scene:

We're taking a bath. (Well... James is taking a bath, and I am perched outside the tub, reaching around the sliding glass doors while trying not to a) sprain something or b) get wet.) Things are going well. I am dry and - so far - uninjured, and a summer full of fun in kiddie pools and on water slides and being sprayed by the hose has paid off; getting a hair wash is no longer cause for a major international outcry against unconscionable abuse at the hands of his No-More-Tears-wielding maniac of a mother.

And then the penis fun starts.

First, we discover that shampoo rinse-water running down our front drizzles interestingly over ALL the bits on the front of us. "Ooo, look! A penis!" we say. "Right down there, where the water went! I wonder what it does?"

Then, we discover that penises can do tricks. (He. HE discovers. Enough with this 'royal we' crap. I'm not sure how that got started anyway. Lack of caffeine? Yes, let's blame that!) SO.. penises can do tricks, HE discovers...

For instance, if you pull on one, it stretches. A lot. A LOT a lot. So much that if you pull it really really REALLY far, your mother will make a pretty hilarious face and thrash around all over the place trying to figure out how to make you let go without permanently damaging the goods or knocking you over when she grabs at you around the bathtub doors.

Another trick they can do is stand up all by themselves, and when you whack at them while they're standing up, they get all sproingy. And then you can put stuff on 'em, like washcloths and bathtoys. Mommy must think that's pretty funny, too, because when I put bubbles on it and then went SPROING and the bubbles got all over her face and my head, she laughed really hard and said something about "Oh my god, baby boners"... but I didn't see any bones, so I don't know what she meant. She's a little weird sometimes anyway.

(Yes, now I'm writing in Jamesy's voice. If the kid ever learns to read, I hope he's merciful... Meanwhile, onward!)

But you know what the COOLEST thing they do is?

They make A PEN!

No, really, I swear! I was just standing there, minding my business, when, like, POW! ZOOM! All this water was coming out and I could draw in the bubbles!!

And drawing is only, like, my favoritest thing EVER. And Mom was so effing cool, when I did it the first time, she made all the water go away and made NEW BUBBLES so I could do it AGAIN!! Is she not the coolest mom EVER?? And I didn't even have to sign "more"! I had to get out of the tub right after the second time, though. That part kinda sucked. But still!!

I swear, sometimes I could even forgive her for that picture of my blue butt in the sandbox. Oh, you never saw it? I'm amazed; I mean, she only posted it on her Facebook, fer cryin' out loud. The woman has no life. Thank god she isn't reading this, or she'd probably post i - HEY! NO! Back away from the computer, Mom, or I swear to god, I'll wait until my diaper's open and draw on your whole head! Do not touch that "insert pic" button. DO NOT TOUCH THE BUTTON. Do. NOT! NO!! Dammit, Woman, leave me SOME dignity...


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Cloud for Every Silver Lining

It's been a busy day, and I have found myself feeling very scattered (as opposed to my usual sense of being a model of organizational prowess, ho ho, ha ha).

I actually had some web work to do, wrestling a client's recalcitrant e-newsletter into submission via my epic HTML skills, while simultaneously trying to feed and dress Katie & James. (Imagine trying to cut a tough steak using a Playdoh knife while being pecked at by vicious hummingbirds and you will have a feel for how this went.) Meanwhile, James had 2 therapy visits, and his service coordinator was also on the phone over and over as we try to hash out a date for his first team meeting, since his IFSP expires on Oct. 1. One of our issues at hand is that while James (who turns 3 in May) is eligible to attend a local center-based program come January, Katie could only go to it with him if a) we pay $500/month (OUCH!), b) we drive her in (it's half an hour away; James would be bussed) and pick her up, and c) she turns 4 by December, which she doesn't (not until June). So much for that.

Originally, when faced with discussions about James transitioning from Early Intervention into the school district, we felt that the best scenario was to have the two of them attend a universal program together - whether or not they were actually in the same classes - because neither would thrive if home alone. Of course, this is no longer an option. So now the question is, would James be better served by remaining home with Katie until the new school year starts next September when both of them can go off to wherever they go (individually or together, whatever), particularly if we can get all his therapies upped to three times a week, or should we send him to the center alone (My baby! Alone! On a bus! ACK!) and see if we can't find a local (the center is a good half hour ride away) playschool-type daycare for Katie a couple of times a week.

So it was turning into quite the not-enough-caffeine-in-the-universe day, and I was rising to the challenge by musing about creative ways to fit a nap into all of this somehow (Forts in Mommy's bed? Let's see how many stories we can read with this flashlight under the covers in your bed? Who can stay quiet the longest?) when I decided to bop over to Facebook for some... um... research... and noticed a link on my feed from a facility I had "liked" a while back and then promptly forgotten about. Coincidentally, it's a center-based preschool (unfortunately in southern NJ) . I went to their page to finish reading something and a slew of paid ads popped up to the right, as per Facebook usual, one of which was for some assisted living-type apartments for adults with autism.

And for a moment, I was 20 years older, and reading this with an eye toward having to place my boy there because he can't care for himself and someday I won't be here either. My stomach dropped, and I swear I could hear another ominous creak from the direction of my chest as my heart threatened to break just a tiny bit.

Is this what he has to look forward to? My sunny little guy, who spent today looking to Momma for claps, then running victory laps around the living room and dissolving into a heap of giggles on the rug each time he correctly sorted shapes for his Special Skills therapist? (Which was almost every time!) Who cracked his Speech Therapist up when she asked him to take something and instead of whining or rebelling, he simply placed his hand gently over hers, pushed it down away from him, and very methodically shook his head "no"... then grinned and took the offered item anyway, chuckling at himself? THAT guy?

Suddenly the enormity of the future with all its uncertainty came crashing down on me, and all I could see was loneliness and dependence and...


Yes, I know the positives. I used to work in these places. Hell, I've RUN these places. And they are admittedly a far better alternative than living WITHOUT the supports they offer, if you need them. And he may not ever need them; he is progressing marvelously and who knows what the future may hold for my beautiful, shining boy? But they aren't home, and those responsible for helping him there might care for him too, but they will never love him.

Good gods, but autism sucks sometimes. And motherhood? How can anyone be prepared for this? There are times when the only sensible response seems to be wailing and finding a corner to hide in.

But then there's this:

... which we file under "Raising smurfs makes it all worth it" :)