Thursday, September 30, 2010

The End

Making the Play, originally uploaded by cheryl.\

It was a good season. Connor had a great time, and he, along with the other boys, actually improved over the last two months. Fall t-ball was a good choice.

Yesterday was his final game of the season. He had lots of fans last night. Grammy and Pappy came out to cheer him on. Grandma and Grandpa came up from the lake to see him in his last game and to take us out to dinner afterwards (along with Uncle Brian and cousins Austin and Kyndal who met us at the restaurant).

Of course, now Connor is asking us how long until Spring.

You know, when baseball starts again.

Days he understands. Weeks he sort of gets. Months are a bit less clear. We tried explaining it several times, but I still don't think he gets how long he's going to have to wait. Not even saying after Halloween, after his birthday, after Christmas, after brothers' birthday, after Daddy's birthday and even after Buster's birthday - when it's cold outside! Time is not that clear to him yet.

Let's just say Spring is a really, really long time away right now. And he's not happy about it.

In the short term though, it will give him a chance to be a kid again. It won't be rushing home from school to try to squeeze in homework and dinner before or after practice or games. Or worrying about him falling asleep and not wanting to wake back up. He can maybe have a play date or two with friends. Or enjoy some back yard fun. Or even a visit to the park that isn't rushed into practice or game time.

It was fun, but we're all ready for the break. The twins, especially. Have they mentioned how much they hate and despise baseball? Because they do. You have to go past the park - past the swings and slide that call to them and make them scream at you when you do, in fact, go past - they have to stay contained in the stroller, and they are unimpressed with watching the game. All the drinks and snacks and suckers you can possibly offer are not enough to make them enjoy it. Not in the least.

They would have done a happy dance after yesterday's final game if they only knew. That, of course, and if we actually let them back out of the stroller.


It sucks.

As in, really, really sucks.

Just ask Connor. Or us, too, for that matter. Because we're the ones who have to help him. And he doesn't like it. Not one little bit.

Every week he gets five new sight words to learn. The goal is to help them obtain pre-reading skills - recognizing single words in print so that they can start to learn words in a sentence. Right now we have about forty sight words in his little storage box. He knows about 10 off the top of his head. He can sound out about 10 more with help. And the other 20 he just looks up at you and smiles. You know, hoping you will just tell him what it is and he can be done.

This part takes the longest. It can sometimes ruin the whole session, because if he doesn't cooperate, we stop where we are and start all over again. With all 40 words. Truth be told, the kid would rather be put in bed at 5 o'clock in the afternoon that finish them.

Next is a poem each week that you read together and do little activities with - things like circling big and small letters, counting words in sentences and finding the shortest or longest sentence. There's also activities with rhyming words or words that have similar "hunks and chunks" to get them to start recognizing that once they learn parts of certain words, it will open up a whole bunch of other words.

Last is reading. They track how many minutes you read with them each night, and do some kind of total at the end of the semester or the year. This is the hardest part, because we usually do story time right before bed. And with the whole I'd rather go to bed than do homework mindset, there are a lot of nights where he goes to bed with no story. We have to fit it in some other time.

I've actually started beginning our homework sessions with a book - his choice - because it seems to ease him into it a little bit better. Next we do the poem. And then we end with sight words. This is just opposite of the homework list that comes home every week. But it seems to help for Connor. At least we're finishing two out of three if he gives up on us during the sight words.

Homework takes anywhere from 30 minutes on a good day (very rare) to an hour (much more likely, when you're fighting with him for every word or activity).

Connor likes school. He's actually pretty bright. But he's picked up something from his little brothers. He only tries when it's something that he likes to do. Apparently with ALL of my children, it's about motivation. Give him an activity he likes, Connor is all for it. Give him sight words ... well, he'd rather just go to bed, thanks.

Sigh, good times. And we can't wait for next year. Homework for three boys, two in kindergarten and one in first grade.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Boy & His Balloon

"There He Is!", originally uploaded by cheryl.

One of the things you will notice about kids with autism is that much of their life is about love and hate. There is no middle ground. Something is either good or bad. It can occasionally be tolerated, even if it's bad, but things will never just be okay. It will simply be something bad that has to be tolerated until they can get to something good. Trust me on this, I know.

