At 42 Degrees

At 42 Degrees

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

May We Cry?

Happy tears,...happy tears,...Isaac just said to me:

"I made a castle."

A full, complete sentence,...with a pronoun,...and it's relevant,...which is really relevant for a child on the spectrum,...because conversations can be on another plane entirely,...such I say, "I love you," - Isaac says, "Triangle." - which can mean, I love you, or a three angled object, or a musical instrument you - clink with a 'ding' - take your pick.

Isaac's castle, more than a little smooched. 


We are sooooo pleased with ourselves,...talking in sentences.


Mama's so pleased,....it's been one of those days, 
like when you learn your vacation trip to the beach
get cut,...TWO days
due to scheduling errors.


But never mind
 Isaac is already practicing for his beach sand excursions. 
Sand in the house?
Mama have you lost your mind?
No, it's kinetic sand,...very $$$,...but very cool
it stays so clumped, Isaac could play with it on the bed,
no fooling,...it's great stuff for a hot and humid day. 


Happy tears,...here,...they are most needed during a trying week,...but trust Isaac to make some sunshine for his loved ones,....that's his speciality,...now in FULL sentences!!!!

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

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Bits and Pieces

More than the sum,...is a good analogy when trying to piece together the bits that make up autism, and for us,...we have apraxia thrown in for good measure to muddle the whole. 



Take this morning when Isaac woke and toddled to my office, and in his blanket sleeper and when he is sleepy,...Isaac still appears to toddle, he's still that little.

                                             

Per his morning routine, Isaac climbs in my lap for a cuddle,...warm and limp and lazy,...until the giggles set in,...and then of course it's play time with Mama,...and Mama sings,...different songs,...and more than just for fun,...it's secret therapy,...but Isaac doesn't know,...his listening skills are being stretched,...or his recall,...or it's so nice and social,...he just likes the cuddles and giggles and silly singing,...because of course,...Mama must sing silly songs,...and so she does,...it's all about connection. 


Not all songs make it past Isaac's play list,...let's get real,...Five Little Monkeys and Bor-o Bor-o Bumble Bee,...always does,...but Patty Cake,...NEVER has,...and when I say NEVER,...I mean,...not in the past four and half years has Isaac enjoyed listening to me sing Patty Cake.

What our little guy has against the baker's man,...I'll never know,...but I've always suspected it was the 'eye-contact' deal and 'sensory' of the patting hands,...which contributed to why he just,...just,...just couldn't get past the opening lines. 

So Patty Cake has been a test,...secret diagnostic tool,...trotted out to evaluate our little guy's progress,...and he has progressed from pitching a fit a the sound of the first, "Pat-" to tolerating the song to be sung through, but just barely, and only to humor Mama,...and let's get this clear,...he ain't patting no cakes,...so put your hands down,...thank you very much. 

Bewildering, but that's autism, it just doesn't make sense, but as we love our children,...we don't give up,...even with harsh reviews on our rendition of Patty Cake,...we keep singing. 

This morning,...I trotted out Patty Cake,...after the improvised, I love you, I love you, I love YOU, my darling Isaac, I LOVE you, song,...sung daily and often,...in case Isaac has any doubts where he falls within the affection range in our family.

Isaac's response to this morning's concert?

 "Again." - said and signed

So delightedly surprised I made sure I clarified, "Mama, sing Patty Cake, again?"

The expression on Isaac's face said, 'Yeah," and he was forcefully signing, "Again."  - the giggles were also affirmation. 

Sensory glitches were still functioning, so no 'cakes' were patted, but eye contact was spot on, the rolling imitation action was enthusiastic, and the delight was unmistakably genuine as four year olds are rarely 'fakey' - and Isaac NEVER is,...what you see is what you get,...and if Isaac really likes something,...you know. 


The sum of our whole is made up in bits and pieces,...there are no cut and dry answers here. A Mama waits four and half years to play Patty Cake with her little guy,...it defies logic,...but just is,...and we are learning not to break our brains trying to bend our minds around the paradoxes,...we just rejoice in the joys,...learn from the challenges,...and keeping singing!

