Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Guy

Donny was sick this morning--he threw up a couple of times and was very, very lethargic. Mike had to work today so it was just me and Tiny Tim. I ended up having to give him a shower, which logistically is usually a 2 person job. He perked up after that and, once I got him toweled off and dressed, he announced it was "Videotime!" which means watching small selection of Donny Approved selections on YouTube. Lately its been Sesame Street but today he kept asking for something that I could'nt understand. Finally I cracked the code: "You want to see the guy?" "Yeah!" I don't know if I've mentioned it before on this blog but this has been one of Donovan's favorite things to watch for about a year now. He was so into it today that I managed to fold a whole basket of clean clothes in 4 minute increments.

Christopher Walken is my babysitter.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Christmas Clock is Ticking.../Happy Solstice!

We're gearing up for Christmas here on Herron Avenue. Please note the perfection of our fantastic tree: One of the perks of being from an older family (as in all your relatives are old) is that you eventually end up with a bevy of antique ornaments. Of course this windfall is the result of my aunts deciding that their 3ft. artificial tree "was'nt worth the effort." I try not to think about that too much. At least I can put their old ornaments to good use:
Donovan very much likes the tree and has been playing in his House alot, which has been uprooted and moved across the room to make room for said tree:
He's also been playing alot with his freakishly huge Tonka dumptruck. That thing makes me realize just how big our house is. The layout often feels constricting but squarefootagewise, its pretty impressive. The kid was amusing me last night by using his Made in China Tonka truck to transport all his made by hand out of naturally dyed wool Waldorf inspired toys.
Best of both worlds, I suppose.

Me, I'm trying to get everything done before Zero Hour. So far I've managed to bake two batches of biscotti and I've got the dough for some Joe Froggers in the fridge. There is much giftwrapping to be done, at which time I will survey where I am and who I've neglected. The good news is that a quick trip to the Waterfront was all I needed to finish up for the Mom and the Aunts. The sister, however, is a quandry...

But now its time to address cards. We left off till now hoping we could get a good picture of the boy to include but he's just too fast for me. Tomorrow starts his two weeks off of daycare and my one week off of work. Tomorrow is also a busy day for him as his OT therapist is coming in at 10 and his speech therapist will be stopping by after 6pm. Dang.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Needles and Pins

It’s been quite the week, I must say. I had two major meetings at work which required much last minute number crunching from me. In between the two meetings I took a sick day because I got this monster cold. There was lots of stuff in between but here is why I’m on pins and needles: the meeting today that I couldn't miss fell in such a way that I had to cancel my plans to pick up my kid from Waldorf. Today is the last day before a two week break and his program gets out at 3. Planning for his pick up at the last minute got very baroque and now involves Sheryl, Mike’s folks, The Quiet Storm, the car seat and me getting picked up after work at 5. What I’m worried about is the kid going completely freakdeaky about someone who’s not me taking him somewhere that’s not Whole Foods. Lately he’s been not at all down with change. Plus, we are in the middle of Binkston Cold Turkey—we did the cutting off the end thing and that seemed to work and, so far, he hasn’t had any sort of binkstonworthy meltdown. I certainly hope that he’s alright. I haven’t gotten any exasperated texts from Sheryl yet and its almost 4. Maybe that means they are having a lovely time together. Maybe that means he’s been laying in the Waldorf parking lot screaming for an hour.

Say what you will: I have the next week off and today is the day that I earned it. Man I cannot wait to stop worrying!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

OT for DVS

Donovan had an appointment with his Occupational Therapist last night. She had already spent time with him at Waldorf so this was his second time with her but the first time Mike and I had seen her in action. I felt like Donny was at a bit of a disadvantage as she got to our place a little bit late. By then he had had dinner and was winding down and in comes Ms. Whirlwind and Her Bag of Toys.

