Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I'm Feeling Crazy

So, I've got two crazy plans afoot and frankly, I think I've lost my mind. This has not, however, deterred me. Apparently I am unafraid of failure these days. Well, I'm probably still afraid, but I'm not letting it stop me.

My first plan is to expose Charlie to some new types of movement. I was thinking swimming. I did a bunch of searching and I can't find one place around my house that has an indoor pool. Scratch that, I can't find any clubs with an indoor pool. So, I'm thinking about sending a letter and a cute picture of Charlie to two local hotels and see if they would let us use their pool about two hours a week. Sound crazy? Probably, but it can't hurt to ask.

My second idea is even nuttier. I think I want to get an article published. I realize this sounds pretty grandiose, but hear me out. There are many, many mixed-media publications and I read a bunch of them. Pretty much every month I read an article that I think I could have written. I realize that here, on the blog, I pretty much post incoherent nonsense, but I did take fifteen English classes in college not including two I tested out of. I am capable of clear written thought. I think that I could write a decent, editorial-style article. So, now I'm in the process of figuring out how to write a query.

Anybody out there in blog land have any tips for either of these ideas. I'm feeling a little nutso, but I figure I've got very little to lose on either venture.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I think it goes without saying that the world is an interesting place. Things happen that you never, ever expect. Case in point would be the last two days.

As most good stories start these days, mine starts with, "so I was on Facebook." I was actually checking on my sorority alumni group when I noticed that a guy I had dated in high school had joined the group, "Moms of Kids With Developmental Delays." Well, that caught my attention for a number of reasons. First of all, he's no mom, and second of all, he doesn't have any kids. I suspected it was some kind of joke and not a cool one, so I decided to check it out. I was fully ready to be a complete bitch if this was some body's idea of funny.

Well, turns out his cousin started the group and he joined to show support. Her son has an as-of-yet-un-diagnosed condition that has caused developmental delay and hearing loss. They think it must be genetic since he's had a clear MRI and CT scan.

She and I chatted on Facebook this evening. Turns out she remembers me from when I dated her cousin (Lord help us all), and is hoping to move to my area soon. We've got the good public schools here. Actually, that's why I live where I do--the good public schools. So, I may have found a mom-friend who's in a similar situation.

How weird is that?

PS: I seem to remember that there was a family here on the net that had two children with genetic cerebral palsy. They also had one neuro-typical kid. Anybody know what blog I'm talking about? I'd love to share it with this girl since she's in the throws of genetic testing and I've really got no info to share on that one.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Keeping Track

One of Charlie's therapists suggested that I keep track on all the changes I've seen since we've begun ABR. I figured no better place than right here on the internet, right???

So, without further ado, here's what we've seen in the first forty hours.

  1. We've seen noticeable lengthening of his neck and better definition of his chin.
  2. Spitting up/reflux has gone down about 90% and we've been able to discontinue Prevacid (a savings of thirty bucks a month!).
  3. He uses two hands when drinking from his sippy cup.
  4. He make more sounds more often, and they are longer.
  5. I've noticed changes in the way he breaths--his breaths are deeper.
  6. His therapists think that he is using his eyes more.
  7. Crawls for longer distances.
  8. Actively tries sit up and often manages to get upright in the process. Of course, he then topples over, but it is progress.

And, for those of you that are active members of Team Charlie and need pictures, here are some of Charlie in his new walking contraption. So far, he mainly thinks it's nuts, but every once and a while he makes the stepping motion with his right foot, which his PT is very excited about.

Ummm, they won't let me add pics at this time. I'll upload as soon as blogger gives me a little luv.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Since Erin Asked

Well, today is the big 3-0. I wish I had some profound reflections, but I don't. Today feels much like any other day, which is how I like it. I prefer a low-key birthday.

So Erin asked me about my intellectual program and she's not the only one, so I'm going to outline it here today. If you're not interested in Charlie's intellectual program then please skip to the poll I'm taking at the bottom of the page.

