Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sydney Speak

Okay, so I've heard that toddlers can go through a language explosion but I've never seen it for myself so I can't say I understood how suddenly or intensely it could happen. Well, holy cow, let me tell you, this little girl is absolutely busting at the seams with new words and phrases.  It's so adorable. I wish there was a way to train my brain to remember every detail of what and how she says things. Since there's not, let me share some for posterity . . .
During our long car trip to Florida, Sydney practiced the ABC song.  About 1000 times (though it felt more like a million).  She's got almost every letter down except L-M-N-O sounds a little fuzzy like she thinks it's one big letter she doesn't quite know how to pronounce. She also pronounces the letter 'R' as "or-ah" (similarly, the number '4' is "foo-wah") - who knew a New York accent was innate? But the absolute cutest thing about her Alphabet Song is the letter 'W' which she pronounces "double-boo."  I can't help myself from going up to her several times a day and saying "Q-R-S-T-U-V" just to hear her say "double-boo-X-Y-Z" and give me a big smile.
Over the past few days, Sydney's taken to saying "I yike (like) it" and it's really funny because the context in which she says it leads me to believe that what she actually means is "I want it." For example, she'll come up to me when I'm eating something she's never seen before much less tasted and say "I yike it" as she reaches out for me to give her some. For some reason, it's so much harder to refuse when she frames it her way.  Clever, clever girl.
She likes to punctuate everything with "WOW!" or "YAY!" And she LOVES to sing!  Not just the Alphabet Song but also Twinkle-Twinkle Little Star and Jingle Bells and the Hot-Dog Song from Mickey's Clubhouse. She's got an indomitable spirit. 

I love this little girl so much.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Very Happy Holidays

We're an interfaith family. Or, more accurately, a secular family with both Jewish and Christian roots. We generally do a little bit of Christmas and a little bit of Hanukkah but I wouldn't say we've ever done either all the way. Now that we have kids, we try to make the whole holiday season about togetherness and family time. This year we did it up right -- I'll give you one hint where we went . . .

Yup, family road trip to sunny Florida. And it was awesome! Here's a few of the highlights:

We visited a local farm where Kaden rode a pony and Sydney chased an extremely evasive team of ducks.

Kaden went swimming with daddy . . .

While Sydney hung out poolside with mommy.

Kaden learned how to play classic video games like Pac-Man and Galaga . . .
And Sydney perfected drinking from a straw all by herself like a big girl.

And, of course, we spent a day at Disney World. They both love Disney Junior and know all the characters so they were thrilled to meet Donald, Daisy, Goofy and Minnie but one member of our party (a little girl who shall remain nameless) got a little overwhelmed when we got up close to the characters so we weren't able to get good pics of those encounters. Nevertheless, we had an amazing time!

And now we're home, comfy and cozy and looking forward to a great new year! 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

I am thankful for . . .

THIS boy and THIS girl . . .

and the beautiful relationship they are building with each other.

Very thankful indeed!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Dr. Syd, Medicine Girl Fire Chief Kaden
And then there's the ultimate . . . Dr. Fire Chief Sydney Girl.  It's tiring.  She needs coffee.

Happy Halloween, Everyone!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Kaden Update

I finally captured video of Kaden strutting his stuff. He's getting stronger and more confident everyday.
We're extremely proud, of course, and very, very excited for him.

Kaden's been a busy bee over the past several months.  He's been getting almost daily ABA therapy and is doing a great job with shape sorting, puzzles and matching. He's not a big fan of coloring at this point, there's just a little too much motor planning involved, but it seems he's turned a corner when it comes to persevering on tasks that are hard for him. This little boy works harder than I can even comprehend.  In just four years he's taught me more about strength and grit than most people will learn in a lifetime. I am in awe of you, sweet boy, and I feel so incredibly privileged to share this journey with you.

It's with that in mind that I want to share that Kaden recently received an official autism diagnosis. It doesn't change anything and it doesn't define him. It just gives us a little more clarity on what we need to do to help him reach his full potential. For that, we are thankful.

Finally, a few weeks ago I noticed Kaden kept watching a new video on YouTube.  I have no idea how he found it but when I actually sat down to watch it myself, I cried. You might too.  Check it out.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sweet Silly Sydney

