At 42 Degrees

At 42 Degrees

Monday, July 29, 2013

Fearless


Over the weekend we took a short vacation with our guys, and with my camera I recorded most of it for prosperity, but there are no photographs of our time spent at a local water park. 

No, I wasn't worried about getting the camera wet, I was too worried about letting Isaac out of my arm's reach for a second because he loves the water and is utterly fearless!

Quite early we noticed this trait in Isaac when he showed no alarm for being in the dark. My other children when they were so small would NEVER enter or stay in a dark room,...but Isaac has no problem with an unlit venue. 

A baying dog? Isaac never flicked an eyelash, so calm and cool, even the dog in question was confused by this child, and high tailed it in the other direction before anyone could intervene. 

And then there is Isaac's running which used to alarm us to no end, because he takes off like a shot, with disregard to any set boundaries. This, however has modified somewhat, Isaac will obey an order to "STOP" - and he will hold our hands in parking lots and while shopping, but we are always highly vigilant in public. 

Perhaps that is why my husband was able to help a family this weekend. 

Saturday evening we were at an very pleasant outdoor shopping mall waiting for our restaurant table assignment when a little girl, a toddler zipped by in front of us. 

With pigtails wagging, she was cute, and I saw her, but I also had my eye on Isaac sitting by my side, however my husband quickly touched my arm and said:

"That little one's alone?"

"Are you sure?" I asked, but my husband didn't answer, he had already went into full chase with my oldest son behind him, because from their vantage point they could see the little girl was headed toward a very busy parking lot. 

Within the milling crowd, no one else noticed or reacted, I might add. 

Seconds later a man, with fear in his face, came sprinting full force through the crowd, who noticed him because he was plowing through at a breakneck pace. He was quite obviously the little girl's daddy. 

Happy ending here, another by-stander, along with my husband and oldest son caught the little girl just before she dashed in front of the traffic and she was safely returned to her grateful father. 

Later, my husband and I couldn't help draw conclusions about how Isaac's runs for the sheer love of running without seemingly to notice where he is running to or towards. He's better, but at the water park, he would have dashed into the deepest end without a blink. 

Needless to say swimming lessons are on our agenda. 

The life vest, Isaac wore was peace-of-mind as well, although a life vest can only offer so much safety and he was never out of arm's reach. We're fortunate that Isaac took a liking to his blue little floaty and was only too happy to wear it. The sunblock lotion also worked very well, no sunburned baby for this trip and that's always a good thing.

From what I understand this fearlessness is not uncommon among children with autism. Perhaps that little girl had autism, we'll never know of course, but our awareness with Isaac makes us sensitive to such situations. It's another piece of the autism puzzle. 


No answers here for this fearlessness, it's not all bad. I am glad Isaac's not afraid of the dark, nor intimidated by a barking dog. I am also glad he has so much pleasure from the water. We'll stay vigilant, and continue to condition and teach safety concerns with water, traffic, boundaries, and such, it's all I know to do. 

In the meantime, my little guy usually stays within arm's reach or closer and I am good with that,...he is our precious treasure to protect and teach and cherish. 



Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Kinetic Energy,...


For once it is not Isaac in motion,...but a kinetic sculpture at a local children's museum.



Part of Isaac's summer programs, his Wednesday morning class met at the museum for a play-group session and he had fun exploring and playing with the hands-on exhibits and running racing with his own super-sonic style in evidence by the flash of his little red shirt whizzing by....

When the parents broke away for a short seminar,...Isaac had at least three teenage volunteers keeping track on him in the Bubble Room,...and they all had athletic shoes on,...his speed is well known!

However this kinetic sculpture in the lobby held Isaac's riveted attention for at least twenty minutes and THAT is a long time for any child,....much less a hyper-active three year old. 




A broadening experience, Isaac was clearly trying to figure out the sculpture's mechanisms as the multi-colored golf balls traveled a diverse and musical track in an endless loop.


From all angles he quietly studied the device and you could see the wheels in his mind churning.




When it was time to go,...Isaac signed: "Thank you!"


Our first visit to the children's museum,...but not our last,.....

Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Road Trip,...

Mini road trip with Daddy this weekend.


Four hour journey, but Isaac likes looking out the window,...he points out trees and birds and emphatically signs: "YES!!!!" to every McDonald's, Chick-fil-la and playground he sees. 


When not taking in the scenery Isaac played with his animals,...a whole barnful,...including a giraffe, lions, tigers and bears,...


Saturday afternoon when visiting a mall, it was par for the course, Isaac decidedly skipped an ice cream treat (sensory issues) and gobbled every single grain of rice!


Fueled with grain and chicken nuggets, Isaac was ready to tackle the mall's play place. He excitedly signs for Daddy to join him in the uber-cool arena. 