My twins are no different. They are persistent when they want something. They are compulsive in the way they play with certain toys, ALWAYS doing it the same way. They are obsessive about things they like.

Take Xander, he LOVES balloons. The highlight of his weekend with Daddy was this helium-filled yellow balloon in this photo. It stayed with him all afternoon. If someone dared to touch it, he screamed bloody murder. It was HIS balloon. All his.

He walked around with it all day. He would let it float up, dance a minute, then pull it back down with a big giggle. He would hold onto it while he watched television. He would take it into his room when he played on his bed. He would let it float up beside him while he climbed on the desk to play computer games. It was always within reach.

And everywhere he went that day, he would point up to the balloon and say "There He Is!" and want you to say it back to him.

It's what we do with balloons. Whether it's one just blown up at home with air to bounce around, whether it's a helium-filled one like this one tied to a string, or whether it's one he sees in a store or even in a book.

Have you read Goodnight Moon lately? You know, that red balloon. We can't make it through any page that doesn't have that balloon. Because once Xander sees the balloon isn't on the page, he's scrambling to turn to the next page that has the balloon. And guess what he tells you.

"There he is!" And he wants you to say it right back.

Because that means all is right in the world, as long as that balloon is there and someone says "There he is!"

Balloons are definitely one of the good things, at least as far as Xander is concerned.

Without Words

Shoes = Outside, originally uploaded by cheryl.

People often ask me how I know what my twins want with their language delay.

One of our twins has words. Xander actually has a lot of words, especially compared to even a year ago, when he had only a handful of words you could understand. His communication is much more verbal than it once was, and he uses his words consistently and appropriately most of the time these days. His words still come in short sentences, but they are there and they are functional.

Sawyer, on the other hand, is mostly non-verbal. We hear more sounds and an occasional word mixed into his vocalizations, but it's not consistent. The words we often hear are appropriate, a random identification or repetition of something that he sees or something that has just been said to him. But it's infrequent at best. Words are not part of his communication just yet.

With Sawyer, it's still gestures and actions. Leading you by the hand to something he wants. Like the pantry for a snack, or the refrigerator for some juice. To the cabinet where the DVDs are if he wants to watch a movie. His communication is very functional at this point, just not verbal.

One of his more recent actions always makes me smile. When he wants to go outside, he usually goes to a door. But that wasn't getting the response he liked, at least not often enough. Now he takes it one step further. He goes to the bench where we keep all the boys' shoes stored, pulls out his red Crocs, and puts them on all by himself. And then he goes to the door. And the look on his face is priceless. It's as though he's saying, look, surely you can't be so dense as to miss both of these clues. Shoes plus door equals outside. Like right now.

It's cute. And he usually gets his way. Though last night he didn't try it until about 8 o'clock in the evening, which is kind of bed time. So he didn't get his way.

And to punish us, he took up his favorite past time of late. He hides himself behind the curtains (in that tight space between the window and the curtain where only his feet show through at the bottom), then backs all the way out until the curtain starts to fall, then dances up and down as it gently floats back in place. He can do it over and over and over again, for what seems like hours if you will let him. Tight space, check. Motion, check. Light and shadows across the floor, check. It's all good, he says.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Not Well, Again

This time it's the other twin.

It never fails, especially this time of year. It's like the boys play musical sickness. One will be sick for a week or so, and then the next a week later, and the next a week after that. This time that probably isn't the case, as Xander had an ear infection and I don't think those are contagious.

This time Sawyer is the one down for the count. He started not feeling well last Friday, when the twins were already out of school for teacher work days. Low-grade fever, lack of motion or energy, lack of vocalizations. He didn't feel well again on Saturday, passing on the fun activities of Saturday (see below). Sunday he wasn't completely himself, but the fever was gone and he was eating and drinking again. It's like a phantom illness that comes and goes. And it's really annoying.

This morning he seemed fine. He was eating, drinking and playing as usual in the sun room. When I pulled out the twins' backpacks and said time for school, he came running. He climbed willingly into Daddy's truck (I was trying to catch up on a freelance work project) and off they went.

The phone call came just after lunch. Seems he had fallen asleep about 10 minutes after he got there, slept until noon, and then passed on lunch. Lunch that included popcorn chicken and rolls - his favorite school lunch ever. Yeah, that's when they knew he wasn't feeling well. The fever that had been gone since Saturday was also back.

