Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What's that about a cognitive deficit?

Potty training has been a serious focus with AJ for quite awhile now.  He's pretty good at school - he's in underwear and successful at making it to the bathroom most of the time.  Home is another story.

Of course home is where you relax.  Where you let your hair down.  AJ thinks home should be the place he can be SO relaxed he doesn't even have to use the bathroom.

He loves his pull ups.  They are his security blanket.  You know, if a security blanket was something you can wear instead of underwear.  So he carries one around, all the time he's wearing underwear.

See, what worked for us for a long time was to let him wear a pull-up every time he was successful on the potty.  Backwards, I know, but that was what he wanted, and that is what has been working.  Only now he fights putting the underwear on again, later, after pull-up time is over.  Seems we've hit a potty speed bump.

Or a potty brick wall.

He's so obsessed with those pull-ups.  Loves them.  Sometimes he'll go upstairs and change from underwear into a pull-up by himself, all sneaky-like.  I started keeping the pull-ups put away.  He found them, and I think hid them.  A jumbo size pack of pull-ups disappeared in one day.  He's hiding them, I'd put money on it.  I don't know where.

Frustrating as this is, I can't help but be impressed with his manipulation skills.

Take THAT, developmental delay diagnosis.

Is there a potty training boot camp I can send the boys to?

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Quick One

The boys can't tell me much about what goes on at school.  They seem well treated and I have no reason to think otherwise, but I have to rely on what their teacher tells me.  And I work with kids with special needs - I know how it is.  I know there are times when you like them less than other times.

So I had to smile to myself this morning when I was helping AJ get dressed (I'm going to stop short of saying I "dressed him", I make him do as much of it himself as possible but I do have to micromanage the process) and he said "Come here, my dear. Come here, my dear."

AJ has a habit of repeating phrases he hears.  He is forever telling me "great job!" and "oh, you're okay," and "come on boys, let's go!"

All of which I've said many, many times to the boys.  I'm forever hearing my own or Dora the Explorer's voice come out of AJ's mouth.  This morning at Target I left the boys in the children's DVD aisle for a second and went around the corner to look at books (something I almost never can get away with but we had the entire store to ourselves and they were being unusually quiet and passive) and within a second I hear AJ.  "Hm, where's mom?  I don't see her ANYWHERE!  Mom, oh mom, where are you?"  In exactly the dramatic tone Dora would use.

So when I heard him say "Come here, my dear, come here, my dear," it warmed my heart a little.  Because I never say that. Neither does Dora. Someone at school must be calling him "my dear."

Sunday, February 16, 2014

40-Odd Years of Cats

My parents have always had a cat.

Before I was born they had Cat.  I think they originally tried to name him Tiger, but it never stuck.

Then we got Tippy.  She was black with white feet and a tiny bit of white on the tip of her tail. She had a litter of four kittens which was definitely the highlight of my childhood.

Then came Misty, a white Siamese with stunning blue eyes.  She knew she was gorgeous.  Buffy arrived soon after Misty, but Buffy and Misty didn't get along very well (cat fight!) so Buffy had to go live with our neighbors.

Then we moved outside of town and took in Fred and Max.  Fred was gray and Max was gray and white.  They were brothers and two of the laziest, most loving creatures who ever lived.

Gypsy, a tri-color Calico cat, moved into the garage one day and we started feeding her.  Before long she moved inside and for a while we had four cats.

Years passed and one by one they left us for cat Heaven.  I'm not exactly sure of the timeframe, but next was Bob.  Bob was an orange and white long haired Tabby who, like Gypsy, showed up in the garage one day.  It didn't take long for him to move right in.  I thought they should name him Julio, but they said he seemed more like a Bob.  And so he did.

Bob joined the others a few months ago, and now, for the first time in my memory, my parents are catless and they plan to stay that way.  They travel a lot now and cat boarders are few and far between.  Besides, as my dad will say, cats can live 15 years..... And what is that supposed to mean?

So now they don't have a cat.  I am not okay with that.  That's all.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

What I Think "Frozen" Is Really About

My sister in law was just telling me the other day that her daughter, my niece, had also read Heaven is for Real and that she was intrigued by my response to it - that I didn't give it a stellar review, but I questioned the things it didn't address.  She said her daughter was starting to realize that, being the parent of children with special needs, I see many things in the world differently.

I didn't realize just how much that is the case, either.  I see cases of people with differences being misunderstood, undervalued, treated cruelly, and abused in so many more books and movies than I ever did before.  And I think everyone - well, most everyone - while they know that it's wrong and unjust, they don't feel the unfairness the way I do.  Because while most everyone can imagine people being mistreated, most of them aren't imagining it happening to their own babies.

I'm reading The Giver by Lois Lowry right now.  It's about a futuristic society where people live simple lives where they have no control or choices, but they also have no pain or sadness or loneliness.  There are no people with disabilities anywhere.  Everyone is the same.

The focus is on how the people have no memories of bad things, but no memory of good things, either. 

I just had to delete what I'd written here because I don't want to spoil the story for anyone who hasn't read it, but basically, this society is living by some very ignorant and ancient ideals, for the sake of sparing people pain.

(This is youth fiction.  It's recommended to my 5th grader, who is currently reading Tales of a 6th Grade Muppet.  Seems like a bit of a leap, to me, but I might have her try it when I'm done.)

Another case where I see a story of a disability is the movie Frozen.  I'm not going to worry about spoilers for that, it's been out for months now and if you haven't seen it twice, you should have.  Because it's the best Disney film ever made.  That's only my opinion.  But there you have it.

To most people, Frozen is about two sisters who grow up largely separated and lonely but whose love for each other saves the day, in the end.

To me, Frozen is about a girl with a gift no one else has or understands.  She hasn't been taught how to live with this gift and she can't control it and she hides it.  When it inevitably becomes public, it scares the people, and they shrink away from her in horror and begin to plan to destroy her.

I see a movie about a girl with a disability.

It starts when she's a little girl; she can't quite control her gift of freezing things, and her parents, in order to protect her and her sister, encourage her to hide it.  Mistake number one.  Like a lot of parents of unique and special children, they had no idea what to do and they were afraid of how the public would treat her, so they tucked their daughter away where no one would see her specialness.  Thus, she grew up having no idea how to live with it - how to control it.  She should have received therapy as a child.  A therapist, who could help her learn to express it in a safe way and live her life normally.  Because once she gets away from home, she is relieved to finally be able to LET IT GO...

Her sister goes on a mission to save her.  It's incredibly heartwarming, and finally, finally, Disney has made a movie where the girl doesn't have to end up with the prince to have a happily ever after.

This movie is not only thrilling and funny, it's packed with terrific messages for kids.  Here's just a couple of them:

Love at first sight is exciting, but needs to be given time to see if it is real.
People who are a little "different" need to be loved and included, not feared and shunned.
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