July 19, 2015: Mid-July Fun

Happy mid-July, everyone! It’s been a semi-busy week here—a little of this, a little of that. It started off with a trip for me up to Sacramento, to speak at the California State Legislature. Click here to read the post. That was certainly an experience I never expected to have, and I really did enjoy it!

The next day was a dermatology appointment for me. Because I have a little more time in the summer to get things done (Theo’s camp days are longer than his school days), I’ve been trying to get routine doctor appointments taken care of. One was a dermatology check, since my family tends to have many moles, and I’ve had quite a few biopsies on mine over the years. (They always come back abnormal, but so far never cancerous, thank goodness.) I mention this for one reason only: I got the most ridiculous email from my doctor afterward! I saw a new (to me) dermatologist, and Kaiser now seems to have their doctors follow up visits with emails. Which is a nice touch, except when you get one that says (I kid you not!): “Hello Mrs. Small. It was a pleasure to meet you. You have many moles.” Um…thanks?!?! Gee, he sure knows how to make a girl feel good! I have to admit, I laughed right out loud about how absurd it was. Who writes that?!

Later in the week, my friend Jisun came over with her brood for a play date. That was fun and not particularly noteworthy except that Sam was a bit of a holy terror. I kept him home from preschool for the occasion, and the little turkey decided it would be great fun to wreak havoc. I had put the dogs in their crate because two of Jisun’s kids are a little afraid of dogs, and Sam broke into the master bedroom (where they were crated), upended the dog crate (probably scaring the bejeezus out of the dogs) so he could access the zipper on the top of the crate, and then unzipped and released them. They went wild and charged out, which scared the living daylights out of one of Jisun’s kids and startled another one so bad he peed his pants. All the while, Sam laughed in delight. Yeah, yeah, he has the face of an angel, but he can be a little devil! (I was impressed, though, by the gross-motor and fine-motor skills required to (1) lift a dog crate with 35 pounds of dogs in it when he only weighs 25 pounds, and (2) work the zipper on the top of the crate. Clever, talented boy.)

Speaking of Sam’s skills, we celebrate the little steps around here, and we had some of those this week! Sam’s school has been redivided into smaller classrooms for the time being, and Sam has ended up with a teacher I really like. He is doing great with her. The first week she decided she wanted to get him counting to 10, and she made major progress with him; see a video here:

This week, she’s been working on his alphabet. Sam babbles a lot now (which is great!), and much of the time it’s just random babble, so we’re only half listening. But he was particularly insistent one night, making the same sounds over and over, increasingly loudly and persistently, so I looked up from what I was doing and saw that he was yelling “S!!!!! Z!!!!!!” at me while signing the letters S and Z from his crib. I don’t know why S and Z popped into his head, but it was great to see! He also grabbed a pool toy when I took the boys to the pool this week, and he kept waving it around and yelling, “Blue! Blue!” which his teacher was very happy to hear, as she works a lot on colors with him.

If only he was as cooperative about everything. I took him to a Strider bike clinic put on by Down Syndrome Connection on Saturday morning. Strider bikes are the balance bikes that many kids now learn to ride on—Theo learned very successfully how to ride a two-wheeler by starting on a Strider. Sam’s a little young, but not really—many kids start with them at age 2, and he’s developmentally about 2. So I took him to the clinic, but he would not cooperate. He liked the bike just fine, but he flat refused to wear the helmet (which I predicted—both of my kids hated hats at this age), so we ended up just leaving. What a waste—though we did get a free helmet out of it (if he’ll ever wear the darn thing!), and we did get interviewed for something. (I’m not sure what. I think it might be another thing for Joey Travolta’s studio, because the film crew that interviewed us had a man with Down syndrome and a man who appeared to have autism, along with a typically developing man. I was holding Sam, a bike, and a big bag full of stuff and trying to juggle it all while being interviewed. I said, “Let me just put this stuff down,” and they said, “Oh no—this is good! It looks like you can multitask with you holding all this stuff!” Well, yes…if nothing else, I can multitask!)

Anyway, after the failed Strider bike camp, we headed up to Sacramento to spend the day with Grandma Diane. She hadn’t seen the boys in a few months, so it was nice to get to see her again! She’s hoping to be able to come see our house in August, which will be very cool!

Speaking of the house, we have a new fence! Almost! The welder finished about 90 percent of it and will finish the rest on Monday. It was amusing; he discovered that a tree stump has actually grown around one of the main fence posts, and at another point he made one cut in a piece of the old fence, and the entire section of fence crumbled and fell apart like an accordion. What a wreck!

And we are finally getting our new windows put in, too! I’m so excited! We’ve been living in a fishbowl for months! And despite our community being listed as something like the second safest city in California, we do have our share of backyard prowlers, so I’ll feel better when we have blinds we can close at night.

Speaking of backyard prowlers, I had to laugh. We went to a block party on Friday, and several people complimented us on the backyard: “Wow, we can’t believe the difference!” The only thing is, none of them have been in our backyard. Turns out our next-door neighbor has been inviting them into her house because if you walk up her stairway, you can see our backyard from the window on her landing, so she invites them in to get a look at our backyard! But it makes me laugh, because they’re a really nice group of people, and I don’t mind them spying on our backyard. I’m not surprised they’re curious—it was quite a mess before. I brought one who hadn’t seen it since we got the house into the back, and her jaw dropped. I guess she had looked at the house before we bought it because she had thought of buying it herself, but she thought it was way too much work. But when I showed her the backyard now, she said, “I can’t even believe this! There’s so much space back here! You couldn’t even tell before!” It’s nice to have people notice the hard work, because we really did put a lot of effort into it—even if it was fun for us! 🙂

The other fun part about the block party was that Theo made a friend. Our complex is mostly retirees, but it turns out there is a young family living across the way with two young girls. One is just starting kindergarten, but she’s pretty mature for her age—and she likes swordfighting and farts, so Theo thinks she’s pretty much the cat’s meow. He’s already nagging me about going over to see if she can play—luckily, her mom seems very keen on getting them together to play, so I think we’ll definitely be able to do that!

Anyway, speaking of play, we have local friends coming over for swimming and a BBQ in a few, so I’d better wrap this up. Not many pictures this week, but next week I’ll have pictures of new windows! And hopefully some from the beach! We’re going to Santa Cruz for the day next week to see Auntie Lisa and her family, along with Auntie Jeanette and hers, and then we’re going to spend some time at the Boardwalk. Theo’s frustrated that he’s not tall enough for the roller coasters yet, but I’m sure he’ll have fun anyway! Bye for now!

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