I’m not using Whirlwind in the pejorative sense--this gal was wonderful but she was a big personality and even I felt a little crowded out by her at first. It was pretty amazing to watch her work with Donny and she gave us some really great advice as well. First, she asked to go thru his toybox, which I was going to ask her to do anyhow. My suspicion that he’d outgrown a lot of the toys in there was confirmed, tho I had to remind myself that her enthusiasm for dismissing outgrown toys was in no way an accusing finger pointed at my mothering or Donny’s development--knee jerk reactions are such odd things… She also suggested that, to wean the kid off Binkston [that’s the pacifier for those of you not hip to the lingo] that we can let him have it but that we cut off the tip. Genius! I’d never heard of such a thing but it sounds like it might work. I hope that’s the pacifier equivalent of The Patch because he’s definitely hooked--tho his usage is probably the equivalent of the cigarette after dinner and maybe before that big test. She also showed us how to lead him in using phrases as opposed to single words--he responded very well to her when she did it and he seemed ok with Mike and I trying it too. She went on to say that she thought he was “very well placed” at Waldorf and that she was happy with how he was playing there and that he was “running around” and playing with his peers. BIG sigh of relief on that one: I’d pretty much talked myself into the idea that the freewheeling Waldorf style wasn’t structured enough for him but, according to what she said, its fine--better than fine, in fact.

So with all that under our belts I went on Amazon and ordered a couple new toys for the kid. We’ve been trying to keep Christmas to a dull roar this year but its coming at a time where he needs to upgrade so why not take advantage of the crazy ass sales out there?

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Tools Make the Man

So last night I had a lovely dinner with Sheryl--and upon coming home was immediately wracked with chills and a variety of other types of "discontent." While the rest of the evening and most of today were unpleasant, it was actually a relief: I'd spent the majority of my work day wondering if that nervous breakdown I've been trying to outrun had gained on me. Turns out it was just a fever! Hooray for fevers!

Since I was out of commission, Mike took Donny to Light Up Night in Polish Hill. The kid came home sucking on a candy cane and carrying a present from Santa. The label on it said "BOY 3+" Now how did Santa know that? Anyhow, Donny was all excited to see that he got a set of Real Fake Power Tools! We didn't take them out of the box yet as he was more excited to see that I'd made him a big bowl of pasta. Tomorrow, tho, we'll start working on that Real Fake Deck I've been wanting.

Joking aside, I was sorry I missed Light Up Night here in the Hills of Poles. Sounds like it was nice and nicely done.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Wrap Up

Wow: I had the Dreaded Third Drink at Gooski's tonight so I'm not sure how well I'll be able to type. That being said, I do want to post some photos from the long weekend. The Thanksgiving dinner itself was wonderful but so demanding of everyone's full attention that no photos were taken. Which is fine: there's something to be said for living in the moment as opposed to trying to capture it.

One of the best things about this year's Thanksgiving was not only that Claire and Heather came in from Brooklyn but that our friend MeeO and her very nice friend Roy also visited. MeeO is one of my all time favorite people, which does not mean I got any photos of her either, but here are a few from when Donny and I met her and Roy at the children's room of the Carnegie Library.
MeeO used to work at that library so I'm glad she could show Roy her old stompin' ground and also get one last hurrah in with the boy and me. Donny made me very happy by actually bringing me books to read to him.
Previous trips to the library have been all about playing with the bead table (see above) and/or running around the vast expanses of carpet. This was a very nice change.

After we said our goodbyes to MeeO and Roy, we went and killed some time at the Museum. Donny was pretty good for a little bit in the newly redone Decorative Arts wing but got fussy once we moved away from the displays of glass. We went outside and he communed with the fountains.

I think he would have been happy to live there for a month or two.

Sunday, Mike had off of work and we decided that we'd had enough of grocery shopping on our day off together. Instead of buying paper products and foodstuffs, we packed up the boy and went to Phipps. The Christmas displays were in full force and, of course, Donny ignored most of them. He did like the Christmas tree at the entrance, tho.

