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Local Toddler Trapped in Pool Bathroom

What started as a carefree day at a local River Heights pool turned frightening when two-year-old Whitney Adams locked herself in the bathroom.

“I just kept knocking and knocking and calling to her.  I knew she knew how to get out…she was just being stubborn,” 40-year-old homeschool mom Sally Adams explained.

Maintenance workers were soon dispatched to remove the door, but after 30 minutes of trying, were unable detach the hinges from the 1970s-era door.

The saga ended nearly 45 minutes later when a slender 6-year-old shimmied through an air conditioner vent to unlock the door and rescue the toddler, who was found unharmed, playing happily with toilet paper and a discarded pair of flip flops.

Adams claimed she wasn’t surprised. “I mean her favorite place to play is on top of our van.”

Maintenance workers at the pool have promised to retrofit the door with new locks so that nothing like this will happen again in River Heights.

Posted on 6 July '08 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. No Comments.

I am not ready. I am not ready. Summer’s end angst defined.

Tomorrow we meet Edward and Joseph’s teachers for the new year.

I NEED MORE TIME!

I said I would go through the Greek and Latin vocabulary book with them over the summer.  I even made color-coded index cards.

We learned three words.  I hopes these words and their derivations are what my children encounter when they take the PSAT.

Instead or learning Greek and Latin, we:


Fed dead white mice to rather large Caiman crocodiles at a local reptile store.

I intended to organize my house, structure our days and create nifty chore charts.

Instead we:

Learned that it’s not that difficult to sleep in a damp swimsuit and coverup two, or even three, days in a row since then all you have to do is pop up in the morning, brush your teeth, grab a Rice Krispie treat, and head for the pool or beach.  Such a time saver!

I planned to lose 12 pounds and finally fit into a two-piece swimsuit for the first time since Edward was born.

Instead, I created a self-portrait of myself at the beach as a “shadow” or “shade.”


I think I look like a Sleestack.

I intended on teaching my children that the most quiet, patient fisherman always catches the most fish.

Instead we learned that sometimes the loudest, most active fisherman catches the only fish…

Like it or not, school looms…

Posted on 10 August '10 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 20 Comments.

Autism and Confusing Faces

One of the most frustrating aspects of parenting a child on the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum (whatever that means these days) is the incredible disparity in behavior.  Since we recently moved to a new town, we have had so many situations where Edward attends an event, behaves in a rather typical way, and things go rather smoothly.

Other times his behavior is so outside-the-box that both parents and children are looking at all of us oddly.  Sometimes I have to give an explanation to the parents.

It’s this roulette wheel of behavior and expectations that absolutely exhausts me.  Despite my best efforts at maintaining a great sensory diet prior to the event, making sure he is well-rested and well-fed, often times my best-laid plans just fall into an abyss of tantrums, incessant questions or just abject hyperactivity.

We’ve had great experiences, however, at our neighborhood pool during the past several weeks.  The combination of the water and activity coupled with frequent snack breaks makes for a relatively calm outing.  I have even allowed him to run off with his brother to the other end of the pool for short periods to play hide-and-go seek with the other children their age.  And he has stayed with his brother!  This is a big milestone for us, because before, he would run away the first chance he felt any taste of freedom.

Yesterday, however, I learned an important lesson about how Edward sees the world.  He had been playing with Joseph and two other boys we met through baseball.  The older boy wears glasses, so about half the time he wears them at the pool and the other half he takes them off.  All four boys were playing hide-and-go-seek peacefully, giving me a chance to help Sue with her own swimming endeavors.

When we got in the car, however, Edward started talking about there being two boys named “Joshua.”  Joseph said something like, “Well, I don’t know who you are talking about.  We only played with Joshua Smith.  There weren’t any other boys around.”  And Edward said, “Well, there was the Joshua with the glasses who is eleven and pretty tall, and then the Joshua without glasses who is also eleven and pretty tall.  We played with both boys, right?”

At that moment I realized that Edward could not read the boy’s face well enough to tell that he was the same person, glasses on or off.  I suddenly felt this great rush of empathy for him, and how confusing the world must be for him at times.  I started to feel so bad for the frustration I feel toward him when he doesn’t recognize a friend’s parent or a teacher he’s seen many, many times.

It was a good learning experience for Joseph, too.  I believe it is incredibly difficult for Joseph to have any concept regarding what the world looks like from Edward’s perspective.  Because he doesn’t understand these differences, he has little patience.  This event, however, gave Joseph a little taste of how Edward sees the world.

It’s a taste we all need more of…

Posted on 13 July '10 by , under Autism Spectrum/Sensory Processing. 11 Comments.