Although Isaac was the only child using sign language in the play place,...you don't need much language for a game of tag,...a friendly smile is easy to translate. 


However, Sunday morning a dose of reality hit along with a stomach bug just as we were checking out of our hotel! 

But what a little trooper,...even at his sickest Isaac never even cried,...although Mama did a little with a four hour journey home ahead of us with a sick baby. 

Nonverbal baby at that! 

Isaac's inability to fully communication really struck a chord. It hurt, he couldn't tell us, his stomach felt so bad.  With what resources we had, we made our little guy as comfortable as we could, prayed and requested prayer via the miracle of modern technology and headed the car homeward.

Thankfully Isaac wasn't sick again, and slept most of the way and woke feeling - obviously - better. 


Just a little subdued, Isaac looked at books the rest of the way home.


By the time we arrived home Isaac seemed fully recovered, he was ready to explore the front seat and once inside the house - he was back to his super-sonic speed zooming around the living room. 

So our mini road trip was one of 'those' road trips,...a get-away where you are only too glad to get home, but that's OK,...it's just life.

Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Brothers,...



While raising our older sons, Teddy and Michael it never occurred to us, my husband and myself, that we would or could ever have another child, but four years ago,...July 5, 2009,...we sat Teddy and Michael down and told them our lives were about to be forever changed. 

Isaac was on his way.

How did my older guys react?

Shock, surprise, and then absolute utter delight. In fact they were so excited they went outside and saluted the news with the last of our sky rockets left over from the 4th of July.

We, of course, didn't know at first Isaac would have special needs, although his severe jaundice and harrowing four days in the NICU should have been a portent. But even if we had known, it wouldn't have mattered. We love Isaac, as is, because he is so uniquely unique. 

My post today was actually going to be quite different, I was wanting to share some of our progress on Isaac's TEACCH set up and some of the projects I have planned for his therapy this fall. 

Then my son Michael, the one without the beard, posted a YouTube link onto my Facebook wall,...and I hope I am linking it properly here:


The link should take you to YouTube and if you do link have some tissues handy because this is the most precious video about two brothers. I sobbed. 

Note: correction on title of YouTube video, the correct title is: What is it like to have a brother with autism? The link is correct, I just goofed on the title and I wanted to make sure I got it right, because the young man who posted the video - deserves proper credit.

Such acceptance, pride and brotherly love,...nothing new to Isaac,...it is all he has ever known.







Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Zoo Day,...

Monday was ZOO DAY!!!

For the annual charity event the morning proved to be hot and humid,...in fact so humid,...I had to wipe off the camera lens more than once when we were having a pre-zoo photo shoot. 


Isaac attends an early intervention preschool and the students were treated to a VIP experience at our local zoo.


Including breakfast buffet and free t-shirts, which I, of course, embellished for Isaac as volunteers were going to take the children around the zoo while we, parents rested in the air conditioned zoo lodge. 


It's difficult to see in this picture,...but I graffitied a warning on the back of Isaac's shirt. It reads:

I run very, very FAST!

After watching Isaac zoom laps on the lawn not a volunteer at the event doubted that statement! 

Teachers and therapists from the school were there as well to help with the children, as the volunteers were not accustomed to the particular needs of each student,...

Two sweet young women squired Isaac about the zoo,...they loved he was so fast and so unique with his sign language and what verbal speech he has mastery of,...and although the volunteers didn't know sign language,...that didn't prove to be a problem because Isaac was 'teaching' them pertinent 'signs' - as he is an expert and getting his message across. 

Photo shoots are not Isaac's thing and although he warmed up to his helpers, he preferred big brother's arms for the obligatory pix. 


Grateful heart thanks to those who made this event possible,...sometimes it is hard to be on the receiving end of charity,...until you remember that charity means: LOVE.

Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Serve Day 2013


Saturday our church: Church of the Highlands sponsored a SERVE DAY in which various groups served our community through - service projects. 

A little love goes a long way,...especially when it is practical. 

Our small group helped with a host of yard work and household projects as varied as decorating a room, to cleaning the kitchen, and organizing a library for a precious lady who had lost her husband in the past year and was bewildered and behind with all the routine 'chores'  - that needed attending - like cleaning gutters, and weeding with the weed-eater,...ect.


It was so much fun to wave at the honking cars showing support, and to talk to the curious neighbors who came over to see what all the 'red-shirts' were doing, and stayed to help. 


For a bit, Isaac ran errands with me to the hardware store where he garnered lots of smiles, but mostly he stayed outside with Daddy,...helping....

And helping,....


And helping,....


And learning an important lesson: One is never too little to serve the LORD.

Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!











