Wednesday, December 30, 2009

High Fashion

I mentioned in the previous post that I was snow bound. What I didn't mention is that we were stuck in the house because when we went outside Avi said, "Too cold," walked inside and closed the door after himself. So that concluded our days outdoor activities. I really didn't feel like driving around in the snowy mess outside and was really enjoying the laid back vacation I've been having so we stayed inside. The only problem? Two bored toddlers and a grown man who should never be left with his imagination and no adult supervision create situations like this:

Why are they wearing immodest evening gowns you ask? Avi thought so too. He was saying, "I'm princess!" :) He cracks me up. Itai was not so happy, he wanted to wear the green one and was furious I made him wear the tacky blue one. So what was I going for? A toga party of course! I have to say, for having only one safety pin and no experience the togas look awesome. Ok, ok, so I'm not the most creative or fashionable guy out there, but I think my little Romans looked so cute! Itai fell asleep almost immediately after his picture. I guess it was a result of the trauma of being dressed up in a blue toga/princess dress.

Itai, what did you think of the toga?

If you're wondering where my toga is you should know that I'm kind enough not to subject either them or you to that. Besides, we don't have any nice, shiny blankets in my size. :)


After Debbie read the last post she said it made it seem like she didn't do anything around the house. I am, therefore, issuing a public statement to correct any misperceptions about the amount of house work done by Debbie. She is the only reason we have a clean shower and clean toilets. She does most of the organizing of this mess, all of the best cooking and everything in between. I hope no one misunderstood my post as an indictment against Debbie. It was merely the ramblings of a bald, rotund, snow bound man.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Why Bother?

So I've been wondering about a few things today. First off, how do toddlers know about this flop thing. Is it something they're born with or is it learned. Avi was never very good at it, but Itai has reached a level of proficiency that has become the envy of the neighborhood. Children come from blocks away to observe the tantrum master as he contorts his body into a unruly, unmanageable shape and weight. Avi didn't teach it to him so where did he get this from?

(This isn't one of my serious posts if you haven't noticed.)

Next up, the dining room floor. I'm so smart. I use breakfast time as a chance to clean up the front room. The boys love eating and would never bother undoing my cleaning while there is food on their trays. The front room was perfectly clean, maybe not perfectly clean, but a woman I work with told me that men don't really clean, so perfection is out of reach anyway right? Anyway, this morning Itai emphatically announced that breakfast was over by dumping the contents of Avi's cereal bowl all over the floor. Milk, Cap'n Crunch (or yellow cereal as it is known here) and Cocoa Puffs (brown ball cereal) were everywhere. Why Cap'n Crunch and Cocoa Puffs? Because not only am I an AWESOME dad, I'm also an excellent nutritionist. Does it make me sound better if I tell you they had clementines and apples first? Oh well.

So I clean up the floor and take the boys up for a bath. They loved their bath and were so cute and clean(because like I said, I'm an awesome dad.) Before I put Itai's diaper on he insisted on throwing some trash away. On his way back he stopped and peed on the exact spot the cereal bowl landed. Do toddlers mark their territory these days? If so I may be in trouble. After cleaning that spot twice the rest of the floor looked that much dirtier. So I sent the boys into the clean front room while I swept and mopped the kitchen and dinning room. Obviously, I don't understand the system the boys have set up with their toys. They went into the front room and immediately reorganized the toys back to the way they were. I can almost hear the thoughts: "Let's see, the car went in the corner. The guitar was over here and the bus with it's children and driver were all the way from the couch to the door. Baby Elmo? Oh yeah, he was right in front of the toy box...with all of the toys dumped out beneath him."

Oh well, maybe the house will be clean tomorrow. Not if my nemesis has anything to do with it. The laundry basket, the most evil, sadistic thing we own. It enjoys taunting me. No matter how many times I empty it it always seems to fill back up. Then it sits there, waiting to see how long it will take for me to fold all the clothes so we can restart our little dance.

While I'm complaining about possessions, why do I even own a scale? That thing hates me. Everyday I work hard to please it, think about every time I eat and visit it hoping for good news. How does it repay my total devotion? By rewarding me with bad news! Ok, scale I have some news for you. I'm going to eat a cup of ice cream with milk so that when I'm done with the ice cream I can drink the chocolate milk! You know what else? I'm going to enjoy it and I'm not going to care what you have to say tomorrow. Oh, and tell the laundry basket that all the clothes are going to be folded by the end of the night and it can expect to be full again tomorrow (it's been a busy underwear day, what can I say?)

