At 42 Degrees

At 42 Degrees

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Vacationing Thru Disasters,...

Plumbing woes? 

Major water damage? 

No problem,..

At least not for Isaac,...he'll just go on vacation, thank you very much.


A clogged pipe in our water system created chaos in our basement,
our floors have been ripped up, and a good portion of the walls too.
Clean up was extensive, and we spent some time in a local hotel.

Isaac was thrilled!!!!



Thankfully we had a large suite on the ground floor.
Always we request a ground floor room, as keeping our little guy still is not an option.
Usually hotels are very accommodating, especially when we indicate special needs,
which we are not shy about doing,...as our little guy's needs are not typical. 


Kinetic sand in a tub provided HOURS of entertainment!!!!


Free breakfast was fine with Isaac,...he learned he likes bagels, but not poppy seeds!!!


Eating out went smooth as we chose kid-friendly restaurants, 
except one night,...sigh,...live and learn. 


However Isaac's first viewing of a live-action movie went 
FANTASTIC!!!!
Cinderella was a huge hit with Isaac,
and his behavior and response was so wonderful,
I was sobbing in the lobby afterwards.
Couldn't help it!

Isaac sat still,
didn't talk much,
and only got up once,
and that was when
 Prince Charming was going to put the glass slipper on Cinderella.
At that point, 
Isaac took off his own shoe,
and took it to his Daddy to put on
 PRICELESS!!!!

Afterwards in the lobby,
Isaac took my hand and wanted to ballroom dance with me.
We danced, and I sobbed,...so happy, so very, very happy!



Hanging out with big brother was a given at the hotel.

We're home now,...plumbing fixed, restoration in process,
not many transition blimps from Isaac, 
he truly thought we were on vacation,
although, his teachers and I, were on high alert,
for adjustment, adjustments to our new situation, 
but aside from maybe being a little clingy toward Mama,
like let's not let her out of our sight,
Isaac did great!

Disaster strikes,...Isaac's solution,...go on vacation.


Most important take-way is that thru the past couple weeks,
Isaac learned that home is not a house,
but home is wherever you are with your loved ones.

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










Saturday, March 14, 2015

Pi Day

Although Isaac LOVES numbers and is working on learning how to count to 100,...his signing gets kinda fuzzy after 20,...he's not too into Pi Day of THE CENTURY!!!!


Mama's trying to make sure her little guy doesn't miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to celebrate Pi Day of the Century: 3, 14, 15,...in 3-14-2015,...but Isaac more interested in his free breakfast. 


P-I-E,...is one of Isaac's favorite words to spell, saying and signing, thanks to Word Word cartoons, and any sight of a pie, delights him, "PIE," says Isaac,....but eating pie? That's half and half,...nice dry crust, yep,...Isaac is all about that kind of consumption, but sweet, gooey filling, and what pie doesn't have a gooey filling whether sweet or savory,...nope,...Isaac will politely decline, "No tanks." 

One of a kinda day,...like a one of a kind,...little guy,...pretty good excuses to eat some pie today,...Isaac can have my crust! 

HAPPY Pi DAY!!!

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

Friday, March 6, 2015

No Expectations

Three years into Isaac's diagnosis and I've learned a thing or two about parenting a child with Apraxia and Autism,...

Now Isaac is five years old, he has a January birthday, making him my only winter baby and during my entire pregnancy I wore a snowflake pendant for my miracle child,... 


Let's be clear,...Isaac is a miracle. My husband and I didn't think we could have other children to the point, I missed nearly all the signs of my first trimester, because at 44 years old, I thought it was menopause beginning! But, no, it was Isaac arriving into the world to teach us how to live in the moment, each and every moment, and enjoy life without expectations! 


When I look back on the past five years some of the greatest stumbling blocks as a parent and some of the greatest despair and sorrow have been founded upon unfulfilled expectations,...those missed milestones,...the should be's, and could be's, and would be's which are NOT, and all those pesky: why's - that like to daunt us:

Why my child? 
Why us? 

There have been tears, and despair and depression too, but not for Isaac, he is the only person in the entire world not concerned with his condition,...because to him,...he doesn't have a condition, except that he has to patiently deal with a world,...that just doesn't get it at times,...but patience and forbearance seemed to be part of this child's DNA,...he'll work with us,...it's OK if,...we don't understand,...Isaac is not going to hold it against us,...and Mama's learning the ropes.

