While Brian and I were at the ER yesterday afternoon, Christian was having his usual therapy.  One of his therapists, AZ, wrote me this note later —

“I didn’t make a schedule for Christian today and he was running around a lot. Liv looks at me and goes, “AZ, you gotta make a schedule. That’s just what you do””

Yep.  She’s a mini-therapist in the making.  In the mornings and on weekends when the therapists aren’t scheduled, this is what she does, plays therapist, whether Christian likes it or not.  (And we are working hard on getting her to back off a little bit.)

Our basement has become the “dumping ground” this week.  After a record number of clean-ups on Tuesday and an over-snuggly day on Wednesday, we decided that Christian needed to see the doctor to rule out another UTI.  Thankfully (because of a 1/2-day of school on Thurs.), I was able to schedule an appointment for right after school.  Christian’s turned into a pro at peeing into the “hat” at the office.  🙂  Unfortunately, the fast results read negative, however, because he was showing symptoms similar to the last 2 times that he had a UTI, the doc decided to shoot him up with the antibiotic anyway.  Christian’s a trooper.  He was NOT happy about the shots, but gave the nurses high-fives as we left the office.  What a guy.  😉 

Too bad the antibiotic hasn’t been slowing down the bathroom issue.  Friday was at least 10 basement clean-ups (Christian didn’t have school).  Saturday — 5.  Today (so far) — 2.  Sigh.  I guess the number is decreasing, but I’d rather have it at a complete zero.  You know?!?

Liv has been testing Christian’s patience this week.  Constantly being right in the midst of what he is working on.  Wanting to do what he’s doing as soon as he starts doing it even if it’s something that she normally doesn’t care to do.  I guess that’s what little sisters do, huh???  So, Liv has been acting like a typical 3-year-old little sister and Christian is pretty frustrated with her right now…

I’ve been working on a new communication board for Christian.  Since he’s reading SO well and his PECS are kind of bulky to carry around, I printed off a bunch of words, stuck them to magnetic strips, and put them on a small magnetic dry erase board.  He hasn’t taken to it yet, but its new.  He does like the magnetic words, though, because he knows them and can read them.  I figure with the board being dry erase, too, we can just write a word on it if we don’t have it on a magnet.  I’m hoping it will be slick.  🙂  eventually…

Saturday — we braved the Agricultural Expo at the local fairgrounds.  Liv loves it.  They have a petting zoo.  🙂  Christian tolerates it, as long as he is riding in the wagon (which he is quickly outgrowing, especially if Olivia insists on riding in it with him).  It went fine.  Although, it’s really hard to maneuver a wagon in a crowded building.

Oh, and Christian decided to wake-up for the day at 3:30 (and, unfortunately, had only gone to bed around 11pm).  Thankfully, after the Ag Expo, Brian and Liv went back to take a nap and Christian was willing to lay down with me on the couch.  We were both sleeping within 5 minutes.  It’s the first time in a LONG time that he has taken a nap.  I’m SO glad that he did!  🙂

After supper last night, we headed over to my in-law’s church where they were having a Spring Blast.  They had events going on all day, but we were trying to catch the tail end of a concert and then the fireworks.  The concert was FANTASTIC!!!  The band Koine was playing.  Wow!  The awesomest (I know, NOT a real word) thing that happened was just watching Christian.  He immediately started dancing.  His dancing.  And he closed his eyes.  You could tell that he was just ABSORBING the music.  It was absolutely beautiful!  🙂  (I have to say that my eyes teared up a couple of times.)  He still did try (and succeed a few times) in running away and around and even once up front by the band eyeing up a banjo, but it was just so incredible to watch how the music of the hymns brought to life just moved him!  🙂

Christian and Olivia also LOVED the fireworks.  🙂  I could hear Christian say, “Fireworks!  I love!”  🙂  It was a really good show. 

Christian was pretty wound up, though, when we got home.  Between the music, fireworks, and his nap, he wasn’t able to fall asleep until after 11pm, but he stayed asleep through the night, so I have no complaints! 😉

What a week…

I get a little worried sometimes when I think about Olivia and how our relationship will look in the future.  She’s already pushing all of my buttons on a daily hourly basis.  What will she be like as a teenager? 

