Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pick- up fall down

Piper and I were waiting in the car in front of the school today when we saw Morgan's teachers leading the kids out of the building. It is always a funny sight. A gang of three-year olds holding hands, essentially being "herded" along towards the parking lot and buses. I can always spot them by the bright pink jackets the girls wear. Morgan is the only one who wears purple.

As I got out of the car I saw a little "disturbance" of sorts, and one of the kids burst into tears. I immediately knew Morgan had fallen down. As I got closer I saw a crowd of little kids around her and teachers picking her up trying to calm her down. This is not the first time this has happened. In fact I think it's happened at least three times. I cannot remember an incident where any other child in the group fell down on the way out of the school. It is always Morgan.

Poor thing had fallen in the mud and had dirt all over her hand and pants. She was not hurt, she was just upset by the mud and wetness (it had been pouring down rain all morning). As soon as I got her in the car and wiped her hand off she was fine. She said she "wanted my new pants," but they really were not that wet/dirty so I said she had to wait until we got home (if she was much more muddy or wet I had dry clothes for her, but I wanted to show her it was no big deal and she'd be fine). When we got home, she insisted on her "new pants" right away and was very glad when I produced a dry pair for her.

Why does this happen? The more I thought about it... there are only two teachers who help the kids into and out of the classroom (most of them take the bus and a few of us drop our child with the bus kids out front). Usually each teacher has at least four kids holding their hands or holding onto one of the kids' wheelchair. I imagine it is kind of chaotic for Morgan. There are kids and teachers talking while they hold each others' hands and walk into the school. Now, this is a group of special ed kids. Most of them walk, but none of them are particularly agile or attentive. I've watched Morgan walk away with the group when I drop her off. Usually she's shuffling along, looking in all different directions while one of the kids is holding her hand and pulling her in the opposite direction. It's no wonder she falls down every once in a while. I wonder if there's a better way? I'll have to think about that.

Oh Morgan, I can't imagine she's ever going to do very well with multi-tasking.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Our little Morgan has sure been surprising us lately! I almost don't want to say it or I might jinx it. Yesterday I had her take her doodle board into her room for "quiet time." Of course, we had the latest episode of tearing her Tag book, so "Tag Guy" is taking a break from Morgan for now. Shortly after depositing her in her room I hear what I thought we're frustrated sounds. I'm not sure what it was, but when I went in her room she was drawing faces on her doodle board. Gramma A taught her how to do this around Christmas time and she randomly makes me draw faces and she attempts to sort of halfheartedly do them herself.

I went in to take a closer look and saw she was drawing what looked like hair and arms and legs on her "faces." She drew a few, erasing them from the board when she was done (I ran and got my phone). When I came back in she was drawing a new one and she shocked me by saying this one was "Morgan."

She seems to be holding something in her "hand", but Morgan wouldn't say what it was.

This one is "Piper." She is also holding something. I wonder if it is a doll? No way to know.

Each time she'd erase a picture she'd say, "Now I'll do Mama"...and on and on. Apparently those are my arms, but they sort of look like lasers shooting out of my eyes.

This one is "Daddy." I think it's a pretty good likeness, don't you think. Many pictures have three legs and "antennae" as well.

I especially like this one. It was not anyone in particular, but she seemed to very carefully draw "hands." This is not unlike other drawings I've seen kids make.

Finally she requested to take her own picture with my phone and this is the best one she got. I watched her do it and she held it steady and pressed the button. She definitely knows how it works! It's not as random as I thought.

This girl is amazing us! I sent David a text with one of these pictures and he replied "Boo Boo drew that?!" Out of nowhere! I'm going to have to talk with her Occupational Therapist about this. I might email the photos to her teacher too.

Still in shock that she did this. What will she do next?!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Dirty Loveys

Morgan usually has a hard time going to sleep if she's napped in the afternoon. Last night he was making her expected grunts, groans and yells while David and I watched TV. At one point I decided to go check on her. The usual routine is that she's "lost" her lovey(s) somewhere and as soon as I retrieve them she's fine.

This time it was different. (BTW, she has two of the same lovey. I bought one for back-up, but she discovered it and now requires two in bed with her). Anyway, I found the "missing" loveys, but when I gave them back to her she rejected them. I thought this was odd, so I tried again. This time she pushed towards me and told me "put them in the basket." This is something we say when the girls are taking off their clothes to change into their pajamas. The "basket" is the hamper for the dirty clothes.

