At 42 Degrees

At 42 Degrees

Thursday, January 30, 2014

They said,..."Just Flurries."

So,..were we effected by the Southern-Snowstorm of 2014?



That would be a "YES!",...and of course with Isaac the details have an interesting twist.

To start,...our part of the state was not suppose to be effected,...at the most they said, "...just flurries." - and Golly-Gee,...but we believed them,...and Tuesday morning I quite trustingly took Isaac to preschool,...because everything had to be OK,...school was open.

Mind,...it was cloudy and cold, very cold at 18 degrees Tuesday morning and while Isaac had his warm little coat,...I made a mental note to bring mitten and a knit cap when I picked him up that afternoon,...as the temperature was suppose to drop all day.

Having a cold or flu, or whatever sniffling-coughing stuff I've got this week is never fun,...and with a preschooler it is less fun,...and a special needs preschooler,...means that you don't really get to be sick,...sorry but sleep and healing have to be put on the back burner,...as you see,.. just because YOU are feeling sick doesn't mean your super-sonic preschooler is,...

In other words,...Tuesday morning I felt pretty icky and as my two older sons were home, I literally nose-dived back into bed when I got home from taking Isaac to school and slept a good forty-five minutes or so.

The door bell woke me,...so sick,...and a bit sleep deprived,...I had forgotten I was suppose to 'host' a meeting at my house,...oh yeah,...one of those days,...but fortunately the only one to show up for the meeting was a dear friend,...a darling person who was more than happy to ignore my forgetfulness,...and so she plunked down on the foot of my bed,...and we caught up with 'girl-talk' for another forty-five minutes or so,...yak-yak-yak,...we were not even aware of the time,...and then the telephone rang,...and I saw the number of Isaac's preschool teacher and my heart leapt.

"Is I.I. OK?" I asked in panicked tones, (I.I. is Isaac's nickname by the way)

"Oh yes,...but school is closing," says Isaac's preschool teacher,...and I was loopy enough to ask, "Why?"

"Haven't you looked outside?" Isaac's teacher asked in an incredulous voice, and I don't blame her for the incredulous especially when my friend ran to the window and cried:

"OH MY GOODNESS!!!!" 

In the forty-five minutes since my friend had been in my house talking to me - the world went white,...we're talking solid white with blizzard conditions,...the roads were covered,...and usually it takes HOURS for the roads to accumulate snow,...

"I'll be right there," I shouted into the phone,...and scrambling into shoes and a coat,...I raced to my car,...and for the first time in MY LIFE drove in a snow storm,...up and down quite hilly roads,...but fortunately it was freezing cold and the snow was hard and brittle and there was no ice on the roads,...yet....

Sick or not,...I sprinted into the school,...and the teacher and aides all laughed,...saying, "THAT WAS QUICK!!!"

And it was,...for fortunately we live quite close...but I didn't stay to chit-chat I hustled Isaac into his jacket and hauled him and his backpack into my arms and raced back to my car,...in blizzard conditions,...buckled him into his carseat,...and drove cautiously back home,...VERY CAUTIOUS,...because in the short time I was in the school,...maybe five minutes,...the roads were beginning to turn to ice,...we fishtailed a bit,...and I was chanting, "Don't hit the brakes,...don't hit the brakes,...don't hit the brakes."

So glad to pull into my driveway,...and for the record my friend was able to get home safely too,...



Naturally Isaac was enchanted with the snow,...big brother Teddy took him for a stroll,...


Amazing how quickly the world turned white,...this degree of whiteness is maybe an hour and half into the storm


We were so fortunate not to lose electricity and to have plenty of chili, kale and bacon,..chili for my older guys,...the kale was for me and my cold,...kill a cold with Vitamin A and Vitamin C,...and the bacon was for Oatmeal-bacon cookies....a new favorite,...because I live in a male-centered household and men can NEVER get enough bacon,...


Of course, Isaac likes popcorn and much as he likes cookies and as we were having snow-days,....we had plenty of popcorn too.

We were fortunate that only two of our crew were stranded,...my husband out-of-town had to hole-up in a hotel,...and my middle son's girlfriend was caught in the traffic mayhem for three hours until she was able to get into a room in a hotel as well....

