Thursday, April 21, 2011

Funny little things

Today is my dad's 60th birthday so I had Isaac, who has been obsessed with birthdays lately, call him this morning.  The convo went a little something like this:
"Happy birthday, grandpa.  I'm a spider!"
"Thank you!  I thought you were Isaac."
"No, I'm a spider."


Yesterday we received a note from Isaac's speech therapist that he needed to work on saying the word "umbrella" as he was saying "u-banana".  I found this interesting since I swear he's said the word "umbrella" plenty of times in the past.  Still, I went through the sheet of pictures with him and he could say everything perfectly, but when we got to the umbrella he said "u-banana".  I told him that that it was not a banana, but an umbrella.  We looked up the ASL sign for umbrella and he took to signing "umbrella" immediately.  We drew pictures of umbrellas and said the word.  Isaac would say "um- it's not a banana".  We got out the big beach umbrella and tried to get him to tell us what it was.  He would name all of the colors and tell us what shape it was and what it was used for but got to "um" and stopped.  So either he is being stubborn or something is misfiring in that complex brain of his.  Later we were drawing shapes, and since Isaac knows all of the basic shapes we decided to move onto pentagons, octagons, and tetrahedrons.  Guess who can say tetrahedron, but not umbrella?  Yep, Isaac.  I have a feeling that the word umbrella will come back to him if tetrahedron was no problem.  I'm not losing any sleep over it.


Isaac is a routine monster.  He gets stuck on habits, certain ways of doing things, and conversation topics quite easily.  Our morning conversation for the past two weeks has gone like this:
"Mommy, have you seen daddy? He's not here."
"Where do you think daddy is?"
"He's working at the cyclotron, I think."
"Yep.  You're right."

Five minutes later...

"Mommy, have you seen daddy? He's not here."
"Where do you think daddy is?"
"He's working at the cyclotron, I think."
"Yep.  You're right.  You will see daddy later."

Endearing, if not predictable.

At night we always read books before bed.  Isaac has gotten so much into the routine of me reading to him that he will not let Andrew do it if I am home.  If I'm not home it's no problem, but if I am it takes a miracle for him to let Andrew do it.  Poor Andrew.  We just have a funny little kid. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Be the parent

I posted this article on my facebook page today.  The gist of the article is that parents need to be the parents and not let their daughters dress like tramps.  I loved it, because while I consider myself a very "to each their own" kind of person most of the time one thing that makes me rant it is the lack of parenting I see going on today.  Yes, I am the bitch at the playground who has been known to snidely remark to a ten year old that they are having poor manners and being rude when they trample toddlers while their mom is consumed in conversation with her just-as-guilty non-parenting friend.  Go ahead, judge me.  I doubt my kid will grow up to be a bully even if it means I make some enemies in the process.

But parenting is more than just saying no and giving the eyebrow-of-warning at the playground.  Sometimes being the parent means confrontation with other adults, teachers, and family members.  I am a little less comfortable with this part, but I know that it's a necessary evil when you are parenting a kid with special needs.  If I don't stick up for what I think is best for Isaac who will?  Still, I am not immune to caring what other adults- especially those in the special ed. field, think of me.  No one likes to be that mom, but sometimes it's unavoidable.  Today was one of those days.  My option was to feel sick to my stomach about something that happened at school or worry about other adults thinking I was crazy.  I guess they might think I'm being an over-parenting princess, but I happy to say that the email I wrote will help me sleep tonight and, more importantly, might help Isaac at school.

So my encouragement for today is to be the parent.  Say no.  Raise an eyebrow.  Write an email.  I don't know about you, but last time I checked there wasn't a do-over button for raising kids.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ordinary is the new extraordinary

I'm having a hard time keeping up with all the new things Isaac is doing and saying.  He definitely seems to be on a developmental upswing.  And while that might not be helpful for some of my readers on a practical level, my aim is to give those same readers hope.  I am happy to say that Isaac is doing so well lately that it's a challenge to find things to write about.  We have been functioning like an almost typical family of a 3.5 year old.  New this week was the introduction of hide and seek, and while he hides in the same two places every time- he gets the premise of the game and loves it.  He also cheats.  We give him til the count of ten to find one of his two usual hiding spots (our bed or his) and Isaac gives us til the count of three.  He also peeks if you don't close the door to the room he's counting from.  He's just plain too smart for his own good.