I had mentioned to one of our therapists last night that I couldn’t even remember what a “typical” 3-year-old should act like.  She told me that Liv was pretty “normal,” but extremely head strong compared to all of the other 3’s she knows.  And she’s smart.  Really smart.  Liv will have to start taking breaks from Christian’s therapy sessions because she answers Christian’s questions for him.  (And we think he has slowed at answering questions because he knows that Liv will answer for him if he waits.  Two too smart kids! 😉 )  And Liv is just so imaginative and creative and entertaining…

…but she also has a side that is overly anxious (nervous) in public.  She’s afraid of storytime (even if I stay there right by her).  She’s scared to be around “new” people in “new” places.  Somedays, she gets SO nervous that the color drains right out of her face and she looks like she will pass out.  (Wow!  I sure hope that she adjusts to 4K alright next year!)

Liv has times where she plays Christian’s therapist and advocate — reminding Christian that he needs to use his words or reminding me (or others) that Christian doesn’t like certain songs or sayings, etc.  Yet, at other times, she provokes him to anger taking his beloved letter blocks or his Leapfrog Texter, and then she wonders why he hits her…  (although, one REALLY awesome thing came out of that this week — Liv bumped his letter blocks, and Christian instead of just screaming and hitting like normal, first said, “I sad” 😦  How GREAT is that!?!  Communication at its finest!!! 🙂 )

One other thing that I am starting to realize is that I think Liv is lonely.  We don’t have a lot of close friends in the area.  She doesn’t get to play with other children much.  She talks about her cousins all the time and asked if one of them (a girl cousin just 8-months older) could move into her room.  And she tries to engage in play with Christian, but he doesn’t play the way she wants or needs.  I wish that I could alleviate her loneliness for her.

I’m also learning that her personality, which seems SO DIFFERENT than mine, is actually a lot closer than I realized.  As a child, I always felt that I was doing everything wrong.  Constantly.  That no matter how hard I tried, my efforts would never be good enough.  For anyone.  I still struggle with those feelings yet to this day.  I don’t want Olivia to carry that same burden, but in some ways, I can see it creeping up in her already.  She is overly apologetic about certain accidents she has around the house.  She hides things when she thinks that Brian or I will be upset.  It breaks my heart to see that possibility in her.  I am working to try and fix that before it becomes the lifetime struggle that I have with an inability to measure up to standards set by others (or even myself).

And, Liv, she’s just and old, wise 3-year-old.  She has great empathy.  She is super silly.  She will be setting the fashion trends as a doctor, veterinarian, fire fighter, postal worker, teacher, princess some day.  She has major heart.  And I love her, more than I could have imagined possible.

So much for trying to “cure” my need for coffee.  I woke up crabby this morning.  I’m not sure why, but I just felt down right ornery.  I’m sure that it didn’t help that the kids got into 5 fighting matches within the first half-hour that we were awake.  That and I was a little scared as to how the morning would progress.  This was Christian’s first day back at school in SIX days.  (There was no school yesterday, then there was the weekend, and he was “sick” since Wed. last week.)  Six days off usually makes for a tough transition back.  I don’t want to sound negative, but I do want to be prepared (for battle).

I shouldn’t have worried, though, because it actually went pretty well.  With some wrestling, Christian got into his clothes.  He walked out to the bus by himself.  He even got on the bus by himself, even though there was a substitute driver today.  I would call this a BIG success for him (and me).  🙂

Brian actually came home in the middle of me getting Christian ready.  He’s not quite himself yet.  😦  My guess is that the kids & I were more violently ill, so we passed the yuck through our bodies more quickly.  Poor Brian has had this brewing since Saturday.  I hope that he feels better soon and that this day of rest (and the meds I picked up for him) will help!

Liv has been in a major “Diva mode” today.  Talking back.  Verbally arguing with me.  Requesting something and by the time she gets it, not wanting it anymore.  (sigh)  😦  But in the middle of all of her drama, as she watching a “Blue’s Clues” episode about Masterpieces, she walked into the kitchen and told me (with some attitude), “Mom, I’m a piece of work! “I thought to myself, “I can’t argue with that.”  Oh, she meant, “Masterpiece,” which she is, but today “piece of work” seemed just about right, too.  😉 

I’m just having one of those days, too, where I’m tired of being dragged around the house for Christian to bring me to what he wants.  Use your words, Buddy.  I know that they’re there!  Just use them, PLEASE!!!  I will get you what you want (well, within reason).  sigh.

And Christian’s come up with this new phrase for when he’s extremely frustrated OR overly excited — “A boom shocka boom.  A boom shocka boom.”  or “A blue soccer ball.  A blue soccer ball.”  Huh???  I’m not sure what exactly he’s saying.  Olivia was trying to tell me yesterday, but I couldn’t understand her “Olivian” either.  Hmm…I wonder how long this phrase will hang around?!?

OK, so this post is just some rambling, venting, “crabby me” stuff.  It’s the way my day seems to be.  Oh well.  I’m hoping that tomorrow isn’t SO crabby.  😉

Christian is picking up more words every day, but much of his day is spent in “vocal stimming.”  He makes different gutteral noises at varying pitches (and decibel levels), not really meaning much to the rest of us.  (Although there is a big difference in the emotions of his stims — happy, frustrated, sad, hurt, angry, excited — anyone who is around him enough can distinguish between them, to an “untrained ear” they sound the same.)

Christian has learned to refer to me as “Mom” and most of the time he refers to Brian as “Dad.”  He usually doesn’t refer to Olivia.  (However, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a certain “stim” that meant “Olivia” and I just never knew what it was.) 

This past week of break, the kids have been in each other’s faces more than usual (as they are spending more time together).  Christian has been known to push Olivia when he becomes upset with her and then let out a piercing scream, which sends Olivia into tears and running to the nearest adult.

But this week, this week I heard these words uttered from Christian’s mouth barely loud enough to hear… “Stop, Liv!”  Huh?  Did I hear that right?!?  Olivia started to brace for being pushed, putting her arms up around her head, when she stopped, and turned to look at me and said, “Mom.  Mom!  Christian said my name!  He said, ‘Liv!’ ”  She was just as amazed as I was!  🙂

I wondered at the moment if his “Liv” would stay in his vocabulary or if it would be one of those words we hear once and it doesn’t resurface for months, but I have heard him call her “Liv” at least 5 times this week.  We couldn’t be more excited!  🙂

Christian’s obsession with buttons and knobs has found its way into the kitchen.  Nothing is safe as he is now tall enough to reach the appliances and see what he is doing. 

His favorites — the coffee maker and the toasters.  (Yes, we have two toasters.  One for Christian’s special bread; one for the “regular” bread.)  Our coffee maker has a timer setting so that I can put in all the ingredients before bed and there is a nice hot cup of coffee ready for me (and Brian) in the morning.  Christian is constantly resetting the time.  (At least he has stopped turning the maker on and off and on and off and… well, you get the idea.)  I have to make sure that I set it to the right time before I turn in for the night or the much needed morning energy will not be available.  Whoa.  I’ve gotten very good a remember to check that carefully.

But the toasters, those are my hang-up.  He likes to turn the knobs all the way to the left or all the way to the right.  Either the toast comes out still bread, or burnt to a crisp.  This morning it was the latter as I didn’t check the toaster in-between “batches” and had not seen my little man fuddling with anything in the kitchen.  (Perhaps he was wearing his cloak of invisibility this morning?!?)  Sigh.  So Mama was stuck with the VERY crispy toast (even after carefully scrapping off the extra-burnt exterior).  (I can’t make myself throw away bread that is that expensive, even if it doesn’t taste great.)  I think I have to make a sign above the toasters so that I remember to look before I toast!  😉

At least our other kitchen appliances have “button locks.”  The dishwasher, oven, and microwave all have “child safety locks” that can be set by pressing a certain button and holding it down for 3 seconds.  You have to hold it down that long to release the lock, too.  I love it!  Christian doesn’t currently have the patience to hold a button down that long, so he has yet to start the dishwasher, turn on the oven, or start the microwave.  Yay!  Brian picked these appliances out.  He was not aware of these features when he decided to purchase these particular models, but would like to chalk it up to “man-tuition” knowing that they were exactly what we needed.  😉  Thanks, honey!  🙂