But many people,...too many were stranded over night in their cars,...or at work,...or many school children were stranded at school,...with no doubt frantic parents stuck in the snarled traffic,...however it was heartwarming to hear about so many kind neighbors taking in strangers,...or giving help to the ice-barred cars and their occupants,...

Or even one elderly man who was rescued,...Wednesday because someone took the time to make sure the elderly man was OK in his stranded car,...he wasn't,...he had been stranded over night and run out of gas,...and was nearly frozen,...but the individuals were able to flag down a police car and get the elderly man to the hospital,...heart-warming stuff,...because there are yet,...kind and caring people,..in a cold, cold world....


Needless to say Isaac had a fine time being snow-bound with both big brothers at his beck and call,...and Daddy on the telephone every so often,...for updates and Mommy sick-bound in bed,...she always needed giggles and bouncing and "Got-you" kisses from her Isaac-man,...it was for Isaac fun galore,...but then,...everyday is usually that as well,...the only difference was the water continuously running on our faucets (to keep them from freezing), the dazzling white snow outside,...and constant weather reports on the radio,...all saying what Isaac already knew,..."It's really cold outside."


Unexpectedly snowed in January 2014,...yep we were,...but the snow has already melted,...my husband is home, my cold is some better,...and no doubt there will be new adventures for Isaac to experience in 2014,...only next time the National Weather Folks predict, "Just Flurries" - I have a feeling we will all be better prepared,...even if they are not!!!


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



Monday, January 27, 2014

Why Bother With A Door,...


Why bother with a door,...when a little play house has a window?


All it takes is a willingness to seek it out and try,.....


And try,....



Keep going even when things get tough,...


Or it seems like you are barely making progress,...


Or have to start over,...


Because eventually - YOU will succeed,....Isaac is IN the playhouse,...his goal.


Some days communication is easier for Isaac than others, but there is not a single day when communication is as easy for Isaac as it is for a typical four year old,...our little guy has high hurdles to jump,...and....I was reminded over the weekend exactly HOW rare Apraxia is,...we live with it,...so we forget that most people,...even educators in the special needs community have barely heard of it, or not heard of it,...or in their careers have only met one or two individuals with Apraxia.

Apraxia, of course, is a motor-processing disorder which makes it difficult for Isaac to say what he wants to say when he wants to say it,...so even when Isaac knows what he wants to say and how to say it,...there are times when Apraxia's motor processing mayhem,...clogs up all those communication gears,...and nothing comes out,...and that's when Isaac gets creative with sign and mime,...or using his default words with 101 inflections,...that's really quite amazing because Isaac can get a lot of milage out of a simple words like, "Yes, or Go, or Pull."

Quite often individuals who suffer a stroke are affected by Apraxia when they lose the ability to speak and have to re-learn,...also I've had it explained as the television satellite works perfectly,...and the television receiver works perfectly,...but they are NOT connected,...thus no signal is received by the television,...and all you have is a blank screen. 

And even though the motor-processing disorder makes it difficult for Isaac to communicate,...he treats it like he did this playhouse at Costco,...can't get through the door?....FINE!....He'll climb through a window,...and the result is the SAME,...he's in the house,...and what he wants to communicate is communicated!

Just this past week,...Isaac led me to the refrigerator,...opened the door,...and pointed to the produce bin,...nothing new,...but he then said, "Want apple,"....and that WAS new,...two word request,....Woo-hoo!!!!....I would have given Isaac the entire bin of apples,...but he just wanted one for a snack,...and he assured me,...it was an apple, by saying and signing: apple - 

And forgive me saying so,...but it's REALLY CUTE when Isaac assures us that objects are indeed the objects they are,...because you need to repeat,..."Yes, Isaac that is an apple." -- for him to be satisfied,...and that's only more proof that Isaac worries about others and their communication difficulties,...because to him,...he's got this communication stuff licked,...I mean, hey he got the apple when he wanted the apple, and he knows it's an apple,...but he's not so sure about the rest of us,...obviously we're going to need his support and encouragement to function properly in this world,...and I LOVE it,...because why bother with a door,...when it's more fun to climb through a window!!!




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























Friday, January 24, 2014

Memphis and Back in 24 hours,...


