Daily Life

My amazing kids

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So I’m sure everyone has heard about the infamous stomach bug going around. It’s not just in Tennessee- I have friends in other states who have come down with it as well! And let me tell you, it’s awful. Just awful. Nathan came down with it a week and a half ago, and then John and I both came down with it last weekend. Whew. It’s been about four years since I’ve had one, and if I never have another stomach virus again, it will still be too soon.

In other news, Nathan is still totally rocking the school thing. He’s in the Accelerated Reading programs and is finally being challenged in that area. His teacher says he’s one of the most fun-loving students she has… Always smiling and grabbing the other kids in giant bear hugs. (He doesn’t get the whole personal space thing, but so far the other kids seem to be ok with it.) in fact, when any of his classmates see him at the school functions we’ve attended, they shout his name and come running to him for one of his giant hugs. I love seeing that!

Baby John is doing great as well. Can you believe he is already almost 21 months old? It’s insane how fast the time goes, I tell ya! He’s in Tennessee’s Early Intervention Program. He has a few delays and is developing some sensory issues. Nothing we can’t handle though, considering we’re used to it now after all we’ve been through with Nathan. So he has an in-home teacher that comes out once a week and works on things like his sensory issues, learning sign language until he’s starts talking, and stuff like that. He’ll also be going through speech therapy and some feeding therapy as well to help him with his eating issues (such as aversions to certain textures), which are fortunately pretty mild.

So things here are going pretty well! John’s therapists think he’s gonna be caught up in no time. Life is good!

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Glorious updates!

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As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I haven’t written over the summer, but now that Nathan’s back in school and things are winding down, I figured I’d give an update on what all has been happening the last number of weeks.

Nathan has graduated preschool with flying colors. And oh! He taught himself how to read overnight. Literally. He went camping with Paul’s family, and when he left, he didn’t know how to read. When he came back, he had a surprise for us; he read the entire book “Are You My Mother” from beginning to end! He got stuck on a couple of words but otherwise glided right through it. I couldn’t believe it! I am one proud mama.

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So now summer is over and my baby is officially a kindergartener! I’ll be honest- I was afraid summer break was going to be really rough considering how difficult transitions are for him. But it was really great. Don’t get me wrong, he definitely had his “off” days,  but it was such a joy to have both of my sons home with me.

I’ve also started a chore chart with Nathan. It’s an app on my phone called Chore Monster. Basically, I come up with a few chores and assign them a certain number of points. Once he accumulates points, he can pick out rewards such as ice cream, X-Box time, something out of the prize box, etc. He loves it, and it’s teaching him concepts such as saving up his points for the bigger rewards.

And he also lost his other bottom tooth! And both of his top teeth!

John is growing up so fast. He’s finally, FINALLY now eating table foods. We had the hardest time getting him to eat any of it because he would gag and puke any time we put anything with texture in his mouth. He’s finally gobbling up Cheerio’s, Saltines, all kinds if fruits including bananas, grapes, strawberries, and cantaloupe and now eats the same things we eat for dinner. Spaghetti is his favorite meal EVER.

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I’m glad the pureed baby food days are behind us. That stuff was expensive, and he ate about 13-15 jars of it a day. (Yes, he totally eats like a man.) AND, he’s just super cute sitting in his high chair, eating the same things we eat. Especially spaghetti. Oh yes, watching him eat spaghetti is priceless.

He’s great at games where you put shapes in the right sized slots, and he loves books and to be read to. He’s still not saying any words other than Mom and uh oh, which he says about everything, but he is finally pointing at things. He was waving, but he’s stopped. He was also saying other words such as dada, ball, bye bye, and hi, but he’s stopped that as well. I don’t know if it’s considered regression or if he’s just stubborn. We’re really hoping this isn’t a marker for autism. Since Nathan is on the spectrum, John is considered “high risk” and has a 1 in 4 chance of being on the spectrum himself. I’ve brought up my concerns to the pediatrician, and he said it’s hard to tell since he’s so young and that the issues I’ve brought up wouldn’t normally concern him, but since John’s big brother is Autistic, that is what makes these behaviors concerning. And the higher functioning on the spectrum he could be, the harder it is to diagnose when they’re younger. I’m not particularly worried about it, though. It is what it is. And if John ends up being anything like his big brother, then we’re going to have two brilliant boys on our hands. Plus, if that’s the case, we’ll already know how to deal with it since we already have one child on the spectrum.

John has also started walking, and it’s the second cutest thing ever! (The first being watching him eat spaghetti.) He high-steps with every step and is very proud of himself. I love the sound of his little feet slapping on the hardwood as he toddles all over the place. Oh how I love this stage.

In other news, Nathan made himself a new friend! A very dear friend of mine, M, who has been my close friend for about 15 years, has an 8 year old son, E,  with high-functioning Autism and a 6 year old son, A, who is neurotypical (that’s the “politically correct” way of saying non-Autistic. Well E had a birthday party a while back, and we were invited. It went wonderfully! See, whenever I try to have playdates with Nathan, kids without Autism just don’t get him. They don’t understand him and are not on the same page as him. Nathan ends up getting upset and worked up and meltdowns typically ensue. But sweet E was different. They got each other immediately. It was so heart warming to see. And since A’s older brother is on the spectrum, even though A is not, he totally understood Nathan as well. There was lots of spinning in circles, happy hand flapping, and in depth conversations about Star Wars, and everyone had a grand time. They spent most of their time in E’s room, lost in their own little worlds as they played Lego’s together. And then when it was time to leave, I warned my friend M that there might be a meltdown… she and her husband laughed and said that in fact, there might be two meltdowns and E is prone to them as well. When it was time to go, Nathan was on the verge of losing control but I was able to talk him down by assuring him he would see E again soon.

As for kindergarten, Nathan is rocking it!! Academically, he already knows everything they’re teaching. They’re teaching how to count to 20- he can count to 100 forwards and backwards. They’re learning the ABC’s- he knows them all and can already read. He already knows all the shapes and colors and numbers. He already knows simple math. So the downside of this is he gets bored. He ends up finishing his work and walking around the class doing the other kids’ work too. His teacher is awesome, seriously. She gets him and can really can relate with him. So she tells him what a good friend he is but that the other kids can’t learn how to do it if he does it for them!

I used to do the same thing in school. I clearly remember how utterly boring it was, so I refused to do my work. I’d put big X’s on the paper and write “this is stupid” and then I’d go so the work for the other kids. Unfortunately for me, I had a teacher that didn’t want to deal with me so she tried to put me in the intellectually disabled class. I’m so thankful Nathan doesn’t have a teacher like that. She’s told me he mostly plays alone in he playground, but he seems happy. That’s just part of autism… As long as he’s happy, I’m happy.

Nathan has also started wearing glasses! He’s so stinking cute in them! But oh man, is it a hassel to get him to keep them on. He’s already bent them all up, accidentally stepped on them and sat on them, and the lenses have popped out. A couple days ago on the playground at school, one of the lenses popped out. Nathan and his teacher looked for it, and then Paul and Nathan went back to school to look some more after Nathan got home,  but no luck. We had to order a new lense. I’m going to have to get one of those bands that goes around the back of the glasses to hopefully help keep them on. Of course, Nathan will still be able to take them off if he wants to, but hopefully the band will make it to where he can’t remove them absentmindedly.

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So all in all, things are going great here. I miss Nathan when he’s at school, but he absolutely loves going is is a sponge for learning. My kids make me so proud.

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The good life

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I can’t believe my sweet boys are growing up so fast! Nathan is already five years old and John is 9.5 months old! Nathan is talking so well now. Up until he started preschool, he was talking but not quite on the same level as other kids his age. Now he talks up a storm, asks really good questions (some of which I don’t even have the answers for!), and has even honed his negotiation skills. He is the most amazing big brother John could ever ask for. It’s really so wonderful to see him interact with and care for his brother. My heart swells with so much love when I see that, it sometimes feels as if it will just explode.

Nathan’s teacher is so impressed with his spot-on memory, and he has already surpassed his peers with his numbers, letters, colors, and shapes. He already knows them all and can count to 100 without any help. They’re working with him on his fine motor skills, and I must say he’s made tremendous progress and can now write not only his first name, but his middle and last name too! His social skills have advanced tremendously as well as has his eye contact and listening skills. I am so grateful for this school and the help they’ve given him. I thank the good Lord every single day for the opportunity He provided us to move to this city. Thank God my child didn’t fall through the cracks with his autism and sensory issues.

Sweet John is trying so very hard to crawl. He can get up on all fours and rock back and forth, and he army crawls/scoots around all over the place. He’s pulling himself up and is >this close< to being able to pull himself up into a standing position on his own. He naps twice a day, which is glorious, and eats like a man. Seriously, that kid eats solid foods 4-5 times a day, 6-8 ounces at a time AND is still nursing. He had his nine-month check up, and he’s growing so big. He’s in the 90th percentile for height, the 45th for weight, and the 80th for head size. So he’s gonna be tall and thin like he rest of us. (Paul is 6’5, I’m 5’8, and Nathan was 42″ at his last checkup over the summer.)

And oh! Andrew the cat adores John. He hangs around him and apparently loves when John grabs and pulls his fur because he never runs away or growls, and is constantly licking him. He’s also stopped pooping as much outside of his litter box (knock on wood) since John’s started pulling his fur. Maybe he wanted more attention, who knows?

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Life is good.

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Our beautiful life

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It’s been busy, busy, busy around here. From still getting up 1-3 times a night with the baby, to driving Nathan to and from school, to cleaning and organizing, to reorganizing the baby’s room and Nathan’s room, and just about everything in between! Nathan finally got himself a big boy’s bed (as in, a regular twin-sized bed) so we took the toddler bed and turned it back into a crib for John. Nathan loves that John’s taking his daily naps in it! I cleaned and reorganized Nathan’s room from top to bottom and am in the middle of doing the same with John’s room.

It’s crazy how hard it is to get seemingly simple tasks accomplished when you have two little ones. Here’s a look into a small fragment of my day. Take mopping, for example. I am loathe to admit how long it’s been since I’ve mopped. Why, you wonder? Well, first I pick up all the toys so I can sweep. After I’ve done that, the baby invariably needs a diaper change or whatnot. After that, he’ll decide he’s hungry, so I feed him. In the meantime, Nathan’s dumped out his legos, brought me plates of food from his kitchen, and scattered clothes and an assortment of toys all over the place. Me telling him to clean up after himself turns into a battle of wills; he ends up getting sent to his room for refusing to clean. Out of principle, I refuse to clean it up for him. I start a load of dishes. Nathan keeps coming out of his room, whining about how he doesn’t want to be in his room, to which I remind him all he needs to do is clean up his mess and he can come out. He stomps out anyway and throws a fit, so I carry him back to his room. He tells me he doesn’t like me anymore. I tell him that’s fine and he can have his opinion, but if he backtalks again then he’ll get more time. He says he wants to be bad and not mind, and when I ask him if he’s sure about that, he screams yes so I give him 5 more minutes in his room. Then the baby starts crying because he needs another diaper change, then after that, John wants to eat some solids. After we’re done, I hear Nathan throwing toys in his room. I go in there and tell him to clean up his mess and he tells me he doesn’t want to mind. I add another two minutes to his room-time. John then starts crying because he wants to be held and hugged, so I spend some cuddle time with him. When he calms down, I go in the kitchen to do dishes, only the water has gotten cold. I empty the water and start over. So at the end of my day, it appears as if nothing has been done.. and it’s driving me crazy because I spend all day long going and going and going.

Don’t get me wrong, Nathan is still an incredibly sweet and loving little guy. He’s simply going through the same phase every single other kid on the planet goes through. It doesn’t make it any easier,  but I do know that eventually this will pass and he won’t be so damn hard-headed. Oh wait. Maybe that won’t pass… ha ha.

As for the baby, I can’t believe he’s is EIGHT months old already… where is time going? Oh, that’s right. I’ve spent the last few months in a sleep-deprived fog. Don’t get me wrong, John’s smile make it all totally worth it, but let’s face it. Getting up to take care of the little fellow 1-3 times a night is draining!

Guess what? He said Mama just the other day! No kidding. I walked into the room, held my arms out to him and said, “HI, JOHN!!” He grinned from ear to ear, kicked his legs and flailed his arms and said just as plain as day, “MAMA!” My heart may have melted considerably as I looked at his toothy grin (he has six teeth now!)

He’s loving solid foods. I’m still making them for him as well. Peas, prunes, and pears are his absolute favorites. He’s ok with green beans, can’t decide if he likes bananas, and so far he HATES sweet potatoes. I don’t know why- sweet potatoes are delicious! Hopefully he’ll come around soon. He’s sitting up quite well unassisted, only ocassionally flopping over backwards or to the side. He loves to stand up! He has strong little legs. They’re long and thin, but they can really throw a kick. He’s outgrowing his clothes faster than I can pack them up and get out the next size. Size 6-9 months doeslln’t fit at all, and he just started busting out of his size 9-months. We have a big boy on our hands!

I’m simultaneously looking forward to and yet dreading when he becomes mobile. It’s amazing watching him grow, but I am SO not looking forward to chasing him around, wresting objects he shouldn’t be playing with from his spit-soaked little hands, making sure he doesn’t chew on anything that could hurt him, and basically following him around everywhere, whisking him down from the tables and chairs he’ll attempt to climb, putting everything back into the cabinets that he drags out… oh there won’t be a dull moment for sure in this house!

Nathan is an AMAZING big brother. He really loves John and likes to help him when John cries. Anything from making silly faces to handing him toys to dancing and singing for him. And you know what? Everytime I see it, my it feels like my heart is going to just explode from all the love I feel. And Nathan being so sweet and doting to the baby (whom he calls “his baby”) makes Nathan’s backtalking totally bearable.

Even with all the chaos and a seemingly constantly messy house, I wouldn’t trade my life for anything. Paul and I really love our lives, and we feel blessed beyond measure. I love being mom to my two boys. And I can always catch up on the cleaning when they’re older… right? Right??

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