So then I asked her, "Are the lovey's dirty?" No answer. "Do they need a bath?" Morgan said "Yes!" right away. I then explained to her that I'd need to take them from her for a while. She doesn't usually get the concept of how long things take. For example, one day I asked her if she wanted to make cupcakes. She got really excited, went to her chair at the dinner table and said "I want my cupcakes!" She did this off and on over the next few hours until they were actually done.

Then I left the room with the loveys and immediately (as expected) she started to cry. I went back in and gave her the loveys. She then sat up, grabbed them and got out of bed. She ran past me into the bathroom and tossed them in the bathtub. Hilarious! Then I had to explain that the loveys needed to be put in the washing machine, like we wash our clothes. I asked her if that was OK. She walked downstairs with me, put them in the washer and closed the door. Then she went right back upstairs and put herself back in bed, no complaints.

Honestly, the loveys have NOT been washed in a while. Usually I randomly grab them when I'm doing a load of wash when she's awake. They were probably pretty nasty. No wonder she demanded that I wash them! So, I washed and dried them, then put them back in bed with her. She didn't notice as she was fast asleep. She had no other issues all night. Problem solved.

I was SO excited that Morgan was able to communicate this to me. It was totally spontaneous and she used the words/phrases/actions she knew to help me understand what she wanted. Now if we could just expand the vocabulary it would be much easier. Hopefully it will come. Nonetheless, this is really encouraging. Such a nice thing to see after a rough day.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

This is really hard

Being a parent of a child with autism just stinks. I try to make the best of it...but overall it just blows. To give you an example of a few things I've had to deal with today..

Changes in routine
Morgan is very sensitive about changes in her daily routine. If it's something she likes to do, like David took her swimming last night, she's great. But if it's something she doesn't like...she's a mess. We were having a nice lunch today. I was letting her watch an episode of her favorite show, Yo Gabba Gabba and BAM! The power went out. We haven't experienced this before with Morgan. She freaked out and demanded that I turn the TV back on. I tried to explain to her what happened, but it made no difference. She got out of her chair and went to try to turn her show back on. She yelled at me like I was doing it on purpose. Then she calmed down a bit and decided she needed to use the bathroom. She then discovered she couldn't turn on the light...and refused to go in. It wasn't dark in there, but without the light it was scary for her. Then she went around the kitchen trying to turn on the lights, getting upset all over again. Then I had her sit on my lap and she seemed to be better, but then got upset when I tried to hold her, hug her or touch her. She wanted to lie on my chest, but touching her any other way was not OK. Again she started yelling/screaming. I put her in time out. She calmed for a bit then finally agreed to come back to the table and eat her lunch. While eating the power came back on and you'd think she'd won the lottery! Soon Yo Gabba Gabba was back on and all was good with the world.

Morgan has always loved her books. For Christmas we got her a Tag Jr. that "reads" special books for her and plays music. She loves playing with it during her quiet time. For the third time in a week she has destroyed one of her Tag books. She likes to tear the images off the pages of the books (these are "board books" with sturdy pages). She also did this with a non-Tag book yesterday. I don't know if there is something soothing about tearing strips of paper off the pages. And, this is a kid who is in OT for issues with her fine motor skills. Are you kidding me?! She tears the paper in the tiny strips, on purpose! Several times I've offered her junk mail to tear apart and she refuses. What is it about tearing these books? Currently the Tag Jr. (we call him Tag Guy) has been taken away from her. I have no idea if she will learn anything from this.

Overall Cognitive Skills
Or lack thereof? Morgan has tested fine with her cognitive skills... though, much of the time I really don't know if she understands what I am saying to her or what I am trying to teach her. I feel like I'm talking to a wall.

From birth I felt like I never fully bonded with Morgan. I am almost ashamed to say this. She refused to nurse (though my low supply issues may have played a part...though I had the same supply issue with Piper and she fought hard to nurse), and was never a cuddly, snugly baby. There are times I look at her and think "who are you?" It's almost like I miss her. I know she's in there, but I can't reach her.

I know today's just a rough one and other days we'll have great interaction and I feel like we're "connecting." But, lately David and I are honestly just having a really hard time with this. We love our girl so much. She can be so silly, sweet and funny at times, but other times is just so hard to communicate with her.