Note: selfies - courtesy of Isaac

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













Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Splash Pad

A super fun summer outing has to include our local Splash Pad,...
one of Isaac's favorite places in town!


Isaac thinks it's a ball!


So much water, so little time,...


And this year,...Isaac was actually a little mischievous 
as he set up big brother Teddy for a surprise,...


Think of the behavior in the form of therapy
and this is a lot of motor-processing going on,
sequence, sequence, sequencing,....


For a BIG SPLASH!!!!!


Then,...the Ha-Ha,..
and do notice,...who didn't get wet!


Oh yes, big brother is a good sport,...


For therapy sake, 
Teddy even let's Isaac set him up again,...


Isaac wasn't the only one laughing
 at big brother Teddy,
as big brother Michael was at the Splash Pad too,
Isaac's unique versions of fun is not to be missed,
it is too hilariously joyful!


And don't fear,...Isaac got plenty wet!!!!


These anticipation buckets were 
fascinating to Isaac,
and when he wasn't setting up his big brothers,
he was hanging around for a solo big splash


To say Isaac enjoyed those water filled buckets would be putting it mildly!!!



SHEER JOY!!!!



While sleep issues have been our nemesis this summer,...water play has been nothing but beneficial for our little guy,...and that's from splashing in the bath-tub, to helping wash dishes, and yes making a soppy mess, but who cares, to playing with his water table outside, and watering the garden,...to getting to spend a couple hours at our local Splash Pad.

Swimming lessons are still our on agenda, but special needs classes are not easy to find, or cost $$$$,...but we're still on the look-out and with indoor pools, there is always this winter,...Isaac won't complain about taking swimming lessons in January,...he loves water,...wet, frozen,...and misty mists, which is as close as Isaac ever gets to steam. 

With summer winding down,...hard to believe and harder to write when it is still July,...but school starts in August,...and with the weather sooooo hot,...I have a good idea, that more than once,...we'll surprise Isaac with an after school trip to one of his favorite places in town,...the SPLASH PAD!!!!!

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












Tuesday, July 22, 2014

"Excuse Me"

Good manners never hurt a situation,...especially when that situation is dealing with sleep issues at 2 am,...and boy are sleep issues an issue,...because there are no easy answers. 

Some nights are better than others,...and some nights are even very nearly perfect,...but last night wasn't one of those nights,...and with communication difficulties it's tough to know exactly how to help your child through a restless night,...especially when you are a wee-bit sleep deprived yourself,...but Isaac is Isaac and he puts his own matchless spin on everything,...even a restlessness night...because at one point,...he accidentally bumped my head,...and he knew it was an owie,...and out of the darkness comes this little voice, "Excuse me!"



The cuteness factor was high,...but even more so was the consideration for another,...either that or he wanted me to apologize for having my head on that portion of the pillow,...but that didn't seem to be the gist,...it was a sincere apology at 2 am,...that offered this sleepy Mama,...so much hope,...and at 2 am,...you sometimes need some hope,...because sleep issues are totally twilight zone fare,...none of it makes sense,...especially at 2 am. 

                                            


Eventually whatever sensory issues were disturbing our little guys sleep were dissipated,...and we clocked in at least seven hour or so,...broken up,...but at this point,...who cares,...sleep is sleep,...and after his brunch/breakfast Isaac is zooming around the house like he got a full twelve hours or so



Preschool starts back in a few weeks,...and a lot of targeted therapy goals for our summer haven't been met, but a lot of goals,...that weren't even on the radar,...like improved imitation and BURSTING vocabulary, and rudimentary social manners,...have appeared out of no where,...and Yes,...Isaac chalks up a lot of smiles and comments when we're in public and going through a crowd and our polite little guy is spouting, "Excuse me,...excuse me" - and - "Thank you," --- so that's a huge and unlooked for plus and a benefit from those emerging imitation skills. 

Sleep skills?

What can we do, but keep on, keeping on,...our little guy is still a little guy and he's got a lot on his plate, and we're all doing the best we can,...here,...and the good manners,...they don't hurt the situation,...especially at 2 am. 

