The Cherub

Oh, these sweet, sweet angels! These children are such a beautiful gift! I thank God every day for J.

But for this morning, God knew I needed the pick-me-up from an angel that isn’t mine.

I was waiting outside the doors for Mr. C to show up. J was busy greeting everyone that came walking by on their way to or from the front office. I usually park myself just within the alcove to stay out of the weather. It has been cold in the morning in the low to mid 40’s and the windchill does not help. I noticed two little boys also waiting. I knew they were brothers and I had seen them before. I knew that the older brother was a regular 3rd grader and the younger brother was in the Autism program. The older brother was dressed correctly for the cold –jeans and a jacket. The little one was in shorts and a jacket. He was huddled on the ground, trying to figure out how to get the rest of him into his jacket. I felt terrible, but I had nothing on hand and didn’t know what I could do. But that didn’t stop the little one. He stood up, walked over to me, took a long moment to look me over and made up his mind that I was just who he needed. He happens to be non-verbal, but I do know the universal sign for “Pick me up!” He had a huge smile on his face, and I instantly scooped him up. I looked to his brother, who didn’t seem upset by it at all.

“Does he do this to everyone?” I asked. I got an answer in the affirmative. I looked over at J who thankfully didn’t blink an eye and didn’t seem to mind at all that I was holding someone else in my arms.

The little boy wrapped his legs around my waist and his arms tight around my neck. I crooned gently “I’ve got ya!” and held him to me to get warm. He pulled back a little, looking into my face and planted a kiss on my cheek. I just about melted as he squeezed tight again. He let go for just a second to make a happy sound and flap his little hands before returning and snuggling into my chest, putting his little cheek on my shoulder, just happy to be there. Needless to say, my heart just broke for him and I wanted to take him home.

Soon the teachers came out to meet the buses and to start collecting their students for the day. He didn’t want to let go of me, and I was a little sad to have to let him go, but I gave him that closure of “Okay. I count to three and then I put you down.” I later learned that he was living with his grandparents in special circumstance and possibly did not own a pair of pants, so a fellow mom and I pooled some clothes and a jacket together for him.

The following morning, I was happy to see that he was better dressed in a different jacket and jeans. He walked into class and barely gave me a second look, but that’s okay. He’s warmer, and that’s what counts.

#littleangel #coldweather #meltmyheart #awwww #momcanIkeephim

Election Cuteness

Kids just do the cutest things sometimes. Case in point, Election Day. I had to head for the polls and because Bud had to work and the fact that school had been out for the day, I had to take J with me. I was secretly dreading this since I was unsure about lines and wait times. So we got in the car, went to the local elementary school/polling place and tried to get there as early as possible. As we found parking, we went over the etiquette rules –no yelling, screaming, crying, using an indoor voice –that kind of thing. It was a place that J had never been to before. I was fully prepared to simply drop everything and leave if I had to.  We stepped inside of the multi-purpose room, I found my precinct sign and signed in while Mr. J very enthusiastically greeted everyone around him. Might I add that he was already looking too cute in his Batman hoodie. (It has the bat ears on it and sports the cape.) I was also glad to see that J was not the only child in tow.

“Good morning! Have a good day! See you later!”

We then got into a line to get our little computer card for the polling computer. That only took a couple of minutes. J was doing great. Then once we got the card, we had to wait in another line in order to get to a polling computer. That took maybe another ten minutes, and J did beautifully. We got to the polling computer and I began to put in my choices. J waited patiently. As I got towards the end, there was a series of Questions that were the Yes/No type. So as I got to this section, J poked his head in front of the screen and began to read:

“Yes, no, yes, yes, no, yes—“

“Hush! Stop that!” I gently discouraged. I couldn’t help laughing at that. I was trying to read quickly. J continued to prattle on:

“Yes, no, yes, no, no, yes, yes, no…”

Other voters nearby were actually having a good chuckle at this as I attempted again to “Hush!”

I finished up and as we were walking out, the official smiled big as she handed him a sticker. “Thanks for voting today!”