Why do I bother? Maybe it's because even when Avi is inventing new messes, like potty body art (I'll spare you the details, but let's just say it's been a busy bath day too.) or even if Itai has decided that everything I just swept up looks better scattered across the floor again they're still the best boys on earth. Maybe it's because even on a snowy day like this when Debbie would rather be home drinking hot chocolate and playing with us she's working to keep us fed and in a house. Whatever the reason, tomorrow I'll probably end up vacuuming, sweeping and mopping again. I'll definitely have more underwear to wash and second baths to give.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Itai's First Haircut

Neither of our boys made it to the tradition of getting their first hair cut on their third birthday. Itai's day came today. No more hair poking out over, around and behind his ears, no more cute little curl in the back, but the hair poking up between his two cowlicks in the back remains. Good luck with that one Itai! :)
Here he is before, just in case you've forgotten. I'm not sure what the look is all about, but he's still as cute as can be.
Here he is in his little vest.

He looks so different now! My little cutie. Poor little guy, he spent 487 days growing it out and we chopped it right off.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

And all through the house not a creature was stirring

Not even a mouse!
Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Potty Karma

Sorry, yet another potty post, but they keep happening and you keep reading. Avi had a great day with his potty yesterday. He woke up dry and stayed dry at school. At home he only had one underwear accident. The accident was pretty bad though. I found him in the kitchen just starting to poop. His underwear were messy, but nothing compared to what happened afterward. I took a picture but decided to spare you all. When I went to check in on him I found poop on his the potty seat, the top of it, the wall, the floor, the stool (not a play on words) and of course all over him. I was a little frustrated with the whole thing, but potty Karma was coming to make things right. That's right, the toilet swallowed Avi! Luckily Avi wasn't scared at all by this event. He actually thought it was kinda funny. If you're wondering what is on his face, well that's a slightly different story.

I've been having major trouble staying asleep lately. It's just one of the blessings of working the night shift. Anyway, yesterday I woke up a little after 4:00 in the morning and couldn't sleep. After a morning run run, getting the boys ready, three loads of laundry, Itai refusing to take a nap and Christmas shopping with two boys who didn't want to be there I was pretty exhausted. Debbie was kind enough to let me take a quick nap. While Itai and I took naps she did a quick load of laundry and let Avi color a picture. I guess somewhere along the way he decided that paper is ok, tables are fun, legs and hands are better, but faces are the best place to color. I came down from my power nap and found him like this. He's obviously proud of his artistic integrity. Isn't he the cutest tattooed toddler? Since were already talking about how cute my kids are here's some gratuitous cuteness from Itai.

Feel free to offer to babysit these cuties any time. :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Fort Fun

A blanket fort is just magical.

It's hard to believe that only 30 seconds

and a few blankets can create such big smiles.

Thirty seconds is also all you need to make a great



Friday, December 18, 2009

More Potty Time

Avi continues to make progress on potty training. He still struggles with going number two (it's just not natural for a grown man to say that!) but he has started saying need go potty or want Elmo potty. So yay Avi!

This story comes from Itai. Avi decided to try the toilet instead of his little potty. Itai is very curious about this whole potty thing. He followed Avi in. Before I could stop him he harassed Avi off the toilet and began splashing happily in the water. I came running in and closed the toilet lid and washed Itai's hands. While I was washing his hands Avi jumped up and said, "What happen?"

I look in his potty and see that he had peed. So we clean it out, flush the toilet and wash his hands. As we leave the bathroom Itai is waiting. I kneel down and give him a little kiss. He smiles at me and then pokes at my eye. I give an over exaggerated ow! He laughs and then pokes his finger in my mouth. I start play chewing on it when suddenly I think, "Wasn't that hand wrist deep in toilet water?"

What follows is some spitting and sputtering and hysterical laughing from Itai. Yuck!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Huge Little Victory

As I've mentioned before the psychologist who originally diagnosed Avi didn't give us a very pretty picture. It involved a child who couldn't do anything for himself or reciprocate love in anyway. Hearing something like that leaves you feeling pretty bad. Well today all I have to say is, "Take this Dr. Mike!" Is that too prideful? Oh well, I'm not perfect.