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







Thursday, July 17, 2014

Can You Hear Me,...NOW?

So lately Isaac has been going through a phase,...I know it is a phase,...or at least I hope it is a phase,...and I hope it is the phase I think it is,... because if it is,...then it is a significant transition in communication,...as Isaac is attempting to widen the scope of his expressive communication abilities. 

The phase is going something like this:

Can you,...



hear,...


me,...


NOW!



Or in other words,...Isaac is convinced everyone has a hearing problem,...and if we're not understanding his communication attempts,...then RAISING HIS VOICE IS THE ONLY POLITE THING TO DO,....because,...of course a louder tone is going to get his message across. 

Isaac also uses what I call his 'telepathy' gaze,
deep and soulful,
as he attempts to transfer ideas
from his brain to ours. 
And our little guy is soooo earnest trying to make you understand,
you desperately wish you were telepathic,...
and it would make life a lot simpler for those with Apraxia,
but alas science fiction and reality often clash,
and you're stuck with a conflict of uncommunicated communication. 



But, I am convinced this is a phase,...especially the louder tones,...because Isaac knows we can hear him,...but it's not the attention he's seeking, but the connection - his brain to ours - and that's the significant transition,...because Isaac is trying to convey more than just needs,...he wants to share ideas,...and that's really exciting,...because I know our little guy is chock full of unique observations,...he's just dying to share,...and for his limited abilities,...Isaac does a pretty good job of getting his message across with that expressive face and dramatic use of voice inflection and body language,...believe me,...communicating with Isaac is NEVER dull!

This transition is a biggie,...and I know it will either be an overnight event or a long drawn out ordeal, and when I say ordeal,...I mean how frustrating can it be to want to express and idea or a feeling or even a more complicated need,...and NOT be able to,...and that's what Isaac deals with each day,...and with so much grace and humor and ingenuity that I am in awe of this child,...especially in the compassionate way our little guy treats our 'communication' difficulties,...he's doing everything he can, to help us,...understand him,...lifting his voice, patiently repeat the phrase until we 'get it' ,...and not losing his sense of joy in sheer existence,...because at four years old,...Isaac already knows there is difference in hearing and understanding,...and when Isaac raises his tone,...it's not for us to hear,...it is for us to understand,...and Mama gets it,...little guy,...Mama gets it!




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

Monday, July 14, 2014

SERVE DAY: 2014

This past Saturday was SERVE DAY 2014 at our church: Church of the Highlands,...and we were among 13,000-plus members working on service projects among our communities,...and Isaac helped too!

One is never too young to learn to serve one another with love,...and Isaac LOVED helping to paint the cement with water while our group painted the lobby of a local woman's center and landscaped the outside. 


For the record,...Isaac helped to weed, a little, but it was much more fun to be had with that paint brush and bucket of water,...


Have to give kudos to anything that will keep Isaac occupied for three hours on a very hot and humid July morning!!!!


Between weeding and keeping up with Isaac,...
I also took pictures of Isaac and big brother Michael too.


Fortunately Isaac was easy to keep track of  as that water kept drying with evaporation,
like magic!!!!


When it was time to unload a load of mulch,...Isaac was eager to help,...


And hitch a ride or two,...


But Isaac did help to pick up trash and put away the tools,
so he wasn't all decorative,
and best of all he was able to witness the principal  of
Loving One Another and Being Kind To One Another in action.

After all that hard work in that July heat,....'cause it was really hot Saturday,
Isaac was ready for some lunch and ice cold drinks,...


Supper was at home,
BBQ and squash from the garden,
the summer squash cut French Fry Style is Isaac's favorite,
he can eat his weight in the stuff. 


