Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Two 5 Year Olds and a Funeral

So my dear sweet Grandma passed away last week.  She was my "storybook grandma" as I described her to others:  kind, caring, doting, apron-clad, often-baking, always smiling in her home chock-full of doilies and family.  That's how I'll choose to remember her instead of in the cloud of sadness and confusion that stole her final golden years.

Ever tried to get a family of 5 packed up for a road trip and round-the-clock puppy care scheduled on short notice while working?  We did, and it was so worth it.  The 5yos are pretty new to the concept of death, and that made for some amazing comic relief.

Spork asked repeatedly, "Is that REAL?!" while pointing to my grandma's open casket during calling hours.

Tater asked if Grandma had died in that casket or did we put her there after?

Upon entering the cemetery, Tater exclaimed, "Is there a dead person under every stone?  That's a lot of dead people!!!  How many do you think?"

After hearing this, Spork chose to stay in the car within eyeshot for the brief ceremony at the cemetery.  Grammy distributed pink roses and carnations to the great-grandchildren, and when Spork spied the Nugget and Tater's flowers, he asked where they got them.  Tater replied, "From Great-Grandma," and Spork's eyes grew as big as saucers as he asked, "She sat up?!!"

We went out to dinner later that day, and when Spork dropped his knife under the table, he solemnly stated to Grandpa, "I dropped metal."  Hubby thinks that should be slang for something.

The cousins did their part too.  When Uncle J tried to explain death and heaven to Cabbage, he said you leave your body behind and go to heaven.  She asked what would be in heaven, and he thought heaven should include golf and Diet Coke.  Cabbage logically said, "That's silly, Daddy.  How are you going to drink Diet Coke without your head?"

The cousins

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The missing piece...found

Despite not getting a diagnosis, we've followed the rabbit hole as far as it goes and have been trying a new approach with Spork called Therapeutic Parenting.  It's really been a miracle, and we're so grateful for the positive changes we've seen in our relationship with him as well as his own personal growth since we've started.  Guys, dare I say it, I think we just snapped in his missing puzzle piece.  Just like some of the OT tools didn't feel natural nor instinctive when we first started, Therapeutic Parenting has been challenging and stretching.  I'm definitely a better mother and a better teacher for the experience.  We've also been working with a play therapist, and it's been a lovely supportive environment.  I wanted to share this video on Nonsense Chatter, which was our #1 issue and has basically been eliminated by this playful, gentle technique!  Hallelujah!

Spork now asks me to kiss and hug him, and not just at bedtime.  He is starting to trust that I'm not a complete idiot and that maybe, just maybe, I want the best for him.  He is giggly and cooperative most of the time (unless I pull a fast one and change the routine on him, like we did at Easter - oy!).  He's starting to complain about things that happened at school, which sounds annoying but is so welcome over the emotional shutdown we've been getting for years.  Empathy is beginning to sprout.

Our therapist also recommended this book, which is so helpful for understanding children, both special needs and neurotypical.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Baskets 2017

In case anyone else loves hearing about basket stuffers as much as I do!  This year the bunny seems to have hit United Art & Education first.

9yo Nugget
-Cat Paw - annoying but if you know the Nugget, this toy was made for him.
-Tinker Crate
-Mini cowboy hat for his many stuffed animals
-Water balloons
-Travel Mancala
-Mentos gum
-Pop Rocks

5yo Spork (he's so unimpressed in this photo because I'm making him wait to dive into the basket until Daddy can walk around the corner)
-Lego travel case with plate top (like this but much smaller)
-Toy Beaver
-Shrink Art Robot set from Target Dollar Spot
-Baseball Guy - not a hit because he expected there to be a whole team in the box
-Lego Mini Fig - for whatever reason, this single guy was acceptable
-Gear building set
-Conductor's hat and pin from our local train museum
-Imagine Ink Paw Patrol book (done before Mass started, so I guess it was a hit)

5yo Tater
-Toy Panda
-Stick on earrings, rings, and bracelets from Carter's clearance
-Animal stamper
-Do-a-Dot Book
-Dance leotard, tights, and umbrella for her doll
-Baby bottle pop (also annoying, but the stuff of Tater dreams)
-Imagine Ink Shopkins book

Everyone got an egg putty from the Dollar Spot, ring pop, Reese's pieces carrot, Reese's egg, Cadbury egg, and Annie's bunny fruit snacks.

