Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Words of My Mouth

"Let the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my strength and my
Psalm 19:14  NKJV

I have this verse printed on blue construction paper and hanging above one of our doorframes. I actually have a number of verses hung throughout the house, but lately this is the one I have found quoting to myself far too often.

Usually it is not the words of my mouth that are a problem.  After all, it really is not that hard to keep my mouth shut.  Usually.  Last night at work I sort of lost it.  Well not sort of, I did lose it.  I waitress four nights a week at a Cracker Barrel, and my coworkers are good people.  Most of them do not know Jesus, however they are quite familiar with Mary Jane.  Their vocabulary is quite colorful, to put it mildly.  But I like my coworkers and I usually do not give too much thought to their adjectives.

Many times in a night I will hear the word "retard" casually tossed out as a teasing insult.  I do not like it, but I am not out to change the world one coworker's language at a time so I ignore.  Unfortunately last night I had enough when three of the cooks were having too much fun in the "teasing insult" category.  I really was not paying attention to the conversation, but kept hearing "you're so retarded that...." and "well, you are so retarded that..."  I snapped, and I yelled at them.  Yes, yelled at them that they had better lay off  and so on.  So much for the words of my mouth being acceptable in the Lord's sight.  No seasoning with grace there! 

To their credit, they do not know anything about my family.  One gave a totally bogus apology that they were discussing the retard pedal on their cars.  One just avoided me for the rest of the shift. And one gave a very sincere apology. 

How much better am I then they, though?  No I don't call people retards, but I have been known to call the driver that cuts me off an idiot.  Or a moron.  Both of those words used to be the medical diagnoses that preceded "mentally retarded".  They were getting used as insults though, so in 1965 the term was switched from "idiot" to "mentally retarded".  I do need to take more care in what I say.

Even when I manage to keep my mouth closed, it does not mean that the meditations of my heart are acceptable.  That is the hard part.  Not even thinking less than pleasing thoughts?  I have a lot to work on.  If the meditations of my heart are pleasing to the Lord, then I know that the words of my mouth will be too.  I am thankful He is my strength and my Redeemer.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Spring is in my house

Outside the snowbanks along our driveway are level with the top of my head.  Micah struggles through waist deep snow to go check on "his" pony.  Yet walking into the house is leaving winter behind and embracing spring. 

 Thirty-six baby chicks arrived yesterday, and their constant cheeping is what has transformed the inside of my house into a reminder that Spring will come.  Zachary is raising the chicks for a local organic farm. 
Sunny is seen here holding one of the chicks that was struggling a bit after the long journey here.  Unfortunately a few did not survive the trip.
When the box was opened and Amelia realized what had arrived, she immediately took over the situation.  While Zachary transferred the chicks to the box with a heat lamp, Amelia put on her boots, scarf, and gloves (no coat), grabbed the feeder and headed out to the coop to get the babies some food.  She meant well, but these chicks needed their organic chick starter, not the big hen's egg layer crumbles!
Micah likes to sit and watch the chicks, and checks on them frequently.  Unfortunately, Dante took advantage of our distraction and took off up the stairs.  I found him in the tub fully clothed, shoes too, tapping on the spout trying to figure out to get the water running.

Leif was unfazed by it all, and was busy trying to forget that he is only six months old and figure out how to get the toy boat to float.  Maybe he and Dante should have worked together on this one--Dante had the tub and Leif had the ark...

So, until the real Spring gets here, we will enjoy having the sounds of spring inside and the joy of snow outside!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Happy Birthday Alexander!

Alexander is 17 today. Amelia and Micah helped make him a cake.

 Sunny magically appeared when it was time to lick the beaters.  I had to dip an extra one in the batter so there would be three for licking.
 Leif had his first taste of chocolate.
 And tried to get Alexander to give him his second taste of chocolate.
 Dad served the cake.
 A bit dark, but here is the birthday boy!
And his gift?  I signed him up for the SAT test!  He'll thank me later.  Maybe.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Please Slow Down

 Today I heard Leif crying in his crib and knew his nap was over.  When I went to pluck him up, he was STANDING at the railing.  It was most definitely unexpected, and honestly not a welcome sight.

It has been so long since Jamie and I had a NT baby that I am not sure if Leif is simply a genius, or we are so used to every developmental milestone dragging out for a year that Leif merely appears to be a genius. (Notice how kids aren't normal or average now, they are Neuro-Typical, or NT-- everyone gets a label!)

Of course I know that Leif is not a genius, but did he really need to start crawling this past weekend?  And pulling himself to standing in the crib?  He just turned 6 months two weeks ago!

Already Leif and Dante are having Tug of War over their toys. Due to the dual diagnosis of Down Syndrome and Autism, Dante is waaaaay behind developmentally, but I thought I had more time than this before he and Leif had the same interests. 

