May 21, 2017: Happy Birthday, Chris!

Well, it was Chris’s birthday on Thursday, which is an incredibly dull day for a birthday. So we did exciting things, like get a new garbage disposal! And take Sam for a dreaded eye appointment! Because that’s what super-fun people do on birthdays.

Seriously, though, we mixed in a lunch date of pizza and frozen custard around the eye appointment. And we got the good news that Sam does not need glasses. I thought he might, because he holds the iPad right up to his face when he watches it sometimes, but apparently that’s just a kid thing, not an “I can’t see” thing. Woohoo! I was wondering how the heck I’d keep glasses on a kid who hates anything touching his face.

Chris had to run a Cub Scout pack meeting in the evening, too, which made for an all the more exciting birthday! He likes the pack meetings, but given that he’s an introvert at heart, running pack meetings is not exactly relaxing for him. I’m told it went well, though I only saw about two minutes of it. Theo was bridging from Bears to Webelos, which I really wanted to see, but Sam was having none of it, so we had to leave and go home. Thank goodness I have a sweet friend who knew I’d be sad to miss the event, and she took a picture for me:

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Anyway, since Chris’s birthday itself was kind of hectic and not relaxing, we were happy to have not one but two respite nights this weekend! Friday night Sam’s school held a respite event, so we went to the little local Italian place in town for a one-day-late birthday dinner for Chris. And they were so nice—they gave us Chris’s meal on the house, since it was his birthday! They said, “You take care of us all year round; let us take care of you one night of the year.” I love small-town, mom-and-pop businesses—so friendly! Chris had spaghetti carbonara, and I had lobster risotto with scallops—so delicious!

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And Saturday night, we have a respite night courtesy of Easter Seals, which provides Sam’s OT and speech therapy. I think we’re going to go to a brewery for dinner. Neither of us drink beer, but this particular brewery has an extensive and supposedly very tasty menu for food, so we’ll give it a shot!

In other news, Theo had a field trip to the local historical museum in our town, which he loved. He was very disappointed that we couldn’t chaperone, but unfortunately it was the same day as Sam’s eye appointment, which we had waited nine weeks to get, so we really couldn’t change it. I’m pretty sure he had fun anyway. Probably more fun than Sam did. 😉

I also got to pick up my glasses—progressive lenses, for the first time—and wow! I can see!! I can read!! It’s glorious! Except for one problem: They keep sliding down my nose. I have almost no bridge in my nose, so I have a hard time keeping glasses up (which is one reason why I hate them). My last pair was pretty good, but this new pair keeps sliding. I need to figure out what to do about that, since the darn glasses were so expensive I can’t exactly buy a different pair. My contacts work well for distance, but I can’t see to read very well with them. I tried buying a cheap pair of “readers,” but I find the vision to be a bit distorted through the cheap plastic lenses, even though I got the strength the eye doctor advised me to. Anyway, I need to figure out some good solution…other than just pushing them up my nose every five seconds!

We also got Sam’s sedated MRI scheduled for next month. Ugh. I hate that we have to do that, but since he flat won’t cooperate with the traditional X-ray, I guess we have little choice. Boo, hiss.

On a happier note, we got through the first hurdle of the massive undertaking involved in applying for IHSS (a phone interview), so that’s a plus. Next step: Having a social worker visit us at home to learn what we’re doing above and beyond what one typically does to raise a five-year-old. (Answer: Lots of transportation to various therapies. And much more bathroom and self-care assistance, as well as ensuring that he doesn’t “elope.”) One step down, many to go. Hopefully we can get it all nailed down before kindergarten starts….

Speaking of eloping, Sam scared the crap out of me on Wednesday! I was finishing up some work in the den, which is right next to the front door, while Sam played on the iPad. I had the high bolt done on the back door, and I had the safety lock on the front door. Plus, I could hear if Sam trotted by the den and headed for the door, since it’s right next to it, and I had the den door open.

When I finished, I went to find Sam—and he was nowhere to be found. He wasn’t on the couch, where I had left him. He wasn’t upstairs. I couldn’t find him anywhere else downstairs, either. And I couldn’t hear his iPad, which I can normally hear playing Thomas or Mickey Mouse or whatever he’s watching. “Theo, have you seen your brother?” I asked. “Nope,” he said.

I thought for a second, and then realized Theo had been going in and out the front door to work on a homework project: he had to observe a spider in a web every day this week and journal about it. He had gone outside twice to see the spider. Given that I couldn’t find Sam, I assumed he must’ve slipped out when Theo opened the door—and I had no idea on which trip out he had escaped. He could be anywhere—and we live just about 50 steps from a very busy street!

As you can imagine, I panicked. I screamed for Theo to run outside and start looking for Sam while I threw on my Birkenstocks and lunged for the front door. And then suddenly, I heard the iPad. I followed the sound and found Sam. Evidently he had crouched down behind the train table to poop in private, and for whatever reason had paused his iPad so it wasn’t making any sound.