Last weekend we made a quick trip to Memphis,...


Picturesque weather for the trip,...pretty, but very cold,...with brisk, very brisk winds,...



For us,....it's about a four hour trip,...Isaac most obligingly slept most of the way,...



Of course that meant, Isaac was up half the night, Friday night,...and so were we,...but no other hotel guest that we knew of,...because we always make a point of getting a first floor hotel room,...saves fuss and worry,...because Isaac LOVES zooming around a hotel room,...and yes,...we learned about first floor hotel room, the hard way,...

Last year,...when tornados took out power lines in our area,...we had to spend several days in a hotel,...that first night,...we got THE telephone call from the front desk,...but that was before we had Isaac's autism diagnosis,...and all we could plead was a hyper three year old,...

That next morning,...by the way,...is then only time I've ever locked myself out of a hotel room, but I was telling one of my older son's goodbye as he left for work,...and before I knew it that heavy door,...slammed closed,...and I was in tears when I raced to the front desk,...frantic,...because, "My baby is asleep in the room,...ALONE!!!!"

Believe it or not,...but it took a moment for the desk clerk to believe me,...first reaction was, "Good one!" - for an excuse,...but as I became even more frantic about my non-verbal child waking up alone in a strange hotel room without MAMA,...I got their attention,...and it took three tries,...and finally the manager's master key to get me back into my hotel room,...where I found my baby Isaac,...still asleep,...looking very much like this....



Saturday morning when Isaac woke up in Memphis,....he woke up giggling,...and yes,...it was precious to hear,...his giggles coming from beneath the covers....


The silliness factor reigned for most of the day,...especially when Isaac tried on a Happy Birthday hat,...which I was tempted to buy,...as his birthday party was the next day,...but we got only one photo and one giggle out of the test run,...after that Isaac was "ALL DONE" - with birthday hats.



Isaac was more interested in eating Gibson Donuts than trying on hats,....


For the record,...Isaac takes his donut eating,...very seriously....for even the icky sticky glaze doesn't deter him,...although he wants the sticky, "ALL GONE" - as soon as he's done!


Of course,....Mama insists on a more nutritional lunch,...and Isaac is a real sport about eating more nutritional foods,...he loves oatmeal, any type bean-legume, any protein, even liver, but especially fish, most fruits, a few veggies: typical like corn and peas, and ANY vegetable if I fry it like fried squash or fried okra,...it's just the soft or gooey or icky sticky Isaac won't tolerate,...and to date,...he's yet to eat ice-cream, pudding or yogurt,...he tries,...like the sport he is,...but he just can't crack the sensory part,...not yet,..but that's OK,...I've mastered the art of making non-gooey oatmeal,...and it is possible,...because Isaac loves the stuff - half dry and kinda gummy - ick of us,...is yum for him!

For his Memphis lunch,...Isaac ate: Chicken Noodle Soup,...the chicken and the noodles,...and some of the broth,...some black beans, from my soup,...and French Bread,...the previous night Isaac had chowed down on Corky's barbecue, French Fries, and fried catfish,...because you can't go to Memphis without eating some seriously good food!!!!

Thankfully Isaac does really well in restaurants,...although we do use a few strategies,...such as ALWAYS get a booth,...if possible to hem in our little guy,...helps wonderfully,...I always have nuts or raisins in my purse,...and they often come out if the food is slow to appear,...we're not shy about asking for extra napkins,...and cup with a lid,...also electronic devices are a boon,...Mickey Mouse on a smart phone,...you bet,...Isaac is happy,...we are happy and our fellow diners are happy,....

The ride home wasn't as much fun for our little guy,...he wasn't sleepy,...although he had company in the backseat,...in the form of his horsey - as it was horsey's turn for a trip,...we change out stuffed animal companions,...sometimes Isaac plays with them,...sometimes not,...but they are always there,...as was a ton of books, and his little red barn FULL of toy animals,...an electronic ABC tablet,...his LeapPad,...and as last resort we finally pulled out a portable DVD player,...because it's a long ride,...for a little guy....


With Isaac awake,...we made sure to make some stops to stretch our legs and to let our little guy get out some of that pent-up energy,....and with a bottom-less pit,...a snack doesn't hurt,...only if the French Fries were warmer,...in Tupelo!!!!


