Thursday, May 25, 2017

Mother's Day Procession

The kids are old enough to actually come up with their own plans for Mother's Day! Their tradition now always include breakfast in bed for me (with instructions for me the night before not to get out of bed because I'm not known for sleeping in!)

Here comes the breakfast-in-bed procession!
J made me scrambled eggs (complete with M&M garnishes around the edge of the plate - his trademark). No suprise that the minute he put down the plate, C helped himself to all the garnishes!

Tweety made me oatmeal, toast, and coffee, while Matt supervised the event!

Once the food was delivered, the procession turned into a pile of kids on the bed! Amazingly very little food was spilled and the coffee survived!
They were thoughtful! I got spoiled!! Good, good day!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mr. Culligan Man, You Made Our Day

Dear Mr. Culligan Man,

We saw your truck in the parking lot the minute we pulled into our son's therapy center. You were coming out of the building, pushing an empty dolly in front of you.

C, our son, was all watchfulness and smiles. He likes trucks, maybe not quite as much as lawn mowers, but he definitely likes trucks a lot.

You smiled at C as you climbed into the truck while I tried to convince him that it was time to go inside to therapy. Not surprisingly, he was reluctant to lose sight of you and your truck. You patiently waited.

Coaxing C inside the building took a bit of time. I could see you out of the corner of my eye, still smiling at our little guy, still patiently waiting. C loves trucks, can run fast, and is a bit of a Houdini in escaping from holding hands, so I was very grateful for your thoughtfulness in waiting for us to get inside before driving off to your next delivery.

Once we made it through the door, C turned and pressed up against the glass. He was anxious for one more look at your truck.

You saw him watching. I was watching, too. I saw you stop the truck, smile big, and give C an enthusiastic wave. C waved back and shivered with delight as the wheels started to move again.

Watching a truck drive away - pretty sure C can't think of a better way to start a therapy morning.

Watching a stranger show patience and kindness to our little guy - pretty sure I can't think of a better way to start my morning.

I suppose you might say it wasn't that big of a deal.

It was just a bit of patience, a big wave, and a smile. But in a world driven by deadlines and schedules, in a situation where I may have expected stares and annoyance, you surprised with smiles and patience.

To echo Eeyore's words (not his sarcasm!):
"A little Consideration, a little Thought for Others, makes all the difference."

Thank you, Mr. Culligan Man, for your consideration and thoughtfulness. You made our day!


C's Mom

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Speech Therapy Courtesy of "The Great British Baking Show"

Tweety and I found a favorite show on Netflix over the winter - The Great British Baking Show. We usually spread out an episode over several days, cuddling on the couch and drooling over cake. Good thing watching cake bake is calorie free!

The first time we watched the show, Big C joined us. As the judges cut into the cakes, Big C turned to me and said, "Cah."

"Yes, cake!" I said.

A few seconds later, he put his hand on my arm and said again, "Cah."

"Yes, cake!" I replied.

And so it continued for the entire episode. "Cah." "Cake!" "Cah." Cake!"

So that may not sound like the best way to watch TV, but trust me, it was awesome!

Big C said cake with no help from me. I didn't teach the word. Or prompt him. Or try to get him to imitate the word. No therapy techniques or data tracking. He just said it.

(Okay, so maybe Tweety and I were gushing over the cakes, and Big C probably heard us say "cake" oodles of time in the midst of our gushing, but it was just conversation. I wasn't intentionally teaching! Speech therapy via The Great British Baking Show - that's my kind of therapy!)

We hear Big C saying so many word approximations, lots of them now unprompted! I think cake is an excellent one to add to his vocabulary, and how cool is it that he's picking up words just from conversation!

The minute J walks in the door from school every day, I know I'll hear Big C say, "Jah jah, cah cah." Translated, that means "J, soccer." In other words - "J, let's go outside and play soccer."

Speaking of outside, that's another word Big C has mastered, which is most appropriate considering my post a few weeks ago about his obsession with playing outside!

Another favorite phrase of his is, "Get me!" He says it with the cutest twinkle in his eye, and then he turns and runs! It's the best game ever - he runs, we chase, it all ends in laughter and tickles and hugs.

It's still hard for me to believe I just wrote that - Big C has a favorite PHRASE! He's putting words together!

Before I know it, one of these days he'll probably turn to me with that twinkle in his eyes and say, "Bake me a cake." And you know I will! (It'll look nothing like The Great British Baking Show, unless my awesome sis-in-law intervenes, but I'll happily make him one!)

Friday, May 5, 2017

Celebrating the End: Toilet Training

The backpack gapes open, a black hole that consistently holds more than I think it will.

