A Modern Day Fairy Tale: 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Letter To Disney

Dear Disney,
Thank you for being such an important and entertaining part of my Shauny's life. Your movies and tv shows have provided much needed entertainment for our family, and taught my wonderful child so many valuable lessons. Thank you for making such interesting and easy to memorize movies for him. Thank you to Peter Pan for teaching him that clocks and crocodiles say tick tock and how to sword fight, he's got it mastered now ("Take that, and that!") To Winnie The Pooh, thank you for teaching him how to 'think, think, think', that bouncing is what Tiggers do and that we are one big happy family. However, I think he is confused and thinks HE is a Tigger as well, hmm... To Pinocchio, thank you for teaching him the other sounds that clocks can make (cuckoo and so on), how to dance as though he had no strings, and most importantly to 'give a little whistle'. We sincerely hope your message that little boys who smoke and drink turn into donkeys will stick with him in the teenage years. Oh, but if you could make your stuffed animals with growing noses and hats that can be removed, we would all be much happier for it! To Cars, for teaching him all about tractor tipping, about who goes together (Mater with Lightning and the tractor, race cars together and so on, because they were together in the movie of course!) and how to start a race: stand in front of the cars, wave a flag and shout out "GO!" To Beverly Hills Chihuahua, for teaching him about dog breeds, he now knows chihuahuas apart from all other dogs! To Wall-E, for teaching him all about robotic arms with weapons on them, that he can take off his Eve toy and go around shooting people with, wonderful! To Hannah Montana for teaching him to sing like a rock star (best of both worlds, anyone?) And to the many others I have missed-there are many more I'm sure, thank you too.
Mommy to a Disney Addict

p.s. A movie about peeing in the potty would be great...or sleeping through the night...not climbing on furniture...keep these ideas in mind, please!
p.p.s. While we're making requests, if you could not have the language choice before the movies it would make things much easier. If given the choice, he has to have Spanish! We'd really prefer he mastered English first!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Baby Steps

When Shaun started speech back at the end of August/beginning of September, he had three phrases he used consistently (other than his movie scenes and songs)- "3 2 1 Blast Off" and "Thank You Welcome" when he wanted you to help him do something, wanted more of something and so on, and "Bye bye", which he did use appropriately. There were other words he would on occasion use on his own, but never consistently. After starting speech, he had started repeating a few more words in class- repeating what was said, or finishing the phrase, but there was little carryover at home. As the weeks have passed we have seen slow progress on this: he will repeat things at home, though still not like he would in class. But a few weeks back he started pointing! Not to anything in particular, but its a step. This is something we are working on with him in ABA and I know he will get there. Also within the last week or so he has started signing 'more'!! He has only done it 4-5 times, and still uses 'blast off' for most everything, but as the title says: baby steps. During ABA he repeated both 'duck' and 'car', and on his own he has started saying 'choo choo' more! (And he LOVES his choo choos!) Today he reached for an antique toy car where we were having lunch and said 'car'...all on his own!!! I was so proud. So to sum up this jumble of words here, haha...we're seeing progress. It's slow, but it's there and I know he will only continue to go uphill from here!

I know to some this might seem very simple for a 27 month old, and it's true that most probably do have all these things down...actually, Shaun knew most of these words long ago and lost them somewhere along the way. But as I think most other mommies who have a child with autism...or any other developmental or speech delays, those little things mean everything!!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Taking It In A New Direction...

When I started this blog, it was intended to share stories about Shaun, recipes and so on with the family and friends who can't be here to share them in person. And now as we're about to start a whole new journey, it seems like a great way to record the triumphs that I am confident will follow. In my last blog, I mentioned Shaun would be going to a speech evaluation. The evaluation came and went, and it was determined he was at a 15 month level with the words he uses, and around 9 months or so on his understanding. It was also discovered that he had several red flags for autism. And after several meetings, evaluations and so on, this past Tuesday Shaun was officially diagnosed with autism. On top of the speech class he was already placed in, he will soon be starting ABA therapy (http://www.brighttots.com/aba_therapy) and occupational therapy as well. Everyone we have met with has told us he has some awesome skills working for him and they think he will do really well with the therapies...we know it's going to be a long road, but we know he can do it.

