Friday, October 30, 2009

Fall fun: wild and free style

After the Halloween costume parade at Ethan's school, the twins and I went to one of our beautiful and very close metro parks. This particular one is known for it's gardens and does not have a playground (that I know of at least). I LOVE this park. I also thought that maybe I could get some good photos of the kids (any of the kids actually) that I have been longing for. But I knew it wasn't really realistic as they are constantly on the move. I thought maybe, just maybe, with only two of them that I had a chance. Albeit slim, but maybe. If not, I knew there would be lots of leaves to run in and paths to explore... or in their case... run like the wild and free children they are.

And I was right. They played in the leaves, ran down the paths, explored the different gardens, watched the stream flow, and generally enjoyed themselves.

I do need to note that Collin was my little defiant child today, refusing to listen to me and instead follow his own paths. Oliver was so cute looking at him and then at me and trying to decide what to do; who to follow. He was 50/50 on being a rebel with Collin. However, something fabulous did happen when Collin decided to finally join me after one of his little renegade missions: he chose the shortest path to me, rather than the actual path. As he shuffled through the thick brush, he said to me: "halp, halp!" As in the word 'help' people! He said HELP. All by himself without it being fed to him, shown to him (with close up mouth movements), requested by him, begged of him, nothing - just all by himself. And appropriately. It may sound small to all of you, but to an apraxic child, that was huge! btw, Collin does know of the word help and we (the speech therapist, Steve and I) have worked with him on it before, so it didn't come out of nowhere with no practice at all. the point though is that he used it without being prompted by me, which at this point for him is very difficult.

Though I managed to get some decent photos, none are great because when you have moving targets it's hard to get it in focus - at least for an amateur at best like me. (trust me, even when it appears in the photo that they might have been still, they were not ever still for more than a nanosecond)

Like I said, all was not lost - they had an absolute blast. Collin had a mini, even if only once, breakthrough word. And I thoroughly enjoyed watching every single moment of their joy.

The Halloween parade

Today at Ethan's school they had a Halloween parade. Now, don't get me wrong, I was all excited to see my little Flash in the parade. However, it wasn't so much a parade as a bunch of kids walking the perimeter of the gym a few times for all the parents to ooo and ahhh over. Regardless, Ethan was very excited. Namely because he got to wear his new Flash costume.

So, after dropping Ethan off in his room, the twins and I went to the gym to get a seat on the benches along the walls. The twins were in their stroller, which really makes the most sense. However 'sense' and 'twins' are two words that never go together. Seriously, I cannot even begin to list the amount of things that I have actually done that I once uttered (even after Ethan) "I'll never do that" "I'll never be that mom" "that will never be my kid". Dumb, naive, silly mommy. Never ever say never.

Okay, so where I am going with this lead-up? Well, the twins were in their stroller and they were also crying. Loudly. In a gym. With great acoustics... or maybe bad acoustics... I don't understand that stuff ... all I know is that their cries were reverberating off the walls and people were giving me the "would you do something about them" look. With much reluctance and many other attempts to soothe my little beasts, I decided to set them free. They ran all over the gym. It's a big gym. There were many other young siblings there. They all sat quietly with their parents for that mere 15 minute wait for the parade. Not mine. Nope. Ran all over. So then I got the "seriously? are you really going to let your children run all over the gym like that, the parade's about to start" looks. To them my eyes said "twins... never say never."

