“What next???”  A phrase that usually runs through my mind when I perceive things as going horribly wrong.

However, today, I breathe that phrase as I watch my son.  I am filled with awe.

God has blessed Christian with a remarkable gift — words.  Not spoken words.  We fight for every one of those we hear.  Written words — spelled out with letter blocks or written on magnadoodles.  I try and catch each one before they are erased or magically morphed into something else.  Christian must just have images of these words running through his mind…

pachyderm … hippopotamus … Temple Grandin … Madagascar … Hasbro … giraffe … swamp …

… and these are just a few on the ones that I’ve actually seen in the last few days.  (Beyond his usual “credits/production company” words, like… cast, created by, executive producer, associate directors, music by, walt disney, pixar, presents, dreamworks, universal, paramount, previews, play all, set up, main menu, columbia, tristar … just to name a few.  He can read these all to you, too, if asked.)

And interestingly enough, he has now been starting to drag me to a word if he is unfamiliar with it, taking my finger, making me point to it until I tell him what it is, he repeats it, then pushes me away because he now knows what the word is and needs me no longer. 

All I can say is that I am constantly amazed…

…and I wonder, “What next?  What new word/skill will we behold today?”

All true blessings.  We are rejoicing.  🙂

This afternoon I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a lecture at a local college about Savant Syndrome.  The lecture was given by the world renown savant expert, Dr. Darold Treffert.  I had been emailing him a few weeks ago, asking questions of him about Christian and his amazing abilities.  He patiently answered my questions and pointed towards hyperlexia.  Anyway, it was pretty awesome to meet him in person today.  (He even remembered me from our email communication. 🙂 )

As I sat and listened to him talk, I became more and more convinced that I may have a savant living in my house.  We never taught Christian to read.  We couldn’t even read TO him.  He refused to look at a book while being read to.  He would tolerate being in the same room (most days), but if you dared try reading to him on your lap, you had to be ready to be slapped in the face.  Christian learned TOTALLY on his own.  None of that phonetics stuff.  Whole word reading and replicating, starting with words like “international,” “nickelodeon,” and other favorite shows/logos/big words that he had seen.  He has a passion/obsession for credits and will use his letter blocks and magnadoodles on the floor to repeat them (even if he has only seen them once).  I can do nothing but stand there and watch him and wonder just how he does that.  I can see the pictures running through his mind, but this phenomenon boggles mine.

…I digress…anyway, within twenty minutes of being home from school today, I walked outside to see that Christian had written this on our picnic table…

Can you read it?  It took me a minute.  It says, “Pachyderm.”  Wow!  I wasn’t sure how to spell that correctly, so I consulted the dictionary.  Hmm…is that middle letter a “u” or a “y”???  So, I asked Christian, “What’s this letter?”  He said, “Pachyderm.”  I started from the beginning of the word, “What’s this letter?”  C said, “P – A – C – H – Y – D – E – R – M.  Pachyderm,” with a gigantic smile on his face.  Then he wiggled out of my arms and ran off.

I was floored.  (But not surprised.)  A-maz-ing!  🙂

You’d think that after being up at 2:15 in the morning, you’d be pretty tired by the end of the day.  (I know I was!)  However, I tried to get Christian in bed around 8pm (after not napping at all) and he was too hyper to sleep.  (I have no idea what wind he was on by that time!)  He jumped on the bed for awhile, came out to the living room to spell, and then insisted on going to the basement.

Sigh.  I had it.  I physically could not stay up any longer.  Seriously.  In sheer desperation, I broke out the liquid melatonin, dumped some into a little bit of soda, and served it up to Christian.  (Knowing that he can NOT turn down some lemon-lime bubbly goodness.) 

He drank it as I vegged on the couch.  Within a half-hour, he had climbed on top of me, snuggled in, and fell into a deep sleep.  Yay!

