At 42 Degrees

At 42 Degrees

Thursday, August 29, 2013

For Posterity,...

This past weekend my husband and I celebrated his 50th birthday and our 29th wedding anniversary by going out to dinner with our guys, which for us is a treat and an achievement to get everyone in the same place at the same time, as our older guys have very busy work and school schedules. 

Normally on such occasions we have a photo-shoot while waiting on our table at the restaurant, it passes the time, and I get great photos of my guys for posterity. 

However last Sunday evening we were seated at once, so our pictures were take post-supper.

Needless to say Isaac is not a fan of photo-shoots, you have to stand still, and two: making eye contact is not always comfortable for him. 

Sometimes Isaac is a sport and humors mother, but most of the time,...he doesn't,...and it is not unusual for me to take 60+ pictures and have only one or two worth keeping...if that.

Often we try distraction,...

Only Isaac has an I.Q.,...higher than all of ours collectively,...

We try,...shrugging it off with a laugh,...after all Isaac is in the picture,...

Sort of,...

My pleas for posterity are met with Isaac's sign that means, "Mother, enough, PLEASE!"

The very last picture was actually the winner,...even if Isaac doesn't look impressed with the goofy-expressions and silly voice I was using to get his attention. I know I was insulting his intelligence, but for posterity Mamas will go to just about any lengths.

Thanks to all my guys for so patiently putting up with my photo shoots,...I am blessed to live with such precious people!

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

Monday, August 26, 2013

Speaking Love,...

 For a classified 'non-verbal' child,...Isaac is actually a classic chatter-box.

Finding the world exciting, our little guy has a lot to say and he isn't going to let Apraxia slow him down. Fortunately Isaac is blessed with a high degree of self-expression, from body-language to an amazing ability to inflect a single syllable into 101 meanings,...Isaac usually gets his message across.

On the rare occasions when Isaac is having difficulty with communication, he handles it with an unusual amount of grace, not getting into a temper or pitching a fit,...instead with an expression of great patience (with us) he throws every single syllable and sign at his command in a frenetic blur that usually ends with him throwing his arms around us and offering multitudes of kisses,...which is ingenious as it usually yields what he desires.

Then there are those even rarer occasions when words and gestures and even hugs and kisses don't convey what Isaac is feeling. During those times our little one turns telepathic, or tries. 

Often touching forehead to forehead, Isaac gazes deep into our eyes as if to communicate his thoughts to us. Very rare, very beautiful....

So many unknowns for our future,...for Isaac's future,...but he already knows how to speak love,...even if it's just a soulful gaze,...that communicates more eloquently than any spoken word I've ever heard. 

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." 
- 1 Corinthians 13:13

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

Friday, August 23, 2013

First Day Preschool,...

First day of preschool for Isaac this week,...and for the record no one cried,...neither him nor me.

However our little night owl wasn't thrilled with being awake at 7:30 in the morning, although we did try to get Isaac into bed at an earlier hour,...we had partial success,...but like anything with autism it is a work-in-progress,...

Thankfully Isaac did like his backpack loaded with all the essentials for a preschooler. 

By the time Isaac gets into college the backpack should fit,...

Proper perspective is needed to remember that our great-big preschooler is still just a little guy with a lot of challenges ahead of him.

It is a tad mind-boggling that my husband and I are spending the week of our 29th wedding anniversary sending our little miracle to his first day of preschool....

First sight of the playground at school and Isaac, in his carseat, was signing and saying, "Yes! Yes! Yes!"

That playground made the rest of the preschool transition simple as: 1, 2, 3,...and it was that quick to get a goodbye kiss from Isaac and a happy wave....



So that first morning Isaac went to into his class, my husband went to work, and I went home and cleaned house without my little helper at my side. 

It was an odd experience, the house was too quiet, and I missed those super-sonic steps pattering up and down our hallway. Although, our home did get an extra good scrubbing, which it sorely needed, I rediscovered the fact that a spotless clean house is actually pretty boring...

Give me fingerprints and crumbs,...if I means I get Isaac's bright and sunny smile too...

After lunch, I confess I did watch the clock, ready and eager to get my little guy,...especially when a couple thunderstorms roared through our area with thunder and lightening and torrential rains. Fortunately school dismissal was in a rain-free window. 