There were five classrooms of children participating in this parade. The first room that entered, which was not Ethan's room, had a Spiderman. Ethan actually has a Spiderman costume in his dress up bin that he wears around the house sometimes. When Collin saw Spiderman enter, he instantly ran over to him. He followed Spiderman around the gym - "talking" to him and touching him. Collin was visibly frustrated that Spiderman did not acknowledge his presence. Okay, he was downright ticked off at Spiderman. I was sitting on the other side of this big gym pretending he wasn't my kid and there was no real way for me to intervene and try to explain to Collin without much crying and a big ugly scene. Probably everyone but Spiderman's parents, who probably wanted a decent photo of their child that did not include an unknown toddler attached to his hip, thought Collin knew Spiderman (just as he thought he did). Then, when he made it around to my side again and actually came up to say hi to me, I made a big mistake. Who knows what possessed me? I asked Collin (for the freaking thousandth time) to hand over the binky that he is only allowed to have during sleep time. The binky that he somehow covertly smuggled in with him. I made the horrible mistake of saying "come on sweetie, you know it's only for sleep time." At that point he laid himself on his blankets, which he insisted we bring, on the gym floor and pretended to sleep... for a long while. Then the teachers (not Ethan's teachers who understand our plight at this point in the year - the other teachers) became annoyed because it was right in the line of the parade. At that point my eye message response to the glares changed to "you wanna try this?!" and maybe one or two "shut its". Sorry, it was very hot in there and I was sweaty, tired, stressed, had lost control of my kids and on top of that, I was missing getting to watch Ethan. So, my thought was "just walk around him... it's better than the screams you'll get otherwise... now let me try to see my oldest son please!" Though none of this was spoken, just thought (okay and maybe conveyed non verbally), the mother next to me said "I always thought it would be so hard to have twins - I feel for you." I hugged her. Okay, not really, but I wanted to. At least one person understood the situation. Sigh... (by the way, if you are wondering why I did not just take the binky it's because the reverberating screams would happen once again and if you reason with him, he will normally just give it to you and that results in no crying)

Oliver ran all over, but mostly on the inside of the parade circle.

My handsome little Flash, raising a hand to say 'hi' while keeping his superhero serious face.

Ethan surrounded by his groupies and biggest fans, the twins, during the final lap.

After the parade we went to Ethan's room for a group photo. The twins, who were in their stroller (I HAD to confine them there - it is a tiny room), screamed the entire time. Ethan's poor teachers tried to soothe them, but any attempt made them scream louder. I just ignored it all and got a cute shot of my Flash and his friends.

In the end, I did get to see Ethan in all his glory and pride walk around the gym, regardless of what people felt about the twins running free. I guess I am THAT mom. I guess my kids WILL do that. I guess I can NOT really say the word 'never'. And I guess that's okay... every once in a while... (so "shut it!")

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Our little care taker

Steve and I have always noticed that Collin had some more empathic and care taker-like gestures than the other kids. Not that the others aren't empathic or little care takers in their own ways, it's just that Collin tends to really show this side.

If Oliver is crying, and Collin himself did not cause it, he runs over to pat him on the head or give him a hug. He will also seek out Oliver's blanket to give him. I have even seen him, when they are rooms or even floors apart, jump up and run to comfort Oliver when he hears him crying. And, this one cracks me up, he has given Steve "the look" and a disapproving shake of the head when he has disciplined Oliver for something that ended up making Oliver cry (though Oliver is very sensitive - everything makes him cry) and then go hug and pat Oliver.

Sure, some of that is the twin connection I am sure (which is so incredibly heart warming to see that bond coming out more and more), but he does it for Ethan and Lauren too. It clearly is concerning to him when someone cries. He is genuinely concerned and wants to comfort them. On that note, it's really hard to put Ethan in time out when Collin is around because A) Ethan typically cries in time out so B) Collin is right there with him giving him well meaning pats which C) frustrates Ethan because when he is in time out he is not happy and doesn't understand nor want Collin's pats. But, that's a different story. Regardless, if you are hurt or crying in this house, Collin is there with a pat and a blanky. Same goes for us. He just seems to be our little care taker child.

Last Sunday we saw this trait emerge again, but in a different way than we normally see it. We actually keep talking about it, so I thought I would share it.

So, last Sunday, Steve made chili. It is a dish he has mastered and one we eat on football Sundays a lot. At some point earlier in the day while the twins pretended to nap (read: had a party in their cribs), Steve had managed to spill a little chili on his white Brown's shirt. It was a smallish/medium round red stain right around his stomach region that he had not noticed and therefore it had set in to stay. When the twins got up from not napping (a new trend that worries me!), Collin came into the family room to give Steve, who was laying on the sofa watching football, a hug. When Collin walked up to him he clearly saw the stain (we realized later) and did one of his big dramatic gasps with a face to match which included his signature raising of the eyebrows and widening his eyes (it is something he does when something surprises him - he is so animated that we tend to call him Mr. Face for all his fabulous expressions - which might actually have been born from not being able to talk).

