Friday, October 30, 2009

Gettin' Some Treats!

I can't say our family is all that in to Halloween. But, we play along a little bit by letting the boys get dressed up and participating in some low key fesitivities.

Today Charlie's Special Ed School hosted a costume parade and trick-or-treating at the classrooms throughout the school. So, Calvin and I made the drive to meet up with Charlie for some fun activities!

I think Charlie is saying, "Hey, what are YOU doing here?!"
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Charlie is dressed up as a carpenter, complete with hard hat and hammer. Specifically he is "Bob the Builder" a favorite character of his. Calvin is dressed as a train conductor.

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We had a wonderful time meeting some of the parents of kids in Charlie's class, and going around the school getting treats from teachers and students. Many of the staff stopped me to tell me how darling they think Charlie is, and that they just love it when they get to see him around campus. Ah, they know how to make a mother's heart swell!

Pumpkin Catchin'

Thought I better write about our Pumpkin Catchin' adventure before Halloween gets here!

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A couple weekends ago we went out to the Pumpkin Farm up the road in Blue Lake. We met up with Aunt Renee and Uncle Russ, and Grandpa was able to come too. The boys had a blast! We had a picnic lunch, and the boys enjoyed their first ever corn dog, which we all shared. The farm set up a hay maze for the kiddos, and Charlie loved it especially.

Daddy and Calvin (who is standing on top of the hay maze wall).
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Charlie on the hay maze.
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After a good while in the hay maze, we decided we better head out to the pumpkin fields before the rain came. The boys loved riding in the tractor trailer, Calvin was overjoyed, in fact.

The Trailer Ride.
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Well, by the time we got to the fields the rain was coming down pretty good, and we had no rain gear at all, so pumpkin catchin' went something like this:

Boys run around in mud and trip on pumpkin vines and smear dirt on lips while mommy runs crazily around field to pick perfect pumpkin in 5 minutes flat.

A wet Charlie, Mommy, and Daddy.
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It was really fun, and the boys are very excited about their pumpkin. We plan to carve it tomorrow (the 31st)at our family game night.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Discouraged

It's about mid-way through the fall preschool semester for Charlie. Time to drop in and see how he's doing.

On Monday I stopped by his Special Ed preschool class for an hour. I saw some nice interaction between Charlie and some of the kids in his class in the play area. I saw him use a computer mouse to do a computer game. I watched him do a one-on-one center activity with one of the aids. I also spent some time chatting with the Occupational Therapist while she worked with him.

All in all I was very pleased. He seems to know his way around the class very well, and follows verbal instructions to go to the next activity. He is in a non-verbal class, which perhaps is my only concern, though I'm not sure. I did not see him talk much. I can probably count on my right hand the number of words he said, yet when we are home or out and about he is a chatter box. I think his vocab is probably close to 200 words, of course some of them are hard to understand (okay, a lot of them). I don't know whether being in a class where most of the children have very few words is a hindrance for him or not. I suspect a lot of it is due to his slow-to-warm-up to adults personality.

Today I spent some time at his typical preschool classroom. Sigh. I saw very little interaction with other students. What interaction did occur, today at least, involved a little boy asking Charlie for a turn, and Charlie staring back clueless as to what to do. I saw him look on longingly at some of the playing the other kids were engaged in. I could tell he really wanted to jump into the play that was going on on the trike track, but the boys were moving so fast, and Charlie did not interject in their play. He does know how to ask for a turn, but I think he was pretty overwhelmed by the pace of everything.

It turns out that on Thursdays the center does not do circle time or structured play because the teacher is not there (something I did not know), so Thursday is mostly unstructured free-play. I was so bummed to learn that Charlie spends those days in his own little world on the play ground. He used to interact with the kids more, but I think they have just blown by him in development. Charlie is still doing parallel play (a toddler thing), but the rest of the kids are into interactive play. I did not see the kids try to include him, or they tried and moved on when he did not respond.

I left after feeling so discouraged to see how things were going and went to spend some time in Calvin's class for a bit.

When I came back at 11:30 to pick Charlie up, the boys had moved on from the trike track, and Charlie finally had his chance to ride a trike. He was riding around the track, just as happy as can be, but all alone. It just hurt my heart. I don't think Charlie feels rejection, but I DO!

I guess my expectation of the typical preschool class was that it would provide some valuable peer interaction and modeling, and an environment where he can use his verbal skills. I think there is plenty of modeling, but I did not hear him using words, and he certainly wasn't being facilitated in peer interaction. I feel let down for him, and I don't really know where to go from here.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

So Much Illness

There is so much illness going on in this house. Well, I'm not sick (miraculously), but the boys are sick, sick, sick. Even Ray had a touch of this bug the past few days, though mild with his Super Star Immune System and all.

Calvin spiked a fever last week on Thursday. That was the start of it.

His fever only lasted for half a day, but then the nose started to seep. And the cough--that 'wonderful' Humboldt cruddy cough--appeared.

Charlie started to feel unwell on Sunday. The nose started up, then the cough. On Monday he spiked a fever. That lasted for a day. Tuesday was a bit better, Wednesday better yet. Finally I sent both boys to school/day care on Thursday thinking, "Boy, I'm glad THAT is over."

