As I have mentioned (frequently), Nik is an extremely picky eater.

This morning, I made scrambled eggs and toast for myself and Anju, and pancakes for Nik.  The pancakes came first because I was just defrosting a couple from a batch I made earlier in the week.  Of course, Anju had to have a pancake to hold her over until the eggs were ready.

I usually season the eggs with salt and pepper at the table (because Pete takes pepper not salt, I take LOTS of salt and a little pepper, Anju takes a little salt and little pepper…you get the idea).  Nik watched as I seasoned our eggs.  Then asked:”I want pepper, mom!”

me: “I can’t put pepper on your pancakes Nik.  It won’t taste very good.”

Nik: (after thinking for a bit) “I want pepper on eggs, mom”

Me: (rushing to get a plate and pile some eggs on it) “Would you like some eggs with pepper too?”

Nik: “Yes, mom.”

Then, after taking a bite of the eggs, “Mmmmm.  These are YUMMY, mom!  I LIKE eggs with pepper!”

I like that he likes eggs with pepper too!



So the other day, Pete and I were busy doing something or the other, me upstairs, him outside, and Anju was napping.  Nik was playing by himself downstairs. 

I heard the stool getting pushed around, so I decided to make my way downstairs.  Just in case.  And saw this:

Nik standing on the stool by the counter where I keep the set of knives.  A nectarine in his hand.  A knife in his other hand, sawing away at the nectarine.

I slowly approached him and nonchalantly asked what he was doing (AAAARGH!).

Nik: “I cutting, mom!”

I have to find somewhere else to put those darn knives. 

Some place high.

A mulligan

A mulligan is a golf term for a do-over.  I learned that from my husband who is a golf nut.  From a family of golf nuts.  Apparently, if you really eff up a tee shot (note the on-point golf lingo there!), some golfers will ask for and get a second chance to tee off. 

We don’t get mulligans in life though, do we?  There really is no way that I can ever know if the decisions I make for my son on a daily basis are the best ones.  I constantly second-guess myself: what if I did something differently.  What would the outcome have been then. 

Did the cod-liver oil I gave him from the time he was 3 until a few months ago really help him?  I thought I saw an immediate improvement, but was that just wishful thinking?  What about those multi-vitamins?

What about the treatments I am NOT giving him?  Like the gfcf diets?  The super nuthera vitamins?  Every therapy that other child on the spectrum is getting?  Is he worse off because I am too lazy to pursue the completely preservative-free/additive-free diet?

I’ll never know, will I? 

And that keeps me up at night. 

Because with the little successes (huge successes in my book), come the nagging thoughts of what-ifs.

And that is being a parent, isn’t it?  Making a decision for your child, the best you can, and then praying that it is the right one.

Because you can never get a mulligan and see what the other million paths lead to.

Getting ready

Why is it that I put off home improvement projects until right before we have visitors from out-of-town?  Masochism anyone? 

Because apparently it is not enough that I have Nik’s party to plan.  I also have to make life harder for myself by trying to get the kids’ bathroom painted.  And the guest bathroom painted.

By myself. 

With two little ones running around trying to get in on the action.

What’s the progress, you ask? 

Right now, one wall in the kids’ bathroom is a Benjamin Moore’s Poolside.  Partially.  Because I ran out of time. 

Hopefully I will run into time again soon.

High 5!

One of the problems (okay, the BIG problem!) I had with ABA was their methods of training.  And given that their methods of training is what you sign up for, it was inevitable that we would part ways.  And we did, at the end of March

One big issue was the way they approached toilet training.  Very lock-step (like everything else) and forced.  They would set a timer and run him into the bathroom every 15 minutes, the whole time they were here.  Even when he was in the middle of something fun.  It was all very pavlovian, but Nik being Nik, he dug in his heels and made their lives hell (he is my son after all).  Soon, he was refusing to do anything they wanted, let alone going to the toilet.   Then he started tantruming the minute he saw them come in the front door.  And who could blame him?  One of the tutors quit because she couldn’t handle his “behaviors” and “non-compliance” (their stupid terminology is another thing I don’t miss!). 

So when I finally put an end to the madness, Nik’s preschool teacher and his therapists all saw an immediate improvement in his demeanor.  I felt better about stopping a highly-sought-after therapy, but still felt a little guilty.  What if I had made the wrong decision?  I also stopped all attempts to toilet train him because I felt he needed a break from the pressure.  I told Pete that I would start up again in a couple months.

The last couple of weeks, I was noticing a lot more self-awareness in Nik.  On Friday, he showed interest in underwear and I told him that big people wear underwear, and babies wear diapers.  He said: “I’m a big boy.” 
And I said, ” Do you want to wear underwear?”
Nik: “Yes!”

And it was that easy.

I started toilet-training Nik on Saturday (the next morning).  Wanted to take advantage of the 3 day weekend, especially with his packed schedule.  He had two accidents, and three successes.  On Sunday, he had one accident and successes all day long.  On Monday, he had one poop accident, but that was after being out all day, and not really being comfortable in a strange bathroom.

Today, he had no accidents, and pooped in the toilet for the first time. 

I know he will regress, as everyone has been so quick to tell me.  But I know that he can do it, and that he knows he can. 

And the best part?

He did it on his on schedule, when he was ready.

Charts and graphs

I saw this article today and boy, did it hit home. 

When Nik was around 2 yrs old, his pediatrican gave him a “failure to thrive” diagnosis.  Nik was physically well below his peers in size and weight.  This, combined with his PDD-NOS diagnosis which we had also recently received, led us to fear the worst.  I went into a deep depression, not helped by the fact that I had just given birth to Anju.  My ob finally put me on Zoloft, to help get me through the days.

Intellectually, I knew that Nik was okay.  I was a scrawny kid, and Pete was a 98 pound weakling in high school!  I even told the pediatrician about this, and while he agreed that genetics was a factor, he wouldn’t factor that in.  So he put Nik through this battery of tests requiring blood work, urine analysis, etc.  It was god-awful, because Nik was so traumatized, and was a screaming, thrashing, uncooperative mess.  And after all that, the tests came back with nothing conclusive.  So then we had to see a developmental pediatrician.  I quietly didn’t pursue that route because I was already getting him looked at for the PDD-NOS diagnosis, and frankly, I didn’t put much weight (ha!) into the pediatrician’s diagnosis. 


But looking back, I am glad.  Because, while Nik is still underweight (he only weighs 31 lbs, fully dressed), he is of average height for an almost-4 year old.  The latter is my humble opinion, gathered by looking at his peers. 

I remember Pete’s mom telling me of her friends who put their son (Pete’s age) on growth hormones because he was so scrawny.  And how she refused to do that for Pete.  And I am glad she told me.  Because I was able to stand firm when the pediatrician suggested that for Nik.

Sometimes, doctors need to look beyond the charts and graphs.  They need to look at the actual child in front of them.  And the parents. 

And use their common sense.


We were at playgroup this morning.  The host’s daughter has several dolls, all identical, in various stages of disrepair, all called Emma.  The Emma dolls.

Nik was fascinated by them, and almost came to fistfights over one of them.  Finally, he settled on one of the lesser ones, but was still not completely happy.
We went about our day, and over dinner, I asked him my usual question of “Did you have a good day today?”

Nik: “I had a fight at X’s at the baby!”

Me: “Did you have fun at X’s?”

Nik: “I had a fight at the baby!”

Me: “Do you want a baby too?”

Nik: “Yes please!”

So I went into the guest room where I had a Corolle Tidoo doll that I had bought for Anju for Christmas, but didn’t give her because I thought she was then too young for it.  When he saw it, his face lit up, and he waited impatiently for me to remove all the hundreds of fasteners.  When I gave it to him, he held it carefully, picked up its included rubber ducky and walked over to his little chair and sat down holding his baby.
Then he said, “Baby is stinky, mom!  We need to change its diaper.”
Which we did.  Sort of.

Later on, he held the baby over the side of the couch, made gagging sounds, and said:”Baby is throwing up mom!” 
Glad to know he remembers our shared ordeal from the weekend!

Right now, as I am typing this, he is lying on the floor behind me, playing with the baby. 

Who is now Super Baby. 

With curiously Buzz-like sound effects.



Just so happy that Indiana Jones is back in town.  Or Eon Jones as Nik would call him.  It’s gotten so that he just has to hear a snippet of the soundtrack from the trailers and he’s jumping up and down, shouting “Eon Jones, Eon JONES, mom!”

We may take him to see it this weekend.

On the birthday front, I put together and mailed out 14 message-in-a-bottle invitations to Nik’s “Pirate Ship” birthday party in a few weeks.  Received a couple of rsvps from moms recounting just how thrilled their kids were to get mail that was 1) addressed to them, and 2) contained a secret message in a bottle.  With sand.  That they then proceeded to shake out around the room.  [Sorry!]

I’ve been putting together my master list for the big day.  What…don’t you have a multi-tabbed excel spreadsheet to keep track of your kids’ birthday party?!

I have tabs for Budget (ha!), guests (invitees, attending or not, how may siblings, parents attending), favors (with columns going across for what goes in each favor bag, summed at the bottom by # of items and cost per bag).  And so on. 

Yes.  I am an accountant. 

Not proud of it. 

But this is how I keep the chaos at bay.