Speaking of windows, peeking through the class window, when we went to pick him up, we saw Isaac was happily playing with a shelf of toys, (by the way - Isaac's preschool classroom is HUGE,...the size of two normal classrooms,...and beautifully appointed and supplied, I might add). When we entered, (My oldest son, Teddy and myself) Isaac ran to us with such delight, one of the aides said:

 "Wow! Just look at the smile for Mommy!"

"You mean, big brother," I corrected for Isaac predictably leapt into Teddy's arms as they are buddys extraordinare! 

However, I did get an extra good hug and kiss from Isaac while his teacher was telling us what a 'great day' Isaac had, so much so, he even NAPPED!!!!! 

No, I didn't fall over with shock due to the unexpected napping,...I was too thankful my little guy seemed so happy and had such a great day!


No doubt, in the future, Isaac will have more school adventures to share,...

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

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Isaac: At A Glance

This past spring Isaac's Early Intervention Pre-Preschool hosted a "Transition Seminar" - to help the parents and students smoothly transition from the cozy-warm safe harbor of Early Intervention to the unknown seas of what lies beyond in the public school system, and just for the record we are blessed to have been cast into the seas of a wonderful Special Needs Preschool within our local school system,...

Transition Books were introduced that night at the Transition Seminar,...basically they are books or booklets with pictures and information about your child and their likes, dislikes, strengths and challenges. Some of the transition books were quite simple, just staples pages in a note book, others were quite impressive, such as several professional bounds 'books'  --

With Isaac being sick last week, I didn't have time to create a Transition Book, for Isaac's new preschool teacher, but thanks to the aid of a  scrapbooking software (Printmaster) - I was able to create a double-sided sheet of card-stock paper that I then laminated so it would be easy for the teacher to stick into Isaac's school file for reference. 

Isaac: At A Glance

This past Friday on the Teacher-Meet Day at the Preschool, Isaac was still too sick to go with me when I went to meet his teacher and take his school supplies. Having Isaac's transition sheet was a great ice-breaker and a convenient proxy-introduction. 

Isaac's new teacher liked the Isaac: At A Glance,...and said she created something very similar for her students when they transition to their next class. 

The nicest thing about Transition Books or Sheets - is that there is no right or wrong. It's just a friendly "Hello" and some helpful information about a uniquely unique little guy. 

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

Saturday, August 17, 2013

First The Storm,...Then The Rainbow,...

Storms in our area this past week,...rainbows too....

Tuesday evening, my oldest son and I stopped to take these pictures  when we had just arrived at Walmart.  Those ominous looking clouds were rolling fast, and I only had enough time to snap a picture or two, before we grabbed Isaac out of his car seat and ran into the store,...missing the torrential rains by a cat's whisker. 

What a difference after the storm!!! Double rainbows and my dusty car washed brillo-clean!!!

Needed this reminder that storms, out of rain,...and rainbows follow.

Do you know that you can only see a rainbow after a rainstorm?  

Glad I know, because by the next morning my super-sonic little guy wasn't feeling very well.

Wednesday Isaac was quiet and limp? Oh dear,...something was wrong,...and it is heartbreaking that he can't tell us when he is sick,...or where is he is hurting. 

No obvious symptoms either, except a high fever by bedtime and a limp and whimpering baby through the night, but we went swimming Monday evening at an Autism event, and I laid my bets that my little guy had an ear infection, even though he wasn't tugging at his ears.

Thursday morning, a very subdued Isaac and I visited his new pediatrician, who was wonderfully accommodating with our little guy's treatment - making sure he had the most effective, 
yet easiest medicine to take to treat his double ear infection. 

 Thursday night wasn't easy nor was Friday morning,...but by Friday afternoon a giggle or two escaped, the sofa was jumped on, and familiar pitter-patter sounded up and down our hallway.

By the time Daddy came home Friday evening, Isaac wasn't exactly bouncing off the walls, as usual, but he was bright and perky and full of laughter,...just as if he was our little double rainbow.

We've been blessed that Isaac has been so healthy,...aside from his four days in the NICU when he as born,...he's had a sniffle or two, croup, two stomach viruses,...and that's it,...until this week.

