At 42 Degrees

At 42 Degrees

Friday, September 26, 2014

Universe Within

 Our little guy has a double diagnoses: Apraxia and Autism, which turns communication into a paradox as Apraxia makes it difficult for Isaac to say what he wants to say when he wants to say it, pure mechanics of motor processing, while Autism hinders the ability of functional speech for its own sake, such in the phrases: Wherediditgo, Thereitis.

Phases, which Isaac has long mastered and uses functionally in the sense, can't find his cup: "Wherediditgo?" When cup found: "Thereitis." - But breaking down the words to use separately in other functional sentences is not yet a skill Isaac has mastered within his own universe.

Being a generous little guy, Isaac loves to drawn us into his universe to communicate in his own matchless style,...which is pretty much a one-way-street,...fascinating because this kid is chock full of personality and curiosity and do I dare say very high intelligence,...but it is a different universe,...unique, and his,...and at this point that is where we are as we trying to understand the universe in which our son inhabits. Or perhaps trying to understand why we don't inhabit the same universe, for it is almost like Isaac is in a cosmic bubble, we see him, hear him, can feel him, but there is a transparent membrane that separates us,...and that's Autism. 

In the last century having been Star Trek fans, my husband and I both equate communicating with Isaac with the Next Generation episode: Darmok,...where Captain Picard is stranded on an alien world with an alien captain, who desperately wants to communicate, but only speaks in metaphors.

That's Isaac.

His metaphors are colors, numbers, the alphabet, and verbatim lines from Disney movies, Signing Time, Veggie Tales, and 3, 2, 1 Penguins, is all he has,...and Isaac uses what communication skills he possesses brilliantly,...which is why we are incredibly picky about what our little guy views,...we want his metaphors to be good ones,...positive, helpful,...and edifying to help him understand our universe,...because I am sure we're just as puzzling to him. Or not,...Isaac is the only person in our household,...not concerned with his Apraxia or Autism,...he's good, he's loved, and wants nothing more than to play and learn and grow,....and eat popcorn. 


Of course if you can eat popcorn while playing on the iPad,...then life's really good in Isaac's universe,...he's one amazing kid,...

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

Friday, September 19, 2014

Summer's Last Hurrah!

If Isaac ever gets an entrepreneurial spirt, he could probably make a million bucks or so by renting out his big brother Teddy,...because if there is fun to be had,...big brother Teddy is near,...

Case in point,...Labor Day,...and our own do-it-yourself water park,, fun, fun,...except those ol' sensory issues make running through that water,...sooooo hard,...that's when Teddy lent a helping hand,..

Or two

Squealing delight?

Oh yes,...this big brother is worth his weight in gold!!!

And not just because he'll run through the water once,...
but many many times,...
and Isaac's like, "Why walk when I can ride - a super drive?"

Is it any wonder,...Isaac adores his big brother?
And visa versa?

To be fair,...big brother Michael was working or he'd been in on the action too, and it's been great to see Isaac's growing relationship with his brothers because he's pretty much a typical little brother into their stuff 24/7 - and they bear with him with extraordinary patience and love,...because brother bonds you can't break....

Summer's officially over,...not that anyone has told that to the weather here in the Deep South,...still hot, still humid, still icky,...but that's OK,...fall is around the corner and that means football, and hotdogs, and hiking and disc golf with big brothers,...because they provide all-year-round fun.

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

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

While Mother's Been Unwell,...

As a primary caretaker for a special needs child, can get especially interesting when you are not well, if life wasn't interesting enough. Ploughing through a recovery from an allergic reaction to an antibiotic has made the past couple weeks tough,...but while mother's been unwell,...Isaac has been a champ.

Really,...let me brag on this child,...because how do these children seem to know that this is not a test,...this is the real deal,...and mama really, really, really needs some cooperation and good behavior while she's barely able to lift her head off the pillow. Ask Isaac for good behavior and true to form he doesn't do anything half way - he gives you GREAT behavior,...and a lot of affection too!

By rule Isaac's an affectionate little guy,...such a blessing he loves hugs and kisses and cuddles, but usually on his own terms, and set times, I mean don't mess up his puzzle-action with a hug, please, but the past couple weeks, he's been the one slopping kissing and giving 'squeeze' hugs, and dropping  unsolicited, "Ya-U, Mama" - as close as Apraxia let's him get to: Love you. 

It's amazing how Isaac has also turned into a chore-monger,...with a constant, "What-can-I-do" attitude,...carrying groceries in the house, running the vacuum (with supervision), putting away toys, washing dishes (OK, Isaac just sops in the sink and plays, but he doesn't make a mess and by all the splishing and splashing - I know what he's doing), bossing Oreo around, in a nice way and perfectly appropriate for the puppy NOT to chew on the furniture, that means crate time, Isaac points and orders, "O-E-O!" - Also Isaac's got Mama's back, running errands around the house,...empty cup to the kitchen, shoes to the living room, a book back into it's bin, many new skills emerging. 