The happiest part was that he STAYED asleep.  All through the night.  The last few times we had given him melatonin, it definitely helps him fall asleep, but he awakes up after a few hours and then is up for the day.  Unfortunately, I’m not ready to be up for the day at that time.  But, last night, he slept.  And slept.  And slept.  To the point where he was still sleeping this morning 15 minutes before his bus was supposed to be here, so I decided to cancel the bus and drive him in instead.  (He gets an extra hour at home that way!)

Now, I’m hoping for great sleep again tonight, but this time un-melatonin assisted.  🙂

The thought had crossed my mind yesterday to brag say how happy I’ve been with how Christian has been sleeping at night.  Especially since he got his “big, fancy bed.”  He has been sleeping SO well with the “new” bed.  I have been getting sleep.  Our whole household has been getting sleep!  There is much rejoicing!  🙂

Until the snow started late last evening.  Christian finally agreed to sleep about 9:30.  Yay.  I actually stayed up a little later last night and looked up some info on the computer.  I drifted easily into dreamland…zzzzzzzz…Crash!  Slam!  Giggle…

…huh?  What was that?!?  Oh, Christian was up.  I rolled over and flipped open my phone to check on the time.  It was 2:15.  Sigh.

I tried taking him to the bathroom.  He didn’t need to go.  He wanted to spell with his letter blocks.  Fine.  I would lay back down on the couch.  Zzz… “Mom!  Downstairs!”

OK, fine.  We would go downstairs.  I was hoping that he would do whatever it was that he needed to do and then just fall asleep on top of me.  (Which is how it usually works with these middle of the night wakings.)

No such luck.  I laid down on the loveseat in the basement and tried to rest in-between the times he needed me to help him get this, change that, reach this, etc.  Before I knew it, my alarm was going off.  Sigh.  (I use the alarm on my cell phone and sleep with jammies that have pockets so that I don’t oversleep no matter where I end up.)  Christian was still awake.  He didn’t look like he was going back to sleep any time soon.  And he didn’t.

So he went to school with under 5 hours of sleep and apparently had a pretty great day.  (I don’t know that I could do that.)

I’m just hoping that he will actually sleep well tonight.  Over 8 hours.  That would be blissful.

On Thursday, Christian was graced with his very own “Big, Fancy Bed.” 🙂

I’ll set the stage for this post by telling you that Christian has not slept in his own room for about 2 months.  The first month, he wanted to sleep in bed with Brian.  (Brian & I had decided that if he’d actually sleep we didn’t really care where it happened.  Yes, we have been that sleep-deprived.)  So I had been sleeping on the couch or with Olivia in her bed.

After a month of this sleeping arrangement working pretty well, Christian decided that he wanted to sleep in Olivia’s bed.  Well, Olivia decided that she wanted to sleep with Daddy in “Mommy & Daddy’s bed.”  Fine.  So, musical beds we go, and everyone slept OK.  Christian woke up that first morning in Olivia’s full-sized bed and exclaimed, “Oh, my big, fancy bed!!!”  Too cute!  But Brian and I got to thinking that maybe, just maybe, if we could find Christian his very own “big, fancy bed,” he would sleep in his room again.

Brian had mentioned this “big, fancy bed” story to his parents and they mentioned that they had a full-sized bed that they were considering getting rid of.  Hmm…really?!?  Excellent.  🙂 

The big change happened on Thursday.  Christian’s twin-bed moved downstairs to become a pseudo-daybed (which I was thinking could also serve as a bed for anyone who needs to be up with him in the middle of the night with his weird winter sleep habits).  The full-bed moved into Christian’s room.

Christian was a little upset when he first got home.  (Yeah, I didn’t know exactly when this was going to happen, so I hadn’t prepped him with a social story.  Oops!)  He was running around saying, “Sleep?  Sleep?” very nervously.  But then Grandma brought over some super comfy flannel Santa sheets, and Olivia convinced Christian to jump on his new bed a few times and then it was OK.  😉

Well, until bed, then he got a bit nervous again, so I slept in the “new bed”, too.  He seems pretty happy about the bed now.  (Especially since he found a spot on the footboard where he can balance his letter blocks.  😉 ) 

So, with “Big, Fancy Beds” in both kids’ rooms now, I’m hoping that we can gravitate everyone back to their original sleeping places.  (One can hope, right?!?)