Fun times.

Weekend Warriors

Another weekend has come and gone.

Mommy worked nights and slept days, and was very happy when Sunday afternoon rolled around.

Daddy and the boys kept themselves busy. On Saturday, Daddy took the twins to a friend's family-friendly picnic and political event. The friend is running for local magistrate, and organized a park party that included snacks, drinks and lots of inflatables at a local park. Xander had a blast, bouncing and sliding to his heart's content. Sawyer thought once about sliding, but changed his mind, climbed back down and into Daddy's arms, where he stayed the rest of the day. He just wasn't feeling well.

Connor missed the park party, but don't worry, he was having an adventure of his own. He got an invitation to spend the weekend with Grammy and Pappy. He's always ready for an adventure like that, one that includes a lot of much-needed one-on-one time for the big boy. Daddy and brothers dropped him off at their house early Saturday before they went to the park party, and he had his own adventure.

The first stop for Connor was a trip to see Aunt Leigh (Connor's great aunt) and her cake club friends. They are making the official (and really, really large) cake for a major international sporting event in our part of the world. It's a once in a lifetime kind of thing, though I'm sure Connor didn't really see it that way. Aunt Leigh makes us cakes all the time, just not really, really big ones like that.

Their next stop was to see another branch of the family. Our distant cousins (the ones Connor played with recently at the family reunion and the ones who go to his elementary school) own and operate a family farm on the edge of town, with their specialty being pumpkins in the fall. Connor was excited to go to cousin J and P's house, even though it turned out they weren't home just then. Connor still got to see their dad, and also pick our four different pumpkins to bring home - one big one for Mommy and Daddy, one medium one (a white one) for Connor, and two little ones for Sawyer and Xander.

The end of the night was spent entertaining the guests Grammy and Pappy had invited over to watch the major sporting event. There was food and family and friends and fun. There was also popcorn and Pepsi, or so I'm told.

Sunday was a relatively laid back day for Connor. Grammy had to go in to work, but Connor and Pappy and Cousin Louie (the bulldog) ventured over to the farm behind Grammy and Pappy's house. Connor and Louie spent the morning chasing after rabbits. Louie was just a little faster and came much closer to actually catching them, but Connor had fun anyway!

Sunday afternoon Connor came home in time for his last official t-ball practice of the fall ball season. He has one more clinic tomorrow night and then his final game is on Wednesday.

Sunday night, Uncle Brian stopped over for a visit. Connor was excited the minute he pulled into the drive - a new play buddy had arrived. He pulled him into his room for some Star Wars action figures, then some Micro Machine fun. They even squeezed in a little homework thanks to Uncle Brian. We grilled steaks, watched football, and enjoyed a fun evening in with family!

And that was the weekend that was ...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Winding Down

Good Game, Guys!, originally uploaded by cheryl.

Last night's game wrapped up baseball for this week, and now Connor just has one week of fall t-ball left to play. I think he will be both happy and sad. He still likes playing of course, but right now it's just one more thing on top of so many others for him to fit into his very busy days.

School is hard, it starts too early and has more work than he's used to doing. Between school and work schedules, he hasn't gotten to see his friends very much lately. There just hasn't been time. Any evening or weekend we might have been able to set something up, there's either baseball practice or a game or homework to do!

Next spring he'll have to make a decision - does he want to play again? The twins are begging him to say no, if you're wondering, because they still HATE the ball field. Drinks, snacks, and suckers are not enough to make them happy. But it will be up to Connor. Baseball? Another sport or activity? We probably can't manage more than one thing at a time, but the decision will be his to make.

For now, he has three more days left. Practice on Sunday afternoon. Clinic on Tuesday evening. And his final t-ball game on Wednesday night. It's been an adventure, and I think he's had a good time. Go BlueJays!

Open House

This week has been school open house week.

On Tuesday night, we opted out of Connor's baseball clinic (multi-team practice session) to go to his open house. Connor and I went while Daddy stayed home with the twins. It was a chance for Connor to show me around his classroom, including where his desk is and where he puts his things. He also showed me some of his school work hanging up on the walls. We talked with his teacher about how things were going. It was a chance to see where he spends his days.