In conclusion, here's another link to this autism mom blog I love. This women has four kids, one with asperger syndrome, one with ADHD and maybe other issues, I can't remember, but she is so funny and just "gets it."


We are such proud parents...

...of our sweet, polite little girls. Uh, not so much.

This weekend Morgan and Piper were hanging out with me on Sunday afternoon while David worked at church. While coloring Morgan let out a pretty noisy "toot." This is our family word for the not-so-nice word "fart." She was so amused with herself she chose that moment to attempt to do this again, on purpose. Unfortunately she succeeded. Then she proceeded to spend the next hour or so purposely passing gas, announcing it (TOOT!) and laughing.

Who knew she'd get this kind of humor?

So...since then she randomly produces these lovely sounds and tells us just what she did.

Fast forward to this evening as the usual after bath antics were in progress. Morgan and Piper like to play a game called "Where's Piper?!" This is where Piper runs into the hallway...Morgan says "Where's Piper?!" and Piper runs back into the room squealing and laughing. Often she does this while she is naked.

Tonight they finished a round of "Where's Piper?!" and we were about to move on to putting on PJ's and Piper let out (accidentally, we think) a not-so-ladylike sound. I said "Piper! What was that?!" To our surprise she responded...


Oh boy, we're hoping they don't decide to take this on the road.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Isaac Foundation

We just learned that we have received a grant from a local organization called The Isaac Foundation. Yahoo! It is for a specific type of therapy called Relationship Development Intervention. I've mentioned this before as it was one of the recommendations from our child psychologist when we received Morgan's diagnosis.

The Isaac Foundation is a local organization who provides grants to families with children with autism in five surrounding counties. The couple who founded it had a child with a diagnosis similar to Morgan's and they understand the financial strain on parents as insurance does not cover many autism services and therapies. Please read their story in the link provided.

I attended an orientation last night and had the privilege of meeting Holly and Reed, who founded this organization. They touched my heart as they explained that this is their passion. Though they lost their son (due to an undetected heart defect unrelated to autism), this is their way of keeping his memory alive. Isn't that amazing?

I spoke with the RDI consultant, Christine, today and we are getting started with some basic information and "get to know the family" type paperwork. Christine lives in central Washington, about two hours from us, but she is working with The Isaac Foundation to work out a plan to come to Spokane once a month to meet with families. We will also be able to consult via Skype as well. This therapy is wonderful in that it is primarily parent-led, so we do not have to take Morgan to therapy "sessions." Our sessions will be conducted at home at specific times and throughout our daily routine while checking in with our consultant a few times a month. There are some initial assessments and parent classes that we will also begin soon, and she is hoping to be able to conduct these in Spokane with a few other families in early summer.

We are SO excited about this opportunity and can't wait to get started! So you know, the grant does not cover the therapy in it's entirely, but will help us get the ball rolling and make it more do-able for us. The program itself on average takes about two years, so we will have another opportunity to apply for an additional grant along the way (they are only awarded once every twelve months).

Friday, April 15, 2011

Go Bears x Two

I posted these pictures a few weeks ago on Facebook, but I thought they needed a post here too. I was going through some of Piper's clothes and realized I had a little cheerleader outfit that she was almost going to grow out of! So, I dressed them both up and worked on some photos.

This is Morgan responding to me harping "SMILE!" at her. She would have rather watched Yo Gabba Gabba, but I managed to get a few, rather cheesy, shots. Somehow she looks a little too grown up here though. Kind of scary.

Admiring each other

Silly Piper. I just tickled her.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Morgan and my phone

Occasionally Morgan asks for my iPhone to look at pictures. It used to be a bit of an obsession, but lately it's only once in a while (whew!). I was getting my hair cut the other day and I was looking through my pictures to show some to my stylist and, surprise! I found some pictures I hadn't seen before. I deleted quite a few photos of the couch upholstery and Morgan's pant leg, but I was tickled to find a few pictures of Piper. David said he didn't take these and I certainly don't remember taking these. So...Morgan?

First try, Piper must have been trying to grab it

Surprisingly good. It still make mes wonder if I took this and forgot about it. "Mommy Brain" is still a problem for me.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Piper had two encounters with babies yesterday. The first one was at Morgan's preschool class. One of the other Moms brings her newborn with her and this is the first time Piper noticed him. He's probably about 3 months old now. She first saw him sleeping in his car seat. I had images in my mind of her smacking him on the head or trying to pull him out of the seat like she does with her baby dolls and their strollers. At one point the Mom took the baby out of his car seat. Then Piper noticed the empty seat and decided she wanted to play in it. Once the Mom said this was OK, she climbed in and out and rocked in it all while giving me these sneaky, silly looks. Finally she saw the baby with his Mom, pointed at him and said "Baby!" Then she reached up and patted him on the head, a little harder than I would have liked, but not too hard. She did this a few more times before we left.

