Friday, September 25, 2009

A Cool Day at the Park

I was thinking about how much I miss the summer just a few days ago. It was so much fun, no school, no preschool, no speech therapy. Just me and my two little buddies. Now we have two preschools, Debbie's work, my work, speech therapy, a seminar and coming soon hyperbaric chamber therapy. Things around our house have gotten busy. When we had a moment of quiet time Avi, Itai and I were sitting and playing when Avi looked at me and said, "Want park."

Poor little guy. I decided that we definitely needed a trip to the park before it got too cold. It was already pretty cool that morning but we went to the park near our house anyway. Avi was smiling and saying "Swing! Swing!"

Sadly, Itai didn't share his enthusiasm for the swings, but he quickly learned to love the slides. We spent a little over an hour there while Avi flew up stairs, down slides and all over the place. Itai was so jealous, but he learned to walk around and loved going down the slides. We all climbed up together and went down the side by side slide. When we got to the bottom a couple of elderly women who were walking by accused me of "Using those boys as an excuse." :)

I'm really glad Avi told me he wanted park.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Just a Quick Note

There really wasn't anything unusual about my dad growing up, he was just superman. He knew the best games, could fix anything and wasn't afraid of anything. He knew every airplane, gun and tank. I wore camo, but he was actually an army man. He was simply the smartest, the fastest and of course, the strongest. I couldn't understand why other kids insisted their dad could beat up my dad and this inevitably led to finding out which son could beat up the other! When I was younger I wanted to be a pilot or a business man (or MacGyver if those careers didn't pan out) but what I really wanted to be was like my dad. It is little wonder that at the most terrifying moment of my childhood I found myself falling back into his arm.
Most guys probably think the same about their dads, so this isn't much of a surprise. What I never expected is that I would want so much to be like my sons. I know that parental pride blinds me, but I've never seen such good little boys.

Itai is amazing. He's been learning to walk the last few months. He finally worked up the courage to let go of the couch and venture out on his own. Every day he wakes up and eventually stands with his back against the couch until suddenly he's off. He takes one step, then another until he gets where he is going or until he collapses. He's still working at it, but he's really making strides. (Sorry about the pun, its the Rona influence.) I have seen Itai make so many attempts that ended with him on his face or twisted badly as he tried to catch himself only to end up sprawled in some unnatural position on the floor. Despite all this, he never gives up. How inspiring! I know, its a small thing, one that almost every child goes through, but I really admire that persistent little guy. I think of all the times I have tried to accomplish something, only to fail. I wonder how many times I have given up when if I had just put my back to the couch one more time I could have succeeded. I never thought that I would wish to be more like a one year old, but here I am thinking just that.
Avi is incredible. First off, I bragged about his potty training success on Facebook and was asked if I should really be posting that. I was surprised. Was that really the limit to the scope of his imagination? I felt I was showing considerable restraint by not taking out ads in the NY Times, USA Today and the SL Tribune. I didn't even put it on one of those gigantic banners that they fly behind planes or scream it from the rooftops. Not put it on Facebook? At least I didn't tattoo it! So. . .back to the subject. Despite some truly prodigious challenges Avi almost always maintains that devilishly handsome smile. I love his exclamations, "I did it!" after he uses his potty, or "Its beautiful!" after turning a blank sheet of paper into a flash of colors in lines, dots and circles. His calm nature is innate, but I wish it was something he could teach me. I have no idea how many times I have grumbled through a trial or covered the path of a tribulation with complaints. I imagine smiling through my troubles and looking to Heaven and saying, "I did it!" or even better "Its beautiful."

Life with these two really is.

