Friday, November 4, 2016

T Man 2016

Last month we celebrated our darling T Man turning 5. Five Years Old!

The last couple of years I sent an email to the people in his life who loved and nurtured him for a season (read: teachers and therapists). But now that the list is growing I have decided to post my annual update on my blog. My poor, neglected blog. At least this way it will have new words splash across it once a year.

T remains the most delicious ball of joy that I have ever known. He is full of love, mischief, compassion and silliness. It's an absolutely magical combination. I am very happy to report that his beauty is not merely visible to his mama. He won the Shine Award at his preschool last month, because his teacher sees him, too. He came home with allergy friendly sweets, stickers, and a coloring book. The Shine Award is an honor that exists throughout the school district to recognize students at each building who consistently demonstrate outstanding character. Later his teacher told me why he was chosen, "I nominated T because of his ability to brighten everyone’s day.  When he walks through that door, smiles light up.  Also, he doesn’t see differences in others.  He accepts people for who they are and loves them no matter what.  He exhibits great character every day." Her words made one of his parents cry, and it's not the one you would expect.

T and his phenomenal teachers celebrating the Shine Award.

T-Man is flourishing in pretty much every area of life. He is beginning to construct complete sentences. He is starting to engage with his peers in more meaningful play. He hops, skips and jumps. He sometimes stays in line without having his hand held (woot!) He still loves cuddles. He is continuing in his pursuit to memorize every book we own. He has started using a fork to eat his applesauce at bedtime. T loves school and school loves him right back. He has fine tuned his maniacal laugh. Most of his doctors see him just once a year now. His haircut screams have reduced by a solid 25%. T goes to OT once a week, PT once a month and Speech once a week. He has developed the balance and strength to stand in the front window sill and lick the window. He only calls Mommy by Daddy's name half the time. T loves, loves, loves Dusty Crophopper. He looks amazing in footie pajamas. In short, he is a dream boat.

He's also a good brother. To talk about T's life without mentioning his siblings is to speak of the ocean whilst ignoring the beach. They are all intertwined.  

T, Big N and Dusty

Big N is in third grade now. We're still homeschooling because I'm harebrained and he's thriving. He is currently planning his adulthood and has settled on being a professional baseball player, paleontologist and stay-at-home dad. Big N has conveyed his approval of our parenting by stating his intention to send his future-child-with-special-needs to the same schools, therapists, and healthcare providers that we use. He is a patient teacher as he conveys all manner of lessons to his siblings and teaches M and I how to parent an eight year old. 

T and AB

AB is my splash of sparkle amidst the pile of boys. She is a delightful bundle of paradoxes: rough-and-tumble and gentle, unflappable and dramatic, innocent and mischievous, Mama's girl and Daddy's girl. She collects rocks and purses. Buzz Lightyear never had his diaper changed until she came around. She loves being barefoot, but if she must wear shoes she strongly prefers sparkly ones. If I had all the girls in the world to pick from, I would chose her as my daughter. 

T and Baby N

Baby N is a delightful, squishy baby. He laughs heartily when we blow raspberries on his tummy. His countenance lights at the sight of his siblings. He hates tummy time. He insists on sucking his left thumb, rather than the five different types of pacifiers we have offered him. He has slept through the night a handful of times. Baby N is a Mama's boy and I have no intentions of changing that. 

If this little update makes you smile to read it, as it made me smile to write it, then join me in thanking God for such a lovely life.

copyright (c) Elizabeth, Bug's Beef. All rights reserved.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Hoosier Happenings

