One year ago today I was suddenly in Auburn, reeling in shock along with my sister and brother-in-law as we marveled at their surprise Christmas baby.
Happy Birthday, Jonathan!
December 19, 2014
December 18, 2014
Sam wondered into my room, looking concerned.
“Mommy, Lydia play slide,” he tells me.
“What do you mean by ‘play slide?’ ” I ask.
“Like this,” he answers, and he makes a motion with his hands like its sliding.
“I’ll go check.”
“I came to tell you. I not doing it,” Sam clarifies as we go down the hall.
It turns out Lydia was trying to reposition Sam’s train table to engineer a slide. “But it will be fun!” she laments when I tell her to put it back.
December 10, 2014
Sam is currently in love with the series of books, How Do Dinosaurs [something_something]. We’ve read through How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight, How Do Dinosaurs Clean Their Rooms, and How Do Dinosaurs Say I’m MAD, among others.
The other day we picked up, How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Dinner from the library. As Sam listened, completely enraptured while I read the book later that night, we came upon the page with the words, “Does a dinosaur glare?”
And I was staring into the face of Lydia in dinosaur form. It’s Lydia’s GLARE, right there in the book.
December 3, 2014
We have emerged from the Death Virus to finally present The Tree, plus one.
The smaller tree is Lydia’s responsibility.
Total lights on the tree: 2,550
Times the cat has eaten the tree and barfed: 0!
Times other people in the family have barfed: 16
Times I’ve almost skinned the cat for trying to climb into the tree: 3
Ornaments children have broken: 0
Ornaments Mommy has broken: 1
December 2, 2014
“Hey, it’s past Thanksgiving; where’s my tree update??” you ask.
Sorry. We’re moving slowly this year. The day after Thanksgiving, a Death Virus descended upon all of us. Sam, Lydia, and I have been zombie-like these past few days. I even slept through the Iron Bowl! This was probably for the best, considering how it went.
I did manage to get the lights on the tree yesterday, but this morning Lydia and I feel like poop again.
It will get done, I promise.
October 21, 2014
“Lydia, how is your dinner?” I ask her.
“Lydia, is your dinner good?”
I try a third time. “Lydia! How’s your dinner? Do you like it?”
Lydia gives me the Death Look.
October 9, 2014
As far as summers go, Sam has had a decently eventful one, albeit in fits and spurts. Now that we are slowly lumbering into fall (it’s October yet it’s a balmy 84 degrees outside, what gives?) perhaps I can sum everything up to my satisfaction.
Last July Sam went through a series of evaluations at the Civitan Sparks Clinic in downtown Birmingham, an organization that evaluates developmental and learning disorders. We had been on the waiting list for a good year; I had almost forgotten about it. Steven and I have never really worried that Sam has some sort of earth-shattering major delay, he just kinda seems . . . Aspergerish. By the time we heard back from the clinic with a testing date, we debated canceling the whole thing. Sam is fine. He talks. He’s happy. Why worry? In the end we went through with it since, hey, year-long waiting list, dude, and we were at the top.
The evaluations were spread across two separate days, one in July and the other in August. There were meetings with every kind of specialist under the sun. At the end of both days Sam crashed in the car on the way home — he was worn out! For some of the meetings I got to watch Sam through a mirror while he wiggled around and charmed everyone. During the hearing evaluation he sat in a sound-proof room while the specialist talked to him through a set of headphones. Every time she would ask him to do something he would reply, “Okay, Mommy!”
The hardest evaluation for Sam was the occupational therapy meeting. He became very frustrated with himself while trying to draw shapes and cut with scissors. The other test he struggled with was the hearing evaluation. Two hearing tests on both days showed some hearing loss with low tones and some pressure in his middle ears.
The hearing test results had us back at the ENT to be re-evaluated. Unfortunately, Sam’s ENT that installed his tubes in 2011 had left the practice, so we were stuck with Lydia’s ENT, who is a good doctor but has a very clipped manner. As with Lydia’s time at the ENT, poor Sam and I ended up being stuck in a 9 x 9 waiting room with a little television that played episodes of Jessie from the Disney Channel nonstop, with no remote to be found.
For two and a half hours.
By the time the ENT came in — “Hi, I’m Dr. Hill; he definitely needs tubes; any questions?” — I had resigned to let Sam play with the up and down buttons in the examination chair, mentally daring any nurse to come in and tell us to stop.
So suddenly — tubes! And adenoids! Surgery! This was taken care of a mere week later. Since we had already done the whole tubes thing twice before, the third time didn’t feel so taxing or seem to take as long. The hardest part was trying to keep a very hungry Sam distracted and amused while we waited. A hungry four year old is much tougher to handle than a hungry one year old. By mid-morning, tubes were installed and adenoids removed so we headed home, where Sam vegged on the couch.
After the ENT sidetrack, we were back at the Sparks Clinic a few weeks ago for all the results. All in all, Sam did very well. There’s only a few things that were of concern, and all of the ENT business took care of one of them. The next step for Sam is occupational therapy — he did not do well on that evaluation, especially with grasping and visual motor skills. We have already located a pediatric occupational therapist close by and our first visit was this Monday.
The step after that is getting evaluated with Citivan Sparks’ autism clinic, which is apparently a completely separate thing from all of this stuff we went through. The wait for that might be a year or more. Until then, we will work with the occupational therapist and just keep on keeping on. Judging by that first appointment, Sam is going to love occupational therapy. Even Lydia was a bit jealous she couldn’t jump on the trampoline and swing with Sam.
At the end of the day, none of this changes who Sam is as a person, or what we think about him. Hopefully, some of this knowledge will help us relate to him and help guide him through the rough patches. He’s still Sam — my orange-loving, wall-bouncing, girl-charming, dirt-digging, water-playing, self-contained amusement park of a boy.
September 28, 2014
I often find myself remarking on the amount of questions Lydia asks me during any given day. She questions everything. So this past Monday, I wrote down every question she asked throughout the day, minus all the weird little situations (mumbling, questions while driving in the car, etc.). Here’s what I came up with.
“Mama, do spiders like to hide in the hole in the middle of the paper towel?”
“Mama, can I play a game on Daddy’s iPad?”
“Mommy, could you download — not that. How do I get out of here?! Could you download that?”
“Why doesn’t this thing move?”
“Well, what does it read to you?”
“Can I go outside?”
“What’s that? Can you read that?”
“Now can I go outside?”
“Can I keep these bugs?”
“Is this a caterpillar?”
“What does it eat?”
“What are they? Are they kids’ shoes?”
“So that’s what you needed to know?”
“Was that fast? Like Flash?”
“What are you looking at?”
“Can I use my chopsticks?”
“What comes after orange?” Sam answers, ‘orange.’ “Orange again??”
“What is next?”
“What about some tea?”
“I was wondering if we could go outside?”
“What is that supposed to be?”
“Do I have to write ‘Tom’ again?”
“Did I wear this on my head when I was little? Did I wear it like this? Or this?”
“Did I have that thingy when I as a baby? Or did I get it for Christmas?”
“Is that an ‘oo’ word?”
“Did I just put this near my eye?”
“Does ‘cat’ have a capital letter?”
“Is this grammar? Then science?”
“But why not science?”
“And what else? And then tomorrow science?”
“Why not science today?”
“Why don’t you like bugs?”
“Why do you laugh when I say ‘crunchy’?”
“And? And what? And that’s it?”
“‘Cause we’re going to gymnastics later?”
“Can we have a popsicle later?”
“And we’ll talk about it?”
“Mommy, could you do this color for that over there?”
“Mommy, will you help me color?”
“Does China still exist?”
“Are there a lot of people there?”
“What is China for ‘purple?'”
“Is that a boy or a girl?”
“What does this say? Is it ‘black?'”
“Your mother’s gone, right?”
“And do you miss her?”
“Do you think of her all the time?”
“Dreams are dreams? Pretty much?”
“Can I have my snack outside, pleeeeeeeease?”
“Can I wear socks with sandals?”
“What is this word?”
“What is this word — it starts with a p, then e, r, s, o, n, a, l?”
“Why are those people climbing the rope?”
“Is that Sam in the gray shirt?”
“Can I go play with that boy?”
“Can I build this tomorrow?”
“Can I have tea tomorrow?”
“Can I watch something?”
“Did you say ‘wok?'”
“Why did you say ‘ring?'”
“No time for books tonight?”
“Can I wear this?”
“Can you make me fly?”
“What about Watson?”
“How did you get a boo boo?”
“What about Kevin kissy and huggy?”
I hope she never loses her curiosity.
September 26, 2014
Six years ago today a bundle of Elizabeth arrived. She’s been making funny faces ever since. Hurray for birthdays!
August 22, 2014
I think I hear a small voice mumble in the hallway, “I need to go potty.” It’s Sam, who is never keen on asking permission for anything except going to the bathroom, which is the one thing he would never need permission for in the first place.
“Then go potty,” I holler.
I hear his door slam shut, then nothing. He’s gone back into his room. I stick my head through the door, and he’s laying on his bed with Bear. “Do you need to go potty?” I ask. He just looks at me. “Did you ask if you could go potty?” I persist. Blank stare.
Okay. Maybe I was hearing things.
Thirty seconds later I hear Sam crying in his room. “What?” I ask, sticking my head through the door again.
Sam sobs, “I need to go potty!”