Tuesday, April 27, 2010

In memorial

This was sent to me today. It makes me overwhelmingly sad... there were few leaders who were willing to really advocate for accurate diagnoses of children and family centered, appropriate care. Dr Greenspan will be missed.

It is with great sorrow that we share with you the news that Stanley I. Greenspan, M.D. died on April 27, 2010. Dr. Greenspan was the Founder and Chairman of the Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders (ICDL), founding member and past board president of Zero To Three: National Center for Infants,Toddlers, and Families and former director of the National Institute of Mental Health’s Clinical Infant Developmental Program and Mental Health Study Center. As the world's foremost authority on clinical work with infants and young children with developmental and emotional problems, his work continues to guide parents, professionals and researchers all over the world.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Stanley Greenspan Memorial Scholarship fund, established by the Greenspan family to support future leaders in the field of infant mental health and developmental disorders, currently enrolled or applying to the ICDL Graduate School. Applications for this scholarship will be made available online soon.

I Do Haiku

Apparently, I do Haiku.

I won!!!

Ok, so I woke up a wee-bit crabby and under the weather.  I did the typical morning routine with the quickie glance at Facebook and email, and there it was...  the link to the Mother Words blog.  A winner had been chosen.  And it was ME!!!

My frown went upside down.

Funny how something so small and silly can just brighten your day, ehe?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Quickie

Showing off his Saturday morning puzzle skills

The J-man was sitting in bed with us watching Veggie Tales. Now, we used to watch the Veggies regularly, but stopped a while back because they "lost their luster" for the J-man. But today, in an effort to get another 15 minutes of oh-so-precious-Saturday-morning-sleep, I popped in Lyle the Kindly Viking, and hoped for the best. And as the strands of music for the opening number of Lyle started (it is a musical Veggies, for those uninitiated), Jonathan started to sing. Not every word, not by a long shot, but first one word.... then another... and then anticipating the next word, another. By the third word my hubby and I were awake and looking at each other with shocked awe.

So much for sleeping in this Saturday!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The One Where I Ramble About Stuff I Don't Know Anything About

Confession: I am now going to talk about something I know very little about.


In fact, I can sum up what I know about homeschooling by referring you to the TLC show "19 Kids and Counting" with the famous Duggar family. That's it.

I have always been a huge champion of Public Schooling. I, myself, am a fine product of the public schools. And my family and my husband and his family. I have never been a huge fan of private schools. When I lived in Virginia it always just felt like another way to segregate, because only people with money can go to private schools. Don't have to hang out with the riff-raff poor, and certainly don't have to pass bills to pay for that public school funding. I don't know, it just always bugged me a little. Religious schools were a little different. I could get how a family might want to immerse their child in a religious education. But, again, I have always believed that educating children in an atmosphere accepting of differences and tolerance was a good thing, and again... the whole segregation thing.... well, private school just never was my thing.

And Homeschooling? Well, that was what people who were too paranoid to go to private school did. It seemed really really fringe.

Until recently....

I am a member of multiple special-needs child message boards and websites. And regardless of whether the children have autism, learning disabilities, speech delays, or other significant medical and developmental needs, I have noticed one consistent trend....many of them are homeschooling their children.

I mean, A LOT!

Based on the stories I read, it is largely due to an overwhelming sense of frustration with the school systems, especially related to getting appropriate services for their child. There is this general sense of acknowledgement by these parents that the school either:

A) are not up to the task, or
B) don't care about their child's needs or even understand them, or
C) won't listen to and partner with parents, or
D) all of the above.

So they pull their children out, teach themselves to be teachers, and take on schooling at home. And although I am still a fan of the public school system, and although I believe they can be great, I sorta get these parents.

I guess you can only fight so many fights before you can't fight those fights anymore.

What I wonder is this: Do school districts care that these families have so little faith in them that they choose to do it themselves? Do the administrators worry? Do they reflect at all on what their mission is and how they have lost the faith of these families? Or do they chalk it up to "crazy parents"?