After that, we did the tour again, this time with him leading the way to all of his favorite places. We went to the gym twice, so I'm guessing that rates pretty high with him. He would have gone to the music room four or five times, but I just couldn't take all the noise. All the instruments were out and all the kids were experimenting, meaning it was a big jumble of really loud sounds streaming from that room the whole night.

He had fun. We saw a few of his friends, both in his class and the ones from preschool last year who are also at his school (though unfortunately not in his class). He liked the one-on-one time, even if he was disappointed that we took take-out dinner home for everyone instead of just eating out. It was a good time.

Today the twins and I went to their open house. It's during the day, because today and tomorrow are staff work days for the Early Start program (they generally have more days off from school than the older kids).

The twins ran true to form when it was time to leave. When I mentioned going to school, Sawyer came running. He LOVES to go to school. Xander said a very emphatic "No!" and refused to move. He is not such a fan of school, at least not of actually getting there. I think he likes it once he's there, but he doesn't like to stop playing at home in order to go. Or sit in the car line. You know, little things like that.

Once inside, we stopped in Sawyer's classroom first. Both boys went right in and made themselves at home, picking out a center activity to play with. Xander entertained us with counting the numbers on the calendar and putting together an alphabet magnet puzzle. Sawyer found his sorting bears, one of his favorites. His teachers told us how well he's doing in school this year. Sawyer is even impressing the outside people who are coming in as part of the autism grant program that both boys are participating with this year. He's picking up new activities and schedules with incredible speed and ease. They say his ability to adapt is quicker than they have ever seen.

Next we moved down to Xander's classroom. It was struggle to get Xander out, but Mrs. R (Sawyer's teacher) pulled out some bubbles to keep his mind off the toys he was having to leave in her room, and he just started walking down to his classroom. We left Sawyer behind to play and Xander and I visited with his teachers. He is also doing well. They are still having some transition issues with him, mostly in having to give up the computer (his preferred activity), but he is doing better. They have also discovered that sometimes art can trump his preference for computer, telling us about a day when he actually went to paint before he even thought about the computers. He uses a picture schedule, too, but not with the ease that Sawyer does. He's much more interested in arranging things to an order he likes rather than following the order being set for him. Sometimes he's so obsessed with the computer icon that he cannot see anything else, even if computer is number two or three on his list. But he's getting there. Slowly but surely, he's getting there.

It's fun to go inside, to see where the boys are spending their days and find out how they're doing. Sometimes it's hard to see them all side by side, to see where they are and where they are not. In just another year, the twins are going to be in a classroom like Connor's, with so many more expectations and challenges. I try not to look too far ahead, to take it one step at a time and one day at a time. They will get there, too, in their own way and their own time. I just hate that it every single step is so much harder for them, requires so much more effort to accomplish.

But that's something for another day. Today we will enjoy the fact that they are making progress, that they are happy and content in a place that is familiar and manageable for them, that each one is doing well where they are right now.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ouchies & Other Things

Today several things happened that made us stop and think. No one event has been particularly bad, at least in terms of the actual outcome, but any one of them could have been so much worse.

The first two things happened simultaneously. We were doing some routine home maintenance today - nothing out of the ordinary in an older home. The original water heater was showing some age and had been leaking a little the last few weeks. We didn't really think much of it. It was a slow leak, and we could keep buckets under it until Josh's plumbing contractors had time to come out and switch it out.

They showed up bright and early this morning. And found a major problem that could have been much, much worse.

That slow water leak was apparently right over one of the gas lines in the crawl space. And though we had been containing the water leak in the weeks since we'd first noticed it, water had still already seeped down. It was causing one of the gas line connections to rust and corrode, and gas was slowly leaking out of the line and into the crawl space, where it was silently building up. When they went underneath the house today to work on the water heater lines, there was a lot of natural gas already inside. Now imagine when it starts to turn cold (you know, a few weeks from now) and when the gas furnace, located in that very same crawl space, is lit for the first time. It could have taken the whole house with it. Scary.

Part of me thinks, see, that's what happens you move into an old house. And maybe that's the case. But it could just have easily been the same problem in a new house. Questionable workmanship by a contractor or deficient craftsmanship in today's mass-produced construction products could just have easily allowed for that same gas line leak. A connection not properly secured or a bad connector or defective pipe could have done it. Scary regardless.

