Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Plague (Redux)

It appears that we will never have a week at the Pumpkin Patch where we are all healthy and well.  Last week, I had the flu for about 4 or 5 days and was pretty much out of commission for that time.  Now, poor Pumpkin has been sick for the last four days or so.  He, surprisingly, does not have the flu but does have another lower respiratory infection for which he is taking antibiotics.   He is finally fever-free and feeling better during the day but he is still having some rough nights due to post-nasal drip.  Last night, my husband slept with him in a recliner to help him stay in a more upright position.  My husband seems to have the same cold which must have started all of this for Pumpkin and my nose is now suspiciously stuffy so I may be getting it as well.  Will this cold/flu season never end??

On another note, in honor of Earth Day, we have started recycling efforts at the Pumpkin Patch as I had hoped to do.  I have located drop-off points in our county (since, unfortunately we do not have curbside pickup) and we have purchased plastic storage bins to hold the items at home.  Now, we just have to make sure that we actually periodically take the recyclables to the drop-off vs. letting them continue to stack up here and eventually overrun our house...

I will post more once we are all well and rested again...hopefully, that will be soon!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Death and Taxes

We finally completed our taxes last night.  It had been hanging over our heads for weeks as yet another unfinished task.  We're done and are actually receiving a good refund this year.  It's all thanks to our little tax deduction beautiful baby boy.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Defending the Caveman

I read an article titled "Me Mommy, You Toddler" in Parents magazine about how to help derail your toddler's tantrums, which Pumpkin seems to be experiencing more and more these days.  The premise of the article was to think of your toddler as a primitive being and to try to relate to them on a very primitive, emotion-only level, while speaking a form of "toddlerese".  The article discusses how toddlers are working mainly from the right-brain, the emotional side; when they are completely worked up about something, they are so emotional that initially they can't really even hear what you are trying to tell them.  Basically, if your toddler throws a tantrum, the article suggests that you react with about one third of the child's emotional intensity but try to talk to them on a very basic level, such as: "Pumpkin is MAD, MAD, MAD.  Pumpkin doesn't want to have his diaper changed.  Pumpkin want play!" and to repeat it over and over again until what you're saying sinks into their consciousness and they calm down and you can talk to them in a more rational manner.  Or course, just calmly saying the words is not enough; you are supposed to say them with animated facial expressions as well as any necessary arm gestures for emphasis. Supposedly, the toddler will realize that you DO understand what he is feeling and he will therefore calm down.  We all just want to be understood, right?

Since Pumpkin always has a fit whenever we take him out of the bath and try to dry him off, I thought this would be a perfect time to practice my toddlerese skills.  So when Pumpkin started screaming in anger while my husband was drying him off, I leaned over Pumpkin and started saying things like "Pumpkin is mad, mad, mad"  "Pumpkin no want to get out of bath" "Pumpkin no want to get dried off", etc. Unfortunately, I realized that instead of simply breaking what I was saying into simple words and phrases for Pumpkin to comprehend, instead I was channeling Yoda for my performance.  Phrases such as "Pumpkin towel, no want" and then just random words were escaping my lips.  My husband looked at me as if I was crazy; however, I suppose the proof is in the pudding: Pumpkin stopped crying and started laughing at my performance.  Ok, so apparently he wasn't saying "Wow, she really gets me" so much as he was saying "Wow, that woman is crazy" but, hey, whatever works.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

National Autism Day

Today is National Autism Day.  I know that with all of the controversy surrounding vaccines, as well as the frighteningly high statistic that 1 in every 150 children is diagnosed with autism, this is a condition that every parent today worries about.

I remember thinking before Pumpkin's birth that autism would be one of the worst diagnoses we could be faced with; images of Rain Main was my point of reference for autism along with an article I had read about a family who sent their autistic son to live with another woman when they could no longer deal with the disruption to their family life as well as the dangerous situations in which he placed himself and others.

Luckily, now I think that most people realize that there is an entire spectrum of disorders that make up autism and that early intervention can help many of these children lead very normal and fulfilling lives.  I have a friend who has custody of a teenage brother with Asperger's Syndrome.  Although his conversational style is not what you would normally encounter, he is an engaging and personable young man with a love of football.

Luckily, Pumpkin seems to be right on schedule with his developmental milestones but I realize that if that ever changes, he would still be our loving, sweet boy and that we would tackle autism or any other condition head-on and optimistically as a family.  Today, let us all give our support and appreciation to the many families who are dealing with autism and the wonderful children who are learning to live in a different world than many of us experience.