Neither of us really knew what he saw that shocked or concerned him causing the big gasp sound and matching face. He instantly went running off into the kitchen, we assumed to find Ethan and Oliver, as we just sat there mesmerized by the mastery to which the Brown's were playing that day (ha, ha... ooo that was funny... it was another blow out loss). After a few seconds, Collin returned with a kitchen cloth which he had pulled from the drawer. He proceeded to rub it directly on the stain on Steve's shirt. He would lift it up every few seconds to check the status of that menacing spot and showed great concern that it was still there. After a minute or two he went running into the kitchen again, as if this matter was very urgent, and returned with yet another cloth with which he vigorously started rubbing in circles on the spot once again. You could tell that he was both miffed and disturbed that he could not get this spot out. After a few minutes Steve assured Collin that is was okay that the spot remained and he thanked him again for trying to remove it. Though visibly disappointed, Collin seemed to accept that the spot was there to stay and went off to play, reassured that Steve was indeed okay.

Steve and I were laughing so hard - both in awe of how sweet the gesture was and also that he was so dismayed that the stain was not going away. It was so very cute how concerned he was and how much he wanted to fix it. Which just showed us again, his care taker side, but in a different light than we normally notice it.

I love that he is just two years old and already showing this side so clearly. Though I do not wish time to move fast ever, but instead for it to slow down, I can't help but wonder how this care taking empathetic side of him will develop as he becomes a man.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Apple addiction

My name is Wendy and I am addicted to apple picking. I don't know what it is, but I just love it. I love doing it. I love the kid's faces while they are picking and eating the apples. I love the fall air smell. I love that we have apples into the spring that we picked, cheaply, which have less chemicals than store bought and aren't shipping from another country. I love making applesauce, apple crisp, sweet potatoes and apples and my newest find - apple oatmeal bread! Love it all. For the experience, for the memories.

So, can you guess what we did Saturday? Yep. Apple picking. Fuji apple picking to be specific. Y.U.M.M.Y.!
Steve climbing the tree since the pickins' were getting slim.
My happy apple eating boys in the wind.

Good thing we shot these photos before we went to the farmer's tent where all three dashed all over the crowded tent (DESPITE their agreement in the car with us NOT to do such things) making us look like, as Steve said, "Walmart parents" ( offense) as we ran after them and uttered statements like: 'for the fiftieth time, stop touching the freaking glass jars for crying out loud!' 'sweetheart, daddy told you to not touch those a few hundred times now, can you please stop touching them?' and 'just what about the two of you climbing up on the 5 foot tall mound of pumpkins and gourds ON a CART seemed like a good idea to you?' 'Wow, I admire your climbing skills and surely that took balance and agility, but it's really not a good idea. Please hop down now.', and 'No! Stop! Get that onion... ohhhhh... so how did that work out for you? Taste good?' 'Oh pumpkin, really eating an onion is not the best idea. Let me get you something to drink.' and etc (I'm sure you get the picture).

Oh, and the incident where Oliver bashed his head into the floor because when we finally got up to the register (there was a very long line), the lady insisted that I show her my driver's license for my $10 credit card purchase.* It was in the car, of course. Therefore I had to run to my car to get it, which made the boys upset (read: crying dramatically), and by 'the boys' I mean all four of them. It was at that moment that Oliver, our drama king, bashed his head in to the floor. Come to think of it, maybe it was at that moment that Steve made the Walmart comment... of course train wreck could have also summed it up.

*You know, I get the wanting to be safe and see my ID and I am glad they do that, but it was only $10 freaking dollars (one pumpkin and one jar of pumpkin butter - that's it!) and I had three kids melting down and bouncing off all their wares right in front of her eyes, while other customers glared at us mind you... really lady... let it go... surely you just wanted to get rid of us. That said, I am surprised that one of the other customers in line didn't whip out a wad of cash or credit card and offer to pay for us.

