Friday, January 30, 2009

Here is proof positive that not all teens are like the ones I grew up knowing. In my experience, teenagers as a class were and are lewd, foul-mouthed and had the maturity of three-year-olds. Not to, you know, denigrate three-year-olds. I have long been of the opinion that the vast, VAST majority of children should be locked away from polite society from about 4th grade on until they mature into something the rest of us can tolerate. Admittedly, in some cases this would be a life sentence - although of course this would spell the end of professional sports, as well as put reality television completely out of business.
This boy, McKay Hatch, got tired of hearing the constant swear-words that form the bulk of most teens' vocabulary. Whatever planet he's from, we need to import more of his kind.

Why Do We Love Profanity?
By Brent Bozell
January 30, 2009

McKay Hatch is a 15-year-old boy from South Pasadena, Calif., who people clearly hate. He's received over 60,000 negative e-mails, most of them vicious, some including death threats that have spawned police and FBI investigations. What has this boy done that's caused such anger? Was he caught dealing drugs? Did he rage? Did he kill? No. He started a No Cussing Club.

And for that he is vilified. Hatch says some people are going out of their way to curse him at school, on the Internet and on the phone. They send him pornographic magazine subscriptions. Not long ago, someone ordered $2,000 worth of pizza delivered to Hatch's house. Then came the death threats.

Brent Hatch, the teenager's father, told reporters one death threat in particular crossed the line. "I was at the hospital with my wife, and we were visiting family, and some guy had called on my cell phone said, 'I know you you're gone, you're not there. I'm in front of your house, and I'm going to kill your family.'"

If the purveyors of profanity think that cussing is so harmless, why are some of them so unbelievably hostile to anyone suggesting a voluntary ban on the bleeps?

McKay Hatch isn't buckling. "It's really scary, because people are calling us all night," he says. "Sometimes we have to unplug the phone. You know, at first it was really kind of scary, but they're just bullies, and they want you to be scared. And so I'm not gonna let them win."
(rest of article may be found here)

HE'S FIFTEEN. And braver than I was at that age, when my response to the trash around me (and I mean trash) was to just shut my ears as well as possible.

The Thursday Habit

I didn't realized I'd posted all THAT much on Thursdays about Kittyboy's therapy, but what do you know - I didn't post yesterday, and this morning I had a call from my grandmother pointing out that she didn't yet have stories about her great-grandson from yesterday! (I e-mail her my blog entries)
So, amusing stories of therapy!
Every week, he dives into Janna and Ginny's bags to ransack them for his favorite toys. They have big tote bags full to the brim of lovely things for Kittyboys and girls to play with, rather like Santa - puzzles, books, puppets, dolls, trains, ring-stackers, shape-sorters, all sorts of things. I do believe he even knows by now which bags hold which toys, the better to find his favorites in a timely manner. Until yesterday, his all-time favorite of Janna's was a Fisher Price farm. This last week, however, we had a lovely surprise in the mail. My aunt in California sent us a package! A LARGE package, just out of the blue, with a Christmas gift inside, and a note saying she "hoped it wasn't too young for him". He tore the paper off the front and went hog-wild, pardon the pun, bouncing up and down saying, "Moo moo! Moo moo! Moo moo! Moo moo! Moo moo!" pounding on the box. It was his very own Fisher Price farm!! I could NOT get it out of the box fast enough for him, especially since I was undoing twist-ties with one hand while fending him off with the other as he jumped on ME, still frantically mooing. (He knows what cows say! BOY, does he know what cows say!) I had to just rip the animals out with the cardboard still attached, to distract him while I pulled on the barn itself. Somehow, I got everything out without anything being broken OR the Kittyboy's little brain going POP from over-excitement.
So, since he had been playing with his very own farm all week, Janna's farm wasn't the first thing he went for. The thing that amused him most turned out to be her boxes of flash-cards. The big box of cards has different sections in it, depending on the relative difficulty of the words. The first section is the two-syllable repetitive ones - ma-ma, da-da, moo-moo, nay-nay, baa-baa, and so forth. Next are two syllable words with different vowels, like mommy, daddy, baby, etc. It's like "Talking for Dummies", not to imply that children who need extensive help and practice to speak are unintelligent, but it's that sort of VERY basic, broken-down, step-by-step instruction. Well, for some reason he wanted those cards more than anything else. We went through cards again and again - then we would try to do a puzzle. He got maybe five pieces out of the eight piece puzzle, then he was DONE and wanted the cards again. Then we tried a stacking toy, which was going to become a tantrum when he decided again he was all done. Boy, those cards were just the coolest thing. He wanted the Mama and Dada cards in particular. At one point, when he was DONE with a book, he picked up the box saying "Mama! Mama!" Janna played dumb and pulled out ALL the cards and went through them one by one, pretending to not understand which one he wanted. "Woof woof?" "Mama!" "Peep peep?" "Mama!" "Nay nay?" "Mama!" After a few cards, he started walking in circles in front of her saying, "Mama Mama Mama Mama Mama Mama Mama Mama..." until she pulled out the right card.
Pretty much the only NEW thing yesterday is that he is more and more imitating what we say right when we say it, so he is imitating more consistently. He did say Bye-bye when we left! And he is beginning to make two-syllable noises for two-syllable words, even if it's just "nn-nn" or "mm-mm". It's just when he hears the words, he's not initiating conversation, but just seeing imitation of ANY sort regularly is terrific! It makes it easier to put up with the screams, squeals, grunts and growls he uses on a daily basis. We're getting there!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Kittyboy and Icons, again