Horrible cell reception. All is well.
Creek bed is friendly, rising up in twirling greeting with each step
Clink clank thud as horseshoes hit various destinations
Frog the size of my thumbnail lures and fascinates us
Late night cheese and breaded mushrooms
Flinging bubble solution
Water bugs sliding across the top of the water. My first exposure outside an arcade
Watching two humming birds negotiate turns at the feeder
PBS kids
Minnows darting, but not fast enough for my hunter boy
Husband toting a happy, dripping preschooler to clean clothes
Thrill of lady bug slippers, discovered in a tucked away corner
Soothing low roar of fans and window air conditioners keeping the summer heat outside
"Wait over there at that end and I'll see if I can scare the fish to you."
Dishes manually washed by my man
Bubbles hovering then floating on a sudden breeze
Little brown fingers scooping minnows out of the net and gently dropping into the adapted bottle
Butterflies more densely packed and as widely varied as any house
Mushrooms: fat, scalloped, emerging
Husband letting a toddler crawl on his head, shoulders, knees and toes and play with his hair
Rock ledge seat, dry, perfect height, cushioned by moss
Waterfalls choreographed by God
Swinging on the porch with the newborn, listening to birds sing, wood peckers peck, whine of wasps, dull roar of humming birds, occasional yells of delight drift on a breeze from the creek
Water sloshing, splashing out of plastic dinosaur boots on dry land romps
Brown eyes and limbs and heads lighting up, swinging and exploring a wide front yard
Crash of the screen door. Pitter of feet on the porch. Patter of feet upstairs.
Traipsing in wet, too big, pilfered shoes with walking stick in one hand, net in the other
Smells like a rugged, rustic uncle. The wood scent follows us.
Heavily cushioned chairs and recliners
The sound of sucking, then waves crashing against the inside of boots
Chips and cookies and pumpkin seed bread
1948's book of trains; 500 pages of preschooler paradise
Husband curled up with baby
A borrowed bed that's actually cozy
Boots emptied of their creek water onto flowers at the house
Husband playing catch with the big guy
Water cold at one end of the trail staves off sweat until we summit at the other end
Living out of a suit case and not caring
Geology girl
Bum!punk,punk,punk,punk. Baseball drills off the wooden stairs
Museum ramps, water play, gorgeous heritage on display
Tired bodies housing happy hearts
Hearing my phone chime and staying seated

copyright (c) Elizabeth, Bug's Beef. All rights reserved.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Color on Your Clothes

One year ago today I sent my beloved T-Man off to school for the first time.

 Actually, it wasn't just me. The whole family went. I carried AB and the camera and eyeballs full of tears. It was a mildly exciting, though largely terrifying day for me. The "what ifs" paraded through my mind at double time.

What if someone picks on him?
What if he needs something and the teacher can't understand him?
What if eats an allergen?
What if his teachers don't recognize what a treasure he is?
What if they see his eczema and think we're neglecting him so they call Family Services on us?
What if he hates school and this derails his whole education?

My normally optimistic personality was completely overrun by fear and doubt. Fun times.

I spent the night before running through the stomach-churning list of possible disasters and coloring on T's shoes. T has deliciously squishy feet that require extra wide shoes. By the time you add orthotics to his feet, the only shoes that work for him are orthopedic ones. Pediatric orthopedic shoes are ugly.

They're huge and white and clunky. As if the braces don't draw enough attention to the child, the shoes scream for attention. 

M and I set about making his shoes a wee bit better. Fortunately, my man is an artist, so he drew characters from Toy Story to match T's "Buzz Boots." These became his inside shoes.

I am not an artist, but I have learned how to color inside the lines. I made the outside shoes. (tip: we used sharpies for our coloring, then sprayed clear coat. A year later, they still look great.)

The moral of this story is: if something in your life is heinous, feel free to beautify it. The first born, type A person that still exists inside of me felt a bit rebellious coloring on shoes. It was fun. And it was for my beloved son. Plus, it helped distract me from the "what-ifs" just a bit.

And, it turns out I was needlessly torturing myself. Because:

No one picked on T.
His teachers worked hard to understand him, and they succeeded.
He didn't eat an allergen. Everyone was vigilant in protecting him.
His teachers did (and do) see his beauty and genuinely love him.
No one has ever reported us to Protective Services.
T-Man loves, loves, loves school!

copyright (c) Elizabeth, Bug's Beef. All rights reserved.