Back to my zen... I just love picking apples with my family... look at those sweet innocent faces...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fall festival and friends

Today we went to a fall festival at our friend's (Jen and Jeremie) church. It was a ton of fun. Steve and I were talking about just how much fun the boys had. There were bounce houses, decorate your own cookies, balloons, horse riding, a firetruck, food, hayride, pumpkins (and you could decorate them too) and some other stuff.

Ethan's favorite thing was the bounce houses he said. I was thinking it might be the decorate (and EAT) your own cookie but I was wrong. The twins also liked the bounce house. Collin got brave in the one with the giant slide and climbed up, many times. He was definitely a bottle neck in the line of kids clamoring to get up there, but he was just oblivious to their frustration as he smiled his biggest smile and giggled. We did have a hard time getting them to understand that they could not stand at the bottom of the slide and try to crawl up or laugh at the kids at the top, because those kids needed to come down. Amazingly enough, the only injury in that department was when Collin came down the slide and bumped into Oliver - so caused by themselves and not another child. Oliver has a nice little bump on his forehead - the hit it was much harder than I thought it was. Otherwise, they all LOVED the bounce house.

Second to that, I think, were the balloons. Nothing fancy, just helium latex balloons on a string. Huge hit. Who knew? Collin even tried to say balloon several times. Came out a little like "boon", but all things considered we were ecstatic! I may just have to buy a helium tank and some balloons if it motivates a word like that!

Playing balloon bash - of course they're boys - bashing would be involved.
Collin was completely cracking up as his neighbor friends, Jonathon and David, pretended Collin's balloon was hitting them and then they fell over. Collin was laughing so hard it was contagious!

He kept plopping himself on the floor of the outside shelter... the dirty floor that is... and of course look at that photo (perfect pose and face)... now if only he would do that in a scenic place!

Ethan, always with a goofy face... sigh...

Oliver playing with his balloon.

They also had a bake sale for Matthew (to help with his medical bills since he was dropped from insurance in May). So, you know I had to do my part there... pumpkin crunch (freaking yummy) and chocolate chip cookies.

It was also nice to get to visit a little with our friends. And Matthew was too cute. He was in a great mood and smiling so much.
Someone gave Matthew some presents. Two of the items were the Harry Potter like glasses he is wearing and the turkey he is holding. How cute does he look in those glasses?!

I know I have said it before, but I just love fall and all the fun events that go with it!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pumpkins, goats and teenage parties - oh my!

Tuesday was Ethan's preschool's field trip to the pumpkin patch. I was lucky enough to get to go along with him. It is a lot of fun for me to see him interact with his classmates. He was kind of shy at first, since it was a different environment with parents and all, but then he was all about having fun with them.

We went on a hayride.
Searched the field for a pumpkin and a gourd.
Seriously, I cannot get him to just smile a natural smile anymore.

Saw their farm animals, which consisted of goats, hens and a four week old jersey cow that was so cute you just wanted to kiss it!
Went through the straw maze barn... five thousand times...
Slide down a gigantic and very fast slide.
Okay, seriously, does anyone else feel like the statement: "you might be a redneck if..." should/could be used here... look at that slide.
Oh yes, it was a mega fast slide with a "THUD" landing, but the kids just popped up and ran to go again (and again and again...), all while rubbing their sore behinds.

Played in a corn box (alternative to a sand box).
I also found a ton (okay, seven) more cheese pumpkins to make more puree and they were seriously cheap! Woo hoo!

After the pumpkin patch, Ethan and I picked up Ms. Erin and the twins and headed to the zoo. My intent was to go to the petting zoo and ride the train, both which are in the North America area of the zoo which the twins really haven't spent much time in (we always go to the West Zoo first). Unfortunately the train is no longer operational during the week, so we didn't get to do that.

They did however spend a good deal of time petting goats, trying to brush goats, hugging goats, oh and of course the inevitable picking up that cool looking brown marble... I, of course, probably looked like a fool as I was running and screaming "no, no, no.. put it down!" Okay, here's the thing to any of you zoo goers at the time - the twins still put everything, EVERYTHING, in their mouths. E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. That would include cool looking brown marbles that just magically appeared at their feet as they were standing next to a, now relieved, goat. The young keepers came and swept it up quickly, but from their faces I am sure they didn't understand the concept of everything going in the mouth and therefore my freaking out like a crazy screaming mom. By the way, I had to pry it out of Collin's hand. Probably the more I reacted the better he thought it was and the tighter he held it and fought me for it. ??? Then I lathered him up with baby wipes and sanitizer.
"Do you come here often?"

