Thursday, October 27, 2011

A weekend full of events..

I took Friday off to have my car worked on and it worked out perfect as we were meeting up with friends to have drinks and watch the Cardinals play game 2 of the World Series.   Sara’s mom watched Jackson for us and he stayed the night, so that meant we would get a chance to sleep in.  Even though the Cardinals lost, the game was good and it was nice to catch up on some us time with friends.  Since Jackson is an earlier riser my internal alarm clock goes off every morning even when my actual alarm clock is not set.  So I was awake at 4:45 AM naturally and it took me just over an hour to fall back asleep.  Does everyone do this?  Then when grandma called to let us know she was on her way at 7:30 AM it scared the bejeebus out of me.  I was not ready to get out bed that is for sure.  Jackson had ABA in the morning and later in the afternoon, so after his morning session we went to the mall.  Jackson was great at the mall, rode along in his stroller with no melt downs.  He didn’t want to get back in his car seat though for the ride home.  This is common when he has been from car, to stroller, back to car.  Luckily we grabbed Auntie Anne’s pretzels on our way out of the mall and it helped us coax Jackson into his seat.  He also took a cat nap on the way home. 

Jackson’s afternoon ABA session we could take the therapist with us for an outing.  I don’t usually get to experience this because I am at work all day, but I think it is awesome the therapists go with us to help us if Jackson is having a behavior.   Sara wanted to go the pumpkin patch out by our house and since it was during the afternoon on a Friday I figured it wouldn’t be too crowded.  We found front row parking which was great and there was hardly anyone there.  The pumpkin patch has a huge playground area.  They have a cornstalk maze, wooden characters with the faces cut out so you can stick your head/face through, slides, and climbing walls.  Jackson was excited for slide.  He is getting really good at landing on his feet and standing up at the end when he goes down.  We found an empty wagon and Jackson sat right in it as I pulled him to the patch.  I think he really enjoyed riding the wagon along the gravel road, I am sure it was like sitting in a massage chair. When we got the patch there were a lot pumpkins still there to my amazement with Halloween being a little over a week away.  We didn’t see any pumpkins in the patch that we liked, so we headed to the already picked and priced pumpkins.  Sara found 3 awesome pumpkins while I entertained Jackson who was having a meltdown.  Jackson wanted to run down the very big concrete slope that leads down to the playground.  I tried to calm him by putting him on my shoulders which always has worked in the past.  That just ended in throwing my sunglasses, yanking off my hat, and pulling my hair.  I finally freed his both of his hands which were not easy to do while he was on my shoulders and got him down; he threw himself on the ground.  I am sure Jackson was able to read my frustration because then he started crying.  I don’t think anyone saw this melt down as it took me awhile to get anyone’s attention to come help me.  By the time Sara reached us, Jackson calmed down a little bit enough and I was able to pick him up so we could pay for our pumpkins and leave.  Trying to get him in the car was not an easy task either. It was also a bad ride home because Jackson kept putting his fingers down this throat.  I was able to get him to stop by telling him hands ready and luckily it was a short ride home.

Saturday is my flag football day where I go watch my team, Mich Light, play.  I retried several years ago, but love watching the games.  Plus my team is like a close nit family and I always have so much fun during and after the games.  Last weekend I brought Jackson with me since Sara volunteered to work the Fragile X booth at the Autism walk.  The team couldn’t believe how big Jackson had grown since last season.  Since my car was in the shop this weekend, Sara and Jackson had to chauffeur me to the game so they wouldn’t be without a car in case of an emergency.  Sara also needed to return something in the city, so Jackson and I watched the 2nd half of the 1st game together.  Well sort of, we really didn’t get to watch, it was more like me chasing him along the side lines and everyone saying how cute he is.  He is shy for the first 5 or 10 minutes and then he is good to go.  He gave a few high fives, slapped Junior and Trishie in the face (they had sunglasses on), and got some lovens from Marque.  Sara returned from her errand and contemplated staying or leaving since there was a game in-between Mich Lights next one.  These games are 45 – 50 minutes long, but we live 35 – 45 minutes away…so it didn’t really make sense for them to go home to just have to turn around and come back.  Sara took Jackson over to an open field and they played push and case, a made up game that Jackson loves to play.  He will push your butt and you either run in the direction he has you pointed, or if you are Sara you dramatically act as though you are going to face plant into the ground.  Jackson loves this game. I think it gives him some sensory input on his joints.  When he chases you around he laughs so hard and sometimes falls down, it is very adorable.  He played this with her until just before the 2nd game started.  I could tell Jackson was just about done with being in the park and watched until half time before we said good bye to everyone.  We were all exhausted on the way home.

