Thursday, 5 January 2017

Finger Painting

Happiness is... watching a three year old finger paint. Especially when the three year old doesn't like getting his hands dirty, but realizes that he actually loves it!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Our Forgotten About Fall To Do List!

I was cleaning off the side of the fridge yesterday, and look what I found! It's my forgotten about Fall to Do List... which made me think of my semi-forgotten about blog. Let's face it, I'm no blogger, but I do like to post here from time to time, when I have spare time. Typically, that's summer, when I'm off work. I'm horrible at photo albums and scrapbooks, so this is a way for me to document some of my life happenings. Mostly happy times, sometimes things that are just living in my mind.

I checked more off my fall list than I thought I would, to be honest. This fall, I started a new job, C started back to preschool and we had a lot of meetings following his diagnosis of ASD. 

1.  Go apple picking - ✓ This year, we went to Charlotte's Family Orchard, in Gagetown. There were so many varieties of apples and lots of space to explore. C had a great time running around, picking apples (and eating about 10)! 
2.  Take a drive up to Fredericton, stopping at all the farm stands - ✓ It was a beautiful drive to the apple orchard, with all of the leaves popping with colour, so we decided to go even further toward Fredericton, to visit Moxon's Country Pumpkin. Besides being a farm and vegetable stand, they have the best bakery (C is all about their spoon bread!), and as a bonus for families, they have a small petting farm and playground. In the fall, they also have about a million pumpkins. Can you spot our little pumpkin in the pile? 

3.  Decorate our yard for fall - ✓  This is something my husband does every year. Corn stalks, straw bails, pumpkins. It's not extravagant, but Fall is our favourite season, so it really gets us into the season. 

4.  Carve pumpkins - ✓ C LOVED carving pumpkins. He did a lot of drawing on the pumpkins for me to carve and poking holes with the pumpkin knife. 

5.  Enjoy a walk in the park, to enjoy the fall colours - ✓ The leaves were beautiful this year. Any day we were able to to get outside to see them was a good day. 

5.  Make pickles - ✓ I did it! I made my two favourites, Chow Chow & Pickled Beets and then hubby and I made Apple Jelly. 

6.  Find a Halloween costume for C. - ✓ (but, also a total fail!)  We found a Halloween costume, but C refused to wear it. It was a really simple Thomas the Tank Engine costume, and he LOVES Thomas. He wouldn't have anything to do with it. Since he didn't want to wear a costume, we didn't go Trick or Treating, which made me sad, because Halloween is one of my favourite holidays and he had so much fun last year visiting a few of our neighbours. It ended up okay though, because he passed out treats to our Trick or Treaters. We had a TON! I think the final number was 220. That's a lot of work for a 3 year old! It ended up being a fun Halloween for everyone.

7.  Plan something special for C's 3rd birthday! - ✓ We had a nice family dinner for C's birthday. No kid party this year. Honestly, October was a very up and down month.  It was busy.  I couldn't figure out a good date and time for everyone, so I decided not to do it. I felt like a total mom failure, but many people reminded me that parties for little ones are usually for the benefit of the parents more than the kids. I still felt bad, but kind of agreed. 

8.  Jump in puddles - ✓ Many times! So much fun! I guess the upside of a very bumpy, uneven driveway has its benefits! 

9.  Get some fall candles from Bath & Body Works - ✓  Fall scents are the best scents. 

10.  Host Thanksgiving Day dinner! - ✓ I did it! This was a big one for me. I am not a "hostess," but I was pretty proud of pulling it off. It was a pretty good meal and C. made some cute centerpieces out of gourds. 

11.  Thanksgiving crafts! - ✓ This was fun! Gourds, paint, paint brushes, feathers, and anything else we could paint with. They turned out pretty cute. C was super proud of them and took good care of them, until the dog chewed one into pieces and C sat on another one and squished it. Then it was time to say, "Buh-bye gourds!" 
Thanksgiving crafts led to finger painting, which was a whole lot of fun too! This one is now in his art frame in the living room. 

The others didn't happen, but the worst fail of all would have to be:

*Sit back, relax, and breathe. <MAJOR FAIL!>  I can't remember a time when I felt more stressed than I was this fall. Work got the better of me. Home commitments got the better of me. Volunteer commitments got the better of me. It was bad. 

I was so happy that the Christmas break arrived. I have really allowed myself to take a break. Sleep, relaxation, and lots of play time with C. I think it's exactly what we all needed.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

It Takes A Village

"Your son meets the criteria for a diagnosis of autism."

The words still sting a bit.

It's been two weeks since my husband and I sat in the office following Little C's assessment.

It was a surprise, and it wasn't a surprise.
It was definitely surreal, hearing those words spoken.
It was definitely emotional.
It was definitely hard to hear.