I don't know, but it worries me. There is a lot that is wrong with the educational system, and people WAY smarter than me can discuss it ad nausem. But I want to believe that at its core it is still good. And slowly, my faith is being tested.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Do You Haiku?

So, as you know, I have been taking an online writing course called Mother Words. It has been great, if a little challenging. But what a fun experience! Anyway, Kate (my bomb-diggity teacher) is having a Haiku contest on her website. The Theme is "what no one told you", and the prize is a $10 gift certificate for Amazon.com.

Now, for those of you who don't Haiku, it is a three lined poem with lines of 5-7-5 syllables. Here is my submission (and my first ever Haiku):

My heart left my chest
In tiny jeans and t-shirt
Walks around, exposed

I submitted another one as well, but you will have to go over to Mother Words to see that one.

So, do you Haiku? If so, you have until Friday to submit your own. Or just cheer for me!

Oh, and two big thumbs up on her class. If you have any desire to write, it is well worth your time, mommas!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New Website!!!

Hi all!

Just wanted to let you know we have a new website:  http://www.thecrackandthelight.com/  

I believe that the old site will redirect you to this site for a while, but then it will go away (in about a month).  So if you have us in your favorites, change it!  And keep coming back!!!  We love our friends!


Monday, April 19, 2010

On Why Twinkle Twinkle Is Such a Big Deal.

A blast from the past: J-man at a year.

Before J-man's first birthday, I was farting around on the Internet and I came upon a video via YouTube. I can't remember the context exactly, except it was a baby about Jonathan's age, sitting in a high chair with his mother in front of him. It was like one of those America's Funniest Home Videos. Anyway, in the video, this little girl was vocalizing the song Twinkle Twinkle with her mommy, her little hands in the air fluttering like twinkly stars. She wasn't singing exactly... a word or two maybe... but she followed the pitch with her voice. And those hands followed along, so twinkly.

It was that day I really felt something was wrong with the J-man.

It was an ugly day.

Not only had he never done anything like that, he had no interest. And lemme tell you, that day I tried. It was then that I really realized something was amiss. Now, one could say I jumped the gun. Not even one year old. But I think when a mother feels something is off, she is probably right.

And you know our story up to now....

So now, when J-man flutters his hands like twinkly stars to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle, it feels like magic. Like a blessing. Like I can breathe.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

What is a Kiss Storm?

No, not the Kiss

Actually, closer to this Kiss:

(I wish I could take a picture of J-man doing this!)

So, another good day in orbit of my J-man.  After his bath and jammies, we were hanging out in the bedroom watching Goodnight Moon & Other Tales (another wicked HBO kids show).  He decided in the middle of it to give me a kiss.... or as he says, 'tiss'.  And another.  And another.  I lost count at eight.  He grabbed my cheeks and planted wet one after wet one.  He would pause, say 'tiss', sign kiss, and then plant another one on my pucker. 

He learned this from me.  I often barrage him with kiss storms, covering his little cheeks with kisses.  I knew it would payoff eventually.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Despite some of the frustrations, disappointments, and worries, there is something about being J-man's mom that is absolutely wonderful.  As his mom, I don't... I cannot.... ignore the small moments of wonder, or newness. Of discovery.  Those moments just appear like magic and they have such strange purpose and beauty. 

J-man learned to flush the toilet yesterday.  He tried to put the shampoo bottle down the toilet, but Daddy caught him... with this sly look on his face.

J-man learned to get in and out of the tub yesterday.  He crawled in and out, over and over.  He streaked through the house, his little bum wiggling wiggling wiggling as he was giggling giggling giggling. 

J-man did not want to put his jammie shirt on, so he took it off and (not knowing I was watching) hid it in my drawer.  When I questioned him as to the location of his shirt, he sneaked a look over at the drawer, grinned, and ran away.

And last night, as I sang "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" while flickering the lights on and off, he raised his hands up and fluttered them like little stars and used his voice to "sing along".  For the first time.

Small moments that might get forgotten (or not even noticed) by others.

But not me.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Saturdays are for Swingers

Do you remember the freedom of just swinging?

It is truly the essence of being a kid. 

Friday, April 9, 2010

Angry. So very very ANGRY

It has been a while since GEMM has been out, fiery head and all.