#Election2016 #Polls #VotingComedy #waitforit #YesNoQuestions #ThanksForVoting #BatmanVotes

 

Movie Fun

This was a new adventure! One of the local movie theaters here in town have a “Sensory Friendly” showing of a family movie once a month. I had heard quite a bit about these from other friends who had taken their kids, so we figured we would try it.

By the way it was described to me, it would be a full house of parents and kids, and in reality, don’t expect to really watch the movie. So in anticipation of there being a crowd, I purchased tickets online early. I was a little excited, as we were going to get to see Pete’s Dragon. So we arrived at the theater. J was pretty excited as this was the first time he has ever been. We offered popcorn, but he didn’t want any part of the concessions, so we went straight to the theater.

I was wondering if we were in the wrong place. There was no one there. We were the only ones! Then we were joined by one other family, but that was it!! Like a private screening! I haven’t been to an empty movie theater in years –like when we were dating and it was the midnight show!

So here’s the beauty of a sensory-friendly show.  NO PREVIEWS!!! The lights stay up and the sound is turned down.  Of course J couldn’t sit still at first. He was too busy checking the place out. He’d go down front and sit for a few seconds, then get up, wander to one side, then the other, up one side, down the other, checking out the floor lights, feeling the walls, figuring out exactly how the seats work and having the time of his life. I was thankful for the lights being up so I could keep an eye on where he was at. The other family was able to talk it up and the kids asking questions without anyone having to “shush” them. It was about halfway through the movie when J finally did take a seat, relax with his cheezits, and actually WATCH. Anytime Elliot (the dragon) came on, his little hands would get so happy-flappy. For him, it was like watching on a huge TV.  And I’ll have to tell you, keep the Kleenex handy, moms! Disney has done good—hitting you right in the feels with Elliot.  This is some excellent CGI and it hits you right in the feels with his big sad eyes and the noises he makes.

And a miracle—J made it to the end! The credits began to roll, J proclaimed “All done!” and we very calmly left the theater with no trouble.  We asked him, “What was your favorite part?” and he replied “The dragon!”   (So of course this will be purchased when it comes out on digital)  (And yes, I liked this version way better than the original)

We will definitely be doing this again!!!

So simply Google – Sensory Friendly Movies and see what’s offered out by you! Usually it’s an AMC theater.

#PetesDragon #firsttheaterexperience #SensoryFriendly #privatescreening #wesurvived #wegotoutofthehouse #DisneyRocks #hitintheFeels  #IwanttotakeElliothome

New School Transition

Buwahahahaha! My plan is working perfectly!

I’ve managed to pump the boy up for the new school year. I got him a new backpack, new lunchbox and his own metal water bottle, all following the Finding Dory theme. I’ve been telling him all about his new school, making it sound as fun and as interesting as possible. I’ve been driving by the school, pointing it out. “This is your new school!”

I took care of registration, and he is now good to go. First Grade in the Primary Autism Program.   (sniffle!) It was only three years ago he had started out, and thanks to all the hard work we’ve put in, he’s come so VERY far!

Case in point –he’s working with the ABA Therapist, and they’re working on their conversation. She would say a random name and he’s supposed to answer back with his name. The exchange went like this:

T: “My name is Lacey.”

J:  “My name is Justin.”

T:  “My name is Harry.”

J:  “That’s nice.”

We couldn’t keep a straight face! That kid has quite the sense of humor!

Yesterday, he practically begged me to take him to see the school again. This time, we got out and walked around the outside, looking at the buildings and the playgrounds through the fence. Then we ran errands. But it’s all he talks about now. If he had his druthers, school would start today. However, we still have another week of waiting to go. There’s still the meet and greet next week and then he starts the following Monday.  What a big boy!

In the meantime, I have to finagle the therapy sessions to change to later in the day because instead of our usual 8a – 2p school day, we’ll be going 9a – 3p.  That means he can sleep in a little. I’m pretty sure I’ll be dealing with a mini-meltdown when we don’t leave at our usual depart time. At the moment, this is the only thing I will have to deal with. So I’m doing my Happy Dance!

