Monday, June 30, 2008

Happy birthday, Caden!

How did this happen? Last night I put to bed a 2 year old and voila! Today I found a 3 year old in his bed. Happy birthday to my amazing little man. He is so loved.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Is there something on my head?

I had to perform an emergency trainectomy to remove a foreign locomotive object from my son's head this morning. Let this be a lesson: don't put a train on your head while it is in operation. The wheels will spin your hair into a tumbleweed that only scissors can remove, giving you a hatchet job of a haircut four days before your birthday party.

Monday, June 23, 2008

From rock star to cover boy

Yep, that's our handsome Caden and his lucky momma donning fireman's helmets while sitting inside a firetruck. This photo was on the cover of a local paper. Caden HATES wearing hats but loved this helmet for some reason. He also loved the firetruck. The photographer asked us to step down to get our names and info but Caden wasn't having it. I told the firemen that it looked like they were gonna have to raise him at the firehouse since he wasn't budging and we'd come visit every Thursday.

I took Caden to a Sheetz after the paper came out to buy our copy. He got SO excited when he recognized himself, pointing and clapping, yelling at other customers to look, like "Hey! Did you see this? I'm on this newspaper. That's crazy!" He did manage to draw a small crowd around us to see what was so fantastic in today's paper. That's my rock star.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008

Cheerio, crib!

BOOM! Then that eerie silence that parents dread. I had just put Caden down for a nap in his crib and was talking to The Tank in the living room before the stomach-churning boom rocked the floors. I ran down the hallway into Caden's bedroom and found him on his hands and knees on the hardwood floor, trying to get up but paralyzed by a silent scream. Then he reached up to me and the scream found the vocal cords. Oh the look on his face was awful! I hugged and hugged him, thankful that there was no bleeding. He has never even thrown a leg over the side of his crib much less tried to escape from it. Still, I was overwhelmed with guilt for not foreseeing this accident. I held Caden to me until he calmed down and was able to fall back to sleep - on his new toddler bed.

As soon as naptime was over, the crib came down. No time for goodbyes, no sentimentality. Just remove the toddler catapulter from the room, please. My sweet boy had a very swollen eye and a knot on his forehead. Clearly he had fallen on his head. The next couple days he developed quite the shiner. I was embarrassed to take Caden out in public with such evidence of my maternal inadequacies on his beautiful face. The Tank mentioned one night that he wanted to visit his parents with Caden and I asked "Are you crazy? Your mother can't see him looking like that!!!" And here is one of those confounding differences between men and women. The Tank was proud of Caden's "badge of courage". To him, it showed that Caden was smart and strong enough to escape. High five! But in my mind, no nearly-3-year-old should have a black eye. Here he is 3 days out, on the mend:

And now that it's behind us, as pathetic as it sounds, I miss the crib. I have visited its remains piled up in the basement. Such solid proof that my boy was once my baby, dismantled with no thanks or glory. I bid you adieu, crib of Caden.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

On the prenatal diagnosis front

I sure wish I'd had this much positive information and support when we received Caden's prenatal diagnosis. This is a great pamphlet. I like that it was kept short for brains that may already be overwhelmed but then it included great links to get additional information at a later time. Gifts even got a nod on page 14! There is an even shorter pamphlet to guide medical professionals on how to deliver the diagnosis. I hope that this literature will actually be utilized. Bravo to the design and publishing firm, Canister.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Caden hits the road

The Tank and I took Caden on a mini-vacation to Baltimore last week. In the past, traveling with Caden has been a nightmare. He has such a hard time sleeping in strange places, adjusting to new environments and particularly new noises, and with his limited diet I have to pack up our kitchen to make sure he doesn't starve. Imagine our surprise that we had a great time!!! We visited the National Aquarium, Port Discovery, Little Italy, Inner Harbor and the Maryland Zoo. Caden slept in a daybed with no problem whatsoever. We were able to eat out at nice restaurants though I still had to bring in food for Caden. I brought a bag of toys to entertain him in the b&b room but we never even opened it. As soon as we got dressed in the mornings, Caden pointed to the door and signed "go". He was ready to explore! Maybe we'll have to get brave and consider something crazy like a beach vacation later this summer.
Excited to see the dolphin show from below the tank

He loved brushing the goats in the petting area of the zoo - they have an amazing Children's Zoo!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Gently used honey bear for sale

By "gently used" I mean approximately two minutes of use. All I've heard about these bears is how great they are for learning to use a straw. Since teaching Caden to use a straw was a goal of mine for the summertime, I ordered one from the Talk Tools website last week. I decided to start Monday. I filled it with his favorite juice (it's a green concoction of spinach, broccoli, barley and other kid-deterrent ingredients sweetened with pineapple and kiwi juice - it's thick and green and even smells kinda yucky but Caden loves it) and at first he didn't want anything to do with the bear. He pushed it away several times and finally I had to bribe him with promises of watching his favorite Wiggles DVD if he would just put it in his mouth. I squeezed the body of the bear and juice flowed up the straw and into Caden's mouth. He didn't hate it but he was less than thrilled about the surprise liquid. I tried a few more times but then gave it a rest as he was getting irritated with me. I brought it out again at dinnertime and I thought he was already pushing it away. No, Caden was pushing me away. He took the bear from me, pursed his little lips around the straw and Eureka!!!! He was doing it! He was drinking from a straw all on his own just like that! We used it again at snack time yesterday with equal success. They weren't kidding about this bear idea. Immediate results after a history of thrown cups and dribbling juice. That was the best investment of $7.99 I've ever made!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

XOX from Caden

"eh", "oh", "eh"....I am at the playground with Caden but I am also talking on my cell phone (bad mommy!) so at first these sounds don't fully register. I watch Caden spin the boxes of a large wooden tic-tac-toe board. He babbles away, "eh", "eh", "oh" and finally my multi-tasking brain recognizes Caden's sounds: he knows his letters!!!!! He is saying "x" and "o" as he spins them around on the game board. My suspicions are confirmed - my boy is a genius! We have been using the Love and Learning series with Caden for about a year now so I knew he could sight read over 30 words. I didn't realize he was also catching on to the alphabet. This kid finds new ways to blow me away every day of his life.

At his transition evaluation last month, I mentioned that Caden was sight reading and one of the therapists said "Yeah, we noticed on his last EI review that he could read 30 words but we thought it must be a mistake." That was a punch in the gut. Even the therapists, many that I would also call miracle workers, even they wanted to overlook his abilities. We have worked so hard on this and Caden LOVES reading. He knows when he gets the words right and gets such a proud look on his face. Sometimes he even gives himself a congratulatory pat on the chest. Because the Love and Learning books are such favorites of his, I usually have a couple tucked away in the diaper bag. I almost always use them to calm Caden during doctor visits. He begins and ends each day by reading books and runs to the door with his backpack when I ask if he wants to go to the library. I know it doesn't fit into the stereotype of child with mental retardation. But if these therapists didn't want to believe it, who else will give Caden a chance? Yes his IEP will include some basics like self-feeding skills and learning to jump. But it will also include building on his reading skills because nobody puts Caden in the corner! Not even Mommy on the cell phone.