Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Progress in Surprising Places

This picture is for your dad, Hannah!

Today we met with the doctor who is overseeing Josh's biomedical care, and we learned that Josh is making some very interesting progress. This doctor works extensively with children on the autism spectrum, and Josh is thriving in the three areas the doctor said are most indicative of how well a child on the spectrum will succeed.

1) Talking: Josh is still not talking on the level of his peers, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have plenty to say. I met with his speech therapist today, and she said that following his recent annual evaluation, she likely will now have to justify Josh's therapy to our insurance company because he scored so well.

2) Wanting to be social with other people: Josh's sometimes mortifying public behavior is really all good! For example, when he runs up to adult strangers at the park and hugs them, that's a good thing, as was him trying out a kick on the owner of the Tae Kwon Do school last week. The doctor said that the more contact a kid tries to make with other people, regardless of how weird it is, the more it shows the kid is not withdrawing into his own world--a trait typical of autism.

3) Lying: The doctor said that people on the autism spectrum tend to be brutally honest, so it's a good sign when a child thinks in different ways. That means when Josh tells Molly not to touch his toys because they are covered with poison ivy, he's making progress. Who knew?

As for the picture, Josh put on his beanie cap with the propellor yesterday and told me he was going to fly to Tae Kwon Do because there was a lot of wind. We ended up taking the car.

Friday, April 24, 2009


I had the best intentions today when I got out the bubble gun one of the kids got for Easter, then realized I was in trouble because both kids wanted it and were unwilling to negotiate taking turns. Luckily Josh earned himself a 10-minute time out with his uncooperative attitude, so Molly had the first turn.

She was not happy when Josh returned and got the gun. Here's the first known photograph of "the lip." You may have to click on the photo to enlarge it to get the full effect.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Duck Party

Today was our favorite annual event in Charlotte: a rubber duck race that benefits KinderMourn. We first went when Josh was 3 and couldn't talk well, so we explained it that year as the "duck party," and the name has stuck.

This year, organizers released 15,000 rubber ducks on the manmade river at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. The sponsor of the first duck to cross the finish line won a Smart Car. Josh was convinced that we were going to win a TV, but he seemed satisfied with a t-shirt and his own "racing duck."

A crane dumps the ducks into the river--you can see
the bottom of the crate of ducks just under the bridge.

The first wave of ducks comes under the bridge. A lot of the ducks floated to the sides of the river, and whitewater center employees had to get in the water and
throw them back into the current.

For once, Molly didn't cry during a picture with a life-size mascot. She even yelled out,
"Later, Duck!" as we walked away.

Some of you know about both kids' aversion to dancing, so you can imagine how shocked we were today when both of them danced along to the 80s music playing at the event. Here's Molly doing her best white girl dance to "Thriller."

A very understanding volunteer helped me avert World War III when both kids decided they wanted ducks with blue bills (Molly originally chose one with an orange beak). They were packing up the merchandise, but this volunteer dug out a blue billed duck and traded me. All ended well.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Easter, Part II

We got the Easter baskets back out this afternoon for the annual Easter egg hunt with our neighborhood friends. Parents hid 1,200 plastic eggs for 35 kids, so there was plenty of bounty to go around.

We started the afternoon with an egg roll. Josh did pretty well when he realized it was more like egg golf, but Molly seemed pretty confused the whole time.

Molly was not confused about the Easter eggs, however, and she knew that the more she found, the more candy she would get. I first convinced her that she needed to half each piece of candy with me, but she caught on to that pretty quickly.

More running

Chris ran the Charlotte Racefest half marathon today, and we successfully met up with him at the halfway point for some cheering. The kids love cheering for races, and they had most of the people standing on the sidewalk with us laughing at their boisterous "Go Daddy," frequently directed at people who are not Chris.

Chris finally came around the corner, and we got a few pictures before getting the car for the four mile drive to the finish line. Unfortunately the police had blocked off all of the roads I knew to get to the finish, and and it took us an hour to get there! We didn't make it for Chris' finish, and I decided to leave the camera in the car for our run through the parking lot to the line.

Super Gold Belt!

Josh is continuing to move up in peewee Tae Kwon Do, and yesterday he passed his test and earned his "super gold belt." I was a little worried that Josh had lost his focus a little after a week's vacation, but he performed well on his test. Fittingly, the only question he missed was when he was asked what the red stripe means. The answer is focus!

We're going to lay off the celebratory cake this time in light of the recent barfing episode following too many Easter sweets. Maybe we'll reinstate that tradition when he earns his super orange belt.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Lots of Easter Pictures

We spent Spring Break and Easter at my parents' house in Florida, and here are all of the pictures! On Saturday, we took Josh, Molly and the twins to an Easter egg hunt in a nearby town. The hunt included two people dressed up as giant bunnies, a "talk" from an emcee wearing three ties in a gym before the hunt and free prizes for everyone.

The 2 year olds hunted eggs in the park's skateboard park, and unfortunately there were not enough eggs for each one to even get the three-egg limit. They seemed pretty happy with the chocolate inside, though. Josh fared better with his age group, probably because he's a fast runner and got to the eggs first.

The kids loved their Easter baskets on Easter morning, but were less thrilled with having to take pictures after church.

We hid Easter eggs in the flowerbeds in front of my parents' house.

We paid for all of the chocolate and birthday cake (we celebrated Mom's birthday at lunch) we let Josh eat yesterday when he upchucked all over the car on the 9-hour drive home. Sometimes fun comes with a price!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Finally, some nice weather

We're in Florida for spring break, and in keeping with our bad luck with weather, Gainesville had record cold temperatures at the beginning of the week. Finally, today was sunny AND warm, so we took the kids to the park. I think everyone was glad to get outside for awhile.

Josh was desperate to follow a little girl who had climbed the trunk of this tree and gotten out on a branch. She tried to tell him where to step, but I wouldn't let him--he's not that nimble yet! So instead, we tried to appease him by asking him to pose for cheesy tree pictures.

There is some actual significance to this picture. One of the symptoms of Josh's "issues" is unwillingness to make eye contact. I usually have to take 10 pictures of him to get one with him looking at the camera. Today, he looked at the camera every time. This is a major improvement for Josh and hopefully more proof that all of these crazy treatments we're doing are working.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Friday, April 3, 2009

A Terrific Kid

We were very proud this week to learn that Josh had been selected as the "Terrific Kid" for the month from his class. I didn't really understand what was going on until I got to the awards ceremony, but each month teachers choose one child from their class who exhibits the character trait the whole school studies that month. Josh was chosen for "courage," and as his teacher pointed out in the paragraph that was read about him at the ceremony, Josh has overcome more this year than "typical" kids have to face. He's learned to get over his fear of transitions and new places and his difficulty talking, and he is really thriving in the his classroom.

He was so thrilled to get the certificate--all of the parents in the room laughed when he posed for his official picture because he was hamming it up so much. Hopefully I can get a copy of that picture at some point and post it. Here's the one I took of him: