Keep away?

I wonder where he learned this game.  Monkey totally took me by surprise earlier today by holding the remote control for our television in my direction and then snatching it away and laughing at me when I tried to take it.  He then proceeded to offer it and snatch it away, laughing hysterically each time, until I finally gave up.  Little booger.


Amazing is currently the most overused word in our house.  We’ve used it about Monkey’s behavior at family gatherings, his newly emerging participation at school and his always creative communication strategies.  He really just seems to be on a roll these days.

Monkey had yet another amazing day yesterday.  The three of us stayed home all day and Great Grampy joined us for the afternoon.  Monkey was still rather shy at the beginning but he did fairly well.  He mostly helped Duhdee cook while Great Grampy and I sat and chatted about his life growing up and all the different places he lived and worked.

After dinner1, however, there was an amazing transformation.  Monkey brought back a piece of his Thomas Trackmaster train track sets.  Duhdee was sitting next to Great Grampy and we thought Monkey was taking the track to him but Monkey made it very clear he wanted Great Grampy to have it.  He brought back a few more pieces and continued to hand them to Great Grampy.   We moved down onto the floor and Great Grampy helped Monkey set up a track.  Monkey then began handing the Thomas engine and various cars to Great Grampy to assemble.  It was amazing!  The child who normally tries to distract Great Grampy from looking at him2 was sitting only inches away from him and making eye contact and being very demanding, actually.  It totally made our day and Great Grampy looked pretty pleased himself.

  1. Duhdee’s rack of lamb was great!  He’d never cooked it before but he followed Alton Brown’s recipe and it was very tasty. []
  2. Typically, he will point at the sky (or ceiling) to get Great Grampy to look up.  Outside he is hoping there will be an airplane to distract Great Grampy, I’m not sure what he thinks Great Grampy will find on the ceiling though. []

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m sure most of you are gearing up for your celebrations.  We are 1/3 through our Thanksgiving holidays already!  Last Saturday, my mother hosted Thanksgiving dinner.  Monkey had a great time and was very relaxed despite the crowd.  He has come to expect crowds when we visit my parents and so it doesn’t seem to upset him any more.  4 of my 5 nieces/nephews were there along with my 2 youngest cousins (they’re the same age as the nieces/nephews so they get lumped in with them.)  Monkey really loves his cousins, the girls all dote on him and he follows them around and tickles them.  It’s very cute. 

Monkey even wrestled with my grandfather over his cane.  No worries, Papa was sitting down and instigated the battle by poking Monkey with it (the troublemaker) and Monkey won.  Later he went back and grabbed Papa’s cane and handed it to him so they could have a repeat match.  I’m pretty sure Monkey let Papa win that time.

Tomorrow, Duhdee’s grandfather will be joining us for rack of lamb.  We’ll host Duhdee’s family for “Thanksgiving”  the second weekend of December…we really like to spread out the feasting!  Some day when we build our weekend place we’ll host both families at one giant meal.  I’m really looking forward to that.  In the meantime this works.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

I started this post last week but couldn’t seem to finish it.

My great-aunt Iva passed away two weeks ago after a long illness.  She would have been 91 next month.  She was born into a large, farming family in 1917.  She not only graduated from highschool, which was very unusual for girls kids from poor Maine farm families in those days, but she even went on to became a nurse.  She moved far from home and married but never lost touch with the family she left behind.  She returned to “the old farm” every chance she had and I, for the longest time, didn’t even realize that she had another house in another state!  She was a constant presence in all of our lives.  She lived a blessed life and we miss her very much. 

After the service there was a gathering at her son’s home.  The pastor said it was to be a “small” gathering but since she was one of 12 kids, with 7 kids of her own and lots and lots of grandbabies, nieces, nephews, cousins, etc. “small” is a relative term.  Her son’s home was full of people I see all together only a few times each year. 

We decided to take Monkey with us to just see how he’d do and he did very well.  I received so many compliments on his behavior.  He wandered amongst the relatives and let them admire his curls (they drive the old ladies wild with envy ;-)), he was quiet and content to move among them.  I sat beside him and named everyone in the room that I could point at and he played along, though there’s no way to know if any of the names stuck.  I wish there was more I could do to teach him about the lives these amazing people have lived. 

More than that though, I wish I could give him the sort of family I grew up in.  I had 3 siblings of my own and dozens of cousins.  I won’t even attempt to guess at how many 2nd cousins there were as well.  My family was a social group all to itself.  Today’s standard of small families seems so lonely to me right now as I watch that older generation dwindle in size.  Monkey has 7 cousins and I’m grateful for that, of course, but I do wish he’d know what it was like to never have to worry about friends that first day of school because there were likely to be 2 or 3 cousins waiting for you at the door.

I’m feeling a very strong urge right now to move back home.  I love the city and what it offers to us educationally and FX-wise but I really want to sit on my back deck and look at woods I played in as a child, woods that my family has owned and hunted on for generations.   I want to yell across the street to my aunt and uncle.  I want my cousin to pop over to babysit.  I want my grandfather to come for a visit and know that the dream he had of his grandchildren building on the land he’d purchased had come true.  I don’t know how much longer I have to make that dream come true for him or for me.  No one does, I suppose, I’m just more aware of it now than I’ve ever been.

