Sunday, August 26, 2012

Happy Birthday, Buddy!

My baby turned 5!  How did this happen so quickly? 5 years old!  I'm sad he is not a baby anymore and so proud at what a big boy he has become.

He has been excited about his birthday for a while now.  When we would go to Target, he would make a beeline for the cakes.  I would have to remind him when his birthday was and that is when we could have cake.  So every time, we would count down the months till his birthday.  When it turned August, he would say Happy Birthday to everything....Happy Birthday, Lightpole; Happy Birthday, Blue name it, it was their birthday.  And funny, they were all turning 5 years old when you asked him how old they were.  

We did not have a party for him this year.  As I explained last year, we thought a birthday party would be too much for him.  Too many expectations on him, and he would just not enjoy it. 

So this year, we did what he would like to do best.  RIDES!  And we had such a wonderful weekend together.

But first, CAKE!  His birthday fell on a Friday, and the school was having a family picnic to end the summer.  So I took the day off work, and brought him a cake to school.  Everyone sang "Happy Birthday" and he was so happy.  We had Dora and Diego on the cake this year.  He kept saying, "Happy Birthday, Dora!"  He tried blowing out the candles and was fine with everyone singing to him.  And he looooves cake.
"Happy Birthday to you!"

The wait is over.  I get my cake!

Then we came home to give him his present.  This year was the first time EVER he requested something for a gift.  He asked for "Pop Goes the Wiggles" DVD.  So we got it for him!  Again, VERY happy!

Just what I wanted!

We later went to the zoo to enjoy a carousel ride, train ride, and running around on the playground.  We even stopped for ice cream!

On the zoo train

Ice-a!  Creamy! 

Later we went to the neighborhood park.  And then we went out to eat at our favorite diner, and a place Jonathan knows well.  He had the chicken tenders and a cookie.

On Saturday, we went to the kid's amusement park near Madison.  One thing is for sure....this boy loves the thrill rides!  We rode the roller coaster, multiple times, the train, the mini-boats and so much more.  It was such a fun day. 

In line for the roller coaster

Let's ride!

Sunday, we went to the toy store for more gifts...a big boy bike!

He really amazes me at what a big boy he is now.  This morning, he turned to me and said, "Do you love Mommy?  Mommy and Jonathan."  That was his special way of saying he loves me.

Happy Birthday, Buddy.  You make me smile with your humor, your curiosity, and you just being you.  

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Team Jonathan

If you have been following, or know us personally, you know that Jonathan receives intensive one-on-one therapy every weekday.  We chose therapy through WEAP, which is the Wisconsin Early Autism Project.  It is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) approach to therapy. We have a team of four Line Therapist, one Senior Therapist, a Clinical Supervisor and a Clinical Doctor that works with us.

The Line Therapists work one-on-one with Jonathan at our house in the afternoons.  One of them is here for about 2 or 3 hours, and then another person comes for another shift.  Our Senior comes throughout the week and manages all the programs and therapists.  We have weekly meetings with everyone.  And then we meet with the Clinical Supervisor and Doctor every other month or so. I've likened this experience to project management, which is good, since that is what I do for a living.  

And let me tell you, these people are amazing.  They all have a desire to work with special needs kids.   They are willing to make fools out of themselves and will doing anything for a laugh from Jonathan. They listen to whatever Jonathan is obsessed with....The Wiggles, Farmer Jason, Elmo.  They star in video models, whether it be how to play with cars, or how to wash your hands.  They play red light, green light and duck duck goose.  And they even let Jonathan practice brushing their teeth and counted while we were prepping for the dentist. (Each one has their own, labeled tooth brush here just for this purpose).They share all his triumphs with us and feel compassion when we are faced with challenges. 

They work hard.  And Jonathan loves them.  He calls them his friends.  They manage his behavior and never take anything personally.  We've had a few come and go (and one come back).  He loves looking at their pictures when they are not here.  We've even had a few who left the team ask (yes ASK) to babysit!

I feel lucky that we have such a good team working with our boy.  We've been lucky with his therapists, his teachers at school and just about all who have worked with him.  Makes me think that our boy really is special, not only in his needs, but how he touches others once they get to know him. 

Thank you Stephanie, Ali, Katie, Jess, Tyler, Nell, Ashley, Allyson, Kori, Rachael, Keaghan, Maggie, Jaime, Andrea, Kelsey, Brady, Shannon, Katie, Victoria, Meagan, Kara, Linda and countless others.  You've touched this family.

Bad Mommy Blogger

Not sure how this happened.  I haven't written a blog in a long time. 

Honestly, I've wanted to write.  Really, I have.

But I've been tired.  Overextended.  In a cloud.  Unable to focus.  And really totally unmotivated.

I'm spread thin.  This I know.

I've had someone tell me recently that I have a chaotic and complicated living situation.  And really I thought they were crazy.  Me?  Chaotic? Complicated?  I guess when you're in it, getting through each day, you don't notice. 

But I think I have started to noticed.  I'm tired.

But this is what you do.  This is what millions of people do, in tons of different situations.  You do what is best for your child, for your family.  And then remember to take care of me. I need to remember that.

So forgive my lack of blog.  I'm here.  And sometimes that is all that matters.