That was event one, catching a major problem before it turned into a major disaster. Event two happened while the contractors were here. By necessity, the garage door was open - the water heater is located in the garage. In addition, the door between the house and the garage was unlocked for quite some time this morning - for contractor access to the breaker panel in the laundry room.

And that never happens at our house, not with three little boys and a big dog running around. Do you see where this is going yet?

It took Sawyer 30 seconds to escape. Literally, in the time it took for me to take his brother to the bathroom, he was gone. We were making our last minute potty break before it was time to go to school. I came out with Xander and knew the house was too quiet. I immediately went to the garage door, which was standing open. Now I wasn't too concerned, as there were two contractors (who we know well) in the garage and Josh was out there in the yard with them. But Sawyer wasn't.

He was two houses down, standing in a neighbor's driveway. Scary.

So if you ever come to our house and wonder why there are so many locks, now you know. There are storm doors with key locks on both the front and the back door. There is a lock, a deadbolt and a chain on the sunroom door to the fenced back yard. There is a double-key deadbolt on the door between the house and the garage.

Some people may think that's extreme. But I don't. We know better, and still, all it took was 30 seconds for one of them to sneak away. One of them who can't talk, who can't point someone in the direction of home and who could very easily have wandered into the street without thinking anything of it.

Yeah, we lock the house. All the time. And next time, the contractor's will just get a key to keep for the duration.

If those two things were not enough for one day, we also received a call from Connor's school this afternoon. Seems there had been a little accident in the boys bathroom this morning. A few of the boys were playing around, and somehow Connor ended up getting a finger mashed in the door. He cried when it happened, but settled down after they got a band-aid on him (like any kid, he LOVES band-aids and thinks he needs one for every single ouchie, whether there's blood or not).

Today, he was in luck. There was blood. It's a rather nasty looking cut that's a little blue and purple, with swelling to go with it. He complained later in the day again, but probably was just after a new band-aid once he picked at the other one and it started to fall off. The school staff member who called said that seemed to calm him back down and he didn't seem to be bothered by it anymore. We even changed it out again once we got home, just so Mommy could get a good look at his finger.

Like Mommy, like Connor. Mommy managed to pull this trick at the lake many, many years ago (when she was about five or six), slamming her finger into the very heavy bathroom door at the Army Corps of Engineers campground (meaning, the very hard, heavy-duty doors). I actually lost a fingernail out of my ordeal. Connor looks like he may escape that, as the worst part is on the knuckle and it stops just short of the nail. Here's hoping anyway.

It's been an eventful day, to say the least ...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Weekends with Daddy

Pumpkin Fest, originally uploaded by cheryl.

With my new work schedule - working weekend nights and sleeping weekend days - the boys have been spending their days away from school with Daddy. Sometimes they just hang out at the house or in the back yard, but sometimes they go on weekend adventures.

This weekend, the boys were kept busy. Saturday they spent the morning at the big city park on the water reservoir near our old house (the one I used to take Connor to a lot on our Mommy & Me days). After that, they had lunch at Chick-fil-a and spent several more hours playing on the indoor playland. The day ended with a visit to see Great Grandma Jo at her house. The boys love to visit over there, as she always has sweet treats at her house!

On Sunday, Daddy took the boys to meet up with Grammy and Pappy at the university club (where we swim all summer long with Grammy). They were hosting the university alumni club's annual Pumpkin Fest - meaning the boys had a big time bouncing and sliding on the big inflatables, seeing all the animals at the petting zoo, painting little pumpkins (well, Connor did anyway) and enjoying tasty treats. They also got to spend time with a lot of the extended family. Aunt Kelly and her stepdaughter Jayden were there. And cousin Amy brought her two little ones, cousins Ryleigh and Cruz.

The good news is the boys are having fun. The bad news is Daddy rarely takes the camera. You can hear about their adventures, but you probably won't see many of them!

The Gallery

It's been a busy school year so far, at least as far as art work goes! The boys are always bringing something new home to hang up in the gallery. Here are the most recent ones ...

The two painted ones are by Connor. The one that looks like an angel is by Xander. The small one is a construction paper bean shaker that was made by Sawyer. And the blue one with multi-colored cut-outs is a cutting and glue exercise by Xander.

