Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Life without labels

People keep asking me if Emmett is autistic. I don't know. We won't have a definitive diagnosis for him until he is seen by a developmental pediatrician and occupational therapist. We don't know when that will be. At the moment his behavior and symptoms are all over the map and he doesn't fit a single set of criteria for anything. Until we find the top of the waiting lists we plod along, visiting the Speech Language Pathologist and following her instructions as best we can.

I kind of like not having a diagnosis for now. On one hand, when we can name what is going on I am sure his therapy will change and be more effective. On the other hand, people treat him normally right now, just like any other little boy. I am afraid that will change when we have a diagnosis. He will become Emmett the [fill in a scary-sounding disorder] instead of just Emmett.

People also think that life must be hard with a non-verbal preschooler. Don't get me wrong, we have our moments, but overall it is not bad. My ears are not ringing with a constant stream of "No!" "Mine!" "Why?". We can also play dumb when Emmett want's something we don't want to give him. (Psychological warfare is the cornerstone of parenting a toddler/preschooler, to you non-parents out there). Charlotte is becoming more verbal now and saying a few words. I have visions of her translating for Emmett sometime in the near future. Maybe they will make up their own language that only they understand. We will be sooooo screwed when that happens!

I worry about what the future holds for my little guy. I have to keep telling myself that I shouldn't worry aobut things that haven't happened yet. I will just love my little boy (and girl) for who they are and know that we are strong enough as a family to face whatever comes our way. Right??

Monday, July 24, 2006

There's no place like home.

I just got home from a week away. Sleeping in my own bed next to hubby was wonderful last night. Last week Char, Emm and I started out at a summer camp where I worked as the nurse. The kids had a blast and the campers really took them under their wings. Emm always had someone to play ball with or dig in the sand around the volleyball court. I even came home with the number of a camper who lives in my city and wants to babysit them!! Thankfully I didn't have to deal with anything serious beyond a mass epidemic of The Itch. I almost ran out of antihistamines. Emm and Char were ok because I didn't let them go in the lake. Besides The Itch I just had to put a lot of bandaids on a lot of bumps and scrapes. One kid came to me after butting heads with another camper--he developed a spectacular black eye that he couldn't wait to show his friends back home. Emm got a little homesick. Everyday he would take me by the hand and lead me to the van or to the road. I missed his daddy too!

The rest of the week was spent Up North in my hometown. I attended the bridal shower of my good friend (Manitoba Farm Girl if you read my comments). We had a blast hanging out together and stuffing our faces with cheesecake at the shower. I got to play farmer and help her and her hubby water cows and pick berries. I even named a calf for them, accidentally. I also played nurse to one of thier horses who ran into a barbed-wire fence. He ran right up to me to show me his owies. Emm played in a garage full of kittens and tried to take one home. I had to tear a little black kitten from his hands as he cried at me. It is too bad we are both allergic or I would have let him keep it.

Mom's house was stressful. Her home is painfully clean so we were able to trash it in the first five minutes we were there. I had to run out and buy latches for the cupboard doors to keep Char out. Mom also had porcelain dolls at floor level that had to be taken away. Char and Emm were really good at finding new things to get into. Always having to be on guard made me so tense. My house is comfortably messy and there is nothing in lower cupboards or on shelves that can't be taken down and thrown around. I prefer to spend my days not having to redirect and say no constantly.

Hubby took the bus to Mom's house on Saturday so that we could drive home together as a family--a 4-hour drive home with two kids under age three was not something I was looking forward too alone. It was with great relief that I picked him up from the bus depot. The kids were thrilled to see him and glued themselves to him until we loaded up the van to come home.

I almost didn't recognize my house when we got home--we had a two-level porch built and it was finished while I was gone. I am looking forward to relaxing on the new balcony outside my bedroom this evening. It looks fantastic and our house looks so different now.

Emm had a breakthrough at Grandma's house--he can blow bubbles now. Our therapist will be thrilled when we show her tomorrow. He can make the "F" sound now. I am so proud of him.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Scardy Cat

I am a big scardy cat. I have a yellow belly, am lily livered and wear Nancy pants. There was a terrific windstorm blowing outside my window last night. Trees fell on cars. There were power lines and traffic lights down, a fire was started somehow somewhere in the city. A couple of roofs blew away. The DJ on the radio said winds reached speeds of 100 km/h at one point. All I know is that my house was shaking and making all sorts of grumpy groany noises. My bedroom shouldn't shake unless I have something to do with it. There is a partially broken tree branch dangling precairously over our car right now, as I am typing. I did not sleep. I guess I thought our house would fly away if I didn't sit awake asking God to protect us. Since there isn't really anything else I can do, keeping constant vigil is what I did. This is not the only time I have sat awake keeping our house from blowing away. I am quite afraid of thunderstorms and tornados. Before yesterday I would have said I am terrified of thunderstorms--that word is now reserved for windstorms. Hubby laughs at me. He slept like a log. I think Emmett would have too if he hadn't heard Char waking up. Her bedroom has a big tree right outside the window and the wind howled in there. Emm's room is in the middle of the house and was quiet and still--I know because I crawled into bed with him for a while. Our bedroom was the noisiest and scariest. Our partially completed porch stood tall and strong through it all--it is attached to our house and 12-foot concrete pilings. I have a feeling our house could blow away and the porch would still stand tall.

In addition to windstorms and thunderstorms ladders make me queasy and horror movies give me the heebie jeebies. (even the previews for them make my stomach lurch) I have a pathological, irrational fear of snakes of any size shape or form. I am not nuts about confined spaces either. Yep, I am a big scardy cat.

Ok, fess up: what are you afraid of?

Monday, July 3, 2006

I need a weekend....

....To recover from my weekend. It all started Friday, when we drove across town to help unload the moving truck parked in front of my Grandma's new condo. She moved almost halfway across the country from a city that straddles the Alberta/Saskatchewan border. Her license plate says Alberta--she always said the Alberta side of town was better than the Saskatchewan side. Can't the Prairie Provinces all just get along? We should stop ragging on The Gap so much!

Saturday brought Canada day and associated festivities. We biked across town to the river and celebrated with our city with fun, food and music. The fireworks happened past bedtime, but we heard them from our house.

Sunday brought a trip up to The Lake to see MIL's new cabin, launch a dinghy in her lake to take water samples and lose my sandals in the knee-deep mud that passes for a beach. The sandals were recovered by my brave husband as I was already pretty grossed out by being stuck knee-deep in stinky mud. We also drove to the civilized lake nearby that had a real sand beach and sailboats floating in it to play with Emm and Char's cousin, Seth, and his mommy. The kids had a blast, all causing trouble together and sharing crackers and ice cream cones. Emm even gave Seth a hug goodbye and waved with both hands when it was time to go. The highlight of the day was when Seth had to stop in front of a chicken restaurant to cockle-doodle-do at the chicken on the sign. Did I mention he is two? There will be pictures soon--I had to use my old-fashioned camera as the digital took the weekend off. The kids slept very well last night! I was a good mommy and laid the SPF 40 on thickly so there were no sunburns! Yay!

In honour of Canada's 138th birthday I unearth this old chestnut: I am Canadian Who remembers it? Whose chest still swells with pride when they hear it? Which of my American readers secretly wishes they could be Canadian for a just a minute when they hear it?

I need to go lay down now...