I swear this goat looks as if he is saying "seriously, they do not pay me enough for this gig!"

Oliver and Ethan having a long conversation with one of the goats.

Ethan and Collin loving on a goat. I honestly thought the photo was adorable, and it would be more so, if I didn't get the goat in such the angle I did. Sigh...

We actually got to see a lot of the zoo since no one was there. It was the perfect day too.

When we got home, Andy and Christopher came over to get Ethan to play. Later that night Ethan said to me:

E: Mom, I have to tell you something.

M: What?

E: Andy told me that when we are teenagers, we can have a party at his house!

M: Really? What will you do?

E: We're going to eat lots of ice cream and cake!

M: Really? That sounds fun. Are you going to do anything else?

E: Yes, play drums!

M: Wow.

E: But mom, NO GIRLS will be allowed. We discussed it.

M: Really? (giggling to myself)

E: No girls, just us guys.

Oh yes, I am definitely pulling up that previous post and also this one, when they become teenagers.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Great sadness

I have been sick this week. Unfortunately I was not spared like I thought I had been, and ended up getting what everyone in the house has had over the last few weeks. So, I haven't posted anything this week, though I actually do have posts to put up. Last night I was feeling a little better in the sick and energy department and planned to add photos to a post I wrote at lunch (since I knew I wouldn't have energy to write and do photos last night - I had hoped this would help)... but as I sat there last night, I just couldn't do it. My energy and my thoughts were elsewhere. And I wanted them to be there and only there, focused on just one thing.

Late yesterday afternoon, as some of you may know, brought news that hit hard. I struggle as I write this, because it's so hard to adequately put into words the feelings you have sometimes. This is about my close friend Jen and her family, more specifically her absolutely perfect sweet little boy Matthew, who are family even though we are not related.

You see, yesterday it was confirmed that a spot on Matthew's liver was indeed "the disease" - cancer. Spread down from his brain cancer by his shunt most likely. Given that his platelets have not recovered, there are not many treatment options for them, though they will search. Which means along with this horrendous news, they also are tasked with decisions that NO parent should have to make.

On vacation in Florida just last week... seriously, isn't he the cutest?

As we all sit on the sidelines wanting to take all the hard tackles for them... and grieving for them and grieving period about a horrible disease that needs a cure... we wonder how we can help. How we can take away the pain and remove this horrible disease from Matthew. How we can rewrite the outcome yesterday or even the outcome three years ago this month when a tumor first presented. What we should say, what we shouldn't say. What we should do, what we shouldn't do. Praying for that magical miracle that rewrites Matthew's story.

I don't know the answers, much less what to say. I have no idea actually. I am heartbroken for them. I am heartbroken for Matthew. And I feel great sadness. Mind paralyzing sadness. And it breaks my heart more when I think how this must feel to Jen and Jeremie right now. Or yesterday. Or three years ago.

Enjoying dinner at the family tradition spot last week on vacation - what a beautiful happy family.

Today I want to share a bit of his story with all of you, like I have done some before. Because they are family, because I love them so dearly, and because I want you all to embrace them in your hearts. Help them through this journey and pray for a miracle - they do happen. I believe.

Here is Matthew's site - please visit, follow it and embrace him in your heart.

Jen, I know you will read this post at some point and I hope it is okay. I hope you know just how much you mean to me. Just how lucky I feel to have you, Matthew, Jeremie and Darren in our lives. And how I would do anything in the world within my power for each of you. As James Taylor sang - You've got a friend. Just call out my name and I'll come running (just so you know, I'm not going to wait for you to call out my name... I'm there regardless). I love all you and you are in my thoughts, heart and prayers every moment.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A five year old boy's teenage parties

My neighbor, Kris, sent me an email today, detailing a conversation she had with her son Andy. Andy, Christopher and Ethan are all within six months age of each other and quickly becoming the three amigos as of late. It was just too cute not to share.

