Friday, July 17, 2009

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.

That quote comes from Winston Churchill. I think Avi would love it if we could afford to bring him to horse therapy. Until then we'll just have to keep going to the Thanksgiving Point farms. At least this is a cheap way of getting him on a horse, even if it isn't trained for therapy.
We went again this week. Luckily, or maybe not actually, this time we remembered to bring some quarters along to feed the animals. Once again Avi loved it. Itai was awake this time, but didn't get to ride a horse (ima says he's too small.) but he got to see all the animals, feel the heat and spend some time cuddled up with Debbie while Avi ran laps around the place.
Avi threw the food to the animals, but didn't want to have them eat out of his hand; he left that for me. I didn't really think that an alpaca, cow, goat or sheep would eat from my hand, covering it with their very thick saliva but there I found myself, with my hand outstretched, emptied of food, wet by animal tongue. Yuck!

I think Avi and the horses would like it better if I weren't walking beside them, but I'm not brave enough to let him go alone. The horses always seem to give me a look, warning me not to do anything stupid. On our second trip around the carosel one of the other horses let out a loud whinny and tried to pull away from its rider. It was really upset. Avi looked up at it and said "Oh, gosh!" (That's Debbie's influence right there.) :)

My favorite part of the ride was when Avi looked up and saw Itai on Debbie's lap and gave them a great, big smile. He was so happy to see them whil he rode on the horse. His second horse was a little too big for him, but the blond one he rode first, the one in the pictures, was just right. If only I didn't make it so skittish.

Itai's Big Changes

Itai has had some pretty fun changes in the last few weeks. While he's been very smiley and happy at home, he can be very shy outside. Lately that quiet smile, and those twisted sucked in lips have been replaced by a great big smile. He absolutely loves bubbles and that's about all you need to make him scream and coo with joy. He also loves his bath (but he still really, REALLY hates the pool!) and loves to play splash with Avi. Those two could splash in the tub until its empty or until they are permanently pruned.

He also learned to climb the stairs this week. I ran upstairs to grab a pacifier and turned right back around to find him on the second step. It was quite a surprise! I almost grabbed him to get him safely off the stairs, but I decided to see how far he could go. He didn't stop until he was all the way at the top. He loved it! He sat at the top of the landing an looked over the room as if from a throne. Its too bad that Avi was at school, he loves it when Itai does things for the first time.

He has also learned that you can open some of the cabinets in the kitchen and pull out the pots and pans. He also learned that banging those things together or on the floor can be very fun. Avi never really realized that and thinks its so funny. We wonder what Itai will find next!

We decided to take away the walker after reading that it could delay walking. He isn't walking yet, but he is really trying. He is using everything he can to stand and cruise. His favorite place to stand is under the table or by one of the chairs. He's starting to let go for a little bit before grabbing on for dear life. He wasn't able to catch himself yesterday and ended up flat on his face, poor little guy. He is trying so hard to stand up and walk on his own that it can't be long before he is walking freely. That should be interesting. Its hard enough to keep Itai away from Avi now!
Hopefully in the next few weeks I'll be able to post his first steps and maybe even his first word!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Deborah!

So, one other thing. This week is Debbie's birthday. We'll be having a party for her later today. Happy birthday sweetie!

For anyone who doesn't know, Debbie is an amazing mom. When I disappear for three straight days she satys home with the kids, lovingly an patiently doing everyting they need all by herself. She lets me sleep even though she is exhausted and in need of sleep herself. She has taught Avi almost everything he knows. One of his favorite signs is still mommy. He signs it everyday. He asks for her every day when she goes to work, especially when I'm making him do things he doesn't want to do. Itai absolutely adores her! Those big, bright, blue eyes search for her, hoping to find her. Should I be holding him anywhere near her his little arms will stretch out to her.

She's also a great wife. She is so supportative of me no matter what I do. She leaves early in the morning to work and forces herself to stay when what she really wants to do is come home and rest, or play with her kids. She is so kind and loving.

Debbie, thank you for everything and happy birthday!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Presentation and School's Out

So Avi's preschool is out for the summer. Every day he asks us for "yellow car" or "bus." We have to tell him that his bus won't be back until next month. :( Luckily the school is year round this year (next year it will be going to the traditional format). Before the end of the year they had a program for the parents. The students came walking in single file and Avi was towards the back. You could see that he was suprised to see all of the people in the room and when he saw us he seemed very confused. This is a place he'd never seen us before and didn't expect this intrusion in his other world.

The presentation was "boom chicka chicka boom." Avi was so happpy to say it when the teacher asked, sadly that was the last thing he said, even in front of the microphone. He had fun though. We're hoping that next year, when he's in the program longer, he'll be able to participate a little more. The students sang a song for each letter. Avi's favorite was "Kiss Your Brain."
The last day of school we told Avi to say goodbye to Miss Sally. We don't know if he told her goodbye or not, but now he says Miss Sally all the time. She is moving to a different class next year so Avi will have a new teacher and a new name to learn. So bye Miss Sally and thanks for everything.

Now that school is out we've been trying to find fun things to do. We've done a trip to Thanksgiving Point's Country Farms, The Living Aquarium and Cabella's. Avi loved the horse ride at Thanksgiving point. But the thing he's liked most this summer was the tiny inflatable pool in our backyard. He could have stayed there all day, but once his lips turned blue and he couldn't stop shivering it was time to call it quits. This week we're planning on a trip to the zoo and the children's museum.
Poor Itai falls asleep on almost every outting. He does enjoy having Avi home o follow, climb on and laugh at. He is so happy to dig in the toy box, chew on anything he can get his mouth on and climb up on any unsuspecting lap of anyone sitting anywhere low enough for him to reach. We're waiting to get his second hearing screening and are anxious for that. I love how he stares so intently into our eyes. He hated the little backyard pool so badly that he grabbed my shirt and pulled up his legs so I couldn't put him in. I eventually got his feet in but he still didn't like it. I'm trying to find something that he'll love to do, maybe a horse ride. :)

Friday, July 3, 2009

What I Love About Autism

I feel like I’ve focused a lot on the negative or frustrating parts of autism. While there is so much that is difficult: the therapies, preschools, new diagnoses, meltdowns, misunderstandings, potty training problems, and cashiers who constantly ask him his name or age and wonder aloud why he isn’t responding (as if I needed to hear that question verbalized!) But the truth is that there are many things about autism, or having a child on the spectrum, that I do like. I thought I should share a few these.

This is what I like about autism:

I love that when you meet a parent of a child on the spectrum you have an instant sense of community, of caring, compassion and unity. It doesn’t matter how old the parent or child, whether its autism, asperger’s or pdd-nos (or even mitochondrial disorder/disease/dysfunction), there is an immediate reaction, a bond that helps buoy you both. Thank heaven for other parents who reach out, open up and lift others.

I love the little secret world and secret language I share with Avi. It brings us so close together. Few can understand the things he says so we get to interpret for him. Few people understand how we talk to him so they just don’t get to come in. I love having something with him that no one else can have. Things like yellow cereal, orange apple, stomp goodbye, shev and others are our little secrets. J

I love the constant state of spiritual wonder this has placed me in. Being a father has taught me many things. My sons have taught me many spiritual truths which I never could have learned otherwise. Though it seems Avi is some times in his own world he often comes back to ours to astound with a word, phrase or sentence. One thing that fills me with spiritual wonder is a dream I have of kneeling before the Savior, washing his feet in my tears and thanking Him for the unrivaled, unparalleled and unimaginable sacrifice He committed on the part of His unworthy and undeserving brothers and sisters. Then rising I stand (finally understanding fully the hymn “I Stand All Amazed!”) and turn to see my son made whole and perfect in everyway through the majestic merits of our Savior. Even now I weep at the thought of His power’s endless reach. He, in that moment of awful agony, could have chosen to let that cup pass, but instead He embraced it and so doing embraced us. God be thanked for perfect paternal love that sent a beloved Son to wayward and prodigal children! I hope that I can hold faithful and true so that some day I can experience this dream and thank Him for his support, comfort and forgiveness. God be thanked for His Son!

Lastly, I love Avi, my Avi. He it is that I love first, last and best about autism; if fact he is the best thing ever to happen to autism! Such a sweet and beautiful soul, one in whom there truly is no guile! Each “I love you!” each “Abba” each kiss is precious, a long awaited and jealously guarded treasure. I wish each parent could feel the pure joy of so small an expression. I love the little kisses he gives to Itai and that as much as he protests having him share his toys, and books and his life in general, he still prefers him to be there for baths, for shopping trips and even for late night laughs.

While not everything is as I would have planned I have truly learned from an amazing talk by Elder Wirthlin entitled, “Come What May and Love It.” This simple phrase is marvelously eloquent and wise. It is a wonder to have so many good things in my life: a wonderful wife, two beautiful sons and life that is better than I had right to hope for. I hope that no matter what the future holds I can say, “Come what may” and truly love it.
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