Even to errands to town has Isaac's good behavior has followed,...he willingly gets himself into this carseat, which is a biggie, he climbs into the shopping cart, and then unless he's utterly exhausted Isaac spends his time in the store charming me and the other shoppers with his sparkling personality, because this child is not dull, especially at the check-outs where Isaac shines as he helps to put the items on the counter,...and then garners plenty of attention with his sign-language,...people gawk, but then they usually grin from ear-to-ear as if this child was a rock-star or something, I mean hello,...we're signing about buying bananas, apples, milk, bread, meat, build signing vocabulary and keeps Isaac, and everyone else amused, especially when the lines are long and slooooow. 

Sunshine smiles help a lot when you don't feel well,...also cuddles and Isaac bringing books for you to read to him, or just climbing in bed and sharing the same pillow,...just happy in the moment, before he vaults off the bed headed or another adventure,...but no spilled instant coffee,...and NO big messes,...not this time,...and that's why Mama's bragging,...of course I know when you brag on your child you are setting yourself up for,...oh-dear do I need name it,...we've all been there,...and know perfectly well, I could wake from a nap to the scent of Starbucks in a heartbeat, but I don't think so,...Isaac's has really displayed new levels of maturity,...and that's totally exciting. 

Most people when they find out they are allergic to something find out in a really unpleasant way, and I plead guilty to such an experience, but we're on the other side of what we hope is the worst, and now I just need to finish recovering which will take a while,...and that's not a bad thing because caretakers need some care-taken-for-them, which is easier said than done. 

 Autism is tough, Marines would quake from the physical/psychological 24/7 demands,...this is a gruelingly demanding gig, and it takes a toll on your health, and people patting your hand and telling you to take care of yourself, mean well, but they also need a reality check, 'cause duh, I know I need to take care of myself, but exactly when am I suppose to do that with a 24/7 child? 

Of course, the answer is to ask for a little help if you can get it, and my guys have stepped up as much as they can with their work/schedules, which means I've logged in a couple good naps, and Isaac's actually slept pretty good through the night, like he knows Mama doesn't need to be up four or five times. Plotting our course forward we are going to keep trying and trying and trying to find a happy medium between a lot of our sleep issues, which are driving other health issues. 

No easy answers, that's why we're so excited about Isaac's emerging maturity, makes life a lot easier to navigate when you have cooperation,...and of course Isaac is not just going to cooperate a little, he's either ALL in or ALL out, and when he's in it's a party-time,...because this child knows that life is the be lived,...and if you're alive and breathing there is no sense in not celebrating,...because that's the only way Isaac knows to live.

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

Friday, September 12, 2014

Preschool,...Bumpy Start

We are a month into preschool and just now getting the first day pictures posted.
Varied reasons for the delay,...but mostly because it's been a little bumpy.

This face says it all!

And this one too.

Isaac is so not impressed that preschool starts at 8:00 a.m.,...that's waaaaaaay too early.
But Mama dresses us, combs our hair, brushes our teeth, and hustles us the door,...
yawning, and utterly resigned to our fate,
it's sooooo tough being four years old. 

Hugs and kisses and tears at the school door, 
Isaac's tears and sometimes mine,
for nearly the first three weeks,
despite the fact, I always picked up a happy child at the end of the day.
Last fall, Isaac didn't cry at the jingle of my car keys,
he said, "Yes, yes, yes!!!"
This fall, it is tears, and that could be part of his emotional growth,
Mama's cool, she gives hugs and kisses and popcorn, and plays silly games,
Hello! Why would any man alive want to go to preschool?
Being functionally nonverbal, helps nothing in these situations. 
Isaac is in a great school with caring professionals, no worries there,
he's just a little guy,...with sleep issues.
I mean, if they had night school preschool, Isaac would so rock those classes,
but the world doesn't work that way. 
So my little guy has to be utterly resigned to be dragged to preschool,

Sleep issue seem to be a back-end of autism, and there are no easy answers.
In black and white on paper, looks simple.
Put the child to bed,...goodnight,...sweet dreams,...yada, yada, yada...
Said child then closes eyes like cherub and slumbers the night away.
But we're putting Isaac to bed,
and it's not cut and dry
One night is PERFECT,....every routine works.
Next night,...Isaac is grinning at you at one a.m.
What to do, but keep plugging on?
Thomas Edison had to make like zillions of lightbulbs
until he found the exact materials and formula that would work,
so we'll keep trying with Isaac's bedtime routines,
until we find one that works,
so our lightbulbs and stay out at night,
but then it also might be a matter of maturity and growth,
can't figure these things,
you just love your child and do the best you can. 

Big NEWS is that Isaac naps at school,
and has had such nice reports from the cafeteria ladies,
who serve him breakfast and lunch each day,
but then Isaac's pretty spot on with the
"Thank you," "Please," "Excuse Me."
Trust me, when a cafeteria lady says,
"Such an improvement in attention from last year,"
You pump your fist!

Another biggie is that Isaac tells me where he spent playtime
In the Deep South, it's been brutal hot and humid,
so I kinda already know they didn't go outside,
because some of the children in Isaac's class are really delicate,
but everyday I've pretended to be clueless,
"Isaac did you play on the playground or go to the gym?"
And Isaac will say: 
WOOHOO for recall,'s a biggie.
OK, I have no idea what Isaac did in the gym, but we have to start somewhere. 

Changing classes for Isaac has been really confusing,
and think the first week or so where some of those tears were coming from,
a couple times, when I've picked Isaac up,
he's went to his old class and wanted to go in.
Another huge,...sigh, explain,...and explain, and then hug and kiss,
and hope some of it made sense to him.

No tears, at the end of the day,
Isaac is in full throttle from that nap and is all smiles.
Some thing new is that Isaac proudly gets his own pack back,
and says goodbye to his friends,
NOT that Isaac has much choice.

for an important announcement:
My little guy may have met his match.
For every man, there is a woman!
Oh yes,...there is a female version of Isaac in the universe,
And this little pip is in Isaac's class!

She is a typical peer model,
with pigtails no less,
and this little gal is clearly the mother of the entire class,
we're talking personality with a capital P,
and Isaac is NOT leaving without saying goodbye, 
not on her watch,
"Goodbye Isaac,...Isaac goodbye, ISAAC GOODBYE."

An wise and obedient man lifts his hand

"See you tomorrow," says the pigtails skipping away,
while Isaac happily skips down the corridor holding Mama's hand.
Another school day done!

Now back to real life.

Chilling after the first day of preschool

Ignoring the woman with the camera while we consume snacks

And slurp drinks,...

Takes a lot of nutrients to fuel a Preschooler!

Next up, I.E.P. meeting,...and getting Isaac's school clothes monogramed, waaaaay behind on that task due to life,...but Isaac has ISAAC on his shirt at preschool today,...lots of yawning and hugs and kisses, but NO tears at the door, that's a step forward,...and now that Isaac has a pig-tailed friend hovering over his every step,...I am sure he'll have a GREAT preschool year,...

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

Friday, September 5, 2014

Isaac's Good,...

A little life interruption have interrupted posts,...but Isaac is good,...even while Mama's been sick with an icky reaction to an antibiotic, soooo much fun, but hey that's life, and Isaac has certainly taught me how to roll with the punches, and while I've been under the weather he's been an absolutely angel-child, seemingly knowing Mama needs lots of hugs and kisses and good behavior, and even exhibiting some GREAT social awareness at the doctor's office, because Mr. Isaac did not like those nurses doing anything to his mama,...and made sure they knew it with quite adamant:
 - which expressed every bit of love, protectiveness and compassion,...woohoo, was almost worth being so sick for,...and it's been great how Isaac has tolerated Mama in bed, he joins me, and we giggle or read or sing, or just stare at the ceiling in companionable silence. 

Obviously I am a bit better if I am on the computer, 
and last weekend, even though I was really too sick to be out, 
Isaac had an opportunity not to be missed.
Three weeks ago, I receive an email from a woman at church,
she works closely with an autism charity 
and she wanted to know if Isaac had an iPad.
"No," - I replied.
"Would Isaac like an iPad" was the rhetorical reply.

Free iPad, 
pretty cool,
but to make the event even cooler,
Isaac was asked to be a guest at a local baseball game,
where the iPads were to be presented.
Isaac happily accepted the invitation. 

VIP not just for the ballgame, but every day to us.

In true Isaac style he brought his entire posse,...

TORTURE,...we were not allowed to run unsupervised on the field, 
sorry Buddy we have to follow rules,...

Ipad minis were given, which is a perfect size for Isaac's hands. 

Did Isaac know he was at a baseball game?
We told him, but he wasn't interested in the field other to want to run upon it.
Did Isaac know he was getting an iPad?
To Isaac it was just a meaningless white box,
but by that evening oh-yeah, Isaac and his iPad are in LOVE!!!
What did Isaac most enjoy about the outing?
Important stuff,
like ballpark food!
Let's get real, not even iPads can compete with funnel cakes.

VERY, VERY, VERY hot afternoon in the Deep South, 
fortunately Isaac likes to stay hydrated. 

Thank you to everyone who gives to charity,
THESE pictures are the end game.
A child helped,
Thank you.

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