The sailboat is a color by number project by Connor. The tan with black cut-outs is a cutting and glue exercise by Sawyer. The big color scribbles is from Xander. And the other one is coloring by Connor, with the before and after version showing through.
Another new week, and there will probably be more to come!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

On the Mend

It's been almost a week, and Xander still isn't completely well. He's finally starting to get better though. Yesterday he actually played more than he slept, and today has been even better.

We also broke down and took him to his pediatrician this morning. We called first, to talk to her about what we thought was going on and our issues about bringing him in. We suspected a mild ear infection late last week, but it seemed to pass rather quickly. He stayed tired though, and didn't have much appetite. Then last night he got worse, with the return of his low-grade fever and also a lot of drainage and swelling in the ear in question. Better safe than sorry, especially when it comes to something that could result in hearing loss.

So I took him in this morning while Josh took Sawyer to school. He wasn't happy to be there, kept trying to walk back out the office door, but didn't complain too loudly. Not until the doctor came in and wanted to start the examination. Then he screamed. Loud and long. As usual. He screamed pretty much the whole time she was taking a look, even after she stopped and was just trying to talk to me. We were discussing his aversion to oral medications.

We examined all the options and finally settled on a one-dose shot. We knew it would hurt for a little while, but it was probably the most painless option. It was either that or fight with him on liquid or chewable tablets for a whole week. No thank you.

The shot wasn't pleasant, but as usual, his temper was quick and loud. I picked him up and rocked him, and it was all over in a matter of minutes. That's not to say he wasn't kicking and screaming and flailing the whole time we were trying to administer the shot - you know, with two people holding him down while one brave nurse gave him the shot in his leg. Fun times.

But a few suckers and a co-payment later, and we made it back home without many more tears or screams. Computer time made him happy, and then it was off to start our school pick ups.

We even went early, to stop in on Sawyer's story time. I was a little worried about taking him, but he ate some lunch before we left (the first meal in almost a week) and seemed pretty calm. He did okay, for him, and we survived. He's been a little whiny this afternoon, but definitely seems to be on the mend. Hopefully a good night's sleep will help, and he can finally go back to school again tomorrow - you know, one whole week later!

Monday, September 13, 2010


Laughing, originally uploaded by cheryl.

It's almost over - those barefoot moments in the back yard. But Sawyer and I took advantage of the beautiful fall-like weather last night and enjoyed every minute of it. Barefoot, of course.

I was taking a few minutes to play with Buster and his rings in the back yard when I decided to take a break and sit down on one of the swings. Sawyer, who was playing in the sun room (which overlooks the back yard) looked at me as though I'd done the most terrible thing ever.

And I had.

I was outside. Swinging. Without him.

He LOVES to swing. It's his happy place. So I walked over and held open the door, he came running out with a big grin, taking my hand and leading me straight back to the swings. It was his turn.

So he got to swing. And swing and swing. We were out there for an hour, just going back and forth. He was grinning, giggling and even giving me a few of his deep belly laughs. He LOVES to swing.

And I LOVE to watch him swing. I love to see him happy. It's one of those rare moments where the world is not asking him to do too much, or when something he wants isn't something that's hard to understand or hard to do.

It's simple. Motion. Happiness.

Not Well

Pitiful, originally uploaded by cheryl.

It started last Friday. We got a call from school about thirty minutes before the end of the day that Xander wasn't feeling well. He came home early (as did Sawyer) and proceeded to sleep the day away.

Saturday and Sunday were not much different. There were moments of play, in between moments of clearly still not feeling like himself. He's not eating anything, he won't drink hardly anything, and he's running a low grade fever that keeps coming back despite the Tylenol. He's sleeping a lot, and he even fell asleep during his all-time favorite thing - playing computer games. Clearly, our son is not well.

Today he stayed home from school again. He was tired and irritable before we left to drop Sawyer off for the day. He stayed on the couch with me the whole two and a half hours we were home. And he's been asleep ever since we picked Connor up from school, nearly three hours ago.

And for those of you who might wonder why we haven't taken him to the pediatrician, there is a very good reason. Two actually. The first being that he will scream the place down. The moment we set foot in any doctor's office, whether it's for him or for one of his brothers, he loses it. He will kick and scream and cry, and then cry even more. It's not fun, I assure you.