For those who do not know, autism is a broad spectrum, and the severity and specific characteristics vary by each individual. The diagnosis is made based on three main categories: speech/communication, social interaction and repetitive behaviors. Shaun's speech issues are fairly obvious- you can read the last blog for more info on that. Shaun is actually more social than some might expect an autistic child to be, BUT when you look a little closer you realize he is behind socially. He will make eye contact, but you have to fight to get and keep it most of the time. We have recently figured out he has better eye contact when doing physical activity. He also will only bring things to us when he needs our help, not because he wants to share with us and so on. As far as repetitive behaviors for those who have seen videos of Shaun, you've probably noticed that he runs in circles a lot. He will watch the same movies (or parts of it) over and over and over again. He does flap his arms some, but not too bad there. And we realized too that oftentimes when playing with cars and so on, he does focus more on one part (wheels on a car, propeller on a helicopter) than on the whole toy. There are more of all but you get the idea. And when you put all of this together, you reach the diagnosis. Below are a few useful links if anyone is interested in learning more.




So, while I still plan on sharing cute Shaun stories, recipes and all that, I also hope to use this blog so that we can look back at where he is now, and see how far he has come.

Monday, August 17, 2009

So, I'm a Blog Slacker...

but hey I warned you, right? It's been two months since my last real update and so much has happened since then. Most importantly though, my little man has turned TWO! Where does the time go? It seems like we were just planning his first birthday and now his second has come and gone. Unbelievable. To celebrate the big day we had a nice little Wall-E party. We didn't have as much of a turnout as we'd hoped or planned for but it was a great time for those who did make it.

A few days later we took him on a special Toys R Us trip and bought him the coolest gift ever: a train table. He loves playing with them everywhere else and loves having one all of his own.

And finally on the 2 year news, we had his 2 year checkup. Everything is mostly normal: he's 28 pounds and healthy (with great fine motor skills!), but we will be taking him to a consult for speech therapy. While he knows many words and will say them on his own, and he can memorize songs and even scenes from movies, he doesn't really use those words to communicate with us. When he wants something, he will grab one of us and lead us to it. When asked questions, he acts as though he's not even hearing us half the time, and certainly doesn't answer. He won't point to familiar objects in books, or tell you what it is when you ask him...that type of thing. So we are currently trying and waiting to get him an appointment and in the meantime I am trying my best to work with him at home! Below are a few examples of the pictures on the flash cards I've made to try to help him. So far nothing, but I will continue to try!!

A Recipe: Breakfast Pizza

This is a dish that I love to make, though since I'm not usually a morning person, its more of a brunch, or even a supper! I also make it without the sausage!

Breakfast Pizza

2 packages crescent rolls
2 packages country gravy mix, prepared
1 roll of sausage (cooked and drain)
2 cups mozzarella cheese (I always add more..we love lots of cheese here!)

Press rolls on bottom and halfway up the side of 9 x 13 inch pan. (Use the strips, and just lay them at the bottom flat, do not actually roll them into the croissant shape.) Bake as directed on can or until lightly browned. Prepare gravy and cook sausage. Pour gravy over rolls. Sprinkle Sausage over gravy, then top with cheese. Bake an additional 5-10 minutes.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Recipe Time: Chicken Kiev!

So, when I started this blog, I had the intention of sharing some of the recipes I use, since I have many ask about them. Unfortunately, I hadn't really had the time (or ok, kept forgetting) to type them up...but I'm gonna get on that NOW. Starting with this recipe for chicken kiev. Now for those who know me (most of you, I assume) you know that I do not eat meat myself, though both of my boys do. So I cannot tell you what this tastes like, only their reaction to it. This is one they both liked.

This is not MY recipe, but taken from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook...one of the best cookbooks out there, I highly recommend it! Anyway, here it is. Hope you enjoy!

Chicken Kiev

-1 tablespoon chopped green onion
-1 tablespoon snipped fresh parsley
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1/2 of a 1/4 pound stick of butter, chilled
-1 egg, beaten
-1 tablespoon water
-1/4 cup all purpose flour
-1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
-4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
-salt and black pepper
-1 tablespoon butter
-1 tablespoon cooking oil

1. In a small bowl combine green onion, parsley and garlic; set aside. Cut the butter into 4 2 1/2 x 1/2 inch sticks (so cut in half longways, and then do the same to the halves). In a shallow bowl stir together egg and water. Place flour in another shallow bowl. Place bread crumbs in another shallow bowl and set all aside.

2. Place each chicken breast half between two pieces of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, pound chicken lightly into rectangles about 1/8 inch thick. Remove plastic wrap and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Divide green onion mixture among chicken pieces. Place a stick of butter in center of each piece. Fold in the side edges and roll up from the bottom edge.

3. Coat chicken rolls with flour. Dip in egg mixture and coat with bread crumbs. Dip into the egg mixture again, coat with additional bread crumbs (Coat ends well to seal in the butter). Place coated chicken rolls in a 2 quart rectangular baking dish. Cover and chill 1-24 hours.