The other illnesses were pretty obvious, especially the stomach viruses, but Wednesday Isaac's descent was a real mystery. I had nothing to go on other than Isaac wasn't acting like Isaac.

Believe me, I was on the telephone the second the doctor's office opened Thursday morning!!!! And I have to say they were great about working him in extra quick!!!

A couple sick and stormy days for us, but how nice to have our Isaac back,...hyperactivity and all!!!

Wow,...those giggles,...they are pretty precious!

And his opinionated opinions decreed in fluent Echolalian,...lovely to hear!

And that bright smile? It rivals rainbows.

Pretty tough week for us,...especially our little guy,...but rainbows do follow,...and I thank the LORD for that!

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

Friday, August 9, 2013

Just A Little Guy

 Our Isaac is just a little guy in a great big world.

We're learning together about the world, although it's challenging because with apraxia and autism it seems like, at times, there is a glass barrier between our worlds,...

Isaac experiences the world is such a unique manner. 

It's exciting and puzzling and inspiring to watch him engage in his own way.

But above all, he's such a happy little guy. 

Autism is no threat to him, he's just fine with the world, as is. 

Such as Wednesday night when we went to pick up Isaac from his class at church. The other preschoolers, not all, but most were happily playing: Duck, Duck, Goose. (a circle game, very social) 

However, Isaac was happily placing puzzle pieces through a slot in one of the tables. The piece would drop to the ground, and he'd scramble under the table and pick it up giggling. In fact, he was having so much fun, the volunteers had to call him several times, to let him know we were at the door. 

The look of delight on Isaac's face when he recognized and ran to us was heart melting. He is actually a very social little guy,....just in a different way

Often when  I worry and fret over Isaac's condition, I find myself wondering if I am wasting my time with such needless concerns about his communication and socialization.

Isaac is Isaac, and he's happy and doing the very best he can with what limitations he was, so much so, he's not even aware he has limitations. 

Like with anything with autism this is impossible to rationalize. 

The reality of autism is that it is a puzzle, perhaps not for the person with autism, but for us, who love someone with autism and just want to help. 

We love this little guy so much. He brings us so much joy.

When you live in a world where you can Google just about everything and get an answer - it's difficult to accept that sometimes - there are no answers. But there is joy, and giggles, and hard hugs, and bright smiles, and one happy little guy, perhaps in the end that should be answer enough. 

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

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Summer Reading Program Flop

When summer began we had high hopes to participate in our local library's summer reading program, but that plan did not materialize. Or rather it dematerialized in a fizzle when confronted with the reality of living with the complexities of apraxia and autism. 

In other words, it flopped. 

Not whining here, but each day is a challenge, such as one morning when it took me three hours to clean the kitchen after breakfast. Where did the time go? Diaper changes, giggle sessions, answering the telephone, more giggle sessions, a few reading sessions, a few cuddle sessions, hunting toys, singing, and more giggle sessions. 

Time consuming? Yes, but I rather have Isaac engaging with me than not, so lagging housework is not a problem. Stuff gets done, when it gets done. 

As for the summer reading program, I did bring home a backpack filled with library books, and we read a few, but then summer school, therapy and life got in the way and I was in such a panic about the return date on the library books, I took them back a week earlier.  It was just too stressful, and something as fun as reading should never be associated with stress. 

We'll not giving up on using the local library, we'll try and try and try again. but I can see it is going to be a process, like potty training,...

In the meantime Isaac is not hurting for books, his collection wouldn't shame a preschool class, and we read them together as often as we can. When I am not available, such as when the kitchen absolutely has to be cleaned, Isaac likes to read to himself. Or rather, he looks through the books and pointed out the alphabet, numbers, shapes and objects he recognizes.

Monday night, Isaac chose read in a laundry basket. He dragged the basket out, climbed in with his book and jabbered, jabbered, jabbered while reading each page. 

Most of Isaac's jabber was in his own dialect of Echolalian, but I caught a few colors: yellow, blue, and a few of his favorite words like: key, cat, and cookie. 

I might add it was 10:30 pm when Isaac decided to having this reading-fest, as reasonable bedtimes are also a work-in-progress. But that's OK, Isaac is making progress and the only true failure is not to try. Which brings us back to the local library's summer reading program. 