And then there's the other issue, the one both of the twins have. Probably something to do with their sensory and texture issues, or perhaps just stubbornness, who knows. The fact is that neither of them will take medication if it's not cherry Tylenol. We have tried prescriptions for amoxicillin before when we suspected ear infections. We have tried hiding it in food and drinks, flavoring it with cherry instead of the usual bubble gum, using a little syringe to put it into the back of their mouths where they have to swallow. They WILL NOT take it. It will either be pushed aside, or if you manage by luck to get it into their mouths, will be spit or thrown up on you. It's not pleasant.

So we've kept him at home, letting him rest as much as he needs to and dosing him with Tylenol to keep the fever at bay. Poor little man. Hopefully the fever will break soon and he can start to feel better.

All About Baseball (and Dirt)

Playing, originally uploaded by cheryl.

It's all about baseball in our house these days. All baseball, all the time. We're getting a little tired of it, what with the twins screaming every time we take them to the field (and sometimes Connor, too, if he's accidentally fallen asleep before baseball time and has to be woken up).

Connor still seems to like it though, even if a big part of his fielding involves moments like these, playing in the dirt rather than paying attention to the other team batting.

So it goes ... only three more games, three more clinics and two more practices to go. Not that we're counting or anything, honest.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Things Not Connor

Lately the blog has felt a little bit like the Connor show. It's all about him - about kindergarten and baseball and all the new things going on in his life (and in ours because of it). Here are a few moments that are NOT about Connor ...

Xander is having a hard time adjusting to the school routine. Every single day, as we pull into the car line at school, he bangs his head angrily against the back of his car seat. He says "No!" with as much force as he can, clearly displeased with out location. Once he's inside, I think it goes okay, but getting him in the door is often a challenge. He sits down and refuses to walk. He sits in the road. On the sidewalk. In the grass. He simply does not want to go in. We've been experimenting, letting him hold a favorite small toy or book during car line and into school. So far, it's helped. But the general tone is still there. I still hear about it every morning.

Sawyer loves school. The minute I say time for school and grab their backpacks, he comes running. He takes hold of my hand and walks with me out to the truck. I generally have to find, threaten and eventually carry or march Xander out to the truck with us. He has zero excitement. Sawyer comes willingly out of the truck. He smiles, often gives me a big hug or occasionally even a Sawyer kiss, then takes his teacher's hand and goes right in. While his brother flings himself on the ground in protest.

Xander is still obsessed with the computer. He LOVES it. You know how I say talking is like breathing for Connor. Computing is like breathing for Xander. He would do it all day, every single day, if you would let him. He is quite cute, with his little "'puter, please?" request. It loses it's effectiveness after the hundredth time in a day. But it starts out cute. So does ", please?" Both incredibly cute. He's only slightly annoyed that they're less effective than they used to be.

Sawyer LOVES books. From the minute he wakes up until the minute he goes to bed, there are books all over the house. The floor of his room is covered with them. So is the living room and the sun room. He flips through them, sometimes quickly just for the motion and sometimes with careful deliberation as if he's studying something inside. Sometimes he just flips like any little boy might flip through the pages. It's cute.

Xander LOVES chocolate milk. His simple request "choc-late?" is also adorable. He starting to catch on that words are powerful. He's using them more and more often. They are generally appropriate, and they are becoming much more consistent. It's a double-edged sword. We love to hear him talking more. We are also afraid that if he doesn't get his way after each request, the words may stop again.

Sawyer is learning to try new foods. They are still limited, but he IS trying other things. Bacon is a new favorite. He will eat 10 pieces if you keep giving them to him. Today at school, his teacher told me he ate his pizza crust. He, of course, took off all the cheese and wiped off the sauce, but he actually ate it. He also holds things up to his mouth more often. He may not always taste it, but he's at least making an attempt.

And that's all I can think of right now ... a few random moments that haven't made it into posts just yet. It's busy around our house these days, and I don't want to forget the little things that sometimes get lost among the bigger ones.

Big Boy School

It's hard. Harder than he thought it would be.

Connor still likes his big boy school, but it certainly wasn't what he was expecting.

Early mornings, before the dawn. Lots of work and little time to just play. Quick lunches (where, sometimes, the time runs out before the food). Late afternoon (and usually hot) recess. Homework, endless homework. Not enough free time. Baseball practice and games, too.