The Rotted Potato Mouse

This odd stench casually began to emanate from Sue’s room last week.  I figured it was some food morsel left behind, searched halfheartedly a few times, and came away confused but not overly concerned.

This week, however, the smell grew to such proportions, I couldn’t stand to even walk by her room.  I sniffed and sniffed to no avail.  I took 345 babies, stuffed animals, Barbies and Polly Pockets out of countless baskets and nooks.  I found nothing, and still the smell was horrifying, might I say, other-worldly!

And then, while sniffing along her bookshelf, I whiffed something that almost caused me to lose my pancakes:

Harmlessly cute, eh?  A simple mouse crafted out of a rather unusually-shaped red potato as part of a preschool craft.

A craft that was created in March, and has sat on a child’s bookshelf since then…slowly rotting and festering until rheumy potato juices dripped down the shelf into a pool of microscopic Polly Pocket shoes and jewelry.

Yes, it attracted some small whitish worms.

I just can’t talk about it any more.

Posted on 30 June '10 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 6 Comments.

Terrapin Station or “We lost a ten-inch turtle somewhere in our home.”

I blame my sister-in-law.

She showed up this morning with a smug look and a promise that there was an attractively large turtle languishing in our driveway.

Never mind the fact that she let Sue spend the night with the two nieces so we could take the boys to eat Mexican food since Sue cannot abide by Mexican food for some odd reason.

Why I didn’t take a photograph at the time, I will never know but we Googled the turtle, and just about definitively determined the creature to be a box turtle, although his or her feet appeared slightly webbed.

Let’s just pray s/he is not some sort of snapper.

How does such a thing happen?

Well, in the interest of science, I agreed to allow the creature come inside so the boys could embark upon some “research.” A bit later we find ourselves an hour into a great pool visit when I casually remark, “I’m sure one of you took the turtle outside, right?”

“Right?”

The boys look at one another.

“Well, he’s such a slow creature, I’m sure he’s still under the trampoline in the playroom where we left him,” assured Joseph.

I feel such comfort.

Several hours later, I assume the creature will still be huddled quietly in the playroom, potentially trying to siphon water from one of the dog’s slobbery chew toys or render a nest from the revolting shag carpet that graces this particular room.

Such is not the case.

Friends, we have looked everywhere for this terrapin to no avail.  The children are fearful of waking in the night and encountering the beast.

I’ve spread plastic plates of water, blueberries and an occasional errant lettuce leaf around the house in an effort to sustain the creature.

Joseph suggested we catch several crickets and beetles and let them loose since they are the turtle’s natural “prey.”

Let’s hope it does not come that.  Few things are worse than a deceased terrapin languishing in the home.

Right?

Posted on 4 June '10 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 11 Comments.

Diving Forward

Isn’t it fascinating when you see your child leaping forward developmentally with apparent abandon?  That is when I know God is working mightily.

The past two weeks have been such for Edward.

Last week we went swimming with two slightly older friends–one who is a fairly skilled diver and swimmer.  Edward watched this friend absentmindedly, attempted dives halfheartedly, and later annoyed the friends by splashing them and simultaneously blathering “blah blah blah” in an cloying voice.

I was so thrilled when this most patient child finally told Edward that what he was doing was “dumb” and held up a kick board to shield himself.  Edward actually garnered enough self control to stop his mind-numbing action immediately.  This is big for him.

A few days later, Edward shocked me beyond belief by laying out a decent dive into the deep end of our neighborhood pool.  Apparently, when I thought he was in “La La Land,” he had been watching his friend.  His swim coach was equally surprised when he claimed he knew how to dive and then dove off the diving board to prove it.

dive-three

At swimming lessons the next day we saw a dear friend from kindergarten days.  He was with another boy and the two were lounging by the pool watching the lessons, dangling their legs into the cool water.

Edward sauntered up to the pool, took keen aim, and laid out a perfect dive in front of the two boys.

diving-one

The new boy turned to Edward’s friend and admired, “Wow, that dude’s good!  Who is he?”

The friend replied, “That’s Edward.  He’s my friend!”

I blinked back tears behind my sunglasses.

diving-two

Edward is a dude who’s been “good” at multiplication, reading and memorizing.  He’s a dude who I’ll wager knows more about the Tudors than most adults.  Yet I think this was the first time Edward had ever been genuinely admired by a peer for something athletic.

Then the child who has been terrified to stand on his head and flip over at gymnastics, a child fearful of somersaults and a child who would never consider a backward handspring, began doing back flips under the water in rapid succession.

The next day at gymnastics he garnered more shock and awe by doing an assisted back handspring.

Something is going on in that brain of his, and I am beyond awe.