Then the same evening we had our Life Group meeting at our house. One of the couples in our group is serving as a temporary foster family for a three year-old boy and 4 month old girl. We were amazed at how well the kids played while we discussed our topic of the week. Morgan even had some positive interaction with the little boy before the night was over.

As for the baby, Piper didn't pay too much attention to her until the end of the evening. She found the baby's bottle and decided she was going to feed her. This resulted in the bottle being knocked into the baby's head and face a few times. Ouch! Poor baby! It was a sweet gesture, but we managed to redirect that behavior pretty quickly. Piper even go to hold her (with support) and she was pretty gentle about it. It sure made me realize that's Piper's not a little baby anymore! I still will call her a baby until she's two, but she's definitely my big baby!

When they were about to leave and the baby was in her car seat, Piper sweetly patted her on the head like she did with the baby boy earlier in the day. Then she moved over to the side of the seat and started sort of hitting the baby's blanket on the side of her body. I say "sort of" because it wasn't really hard and she really was only touching the blanket, or so I thought. The last time she slapped at the blanket I noticed the baby's hand was open and peeking out the blanket. I then realized Piper was trying to give her a high-five! We all cracked up, but unfortunately the little one did not like it and let out a baby-sized yell. That was enough of the high-fives for that night. Hopefully Piper will learn that some babies are not quite ready for big girl high-fives!

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Yay! I figured out the problem with the paragraphs. I needed to update the "editor" function in Blogger. Whew! I thought it was going to be one of those annoying things I couldn't figure out. Crisis averted.

Weekend Fun

One of Morgan's favorite things to do is swimming. Unfortunately we haven't taken her very often since last Summer. It's easy in the Summer because we can get beyond the YMCA and head out to various lakes in the area. In the Winter we are stuck with the Y's hours which tend to fall right during "nap/quiet time" or later in the evening when we are cooking meals and having our family dinner.

Well, yesterday we decided to skip the nap(s) and head to the pool. Both girls LOVED it, especially Morgan. She went down the slide with David no less than 4 times and even got super brave and jumped off the side of the pool into our waiting arms. BIG smiles the whole time. She's asking to go again today, so we know we need to make this a more regular thing for her. I suggested a once-a-week Morgan/Daddy outing in the evening. It will be a nice bonding time for them. Piper was more hesitant in the water, but I enjoyed the extra snuggle time I got. She loved it when I bounced her in the water and kept saying "bow-bow" if I stopped.

Piper's been super cute lately. She likes to take my hand and lead me around the house. I'm never sure of our destination, but I love that she does this. If we are out of the house she rarely lets me carry her anywhere anymore. She is determined to walk, but will let me hold her hand. It's really fun to walk holding both my girls' hands as we do errands or head to an activity.

Piper also is "getting" her family's names now. Yesterday she sat next to me on the couch, pointed to David and said "Dada," then she pointed at me and said "Mama," and finally pointed at Morgan and said something that sounded like "Mo-an." There was just a hint of the "r" and "g" in there, hard to describe in writing. Something clicked for her. We love hearing her call us by our names. Speaking of names, if asked, Morgan will tell us our "real" names as well as the "term of endearment" names we call each other. I'm surprised she knows these names. She may be more observant than I thought.

That's the latest in our house as of today. It's back to school tomorrow, so we'll be back to busier mornings. The structure of the school day is good for Morgan. What am I going to do with this kid in the Summer?! I've got some feelers out for programs. I hope something good comes along.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

That Mom

The phrase "that Mom" runs in certain circles to describe situations when things may go haywire and your actions/or non-actions as a mother may be on display for public. For example, when your kid throws a huge tantrum on the playground or does something inappropriate at a birthday party. It's how you handle the situation that puts you in this place. I hope this make sense, but here's my "that Mom" situation from yesterday.

