Sunday, August 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Itai!

Wednesday was Itai's birthday. It seems incredible that an entire year has passed since he was born. In that time Itai has moved three times (four if you count the move out of the hospital!), been to Disneyland twice, popped out six teeth (bitten me once), developed a taste for almost every solid food, started walking, learned to climb the stairs, sat in the ocean, fallen in love with Sesame Street, earned a nickname from grandma, the staff at his doctors office and his big brother, and so much more. What a busy year for the little guy!
I think back on his birth and can't believe how well he's flourished since those initial terrifying moments. After the chest compressions, the respiratory treatments and missed feedings he finally came home. Avi wasn't sure about having this new addition in his home, but since then he has grown quite accustomed to him. He loves sharing his bath and the pool with him. He even prefers Itai be his bed when Avi goes down for the night. And for his part, Itai adores Avi! He loves giving Avi hugs and kisses, watching him do everything and trying to follow him.
On his birthday he took his first steps. He's still a little unsteady on his feet but he's really determined to get on his feet and get moving.
We love our big, blue eyed boy. He's been a wonderful addition to our family and a great companion for Avi. Happy First Birthday Itai Noah! :) We love you!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

To Deborah

This week we took Avi to a new school hoping to get him enrolled in their preschool program, and by default their speech therapy. The result was predictably another waiting list. But this entry isn't really about the two hours of question and answer, of observation of Avi or even of the funny things he said and did while we were there. No, this blog is about a moment, just a brief moment in that room. The worker was asking us a lot of questions about our families, our relationship with our children and then our relationship with each other. She asked, "How do you think all of this (all of this being Autism and the "all of this" that only a parent of such a child could know). I started to formulate an answer in my head, thinking about the stress, the time consuming therapies and preschools, worry, self doubt and frustration that sometimes creep in when all of the sudden the moment hit me.
It surprised me and I have to say that sitting here remembering it I'm still awash in the power of that moment. Before I could open my mouth to give my carefully formulated answer, you, Debbie, were answering. You said, "I wouldn't want anyone else." Then explained to the worker why. I was so lost in the moment that I didn't really hear what followed. You are such a beautiful example of love. In that moment where you looked at me so lovingly and fully understandingly that my love and awe were renewed yet again. Thank you.
I didn't get to say it then but I'm saying it now in front of the whole Internet (and all three followers of our blog!) that I wouldn't want anyone else either. I wouldn't want anyone else to hold my hand. To wake up and hold me when I soak my pillow with tears in the still of the night when I think I can get away with it. I wouldn't want anyone else to raise my boys, to show them the love that they will carry out into the world. To teach them the things that, try as they might, fathers just can't teach. I wouldn't want anyone else to push me out of bed and drag me to church. I wouldn't want anyone else to pass through this life, embracing its trials, its joys, its incredibly rich experiences or anyone else to hold hands with through the eternities into the unknown joy that awaits us. Deborah, I wouldn't want anyone else, ever. Thank you.
Just so you know, I still remember the first time I saw you. The sunlight lighting you from behind, highlighting the curls that you try so hard to straighten. My memory seems to pass in slow motion as I passed by you afraid to talk to you yet strangely feeling compelled to. I have no idea what I said to you, but I remember your beautiful smile that lit up your face as we spoke. I remember that despite the Macey's uniform you were the most beautiful thing my eyes had ever been lucky enough to fall on. Though, thankfully, the uniform is gone one thing has not changed, you are still beautiful. You still amaze and inspire me. And someday, when I grow up, I want to be like you.
Debbie, thank you for talking to me that day. Thank you for so many things, too numerous, too amazing to write here. Thank you for that beautiful moment in a tiny room of an old building. Thank you for every beautiful moment of everyday.

I love you.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Our Newest Mess-Maker

Some of Itai's new favorite activities include opening up the drawer to the pots and pulling them out, standing at his diaper basket and pulling them out and putting them all over the floor and helping Avi pull out every single toy out of the toy box and spreading them as far over the floor as possible.

Taking Our Zoo to the Zoo!

The zoo had been calling to me for weeks. I kept seeing the billboards, hearing the radio commercials and thinking about whether or not Avi and Itai would enjoy it. School's out for Avi and me so I decided to do it and see if it was something either Avi or Itai would like. The drive took a little longer than I imagined it would and I was starting to wonder if it was going to be worth the trip.
After wondering around for a few minutes, trying to get my bearings, we stopped at the first animal habitat. In front of us stood two elephants, close to where we stopped. They stood so large and imposingly that I couldn't imagine Avi wouldn't notice them I kept pointing at them trying to get them to look. Avi was far more fascinated with the little stream running through the habitat than the elephants. Then the larger of the two suddenly turned and while trumpeting violently collided with the smaller. This, I thought, was something that Avi could not have missed, but when I asked again what he saw the answer was, "Water!"

We went on missing the spider monkeys, the gorilla, orangutan, bears, penguins (I thought he would love them, but they really were pretty boring) peacocks and a cougar. I was starting to think Avi wouldn't be able to see a single animal. Itai was looking very uncomfortable and Avi was say, "Want shev. Want sit down." This is Avi language for, "I want to eat."
I decided to try one last stop before we went to a pavilion for a fruit break. We pulled up to the zebras. I lifted Avi from the stroller and asked him what he saw. He looked around for a minute and suddenly his eyes widened. He saw it! A huge smile spread across his face as he excitedly sang, "Zebra!" With that success I decided it was the perfect time to take a quick snack break.
After the break we finished up our tour. Poor Itai still looked completely miserable in the stroller. We ended up in the park. Avi immediately went for the giant slide. I took the opportunity to get Itai out. While Avi happily climbed stair after stair Itai crawled around in the giant egg placed there for pictures and play. This park was definitely the high point for both of them. Avi ran and Itai happily followed him from spider, to caterpillar and beyond. The price seemed a little high for one zebra and some playground equipment, but how can you put a price on the big smiles of two little boys?
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