The End of School

The end of the school year is always bittersweet. Teachers give so much of themselves over the year in an effort to teach our children.

Nathan’s teacher was crying already when I dropped him off this morning and when I asked why (since it was the beginning of class and not the end) she said she realized that it was last time she would help this particular set of children off their buses. The two-year-olds move up and stay in the preschool 3 and 4 year-old class for at least two years but Nathan’s teachers get them for only a year before they move on.

I’m a little emotional myself. I realize that this is the last time Nathan will be in this particular class and his teachers have done so much for him. He has mastered a number of areas that were considered seriously deficient only last summer.

To each teacher who sacrifices your time and energy to help our children, thank you. I don’t know if you realize how much we appreciate what you do. Our gifts of thanks at the end of the year really don’t say enough.

I believe it was Abraham Lincoln who said, “I am a part of all whom I have met.” Each teacher leaves a mark on every child. You have helped to challenge them and to open up a door to a world that before now they didn’t have the keys to. So it is heartfelt when I say thank you.


Memorial Day

I want to say thank you to everyone who has served in our armed forces. Without you, we would not be the free nation that we are today.

Thank you. My sincerest thanks and appreciation for your sacrifices– both great and small– so we can live in freedom.

A Day Like No Other

Yesterday had to rank in my top ten “worse personal days” of all time.

Nathan’s diaper was dirty when I picked him up at school. His teachers change diapers right before it’s time to leave but I was running a couple of minutes late. (I had picked up juice boxes for his class picnic next week.) And the interim between when they changed him and before I picked him up was apparently just enough time for him to dirty the clean diaper. This would have normally been okay but Peter was “helping” on Wednesday and took my spare diapers out of the car and carried them in the house.

I put Nathan in his seat but he fought me because he wanted to “drive.” He slumped out of his seat and that was when I discovered that he was not a little dirty but a whole lot of dirty and it was on his carseat and carseat buckle. I had no diapers and only a clean shirt for him so I stuck him in his sister’s booster seat (her’s is easier to clean) and drove him home. Once home, it took an hour to clean him and the car up.

Later, Peter, Nathan and Gabrielle each made very specific, very big messes. Gabrielle left milk out and Peter poured it on the floor. This of course happened while I was cleaning two of Nathan’s messes. Gabrielle left her dinner plate out and Nathan had carried it off and had gotten syrup all over the couch (Peter wanted pancakes last night so. . .we had pancakes) then Nathan wanted everything out of the toy box. While I was cleaning the couch, Nathan was pulling all of the toys out of the toy box– he would look at them for a moment and then throw them on the floor.

Gabrielle, meanwhile, was playing with friends in the front yard and they all decided that it would be neat to open my papers (I get two) and spread them on the lawn or something. I opened the door to give her a ten minute warning to come inside and to ask her to bring me my newspapers and instead discovered the papers in a very messy pile on the front porch. I asked Gabrielle to bring them inside and she did. She piled them up on top of the toys Nathan had thrown on the floor right inside the front door. Oh, and she was wet from head to toe because one of the little boys she was playing with dumped a watering can on her head.

And daddy came home and walked through the back door.


Peter’s Little Sentences

Peter has been working very hard to speak in complete sentences. We are constantly reminding him to say “I want. . .” instead of him just walking up to us and saying “Band Aid” or “milk.” And he’s getting it, slowly but surely over the last couple of weeks he has been saying, “I want milk, please” or “I want chips, please” all on his own.

This is a tremendous accomplishment for him and we are encouraged at how quickly he incorporates new behaviors.

It’s the Little Things

I thank God daily for the little things we have been blessed with. Yes, both boys are on the autism spectrum but things could be so much worse. I feel blessed that both of them have rudimentary communication skills, that they show no regression and that we are seeing progress. As I’ve mentioned before, a positive attitude is everything. No matter how many times Peter floods the bathroom or Nathan’s slight obsession over drawing has resulted in Sharpies on the sofa, ink on the walls and crayon on the cabinets and floor, I still thank God for the things they can do.

A friend of mine has a daughter who has Down syndrome, she also has moya-moya syndrome which caused a series of strokes when she was a toddler and has left her paraplegic. She has also been in regression for a year after ending chemotherapy for a leukemia diagnosis three years ago. Her mother has a marvelous positive attitude and thanks God for the good things. She has been an inspiration to me.

I have no complaints and I think the attititude I display toward the boys– one of patience and the expectation that tomorrow they will be capable of doing more than they can today– makes a real difference in how they do.

My Daughter

I don’t often write about my daughter because she is neuro-typical (or so we think). The doctor who diagnosed our sons suggested that Gabrielle might have mild Asperger’s and I’m inclined to believe she may be onto something even though she didn’t examine Gabrielle. The doctor made her comment based on discussions of our family history and Gabrielle’s behavior both as a toddler and child.

Gabrielle is excruciatingly disorganized. I tease her that she couldn’t find a bright yellow sock in a pile of black ones. She can’t remember where she puts things to save her life. She’s absolutely terrified of tornados and obsessive over storm clouds for the same reason. And she’s unbelievably brilliant– I think she may one day become a lawyer.

Case in point.

Last night, she began a discussion on coins, noting that Thomas Jefferson’s profile graced the front of the nickel. Her father asked if she knew what the building was on the back of the nickel. She didn’t, so he explained it was Monticello and that he had been to Jefferson’s home before.

Gabrielle stared at him a moment, assessing his truthfulness (he’s forever teasing her), and she finally said, “I don’t suppose you have proof of that, do you?”

Despite the fact that our family life is not typical, Gabrielle is doing a wonderful job as a big sister and could one day become an advocate for children with disabilities or maybe even a physician. I don’t know what the future holds for her but she is extremely tenderhearted and smart. She’ll be able to do whatever she sets her mind to.

I Apologize

Our computer has been slowing down considerably over the last few weeks and it was only today that I figured out what the problem was. It’s still not 100% but it is much, much better and it doesn’t take three hours of repeated rebooting just to read my e-mail.

I’ll post something later today but I wanted to apologize for the inconsistency in my posts this week.