This day I'm after one thing - a packet of papers tucked into the communication notebook that travels back and forth between home and Big C's therapy center.

I pull out the packet and flip through page after page of data. The data tells a story; it would sketch a picture if I were to graph it.

I like these sheets of data. Their story has a happy ending (who doesn't like that?!), and the picture they paint is a masterpiece of Hard Work riding off into the sunset, its victory settled. Yep, I definitely like these sheets a lot!

Some celebrations are noisy affairs, complete with cheering, high fives, maybe some confetti thrown in.

Others are quiet - a heart so filled with joy and thankfulness and relief that no outward expression can rightly celebrate the joy.

This day the celebration is immense. And it is quiet. Of course, in the months leading up to today, we've filled the house with high fives, clapping, and cheers.

But today I celebrate, and instead of confetti, it's whispered prayers of thankfulness that mark the end.

I quietly slide the data sheets into the drawer. And that's that. We are done with them. I suppose I could just as well throw them away, but I'm not ready for that yet.

This journey of toilet training was hard.

Discouragement and doubts tagged along. It took several years, and then several intense months, to cross the finish line.

These sheets remind me of God's faithfulness and strength, and from time to time I want to look back. To remember. (And maybe yell out a great big cheer every so often that we actually reached the end!!!! Technically, we still have one more hurdle - we're still waiting for Big C to tell us when he needs to go. But really, compared to what life was like a few months ago, I'm so okay with that part not being perfect yet.)

I wish I could ask Big C about his feelings on reaching the end. He seems rather impressed with himself and his independence. But at the same time, he now seems pretty matter of fact about the whole thing, which I guess is where most of us eventually end up when it comes to the bathroom part of life!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Happy Birthday to our Oldest!

Happy 12th birthday to J! Enjoy your last pre-teen year!

We love this boy so much and thank God for him! It's hard to believe that 12 years of laughing and talking and learning together have flown by so quickly. Please stop growing up!

Like father, like son!
J is still my go-to-man for animal facts, and if it's too cold outside for soccer, I'm bound to find him curled up with a book or playing his trumpet.
As his tradition, here is his year-in-review birthday video! We love you, J!!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Spring is Rough

When I look out across the field these days, I see a creeping, green mist winding through the trees. Soon it will turn to a pastel wall bordering the unplowed dirt, and then darken to forest green. That's always my signal that spring is here to stay.

Spring is marvelous!

Sunny days. Flowers emerging. Blue skies and spring winds.

As marvelous as spring is, it's also rough.

Every year Big C, too, notices the arrival of spring. I don't know what his signal is - maybe the warm winds or the return of sunshine, which was absent for half a year, or the green grass.

Whatever the signal, Big C knows when spring steps foot in Michigan. And for him that means we MUST play outside. All the time.

We do play outside lots! The therapy center builds in plenty of outside play just for Big C. At home we spend hours in an afternoon playing soccer and swinging and going for walks.
 The runners of the family!
But hours of outside play is not enough for Big C. He wants outside access 24 hours a day.

Of course I know, Matt knows, the older kids know - that's not possible. There's homework and house cleaning and meal prep and sleeping that have to be done inside. Plus, spring in Michigan means we'll still have plenty of colder days. Big C understands none of that.

So, unfortunately, every spring he has to relearn this sad fact that we can't play outside forever. And it's rough.

Rainy days can mean hours on end of Big C trying to communicate to us, in any way he can, that he wants to go outside, while we try to communicate to him, in any way we can, that we can't go outside at the moment.

Springtime amplifies the frustrations of the communication barrier. That barrier is shrinking bit by bit, but it is still formidable, as is the stress that goes with it.

Thankfully this week Big C hasn't seemed quite as upset about the outside-play limits. However, we've also had a lovely week where we were outside a ton. I guess we'll see how the next few days play out!
On the plus side, I get plenty of exercise in the spring and summer! The sunshine - and Big C - forever beckon me to get out and play!

Friday, April 21, 2017

What We Do for Fun

J and Tweety had spring break a few weeks ago. It was delightful! No travelling, but we still had lots of fun enjoying a restful break from school.

Big C's therapy center didn't have a spring break, so he went to the center every day. He likes his routine! Since we knew we would have several hours before picking up Big C every day, we scheduled in lots of reading time and hanging out at the library - things that Big C is not fond of. I know! The library may not sound like fun, but we're kind of book nerds over here! Reading is what we do for fun!
Tweety found one of my editing books from college days. She was fascinated - a girl after my own heart!
Don't worry! We did other stuff besides reading!
 Jumping around with friends!
 Cousin time!
And Big C enjoyed chilling with us and his music when he got home every day! Love spring break!
Looking forward to summer!