Got a call from the school. Charlie is sitting like a lump int he corner. He doesn't seem to feel good. "He's not crying or anything," they say. It is close to pick-up time, so I decide not to fetch him early.

When I got to the school to pick up the boys, I see Calvin asleep in the teachers arms. NOT like him to do that, AT ALL. He had suddenly spiked a fever just 10 minutes earlier, and immediately fell asleep when the teacher picked him up.

So, now there are two boys feeling crummy. Awesome.

Today, Calvin continues to have a fever and a cough. He is a pretty cheery sick person. It is really amazing how this kid goes to any measure to make sure he is not missing out on anything.

Charlie has no fever, but he is quite worn out. His nose is disgusting, and his cough has not gotten any better. For Charlie, being sick usually means he is either laying on the floor moaning, or in the big chair watching a movie. I think we have watched every kid movie we own, and maybe a couple old movies not made for kids, but the fact that they are old make them family appropriate, if not understood by the boys.

It has been precious to have so many sought out hugs and cuddles from the boys this week. I hate for them to feel poorly, though. I hope all this illness is over really soon.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Priceless

This kid is hours of entertainment for the entire neighborhood. Seriously.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Sweet Gift

Our friend V, gospel singer extraordinair, gave the boys this old guitar her kids don't use anymore. They like it A LOT! Thanks, V!
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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

An Amazing Day

Today is one of those days that just feels great. Nothing exciting, new, or extraordinary has happened at all. Which, I suppose, is really how I like things.

It is raining. The first good storm of the season. As I was about town this morning people were complaining about the absence of the rain. The forecast has called for heavy storms, and the sky has promised us rain for two days, yet until this afternoon there was none. It rains a lot here on the far north coast of California, and the locals aren't always so hungry for rain. I think it was just the feeling in the air, the warmth that low cloud cover brings, the wind from the south. We were all living in anticipation for this storm, and it is finally here. Ah, comfy.

The boys are both napping. It probably won't last long, but I was able to get them both down to sleep at the same time. This is a new occurance, and it is so wonderful. Bedtime and nap time have been the one really stressful part of having two boys so close in (developmental) age. It is such a relief to bring them both into the bedroom at the same time, read a couple books, then get Charlie settled in his bed while I nurse Calvin. Then, they both fall asleep, listening to each others noises, comforted by their buddy just across the room. It is sweet. It is sweet for me to not have to need the TV to babysit one while I get the other down. That feels so good. It is sweet to see them settle in to each other's presence. It is sweet to get them down for naps and bed in half the time it took before.

Today just feels so good. The sound of the rain, and the way it makes the air feel. The quiet of the house, with two boys settled in for a sleep. The appreciation of "this too shall pass" having come to pass.

Friday, October 9, 2009

More Charlie Words

When one is leaving the room, one might say, "Bye! Eee-ooo Ayda!"

When one rides the bus to "cool" one must carry one's things in one's "a-back."

At certain times of the day one may notice a certain empty feeling in one's tummy. The best way to feel better is to tell a grown up that you are feeling "huggie" and would like to "eat peese!"

If one's name is Calvin one might be more specific about food choices and ask for "meat" or a "n-a-n-a" since one has recently learned the spelling of a certain long, yellow fruit.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Way Charlie Says It

There are words that Charlie says in his own little boy way. You know, incorrectly, if you really want to be technical.

We like it though, and often find ourselves using the Charlie version instead of the version found in Webster's Dictionary.

For example, this morning for breakfast we had Daddy's special "Biskicks". Sometimes Daddy whips up some yummy "cake-cakes". I like when he does that. Most mornings we simply have "meal-meal" though. One of our favorite special treats in this house, "Choc-ick."

Charlie tends to leave the beginning consonant off of a lot of words, so instead of hearing our names as Daddy, Calvin, and Kim (usually he calls me mommy, but not when he is calling to me from afar), we are called "Addy," "Alvin," and "Im" (he leaves the "r" on "ray" and the "m" on "mommy" for whatever reason). His own name he pronounces "Chawie."

Lately he has been making many pretend phone calls which he begins by saying, "He-yo, haw you?" and ends with. "umm hmm, bye bye!"

Rascal number 2 gets in on the fun as well. I often find myself using Calvin's version of the word "brother" instead of the proper term. Calvin says, "Brubber". In fact I've never heard Calvin utter Charlie's name, he simply calls him "Brubber".

And it's funny, the boy's language evolves so quickly. They will learn a word, complete with creative toddler pronunciation, and before the week is out the word has new sounds and is a much closer approximation. Some other word versions seem to stick for a while, like Calvin's use of "Brubber".

I really enjoy these adorable word interpretations, although my own learning curve for understanding emerging words probably needs improvement if you ask Charlie!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Yesterday I found out about...

The death of the sweet baby daughter who I "knew" through an on-line parent support group for families touched by Down Syndrome. I had prayed so very hard for her, as had many people. She passed away after complications from an open heart surgery.

The opportunity for life given to a 4 year old orphan boy whom I had been praying for for over a year. He lives in an orphanage in Eastern Europe, and desperately needed a family to commit to adopt him before he turned 5 and would be sent to a mental institution. I found out yesterday a family has chosen him to be their son. (Reece's Rainbow Ministry)
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