One of the best things about Phipps is that Donny can look at stuff with his folks or just run ahead on his own. He had a good time doing both:

He also seemed intrigued by the Garden Trains, which I must admit were very sweet. Mike had to catch him before he ran under the velvet rope to grab them.

Finally, he got to play with two of his favorite things: buttons and water. The one fountain in the Victorian Room has a control panel where you can program a water display. Donovan did'nt care about that. He was happy to press buttons and look at water shooting out of pool.

All and all, a good holiday.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Not Thanksgiving Yet

Today Donovan and I were out of the house before 10am: I think that may be a record for a Saturday. We went downtown for no other reason than it was easy to get there via the busway. Once we got there, tho, I remembered that the holiday season is upon us and there are little lights and displays everywhere. On our way from the busstop, Donny stared yelling, "Red! RED!" and I realized he was pointing to a scuplture in front of some official looking building. We went over and took a quick look.
We then went to visit the Creche, which is impressive sizewise but looks like they borrowed old store manikins for all of the people.
Donovan was'nt too impressed.

After that we went to get a little something at the Starbucks in the William Penn. I'm not a Starbucks fan per se but the William Penn one is really nice--they kept all the old plaster and I think they recently redid it--now the plaster is this bone white against the dark grey of the plaster walls. That's a color combination I could look at allllll day. They also had nice black and taupe (I think that's the color I mean) leather slipper chairs. Quite fetching. Added bonus: big Christmas tree in the lobby.

Next it was time to look at the Kaufmann's windows. I have to say, I thought they were pretty lame--maybe everything has a thin coating of Dust Bowl patina on it this year, I'm not sure, but I was underwhelmed. Donny, however, thought it was pretty interesting, as you can see:
We ran around a little bit more but then caught a bus into Oakland, where Donovan had his first O Fries. Needless to say that went very well.
Now he's in his crib singing. Hopefully he'll fall asleep for his nap soon. It's been a nice day so far and my only regret was not stopping at the Dunkin' Donuts in Market Square on our way back: where was my mind?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dodging a Bullet/Taking One to the Head

This is a different entry than I thought I might be making, which is a good thing. Mike took his cat the the emergency vet today. I was amused just now in hearing Mike talk on the phone to the vet to see how Brisbane is doing, and hearing Mike say, "Well, he's a nasty old cat so if he's acting that way, that's good." Brisbane can be nasty and he is DEFINITELY old, at least 18 but probably older. He is at the vet's tonight on an IV and will have more tests done before we pick him up tomorrow. For those of you who have pets, you know the difference between the emergency vet and the normal vet is 24hr availability and several hundred dollars. After much deliberation, we made the same decision that we made for Nina last year, which was you get one expensive Hail Mary and, after that, fiscal responsibility must prevail. That we have funds available for this is amazing. That we are tapping into our savings makes me a little heartsick. But, its Brisbane, after all. Let's go to bat for him One. More. Time.

While Mike was camped out with Brisbane, Donny and I went to Phipps. It was a nice time but the boy was fussy all day and this evening was a series of screeching, flailing meltdowns. I was doing alright with the last one he had, right before dinner, until he slammed his head into the side of my face. Luckily Mike was there to take him off my hands. He finally calmed down enough to eat some pizza crust (Ah Pizza: the meal of parents with uncontrollable children..)and sleek. After dinner, he finally calmed down and even sat on his Dad's lap to listen to the rickety old Fischer Price musicbox recordplayer.Mike got babyduty tonight and, for being such a beastly baby earlier in the day, I could hear the two of them singing together and reciting poems. He was still singing in his crib at 10:30--a good 2 hours after we put him down to begin with. May He Wake Up Even A Fraction As Happy Tomorrow Morning, Pleasepleaseplease, Amen.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Putting a Spin on It

I was home sick today and I was sick enough that I did'nt feel guilty for missing work.

That being said, I was able to get the kid from daycare a little bit early. He did something he's never done before, which is have a meltdown on the bus. Luckily the trip was short (Bloomfield to Polish Hill) but when we did get off the bus, some asshole at the back of the bus applauded. I've been steamed all night thinking of all the withering rejoinders I should have heaped on them, but it never works that way.