The Nugget left this letter for the Easter Bunny along with 4 of the biggest carrots I've ever seen:
"Dear Easter Bunny,
I was hoping IF you do have magic to put 400 dollars in my basket.  If you don't have magic, it's fine.  Sincerely,
the Nugget"
P.S.  Sorry about the dog.  Please leave him something.

The Easter Bunny left him a note stating that it was against EB Code to leave large quantities of cash for children but that he was very proud of the Nugget for growing in kindness and responsibility this year, set out a squeak toy for the dog, and gnawed up most of the carrots.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Meet Boomer

The day Shamrock passed away, my good friend C messaged me that her parents' Blue Heeler had Border Collie puppies and that we could have one if we wanted.  Thankfully, we had a few weeks to grieve before the pups were old enough to leave their mother, and by the time they hit 8 weeks, we felt ready.  I had originally mused that an older dog might be easier, but realized that the kids would bond better and help more with a puppy.  Also, as a herding breed addict, I was really drawn to the ACD - would its work hard/crash hard demeanor temper the non-stop action of a BC?

C and her kids helped us pick out the perfect puppy.  Active but not hyper, cuddly but not overly needy.  Her sister generously drove him from IA to IL for us, and Hubby went to go get him from Chicago.

The kids and I tossed around a billion names before his arrival, and we finally all agreed on Boomer.  He's a drop-dead gorgeous puppy (people literally squeal when they see him) and a quick learner.  He loves a good romp with the Nugget but he is chill enough to lie at my feet when I'm working in the office.  If I sit on the floor, he's immediately snuggling in my lap asking for a belly rub.  My blood pressure is lower already.  I'm off to inhale the delightful aroma of his puppy Frito paws.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

All before 9am...

The first morning of spring break dawned same time as a school day - 6:50am!  I started to feel like Alexander, as I had to deal with:
-1 wet bed and 1 shower
-1 broken bed slat courtesy of early-morning gymnastics
-2 children spraying each other with countertop cleaner, which led to...
-1 call to Poison Control and 2 more showers (thank goodness that I'm obsessed with nontoxic cleaners)

When I finally started making my escape to Target, I noticed some new window art on my van, so I called over the artist for a chat and learned that the medium was...wait for it....cheese.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Beware of flower girls

M:  I heard you are going to have a special St. Patrick's Day snack at school!  Maybe something green?
Tater:  I hope it's green vegetables!
Brothers:  (shocked and horrified silence)

The Nugget and Tater are playing stuffed animals together frequently.  I love eavesdropping.
Boo:  I always cry at weddings.
Tater:  Why?  Because they're always throwing flowers?
Boo:  No, I might be allergic to weddings.  My eyes just water, and I don't know why.
Tater:  Are you afraid of flower girls?

Nugget: I was invited to play music at a wedding.  There's just one problem - the wedding is in another dimension, and I'm not sure how to get there.

I showed the Nugget and Tater videos of Fiona the hippo.  Both were delighted with baby Fiona, and afterwards, I asked what they liked best.
N:  The way her ears flap!
T:  Her IV!

N:  I hope we can get a puppy soon.
Spork:  I don't want one.
Tater:  I only want one if it has good breath!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Goodbye, Shamrock

Our very special furry friend has been slowing down the last few years.  I've had this book on a shelf for a couple years now, and today when Shamrock couldn't stand up to go outside, I had to dust it off and read it to the Nugget while we both cried buckets into his Frosted Mini Wheats.  After the children went to school, Hubby and I took our sweet girl to the vet one last time, gave her salami and cheddar cheese, petted and cuddled her until she fell into the big sleep, kissed her cold nose, and came home without her.  She was the best dog, and we were so lucky to have her in our lives.