In an effort to find a way to help Dante, this past week I attended the first of a series of seminars on DIR Floortime, offered by the Autism Resource Center of Central Massachusetts.  I am hopeful that this will teach me to help Dante.  It is described as follows:" Floortime, a systematic way of working with a child to help him climb the developmental ladder, is the heart of what we call the developmental approach to therapy.  It takes the child back to the very first milestone he may have missed and begins the developmental process anew."  The Special Needs Child, by Stanley I Greenspan, M.D. and Serena Wieder, PhD.  It uses a play environment to climb through the child's developmental levels.
Here is my special guy asleep in my arms.  I cherish moments like this, and they help me to enjoy him now instead of worrying about his future.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


 Micah is thrilled to have a worthy amount of snow to go shovel!
 This is Sunny's second winter in Massachusetts, and she is loving the snow.  She's not in Taiwan anymore!!
 Amelia was the first one out, at 8AM.  There is already over a foot of snow.
 What would a blog entry be without an adorable baby picture?
And proof, Micah does have a charming smile that gets him whatever he wants.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Spectacles

They stay on only as long as there is ice cream in the bowl. Not kidding!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Micah's Meanderings

Saying he "meanders" describes eight year old Micah in every way. His attention span can be a tad short. One day A told Micah five times to get his shoes on because we were going somewhere. I had to remind A that each time was in fact the first time he had told Micah to get his shoes on...or at least it was as far as Micah was concerned! Apparently there are just too many distractions on the way to the shoe rack.

Micah is a boy that always has a smile for everyone. His quirkiness and happiness is what makes him so lovable. He likes to strip to his skivvies and strike a muscle man pose (not sure where he learned that from, maybe Dad when I am at work?). He also likes to sing and dance while standing in front of the television-- so he can see himself in the reflection. Every now and then out of the blue Micah will run over, grab the freezer door handle and say, "Can't...hold...on...much...longer..." (Between the Lions, PBS)

Micah is a Wolf Cub Scout, and recently he went to one of the AHL Worcester Sharks games with Dad and Zachary. He had a great time!

These photos do not do Micah justice; he does not like the camera. I am not sure why, but it is actually hard to get this happy go lucky lad to smile for the camera.

One thing about Micah: He is absolutely the most stubborn little guy you will ever meet. I have learned to have a stare down contest with him when he is being defiant. It takes a willingness to outwait him without smirking or resorting to the "I am bigger therefore you will obey" mentality. I will tell Micah to take his plate to the sink and he will look at me, say "No", and cross his arms defiantly. Then the staring commences. He'll look at me. He'll look to the side. He'll look back at me. I'll point to the sink. He'll look away again. Then, "Sorry Mom, sorry" and off he goes to the sink and on to his playing. Sometimes it becomes his idea. "Micah go potty". "No mom, no". After 30 seconds of staring at each other, "Mom, potty!!" and off he goes. If I make the mistake of smiling during our staredown he knows I'm had and puts on the full charm.

Micah loved our recent snow storm. He would get everything on and announce "snowman!", then go outside and spend an hour with a shovel moving snow around. When he is done he walks in, drops all his snow clothing where he is and announces "cocoa Mom, cocoa!".

There is never a dull moment with Micah!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Dante's Doin's

We are past due on updates, so I have decided to start with Dante. I really cannot say if he is doing well, because I honestly have no idea how he ought to be doing.

It recently occured to me that sometimes I think of him not as my son who has down syndrome and autism, but rather as my autistic son. It bothers me that this happened;no one should be defined by his label. I am still trying to figure out just what I should be doing to help my son; some days I honestly have no idea what exactly I should be doing with him. When Dante gets home from school he likes to lay on the floor in a sunbeam, setting his toy drum to continuous music and swaying his head back and forth. He is happy in his little world doing this, but should I be dragging him into our world? Sometimes I am so torn about it. In the end I know it is in his best interest to be drawn as much as possible into our "world".

Dante has discovered television! He stands right up next to it and watches. His particular favorite is hockey games. He will crawl away during commercials, but races back when he hears the game back on. It is amusing to watch him watching TV. Unfortunately he will sometimes hit the screen with whatever toy he is currently holding for stimming.

Dante has become quite the expert with his walker, zooming about the house now. I have had to pick him up early from school a few times, and he fairly races down the hallway when we are leaving.

Dante absolutely loves going to school. I am very happy he goes, but I really need to start stepping up my advocacy for him when it comes to his IEP and services. I have been given written recommendations by a few specialists and doctors, and passing them along to his teacher and therapists does not mean they get implemented, much to may dismay. I was a bit naive I suppose.

One of Dante's biggest hurdles is communication. He has very few words, very few signs, and much that he needs to say. We know he is hungry when he climbs up on the table and throws everything off it. He recently discovered the bench at the end of our table is up against the counter. So now he also clears the counter until he finds food. Often when he done eating he will throw his plate. It took me at least 4 broken plates to decide that he only gets plastic. The other day he was drinking milk on his own, spilled a little on his shirt, so threw the rest across the room. I want to buy him a communication push button device, but have to save up for it first.

And his glasses are here! He could really use some prayer in this area. If he would let them near his face without screaming and writhing about, he might realize he can see with them on!!

He was standing at the counter eating noodles as I made lasagna, but when I held his glasses out to him Dante took his bowl of pasta, turned his back to me and sat down to eat.

We do love our little Dante, and though it grieves me that he has so much against him, I know that the Lord is with him. He loves to sit on the couch with James and I, even insisting on sitting between us. Dante will often intently look one of us full in the face, and I know he is thinking "I love you" when he does that.

This little update went on for quite a bit! Next time I will tackle Micah's recent activities!