But really: I'm sorry my kid was annoying but how lame do you have to be to go out of your way to be mean? Jerk

ANYhow, Donovan had his first speech therapy session tonight. The therapist was very nice and Donovan had calmed down by then (and had also had some dinner) so he was a good kid. It looks like he'll be having one session a week alternating between school and home.

I just realized that the idiot who applauded for us on the bus is one of the many Americans who is paying taxes so my kid can have free therapy sessions. So who's the chump now, chump?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Oh! Be Joyful!

What did my son eat for dinner tonight?
* probably about 3 servings of whole grain smiley cookies
* 6 prunes
* a big bowl of peas and carrots with butter and cheese
* part of a lame-ass Giant Eagle cookie that looked better than it tasted
* half a banana

Last night, after a day of eating milk and nothing, he doublefisted an egg and apple omlet. This morning he ate FOUR PANCAKES. For lunch, well, I don't remember, but it was alot more than he'd eaten in recent memory.

In a world were Every Raisin is a Victory, today was GREAT!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Intensity Intensifies

My apologies for the lack of further Halloween photos. Things have been rather intense lately and the will to blog has been lacking.

It’s not you--its me. Seriously.

To start with, my Aunt Ann passed away on Halloween. Her services were Monday and Tuesday and we weren’t able to make the trip to Ohio to attend. I was sad not to be there and supersad to think that the curtain has come down on my Dad’s generation of Benfords. That type of person--the depression era, WWII vet, family all in the same town, work in a factory so your kids can go to college, first generation American--for most of my peers, that describes their grandparents. For me, that describes the major players of my childhood.


The other big news is that Donovan had his first speech therapy session on Monday. The session was more of an evaluation so as to figure out how his therapy should proceed. Pat from our first session was there as well as the speech therapist. It was fascinating but it was also THREE HOURS LONG. Donovan and I got home right around 6 and Pat was waiting on the porch for us. They didn’t finish up until around 9:30. Between not having dinner and the intensity of the session I actually broke down and cried. I hate doing that in public and, for future note, when it looks like I’m going to cry, its not really a good idea to hug me because then I will lose it. Also, I question the appropriateness of saying, sincerely and brightly, “Don’t worry!!!” Please: you don’t know who you’re dealing with here. Worry is my gravity: without it I’d fly around the room backwards like an unknotted balloon. That night and the next, I went to bed at around 10, I was just so exhausted from it all.

But you didn’t come here to listen to me. You came to hear about Donovan. He’s been doing really well and making some progress in the talking area. He’s now saying all of the letters in the alphabet and trying to spell his name. He’s also taken our game of Wild Babies to a whole new level by instituting a sort of sumo wrestleresque leap onto me. There are few things funnier than seeing a wildly smiling toddler hurtling towards you in midair. It hurts but its damn funny.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

I Only Conquered Europe for the Candy.

More photos with commentary tomorrow. Now I have to go soak the candy stains out of that white turtleneck...

Hope you had a fun Halloween and a blessed Samhain!

9 Out of 10 Doctors Agree...

I've been meaning to post this for about a week but this is the first chance I've had to do so: we got the first official report on Donovan's "learning delays." The report was based on his first appointment at Children's and was about 6 pages long. It was pretty easy to understand but it was written very much in medical speak. The two things I noticed were that 1) he scored a nice, fat ZERO on the autism spectrum and 2) hidden away on page five was this very important medical opinion:SEE? Its a medical fact! A scientific certitude! Empirically tested! THE UNASSAILABLE TRUTH: The kid is adorable!

I'm not bragging--just stating the clearly deliniated medical facts...

Friday, October 23, 2009

I Guess that Makes Me Man Ray...

Meet my son, Nancy Cunard:

I'd forgotten what a great collection of vintage costume jewelry bracelets I have: