Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Josie has an announcement to make

It's a BOY!
I think we've got just about all the girl we can handle around here.
With these two little beauties.

We are thrilled beyond words (hence the short post) to welcome another little boy into our family. Vanny has been predicting it all along.

And although I have decided not to make any final decisions about numbers while I am hormonally altered, this rounds out our little family quite nicely.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


After writing the last post, I started reading backwards through some of the entries on this blog. Each one brought back memories of the event or situation that had prompted the post. It actually made me wish I could find make more time to write. It's an important way for me to process and catalog my experiences right now. Every day moves so quickly and slowly at the same time, and the contradiction makes it blurry in retrospect.

One thing I realized (again) is that many times I write about Van. I don't mean to. It's interesting because my sweet girls occupy much of my time each day. They are growing and changing so much every day that sometimes they wake up and seem older than they were a few hours before. They are learning the influence they have on the world (me) with their words and their cries and their tantrums. Van's requests are simple and consistent.

"Mama, did I want some apple juice in my Lightning McQueen cup?"
"Mama, did I want to listen to dancing music?"
and lately
"Mama, did you want to play with me in my room?"
To which the answer is always, "Yes!"

I am going to make a concerted effort to diversify my subject matter, but the last two weeks have been a relief from an issue weighing on my heart and mind for a long long time.

Van has been unique his whole life. He hit his developmental milestones, but strangely. He skipped some like pointing, clapping, and later jumping. His pediatrician once said, "I have never heard a child with intonation like his." Vanny was less than one but would speak in full sentences of jargon. His nonsense words sounded so convincingly like language that people would often look to me to translate as if I could understand.

As Josie and Delia began to develop their communication skills (both verbal and non-verbal), concerns we had with Van deepened. We recognized the significance that Delia could follow my point and retrieve a specific object, but Vanny could not. He seemed to grow increasingly frustrated with his inability to express himself, and his requests and conversation seemed limited to a template of sentences that he would rearrange to fit his need. It's been almost a year since we started seriously considering the possibility of Autism.

When I mentioned my concern, many people would say, "He's such a good boy. He plays so well on his own. He seems to speak so clearly. Kids develop so differently, and you know boys just do things at their own pace."

He does play well on his own. But he can't relate to kids his age. He doesn't know how to join in games or even really parallel play. Kids at the park often come up and ask me why he won't talk to them.

After many appointments with Dr.'s who were completely unhelpful and uninterested in anything but the bills we received, and after many nights of taking turns in tears worrying about how we could help Van live a full and meaningful life, GK and I finally feel like we're making headway.

As the daughter of two public school teachers I know the complaints about the public school system. But luckily for Van, our school district has provided unbelievably thorough evaluations and testing. Meetings with Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Speech Therapists and Special Education Specialists.

After two weeks of Early Intervention Preschool, I'm seeing parts of Van I wondered if I ever would. I honestly go to bed at night wondering if I'm imagining things or if he really could be making as much progress as I observe.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Rites of Passage: I

I have come to this blog a million times since August with the intention of writing. With the idea of recording and sharing what was going on in our lives. A lot has been happening.

Since perhaps the very day of the last post, I'm pregnant. So that explains, perhaps, why a new post never actually occurred. Autumn came and we temporarily stopped gallavanting all over the Western United States, and moved across town. Halloween came and went, and Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and New Years, and new teeth, and new toys, and a new... well you get the idea.

In spite of all of that change and experience and life, I could never jump in mid-flow, mid-nausea and get back on track. But today all that changed. Today marked a rite of passage that has come sooner than I thought it would.

Today was Vanny's first day of school.

I imagined the picture of him standing in front of our front door with his new school clothes and his new backpack grinning at the camera in his excitement. You know, the picture I've seen of every other kid on his or her first day of school. But I knew I'd never see it. Not from my boy who hates cameras.

So after a first day of school lunch at In-N-Out, we went to his classroom and I tried to capture a bit of the experience. (Partly for GK who is out of town on business, and partly to stop time for just an instant).

His cute teacher Johana took a picture of us when he suddenly got nervous, then tried to escape to the playground.
But once inside, after finding his own hook for his own backpack... He decided the classroom was as good as any playground!

Vanny is such a special boy. He is tender-hearted and curious, he loves music and people. Over the past few days we've tried to help him get excited about the prospect of school. I'm sure it will be a bit overwhelming, but I'm looking forward to seeing what he learns.

At least for today, 2:30 can't come fast enough.

*Post script: Observations on revisiting this post. 
First and most important: Van has passed the stage when going to bed with wet hair is easily solved.
Second: That leg coming out of the open car door is Mimi (GK's mom) here to save us all while GK is out of town.
Third: Vanny's backpack turned out very cute. It's even cuter than I imagined when I started out. 
Fourth: Thanks mama for the sweater. He was proud to wear it on his first day!