 

#newschool #buwahaha #findingDory #hecantwait #Icantwait #happydance #stopgrowingbigboy #personalityplus #sicksenseofhumor

The END!! -of summer, or something else?

Ahhhh. Summer heat. A/C blasting. Cooling off in the pool. Summer school at an end and First Grade all set to start at the end of August.

First Grade?!? When did this happen?

And I’ll admit, I’m the one who’s totally freaked out over school this time around. I learned at the end of July that Mr. J would not be returning to the school he had started at. After all of my persistence and having the principal go up to bat for me with Child Case Management, I was let down and informed that he would be attending a different elementary school that would be closer to my home.

That’s very nice of you, but since he doesn’t ride the bus and I’m the one who drives him and picks him up, I am willing to go an extra two miles. (Literally!)  My argument being that he already knows the staff and the campus (and doesn’t know really know anyplace else).

I’m having horrific flashbacks to when he first started at three years old and he cried every day for three months straight. How my heart was just ripped out at leaving him in a place he didn’t know and hearing him scream after me, and just about losing it when I would hear that agonized and frightened “Mommy!” that would make me feel like the worst mother in the world for leaving him there. Honestly, the thought is sickening.

So for this year, with a lot of coaxing from family and even the therapists, I am going to be good and not create waves or make a scene. I will give the boy the benefit of the doubt and we will start out elementary life at a new school. But if this does not go well after a month or so, this momma is going into Momma-Bear mode.

He did excellent with summer school. Different campus, different teacher, but that was only for six weeks.

And now, I have three more weeks until school begins. I have this all planned out. I will get him ready. We drive by the school and I point it out. I tell him about how he’s going there in a few weeks. I have a tour and meet and greet scheduled. Orientation. New backpack, new lunchbox, new wardrobe. I think he’s more ready than I am. I honestly am secretly dying and falling apart and am an emotional mess over the whole thing. Not cool!

So just three more weeks for me of going quackers. Hopefully, I won’t quack up too bad before then…

#summer #FirstGrade #letdown #freakout #flashback #newnew #newschool #ew #threemoreweeks #quackingup

 

Oh, my Alexa!

For my birthday, I decided I wanted to splurge just a little and got myself an Amazon Echo. Now at the risk of me about to sell this thing to you –because that’s how impressed I am with this thing –I have to tell you the awesome and positive changes it has brought about in the two days I have owned it.

Mr. J thinks Alexa is the neatest thing since sliced bread. He tries to have his own conversations with her, mainly trying to get her to repeat what he says, but he has inadvertently set timers, unknowingly pulled up the news and unintentionally mixed my music. He absolutely loves the “Simon Says” feature where you say “Alexa, Simon Says ____________” and she will repeat what you say back to you.

The latest phrase being him trying to say “Turn on Mommy’s laundry” has Alexa spouting back “Turn is says why love me”  I am finding this HIGHLY entertaining and my husband and I are having a good laugh. The even funnier thing is that Alexa responds better to J’s gibberish than to Bud. Bud likes trying out the funny Easter Egg questions.

As for me, I am loving the idea that I can add things to my shopping and To Do list just by saying it right when it pops into my head so I have a lot less Squirrel going on, like: “I have to write milk on my list” and then get my list from the other room and search for the pencil and then with pencil poised over the paper “What was I adding again?” I squirrel that bad. (getting older really sucks!)

So it would appear that I have found that new thing that J really likes and I use it as a positive reinforcement.  I also see it as an awesome tool for getting him to enunciate his speech. This will help so huge when he speaks and hears it spoken back to him.