For us, it was a flop.

But, so what? 

It's not the end of the world. 

In the end, Isaac loves books, and that was the purpose of the reading program anyway. 

Slowly I am learning that living with the complexities of autism means having to look at everything through a different perspective. 

So, perhaps, in a sense, our flop was a success since the goal was achieved - just in a different way

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

Monday, August 5, 2013

Batter Up,...First Baseball Game,...

First baseball game for Isaac a few weeks ago when we were on vacation in Huntsville, Alabama.

The evening didn't start too auspiciously with Isaac sound asleep when we got to the stadium. But then, we had already spent most of the afternoon at a uber-cool playground. This city park had three wonderful playgrounds and also a disc golf course for big brother Teddy, who was able to join us for our get-away. 

The Huntsville Stars are a Double-A team and had a conveniently located stadium. It was actually a rather large stadium, so there were more fans at the ballgame than it looked like. 

For the occasion, since we were rooting for the Huntsville Stars, Isaac wore his galaxy ISAAC shirt,...when it got dark the glow-in-the-dark painted stars and the ISAAC looked too cool for words!!!

Knowing our little guy, we chose to sit in the very last section near 1st base and it was perfect as we had the entire section to ourselves,...because, of course, Isaac woke up.

There was no keeping Isaac off the stadium seats, so his little sandals came off,...immediately!!!

If Isaac wasn't so sure footed,...and bare-footed,...I'd have been biting my nails all evening!

We had hoped Isaac would have noticed the ballgame,...but he didn't,....despite our attempts to help him learn the sign for baseball, he never once pointed to the field or offered an observation toward the ball field, but that's OK.

Most important, Isaac still got to experience a baseball game in a stadium for his frame of reference, because there is a lot going on in that busy little mind of his that he can't yet express, but one day perhaps he'll remember his first ballgame and be able to share his memories. 

For the majority of the evening Isaac enjoyed the stadium. He went up and down,...back and forth,...having his own his brand of fun.

However, we were thrilled that Isaac did notice the music over the P.A.,...and he especially noticed when the crowded applauded. No matter for what team,...Isaac enthusiastically clapped too, and made sure we did as well!

But let's get real, what is honestly important is that Isaac learned to true reason to attend baseball games,...FAST-FOOD FEAST!!!

Hot dogs, pop corn and funnel cake,...yum, yum, yum,....and Isaac signed: more, more, more!!!

The stadium food really won Isaac over.

In fact when Isaac and I went on an 'adventure walk' through the stadium's concourse so Daddy and big brother could actually watch an inning or two, Isaac dramatically steered me to the popcorn vendor,...signing: popcorn and saying, "YES! YES! YES!"

This summer was Isaac's first baseball game,...but not his last!

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

Thursday, August 1, 2013

An End Is Also A Beginning,...

 Today was Isaac's last day at the Bell Center for Early Intervention,...

This is the end. 

For the record,...I cried,...he didn't,...

Last day doesn't equate with Isaac....he's a perfect study how to live in the moment,...

Here are a few moments from last spring and summer (2012) - how tiny he looks!!!!

Isaac's first week at the Bell Center,...he pitifully cried,...and so did I,...but then I made him a Social Story and it seemed to help,...the next week and the rest of his time at the Bell Center have been all smiles,...

2012                                                                                                                                                 2013

Amazing how much our
little guy has grown in the past eighteen months or so,....


On the computer - Isaac helped me make thank you cards for his teachers and therapists. I added a note from our family:

Words cannot fully express what the Bell Center has meant to our family for the past eighteen months. In circumstanced where we felt hopeless, we were given hope. Where we felt helpless, we were given help. And not just help, but inspiration and courage, and guidance through what has been a bewildering  labyrinth through apraxia and autism. The road before us is is long, it stretches into the unknown, but Isaac's time at the Bell Center has helped to fit him, and us, for the journey. Thank you.

Already we're taking our first steps upon the new road before us,'s unknown and a bit intimidating, but we are walking 'by faith and not by sight' - knowing that an end is also a beginning.

Our little long legged guy dreaming of new adventures,....

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