We started out the day with Kittyboy demonstrating a previously unknown talent - he can find the Mother of God in ANY icon. I knew he liked his Mary very much, but apparently he's been paying closer attention than I thought. He brought me our Ethiopian diptych this morning. It's Our Lady of Perpetual Help on one side, St. George on the other. Being Coptic, it's a VERY dramatically different style than our others, and I've never drawn his attention to it because the two icons are held together by thread and I just didn't want him touching it. So he brought it to me this morning, opened, and before I could say "NO, put it BACK," he pointed and signed Mary. This is a surprise because there are four faces in that icon, Mary, Jesus and two angels, and in this particular rendition, they're all about the same size. And they're all the same dark, round-cheeked face with huge dark eyes, nothing like any other icon we own or he's seen. I asked, "Where's Mary?" and he pointed again, and again it was the right face! I don't know by what formula he figured it out, but he knew Mary when he saw her!
So then I took it back to the shelf, and along the way I grabbed one of those plastic zippered bags like bedsheets come in, to fix this wandering icon problem once and for all, and of all the icons we have stacked on that shelf, one was missing. Rublev's Trinity, the Three Hierarchs, both Nativities, the Resurrection and Pentecost were there - our 8x10 of the Transfiguration was gone. Not under books, not under the shelf. GONE.
My first thought, though it may seem strange, was to run into the family room, grab Kittyboy, look him firmly in the eyes, and ask, "Where did you put the Transfiguration? Transfiguration? - Metamorphosis? - the BIG icon with Jesus. Where is it? Go find it!" And he responded in classic toddler fashion. He walked in a little circle, waving his arms. No help there. (What DID I expect?)
So I checked all the usual places - in, on, and under his bed, by the changing pad in the bathroom, on and under the couch, every toybox in the house. It was nowhere. I had about given up when I remembered his current favorite "womb substitute" is behind the couch in the family room, where he squeezes in to sit and then needs help getting out. Bingo! It was back there. He had the right room, at least. Who knows, perhaps the walking in a circle waving his arms meant, "I don't know Mommy, it was somewhere in here!" The kid is too cute for his own good.
So now it is safely esconced in the zippered bag, protected from dust AND the Kittyboy's eager fingers with all the others. Shortly after putting them all away, I heard a grunt and thud from the hallway. I went out, and Kittyboy had pulled the bag off the shelf. He looked at me, signed "help", pulled on the bag again, stood up and signed Mary, pointing at the bag. "Mommy, you have trapped all my Marys in there! Help!" Amazing what can be communicated through gesture alone. He'll learn this is where "his Marys" BELONG now, and somehow he will learn that his picture friends are not actually toys. And I will learn to be happy that my child so adores the saints, and rejoice in his sweet, childish ways of showing that - even if it means retrieving Rublev's Trinity from a toybox. Or the Transfiguration, from his hidey-hole behind the couch.
I'm sure when Christ said, "Suffer the little children to come unto Me", He meant in ALL ways that little children "come unto Him". He meant the children who wanted to run and throw themselves in His lap right then, and Kittyboy giving the little plaster Jesus from our manger scene a ride on his sit-n-spin. He meant the boy with the loaves and fishes, and Kittyboy hugging and kissing his St. Patrick icon - all icons, of all saints, are ultimately of Christ, as they are a depiction of Christ in that person. And Kittyboy kisses Him wherever he finds Him - icons, pendants, the covers of books. I've actually attempted to read him "The Way of a Pilgrim" in that super-enthused voice with which you read to toddlers, just because he keeps bringing me that book - it has an icon of Christ on the front. Kittyboy sits still for about a paragraph at a time.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Speech/OT rejoicing!! - mostly