I thought back then (and in times more recent) that I would never live to see him do something like us his spoon with such command.

Or dress himself.

Well...sort of. I'm not sure what's with the color on this picture. Other than coats, he's been doing really well dressing himself in shoes, socks, underwear and pants. Oh, and hats too.

Or engage in turn taking games. No picture for this one, you'll know why in just a second. Today we picked up some sufganiot for Debbie's work party and went out to the car. While I was putting Itai in his seat Avi suddenly took of running yelling, "Stay here!"

I closed the door telling Itai I'd be right back and sprinted, yes sprinted after Avi who was now three stores down from me. When I finally caught him he was four stores down from our parking spot! I'll skip the part where I wanted to scream and go right to me putting him in his seat and telling him it's very dangerous to run in a parking lot and that I don't like to leave Itai alone to chase him. So yeah, I didn't get a picture of his world record race to get away.

I never did believe him about Avi not being able to show love. He's always been affectionate and loving.

So...take that Dr. Mike!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sad...Just Sad

Dear Food Court Chair,

While I appreciate your honesty, there are better ways than breaking to tell a person it is time to lose some weight. Next time you could try something more tactful, like creaking loudly or maybe even cracking, but when you break in front of the whole food court of Christmas shoppers it just leaves me feeling embarrassed.

I'm sorry if I hurt you,


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Andes Brothers Inc.

Is your driveway covered in snow?
Is your dad too lazy to shovel the snow himself? Our professionals are standing by for all your snow removal needs.
Call now!

Now tell me...

What kind of dad would take away the snow shovel
and make his kids work with such tiny little shovels?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Keeping the Faith

I told myself not to blog. I seem to be developing a healthy addiction. I tried to stop myself, but here I am, and since you're here now why not?

Overall I would say I'm a pretty positive person. I honestly do recognize that I have it pretty good. I have two of the best children on the planet. My wife is a ceaseless fountain of amazement and perseverance (luckily for me!), I have a job and school is going well. I know that God lives and His Son is my personal Redeemer. I live free in the wonderful country and no matter what foolishness I find myself in my friends and my family support me. So first off, Debbie, thank you for sticking with me despite my constant battling against the "injustices" I see around me. You must have some secret stash of patience to have put up with me for this long.

Despite all of the great things in my life my hope sometimes runs low. It is so hard to stay positive when looking at a denied stamp on the application that would give your son the services he needs. It is difficult to stay positive when your wife asks if it is really worth it to do work so hard and still be denied coverage that should be a essential right. It is difficult beyond word or measure to look at your beloved son and know that relief is within reach, but is beyond your grasp. This is just one of the reasons I'm convinced God cares about the suffering of parents; He's experienced it more deeply than I could begin to fathom. It is difficult to stay positive when all the right choices seem to bring all the wrong results. You see, today Debbie found out that the ABA treatment we desperately want for Avi will cost $880/month. I want to believe that something incredible can happen, but in the face of such opposition it strains my hope.

So, I cry and rant on the internet to an unknown audience. Well, unknown audience, do mind if I tell a little story? It was the end of the first miserable winter on my mission. Following two difficult companions and the last minute change that left me a junior companion again I was feeling pretty worn out. My companion and I had no investigators and no prospects. We didn't even know our area very well. One night after spending the whole day tracting in the rain we started home. We were both wet, but one of us was about to get a lot more wet. We didn't realize it, but no buses were running at that time of night and we had a long, rainy walk home. When a mini bus went speeding past us my companion turned to try and flag it down and, so doing, stepped into an open sewer grate with real raw sewage. I knew this would send him over the edge and the next day would be difficult to get him out of the apartment. I was feeling pretty down (though he was probably feeling worse) as we made our way to the bridge and eventually home. But I still remember on the back roads of a tiny area of a small town in the middle of one of the most insignificant countries in the world I felt comforted. The words of the hymn When Faith Endures came flooding my mind and warming my heart. I often reflected on them throughout the most difficult times on my mission. Those of you with your speakers on are listening to my favorite version of this hymn.