Shortly after my grandpa passed away I wrote about him and how much I looked up to him. How I knew that I stood in a line of men who walked steadily and left big shoes to fill. I'm so pleased that my sons are like my grandpa and like my dad.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Stream of Semiconsciousness

Debbie and I have signed up for a six week seminar about ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). Last week was the first week and a bit of an introduction. One of the speakers was a child psychologist. He said some of the things that I have been wishing the psychologist who originally diagnosed Avi could have heard and a lot of the things I wish he would have said. One thing he mentioned was that psychologists should stop and say to the parents, "Ok, let's take a time out and talk about how you are doing with this."
He said you should never leave a psychologist's office feeling alarmed, unsettled or upset. Those were the most mild of my feelings when I left the office of Avi's doctor. Most of all I felt numb.
We drove in silence until we reached a restaurant in Salt Lake that served Middle Eastern food. Neither one of us did more than poke at our food, our appetites left in the office along with the crayons Avi was so upset about leaving. This didn't pass for a few days.
I will always remember that the first step of path to acceptance began with a hug. Debbie's first day back at work was the worst day for me. Things started off well, but when Avi wouldn't look at me when I called him I felt lost and saddened. I called my mom who said she was close and we be right over. She had scarcely come in when I, like an over grown child, fell into her arms. When I let go I saw Avi had come over and was watching me worriedly. He reached up for me and when I picked him up he held me tightly. When I sat down and spoke to my mom about my heartache he sat with me. Surely this was a tender mercy.
One other thing the doctor said that stood out to me was that we don't know Avi's potential and shouldn't try to limit the course of his life. He said many doctors give these worst case scenarios, but the truth is that amazing things are happening and just as we could never know the course of a typical child's life, we should never tell ourselves that our child's abilities or potential are finite.
I've been thinking about how closely we watch Avi and Itai's progress. We are so thrilled with each success, and sometimes exasperated by setbacks. This made me think of a Heavenly Father, who may be watching our progress just as closely. I'm sure He is just as thrilled when we finally succeed in overcoming obstacles, and possibly He wonders why, after so much work, we continue to struggle with the same things. There are some that would tell us the same worst case scenario; we aren't capable of the same things others are capable of, our future is limited, or abilities fixed. But the truth is no one can set the bounds of our growth but ourselves. Ed J. Pinegar once said, "We are children of Heavenly Father. I don't know about you, but that gives me self esteem for life." I have always liked that.
Neal A. Maxwell once said something that stayed with me through the hardest parts of my mission and has supported me through the hardest points of my life. "When in situations of stress we wonder if there is any more in us to give, we can be comforted to know that God, who knows our capacity perfectly, placed us here to succeed. No one was foreordained to fail or to be wicked. When we have been weighed and found wanting, let us remember that we were measured before and we were found equal to our tasks; and, therefore, let us continue, but with a more determined discipleship."
How comforting to know that no one was placed here to fail. I know this is true. I truly thank God for His Son, and the matchless miracle of an empty tomb through which each of us can be filled.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Bears and Other Happy Occurances

Thanks everyone for making Itai's birthday (birth week really) usch a fun, happy event. We had a party with the Andes family on the Sunday beofer his birthday and then a party with the Rona family the following Sunday. Itai was competely spoiled by everyone. :) Thank you.

Monday he and Avi were invited to build a bear with Savta. THey really enjoyed picking out their bears and costumes and now have two good friends, Efi and Shimi. They both love those bears like crazy.

Avi attended his second week in speech therapy and loves it. Maybe I should say he loves the puzzles. They have those puzzles that make sounds when you put the piece in place. He especially loves the puzzle with the fire truck, motorcycle and his new favorite thing, ambulance. The therapist says she is confident that we (or she) can get him talking. I think if she has the right puzzle she could probably teach him just about anything!

Preschool is back in full swing and this week Avi will be reunited with his beloved bus. He has a new teacher this year and we're hopeful that she will be more interested in Avi than last year's teacher.

Itai has begun a cruising campaign. He marches from one end of the couch to the other, then to the table, the tv stand and wherever else he can. He has taken six or seven steps on his own, but doesn't seem to believe that he can do it. It probably won't be long before he leaves the safety of the side of the couch. His big smile has a new tooth. I really can't believe how quickly he has grown.
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