Kris' recant of the conversation with Andy to Judy, Christopher's mom, and I:

Andy and I had a conversation in the car today that I thought you would both find funny.

Andy - Do teenagers get to live in their own house?
Me - No, they live with their mom and dad.
Andy - When do teenagers get to live in their own house?
Me - when they go to college.
Andy - Well, when me, Ethan, and Christopher are teenagers can we have a party at our house?
Me - What kind of party?
Andy - A night party.
Me - what kind of night party?
Andy - You stay up when it is dark and really late.
Me - what are you going to do at the party?
Andy - Eat lots of ice cream and cake .... and play drums.
Me - Yes, you can have that kind of party at our house.
Andy - Really! Can I tell Ethan and Christopher we can have a party when we are teenagers?
Me - Sure you can tell them next time you see them.


Ice cream, cake and playing drums. If only we have it that easy when they have their teenage all night parties. I think maybe I'll pull this blog post up at that ripe age and remind them of just what teenage parties consist of, you know, just in case they have other ideas by then.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lookie me Martha!

I decided to make pumpkin puree from a real pumpkin. I know, exciting stuff (**yawn**). Well, it was for me! I had read that Libby had a shortage on pumpkin this year, which is why many have seen empty shelves. Since our kids (okay, and me too) love pumpkin everything, I thought... how hard could it be? The answer: embarrassingly easy.

Having read that cheese pumpkins (called that because they look like a wheel of cheese - flat and tanish in color) were the best for pumpkin puree, I inquired at our local farmer's market for availability. One of the farmers had some which he brought in for me this week.

Yesterday I sliced them in half, put them in a baking dish with some water, cooked them until tender, scooped them out and pureed it. I froze some and used the rest to make pumpkin bread, which we had for breakfast today as a special treat (and by request, after dinner too). I made a plain jane loaf (no grated carrots, flax seed, or anything extra hiding in it like normal) just to get an idea of how it really tasted in comparison to Libbys. It was good. Very good. And, as a bonus, it was really cheap. And so easy. And (my last 'and', I promise) I avoided some of the nasty BPA that lines almost all metal cans (this was one of the few things I continued to buy that was canned).

Collin even said his new word for me: "mmoooorr" (more), followed by a rotation of his hand on his chest for the word please (ASL) and a huge smile.

All the boys wanted more. And Ethan told me "You make the best bread mom!" and "It's pumpkalicious!"

So you see, it was really exciting for me. All natural, no chemicals, cheap, easy and the boys absolutely loved it!

In Martha's words: "It's a good thing."

Friday, October 16, 2009

I've got my eye on you...

It doesn't take long after the birth of your children to learn just how smart they really are and how soon their emerging abilities can equal trouble for you. I'll be honest, if we are trying to get anything done around the house and let the kids out of our sight for even one moment... well... you can just imagine what mischief creative learning opportunities they encounter.

So there comes a moment in every parent's life when you just really need to think outside of the box. Born: I've got my eye on you.

Desperate times call for desperate measures people (in the form of a googly eye). There's no real harm done if they think that I can see them wherever they are no matter where I am... is there?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mommy Guilt

One of the many things I didn’t know about before I had children was mommy guilt. Sure, I could have assumed that there would be times I would feel guilty for this or that, but in no way shape or form was I prepared for how strong and far reaching mommy guilt is. I can’t tell you the countless ways and reasons I have felt it...daily. Most recently, though, it’s been in the form of the twin’s speech issues. I already feel responsible in some way shape or form for their issues, what mommy hasn’t had those thoughts fly through her head and sometimes, like in my case, land for an extended layover? I know the reality is probably different, but again, mommy guilt is real people and I am here to say, it messes with you.

At the twins occupational therapy appointment yesterday, their therapist said something to me that made me cry. She didn’t mean to. It was not her intent and she spent a good deal of time making sure I knew she didn’t have any hidden meaning in her words. But she said that she felt that the twins plagiocephaly, which still exists but is just not as pronounced as it once was (and the reason for her entering our life when twins were five months old), is what is causing their speech delays. Of course she is of the holistic 'body being in-line and everything flowing properly' theory of thought (she does Craniosacral therapy on the boys), which I don’t disregard as I have seen it work. Therefore it would make sense that she said that. However I jumped to the "they were on their back too much, I should have held them more, moved them back and forth more, etc, etc, etc. = it's all my fault". The truth is, they didn’t come out perfect because they were sharing cramped quarters in a space built for one for nine months (not that I can't find a reason to feel guilty about that too). And though some of it happened after birth, it still wasn’t my fault, though in my head I take the blame.