Over here we subscribe to the Doman methods for teaching babies. Glenn Doman made his name working with brain-injured children and his Institutes in Philadelphia are dedicated to working with them. He's also written several books about teaching regular children. The methods for teaching brain-injured children and regular children and basically the same, so I bought the books and got down to business. Doman believes that small children are capable of enormous amounts of learning and he's right. He also believes that very tiny children love to learn and he's right about that too. Charlie just loves his learning program. I can't say taht I agree with every single thing he does, but his intellectual programs suit me to a T.
We started with the reading program outlined in the book How to Teach Your Baby to Read. I won't go into the whole thing, but basically you make big flashcards with red words on them. I'm pretty ghetto-tastic in my application and my cards are smaller than recommended. Still, I'm fairly certain that Charlie is getting something. He smiles at the cards and ignores ones that we've done too many times. Also, twice, I've held up two cards with words and asked him to point to a certain word. He's been right both times. The program continues from words to couplets to phrases to sentences. We're just now starting couplets. If you are interested in implementing the program in any way then I recommend getting the book since I've just barely touched on things.

Next, I began to implement the math program outlined in How to Teach Your Baby Math. This is a little different because you're just giving your child the foundation of mathematics. You start with these red dot cards that represent the numbers one through one hundred. You also use these dot cards for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. I found a woman who has all the dot cards done on power point slides and you can simply print them on your computer. She also has a blog where she outlines many of the ways that she is teaching her three-year-old.

Right now these are the two programs I'm doing. I supplement these with DVD documentaries about artists. I'm hoping to start the program on encyclopedic knowledge sometime after Christmas but it's a pretty big under-taking, so we'll see. It is outlined in the book How to Give Your Baby Encyclopedic Knowledge.

How do I keep track of everything? Well, I have a big white board where I'm constantly putting hatch marks to see how many times I've shown Charlie words, phrases, numbers, or equations. On the left-hand side are our goals. Sadly, I almost never meet my goals, but I figure some is better than none in the education category. Charlie seems to be learning and I'm happy enough with that. I also use this board to keep up with my ABR hours and Charlie's appointments.

In other stuff, I'm debating which picture I should enter in the up-coming multi-media show. Which do you like better? The blue or the orange? Please forgive the crappy pictures.

Monday, November 17, 2008


A few posts ago I was wondering about having other mommy friends. Were they out there? Would I be able to find someone who wasn't worried about Charlie's disabilities?

This weekend I had a bit of a revelation. I was visited by someone I've been friends with for about six years now. She's a professional who does a job that few women ever dare to. She's cool, and fun, and also a complete partner in crime if you need to do some shoe shopping.

She also just adored Charlie. She held him, talked to him, and even helped me when I wanted to do some walking practice. She didn't flinch when I asked her to carry Charlie's special seat into a restaurant because he can't do the standard high chair.

Last week, my college buddy the PhD was the same way.

Thing is, your true friends are your true friends and no amount of disabled child is going to get in the way of that. They cheer you on; they cheer you up. They are interested and insightful. They are the same fabulous women that they've always been. Babies or no, my friends are the cream of the crop and I've been delighted to re-discover this in recent days.

I'm pretty lucky.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


There's a quote that Angela over at Special Momma has on her blog. It reads, "have a child with limited abilities is like always being on the edge of possibility." It's a nice expression, but I don't know if I really got it until today.

Today we started working with symbol cards for Charlie. We hold up two cards and he picks the one he wants. Each card represents a song and when he picks the card we sing the appropriate song.

This is big. It shows that he understands that the cards STAND for something and he can choose. The cards are symbols so that's big too.

Then, this evening, while I was waiting for him to fall asleep, I saw him rubbing his eye with he right hand. Charlie rarely uses his right hand and I've never seen him use it like that before.

Today, I feel like we're on the edge of possibility. It's a pretty cool place.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

So. . .

. . . I decided to stop the whole NaBloPoMo thing because it was just one more thing to add to my daily to-do list, and I don't' need any more things on that list. I've got regular therapy, ABR, Charlie's intellectual program, meals, laundry, art/business planning, and Christmas shopping. Also, I've got an out-of-town friend coming to visit this weekend and I've had an activity for my sorority alumni group every week in the month of November.

And did I mention that I'm turning thirty next week? Sigh.

So, forget the blogging every day thing.

Charlie and communication has been a complete blast. I can honestly say that it is one of the most fun things in my entire day. I made a series of symbol cards that represent different songs. He picks a card and then we sing that song. I love it so much and so does he.

ABR is also pretty great. Today, his instructor noticed that his neck looks different. It is a ton of work, but I feel like it is SO completely worth it.

In artsy news, I think I'm going to try to get into a mixed media art show. It's close to the house and the entry fee is twenty-five dollars. The due date for entries is December fifth. I have two canvases I've done that I really like and now I just have to decide if I've got the guts to enter. Only time will tell. . .

Monday, November 10, 2008

We've Been Had

So. . . funny story.

I got a letter in the mail today about a criminal proceeding. It called me and my husband "victims," and gave us victim ID's and all sorts of information about the perpetrators and how they plead and whatnot. They told me that I should feel free to contact their office if I wanted to discuss how the crime had affected me emotionally or financially.

Thing is, I didn't know that I WAS the victim of a crime.

I did some googling and found out that the gallery that sold my husband and I several paintings, was involved in fraud. Apparently, they bought cheap-o paintings from China and then passed them off as the work of local artists, which allowed them to jack up the price significantly. My understanding is that works of art from China are not considered "investments."

Luckily, my husband and I buy stuff we like. We would, of course, prefer to support local artists. We plan to do so in the future. Truth is, one of the four paintings we purchased is a "fraud." Thankfully, I like the way it looks in my house, no for us, it's fine.

Still. . . weird.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Melanie tagged me and I don't know what to write about anyway, so here it is:

Eight TV Shows I Watch:

I don't watch TV very much any more, but here's a list of some of the stuff I used to like.

  1. Friends
  2. Reba
  3. Law and Order SVU
  4. The Closer
  5. CSI Las Vegas
  6. Medium
  7. Shark
  8. Psych

Eight Things that Happened to me Yesterday.

  1. Went tailgating for the LSU/Alabama game.
  2. Got stuck in some hellacious traffic.
  3. Visited with a bunch of my college buddies.
  4. Drank a really big daiquiri.
  5. Almost got myself kicked out of the Varsity.
  6. Ordered the last Twilight book off of Amazon.
  7. Watched The Perfect Score.
  8. Got some ABR done on Charlie, but not as much as I would have liked.

Eight Favorite Places to Eat:

  1. Serrano Salsa Company
  2. PF Chang's
  3. Zea's
  4. My parent's house
  5. Chick-fil-a
  6. Chilis
  7. De Angelos Pizzeria
  8. Casa Garcia (it's funny this one is last because we go there about once a week).

8 Things I am Looking Forward To:

  1. ABR in February
  2. Thanksgiving trip to Little Rock
  3. Spending time with the new software I bought.
  4. The next Twilight book.
  5. Seeing more changes in Charlie as he grows and as we progress with his therapy
  6. Bananas Foster cheesecake on my birthday
  7. Getting finished with my Christmas shopping.
  8. ????

Things on my Wish List:

  1. More sleep
  2. Enchiladas
  3. A new pair of boots
  4. Time to work on my business
  5. More chances for Charlie to practice walking.
  6. A wireless router
  7. A new scanner
  8. A new printer

I'm not gonna tag anyone else because it's a Sunday and I don't think very many people will be reading.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Day Eight!

Writing this is the wee hours because I may or may not be near a computer tomorrow.

Erin made an interesting comment, which got my wheels spinning. She said that I would have to teach new friends about Charlie. How true! I think that the really great friends will distinguish themselves.

Speaking of which, I had my great lunch yesterday with a college buddy and she asked some questions about ole Charlie. Since I don't have a whole lot to say, I'm gonna go over what she asked and also tell you my answers.

Does Charlie see better out of one eye or the other? How do you know if he's looking at you?

Charlie seems to use both eyes equally. People want to say he has a "good" eye, but truly we haven't seen that. He seems to have more problems with getting his eyes together and on target. This means that sometimes he sees something and you don't know it. He doesn't appear to be looking at something and then he lunges at it, or grabs it, and you figure he must have seen it. Other times, he looks right at you and you know it. It depends. I suspect that much of his vision issue is related to all the tiny muscles that control the eyes. The older he gets, the better he is at looking at what he wants.

