Thursday, December 31, 2009

Theo Says Otherwise!

Like, I mean, he uses the word "otherwise." He's doing so well! His vocabulary is growing, he's putting together better sentences, and he's telling stories.

Theo is hilarious watching me play Mario on the Wii. He'll say "get the star so nobody can hurt you!" and he calls the flying turtles butterfly turtles.

This was just a quick note...back to work...Happy New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mamacitas Holiday Party

Yesterday, my friend and fellow Sunnymom Sari had a holiday party. My mom group, the one in my neighborhood that's been meeting since we had infants, all came. It's very rare that we all get together these days, especially with our husbands there too, so it was real treat. It was pretty emotional for us moms to watch all our toddlers running around, squabbling, grabbing toys, kissing and hugging...the girls had enough hair for pigtails. Last year they didn't walk and most had no hair. Next year, they'll be having real conversations.

I'm very, very lucky to have found this group of people. I not only get to watch Melody grow, but I get to watch a whole community of kids grow, kids who will be Melody's friends.

Click here to see photo album from party!

Oh...and though there were no kids Theo's age, he was such a good boy! Probably because he's still perfectly content to play with baby toys. :)

Melody's First Snow!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gluten's Back, and So Is Mama's Sanity

There's a very good reason I haven't described the visit to the DAN! doctor. We didn't go. The follow-up visit, which is just a talk with the doctor WITHOUT the child present, would have been $750. So that's $1,750 plus the cost of additional allergy testing, prescriptions, etc. We called off the visit so that I could look into getting some help from my job next year, if this kind of medical visit qualifies for the Flexible Spending Account. Autism treatments nearly never get financial support from companies because it's all considered experimental.

We decided the day before Thanksgiving that we were going to take Theo off the gluten-free/ casein-free/ soy-free/corn-free/limited-sugar/no-preservatives/no-artificial-colors diet. That was fun to type!

What followed was--and I suppose this is a dramatization, but not by much--getting our lives back. We spent two nights in New Jersey with Joe's family. Not only would I have had to prepare Theo a special meal, but all the foods his cousins, 3 boys, ate would have been off limits. When Theo is there it is common for the boys to all munch on a bag of cereal, pretzels, and other snacks. Trying to keep Theo from those food would have majorly stressed me out and made him feel left out. I know, because that's what our previous visit was like.

How wonderful it was for Theo to sit and eat the same turkey, the same creamy mashed potatoes, the same apple pie as everyone else!

And guess what--on Monday, Ms. Fredericks said Theo was particularly well-behaved that day. This was before she knew we took him off the diet. The rest of the week he continued to behave nicely. Today, he came home very excited that he won a prize for good behavior! This could all be a coincidence, but at the very least, the opposite was supposed to happen when we put gluten and dairy back into his body, so...

Recently, I had a mini revelation when telling Aunt Pia about all this. One of the major characteristics of autism is the lack of social skills. And what was I doing by making him eat different food at a birthday party? At school, on pizza Fridays? I was exacerbating his already-poor social abilities. Seems counter-productive to me.

Please don't think I'm bashing the diet. I think it's wonderful--a miracle, in fact--that so many children have recovered from autism because of it. It didn't happen for my kid, but now I can feel good knowing we tried it for five months. And unless it had been a miracle cure, it would not have been worth it to further hinder Theo's chances at normalcy in social settings. And let's face it, his mama's a foodie. My favorite sous-chef can now learn the art and importance of butter and flour to real cooking. :)

The best part is, my guilt is mostly gone and I'm at peace with this decision. That's something I didn't think would happen. There are still natural vitamins and supplements to explore. We'll see what the new year brings us. For now, time to take a break from all this Mama Warrior stuff and relax and enjoy my sweet boy. Right now he's inside eating the empanadas he helped make--think I'll go join him.

Child Magic Enough For the Two of Them

Baby hates Santa, but as you can see, Theo brings enough child magic for the two of them. This is the first year he's really excited about who Santa is and what he does, and he was just enthralled when standing in front of the big guy. This was a good Santa--he talked to Theo about leaving carrots for Rudolph. The look on Theo's face put it eloquently...whoaaaaa.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

All He Wants For Christmas Is His One Front Tooth!

Wahoo! After weeks of pulling and prodding, the tooth finally came out when Theo ate a hard-boiled egg. He talked about the Tooth Fairy all day!

The next morning, the first thing he did was reach under his pillow to retrieve his lollipop. I let him eat it for breakfast, and the result was a very devastated, very angry, FURIOUS toddler. Theo tried to calmly explain to his sister that the Tooth Fairy brought HIM the lollipop, but she wasn't having it. Finally we convinced her to have some Cheerios instead.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

18 Months--A Meaningful Milestone

Last night, Melody started to cry at 4AM. Since she usually sleeps through the night, I should have wanted to cry with her. But this one night, it was different. It was her big 18-month birthday. And so the tears did come, but they were tears of reflection and happiness. As I lay in bed nursing my toddler, I thought of Theo's 18-month birthday.

"At 18 months, your toddler should say 50 words," we read. Uh-oh. He didn't say any. That was the beginning of a rough journey...but fast forward to today. Melody knows 50 words, easy. But why? Because Theo has made it his mission to teach her to talk. Who'd have ever thought Theo would be someone's speech coach?

So, with these thoughts in my weary head at 4AM, a smile on my face was frozen in time.

I can't believe my gorgeous girl is a year and a half. The first word she says when she wakes up is E-O (Theo). When she wants to go out, she brings me my shoes and tries to shove them on my feet while she says "Deedeedoh (here you go)."

Melody, every day with you is an adventure. Baby girl I always dreamed of, I love you.

It took me a while to get my Christmas spirit this year, but lookin' at this, you'll see how it came to me in a big way.