Archive | May, 2009

Wicked

31 May

Wicked Pissa

Ode to Boy.

30 May

Alex
Alex

Originally uploaded by CleverIndie

Today we went to the Kindergarten graduation ceremony at Alex’s school. Alex and the rest of the pre-primary kids had prepared a song. I slept a little longer than the boys this morning, and Jeff got Alex dressed. Alex was thrilled to wear a buttondown (his favorite type of shirt) and his rockin’ tie from Toybreaker.Etsy.com.  (Alex has been doing mostly kindergarten work this year, but will be starting his official kindergarten year in August as we all agree he needs the extra time, and the nature of the program allows for this flexibility which is important for a kid like Alex who is uneven as far as development goes.)

We got to school and took our seats…Listened to the squawking of the first group of kids playing the recorder. The next group went up, and gave a little history on Beethoven and his impact on the world and on music, then they started to play…

With those first few familiar notes I looked at Alex and he looked at me and put his head on my arm, and my big boy snuggled so close to me. His eyes were sparkling, starry and happy and overwhelmed and so in the moment. Classmates were play fighting in the back of the room, parents were craning their heads to keep track of their wandering pre-schoolers, and Ode to Joy swelled through the room. And for the first time, it was like this was a moment, a song, an experience, that he was truly connected to. His mind wasn’t elsewhere, he wasn’t talking about buttons on radios, or how a siphon in a toilet works…

He sings Ode to Joy non-stop in his head (and many times aloud) from morning to night and probably even in his dreams. It’s his constant. Ode to Joy calms him and provides comfort through the million and one transitions in his day- some of those transitions are so minor to the casual onlooker, that they would never identify them as such. Everything is a transition in some way, Alex is always very aware of this. Ode to Joy is his security blanket. I know the other kids in his school don’t have their personal theme music playing in their mind 24/7/365, but they don’t need to either. Alex needs that. He identified it himself and started using it as a tool. It seems to quiet the rest of his very active mind so he can function at any level.

On some days it seems like walking, chewing gum, and trying to juggle flaming ginsu knives while translating Lewis Carroll using only a Berlitz guide, into an unfamiliar language (with a different alphabet), while someone barks random numbers and throws sand at you, all at the same time.

To decompress after school and on weekends and holidays, Alex stands in front of his radio and watches the numbers and listens to the 10 different versions of Ode to Joy we loaded onto the ipod for him. Occasionally he pops out of his room to declare something Ode to Joy or plumbing related, but mostly he needs this decompression, the radio supplies the song so the part of his brain that has it on mental repeat during regular daily functioning can rest.

But today, once they started to play the song, he was in the moment.

His brilliant and busy brain and the outside world converged in the space of that room, perched upon a folding plastic chair.

He was at peace for a moment, so connected. So was I. My brain is usually working on how to help him and the things I have to do, there is no down time.

But in that short yet gigantic moment today, both of us were present, for the first time in forever.

And his face and eyes, when they met mine, told me that he was overwhelmed that the world had finally connected with him.

Islands in the stream….

18 May

Islands in the stream….

Originally uploaded by CleverIndie

That is what we are…

Anyway… Where was I…

Kiddo is a picky eater- he’ll try most anything, but he’s a creature of habit and has sensory issues- so he’s very specific about what he likes and what he loathes…. (and if he changes his mind he will admit nothing!)…

So, he likes everything bagels, corn, and cheese….

So I popped the bagel (with some shredded cheese) in the Rocket Grill and it squished the daylights out of it! So I put it on a plate, put two little morsels of grilled (rocket grilled, baby!) chicken “sunning” on the Isle of Bagel…Of course, the sun is powerful (sun=corn in nifty little pinch bowls…pinch bowls are a lifesaver when you have a kid who cannot handle different foods even seeing each other, never mind *gasp* touching…)

The broccoli is a unique specimen of palm, found only on the Isle of Bagel. By the way, the stars in the blue sea are starfish, and that orange slice toward the back is the mainland (ok, ok, it’s one of those make-a-plate things and it’s an orange moon and a starry night sky)…

So, why does food need this backstory?

Because my kiddo is *that* detailed. He is also very rules based, so artistic presentations of food challenges his deeply ingrained meal & food rules in a fun and somewhat novel way. It’s fun, he’ll argue with me that the palm tree is really broccoli, if he’s tired I know better than to present anything with even .05% whimsy or all hell will break loose. We are working hard to soften some of his rules and his rigidity as living in the world with other people often requires compromise and a little grace and we are getting there, albeit very slowly. How slowly? He’s rules based, he has no gray area, he can’t generalize, so if a scenario is not repeated exactly (ie temperature, light, people present, etc…) he can’t apply the new rule or the exception to the rule, or even withdraw a generalization from his brain/bank to really understand or function reliably.

If you don’t know any kids who are this rigid- imagine potty training a child at home and then take them to grandma’s- most kids can apply their at home potty training to other locations (sometimes with a little urging or reminder and a little modification on everyone’s part)- they can ignore the variables-to a point- and find the constants (the potty, having to pee, etc). Alex can’t ignore the variables so he can see the constants clearly. In the potty training scenario, if you switch up the variables from his home/training base, it’s like he has never seen a toilet in his life and you have to start from square one. (and this isn’t a far off analogy- I was on the verge of making a public restroom scrapbook for him so we could study up before leaving the house- and so we could focus on the visual similarities in the comfort of our home). Is everything this intricate and challenging? Yes. It isn’t getting easier as time goes on, but it is changing, so there is no such thing as boredom. And in all this I can’t stop marveling at the details he notices- it’s like wearing reading glasses- he can see the words clearly but all else disappears…It’s like he can read the words and get sucked into the story but if you ask him about the physical book he has no idea what you are talking about… Raising Alex has made us appreciate the intricacies of thought and reasoning and creativity. Ok, now where was I? :-)

Last night he was in a good mood. He let me explain the food to him. He announced “I like my food plain” and I countered with “it is very plain, I just put it on your plate a little differently”. He hesitated and quickly gobbled up the sun/corn…

I showed him how he can pull a little bit off of the chicken to just taste it (chewing meat type stuff makes him gag or hurl- depending on how far he is into the meal)… And he tasted it and then even ate another little piece without our urging.

Unfortunately, the rocket grill turned the cheese bagel into a crispy, tasty grilled panini sort of a thing, and it was too dense for him to chew (without again gagging…)…

But I feel triumphant… The chicken was no longer stranded as it swam into his mouth and down to his tummy…

Alex declared that it was turning to night as he gobbled up the corn (thereby making the “sun” go down)…

He wouldn’t try the broccoli until I remembered the key to a 5 year old boy’s laughter. He wouldn’t buy the tree devouring giant scenario and then I remembered…

I whispered to him that broccoli magically transforms into horrific, near deadly, rank gas when you eat it.

He giggled and took a bite…

Victory is mine.

By the way, I just received a copy of the Sneaky Chef cookbook in the mail… I’ll comb through it with an eye toward sensory defensiveness (particularly my kiddo’s, but there seem to be a few people cooking for kids like Alex and more typically developing kids seem to have many of the same food quirks) and let you know if it’s worth the purchase… I think kids can learn the joy of healthy foods without hiding them, but when dealing with sensory issues sometimes you have to go behind the scenes, hide the good stuff, and reveal it slowly… And sometimes you have to play with the food.

xo
Bek

Swine Flew

12 May

Swine Flu

Originally uploaded by CleverIndie

Alex’s drawing of swine flu. Click to go to flickr to see notes….

xo
B

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