So this morning as I sit feeling beleaguered by hopelessness I try to remember that I will not doubt, I will not fear. No matter how the rain may pour or how insignificant the road I walk, God's love and strength are always near.

Thanks for reading this far, maybe you'll read a little further? I honestly feel better knowing, or perhaps believing that eventually you will be reading this. And despite the fact that you aren't here right now, you strengthen me. Thank you for checking in on me. Honestly, I feel better. If you feel so inclined, maybe you could leave a quick note about how you renew your hope. Really, I feel much better now. Yes, I cried. I've recently decided I don't care who thinks it's not masculine, I'll cry when I feel like it! I'm just curious about you.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Adventures in Pottydom

Potty training is going pretty well. Debbie decided that he needs to wear just his underwear no matter what happens. This experiment has only been going for this week, but Avi is already making great progress. He is coming home with dry diapers and waking up dry. He still has a few struggles with it, but overall he's doing great. Today has been an interesting day with potty time.

Avi's major struggle, number two. I guess that's a nice way of saying it. Anyway, he doesn't like to do it unless he's standing up in a room separated from everyone else. This change has been difficult for him, but he's coping with it. His favorite coping mechanism is sneaking off and doing it in his underwear before we catch him. That's what he did today, only this time I caught him before he could really get started. I put him on his potty to finish up. Itai can't help but follow Avi everywhere he goes but this one was messy! It was really difficult trying to clean him up and keep Itai at bay in that tiny room so I kicked Itai out. I could hear him bumping into the door trying to get it open. Luckily for me he hasn't figure out the lock yet! Suddenly I couldn't hear him anymore. I didn't think about until I saw something out of the corner of my eye. I glanced over and saw four little fingers under the door wrapped around the pacifier that lie on our side of the door. Poor little Itai was struggling like crazy to get it under the door.

During dinner tonight Avi suddenly stood up and started walking away saying he was all done. Debbie asked what else he wanted. As he ran off he shouted, "Orange!"
I peeled an orange for him but wanted to wait until Itai finished eating to bring it out. Itai sat eating while Avi played in his tent. When he finished up I brought out the orange and gave him his part. I noticed Avi had rearranged the furniture in the tent. Weird, I thought. When he came towards me I noticed he was wet. Grrrrr. Oh well, clothes off and back on the potty. Then I had to go find out what part of the house was wet. First stop: the tent. Suddenly I realized why he had rearranged the furniture. When I lifted his little couch I found his hidden secret. That sneaky little boy has learned to cover his tracks!

So while I'm busy getting this cleaned up and Avi on his potty Itai was packing a secret of his own, a REALLY messy diaper. I didn't notice until the bath was full and I pulled his diaper off. Silly me, I thought four dirty diapers in one day were enough. And while we're on the subject, I don't remember feeding him grass so what was all that green stuff in his diaper? Ok, back to the story...the wipes were downstairs so I had to run him down to clean him up while he screamed about being taken away from the tub. I finally got everyone clean, dry and Itai covered in Desitin.

I'm not sure how these boys plan these things. Some sort of telepathic trouble making talent? However they plan this out they make life an adventure! Oh and what an adventure! By the way, does Desitin make me smell like less of a man? :) I actually kinda like the smell.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Little Shopper

This is my first and probably last, "look at this deal" post, but I had to show off. :)

Avi owed Itai a Christmas present so we went to Kohl's to shop. One of the reasons we stopped there was because on Black Friday I did some shopping and received ten Kohl's bucks back. I'd love to tell you what I bought, but there is a chance Debbie will take a look at this so I can't give away any secrets. I will say I saved plenty on her gifts as well. Sorry Debbie, you'll have to wait until Christmas.

As soon as we arrived at the toys both boys went wild! Itai was trying to open packages and Avi was pulling everything he could reach off of the racks. Luckily for us we weren't thrown out of the store for looting! All of the toys were 40%-60% off so we had a lot of looking to do. While the boys were attacking the toys "Avi" was able to find two toys for Avi: a rumble truck and an Elmo bath toy.

Total price after the Kohl's bucks? $1.47! Good shopping Avi!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

My New Decision

I cannot remember a time when people weren't asking about my eyes or making fun of them. I have had the lovely nicknames of ching chong, I think I'm turning Japanese (too long to stick), Chinese devil, white ninja and Chwexican (that's Chinese-White-Mexican). There maybe more but these are the ones that stuck out.