To be honest, C was a total rockstar at the assessment. I was (and still am) so very proud of him. He immediately took to the team and seemed to have fun. He showed off all his skills - pretend play, talking, letters, colours, shapes, fine motor, gross motor, puzzles, matching, and so much more. Sometimes he did more than I expected, and sometimes I knew he could do better, but that's okay. It was a long day, and he can't be 100% all the time.

Honestly, the best part of the day was that I got to sit back and watch. I couldn't interject or clarify anything for him, so I had to just sit, and watch in amazement. It made me realize just how far he's come in the past year. This time last year, we were just starting to work with a Speech Language Pathologist. Since then, there have been so many changes in him. A year ago, he couldn't say any words. Now he has many, many words, and his vocabulary grows every day. He also seems to understand EVERYTHING.  A year ago, he couldn't sit still for 2 minutes and now he can sit through a 30 minute SLP session, with very little complaining. He is making much better eye contact, and although it takes him a little while to warm up to new places and faces, he is much more friendly with new people.

In the end, the diagnosis was made. He has autism. We had a feeling it would come, but it was still hard to hear. Sitting in that room and listening to the psychologist, I couldn't seem to process what I was hearing. In the weeks leading up to the assessment, I found myself saying to my husband, "We have to be prepared for the chance that he could be diagnosed." We had talked a lot about how it didn't really change anything. C would still be the same awesome kid. We'd still be the luckiest parents to have him as our son. And we would still work on what he needed to work on, just as we always have. Still. It was hard to hear the words. The assessment team was very nice and very supportive and gave us time to process, let it sink in a little, and talk it out with them.

We made it clear that C is so much more than a label, and we wouldn't use it as an excuse. We'll keep working, just as we have up to this point. He is a loving, funny, smart little boy, and I would never wish him to be any different than he is.  This new word is just one small piece of him.

I'm a firm believer that in the saying, "It takes a village to raise a child." With this diagnosis, our village has grown. That's comforting to realize, when there are so many things I'm not sure of. It's nice to know we're not alone.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Finally, Fall!

It's officially fall! My absolute favourite season. Cozy clothes, warm drinks, colourful leaves, crisp air. I love it all.

I've been working WAY too hard lately. In addition to the craziness of a new school year, with a new position, I have been doing some busy volunteer work and also decided to take on a little side project. Needless to say, it's been a bit crazy.  There hasn't been nearly enough fun in my life, so I thought I'd make a little list of things I would like to do this fall. Hopefully, I can figure out a way to make them all happen!

1.  Go apple picking
2.  Decorate our yard for fall
3.  Carve pumpkins
4.  Enjoy a walk in the park, to enjoy the fall colours
5.  Take a drive up to Fredericton, stopping at all the farm stands
6.  Make pickles
7.  Visit Kings Landing
8.  When September is over, make pumpkin cookies
9.  Find a Halloween costume for C.
10.  Plan something special for C's 3rd birthday!
11.  Jump in puddles
12.  Get some fall candles from Bath & Body Works
13.  Make some Halloween Crafts
14.  Take fun fall photos
15.  Host Thanksgiving Day dinner!
16.  Go to the Moncton Zoo
17.  Thanksgiving crafts!
18.  Fall Nature Hunt / I Spy Walk
19.  Make Applesauce
20.  Sit back, relax, and breathe.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

"Ma" - It's Music to My Ears

I can't get enough of it! Little C  has started calling me "Ma" all the time. When I see him in the morning, he grins and yells, "Ma!" People continue to tell me how much I will eventually tire of hearing him, but I still can't imagine that day! Each syllable is like music to my ears, especially when he says, "Ma." Some days I tear up just listening to him. I'm so proud of my little guy!

He's come such a long way since April, when he only had one word that he would use regularly. Now, he's starting to string words together, like "Pwease Ma!", "Eed Pwease" (read please), and "Ma, D" (Ma, I'm done!) He also says his alphabet all by himself and has about 20 other words. His expressive language is exploding!

We have two weeks until his assessment with the developmental clinic, and I'm nervous. I shouldn't be, and am not afraid of what they actually say, but I am afraid that they won't see what I see. I mean, how can they? These strangers only get to see him for a few hours, in a little room at the hospital. C can be shy, so what if they don't see his personality? What if they don't see the boy who loves to joke and kid around, climb, slide, swing, and explore? Will he say the alphabet for them or read a book? Will he eagerly participate and stay focused for as long as he does with his speech language therapist?

Honestly, I don't know. Maybe he will, maybe he won't. At the end of the day, I know the truth. My husband knows the truth. So do the people who are close to him. We know how awesome his is, and that won't change. Maybe at the end of the day he'll have a label attached to him, and maybe not. That's the part I'm not actually worried about. I just want them to see him like we do. To me, he's perfect, and every time I hear him say, "Ma!" I know that I'm right.