My, what a complicated day at therapy this morning. I have people to call, stuff to fill out, and a book to read. All for Kittyboy!
First, we have cause for rejoicing - during therapy, we heard for the first time ever, Neigh-neigh, Baa-baa, Woof-woof, Moo-moo, and Boo (blue). All in an hour's time, just out of the clear blue sky. Opening mouth and everything. Janna, Ginny and I were just flabbergasted, and of course applauded and cheered like mad!!! Janna says to keep hitting two-syllable repetitive words really hard, because he's definitely open to that now. Woohoo!
Second, Misty (who oversees all) came in to talk about his next IFSP. She says she can already tell us "Don't be alarmed, but he is SO going to flunk this thing" (my wording, not hers) because with a standardized test, if he does not do exactly as asked the FIRST time he's asked, he gets no points on that task. And we all know Kittyboy CAN stack four blocks on top of each other, but the first time he's asked to, will he? No, he will probably stack two, pound the others on the table, and throw them. So he's going to score very low, not because he lacks the actual abilities, but because he lacks the focus required to demonstrate them on cue. And she's going to put in her report that we have all seen him do this stuff, but it's a matter of sensory processing and integration taking up soooo much brain power that it doesn't leave much to focus on other tasks. He qualifies for OT based not on his fine-motor skills, but sensory integration. Your brain can only do so much at once, and his has more to deal with than the average two-year-old's. It's the difference between surfing the internet while listening to music on the computer, and surfing the internet while two or three things are downloading AND listening to music. That's basically what he's dealing with - sensory integration is taking processing power and bandwidth, slowing things down, instead of running quietly in the background like it's supposed to. As a result, some pages open slowly, some won't load correctly, some can't be running at the same time as others.
Actually, come to think of it, that's a VERY good analogy for sensory processing dysfunction.
Thirdly, oh happy day, because he is two years old, not potty-trained, and has issues that may make that take a long time, she says we qualify for free diapers through her clinic's diaper program. From ages 2-18! He'll be trained before then. :) So I have a number to call to set that up. Another expense to cross off the list, which is MARVELOUS because I had just been thinking about how diapers get more and more expensive the larger the size. He wears on average maybe four cloth diapers a day, because he goes in disposables overnight, any time we go out, or if I try to put him down for a nap, if we're visiting or traveling, you get the idea.
Fourthly, I have two copies of the "Sensory Processing Disorder Symptom Checklist" to fill out. One I'm filling out according to what issues we saw a year ago, one is for him as he is now, so we can track his progress. I haven't actually perused the checklist in months, so it should be really interesting.
And finally, I have a booklet to study entitled, "When I'm 3, Where Will I Be?" It goes over the transition process from Early Intervention, which goes up to age 3, to school district services (should we require them). I thought it was almost a year off, but the process begins at 2 years and 6 months! So in JUNE, we'll be sitting down with our coordinator to put together a referral packet and get things started! How exciting!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Bitter, Bitter Cold