A few weeks ago yet another patient asked me what my "nationality." While I thought about saying American and not paying attention to here thinly veiled attempt to find out if I'm Asian or not, but I decided to give her the information she was looking for. I told her that my family is a mix of just about anything you could think of, everything except Asian. She did not believe me, so she asked, "No Asian at all? Are you sure?"

Other than being a little annoyed with the stupid way she asked I told her that I am mostly German. She responded by shouting, "German? German? They don't have eyes like that!" She said this so loudly that the nurses at the station begin to look in.

I start blushing a bit with frustration and embarrassment. I finish my test and leave, handing the EKG to the nurse who is looking at my eyes trying to decide if I really am Asian or not.

So after this I decided that I'll have to get some plastic surgery to correct my eyes, just to keep people from asking me what my nationality is.

That plan seemed good until last night. I did an EKG on an older, very angry lady. As soon as I stepped into the room she looked at me and asked, "Why do you shave your head?"

This question comes up at work nearly as much as the eye question. Apparently, my bald head is very offensive to the older population. Then I realized, I can get my eyes changed, but then what? Hair plugs? That doesn't sound very appealing. I could try a toupee with scalp snaps like my grandpa, but that sounds painful. Then there is my nose, not many people ask about it, but how would they ask that? Are you related to an elephant? How about my Adam's apple? Would I have to get corrective surgery to fix that too?

So I decided it's much cheaper to just put up with the questions about my eyes and head and see what kind of creative nicknames people come up with.

He Makes Me Smile, Too

The other day Avi's bus pulled up to the house and I went out to meet him. Avi came bounding to me smiling. The driver told me as they pulled up Avi looked over and said, "Avi house!"

As we walked inside I asked him where he was and he excitedly said, "Avi house!" I thought about it and I realized that he really does believe this is his house and he really does rule the roost. What? You need proof? Well, I just happen to have some!

While this one is true of just about anywhere Avi goes it is especially true of him at home. If you have a plate or bowl or even a handful of food you can bet that it won't take Avi long to come over and carefully investigate. Then he'll probably get a little closer, maybe even lean on your legs and eventually steal something from you when your guard is down. Chips and cereal are particularly vulnerable, but if you come to visit don't leave your drink, desert items, sandwiches or fruit unattended long.

Exhibit B: We cannot forget that Avi has two beds in the house. Normally he sleeps in his own bed, but sometimes he will climb into our bed or will stand there staring at us until we pick him up (that can be kinda scary to wake up and see) and let him in our bed. This is where he establishes his dominance. He finds a nice comfy spot right in the middle of the bed. Once we're all settled he will suddenly push his butt out forcing Debbie to scoot closer to the edge of the bed. Then suddenly he'll slide his head into mine. Once I've moved away from his battering ram head he strikes with his next weapon: tiny feet of fury. His feet always seem to land in the right spot to make me get as far away from him as quickly as possible. Thus, having won the majority of the bed, he stretches in every direction and enjoys his prize.

Of course, there's the toys in every room of the house, item after item purchased to serve some therapeutic purpose and enough Little Einstein's paraphernalia to start some sort of cult. But wait there's more!

Sometimes while exploring every inch of our little home Avi is overcome with love for someone. This comes suddenly, almost explosively. This may result in his strange, yet affectionate butt kiss. Yes, he really runs up from behind me and kisses my butt or thigh. I can't wait until this little phase is past! I guess I should consider myself lucky; Itai has it far worse than I. Avi will be playing near him and suddenly feel a great swell of affection and before Itai knows what is happening to him he is wrapped up in a monster bear hug so huge that it inevitably takes them both to the floor. That's right, the rare tackle hug. Then when he has Itai pinned down he squeezes him and mashes his face onto Itai's. Most of the time Itai laughs his head off, but sometimes, like when they don't land on carpet, he doesn't think it is so funny.

The last piece of evidence for now is he owns all of the clothes in the house. He will take our shoes, jackets, hats and whatever else he can get his hands on. He loves parading around in our shoes smiling the whole time. Is he smiling because he thinks it looks funny? Because he knows likes the feel of over sized clothes? Maybe. Or maybe it's because he knows that the world is his oyster, or our house at least.