Friday, July 12, 2013

I-SSS-ICK


Wish I were computer savvy enough to have the title of this post in flashing lights.


This spring, I spent a couple weeks embellishing Isaac's summer wardrobe, and the response to Isaac's ISAAC shirts have been overwhelmingly positive. You'd think our little guy was a rockstar, he's gotten so many shout-outs.




Identity for Isaac is not a challenge - he knows his name is Isaac and he knows to respond to his nickname: I.I. as well. 


We chose I.I. for a nickname because Isaac is a mouthful to say even for a preschooler without Apraxia. 

With Apraxia, we never know what we're going to get. 

Example, for the past few weeks at speech therapy, Isaac's speech pathologist would present my photo and Isaac would either say or sign: "Mama."

When Isaac's photo was presented, Isaac would point to himself or sign: boy.

However this week in speech therapy when Isaac's photo was presented, my little guy said:

"I-SSS-ICK!!!!!"

Oh yes, I was doing backflips, and so was the speech pathologist. 

By no means was the pronunciation clear, in fact only the ears of love could fully catch those blurred syllables, but it means emergence, and everyone has to start somewhere. 

Monogram shirts will probably still be around for quite awhile and that's OK, they are just another tool to help Isaac grow to his fullest potential. 





Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!


Monday, July 8, 2013

Plugged In,...


My older sons: Teddy and Michael were mostly raised in the previous century thus they never owned a game-boy or any other type hand-held computer device.
Since college in the 21st century is so technical and wired to the internet, they've both quickly made up for lost ground with their cell phones, laptops and tablets. 
Computer savvy they both are.
So is Isaac.
Three years old and Isaac knows the configuration of my iPad better than I do. 
However the iPad is strictly supervised, let's get real, they are not cheap, nor are they meant to take an energetic preschooler's loving.


Luckily Isaac's third birthday gifted him a Leap-pad tablet, and what a life-saver that device has been in sensory overload situations for the past six months.
In a restaurant it is the difference between eating a calm meal or frantically chasing our preschooler.

Needless to say we highly value that Leap-pad, it is for a touchpad sturdily built. Isaac's given it a lot of love, and it is still running despite being heaved, shoved, tossed, dropped, slung, 
and flipped threw the air with the greatest of ease.
We have a battery pack for it and it is easy to plug in for a quick charge. Isaac plays games, watches videos and sometimes just pushes the buttons because he can touch any button he wants without anyone screeching:
"Noooooo don't push that!"
Best of all we control the content, so there is no worries on that score.

Honestly I've been surprised how much Isaac has learned from his Leap-pad,...like the entire alphabet and the phonics for each letter. Although that success is a tad bittersweet, because while I absolutely adore hearing Isaac chanting the alphabet and even picking out individual letters and telling me, "A, ah, S, sssss"  - he still can't say his own name 
and I don't know what is to blame: apraxia or autism, probably both.  

Yet, with time, Isaac being able to say his name will come, 
and it will probably be a blog posting lit up with flashing lights:

 "HE SAID, ISAAC!!!"

Until that red letter day: we are going to continue being grateful for what progress Isaac has made, especially how he is interactive with his Leap-pad or any other electronic device - he wants to share the experience with what communication he is master of, and we are alway ready and willing to communicate.





Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Listening To My Heart


When it comes to our children's welfare, it is often said mothers have a innate instinct concerning what is best for their off spring. 


Being an older mother with two grown children and now finding myself as a mother with a special needs preschooler I am finding my mother's instinct to be even more highly attuned to my little one's needs. Be it teaching him sign language in the face of all the naysayers, or absolutely refusing to become unglued about potty training. 



Potty training is in progress, but in our home, there is not a little plastic potty in sight.

Despite a quite of bit of pressure to get my preschooler potty trained NOW,...my instincts tell me to take it very slowly.

So we are reading about potty training, we're talking about potty training, especially during every diaper change, and we waiting for Isaac's maturity in this area to evidence itself, which it is in numerous ways, but he's still not quite ready. 

And that's OK, it's a process with all children, and especially with a child that has communication challenges,...each day we're closer.




We're taking each day as it comes,...like finding the perfect place to put a sticker,...things take time, be it dealing with stonewalling insurance panels, seeking a new pediatrician (Isaac's retired), or trying to reconfigure a home office for TEACCH therapies. 



Perhaps I am relying so heavily on listening to my mother's heart, because there is often nothing plausible or predictable about our life at this moment. 

In the past twenty-five years, I've raised two children, wonderful men, whom I love and am so proud of,....but with Isaac, these past three years, I often find myself as bewildered as a first time mother.  Even when I find a technique that works with Isaac, like those blessed stickers for distraction while shopping,...there is no guarantee,...stickers will work our next shopping trip or while waiting for the three hours of previews before the feature movie to end, but those annoyingly long previews are another soapbox!