I would like to thank Blue’s Clues episode “Colors Everywhere” for teaching Christian the primary, secondary, and tertiary colors all wrapped up in a catchy little tune sung by Joe (Donovan Patton).  Christian absolutely LOVES that song and LOVES the little paint blobs that dance around and combine to make the different colors.

Nothing like your 5-year-old talking about colors at school and getting mad that “chartreuse” didn’t make the conversation!  Yeah, Christian’s favorite – Chartreuse – it’s a yellowy green.  (I had to look it up in the dictionary to learn how to spell it.)  His other favorites — vermillion, marigold, aquamarine, violet, and magenta.  Who needs plain old red, yellow, blue, orange, green, and purple???  Not my boy.  So, I’ve written out word cards so he can learn how to spell them, too.  I figure I might as well work with his strengths.  🙂

After Christian started feeling better from his illness, I started feeling worse.  Welcome chills, stomach pains, and the start of a horrible migraine.  After realizing this was more than a headache that would just go away on its own, I took a substantial dose of ibuprofen — usually that does the trick.  But not this time.  Actually my headache only got worse and was irritated by noise and light.  (Yes, and as Christian got better he only got louder — not good for the mama!)  I forced myself to make and eat supper although it was awfully hard to manage both and the kids.  After dinner, Brian watched the kids as I took the best shower ever.  No need to listen for little people fighting, or running the water, or needing to be wiped, or missing an important animal, etc.  Just the sound of the warm water and really not a single thought in my head.  It was glorious.  I managed to find my pain relieving spray (from when I “threw my back out” a few years ago) and sprayed down my shoulders and neck.  Fabulous.  I dug out my peppermint oil and dabbed some on my wrists and behind my ears.  Lovely.  Within the hour, the majority of my headache had vanished.  What relief!  I took the rest of the evening fairly easy and thankfully woke in the morning fatigued but fine.  (Insert sigh of relief here. 😉  )

I picked Christian up from school on Friday only to find out that he has not been doing so great in the “regular ed” Kindergarten room lately.  Doesn’t want to go and will only “behave” if seated on a teacher’s lap.  I guess he has also remembered that the music class room is in that end of the school and would rather go there instead.  (My boy sure does love to sing and dance!)  So, I guess that has been a wrestling match the last two weeks along with his obsession with needing “his words” on the classroom computer.  (Words like — Nick Jr., Paramount DVD, A Viacom Company, Warner Bros Pictures, etc. (yes, he does know how to read and type these all on his own)) They are hoping to rid him of this obsession by letting him type these words on the computer when he first gets to school tomorrow and then printing them off and taping it to the computer screen.  That way his words are always there and (theoretically) shouldn’t need to be retyped throughout the day.

Ah, I also found out on Friday afternoon that there may be a “loop-hole” that would allow Christian to continue to receive therapy services before the end of the school day (at least while he is in Kindergarten).  Great.  Also, we could keep our “regular” therapy schedule until that is a for-sure-thing either way.  Which would be great, but we had already informed his school of the change in his schedule and the therapists are all lined up to start with the new schedule this week, so Brian and I decided to start the new schedule on Monday anyway.  I guess, if Christian does fit the loop-hole, we could always switch it back to the earlier times.  I’m just ready for this to be figured out one way or another…

And Olivia has a new “greeting” for me every morning for the last couple of weeks — first she just screams for me until I at least acknowledge her being awake (this happens during the night, too).  When I arrive at her room, I am greeting with the “Mommy, I pee.  On my bed.  See?  Right here.  A lot.  Change me!”  Sigh.  Every day.  I am trying to remember that she has only been potty-trained since May, so this is very common.  I just wish it wasn’t every night (or a couple of times a night).  But, I am also thankful that we aren’t spending our money on pull-ups anymore.  This, too, shall pass, right???