It took a very long time for my heart to stop pounding. I have not been that frightened since Sam’s delivery. It was awful…awful. It’s incredible how many horrible thoughts can go through your head in about 30 seconds.

Good lord. So many thoughts about this. First of all, darn it, Sam—you’re supposed to tell me when you need to use the potty, not go hide behind a piece of furniture to do your business, in the process scaring your mother out of her mind! 

Second, while I’m vigilant about making sure the child locks/high bolts are done on both the front and back doors when Sam’s in the house, it is entirely possible that, although I was wrong this time, at some point Sam could slip out when Theo opens the door. Must be tremendously careful about this, particularly now that Theo is old enough to have more freedom about going outside without constant adult supervision.

Third, we’re definitely trying a potty-training bootcamp the second week in June. I don’t need another heart attack like this, since Sam has apparently become the Furtive Pooper. Expect to find me tethered to the house that week, with a bare-naked child who is being taken to the potty every fifteen minutes until he gets the idea that poop and pee go in the potty only! Last weekend I bought him a set of Mickey Mouse underwear so that we have the added incentive of, “If you learn to poop and pee on the potty, you can wear Mickey Mouse! Because we don’t poop and pee on Mickey—that would make Mickey sad!”

Wish me luck, people. Theo was a breeze to potty-train—kid was born wanting to be an adult. Sam…well, Sam is more content in his kid-dom. I don’t think he much cares about proving he can be an adult at this point.

And fourth, when I tell the IHSS folks that the school after-care isn’t a reasonable solution for Sam because he doesn’t know not to elope and their open fence just isn’t going to cut it…I’m right. I might’ve been wrong this time, but it was only by the grace of god that he was crouching behind furniture to poop, rather than actually being outside, where I thought he might be.

I know moms of multiple kids are probably thinking, “But you’ve got an older child who can help watch him!” Normally, I’d agree with you on that, in principle. I suspect a typical nine-year-old is probably a great help with keeping an eye on young siblings. Unfortunately, my nine-year-old is so incredibly wrapped up in his own head most of the time that he is not a reliable helper in terms of watching his brother. If I need to get up and fill a cup at a restaurant, where I can still see the table, then yes—I can say, “Theo, keep an eye on your brother for ten seconds.” But I can’t rely on him for longer periods of time. He just doesn’t have the focus.

I do not in any way mean this to reflect badly on Theo. He would never knowingly put his brother in danger’s way—I am absolutely certain of that. And when I say that he’s too wrapped up in his own head to reliably help, I don’t at all mean that he’s self-centered. This is just one area where I definitely do see an autistic trait in Theo—he exists very much in his own head sometimes, and it prevents him from seeing what’s going on around him. I don’t blame him at all—that’s just the way his brain is wired at this point, and I assume that as he matures, he’ll be better able to focus on things outside of himself. But it does mean that I can’t do the typical thing of sending my nine-year-old and my five-year-old outside to play, with instructions for the nine-year-old to watch out for his brother—even in the backyard. An adult always needs to be keeping an eye on Sam, even if it’s just watching through the sliding-glass door as they play in our small backyard.

I guess this event made me feel a bit less guilty about needing to scale back my work drastically this fall, when Sam moves to part-time school. He just flat requires more supervision than a typical five-year-old…and I can’t do it all. Something’s gotta give, and that something is going to have to be work.

Saturday we stuck close to home (other than our respite night, that is). Our community was having a big multi-family garage sale, so we wandered around that for a bit. Then Chris and Theo did yard work while I gave the kitchen a thorough cleaning. Then we walked over to the farmer’s market and the park.

It’s HOT this weekend, so we plan to escape to Parts Cooler tomorrow, thus the need to get yardwork and cleaning done today!

Only three more weeks of school, and then I’ll have a fourth grader and a kindergartener. Hard to believe!

In case you missed it, I had a post earlier today about an experience Chris had this week. Click here to read it. And Enjoy this week’s pix:

Our box came with stuffed peppers this week. My mom is undoubtedly laughing reading this, because she knows just how much I loathe stuffed peppers!

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This was cauliflower tikka masala with garlic naan and sautéed spinach. Soooo yummy!

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He survived the eye appointment (albeit with some screaming), so he got frozen custard:

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Birthday boy and his tiny buddy!

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I rarely order the meat dishes in our box, but I made an exception for this, since one of the fish/veggie options didn’t sound good to me. Asian beef and noodles with sautéed mushrooms and dinosaur kale. It doesn’t look too appealing, but it was really good! We had it on Chris’s birthday, and he really liked it:

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Theo learned how to fry eggs this morning. He did a great job! I can’t seem to inspire the kid to clean up after himself, but he does like to cook. So I figure his future spouse/partner can at least thank me for getting him on the right track with one of the two tasks:

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The garage sales weren’t great, but Sam really liked this Chuggington book I got him for a dollar! Theo picked out a book on dog breeds and the Pirates of the Caribbean DVD:

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