As you may know, we've been cooking and baking a lot lately.  Isaac seems to be enjoying the idea of having "special food" that is all his.  He'll say "mommy, this will make you sick.  Isaac eats it.  Ok?"  Our own words coming back to us.  Likewise, he is getting in the practice of asking if a certain food will make him sick before eating it- just to check.  Yes!  More self-monitoring with the food.  This helicopter mom is ecstatic.  He made gfcf pizza with Andrew today.  He could name the ingredients and kitchen utensils needed- and in the right order.  Of course, he calls the rolling pin a "steam roller", but that just adds to his oozing pre-school charm.  After they put the pizza in the oven Isaac said, "I have an idea.  Let's clean up!"  That suck-up, Caillou, might not be such a bad influence after all- sans the whiny voice.  In fact, I think watching Caillou might be what is behind Isaac's new obsession with bringing things to school to show Miss Minda every day.  Today he brought her the paintings we did yesterday.  He was so proud of himself that tonight he kept saying, "Miss Minda saw my pictures.  She hung them up!"  He also has been calling me Miss Mommy due to how many Misses he has in his life right now.  I kinda like it.

You know what else I like?  Being right.  I've had this theory for awhile that on the days I feed Isaac mostly protein for breakfast he comes home with a better report from school than on the days where I feed him an all carb breakfast.  In fact, I've noticed that Isaac does best on a high protein diet in general.  If you think it's just a coincidence and that I am not keeping track that closely, then you don't know me very well and you might want to read the rest of my blog posts to get a grasp on how observant (or obsessed) I really am.  So I decided to do another test of my theory today and send Isaac to school on a belly filled with scrambled eggs and coconut milk.  What came home but a reallllly good report sheet- including a check next to reciprocally playing with a classmate for the first time.  Of course, it was the beautiful Esha- his Esha- as he calls her that he played blocks with.  But here's the best part: he could tell me about it.  I asked him if he played blocks with Esha today and he said yes.  And then he said,  "Play blocks with Esha.  Kara, Xzavior, Rosendo knocked them down!"  He's now elaborating beyond the one word answers.  This is a big deal so excuse me while I get really geeked out about something that must seem very ordinary.

If there's one thing I've learned in the past few years, it's that ordinary is a blessing.  In fact, I'm thinking of coining the phrase "ordinary is the new extraordinary."  Spectrum parents pray for ordinary.  We plan, strive, and pay top dollar for ordinary.  I'm blessed to have friends and family who take joy in our ordinary moments too.  Tuesday night Isaac and I went to a function at church and at the end a friend of mine came up to me smiling.  She said that Isaac just said hi back to her for the first time.  I could tell that she was just as excited about it as I was.  She said he looked her right in the eye too.  He even took part in a brief conversation with my pastor.  She asked him questions and he nodded affirmatively while looking right at her.  Then he said, in his new found three year old attitudinal way, "Um, Margie, do you see my dad?"  Like the way my kid addresses the pastor? hahahaha  She didn't seem to mind.  People are noticing a change in Isaac and that lets me know that I'm really not making this up.  Life is becoming more ordinary.  And for that, I'm grateful.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The dentist and other things we put off

It's been two years, but I finally went to the dentist today for a check up and cleaning.  I think my last dental experience of finding out that I had 14 cavities and then having to get them filled made me a little shy.  This time was way less traumatic, thank God.  However, is there anything more awkward than someone else sticking their hands in your mouth while you mentally obsess about whether or not you accidentally licked their hand?  Is my tongue making obscene gestures without me knowing it?  What if my jaw gets tired and I end up biting her?  Uh-oh, now I might giggle and choke on all that extra spittle that's gathering in the back of my throat.  Ah, good times at the dentist!

In between all these awkward thoughts I managed to try to imagine Isaac at the dentist to gauge whether or not I think he's ready to go.  The short answer is: not yet.  The kid squirms and complains that I'm tickling him just when I try to get him dressed in the morning.  Every morning.  I can't imagine him cooperating for a dental visit quite yet.  Maybe when he's four.