4. In a large skillet melt the 1 tablespoon butter over medium high heat, add oil. Add chilled chicken rolls. Cook about 5 minutes or until golden brown, turning to brown all sides. Return rolls to baking dish. Bake uncovered in a 400 degree oven for 15-18 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. To serve, spoon any drippings over rolls.


(As you can see, my rolls came undone a little bit, but didn't seem to make a difference to the taste so oh well!!!)

Friday, May 15, 2009

If I never see a hospital ever again...

It would be too soon. As many of you know by now, this week has been...eventful, to say the least! So to save myself from repeating the story a million times I figured I'd just post it here. So here goes:

It started on Sunday. Shaun had been acting fine all day, then at about 6 or 7ish he woke up from his nap and had a horrible diarrea diaper. Yuck. Fifteen minutes later, the throwing up began. This lasted all night, off and on, and by the next morning he had still not had a wet diaper so we took him to the ER for the first time. They gave him some meds to calm his belly and he seemed to do fine with that, so he was sent home- told to drink plenty of liquids to try to rehydrate him (because it'd be better if he could do it himself without an IV). Once home he started getting worse again. He refused to eat or drink (other than nurse) and still had only had 1 wet diaper since the whole thing started...and he just wasn't himself. His fever also hadn't been below 101 and had gotten up to 103ish. So as the first dr instructed, we took him back.

This is where it gets bad. This second doc was horrible. He came in and had this attitude like he already knew what was wrong and anything I said meant nothing. He said so long as Shaun was still nursing there was nothing really to be concerned about. I tried to explain about the lack of wet diapers and so on, but again he didnt really seem to be listening at all. Finally he agreed to give him an IV if I wanted...I think mostly to shut me up (Matt was exhausted and slept through this whole thing.) He also told me it wasn't that a child wouldn't take the meds, but that the parents didn't do it right...even though we both held him down, with the help of a nurse and still couldn't get it down! But anyway, he gave him an IV for a bit, then sent him home. This was Tuesday morning around 6 am I believe.

First thing when we get home, he immediately has diarrea so bad its all over the bed! And then about an hour later...the couch. And finally shortly after that, the blanket I'd laid on the floor for him! AND his fever shot back up to 104, and still no wet diapers. He also started throwing up again and still was only nursing...no other food or drink. He got to the point where he was just laying there staring, and I couldn't tell at times if he was awake or asleep, and so yet again we took him back in. Suprise suprise, he was EXTREMELY dehydrated, so much so they couldn't get an IV in him...he has bruises all over from the failed attempts. They ended up admitting him and once there they finally got one in him. But again, if that other dr would have just listened he wouldn't have had to been put through all that and he certainly wouldnt have reached that point.

But anyway, the IV really seemed to make a huge difference and the throwing up/vomitting/fever stopped, but he still wasn't drinking on his own and wasn't having enough wet diapers. Not sure how much weight he lost total, but from yesterday to this morning he'd lost a whole POUND! Yesterday his IV started hurting and they had to take it out and they were still unable to get a new one in him. He really started hating that room. (And the soctors, he got to the point where he'd start screaming when they came in the room.) They tried again today, still nothing so we had to force feed apple juice through a syringe. This seemed to help a bit and they finally said that since they really weren't doing anything for him at that point, we could go home if we wanted. Yay! Shauny heard this and it was a complete turnaround! What a difference! He kept repeating 'go home, go home'.

So we are finally home! He still isn't 100% and he still isn't drinking a LOT on his own, but its improvement and I know he will continue to improve now. They believe it was just a stomach bug that led to dehydration, which was really the big concern. Thanks everyone for keeping him in your thoughts and prayers! They are greatly appreciated!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Welcome To My Blog!

And let's hope I can keep it going! This is not actually my first blog...earlier this year I tried to start a 365 photo blog...needless to say the way my memory is, it didn't last long! I've considered trying that again, hmm, maybe eventually I will but things are too busy now! But I've recently come to realize that people are actually interested in my little stories of Shaun and our day to day life, or at least the short versions I can fit in a Facebook status update. I've also had several people ask about recipes from pics I've posted and so on. Not to mention, with all of our family so far away there has to be a better way to keep them updated on us, right? And so the birth of 'A Modern Day Fairy Tale'! (For those of you who know about the first time I met Matt in person, you will understand that title better...but that is a story for another day!) This will be a place for me to share stories, random musings, recipes and to share in my photography journey!

I promise my future posts will be more entertaining, but if you've ever tried typing with a nursing 27 pound toddler in your lap, you'll understand why I'm cutting this short!