Getting splashed by a penguin.
Sunday was Zoo day with the Hamilton’s.  My mom wanted to get everyone together for Boo at the Zoo and perhaps lunch or dinner.  I explained to my mom beforehand that the last few times we had been to the zoo, Jackson was done after about an hour, so I suggested we all drive separate in case my nephews wanted to stay longer.  She picked a date and time to meet up, but one problem Boo at the Zoo is at night and the Saturday before. We went last year and lines were so long that we didn’t really participate in the tables or booths they had set up.  Since it wasn’t Boot at the Zoo the kids couldn’t wear their costumes, but no one seemed to be too disappointed in that.  Everyone met up at our house and followed us to the Zoo.  It was crowded and we had 3 cars to park, so it was nice walk to get in.  Luckily it was another gorgeous day.  Jackson really enjoyed the Penguin house, he got splashed by one of the penguins. When we went to leave the penguins he started pulling Sara’s hair.  

The zoo had a bunch of ghosts, pumpkins, and skeletons in trees. They also had this grave site that had funny tombstone names.  Jackson was obsessed with following his cousin Owen around; Owen on the other was not amused.  Eventually we put Jackson back into his stroller and he did well for awhile. He did start putting his figures down his throat, but we had some crunchy snacks on hand that deterred that.  Andrew really wanted to see the tigers, so we headed to Big Cat Country.  It was around that time Jackson was done with the stroller and with the zoo.  I told my mom and sister-in-law that we had to go and if they wanted to stay they could, but it seemed everyone was hungry and ready to eat. So we headed back to the car.  This is when I wish we had the ability to teleport because we had 15 people in our group and not everyone understands that when Jackson is done, we have to high tail it. Jackson was getting frustrated and he was slamming himself back and forth in his stroller.  If we took him out of the stroller he took off running and when you tried to get him to go the direction you wanted or hold his hand, he melted like a wet noodle.  If you picked him up, hair pulling and head banging into your head or face was the next behavior.  There are only so many snacks you can give him before he is over that too.  As long as Sara was moving the stroller, he seemed to be doing OK. We also took off his Pujos jersey because it was getting warm. Since we have been to the zoo more than the rest of the crew and knew our way out I had Sara go ahead with the front of the group and I rallied up the back of the group.  We made it out of the zoo and to the cars in one piece. 

Jackson took a quick cat nap in the car while we drove over to Fitz’s.  It wasn’t very crowded there with it being late in the afternoon and they were bottling soda, so my nephews got to see that.  They took our large crowd upstairs.  It was really hot up stairs though. There were several TV’s playing the Rams game and some videos games for the boys to play.  Jackson was doing really well until poopy diaper time.  There were no changing tables upstairs, so we had to take him to the downstairs restroom.  The stairwell there is very long, high, and steel like the kind from a fire escape, not ideal for Jackson.  I picked him up and he did not like that and head butted me, but we hurried down the stairs.  After we got him changed, I had to use the restroom myself, so Sara took him back up.  Jackson did not want to go back into the highchair, so by the time I got up there I could Sara was really upset.  She was redoing her ponytail.  My mom came down from the other end of the table to talk to us and said if one of us kids would have ever pulled her hair like that, she would be in tears.  She told Sara she was amazed at how she handled it.  If it were her she would have pulled the child’s hair back.  I tried to explain to my mom that is the old way of disciplining and with Jackson that would not work.  Then our food was there, so we would have to discuss that topic another time.