Number One rule: No Expectations. 

This doesn't mean that hope is lost, quite the opposite, no expectations, for us, means that our hope can never be lost or destroyed,...we walk by faith, not by sight,...and unfulfilled expectations can never taunt us, because we live with Isaac, which means life is not dull, we're continually amazed, and delighted by this child,...he is as he is,...and we delight, as we work toward goals, in his gains, made in his own time, because we're not expecting our child to be anything other than himself,...so we don't say:

"Isaac is five years old, he should be doing this, this, this and THIS!"
Nope, that's the easy road to heartbreak with a child on the spectrum.  Instead we say:
"Isaac is five years old, and he can do,...this and this, and THIS!!!" --- add lots of WooHOOs!

No expectations means we get to discover the world with Isaac,...and don't forget, Isaac experiences the world in a different manner, and he makes sure YOU do too,...I think it's his life's mission to help us see the world in a different manner. Shake things up, folks. 

Example: A visit to a zoo in not just a visit to see animals, but to experience the wonders of so many different shapes and textures. It is natural to expect that a child would like to look at elephants, but Isaac likes to examine the fence in front of the elephant exhibit,...totally cool bamboo structure, and to Isaac the elephants are just there for decor. 

Until I could wrap my mind around the wonders of how Isaac views the world, I was pretty much devastated that my child could not experience a trip to the zoo like I EXPECTED him to. So trust me, no expectations, for me equal no heartbreak, just joy. 

Although with Isaac there are no expectations, there lots of guarantees

With Isaac there will be tea parties


And sweet moments,...


Discoveries,...



Demands!!!!


Curiosity,...


Complaints,...


Silliness,...


POPCORN!!!!


Giggles,...


Late nights,...


Sign language,...


\

The unexpected,...


Singing,..


Close calls,...


Hugs,...



JOY!!!


No worries,...because Isaac knows the way,...


And No Expectations,...because Isaac is as he is,...and that's pretty wonderful!


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

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Autism and Eating and Isaac

Providing nutrition for a child on the spectrum can be a daunting task, beginning with sensory issues which are vast and highly individual. Isaac's main sensory issue is: soft and squishy like yogurt, pudding and ice cream,...those all get an immediate 'Uh, Uh," from our little guy, while other 'suspect'  foods are put to the finger-tip test,...very rigorous little fingertip as it is rare for a new food to get past Isaac's inspection.

So what to feed your child? In our case, we offer everything and anything with an emphasis upon healthy or really healthy snacks since multi-vitamins - in any form - do not pass Isaac's sensory guard - not liquid, not gummies, not chewable,...really not chewables! The one time I tried a chewable, I got the 'You've got to be kidding me" - look from Isaac, before he handed it back. 


 But hope is not lost,....here is Isaac eating EGGPLANT!!!


All is fair in love and nutrition,...so Mama has no qualms about marinating sliced eggplant in a
sweetened, hickory smoke brine,...and frying the Faux-Bacon,...like it was bacon,
'cause if you slice eggplant very thin, marinate it, drain it, coat it in potato starch, and then fry.
Guess what?
It tastes pretty durn close to: BACON!!!



Or at least close enough,...Isaac's begging for more,....


However eggplant's nutritional profile is not really that spectacular,...so this treat would only qualify as somewhat healthy. Fried squash and fried okra are equally acceptable to Isaac, and do have more nutrients but I am not crazy about feeding my little guy or big guys lots of fried foods.

Veggies like dairy remain a challenge for us,...as Isaac will only consume milk on occasion in a bowl of cereal,...which is NOT allowed to get soggy. Cheese is also a no go, but fortunately Isaac has no nut allergies to deal with and will consume cashews and almonds,...both fairly acceptable sources for calcium. 

Oatmeal is our best friend, and my best ally for sneaking in more nutrients such as a throughly mashed banana which disappears into the cereal. Score one for Mama, because if you offer Isaac a banana, he'll happily peel it for you, and hand it back, but he's not eating that 'squishy' fruit.

Hilariously Isaac prefers ├╝ber-expensive organic strawberries to plain ol' strawberries, trust me, we've tested him on this, and perhaps they do taste better. Our test show that plain ol' strawberries are a hit or miss, while Isaac will readily eat the organic,...when we can afford them. The irony is killing!