Cold French Fries or not,...Isaac took it in stride,...and we were all glad to see home,...Isaac zoomed up and down our hallways,...my husband unpacked the car,...and I uploaded all the pictures I had taken,...and I do have to take a LOT of pictures of Isaac to get a few,...very few good ones,...because Isaac is too busy to pose,...and I have to catch our little super-sonic guy in the moment,...or not at all!

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




Tuesday, January 21, 2014

How to blow out a candle,...

Think you know how to blow out a candle? 
So did I, until Isaac had his first birthday candle experience,
And it was an experience!!!!
I was going to narrate, 
but I think the pictures speak for themselves.
















Again and again,...I say it,...
Isaac experiences the world in a different way,
and he makes sure you do too!
And if you think, our little guy,...just blows us away,
You're right!!!!





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





Monday, January 20, 2014

Now We Are Four,....

Turning 4 years old in 2014,...how clever of Isaac to be born in 2010 so every year will end with his current age,...but what else can you expect from such an intrepid little guy?



The build up to Isaac's birthday about had me in tears,..."Isaac it is nearly your birthday!" - "Isaac, who is going to be 4 years old? - YOU!" - "Almost, Happy Birthday Isaac!" --- just samples, but I kept it up,...along with signing: Happy Birthday,...and singing, "Happy Birthday to you!" 

Isaac's reaction was basically a non-reaction, he was too busy giggling over Veggie Tales, or assuring me that the foam letter U, was a U,...or taking super-sonic zooms up and down our hallways,...or in other words, Isaac was too busy living in the moment to be worried with upcoming birthdays,...it sounded 'nice',...but he had a life to live...

Cue, Birthday party day,...and I should have known that Isaac would get 'into' that moment with gusto! Each present he unwrapped was the most wonderful thing he ever saw,...why open more presents when he had this 'wondrous' present to play with? So it took a while, but eventually Isaac opened his gifts,...and then it was time for BIRTHDAY CAKE!!!!


Or rather,...birthday cake redecorating!!!!


2014,...is also the year Isaac discovered what those birthday candles were for!!!!


Unprompted,...he knew how to blow a candle out,.....


Then,...per his request,...we lit another,....


And another,....


Each candle on that birthday cake,...got a turn,...


Not one was forgotten or left out,...


GRAND FINALE,......with birthday crown on our birthday boy,....


King Isaac blew out his candles and then watched instant replays,....




As always,...Isaac's redecorated cake looks more appealing!!!



And now we are four years old!


Never would I have thought melted candles on a birthday could make me so happy,...or rather make a four year old sooooo happy,...but even though, in many ways, Isaac's birthday was not exactly typical,...it was totally typical for Isaac,...he experiences the world in a different way,...and makes sure you do too,...such a gift,...and such a blessing,...and such a lesson to enjoy each moment as they come,...as I am sure Isaac will in the coming year

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ISAAC,....WE LOVE YOU!!!!


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













Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tale of Three Cakes,...

Isaac's birthday is fast approaching,...
He'll be four years old and have another cake to add to his gallery. 





 Here is Isaac at one year old,...Happy Healthy Baby,...no worries,...he was already walking and babbling a bit,...well,... making eye contact wasn't his favorite,...nor playing patty cake...


A tiny cake all to his little self,...

                                                         

Check out the face,...sensory overload with that icky icing,...only we didn't know it,...we just thought it was 'norm' after all some babies don't like icing,...and obviously Isaac was among them.


Year TWO,....WhooWhoo,...only Daddy had to go out of town on a business trip,...but that only meant we got to celebrate twice,...this cake was THE birthday cake,...on Isaac's birthday. Our family tradition, ever since my older guys were little has been birthday cake for breakfast!!!! And this year was no different,....


                                       

Check out that face,...yep,...we already knew something was going on with our little guy,...he tolerated NOTHING softy or squishy,...and he couldn't just be the strong-silent type,...a doctor's appointment had already been made....