I took Morgan and Piper to the grocery store yesterday. We'd done our BIG shopping trip the day before, so I only needed a few things the other store didn't have. Morgan has taken to not wanting to ride in the cart, so she "helps" me shop and I let her put some of the items in the cart herself. All in all, the shopping itself went fine. It always gets sketchy at the end because they get impatient at the check-out line. The first meltdown happened when I failed to purchase Piper's balloon. I was feeling good because I decided to get the girls both a balloon as a treat and they very nicely both picked out two different Hello Kitty balloons. In the checkout line Piper kept giving me her balloon like she suddenly didn't want it. Every time I gave it back to her she pushed it back at me. I put it to the side and kept asking her if she wanted it, but she kept pushing it away. Of course, as I finished paying and pushed the cart away from the cashier she start crying for it and pointing to every balloon she saw saying "boon boon!" I went back and got it then hurried to the self checkout to purchase it. I thought we were in the clear.

When we got to the car a I put both girls in the car (but not in their car seats) so they could stretch their legs a little while I put the bags in the trunk. As I'm loading things in, screaming ensues from inside the car. I open the door and see that Piper is trying to play with the compartment between the seats that opens and closes. Morgan is not letting her do this, so she is yelling at her. Then I try to turn on some music and Morgan screams and turns it off. Piper screams some more. Then Morgan tells me she wants to go back in the store for a Dora book she saw (which she already has, but wouldn't take no for an answer). Both girls refuse to get in their car seats. I sit there for a while as they yell, watching people walk by and glance towards us. After much trying to "reason" and give them choices, with no luck, it finally becomes clear that there is no way to make them happy. I take a deep breath, physically push both of them in their seats, buckle them in and we leave...both of them still screaming.

I head out onto the busy street and then have to stop at a light...still screaming...I look back and realize that the balloons' ribbons are wrapped around both their legs and they are trying to free themselves. I put on my hazard lights and reach back to untangle them. Many cars are trying to get around us, but the screaming is so loud I barely notice. I finally get them free and am able to drive. About a block down the road the screaming finally stops. Sweet silence the next mile or so home. I'm not sure if anyone else would have handled it differently. I tried my best to calm them down and coax them into their seats, but they were not having it.

The one bonus I got from this is that the double mega-meltdown wiped them out. Piper took an AMAZING nap, Morgan did not demand to use the potty 4 times during quiet time and I got a nap myself!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Technical Difficulties

This will be a nothing post...but just wanted to let you know that Blogger seems to be ignoring the places I want paragraphs separated. My last few posts have been one...long...paragraph. It was not the way I wrote it, but somehow I can't fix it them in the editing mode either. Hopefully it's a short term glitch that Blogger will resolve soon.

Friday, April 1, 2011

This little (blue) light of mine

April is Autism Awareness Month.

There are many activities going on in our city to create awareness and raise funds. Though we are in support, we are probably not going to participate a lot this year. We are still getting our arms around the whole diagnosis and what this means for Morgan and our family. I read through our local Autism Society's newsletter and considered participating...then all of a sudden I felt so overwhelmed that I just couldn't commit to anything. Since then I've read a few blogs that have confirmed similar feelings of families with a recent diagnosis, so I know I'm not alone. There are a few blogs I read that have some very realistic points about what autism is for them. Here's one in particular:


Though Morgan doesn't have a quite as high-functioning form of autism, like this Mommy's boy with Asperger's, the facts are similar for us. I love this woman's style of writing and sense of humor. And another viewpoint:


As this blogger states and per the picture above, we are pledging to "Light it up Blue" April 1st and 2nd for World Autism Awareness Day. The picture is a bit dark. It really did look better on the camera screen, but this is basically what our neighbors will see. They'll probably think we're nuts and have no idea what's going on, but maybe they'll ask and we'll have the opportunity to tell them.

And...what would a post be without a funny Morgan-ism. Today she was watching one of her beloved Yo Gabba Gabba episodes at lunch. Nick Jr. has short "lessons" in between episodes and this particular one was about Georges Seurat and his style of painting, pointillism. (Yeah, who knew they taught such things on TV for preschoolers?!) At one point, the moose character asks the viewers to "Say Pointillism." Morgan kept watching and didn't say anything...but a full minute later she randomly said, very calmly, "pointillism." It was so odd to hear that word come out of her mouth! I just busted up laughing. This kid may be delayed and backwards with her language, but her pronunciation is oddly accurate. Poor kid, now just for fun, David and I ask her to say it over and over..."Boo, say pointillism"...."Pointillism!" Ha Ha!