Yes, we live in "Avi House" and we love it!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

He Makes Me Smile

Am I a bad dad for laughing at my kids? They do the funniest things, even when they don't mean to. I can't help but laugh out loud at some of the things. Here are a few of my favorites from Itai from the last few weeks.

He loves to imitate Avi, no matter what he is doing. The other day Avi was being punished in the corner. Itai came to investigate all the crying. He saw Avi in the corner and looked at me, clearly trying to determine what was happening. Once I told him Avi was taking a time out he walked quickly to the corner (well, as close to the corner as Avi would let him) and stuck his nose against the wall.

Another time Avi was standing looking at the wall when he started to rub his hands across it. I don't know if he likes the texture or what, but I decided to join in the activity. I said, "Oh, are you cleaning the walls? OK, cleaning! Cleaning, cleaning the walls!" as I rubbed my hands back and forth. Itai ran over and joined in as well. I'm not sure what on earth he thought we were doing, but he knew that if Avi was doing it, he wanted to do it too. Now both of them run to the wall and start rubbing it as soon as I say, "Let's clean the wall!" (This may come in handy once I figure out how to transfer this to dishes.)

Itai loves taking a bath. The other day I got his clothes off and set him down. Avi was standing between him and the tub so Itai found a way around. It just so happened that the way around took him squeezing between the toilet and Avi and over some toilet paper. It got stuck to his foot. Now, that was enough to make me smile and giggle a bit, but his reaction made laugh out loud. He looked down at it and shook his foot a few times. It didn't come off. Then he tried rubbing it on the rug, but still it was stuck. A few more shakes failed to get it off. He decided to just take it into the bath with him. He tried to climb into the tub but he saw the toilet paper again. He bent down to pull it this time, but his weight kept it stuck underneath him. He was so bugged by it that he looked at me and said, "Uh!" Then he tried to stick out his foot for me to pull it off. Unfortunately for him, this sudden shift in balance left him on his stomach with the toilet paper still stuck to him.

Itai loves hats almost as much as he loves baths. After Avi asked for his Mickey Mouse hat and got it, Itai wanted something to wear. The only hand handy was my baseball cap. I put it on his head even though it was far too big for him. He loved wearing it. He thought it was so funny to pull the brim of the hat down over his eyes. I tried to catch him, but it was too late. He walked headlong into the garbage can knocking him down while making a loud crash. Itai thought this was funny too, he kept bumping into it hoping to get a reaction.

While I was changing Avi's diaper I see Itai inspecting something on his fingers. I couldn't quite see what it was, but when I asked him what he was looking at he ran. He may as well have said, "I don't know what it is, but I shouldn't have it and I'm not going to let you have it!" With a big, messy diaper on my hands all I could do was watch and make sure he didn't eat whatever it was. He eventually made his way to the wall and started wiping his finger on it. It was then I realized what it was. A booger! Once he got it off his wall and securely stuck to the wall he walked off happy as could be. Maybe I should have made him do the "cleaning the wall" trick. Why didn't I think of that before??

Lastly, he loves putting things in their place (this isn't to say he doesn't love making a mess). He likes putting crayons back in their ziplock bag, puzzle pieces with their puzzles and nesting cups in their place. He also loves bringing trash to us and getting permission to throw it away, especially diapers. So, the other day he brings the diaper I had just taken off of him and I tell him he's right, it needs to go into the the trash can. I watch him carry it off and carefully place it in the trash can. Then he decides he wants to see where it ended up. He gets up on tiptoes, pushes the flap back and peers down into the trash can. Then I notice that his mouth is directly on the trash can. I go running over telling him, "No, no. Don't put your mouth on the trash can," to which he replies by opening his mouth with laughter. Yuck!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


When I was younger my parents, church leaders, school counselors and others were always telling me I needed a plan. I really did, but try as I might I could never decide on what to do. Serve a mission...then what? It took a while but I finally made my plans. There is a funny thing about plans though; they sometimes go awry.

That is what I am thankful for this year. I know it sounds crazy, but I'm grateful that no matter how well planned, things can take a very different direction. I certainly don't feel happy about the change when it happens but I try to remember this talk by Hugh B. Brown.

Autism was never in the plans. When was first introduced to us I felt like it was a disturber of our peace, an invader of our plans. But by realizing that the Gardener knows better what to do with Avi and our family I have found that autism fits perfectly in the the true plan. The same is true for PFO's TIA's and everything else unexpected in my life. Thank Heaven I wasn't allowed to make my life what I had planned on making it.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Little Buddy

Itai has become my little buddy lately. He gets so upset when he sees me wearing my scrubs. He runs up to me and insists that I pick him up and carry him with me everywhere I go. If I'm facing the cabinets he squeezes himself in between me and the cabinets and pushes me away, looks up and pushes his hands up towards me saying, "Uh, uh!" This is Itai-isian for "You will pick me up!" I really like having a fan. He's a bit like the "my little buddy" I had when I was young, only better. He really makes me laugh, he gives great hugs and kisses and best of all if he gets paint in his hair it isn't stuck forever!

One of my favorite things he does is his sudden visits. He'll be playing with whatever toy or book and he'll suddenly pick it up and bring it over and plop down, make himself comfortable and share it. Then, just as suddenly as he came, he leaves. I love having a crayon-eating, juice-guzzling, kiss-giving, messy-making little buddy. I hope that when he's older he'll still stop by unexpectedly and share whatever he is involved in with me. Being a dad is sooo much better than owning a My Little Buddy Doll!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

An Indelible Mark

One of Avi's favorite things on Earth is his set of markers. He loves everything about them. He can name the colors while playing with them, they roll, he can stand them up and knock them down oh, and he can use them to color. He loves them so much that they make the perfect quiet time toy. If I need to make dinner I can give him some paper and his markers and I don't have to worry about what he's doing. Well, until recently. He decided that our, "yellow table" is the perfect canvas for his art. So now while he's coloring and I'm cooking I take little breaks to check on the table. Its fine, I was already taking little breaks to make sure that Itai isn't eating his crayons.

So yesterday while Itai was sleeping Avi was playing with his markers. He was perfectly content with them. A quick check of the table turned up a clean, still yellow table. I did think it was kinda weird that he hadn't turned his paper into a jumble of circles, scribbles and dots, but not weird enough to think much of it.

So then I notice this:

Hmmm, that seems a little strange. So I pull his legs out from under the table and find this:

The table is no longer the perfect canvas for his art, it seems his body has taken that place. The funny thing about the whole thing is that he obviously knew he wasn't supposed to do it, but he still thought it was funny when I caught him. This is seriously how he looked when I caught him:

Note to self: check for half eaten crayons, re-decorated tables and tattooed children.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Book Report

A friend at work suggested that I read the book "The Horse Boy." It is the story of a family who is dealing with their son's autism as well as they can. In the midst of the confusion and uncertainty the father realizes that his son has an emotional connection with horses. Since he also has a personal connection with shamans the father decides to find a place where horses and shamans come together. The place he finds the two combined is Mongolia. He convinces his wife to travel to the ends of the earth in an attempt to "heal" their son. They leave their home in Texas, travel to England and end up in Mongolia. Their journey has them traveling by plane, van and horse.
This book tells a truly unique story; not many people look to Mongolia for the treatment of anything! Love, open mindedness and determination are key principles that shine through in this story of struggle and acceptance.
Oh...and there is a documentary of the same name depicting the experience.

My Social Work class was assigned the book, "The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls. This book is strangely engrossing. It describes Jeannette's strange and nomadic childhood with her paranoid, alcoholic father and her bipolar (my guess) mother. Throughout her childhood her family faces poverty, hunger, inadequate clothing, heat and sanitation. Her parents both struggle to stay employed. Her father is frequently drunk and even when he is not he is contemptible and argumentative. Her mother is a bit of a free spirit who lacks the discipline to arrive on time, stick to lesson plans and sometimes to even go to school. Her parents were successful at engaging the imaginations and curiosity of their children. The children were all very intelligent, often too intelligent for their teacher's liking. The beginning of the book tells the story of an evening ruined. Jeannette is on her way to a party in Manhattan when she sees her mother digging through dumpsters. Jeannette returns to her expensive apartment and ponders how her mother was brought so low. I was compelled to get to the end of this book, despite my repulsion to her parents' indifference, to satisfy my curiosity.