                                     

Not to be overtly sad here,...but it's part of our family history,...so I have to note that my father unexpected died,...only hours after midnight of Isaac's second birthday,...my poor husband got the call no one wants to get when they are out of town,...and then he had to call me in the middle of the night,...giving the news no husband wants to give to his wife,...over the telephone,...but three things redeemed the horror,...one, if my father had to pass away,...at least his heart gave out in the arms of the woman he loved, my stepmother,...and two and lesser but still important, that Daddy didn't leave this earth on Isaac's actual birthday,...and for myself the most important is the last words I spoke with my father the last time I talked to him, actually inviting him to Isaac's birthday party, but he was too ill with pneumonia to attend, and I knew that, but I wanted him to know he was needed and wanted to help celebrate,...anyway that last exchange was:
 "I love you Daddy," and he replied, "I love you, Baby."
Can't ask for any more than that! 

Sorry for the digression,..now back to happier stuff,...



Last year,...I remembered how much fun Isaac had had redecorating his cake,...not that he ate the cake,...but a birthday cake doesn't have to be eaten to be special,...it can be a ooey and gooey sensory experience,...or a very serious test of dexterity to see if you can rearrange the candles WITHOUT getting any icing on your hands,.....and at three years old,...Isaac proved to be a master.

                                                 

An icky cold for your birthday is never fun,...and Isaac actually slept his entire birthday,...but that evening he woke and was willing to give redecorating a shot to our delight,...as a lethargic Isaac is such an unaccustomed sight,...it is alarming,...for he is our super-sonic guy.



Three years old,...and Isaac was a couple weeks away from his diagnostic testing for Autism,...we knew about the Apraxia only weeks after his second birthday,...but as Isaac's Autism is A-typical which means it's only that much more bewildering,..so he was merely red-flagged until we could get a appointment, and that was a miracle worked by our Early Intervention coordinator, because when I first called for the appointment I was put on a five month waiting list,...the coordinator made a couple of calls and we were able to get into see the doctor in only three months,...which is practically over night because I have heard of parents on waiting lists for YEARS to get a diagnosis,...at least two years and for one popular clinic the waiting list is typically over a year,...and the doctor we got an appointment with has such a full case-load,...our first interview, she asked in a bemused voice more than once, "And how did ever you get into see me?"

So three birthday cakes:

First: tiny and perfect,...no fears.
Second: foreshadow of what was bewildering us,...Why wasn't our little guy talking? Why was he unglued over lotion? Why was he such a picky eater,...no soft, no sweet, no sticky or gooey?
Third: By Isaac's third birthday he had already 'aged-out' of Early Intervention,...and we had a good idea what all the diagnosis testing was going to reveal. But let's end happy,...because I like to think
of Isaac's three year old birthday cake a perfect analogy of how life with an autistic child can be perceived. 

Perfect Cake and Reality Cake. 

But please note, the Perfect Cake is pretty boring and bland,...really,.. let's be honest,...it's a perfectly typical, but it's also a yawn...while the Reality Cake is literally oozing with personality and creativity,...it has a nice, comfortable lived in feel,...and you can almost hear the giggles it created while the redecorating process was in process. Honestly,...doesn't it look like the birthday boy had fun?




 A birthday cake can be perfect, but life is not,...things happen,...children like our Isaac have to face tough challenges like Apraxia and Autism,...people we love pass on,...and we mourn and grieve and then go on with our lives blessed to have been touched by their lives. Life is not so simple, as sugar frosting,...and that's OK,...it's reality and reality can be unexpected and wonderful,...it's all perspective,...do you see a destroyed cake or a personalized creation?

If I am being real and realistic than I have to be honest,...birthdays and autism are tough. Isaac's fourth birthday is soon,...a banner is already up and presents purchased and we are talking to Isaac about his special day where he'll have cake to redecorate,...balloons and presents,...but Isaac doesn't seem to be aware that 'birthdays' are special,...and that's heartbreaking for this Mama,...but we mourn, we grieve and then go on with our lives blessed in the knowledge that Isaac's birthday is STILL a birthday,...he experiences the world is a different way, and makes sure you do too,...and that's includes birthdays,...and it's OK that I have no idea what is going to take place on Isaac's birthday,...for I do know Isaac will make sure that it's unexpected and wonderful,...and for this tale of three cakes,...that's a happy ending!


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