Posted in family life, sqt

{sqt} – solo parenting, friends, and broken AC in the summer

It’s been a different sort of week over here! For the Seven Quick Takes link-up with Kelly, here are some of the highlights:

  1. Limerick has been so tired, every day. We went to the zoo on Monday at his request, and he was so tired that he asked to go home every 30 minutes. He napped on Sunday and Monday (which he never does), and has been so tired in the evenings that he struggles to get through swim lessons despite loving and enjoying them. I don’t know if he just isn’t sleeping well at night, or if he has some sort of vitamin/mineral deficiency (thinking about iron specifically). He also hasn’t been eating much, but that isn’t a new thing; compared to the other two he has never been a big eater. His four-year well check is in just two months so for now my plan is to try to get him in bed earlier and facilitate naps when possible.
  2. Paul went up to Prescott for his first business-related trip this week! He even got to deliver a short presentation at the conference! Aubade is definitely missing him though, and while it sometimes seems like the boys don’t care whether he is here or not, Rondel has told me several times that he wishes Daddy were back. There’s something special about getting to share everything with him at the end of the day when he comes from work.
  3. Corollary to take 3, I’ve been doing bedtime for all three kids instead of splitting the responsibility with Paul; the first night Aubade got to fall asleep on her own while I put the boys down, and the second night the boys got to fall asleep on their own while I put Aubade down. I can’t recall any previous night where I have left their bedroom and they have fallen asleep without tears or trying to follow me out, but this time they were out in less than fifteen minutes without any complaints. It was amazing (and so needed, as Aubade was having a really hard time).
  4. We had a playdate with a new family I met online through an unschooling group! It was really neat to watch Rondel running around with a kid around his same age, both of them being monsters and hand-flapping and trying to climb crazy rope ladders and getting scared and not really talking to each other but definitely playing together. A couple weeks ago a younger girl we know from church made a comment about Rondel chewing on his shirt (it’s one of his stims, and a pretty innocuous one honestly) and that being kind of weird or gross; this new friend didn’t see a problem with it at all (and in fact I noticed her experiment with chewing on the collar of her shirt as well). So that was also really encouraging to me, as I’m trying to find friends among whom Rondel can fit in while being himself.
  5. Random thought of the week – why do so many people make such a big deal out of autistic kids lining up their toys? I mean, is it really so strange? I think some behaviorists see it as “abnormal” play, or play reflecting a lack of imagination, but I don’t know how accurate that is. I know when Rondel lines up his toys, it is usually because they are on some sort of migration. I also know that my mom used to line up toy cars and drive them on parade as a child, and that my daughter likes to line her toys to display them – and they are both neurotypical. There is just something so nice about a line, especially as opposed to a pile…
    IMG_0624
    image is of a blond toddler sitting on a curb against a wall, head turned towards a line of toy Triceratops also on the curb. She was very particular about only selecting the Triceratops from the dinosaur box…

     

  6. Both boys mastered the “l” sound and the “tw” sound this week! When they are counting, eleven and twelve come out far clearer than before. I am so proud of the effort they’ve put into it, and they are so pleased with their newfound ability 🙂 Rondel still has moments where he doesn’t want to try to say sounds the correct way, because it’s hard and he thinks he can’t do it, but he tries often enough that he’s improving. Limerick tries no matter what, and he’s improving in leaps and bounds. Hopefully soon they’ll have their pronouns completely straightened out as well – it really confuses strangers and other children when they use “you” to refer to themselves.
  7. We had one random day of rainy cool weather this week – the high was in the mid-80s instead of around 100 where it has been hovering – and very conveniently our AC decided to break that evening after everything was cooled down already. It was rather dramatic: I was out back playing with the boys after sunset, when we heard a loud pop and saw sparks on the roof. I tried to turn on the AC to test it (and to bring the temperature down from 83 to 80 for bed), and nothing happened. It turns out a poor-quality wire had been rubbing on a piece of metal long enough that the insulation wore away and the humidity in the air enabled an arc to form between the two, shorting the wire and blowing a fuse. Fortunately, since the highs are going back up to 100, it was a quick and easy fix and we had AC by the time the external temperatures reached 90. But, as the AC repairman warned us, it is an old unit that has had some shoddy repair work done in the past, so we’ll most likely need to replace it in the next 2-3 years. Ah home ownership 🙂

I hope you all had a great week, whether it fell into the swing of your normal routines or stretched them a bit out of shape! And I hope that you are finding friends – or keeping friends – who love you and accept you just the way you are. Those types of friends can be hard to find, and they really are as precious as silver and gold.

Posted in family life

silly kisses

We moved about two weeks ago (hence the silence on the blog – packing, unpacking, and dealing with leaks at the new house has kept me pretty busy!), and while the kids have settled in fairly well, bedtime is – as always – the time of day when their feelings of anxiety and discomfort seem to rise to the surface.

So we have the music and night light just like we did at the old house, but I’ve started lying in the room with the boys until they fall asleep, either with Aubade on the floor or with Limerick in his bed, which he much prefers. Limerick saw part of Monsters, Inc and, while he plays silly games about monsters with Rondel all day long and has a great time doing so, is now concerned that monsters will come out of his closet in the night. I’ve been shutting his closet doors and stacking toy boxes in front of them and that seems to help.

Another thing I added to the bedtime routine, to try to lighten everyone’s mood and end the day with laughter and snuggles, was “silly kisses” – essentially, the goodnight routine from Sandra Boynton’s book Night-Night, Little Pookie.

nightnightpookie

I use her words almost verbatim, but I replace the little pig’s name, Pookie, with whichever child’s name I’m tucking in at the moment.

“Good night, Rondel ears,” I say, for instance, as I kiss his ears.

“Good night, Rondel nose,” I say, as I kiss his nose.

“Good night, Rondel eyes that are ready to close,” I say, as I (attempt to) kiss his eyes. At this point there is inevitably much giggling.

“There are gentle winds blowing, and stars all above you. Night-night, little Rondel, I love you and love you, and love you and love you, and love you and love you,” I say, as I give him final hugs and snuggles.

Tonight, after I tucked them both in, Rondel said he wanted to give me silly kisses good night also, so I stood up and leaned in next to his bunk bed as he went through the whole ritual:

“Good night, Mommy ears. Good night, Mommy eyes that are ready to close. Good night, Mommy nose.” He kissed my glasses instead of my eyes since they were in the way, but made sure that he got both ears.

“There’s a gentle wind blowing and stars all above you – night-night, little Mommy, I love you and love you.”

I tucked him back in under his blankets and whispered in his ear how much I loved him, and as he snuggled down in his pillows he murmured, “I love you, Mommy.” And he was asleep in fifteen minutes, tired, cozy, and secure in his mommy’s presence and love.

The house may be different, but the family that surrounds him is the same, and that constancy gives him peace in the midst of transition. What a privilege it is to be able to provide that foundation and assurance to people who are still so small and vulnerable! I really don’t mind sleeping on the floor at all, if it is a tangible gift of my love to my children that meets them where they need me to be.