Grapes and apples are within Isaac's sensory scope, although grapes are more a hit and miss with Isaac than apples, which he adores. I purchase little 'snack' size apples and keep them in a bin in the fridge that Isaac can easily reach, he thinks it's a 'big deal' to help himself to an apple, and I play along. 

Dried fruits are a no brainer for hunting down acceptable sources of vitamins, or would be,...if Isaac would eat them. He'll eat raisins, but not dried anything else,...especially bananas!!! Hand Isaac a dried banana chip and he'll hand it back with a 'Nice Try' - expression. But this Mama keeps trying and I can sneak a few dried blueberries or dates in Isaac's oatmeal or into oatmeal cookies. 

Lately Isaac has shown interest in eating stews and chili,...which is a boon for our quest for more veggies as it is super easy to sneak greens like kale and iron-rich veggies like okra, which I regularly put in chili and slow cook until the pods break down into unrecognizable bits,...and are thus consumed by my unsuspecting five year old. 

In the past week or so I've just learned about Celtic salt, which is a sea salt that has a high profile of minerals, helpful information and a helpful seasoning, as I've been using it exclusively to season, and while it's not much, every tiny bit counts. 

Also legumes are a huge source of protein, calcium and iron for my little guy,...he LOVES them, and I've recently learned that soaking and sprouting legumes, like kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and lentils, activates the available nutrients absorbed by the body in considerable amounts, so the extra steps are worth my time and effort, especially since I usually cook from scratch. 

Protein for Isaac is never a problem from sea food to tofu,...if it is not soft or squishy,...he'll consume it with gusto!

A typical daily menu for Isaac would be: 
Breakfast: oatmeal with sunflower seeds, banana and raisins - school days - add scrambled egg on days he stays home;
Lunch: corn dog/or other protein, mandarin orange slices, noodles, trail mix
Snack: popcorn, apple, sunflower seeds, nuts, or oatmeal cookie. 
Supper: ground turkey patty, rice, noodles or potatoes, purple hull peas, grapes or strawberries.

Snack: bowl of cereal with milk, eaten with Daddy, trail mix, or popcorn,...have I mentioned on this blog before that Isaac really, really, really likes popcorn? 


Interestingly although Isaac likes bread, peanut butter sandwiches are not a biggie, although he will eat them, but he'd rather have garbanzo beans or purple hull peas. 

If Isaac has a love of his life for food, aside from popcorn, it would be RICE,...as he takes his love of this grain to alarming levels,...like eating his generous portion and YOURS too! White rice though? Pretty much devoid of nutrients, oh dear, but I've learned that brown rice, soaked overnight and cooked in the rice cooker - is perfectly acceptable to Isaac,...and rice-bowls are a great way to sneak in more veggies,...like broccoli very finely minced,...and every bit of vitamins is essential. 


When offering a new food to Isaac,...like that eggplant,...reverse psychology is a helpful tool. I NEVER say, "Here Isaac try this!" or at least haven't said it since my Rookie Days. No, I am very nonchalant about making the food available. It's on his plate, on the table, if he wants to try it, go for it, if not, we tried.

 9 times out of 10,...curiosity gets the better of Isaac and he will TRY a new food, if it is unacceptable he'll bring it to me, "No tank you."  - Very polite, it's when I attempt to push new items, I get the "Don't insult my intelligence" - look. 

                                  

Truthfully, I usually strike out when introducing new foods, which is why I am so willing to experiment with soaking grains and legumes, and nuts too, to up the nutritional profile of the foods that Isaac will eat. 

For my birthday, my guys gifted me, a nine tray dehydrator, which is super cool, and super useful in making nice - dry an crunchy - snacks. At this point, I am still on a learning curve with the dehydrator, although dehydrator cookies are a HUGE hit, and highly nutritious little nuggets. Savory crackers with hidden veggies are on my to-do list for my little guy, because it seems like a feasible concept to create a highly nutritious cracker that my little guy will consume with gusto!

Hey the Eggplant Faux-Bacon got gone quick,...so some ideas do work! Like anything with autism, nutrition is a puzzle, but Isaac likes to eat and he likes to help in the kitchen so can we all say: Therapy Potential? Is there anything more social than preparing food for loved ones? Or what better speech practice to verbally say, "I want more eggplant!


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