But congratulations to Family Speech & Therapy Services in Andover, MN. You have managed to wake her up and piss her off. Me too. My husband too.

For those of you who don't recall our previous issues with Family Speech, you can refresh your memory here and here.

And so, we thought that chapter was closed?

Oh no, think again!

Today, we got a bill for $90. For 2 days missed at the end of December during J-man's period of green-snot sinus infection (it is now APRIL). It was this illness, and subsequent inability to reschedule appointments with any ease, that led us to quit Family Speech. Now, I had discussed the issue of the first day with the Director and she had agreed to "let us slide". The second day we did manage to reschedule one day with the OT, but the speech options were lean (given the holidays) and the fact there were only 2 days in a week we could make up the sessions (they are not even open on Fridays). AND J-man already had preschool those 2 days, which meant there was only a few hours in the evening that we could schedule. No openings, however. The ABSURD nature of this policy led us to quit Family Speech in Andover. Their business is NOT family-friendly at all.

ANGRY. So very very very ANGRY.

So let me make this clear, Family Speech in Andover. We are not going to pay. EVER. And I am going to make it my mission to let everyone I know about your absurd policy. I will also make it a point to let them know the multitude of OTHER LOCAL AGENCIES they can go to get speech and OT services that do NOT have a crazy-ass policy and completely non-family-friendly business model.

Here is the list I have complied so far:

1) Associated Speech in Arden Hills, MN (our new speech home... and he makes progress here!)
2) Kid Abilities in Shoreview, MN
3) St David's Child Development in New Hope and Minnetonka, MN
4) Kenny Kids in Coon Rapids, MN
5) Children's Therapy Services in Maple Grove, MN
This is only 5 of the multitude of other places.
Give these places your business. Or others who are reasonable, who care about families.

And Family Speech, if you don't think word of mouth matters, think again.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Puzzle Man

Our camera has this video function that I never was able to figure out. 

But I think I got it now.

So here is a video of the J-man finishing up a new puzzle.  It is a 48 piece SpongeBob SquarePants puzzle.  Note the "tongue of pride" that comes out at the end. 

Yeah, be impressed. 

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Little Curious

We have HBO.

I know, I know. No one needs HBO. Unless you are addicted to True Blood or The Pacific.

We got HBO when we moved because it came free as a part of the introductory cable package, and sometime this summer it might be time to let it go. But in the meantime it feeds my hubby's True Blood addiction.

Ok, so on HBO there is this show called "A Little Curious". Here is the description from the HBO website:

"A Little Curious" is a fast-paced mix of animation and live-action vignettes, focusing on three concepts to be treated in many different ways, exploring the different possible meanings of these concepts. For example, in one edition titled "Loud, Soft, Shake," the concept "soft" could mean a comfy blanket, a gentle whisper -- or an old sofie like "Doris the Door" fondly remembering her childhood on a stoop in Brooklyn. "A Little Curious" allows preschoolers to explore the humor and delight in all the meanings of these concepts, broadening their vocabulary and deepening their understanding of the world around them.

J-man loves this show. The music is jazzy, the action fun, lots of singing and general silliness. He loves it.

We have a few episodes recorded, and my hubby called me at work to tell me this story. Apparently, they were snuggling on the sofa watching one episode in which the concept word was "Tight". In one scene, Mop is tucking Bob the Ball, Little Cup, and the Shoe Girls into bed. ( I didn't say the show made sense ) As she is tucking them in, she tucks each one "tight tight tight". At the moment, J-man grabs my hubby's arm and wraps it around him, saying "tigh, tigh tigh".

Awwww.... cute right?

Oh it gets better. About an hour later, at bedtime, my hubby is laying the J-man down. J-man pulls on his hand to bring him down and says "tiss" (kiss). Daddy gives him his kiss. And then he pulls him down again and says "tigh, tigh, tigh".

He wanted him to tuck him in!!!!

Tight Tight Tight!!

I know!!!! To take that concept, keep it in his brain, say the words, and use it in context!!!! After only one viewing.

God, I just love him.


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