Our first research study!

We received an e-mail about a study being planned at the Waisman Center in Wisconsin.  This is the first study that I’ve seen that Monkey fit the age range for and we decided to inquire.  We’ve been accepted into the study so we’ll be making the trip sometime next spring.  In case anyone else is interested I’ll include the e-mail here.


We are recruiting families for a longitudinal research project designed to investigate the language learning difficulties of boys who have fragile X syndrome and the ways in which autism symptoms might contribute to those difficulties. Boys with fragile X syndrome between 4 and 10 years of age are eligible to participate. Participation would require visiting the Waisman Center on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The costs for eligible travel expenses, including hotel and airfare, will be covered by the project. Because the project is longitudinal, we will ask families to return for additional testing 1.5 years after their first visit. For more information and to learn if your son is eligible, contact Dr. Len Abbeduto ( or 608-263-1737) or Susen Schroeder, M.A. ( or 608-263-5145) or Emily Porter ( or 608-263-5145). This research is approved by a University of Wisconsin-Madison Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Participants.

Leonard Abbeduto, Ph.D.
Charles J. Anderson Professor of Education, Department of Educational Psychology
Associate Director for Behavioral Sciences, Waisman Center
Director, University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Waisman Center
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Waisman Center
1500 Highland, Room 463
Madison, WI 53705
phone: (608) 263-1737
fax: (608) 263-7710

Still here…just sick.

Migraines, stomach viruses and migraines again have laid us all out over the week or so, very bad string of luck we’re having here!   Monkey missed 2 days of school this week due to illness and 1 due to an early release day.  He is not the least bit upset by that!

He’s been filling his time with Curious George*, trains and computer games.  The train play is quite cute.  He’s having us build new tracks each time.  He will play for a while then he tears it apart and puts it away.  He seems to like having a new set up each time.  It’s definitely more fun for me, he’s usually not a fan of experimentation but he let’s me get away with it on this.  I We want more track, maybe Santa will bring me Monkey some.

We’ve also been watching some of the new Thomas episodes, the new CGI versions are definitely different.  I’m not sure if they’re creepy or cool.  Duhdee is not a huge fan, he keeps complaining that the people aren’t supposed to move.  Progress is so hard on some of us.

*Since WHEN is the Man in the Yellow Hat called TED??  Did I miss that part of the book or did the movie just make that up?

He did it, he did it, he did it!

We have p**p in the potty.  I am SO excited!  I should probably be embarassed by how excited this makes me, actually.

The school seems to have created a potty monster but I’m not going to worry about that.  They are using PECs and Monkey has learned that if he grabs the “bathroom” picture and signs “potty” he gets to leave the room and go to the bathroom.  It’s the perfect escape and he has quickly trained them.  He’s totally taking advantage of it and they’re realizing that they’ve created a monster. 

This morning he didn’t want to go to class, he was not very well regulated at all for some reason.  As soon as he “checked in” to class he grabbed the bathroom picture and was granted a field trip, lol.  His lead teacher looked a bit put out, she knows what is going on but…that’s their problem!

When will this stop surprising me?

Jennifer mentioned in a comment that she told her son Kyle that he was not going to wear pullups at night anymore and he responded by staying dry after that.  I tried a bit of this last weekend with Monkey.  I put boxers on him and told him he needed to tell us if he needed to go p**p and he could either go on the potty or go in a diaper.  He chose a diaper.  I was pleasently surprised and hoping it would continue.

Color me gobsmacked because it *has*.  Duhdee has not been putting boxers on Monkey, he’s still wearing diapers during the day, but he is consistently telling us when he needs a new diaper.  Two nights ago he went p**p in the diaper and as soon as he was done he went to the toilet, took off the diaper and I helped him flush the contents.  This is HUGE people!  Maybe we can get this kid PT’d afterall!

I know Monkey understands way more of what we say than he can communicate, I’m not sure why it takes me by surprise every time he demonstrates it though.

Things are quite quiet.

Today is the first day I’ve felt “right” in a while.  I was down and out with a migraine most of Saturday and Sunday, yesterday I was well enough to work but I was still exhausted from the weekend of pain.  Today, my husband said I have a “glow” so that must mean I’m looking human again.  He has such low expectations of me these days, lol. 

Just because I was miserable, though, doesn’t mean life didn’t carry on.  On Saturday, Duhdee and Monkey spent time outside playing and doing fall clean up.  Our next door neighbors were out with Cupcake and so she and Monkey played in the leaves together.  Saturday night Monkey fell asleep in the exact position I layed him down in on his bed.  Duhdee did a very good job of wearing him out.

On Sunday Duhdee was running around like crazy doing errands then he took Monkey to a birthday party for a friend.  Monkey had a really great time bowling, it was the first time he’d ever gone and he loved it.  We’re going to take him back for a family trip sometime soon. 

And that is it for goings on, pretty boring really…but I’ll take it 🙂