A year and half into this Apraxia/Autism venture, and life at times seems so noisy, with so many opinions and so much advice being sent our way. Often it sounds like static screaming from an electronic device impossible to discern. 

Which is best?
What to do?
How to do it?
We must do this!
We must do that!
Now.
Now.
NOW!!!

Quiet! 

Let me think, let me listen to my heart. 

What seems best, is not always so. What works for one child, will not always work for another. 

Do I seem distracted? Bemused? Overwhelmed?

I am.

Apraxia and Autism - it's a lot to take in. 

Our sole concern is for Isaac,...what is best for him, and we are doing the best we can to cut through the static and listen to our hearts (Daddies have intuitive hearts too!). We know, of course, we have to reason with our heads, and not be unreasonable: experts are experts for a reason, yet with so much conflicting information - hello, everyone says their way is THE best and a MUST,...we are straining to hear what our hearts are saying. 

Surely there is no right or wrong here. If one technique doesn't work, we can always try another. 

Wish all of this was as easy as pulling a pack of stickers out of my purse. 

The stickers, for now work like a charm. Isaac likes the fruit stickers and the butterfly stickers,...he hasn't seen the race car stickers yet,...I am saving those for when we get closer to pulling out that little plastic potty.

At the end of the day when Isaac is finally asleep and the house is quiet, I listen to my heart, and find it grateful that Isaac is so healthy and strong, that we do have so many options for his treatment, and most of all that we have been so blessed to have Isaac in our life: he is a dream, we never dared to dream, but he's our reality and that is truly the greatest blessing of all!


Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!















Wednesday, July 3, 2013

4th of What?

Our household is dominated by men with my husband and our three sons, thus by necessity our decor is rather rugged and practical with leather sofas, easy to wipe off, solid surfaces floors, also easy to clean, and bare minimum, bric-a-brac, mostly nonbreakable wooden objects.

So you see, for us, decorating for the holidays has never been a high priority. My men would rather have a decorate cake or cookies than a decorate house, or let's get real with the festive food, such as  roasted turkey and dressing (Thanksgiving), Grilled rib-eyes (Christmas), BBQ chicken wings (4th of July) and bacon on anything from the cookies to the cake!!!

So aside from a crepe paper turkey on the dining room table, and our Christmas tree and naivety sets, our holiday decor has also been at a bare minimum. 




Enter Isaac and his challenges and our attempts to teach him about the holidays. Unless we want Isaac to be thinking, "4th of What?" -- we obviously need to make a bigger effort to immerse him into whatever holiday or season is at hand. Hence, our attempt at bunting - via the Dollar Store. 



It's not overwhelming, but it is a start.



Isaac has enjoyed the bunting flags and learning the sign for flag. 

FLAG: (Rest your right elbow on the back of your left hand, and holding your right arm straight like a pole, you loosely wave your right hand, as if it were a flag waving in the breeze.)


Of course, Isaac would just rather wildly wave his flag,...he's all of 3.5,...and with his challenges it might take a while for the significance of holidays to sink in. 

In the meantime our foyer is going to be holiday central with seasonal decorations as over the top as my time, ingenuity, and wallet can make them. Already we are set for the 4th of July. 

Wet weather predicted for our 4th, but hopefully we'll get to take in a baseball game (a first for Isaac) and view some fireworks.

Hope everyone else has drier weather and a safe and festive 4th of July for those celebrating or just a really nice summer day for everyone else. 

Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!







Monday, July 1, 2013

No Worries,...


In three and half years there have been a lot of concerns with Isaac from the beginning with his severe jaundice to his diagnosis of Apraxia and Autism.



Lots of people worried about this little guy, and that's aside from us, myself, my husband, our older guys, and other immediate family and friends. Lots of prayers spoken on Isaac's behalf, lots of professionals consulted on his welfare. 
Lots of twists and turns on this journey and quite a few worried tears, mostly mine. 


However there is one person closely connected to Isaac's double A diagnosis,...who is not in the least bit worried, or concerned, or troubled, or shedding tears.



Isaac!!!



Isaac has more important things to do than worry about Apraxia and Autism. There are toys to be played with, the alphabet to chant, signs to learn, French fries and apples to eat, the local splash pad to visit with big brother, Veggie Tales and 3-2-1 Penguins to watch, books to read, trampolines to jump on, the iPad to reconfigure, puzzles to conquer, races to run, the world to explore,....he is a busy guy. 
And an extremely happy one. 
We have more laughter than tears in our home. 

If Isaac could articulate his views on his double A diagnosis, he's probably say, "So what?"


No worries for Isaac,...he doesn't have time,...he's too busy living!


Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!