Still, isn’t that the way God works?  He wants to bless us so much more abundantly than we can ever imagine, and so often He comes through so mightily just when life has begun to look rather bleak.

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:11.

I have more stories of Edward’s progress that I will share next week.  In the meantime, I am going out of town for the long weekend and will be back Tuesday!

Peace!

Posted on 26 June '09 by , under Autism Spectrum/Sensory Processing, Faith is the Evidence. 15 Comments.

The Joy of Rain

We began our day with Sue’s swimming lessons which have been, by far, the most unusually pleasant swimming lesson engagement I’ve ever experienced with a three-year-old child.

In the past, I found myself chasing smallish boys through mud and trees, seeing tiny boys create a tee tee fountain arc over concrete to the delight of tiny swimmers, and screaming at seemingly-innocent boys to not let a frog or turtle drop into the pool.

I’ve found myself 8 months pregnant donning an unholy maternity swimsuit in a last ditch effort to salvage swimming lessons for a fussy, unexcited brother-to-be.

Sue, however, is cool with the swimming.  She saunters up to the pool, cover-up casually tossed over her shoulder, and sits down on the steps to await her turn.

Sue’s swimming lesson counterparts are two, 2.5-year-old boys.  These boys sob, cry, flee, screel and bargain endlessly for extra Smarties.

Last night Sue was describing the lessons to her daddy:  “I don’t know why I am in this class with these baby boys.  All they do is cry and run and cry, Daddy.  They are babies and I am not a baby.  I am a swimming girl.”

Today began with an overcast sky and slight drizzle.  I wasn’t sure the lessons could commence, but the rain held and Sue swam half the length of the pool to the delight of her “coach” and obvious chagrin of the sobbing, flailing two-year-old boys.  As we pulled out of the driveway, the rain began in earnest, coating the pavement with giant frog-like hopping drops.

I breathed a sigh of relief, for I revel in a rainy Summer day indoors.  Such a grand excuse to feed everyone lunch pancakes and allow them to play unusually noisy games like “hall ball” followed by mandatory solitary book reading.  (That’s my personal favorite.)

And as you might have guessed, the championship game was indeed rained out.  Yet that only gives the White Sox more time to recuperate, more time to contemplate and more time to prepare to DOMINATE!

Yes.  I do love the rain…

Posted on 4 June '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 4 Comments.

Deprogramming

It is well known that I lean slightly toward the dramatic, and yet I must share my own struggle with no longer running down three flights of stairs to the knish shop for my morning coffee.  One week out of New York and I still wake up confused.

Also troubled are my children who, after seven days of coddling and inane liberty at the loving paws of their grandparents, have summarily transformed into Augustus Gloop and Veruca Salt clones.

When I first started leaving my children with my parents, I would prepare impeccably typed schedules and itineraries detailing all the interventions and activities that needed to transpire throughout the day.  When I returned from my trip, I’d find the list still sealed in its careful envelope and candy wrappers, soda drips and Happy Meal toys littering the floor.

Gradually, however, I have learned that part of being a grandparent is simply that gracious abandon that allows children to lounge in pjs until noon, eat ice cream after breakfast, and order the kid’s meal every single time at the drive through even though it is not fiscally responsible and the toy is some plastic head that blathers on and on about being a “doctor not a physicist.”

physicist

(The only up side to that toy is that all three of my children can now define physicist.  And lest you be encouraged that this “head toy” will be ruined by pool water and then happily discarded, think again.  I saw one today become dunked, thrown, sunk and bashed repeatedly and yet still the head prattled steadily about physicists.)

Still the sharp spike of freedom that I seized during my week in New York beckons to me, making me feel like a bad mother.  Perhaps it’s just summer’s advent…

At any rate, all four of us are in need of some serious deprogramming.

We’ve run through two cartons of ice cream in two days.

Posted on 29 May '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 12 Comments.

Monday Mumber Mumbo Jumbo Humbo

mumbers

Thanks to Kia, again, for making Monday manageable again!

1 – Number of teeth Edward lost last week.  “My incisors are gone!  All I have are molars and canines!  I can no longer say the word ‘the’ beautifully!  I have no front teeth.  The train traveled…hmmm.”

H texted me this up-to-the-minute conversation while I was having dinner with Ashley of Many Sparkling Gems.  She looked at me so quizzically, as I’m sure you are too.

Translation: Edward has now lost all four front teeth and can no longer make the “th” or “tr” sounds just like Cindy from Brady Bunch, who employed a tongue twister book in her own cost-effective form of speech therapy.  (Would that we all had it so easy!)  Later Buddy Hinton, a bully who plagues Peter throughout this episode, aptly entitled “A Fistful of Reasons,” asks to borrow Cindy’s book after Peter knocks out his two front teeth.  “The train traveled” was part of a tongue twister.  The grand part of this tooth loss is that it brings Edward $5.00 closer to paying me back for the games he downloaded to my cell phone.  (Sort of like reading The Wasteland with the notes?)