After meal time the boys were running around and we let Jackson out, he of course wanted to go back to the suicide stairs.  So I had to keep him corralled in the area where we were.  If he wasn’t trying to make it over to the stairs he was chasing his cousin around.  Owen is only 7 and it is hard to explain to him why Jackson keeps getting so close and why Jackson won’t leave him alone.  Jackson is almost as tall as Owen and we were back at the table when Owen looked at Jackson and Jackson smacked him in the face.  Luckily it wasn’t hard and my sister-in-law told Owen not to worry about that, then not a minute later Jackson smacks him again this time hard enough to bring Owen to tears. I redirect Jackson away. Sara and my sister-in-law talk with Owen. Owen is really upset and doesn’t understand. I think Sara did an amazing job and explaining to Owen that when Jackson gets really excited he don’t know how to express it, that he wasn’t trying to hurt Owen.  I think Owen accepted that, at least until the next visit.  Everyone settled their bills and we were all heading home.  Jackson did not want to go in his car seat, but once we got him in everything was fine.  Sara sat back with him on the ride home.  I think the Fitz’s environment was not ideal for Jackson, but all things considering he did a really good job.  I think I zoned out most the way home because I don’t remember too much of that. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Grand Master Flash

Jackson has been working so hard in his therapy sessions and since I am at work during the times he is receiving him, I sometimes feel I miss out a little on his accomplishments.  Sara tells me about the big ones and will show me them when I get home. Yesterday Sara showed me how he can get up in his car seat all by himself and when we got to the store he got out all by himself.  That was really cool.  They are also working on him getting on and off the potty.  He isn’t potty trained yet, but the entire house knows when number 2 is about to happen, so Sara has been really good at getting him to the potty for that since he turned 2. No pun attended.

This past weekend Jackson and I got some just the two of us time together and he was obsessing over these flash cards he has. I let him get them out and he was a little frustrated because I didn’t pick up that he wanted me to play Flash cards with him.  It has been awhile since I was home for a therapy session, but I remember him playing match with one of the therapist.  So I set 4 different cards in front of him and had him match the identical card with the one on the floor.  He got it right every time.  I was so excited. The last time I seen him, he wasn’t that accurate.  We played match for an hour. 

The other day I was telling Sara about this when we were all downstairs. She said, “Oh…did you use the cards in his box?”  Jackson has this huge storage container that has a bunch of toys, puzzles, and other skill type items that all the therapists’ use with him.  I said, “There are cards in his box? I didn’t know that, we just used the ones out of his toy bin. Why?”  With that, Sara opened the bin and grabbed a big stack of flash cards.  She laid out just 4 in front of him; unlike how I did where I let him dump the entire box of cards out and spread them all over. LOL!  Then she grabbed a card that had the same object on it, but it was different, like from a different box of flash cards.  A few examples, one was small yellow ball of yarn and its match was a big multi colored ball of yarn, one was a baseball and its match was a beach ball,  one was a Queen and her match was a King.  Holy crap! My son is so freaking smart.  I don’t know if two and half year typical developing children can do that, or if that is what he is supposed to be able to do at this age, but either way I wanted a bumper sticker that said “My kid is smarter than your kid”.  The cutest part of the game, every time Sara handed him a card to match…he would study it by turning it around and around a few times. When he matched it, he looked at you with the biggest smile on his face waiting for you to applaud. Believe me I did.