Haircuts are another thing we put off with Isaac as long as we can get away with it.  We've only had one successful tear-free haircut in a history of many, many haircuts.  And that was because daddy went first.  It's not that Isaac is scared, it's that he hates the way it feels.  He hates all those little loose hairs poking at his skin when they land.  He always marches himself sobbing up to the tub after every haircut.  But it's definitely that time again so I need to plan my strategy.  I think we'll pretend to cut daddy's hair first, and then cover Isaac up as best I can to protect him from those pesky little hairs before trying to cut it as short, even, and quickly as possible.  The other HUGE factor is finding a day when his sensory sensitivity is low and his mood is good.  Today would not be a good choice.  Isaac had a rough morning at school.  Miss Minda said he kept asking for me after gym class and was just sad all day.  He was still sad when I picked him up, the wind bothered him, etc.  He couldn't tell me why he was sad when I questioned him.  I'm choosing to believe (and it could be true) that he just missed me.  A haircut today would mean a screaming, crying, torture session.  So we'll put it off a little longer.

For now we'll focus on getting through this gray day.  Isaac has already requested to make some pizza to which I plead ignorance and said he'll have to wait til daddy gets home.  Mommy will do cookies, but she's not ready for rolling out dough yet!  The word of the day is procrastinate, and that I can do.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Isaac's gfcf healthy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

1 packet of Eco Planet Original Hot Cereal (gf)
1/2 cup of Bob's Red Mill All Purpose GF Flour
1.5 tbsp Earth Balance Spread melted
2 full tablespoons of ground flax seed
1 generous shake of ground cinnamon
1 egg
1 super big squirt of agave nectar...or about 2 tablespoons for those who MUST HAVE measurements.
2 toddler handfuls of EnjoyLife gfcf chocolate chips...or 1/4 cup for the neurotics.

Preheat oven to 300
Mix all ingredients together.
Place on cookie sheet.
Bake for about 7 minutes- the longest 7 minutes of your life as your child asks if they are done yet and reminds you that he wants to eat a cookie and how much he likes cookies repeatedly while jumping up and down.
That's it! Makes about 9 small cookies and one happy three year old. 

If you've been following this blog, then you've probably noticed that I've been adding more of my non-precise gfcf recipes.  There are a couple reasons for this.  First, we've been trying to cook and bake with Isaac more often.  It's therapeutic for him.  Baking seems to instantly transport him from a grumpy, frustrated kid to a happy and talkative one.  I think it gives him a sense of being in control and being creative at the same time.  Who wouldn't like that?  Also, we're trying to give him the skills he'll need to carry this all-important diet into his adult life.  In addition, our circle of gfcf friends and relatives is growing.  My sister has a gluten allergy and was just diagnosed with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) which means she now has to give up dairy too.  I made sure to encourage her with this sensitive homemade card:
I'm sure she appreciated it. = )  And because I'm a self-deemed know-it-all, I thought I'd pass on some of our foodie tips to her and all of you.  I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as we do.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Isaac's GFCF Pizza

Ingredients you will need:
-Orgran  pizza and pastry multimix
-gfcf red pasta sauce of your choice
-Daiya Vegan Mozzerella Cheese Shreds
-Add any other toppings you might want.  Isaac likes to keep it simple with just cheese.
-A cute 3 year old to help you
-A spouse/s.o. that doesn't mind following directions and baking

Check your local grocery or health food store for the above ingredients.  If your store does not carry them check online.  Amazon carries both in bulk, but shop around on other sites to find the best deal.  You might not want 6 boxes of mix, and giant bags of dairy-free cheese.  If you do buy in bulk, or even if you don't, always keep Daiya Vegan Cheese in the freezer to make it last longer.

Follow the directions on the box of the pizza mix to make a pizza crust WITHOUT yeast (not needed and not good for spectrum kids).
Put a thin layer of tomato pasta sauce on top. Read ingredients to make sure it does not contain dairy or gluten. Ragu makes some good options.
Sprinkle on the Daiya Vegan Cheese and bake at the recommended temp and time on the pizza mix box.  I think we finally found the right crust, sauce, and cheese to make it taste as close to Guido's GFCF Pizza as possible.  This is the pizza place near us that makes really tasty and really pricey gfcf pizza.  Isaac's version is just as good and a fraction of the price.  Enjoy!

Kneading dough with daddy

Enjoying the end product