This little girl LOVES LOVES LOVES to laugh and play. She's silly, sweet, daring, inventive, curious and just about a million different kinds of cute.
At 19 months old, Sydney is a jokester. She currently loves to pretend that various toys are hats. For example, her latest trick is putting a bucket on her head and marching around like a robot or putting it on my head and saying "haht" with a sly smile that says "I know it's not really a hat, mommy, but isn't that SOOO funny?" Yes, my sweet girl, you are so very, very funny.
And by the way, my angel, you so ROCK a hat!
Sydney's other big pastime is eating.  She's a food lover.  Her current favorite breakfast is french toast sticks and yogurt.  As you can see, she savors every bite. It's adorable to watch.
Not even a rainy day can bring this little one down. She recently passed time on a dreary day eating snacks and watching the rain, no doubt plotting her next trip to the playground.
You're a non-stop ray of sunshine, Syd, and I am so, so incredibly lucky to be your mama. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Kaden has magic glasses . . .
I've posted here before that Kaden's been practicing wearing frames and I have to admit that for a long time it didn't seem very promising -- he was up to only about a minute of tolerating frames on his face after months of practicing with his ABA therapists. Several people assured me it would be different once he got real lenses because he'd realize that he could see better and that would be all the motivation he'd need to keep wearing them. I didn't really believe them because, well, because Kaden is stubborn and because the lenses in question are prism lenses which his developmental optometrist swears by but his regular opthamologist dismisses as "unproven" and "ineffective." So I didn't know what to think and the speed and decisiveness with which Kaden invariably ripped his practice frames off left me skeptical. We were determined to give it a try but I can't say we expected very much.

I am so glad to tell you that we've been blown away.  Kaden's been wearing his new glasses for HOURS at a time, through entire ABA sessions, while he plays on his iPad and watches TV, while he eats and plays with toys and, most importantly, WHILE HE WALKS and explores EVERYTHING, often unassisted.

Here's my handsome boy after breakfast this morning . . . just chillin', wearing his glasses, no big deal.
And my heart just SOARS!

From my perspective, they are absolutely magic glasses.  From the first day Kaden got them on about 2 weeks ago he's been standing up, cruising around all our furniture and taking 5 and sometimes 10 independent steps around the house as he explores, looking around at things as if he's seeing them for the first time.  Now, Kaden's been taking independent steps for quite a while but it was always with lots of prompting and guidance and cheerleading from mom and dad on the sidelines.  It is completely new for him to get up on his own initiative and try to walk from one room to another and he did it as soon as I put those glasses on his face. MAGIC! 

And it's not just different at home.  In the past, Kaden always seemed content to stay in his stoller when we went shopping or around town doing errands.  Not so much anymore.  We went to the mall last weekend and Kaden made it very clear that he wanted to get out of the stroller and look around a toy store.

Let's just say I've had happy tears in my eyes many times over the past few weeks. I still don't truly understand how prism glasses help people with perceptual impairments actually see the world better but if given a chance I would testify under oath that it's been totally game-changing for Kaden. And I will be forever grateful that people who are way smarter than me (than I? Well, that just proves the point!) have devoted their lives to figuring this stuff out for the rest of us.
And not to be left out . . .
A beautiful little girl I know just inherited a pretend pair of eyeglass frames.

Good times!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Birthday at the Beach!

It's a well established fact that Kaden's a junior beach bum but did you know he was born on the same day as the extremely unique 2008 summer solstice? Despite any skepticism I may have about astrology, there's absolutely no doubt in my mind that his spirit aligned with the cosmos that day. He loves the beach, from the splashing of waves on his feet to the warm scratchiness of sand through his fingers (sensory defensiveness be damned!) and even the taste and smell of pizza from just off the boardwalk. I love it and find myself wishing we could live in a perpetual summer at the beach. With just one little (okay, big) caveat - Sydney sorta hates the beach at this point.
So there's that to consider.  But I'm sure that will change . . .
Anyway, our beautiful boy turned 4 on June 20th. We celebrated for days and marveled at how much he's grown, how fast things change and how wonderous our journey has been so far.  Little boy, you constantly amaze us and we're profoundly grateful that we get to share this life with you. 

We played at the beach

And at the park.

Sydney even managed to have a little fun too!

Happy Birthday, Sweet Boy! This is gonna be a great year!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Happy 4th Birthday, Kaden!

Kaden is 4 years-old! We just returned home from a wonderful week of celebrating at the beach.
More to come soon . . .

Friday, June 15, 2012

Almost Birthday Update

Kaden's 4th birthday is right around the corner. As usual, I'm blown away by how fast he's growing up! There's almost no trace of the beautiful baby he once was and we're getting more and more glimpses of the young man who is yet to come. It's exciting. And scary. And beautiful.
Kaden's recently taken to lounging on the couch and though I realize couch potato-ness isn't exactly a quality we should celebrate, it's actually something of a milestone for him. See, Kaden used to be perfectly happy sitting and laying on the floor ALL THE TIME. He just never seemed interested in being in a chair or on the couch with others. But now that he's a big boy, well, that's changing. He's also taken to sitting with his ankle crossed over his knee in an idiosyncratic way that is exactly how his daddy tends to sit. It's adorable and one of these days I'm going to get a shot of the two of them sitting together that way. Who knew that kind of thing was genetic?

And what about the little girl? She's just as delicious as she could be. She's cruising everywhere and I would bet her first independent steps will be coming any minute.  Literally, as I type this I've got one eye watching her experiment with balance.  She's close. And I have a feeling that once she starts walking it's going to be impossible to contain her.  This little firecracker it itching to go do everything.  

And though I wouldn't exactly declare Kaden and Sydney bosom buddies just yet,
we've definitely seen good progress.

Only a few days left to Kaden's birthday . . . more to come soon!