If anyone wants to borrow either book just ask. The Glass Castle is currently on loan, but I would be happy to loan it out again as soon as it comes back.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Housekeeper Slam

In the last post I mentioned how I seem to have fooled some people. This week the universe decided to let me know that not everyone was fooled by my bald head and chwexican shaped way of a housekeeper.

This housekeeper cleans my department at work and he really likes to talk. He really, REALLY likes to talk. He spent over an hour and a half telling me about the problems his family is having dealing with the inheritance after his mother's death. When he finished telling me the story he apologized for, "chewing my ear off."

I told him that it was ok, that this is what I want to do for a living. He asked, "What's that?"

I told him I want to be a therapist. He said, "Oh, you'll be good at that. The best therapists have in inner ability to listen and empathize. They aren't necessarily the smartest, but they know how to listen."


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Who me?

Preface: I am in no way fishing for a compliment with this post. I really just want to share this for the sheer entertainment value. Thanks for understanding. :)

Strange things have been happening to me lately. For some reason people seem to be under the false impression that I am smart. First, a nurse in the emergency room has been asking me questions about EKGs for a few weeks now and while I do have a cursory knowledge of EKGs I am not the person you want to ask for help. I answered his question and went to do my test. I came out of the room to find him standing at the door. He turned to the student next to him and said, "This is Jared. He's the EKG guru. If you every need help, he's the man to ask."

I smiled and said, "Nice to meet you," and muttered something about not being a guru. I walked away thinking about how funny it was.

On another occasion a nursed asked for a good reference book on EKGs. I gave a few suggestions and mentioned a book that is frequently used by doctors but goes over my head. After looking for the books on the Internet the nurse asked a doctor about them. When they discussed the difficult book I mentioned the doctor told the nurse, "Jared is just being modest. He probably understands the whole book. He knows EKGs inside and out."

How nice to know that I have two people fooled! That book may as well been written in Swahili! I started to read it a few years ago hoping to get an edge, but gave up after the first page.

At school people in my classes seem to think I have some deep understanding of the material. This one really surprises me considering they have seen my test scores!

I have come up with a few theories. My first theory involves my Asian looking eyes. The stereotype applies to white guys too, I guess. Theory number two is my shiny head. I know that some people think my head is good luck. I know because so many patients ask me if they can rub my head for luck! Maybe some of them think that a bald head means something is going on in there. Lastly, I think it could be because I know when not to say anything. This theory only works if you can believe I ever keep quiet!

Whatever the reason is, I'm just trying to keep these people in the dark about the true inner workings (or inner idleness) of my brain. It's a little like playing dress up; I get to pretend to be someone I'm not.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

He is a he

So the three of you would never be guilty of this I'm sure, but you get to listen to me vent nonetheless. Sorry. :)

After a recent trip to the doctor, a conversation with a friend and numerous conversations with a certain hyperbaric chamber operator I have grown very tired of the word they. The dentist, who has some autistic tendencies of his own, spoke with me about Avi. He said, "Go to the website and type in his name and do the tour. They do better after they are more familiar. They like it when we keep them in the same room. We'll keep him with the same hygienist, they like that. We'll let him wear the heavy lead vest, they really like that." And on and on.

The friend was asking things like, "Don't they sit in the corner and rock? They never learn to talk, right?"

I won't get into what the operator said, they are too many and too inane to repeat. I know that their use of the word is not meant to be offensive and I try not to let it bother me, but he really is not a they, he is a he. He is a person aside from his diagnosis. I hate to think that he might be defined by it for the rest of his life.

Anyway, you readers would never talk about him like that so I apologize for subjecting you to my rant.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Still Time for the Park

Our complex added a very small playground area a few weeks ago so we had to go try it out. The slide is really steep and fast and it threw Avi right off the end! It he laughed really hard, but I could tell he was scared of it. After going down a few times he refused to go up again. I climbed the ladder with him in my arms and he was screaming, "Abba!! Want Abba!" He was laughing as hard as he could while we went down together.

Itai on the other hand loved the slide. He went down over and over again. The sand was a new experience for Itai and while he didn't like walking in it he loved digging around in it with a plastic hammer he found.

It was fun to play while the weather isn't freezing!
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