Monday, November 30, 2009

thankful, thankful

Yes, this is late, but oh well.

1. I am thankful for Ryan. I'm a pain in the ass and he puts up with me and even loves me for it.
2. I am thankful for Benjamin and Elliott. My life would be empty without them. I can't even imagine it before they were here. I thought I was busy with important things before they were born...but now I am busy with important things for real! I love those little boys more than anything, even though they screamed a lot more than usual today. I am thankful to watch them both grow and learn every day.
3. I am thankful for my extended family and all of the love and support they give me no matter how many times I lose my keys in their presence.
4. I am thankful for a steady job in this economy, one where I get to help people and continually grow and challenge myself. I am thankful for this despite the fact that every once in a while, a student sends me a series of disturbing emails.
5. I am thankful for my health and will continue to work hard to maintain that. If I didn't have exercise, I think I would lose my mind.
6. I'm thankful for Celexa. Not as heartwarming, I know, but sometimes crazy pills are a good thing.
7. I'm thankful we lost our house this year. I am so much happier in our new house, and its much less stressful financially. So this one was really a blessing in disguise.
8. I'm thankful for food. Because food is awesome.
9. Okay, I'm blanking now. Happy belated Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

the other woman in ben's life

Ben's had minimum days all weeks because it's parent/teacher conference time (our first!) and so in the morning he gets to go to recess with the big kids on the big playground, which is louder and crazier than the tiny, regulated kindergarten-only playground. So he was all excited this morning because now he's gotten used to it. He ran away from me, dropped off his backpack, quickly kissed me and ran around the corner and all the way across the asphalt to the big playground.

I said goodbye to him, but I secretly followed so I could watch him. He was wearing a bright red sweater and seemed to be the only one with bright yellow hair, so it was easy to see him among the screaming and running kids all around. His confident run slowed to a jog, which slowed to a complete stop when he realized there was no one he recognized anywhere around him. He folded his hands in front of his body and just stood there, confused, vulnerable. It took everything in me not to dart across and scoop him up in my arms. He just looked so little.

But I waited. I told myself that I can't just scoop him up when he feels unsure, that he has to learn how to deal with this. I waited and waited. 2 minutes felt like forever. And then, suddenly, his friend Kimberly yelled his name, and they ran towards each other like people run towards each other in slow motion on the beach in movies and commercials. They threw their arms around each other, and Kimberly held Ben's hand and they skipped away, utterly happy. And a part of me was so happy that he is doing so well in kindergarten, that he has good friends who love him and accept him. But every day, he grows more independent from me. I know this is all part of the deal, but it's such a bittersweet feeling; it makes me incredibly proud and incredibly sad all at the same time.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

sweet boy

I know it has been FOREVER since I posted...but I did move AND get tenure (yay!) and battle the flu in the last month.

What I want to write about today is Elliott's progress. We saw the new Defeat Autism Now (DAN) doctor in Irvine, Dr. Barrett mid-October. She was kind and balanced and thorough and she took Elliott off of the 24 supplements he was on and put him on 5, which is much more manageable and less costly. Within two weeks, we saw huge improvement, but I am not sure if it is the supplements or the applied behavior analysis (ABA), or both. ABA is when they come in our home five days a week for 2 hours per day and work with Elliott on his behavior and social skills. The goal is to replace his non-socially acceptable behaviors with behaviors that are more appropriate and to break tasks into tiny steps so that he can accomplish them more easily. We got the best company in our region, AST, and I'm so happy about his progress with them as well. Back to our doctor. She is working to get rid of a yeast overgrowth that he has in his belly, and we've seen results. Elliott told me he loved me for the first time. And he also told his grandma he loved her too. He has been playing with Ben, trying to talk, learning his body parts, trying to help dress himself, etc., things he didn't do as well or at all before. He seems less likely to tantrum and more "normal" in general. He even did well on Halloween--he kept his costume on and said "Trick or Treat" and didn't scream. That's a major success for us! So this month has been busy, but really good. We are settled into our house now, and we really love it.

This post is about Elliott, but Benjamin is doing really well, too. He's doing really well in school and he's been loving and kind to his brother and everyone else for that matter.

I'm really enjoying the boys at this age.