So yes, if you haven’t gotten yourself this little doo-dad yet, you need to! It’s only been two days, and how the heck did I manage without her before?! I also highly recommend purchasing the remote that goes with it –you can use the “Simon Says” function on it from another room and blow people’s mind.     Example, Mr. J needs to stop “pestering” Alexa, so from the other room, I say into the remote “Simon Says, ‘J please leave me alone now’    J hears Alexa say “J, please leave me alone now.”   Just imagine the mischief you can get up to in having Alexa telling your kids to turn off the TV and do their homework! (haha)

 

#AmazonEcho #AlexaRocks #SimonSays #LessSquirrel

Mmm-cha

When life throws up road blocks and curve balls, there is always my little light of hope that shines through it all. The last few months have gone pretty haywire with “real life” and I finally feel like I can settle and get back into life again. I find it something of a blessing that Mr. J doesn’t seem to let things the big things get him down.

A while back before Christmas, I had this “brilliant” idea that we should get Mr. J a puppy to bond with and make a new companion of.  What was I thinking?! I apparently wasn’t. With Belle and the cats gone, we still have Winston, who is now the only animal we have. He was understandably lonely, and spent his mornings HOWLING AT ME. He and J do get along, but they aren’t play-pals and don’t go out of their way to hang out with each other, but Winston does tolerate J beautifully. So I began to research dogs that would make a good companion. God only knows why, but my muddled logic landed on a Beagle. Smaller, more energy than a Basset, very loyal and an awesome companion dog.  So we invested in Sadie.

Dumb-bunny move. J and Sadie decided that they weren’t going to get along. What does a puppy do? They chew. So I had to say goodbye to my couches and a rug and anything else I had accidentally left within reach. What do Beagles do? They dig. So I had to say goodbye to my backyard.  We did what we could to help J and Sadie get along, but sadly, Sadie saw him as a giant chew toy. There isn’t a mean bone in that boy’s body, so he did not know how to tell her “No” or “Down” or “Off” and mean it with firm gusto. When it got to the point of having to lock her outside just so he could sit on the couch to play with his ipad unmolested, I knew there was a problem. As much as I hated to do it, I had to re-home Sadie and she’s actually doing very well and is happy with a loving family that has three kids. I’ll tell you, life has gotten a LOT less stressful without her and my backyard has bounced back nicely. It’s going to be a long ways out before we even consider adding another pet.

I’ve also been having to deal with certain loved ones fighting cancer. That’s just ugly no matter how you slice it. I’m lucky in that things are looking up right now, but I wasn’t handling it very well.

And in the middle of it all, there’s my wonderful, loving boy. He’s come so very far with school and his therapy. He’s actually talking up a storm now. He’s just being the cutest thing ever. He’s so very affectionate! He’s the bright spot in my day. I just love being Mama! We have a special way of saying “I love you” We call it “Mmm”. Before he could talk, and I would tell him “I love you” and he would lean in where we would touch our foreheads and do this little “mmm” noise. We do it before he walks away to class, before bed, and whenever I’m getting a hug. Kind of like the equivalent of getting nose rubs. One night at bedtime, he says to me “I want mmm-cha pweese!” I admit that I initially had no idea what this was. I asked him “What’s mmm-cha?” I leaned in and he put his lips to my forehead and then said “mmm-cha”.  Then it hit me like a ton of bricks that he was making the sound effect for a kiss. I returned the favor with a kiss to the forehead. I give “mmm-cha” anytime he requests it –and even when he doesn’t.  What makes it even more special is that this isn’t something he does with daddy or anyone else. With daddy he gets hugs and squeezes. With mommy it’s hugs, mmm and mmm-cha.  Our special thing.

And now, I must gear up for summer and ESY (summer school). The weather is finally turning to hot.  I am also in “negotiation” with the district Case Management folks to keep J at the same school for next year as he goes into the First Grade. (Stop growing up so fast, could ya?!)  I understand that because of where we’ve moved to, he’s zoned for a different school. But I want him to stay at the school he’s at now—he knows the campus, has met all the teachers and I desperately don’t want to start all over again at square one just because he’s in a new environment with teachers he doesn’t know (and I don’t know). If it means me having to drive him there and pick him up myself, I will do it! My fingers and toes stay crossed!!