Sunday, November 30, 2008

These Boys

What could I possibly say
within the lines of a poem
to express just how
these two little boys
make me feel?

Charlie.
Aw, Charlie.
He is an angel,
you know.

If I think about it,
and close my eyes tight,
I can smell the way he smelled
in those newborn days.

His scent,
his gaze,
his entire being,
is soft and comforting.

To look into his eyes
and catch his mischief;
there's nothing like it
in all the world

Then there is Calvin,
dear, dear little Calvin:

Bright, big eyes,
fresh curiousity,
infectious delight.

There is not a shortage of people
who await with eagerness
the chance to make our sweet little Calvin laugh.

I must be the luckiest woman on earth
to awake each day to his
toothy grin and wet kisses.

These boys,
they are my heart.
How can I possibly with words
distill the gift they are to me?

A little mommy
with big gratitude.

Monday, November 24, 2008

IEP Update

I had a really great meeting with Charlie's infant teacher and services coordinator last Friday. We met informally to discuss preschool options.

Charlie's teacher and services coordinator are both so impressed with Charlie. They've seen him in action, and know that he is a capable, beautiful child. His infant teacher has been to the Children's Center many times to visit Charlie. She knows he is thriving in that environment.

Charlie's services coordinator has been so good to us these last 3 years. She has supported us in getting services for Charlie that generally hadn't been started at his young age. I asked for these services because I thought they would benefit Charlie to start as young as possible, and he has done wonderfully.

I am so thankful for these two women!

In our meeting I shared my concern that Charlie needs interaction with his typically developing peers. My desire is for him to stay at the Children's Center with his friends. After a lot of thought and discussion, Ray and I also decided Charlie probably needs the intensive program at the Special Ed preschool as well. The intensive instruction will help him keep up with his friends when he gets to the preschool class next fall, which has a faster pace and a greater child to teacher ratio. So...

The plan for the IEP meeting next month is to ask for Charlie to attend Special Ed preschool 2 days a week (1/2 days to start out), and Children's Center 2 days a week and increasing to 3 days a week when he starts preschool class in the fall.

Ray and I are feeling really good about this set-up. Charlie's teacher and services coordinator also think this would be a great combination for Charlie. I am confident that this plan has the heart of the IDEA act at it's core. It gives Charlie the intensive instruction he needs to make big steps developmentally, and it includes him in his natural environment with his non-disabled friends.

Oh and this plan comes with a bonus: Charlie will get to ride a school bus to Special Ed preschool in the mornings (which makes me feel a little nervous, but I know Charlie will think it is the coolest thing ever!).

I am so grateful Charlie's teacher and Coordinator are willing to come to extra meetings just for me (and Charlie). This meeting was not a requirement, but they care for our family and want to work with us to find a good solution for Charlie's education.

It is unseen what the School Administrators will think of our plan. Our hope is that they will say, "Hey, that is a great idea. Let's do it." But regardless, I feel confident having so many people coming to the IEP who agree that Charlie needs to be with his non-disabled peers as much as possible to benefit from his overall educational experience.

I am breathing. In and out. We will make it through this, and Charlie, well, he will soar. I am confident in that.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

He's got dibs

If there is one thing that Charlie looks forward to it is vacuuming! He loves it when mama whips out the vacuum. Charlie likes to help out in any way he can, so when I get out my vacuum, he usually gets his "vacuum" out as well. When the boys are old enough to help with housecleaning chores, Charlie's definitely got dibs on the vacuuming job!

Look at that form and technique, not to mention the spiffy sweat suit.
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Monday, November 17, 2008

Speaking of Cute...

I am reminded of a Charlie story.

My friend Katie and I were shopping together at the CO-OP. Charlie was about 3 or 4 months old. I has holding him with his tummy facing me, and his little chin perched on my shoulder looking back.

We were in the produce section the first time we saw him. A scruffy old fellow. Grey hair, full beard, rough hands. My impression was that he was a fisherman, or perhaps a boat maker. Something marine. He was very weathered.

Now, Charlie has a gift. It is Down Syndrome, and it takes people by surprise. He is so charming, so cute, and yet, he has Down Syndrome?? It catches people off guard. Flies in the face of many stereotypes. I especially think this is true of babies with Down Syndrome.

The first time we saw the old scruffy fisherman, he paused what he was doing (thumping melons?) to admire Charlie. He waved to Charlie, and smiled.

The second time we saw him was in the bulk foods area. We were walking past each other in the isle, and he again paused to say 'hi' to Charlie, who smiled for him.

The third time we saw him, we were in front of the diary case. This time he didn't pause, didn't wave 'hi' (I mean, after crossing paths three times in the grocery, it feels a little awkward, doesn't it?). No. This time he just smiled as he walked past. As we parted ways this final time, I heard him mutter to himself in his rough voice:

"That's the cutest damn baby I've ever seen."

Hey, old fisherman fellow... I couldn't agree more.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

So cute

If you have a mommy in your life who you want to make feel really, really good, I will tell you how:

First, flirt with her darling little baby for a while. Make him smile. Make him giggle and laugh. Ooo and ah over his dimples, his shy little glances, his chubby little face and neck. Then, look at his mommy and say something like this:

"Your baby is the cutest baby I've ever met," you might add, "I'm not just saying that to be nice."

That ought to send her over the moon for a while. Yep. I think that should do it. ;)

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

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I tell Calvin to enjoy it. This is the only time in his life that he can have thighs like that and everyone will think it is cute!

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Yard

One of the best things about our new house is the awesome, ultra kid-friendly yard. Our landlord, Jo, keeps the grass short and lovely, and the Humboldt weather keeps it nice and green. Here are a couple photos of the boys enjoying our beautiful little yard.

Little Calvin enjoying some sunshine. He doesn't stay on that blanket for long!
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My happy boy, running free.
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Charlie on his "ip" (Rocket Ship).
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Saturday, November 8, 2008

He Clapped!

Calvin learned to clap last night, and he could not be more pleased with himself. It is so cute. He stops what he is doing to clap at every chance he gets. And, if one of his hands is busy, no matter, he just claps the air with the other one!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Eating Simple

I don't consider myself a 'good' cook. I'm good at following instructions--which is how I learned to knit, sew, play the bass, and spin wool--so I'm able to whip up a scrumptious dish when I need to. For everyday eating, we have a pretty simple Menu.

To make it on to our family menu rotation, a recipe has to have ingredients that are easy to keep around on a regular basis. The ingredients need to be wholesome, and inexpensive. The recipe can't have too many crazy steps. It is less important how long something takes to cook, as it is how involved the cook needs to be. We love finding different ways to use our crock pot and dutch oven!

Anyway, I would love it if some of you who read my blog would share your favorite simple recipes with me. Here is a favorite of ours:

Mom's Spinach Lentil Soup:

1 onion
8 cups Chicken or Veggie Broth
1 pound Lentils (the brownish green kind)
2 packages frozen chopped spinach (fresh works well too, about 4 cups fresh chopped)
salt and pepper to taste
shredded cheddar cheese

First I have to say I typed out these ingredients by heart. There are only six ingredients and 3 steps to the recipe. The ingredients are pretty cheep, and easy to keep around. A definite winner. (Thanks Mom!)

Saute the chopped up onion in the soup pot. Add the broth and and rinsed lentils. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 45 minutes. Add the spinach and spices. Let is cook for another ten minutes. Serve with shredded cheese on top. It is so good!
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