Does cerebral palsy always involve intelligence?

This is a big no. Cerebral palsy effects movement. That's it. We, as a society, tend to assume that a person is dumb if they can't speak or write clearly. Honestly, this stuff is all muscle-related. I think we all know that plenty of thoughts and thinking occur without moving a muscle. So. . . while some children with cerebral palsy have lower IQ's, it doesn't mean that they have to.

And just a random, CP mommy fact that you may or may not know. Charlie doesn't have the strength to sit in a restaurant high chair. They've got no back, no sides, and basically zero support. For this reason, I bring Charlie's seat with me when we go out to eat. Interestingly enough, the restaurant people don't bat an eye. They are friendly and helpful. It takes two people to get Charlie and all his crap into a restaurant, but it CAN be done.

Night all!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Another Day, Another Post

Well, yesterday's post was was maybe even a little too deep for me. Moving on!

Today I had a lovely lunch with a college buddy of mine who's in town to watch Alabama play LSU. It's promising to be a fun weekend with lot of people coming into Baton Rouge to watch the game and Hubs and I are probably going to go to campus tomorrow just to visit everyone. We're not, however, going to the game.

Charlie has been doing really well. I'm seeing little structural changes from the ABR: His abdomen is less diamond shaped, and I'm starting to see a little length in his neck. I rarely make my three hours a day, but I get close and I'm excited about the process. I was VERY concerned about my own ability to work on him for hours at a time (I can be SO ADD), but it gets a little easier every day. Honestly, I cannot wait to go to the satellinte in February to learn some more exercises.

His thera-togs are making nice differences in the way he holds himself. When he tries to sit, his back is straighter and I think that's from all the good input he gets from them. He still needs to keep one hand down when he sits, but I'll take any progress I can get.

His speech teacher wants to try a communication board with him. Charlie will be the youngest person she's ever tried it on, but she wants to give it a shot. We're going to start with three things on the board and go from there. Have I mentioned today how smart my little buddy is?

That's it! This posting every day thing is tough!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Day Six aka Wonderings of a Special Needs Momma

Here are some of the things I'm wondering. I'm not saying I expect anyone to have an answer, I'm just wondering.

I have a lot of days where I wonder WHAT, exactly are my goals for Charlie. I mean, I can focus really well on the small stuff, but I have no idea what the big picture is. Do I want him to have his own place, do I want him to go to college? Do I want him to walk? To have a job? Sometimes I wonder if what I'm doing is the right thing when I'm not exactly sure where I'm headed.

I wonder if I'll ever have any mommy-friends. We have some really great friends who hang out with us and Charlie and it's fun, but I wonder if people who have regular children would be uncomfortable around Charlie.

And sometimes, late at night, I wonder this:

I wonder if I made the right decision for Charlie. In the very beginning, I wanted to support Charlie and his life because I thought that it meant I was supporting him. I wanted to take him home with me and love him. Now, as he gets older, and he faces so many challenges, I wonder if I was selfish.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Day Five? (it's late--I think that's right)

Well, I just wrapped up a marathon ABR session and it's right after midnight. It seems that Barack Obama will be our next president. Honestly, having lived in the south my entire life, I don't think I ever thought a black man would be elected president. A black man with a Muslim name no less. I'm sad to say that I've known more than my fair share of racists and thought they'd come out in full force tonight. I was wrong

I think that more than anything this lets us all know that this country is ready for some kind of change. I think McCain did a great job, but really, following Bush was a complete loss. I don't know how the rest of the country felt, but for me, Bush let me down. I became more disillusioned during his term than I thought was possible. I don't think I'm really a Liberal. I'm positive that I don't love all of Obama's policies. I'm also positive that this election galvanized the American public. They woke up and went to the polls and made history today. Really, my hope is that this is just the start of changes in our country. I hope that this lets us know that more is possible than we thought. Even if Obama wasn't your candidate, this is definitely history in the making and I think that counts for something.

See Saw

Well, if I'm going to post every day then y'all are going to get some serious mind dribble.