He is one tired little boy. Between school and baseball and his usual adventures, he is simply worn out. You don't notice it every day, but it's there.

It's the tears and frustration that too easily break through. It's the way he rubs his eyes in the late afternoon, long before he should be thinking about going to bed. It's how he nearly falls asleep (and sometimes even does) in the middle of homework. The way he zones out in front of the television the minute he gets home from school. The way he fights for every extra minute of being allowed to stay up, only to fall asleep within seconds of his head touching his pillow.

He is, quite simply, exhausted.

Tonight it was homework that did him in. At 6 o'clock. He was tired and not cooperative. Daddy was not in the mood to play games. Neither was having much luck with the other. And so he was put to bed, at 6:30 in the afternoon. And he's been sound asleep ever since.

Poor big boy. Growing up is hard ...

Monday, September 6, 2010

To the Lake ...

Three Amigos, originally uploaded by cheryl.

The rest of our Labor Day weekend was spent at the lake with Grandma and Grandpa (and also Uncle Brian and Cousins Austin and Kyndal)! We also wished Grandma a belated happy birthday (it was yesterday)!

We arrived early Sunday morning. Mommy slept most of the first day away, trying to recover from her long work weekend. Connor joined Grandpa, Uncle Brian and Austin and Kyndal on the boat. Grandma kept the twins at the house while I was catching up on some much needed sleep.

Unfortunately, Connor only got to spend one day with his cousins. Austin had a baseball game on Sunday night, so they headed out late Sunday afternoon to get back home for baseball. We still had another day, because we opted out of Connor's t-ball practice on Sunday afternoon (and told the coach that we wouldn't be there last week after Connor's game).

Last night we enjoyed steaks on the grill and even got to try out Grandpa's new fire pit - our first ever campfire since they moved to the cabin. We used to have them all summer long at the lake when we were using the camper, and last night's weather was perfect to sit around a camp fire!

Today we slept in, spent several hours on the lake soaking up the sun and water, grilled out again for dinner and then headed back home. No one wanted to leave, especially Connor. He kept telling us he didn't have school tomorrow, that he wanted to stay a few more days. Poor kid, it's a rough life ...

Family Reunion

Push Me!, originally uploaded by cheryl.

Saturday was the annual family reunion (Daddy's side). This year was a new venue, at a local camp just outside of town. It was a great location, with lots of new stuff to keep the boys interested and entertained.

Xander started saying "Slide?" as soon as we pulled in. He spent quite a bit of time up there. We eventually moved him down to the swings, which were closer to the picnic tables where everyone was eating the pot-luck lunch.

The boys didn't eat much, which is pretty typical, but they seemed to enjoy the day anyway. There were plenty of snacks and drinks to keep them happy, and they had a big time on all the playground equipment.

Connor probably had the most fun. His friend (and sort-of cousin) Jack from school was there with his older brother Paul. They were fast friends all day long. Connor followed them wherever they went - playground, hiking over the creek bridge and into the woods (with some adult supervision in the form of J and P's dad and some other dads as well). They eventually came back and found some ball pits to play in, and that's where they ended their day.

Mommy was there, and tired. She worked on Friday night, got only three hours sleep that morning before we had to leave for the reunion, then spent that time awake, came home and napped for another three hours, and then back to work again (not to mention coming home from that shift, packing our bags, and driving two hours to the lake for our next adventure).

A busy and tiring weekend, but lots of fun, too!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Welcome Baby Xavier!

Watching Mommy, originally uploaded by cheryl.

Yesterday, our good cousins Katie and Josh (you know, the ones who came over to watch the boys for us every single week while they were in nursing school at the local university) gave birth to their very first baby boy!

Baby Xavier came into the world early yesterday morning, and I was lucky enough to tag along with Grammy and Pappy yesterday afternoon to go visit them in the hospital. With my work schedule, we weren't sure when or if the whole family would get to go up in the coming weeks, so Josh kept the boys at home and I got to go visit (and take lots and lots of photos)!

Katie and Josh couldn't ask for a sweeter little boy. He didn't cry once while we were there, just slept peacefully and occasionally woke up long enough to look around at us and decide we weren't really worth waking up for!

Sweet, handsome boy. Wonderful new parents beginning their very own adventure ...