450 Number of times per day I tell my children not to ‘W” sit…that it will lead to knee and hip replacements in later years…

w-sit

10 – Number of days my neighbors are gone to the beach and are therefore unable to address the pool water seepage I discussed last week.

6 – Number of days before the “Big Easter Egg Hunt” held at my house…in the mud and pool water seepage.  Bring out yer rain boots!

3 – Number of times Edward asked the hostess at our local Mexican restaurant the definition of a composite number.  “So, how many composite numbers do you think you could name?”

5 – Number of clay items other children completed during a 6-week pottery class.

1 1/2 – Number of items Edward completed during the same class because he chose to harness all his creative energy into the one “pig-mouse” pictured here.  Understandable.  (There is also a claim of a penguin, which is the white lump next to the “pig-mouse.”  Since it has never been painted, I’m hopeful he’s created the amazingly rare “albino” penguin…)

pig-mouse

Behold, the “Pig-Mouse!”

pig-mouse-closeup

I can’t wait for it to grace my mantle!

Posted on 6 April '09 by , under Accidental Homeschooling, Autism Spectrum/Sensory Processing. 18 Comments.

Because Mondays are trying enough…

btn4895283143-1

A Good Mum makes life easier, with this handy mumber number!

1 Number of goals Edward got in his soccer scrimmage game tonight!

Me:  “So how was Cardinal Coach Kelly?”  I ask, since, after the day we had today, (I’ll post later), I needed to stay home with the other two and stare blankly at the ceiling.

Edward:  “She’s not literally a bird, Mom, she’s only figuratively a ‘cardinal coach.’  That’s something you need to understand, Mom.”

7 Number of times Swiffer and Mr. Mop were discussed, pontificated upon, queried about, etc., today alone.

Edward:  “Why does Mr. Mop always fail?  Why Mom?  Why does he have all these hairs stuck to him?  Why?  Let’s compare the two like the commercial!  Won’t that be fun?  Don’t you want to do that right now, Mom?  Let’s do it now, shall we?  I think that’s such a good idea, don’t you, Mom?  Go find the Mr. Mop you have, Mom, and I’ll find the Swiffer and we’ll do it right now!  It’s time to find out for ourselves what the truth is!  You go, please, go now, and get that Mr. Mop!  I’m looking forward to doing this, aren’t you?  Don’t you think it will be the greatest thing to see? I know it’s time to eat dinner but I believe this is more important, don’t you Mom?”

mop-compare

1 Number of Lhasa Apso pups I almost hit in the road today, scooped up from near-death, took home, allowed to tee-tee on my rug, found the owner for.  Of course there’s more but I’m still processing it all…

2 Number of Lean Shakes I drank today in my weight-loss yearnings.

5 Number of Bagel Bites I consumed, thereby canceling out the “lean-ness” of the shakes.

4 Number of consecutive days Edward has worn his Upward soccer uniform 24/7.  The reversible nature of the shirt is perfect for E.  Ketchup smear on the blue “cardinal” side?  Simply switch over to the gray “cardinal” image!  Your undershirt will soak up the remaining ketchup, keeping your chest clean and dry!

upward-forever

$14.96 Actual amount Edward charged to my cell phone in downloaded games.  (The bill came today.)  Tonight he promised it would be more in the $9.00 range soon since he has another tooth that’s ready to fly and that should earn him a “cool $5.00″ from “that Fairy.”  Sounds a bit like entitlement to me.  If I were Edward, I’d be concerned the “Fairy” might change her offerings in the wake of the economic downturn…

2,507 Number of gallons of old pool water our grocery-store-chain-owning, horse breeding “top neighbors” on the hill drained into our yard, leaving it a festering, mudboggy swamp, before realizing their pool pump line was broken.  I’m contemplating calling them tomorrow to see if one of their “yard men,”  (I did say men), can come and sop up some of the watery sludge my children are splashing about every time they try to walk Sophie, or trudge to the trampoline, or dig up grubs, or whatever else they do in the back yard.  I need these children to be in the back yard.  For long periods of time.  Perhaps my “top neighbor” can send her maid on down with a Swiffer or Mr. Mop to swab my floors?

top-neighbor-view

I know the view down into my yard from her pool deck isn’t the most inviting, but I’m fairly confident we could drag out even more Little Tikes toys and render it more tempting.  Her darlings are always clamoring to climb the fence into our yard.  Wouldn’t you?

Posted on 30 March '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 14 Comments.