The journey towards starting my own business is definitely an interesting one. One day I'm feeling on top of the world and the next day I've decided that I'm crazy and I need to just toss the whole thing down the drain. It's tough. I think the hardest part is that I've spent my whole life in jobs. Someone told me when to show up, what to, what to wear, and I wasn't pushing the whole thing along. With this, things are different.

Really, I guess, it's no different than life: some days you're up and some days you're down.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Day Three

You know, I'm just not sure blogging every day is a good idea. Things 'round here aren't always that interesting. Basically, today has been fraught with culinary disaster. I went to pick up my favorite splurge breakfast: Chik fil a chicken minis. Those are seriously good. Well, I'm cruising down the interstate, when I pick up my diet coke and the top comes off and the whole thing dumps right in my lap. It was so cold it actually kind of hurt. I have to drive about ten minutes just so I could turn around and go home. So, my regular Monday trip to Hobby Lobby was foiled. Not to mention the last chicken mini and that's just wrong.

Later, for lunch I started boiling some noodles. Then, Charlie woke up and was hungry, so I fixed him a bowl of oatmeal. Then, Charlie's PT showed up. You know where this is going. . . Halfway through the session we start hearing a funny noise. It was my noodles sizzling in the pan! Yes, I managed to burn noodles.

I've decided that I shouldn't try to cook dinner--it could end in disaster. Instead, I'm going to make my husband take me out for enchiladas.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

NaBloPoMo Cheat

I'm not sure if I want to post every day in November. I did it last year, but this year I feel incredibly busy so we'll just see. I don't have much to say today, but I'll show you my latest experimentation as I work on product development for my business. Here, I've put a painting I did on a onesie. This isn't really a finished product--I'm fooling around with transfers right now. Charlie is my model. Please note, the model does not like lying in the grass. He much prefers his chair.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

October Wrap-Up

I just finished what has to be one of the busiest months of my entire life. We ramped up the therapy, hosted out-of-town guests, went to football games, traveled out of the country, and celebrated Halloween as a bunch of pirates. Not to mention our little heart scare and subsequent procedure. I'm tired, but I think it's a good thing.

November will be less insane, but still busy. . .fall is always kind of hectic. I'm doing a little volunteer work (gasp!), and we'll be going to Little Rock to celebrate Thanksgiving with our Arkansas friends. And did I mention that I'll be turning thirty in less than three weeks? Seriously, I should be freaked out, but I keep forgetting about it.

All of this is in answer to a question Nadine asked me when I talked about my business. She wanted to know how I could wait til March. Truthfully, putting myself out there is hard. I don't want to put my name on something unless I really think it's an excellent product. Add that to the fact that I am really busy being a mom, therapist, cook, wife, friend, daughter, blogger, and Tiger fan and there are only so many hours in a day. I'm squeezing in painting and planning on the sidelines. March is my goal because that's when I can start applying for the next season of art fairs and Junior League boutique nights. I need to have packaging, plenty of product, business cards, and all that other jazz by then. So, even though it would be great to cash in on this year's X-mas madness, in reality, I will have to wait until 2009 to really get things off the ground. Stay tuned. . . pretty soon I'm planning on showing you guys some of the stuff I'm making.

In Charlie news, things are great. On Friday he had a substitute physical therapist who decided to let him practice walking. He held onto a bench and she moved his little legs back and forth. He went back and forth several times before he got tired, and held on all by himself. Also, his theratogs have finally arrived in the correct size and we tried those on as well. His sitting looks so good when he wears them and the sits up a lot straighter. As for ABR, I just tallied it up and we got in eight hours this week. I feel pretty good about that. We're just starting out, so some of the early sessions were just thirty minutes. I'm still struggling with a good way to do the jaw/larynx, but we'll work it out. I feel so good about this therapy that literally, my heart sings a little bit. It is the only thing I've done for Charlie that feel 100% beneficial. I'm so cheesy!

I realize that most of you didn't log on to read my ramble, but just wanted the good stuff. . . pictures of Charlie in his Halloween costume. I didn't take any, but I promise to post them as soon as I get some from my mom.

Happy fall, y'all!