A full schedule

Our calendar is full.  And it is all Nik.  Are you ready?  He has preschool from 8:30 to 12:30 on Mondays & Wednesdays; ABA (adaptive behaviour analysis) 8:30 to 12:30 on Tues/Thurs/Fri; Speech Therapy from 2-2:45 Tues/Thurs; Occupational Therapy 4:30-5:30 Wed; Social Skills Playgroup 3:30-5 Tues (starting mid-Oct). 

We used to be part of a fun playgroup that met on Friday mornings, but that has gone by the wayside, due to all his therapies.  So I try to carve out planned playdates for him and his special little friends on Thursday afternoons after speech, and on the weekends.

It seems like a lot, but he really seems to be thriving.  He loves his speech teacher…runs up to her calling her name, and arms out for a big hug. 

He goes to every single session, no complaints, just a happy child.


Holding hands

Driving home from somewhere, I look back at the kids in the carseats.  They are watching a Little Einsteins episode, holding hands.  They break off for a little bit, and then he reaches out to her and she puts her little hand in his. 

Where is a camera when you need it?

The young turk.


My son loves his lattes.  He was introduced to coffee by my husband’s mother, who was very proud to convert yet another grandchild over.  I then let him try my vanilla latte from Starbucks…and a young starbuckian was born

So after every speech or occupational therapy session, it became our little ritual…we would go to Starbucks, and I would order a grande, percent, vanilla latte for me and a short, 120 decaf vanilla latte for him.  [the 120 is the temperature: warm, not steaming hot!]  He would walk out to the car drinking it, temporarily give it up for the ride home, and then pick it up again to drink it on the mat inside the front door of our house.

He gets very upset if his coffee moment is disrupted.

My young turk.

Toy du jour


Nik’s really into puzzles lately.  We started with the early childhood ones, wooden with pegs, when he was around 2.  It took him a while to figure out what we wanted from him.  We would hold all the pieces, then give them to him one at a time, as a reward for a sound or word.  Approximations counted.  He mastered those, then we moved on to the puzzles within a frame.

The ones he really clamors for these days are the free form puzzles. 


I bought him a set of 6 high quality paperboard puzzles, in varying levels of difficulty.  They start with a monkey in 4 pieces, and the most difficult one is a giraffe at 8 pieces.  The best part is, each puzzle comes with a little paperboard image of the finished piece, which I think is the highlight for Nik.  He searches for the “baby” and then puts the “mama” together.  We are working on “Big” and “Little” this week, so this puzzle set is great.

“I want the puzzles?”

“Okay.  You want to play with the puzzles.”

“Okay, mama.”

“Go get the box.”

[He runs to the cupboard, and pulls out the box.  I pretend to have a hard time opening it.  More conversation builders!]

“Oh, I am not able to open the box.  Ooof!”

“Box stuck.  It is hard, mama.”

“Very hard.  Want to help me?”

“Okay, mama.”

“Yes, please…”

“Yes, please.”

Parent participation play.  I love it.

Toilet training dead ahead!

I left the kids with a sitter and went to San Francisco for the day.  A doctor’s appt, nothing I want to discuss yet.  My husband relieved the sitter after lunch, and took the kids to the school where Nik gets speech therapy, twice a week.  He actually made it there with a minute to spare, which is immense, given he’s never been there before.  But I drew him a map.  Yes, I drew a map, with a legend and everything.  So how could he miss?!

I relieved him at 4, and he went off to a work meeting at a restaurant (how fun is that?).  He’s still out with his work buddies, and it is 9:30 right now. 

But the highlight of the day, and Pete doesn’t even know this yet: Nik wanted to pee in the toilet! 

Back story: we’ve never pressured him to toilet train.  Pete will let him watch while he’s going to the bathroom, and I think he watches while his little preschool buddies pee as well.  So I think he’s got a good idea.  But he’s never showed any interest before, and I didn’t want to start the ordeal (coz that is what it would be!) of toilet training with my semi-non-verbal son.

So I am getting the kids undressed for their bath.  Anju is trying to throw herself in headfirst while I am getting Nik’s clothes off.  So while I am wrestling with her, Nik is standing on the bathroom counter.  (He climbs onto the counter, I undress him, he gets to watch himself making faces…its all a big production.)  I keep calling to him to come down and get in the tub.  I finally turn around, and he is looking down at the counter.  I quickly look to see if it is wet, but it is dry. 

I ask him, “Do you want to pee?”


“Do you want to pee in the toilet?”


So I set up the step stool at the toilet, and he climbs up.  I open the lid, he holds his penis and aims. 

Nothing came out, but he certainly looked like he knew what he was doing!

We’ll try again when we wake up in the morning.

A good day.

Ready, set, and off we go!


The tortoise and the hare.

When I was young, this was one of my least favorite stories.  I hated reading about the tortoise and the hare, because the dashing, beautiful hare never won.  He was faster, he was (in my young opinion!) more intelligent, and in general, deserved to win.  But noooo, the little tortoise always came up from behind, and while my boy hare was nibbling on a stalk of hay, checking out the clouds, tortoise plodded over the finish line.

I have a son on the autism spectrum.  He is 3.  He has a few words, a gut-wrenchingly beautiful smile, sly brown eyes, and a generous personality.  He loves his 1 yr old sister totally…shares toys and snacks and joy with her.  She is his “sweetie pie,” his “sissy,” his “baby sissy.” 

He is my tortoise. 

The story feels very different to me this time around.  The hare, he’s okay, but he doesn’t need anyone rooting for him, you know?  He can take care of himself, and live to win another race in some other story.  But my little tortoise?  He needs me.  And he needs his sister and dad and anyone else who is able and willing to be a part of our life.  And there are many out there…I just have to get up the courage to let them in, and let them support me.

And knowing how the story goes, my little guy will cross the finish line. 

And I will bring you along on the journey.