I discovered another awesome trick on my own the other night.  Since Jackson was about 4 or 5 months I would make him turn off the lights when we would walk by them. It didn’t take him long to master this, and when we were taking him to the doctors and they would ask us if Jackson does anything on his own, I would proudly puff my chest up and say, “He can turn of the lights if you hold him by the switch.”  That would always get discredited though because they felt that was a routine task since I had him do it every time we left the room.  Either way, if I am carrying him by a switch, I still make him turn it off.  The other night I was taking him to bed; he was more ready than I knew at the time.  He walked down the hallway; I turned on the light, turned on his Baby Einstein CD, and turned on his turtle that projects stars on the ceiling. Jackson was standing by the doorway and I went to get him when the lights went out.  I thought, wait…did the bulb go out again? Did I accidently brush up against the switch? How the heck did that happen?  So I turned them back on.  Jackson fussed at me and reached up and turned them off.  In disbelief, I turned them on again and ask him to turn off the lights.  Voila off he turned them.  A few days later we were all in Jackson’s room and I asked Sara, “Have the therapists been working on Jackson turning off lights?” Sara looked at me funny and said, “Um…no, why?” I strutted over to the switch and said, “Hey Jackson, show mama how you turn off the lights.”  Jackson got all excited, ran over, reached up, and turned out the lights. I turned them back on and said, “Do it again, please”.  He humored me and turned them off.  So Sara came over and said, “Jackson, can you turn the lights on?”  He had a little trouble with it at first, but he turned them on.  Then we couldn’t get him away from the switch for awhile and Jackson‘s room looked like a club without the thumpa-thumpa music. You know I was dancing along with the flashing lights in my mind.     

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I enjoy leaving work every day; mostly because when I get home from work I am greeted by two dogs, Sara, and Jackson.  We are fortunate to have a two car garage and as soon as it starts to open Jackson is at the window jumping up and down. It has taken a long time for him learn how to jump and down, and he doesn’t have the best balance when he does this, but man it is so much fun to watch. When I open the door and come into the house, Jackson will run up to me, grab my laptop backpack, pull it off of me and then take off running. Sometimes he uses his upset voice when he does this, I am not sure if he equates the backpack as me leaving like I do in the morning.  He runs a few feet away and then takes off running toward me all excited.  I scoop him up and he gives me kisses, and then right away he wants down.  Lately he tries to throw himself backwards when I pick him up so he can hang upside down, a neat trick he learned from his Aunt Tricia. I make him give me a kiss before I let him go upside down. He just laughs so hard when we do this; it is a highly contagious laugh.  One thing for certain is you have to be very prepared for him to throw himself backward because it is sudden and he is strong.  A few times I have come home and he is in the middle of one of his therapy sessions, his therapists are tickled when they see this interaction. 

Once I am home, changed, and settled we all go for a walk, or sometimes Jackson and I will play catch on the stairs.  I have been tossing a ball at Jackson since he was in his jumpy contraption, so he can catch several different types of balls in various sizes.  I have tried to put a ball glove on his hand, but no luck with that just yet. Jackson has a few of those large bounce balls that are sold in cages at any store.  Our house is a raised a ranch and the stairs are split in two levels.  Jackson will stand or sit in the middle while I stand at the bottom to toss the ball up to him; he catches it most of the time. He likes to roll the ball down the railing, which isn’t easy because the ball is so big and railing is so skinny, but sometimes he gets it just right. He has also mastered a new skill which is balancing the ball on the railing, rolling it backwards, and getting it stuck between the entry way ceiling and the rail.  Since the first time he did this, I gave him a huge reaction with my arms up in the air while shouting “Ta-da”.  Jackson will then laugh and punch the ball out from being stuck. I am not kidding when I say we play this game every day.  Before I throw the ball up, I make him tell me ball. He will use sign language and now verbally say “Ball”.   Sure most people fight over when and what their child’s first word was “Mama” or “Dada” and I have seen some hard core arguments and fights over it and I will always think that is the most ridiculous debate.  One of my son’s first words was “Ball” and I couldn’t be more proud. How awesome is that!  Oh…and now he is trying to say “Ta-da”, it is more like “Ah-da” and it is high pitched which sends the dogs running, but you will never see me cover my ears.