The summer is speeding away,...SERVE DAY is already come and gone,...although there are other opportunities to serve the community all through the year,...but SERVE DAY is a biggie and it such a blessing to be able to be a part of such an outreach,...and even more so to have Isaac experience helping others, whether he fully understands yet or not,....but Isaac knew he had fun,...and he knew there were lots of other people wearing those red Serve Day tee-shirts, and that the front of the women's center looked a lot different without all those weeds and with new mulch put down, and the bushes clipped and the grass mowed,...not to mention the painted walls,...and it's a mercy that Isaac managed to navigate through the plastic draped lobby with cans and rollers of paint,...more than once,...to refill that water bucket,...and not get a SMUDGE on himself,...but then again,...paint is ooey-and-gooey,...so maybe it's not such a shock,...but Isaac did make an impact with that sunshine smile, and signing: help, water, paint,....

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












Friday, July 11, 2014

Cinda-Wa-Wa,...

It's hot and humid here in the Deep South,...very hot and very humid,...which makes playing outside in July only fit in the very early morning and very late afternoon,...but what do you do on vacation inside between those play times?

Some free play,...lots of puzzles and books,...or helping around the house, Isaac can pick up his toys nicely and helps to care for the puppy: Oreo...but when puzzles and puppies, and books pall,...it's TV time,...and while we are VERY picky about Isaac's television programing,...we don't have any problem with him watching television in down times,...it's been a great therapy tool,...increasing his vocabulary and social interaction,...

We're blessed to have a DVR, a digital video reorder,...it comes with our satellite television viewing package,...quite a change from VHS and even DVD technology,...no tapes or discs to keep up with only television controls,...and by right of our household at least 85% of our DVR memory space is dedicated to Isaac's favorite television shows/movies,...and Isaac let's us know what he wishes to watch and this morning,...Isaac didn't have to wave a little finger with a "Nope, nope, nope," as we go down the DVR list,...this morning Isaac gave a verbal request,...which is actually a biggie,...as that is recall and request,...and plus the way he vocalized his request was and is soooooo cute,...because Isaac wanted to watch:

Cinda-Wa-Wa,...



It gets even cuter because Isaac likes to sing 
the (Disney) Cinderella opening song,...
"Cinda-Wa-Wa,...Cinda-Wa-Wa," 
and OK,...that's the only word he can vocalize,...but he gets the tune spot-on!!!


And then it's time for interactive television watching,...because if those little mice dance
Isaac dances too,...and spins,...and jumps,...in tune to the music,...of course.


Then it's time to count the mice and little birds,...
(Cinderella and Isaac's friends)



And is it two birds,...or two mice,...in Cinderella's bed chamber,
or does the 'clock' ring twice?


Ooops!...someone just bumped their nose on screen,...


And Isaac doesn't miss a melodramatic beat,...


Nor does Isaac like to keep his fun to himself,...this is interactive television,...so CATCH!


And dodge your feet like the kitty-cat on screen,...hiding those mice is a bowl,...until Cinderella comes to the rescue,..

And then obediently pause for the next scene,...
don't worry Isaac WILL let you know exactly what to do
our little guy has no problem with delegation!!!


It's not a dull moment for the entire length of the animated movie,...

and best of all, there are sequels: 

  Cinda-Wa-Wa II
and
 Cinda-Wa-Wa III

and yes,...Isaac loves them all!


What we love is the imitation, a skill Isaac has had to learn, and the reason why we are sooooo picky about Isaac's television viewing. For us, the imitation is a big deal,...last summer Isaac couldn't imitate,...imitation is a vital to language development,...and it is a joy to see Isaac making his viewing so interactive,...and a joy to hear him singing even as limited as his ability,...it's music and its coming from his little heart and soul,..."Cinda-Wa-Wa,...Cinder-Wa-Wa,"....it is such progress,...and Isaac's recall is really starting to emerge and that's a HUGE blessing because before Isaac has not been able to express his memories of ANYTHING,...we know they are there,...he's sharp as a little tack,...but not to be able to express what you've experienced,...has been a huge challenge,...but bit by bit,...our little guy is coming along and enjoying his summer vacation.

Make no mistake, Isaac rather be outside,...in the heat and the hot and the sunburning glare,...but since Mama is such a stickler about not getting heat exhaustion or sunburn,...our little guy is a sport about biding his time,...indoors,...under air conditioning watching one of his favorite trilogies:

 Cinda-Wa-Wa: I, II, & III

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