As I have mentioned, in addition to Collin's Apraxia, Oliver's receptive language is not up to par and we are not sure why. Some things that were thrown out at me this week were auditory processing disorder and any number of Autism Spectrum Disorders, like Asperger's (because of the fact that he knew his letters and their sounds before he was two years old, mixed with this other issue) for one. WHAM! SLAP! BAM! Then mommy guilt. Just so you know, we are starting with auditory processing disorder and getting a screening soon (waiting on the referral). Asperger's you can't diagnose at the age of two, they have to be older... and I am going with he doesn't have that or any other ASD. Are you with me? More to come on the outcomes of the screening at a later date.

So today I was reading a blog that I follow, Crunchy Chicken, that was talking about Autism (she has a son with Autism). It caught my eye since the word was thrown at me this week (though ASDs are not the same as full blown Autism). As it turns out some early thoughts on the disorder (probably full blown version and also what we now know as the ASDs), which still has no known cause or cure, were that it was all the mother's fault. Say what?! It was referred to as the "refrigerator mother" hypothesis by Leo Kanner in 1943. He even was noted as saying "just happening to defrost enough to produce a child." Oh no he didnt! Bruno Bettleheim then gave it widespread popularity and his articles, written during the 1950s and 1960s, popularized the idea that autism was caused by maternal coldness toward their children. Are you fricking kidding me??! Both he and Kanner seemed to ignore the fact that these same mothers had other children who were not autistic. She goes on to say that there are still some places in Europe that support this and it is more widely believed in South Korea as the true cause. WTH?

After reading this, I have to say thank you to Mr. Kanner and Mr. Bettleheim. Because of you two idiots, I, for one afternoon today, gave myself a break from mommy guilt because honestly that is the dumbest thing I have ever read. I mean really gentlemen, of all the ludicrous dumb a$$ theories, that was the best you could come up with? As if we don't have mommy guilt that appears to be innate to our core being, why not blame an entire horrible disorder on us too? And really American people of the 1940's through 1960's - you honestly believed and supported this horse crap? Wow. W.O.W.

You know, I think I'll take the night off too. The mothers of the 1940's-1960's (and beyond) probably had enough guilt going on to cover me for the night as well.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fall fun-a-palooza

Yesterday we had our annual neighborhood outing to the pumpkin patch. It was a beautiful day, which brought out tons of people, but we still managed to all get on the same hay wagon. In fact, we filled it, with all 17 kids and some nine adults.

Here are some photo highlights:

Discovery of kettle corn. We could not stop it, all the kids were eating it. And once they started, we could not stop them (it was THAT good).

Ethan on the hayride.

The twins on the hayride.

Our attempt at getting all the kids into a photo.

We couldn't get Oliver to stop crawling on the pumpkins. He screamed when we left.

Collin picking a pumpkin.
Afterwards, everyone came back to our house for some more fall fun.

We had pumpkin bowling:
Apple (under the chin) pass:
Sack races:
Apple bobbing:
Collin stuck his entire arm in.
Paint a pumpkin - which somehow I didn't get photos of this.

Paint each other (unplanned activity):

We also had a pot luck dinner with lots of yummy food. After which, the kids did their final and by far favorite fall activity:

Frost and create a pumpkin face cookie with m & m's, mini marshmallows, candy corn and chocolate chips. You can just imagine what that resulted in!

Now, to burn off some of that sugar high... football with the dads...
By the end of the night, around 6 pm, Collin was just falling on the ground, as if to say "I can't walk another step mom." He was so tired, happy, but very tired.
Oliver and Ethan, on the other hand, were still bouncing around fully wired. All three passed out pretty quickly. Oh okay, Steve and I crashed quickly too.

What a great fall fun day. I love fall!

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