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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Little Eggy (and Mushroom Head)

Sean-Peter started back with his Occupational Therapy (OT) sessions after taking a break for the summer. He was doing so well last Spring, and the private company where he does his OT was going to be short-staffed in the summer, what with several therapists out on maternity leave and several others cutting back their hours while their kids were out of school.

It was really nice to have the break, if nothing else for the sake of a change -- not to mention the 20-minute drive each way for the one-hour weekly session. I really didn't know what to expect during the break after a full year of Sean-Peter going to OT. Would there be a change? Would we even notice a difference?

It was about mid-July that it occurred to me that it wasn't a coincidence that Sean-Peter's tolerance level was lower and his frustration level was higher. He was quicker to erupt and more quickly moved to tears for slights that otherwise might have been taken in stride. His speech sometimes stuttered and he articulated with much more effort. We were definitely missing OT.

The progress he has made in this year-plus since he has started therapy has not been lost on me; I am still amazed to think that I once thought I would be learning sign language, and instead the little guy "graduated" from speech therapy. Why, just one year ago Sean-Peter couldn't even sing. He cried in frustration when challenged to sing along to "Old McDonald's" ee-i-ee-i-oh...

And now, not only is he singing, he's making up his own lyrics...

"Little Eggy" by Sean-Peter (44 seconds long)

Little Eggy, Little Eggy....
If you want to hatch
Use your tail or teeth to break it open

"And, don't forget! Another one..."

Little Eggy, Little Eggy....
If you want to hatch
Use your tail or teeth to break it open

Little Eggy, Little Eggy, Little Eggy...

Yes, the little guy continues to amaze me.

Along with starting back to OT, we have also started up his Listening Therapy again at home. This requires a special set of (quite large) headphones that enable noise to filter in while he's wearing them for the 30 minutes of therapy each day that I remember to have him do it.

They're also what earned him the moniker, "Mushroom Head". (The hat helps to keep them on while he goes about his business.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Happy Birthday, Conner!

We celebrated Conner's birthday tonight, even though his birthday isn't until tomorrow. But tomorrow evening is going to be a busy one, with John getting home later and later later than he used to and Conner's soccer game and then Olivia and Peter will be in bed, so...

Besides, we decided that since Conner was born in Germany in the wee hours of the 16th, technically in Ohio he turns 14 the night before! So it's all good.

I did bake his cake -- I got away with that only because he was in school, I'm sure. Conner insisted on decorating it himself.

And he served it...
I tossed a few gift ideas back and forth... But if I was going to be honest, I knew that what a teenager really wants is cold, hard cash.Even Olivia understands that. (Where do you think the 11 cents came from?)Sean-Peter gave him an air gun. Thing is, the air gun already belonged to Conner. Until Sean-Peter "stole it out of his room!", that is. This would be an excellent example of where it's the thought that counts.

The sole concrete non-cash gift Conner got from us was a brand-new lunch box and water bottle. With strict instructions to tattoo his name on it in red ink to deter anyone from stealing it. Which happened last year. And is why he has been taking his lunch to school in plastic sacks.

Hey, these things aren't cheap!

After he got his gift he acts completely shocked. "I had no idea, mom. Wow, thanks." You'd think I'd just given him a new car.

Thing is, this morning he had just told me that we were out of plastic sacks. "What am I supposed to take my lunch in, mom?"

Of course, I knew he was getting a new lunch box later today, but I just handed him a gallon-size ziploc without a word.

"Wow, mom, I had no idea. You're really good at keeping a secret."

I asked him, "What, Conner, should I have been like, '(wink-wink) You won't need plastic sacks (wink-wink) anymore, Conner (wink-wink) if you know what I mean (wink-wink).'"

He just laughed.

Happy Birthday, Conner. I'm so glad you're my son.

Friday, September 11, 2009

To Commemorate 9/11, May We Never Forget

My kids have no memories from that fateful day eight years ago. Conner was in kindergarten, about to turn six, but he insists he has no specific memory of what was happening. I do recall that I tried to keep the news on TV, those vivid images, to a minimum. We were staying with my sister in Kansas for a while, while John was TDY. Her boys were as young as Conner and even younger. Their needs couldn't wait while the adults dropped everything to watch replays of the same horrible scenes.

To Conner it is just history, not something he experienced or witnessed personally as it played out. His knowledge of that day, and what it meant for this country, will have to come from us. I remember exactly where I was, and what I was doing, when I learned what was happening in New York. I remember the feeling in the country that we were all united, we were all galvanized and determined to find those responsible, we were all afraid, and we were all mad.

Olivia and Peter weren't even born yet. "Patriot Day" to Olivia means wear red, white and blue to school. As you might imagine, Olivia's always up for a theme.

Someday, I hope, she will understand the gravity of what this day commemorates. For now, singing a song she learned at school about loving her country is enough.

(Video's 41 seconds long. The cymbals were her idea;)

May you all have a blessed day.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

There was a mouse in our house.

"Mom, where's some gloves!"

"What do you need them for?"

"Just tell me where some are!"

"They're in the closet, in the bin marked, 'gloves'."

I know, I'm an enigma.

Turns out Conner was panicking because John had discovered a mouse in our house. Yes, I am aware that sounds like the beginning of a Dr. Seuss book. But come one, a mouse?

First, it was these guys...

It started a year ago when chipmunks tried to get into our dryer vent. Come summer, they simply used the door.

But today, it was this little guy...It took a little doing (and a little destruction)...But John finally caught him.He took the poor thing to the Nature Park, to join our former pet chipmunks Mr. Fluffy and his brother Darryl. (Unfortunately, his other brother Darryl succumbed to internal injuries.)

Where, oh where was the cat? you might ask. I know I did. Once the ruckus had died down and the mouse was safely ensconced in his plastic bag, The Huckster finally sauntered out from taking a nap and was all like, "What?"He is so getting fired.