Times like this, I am sooo jealous of our friend Carey's wood-burning stove. And we don't even have (today at least) the sub-zero temps they have north of us. It's above zero, barely, now.
Until lately, I nodded and smiled when people said, "Keep warm!" because, well, isn't that a DUH? We have a house, four walls and a roof, and a functional heating system. So by keeping warm, you basically mean stay inside, right?
Turns out you have no idea how many drafts your house has until the breeze coming through them is sub-zero. My toes, frost-nipped in junior high, have been hurting for two or three days straight. That's INSIDE in socks and shoes. I have blocked a drafty window in the family room with a rolled-up garbage bag along the sill. Husband has taped a garbage bag over the kitchen window through which there REALLY WAS a breeze. This morning we shut a blanket in the doorway of the laundry room, which is uninsulated and unheated (yes, I've been tossing a coat on to do laundry) and it seems the doorway from it into the living room does not shut entirely. Funny the things you notice when it's exactly 2 degrees outside. Husband and I are now sleeping in the family room, where the heaters work the best of all. And we have a FROZEN PIPE. The hot water pipe (of all pipes, that one) in the kitchen is frozen solid. Husband is hoping to put heating tape around all pipes to which he can find access when he gets home from work tonight, which will be after 8 p.m. because of church tonight. Vespers for St. Anthony's Day tomorrow. I really wonder who will show, honestly. WE'LL be there, because we live ten minutes away and we're just crazy like that. And the verse doesn't say, "Where everyone who SHOULD be there are gathered in My Name", it says "Where two or three are gathered in My Name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt.18:20) and Father plus us equals four. So there. We're going to the dance tomorrow night, too.
So for now, being the only "sink" of any size with hot water, the bathtub is considered the biggest sink in the house. Laundry is actually being done in bulk at a laundromat, in draft-free warmth, albeit at higher expense, until it gets above freezing again, just because it's not going to get done otherwise. I need to at least put down some carpet scraps on the concrete floor, because the little rag-rug from Walmart doesn't cut it, that floor is COOOOLD. And the two warmest spots in the house are right in front of our greenhouse of a front window in the living room, and sitting here at the computer right in front of the heater here.
In other news... my tomato plants, in the front window that is so wonderfully warm, HAVE BUDS. They have buds. I have until they flower to figure out how to pollinate them without so much as a cooperative housefly. I need to take a picture of how it looks, these thriving tomato plants with tiny little buds now, against the backdrop of the snowy and bitterly cold outdoors.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Speech frustration

In other news, I have a box collecting of the 'small and cheap' toys for Freecycle, and have one new addition to the toy collection - actually one more collection that's been added. Kittyboy has four little baby dolls, complete with high chair, rocking horse, and sleeping basket. And he is the happiest child around! They're his babies, and he feeds them, rocks them, and makes them go night-night. Thank you, Lisa from Freecycle! They are WELL loved!
To be candid, I am feeling the same as I did last year, when strangers were guessing Kittyboy to be half his age based on his gross motor skills and lack of babbling, except this year it's me looking at other two year olds who SAY WORDS, and in particular a six month old baby at church who babbles about like he does. Six months old, but she opens her mouth more than my son, and so when she babbles, she sounds really advanced to me. Well, I could say Kittyboy has improved by two months over when he was evaluated at 18 months to have the vocal skills of a four month old. So he's up to the six month level. That's after weekly speech therapy since September. And I am once more suspecting auditory processing as a problem. You ask him "what does a cow say?" and he signs Cow, as if what he understands is "say cow", and so he obliges. We can get a moo on rare occasion, but very rarely, more often he doesn't seem to know what we're asking. It took me forever to figure out that when he goes "Nggg!" in the car, he's actually pointing at something and, apparently, is asking about it or telling us about it. It's NOT a whine because he wants to be out of the car, or because we stopped at a light. But that's how we've treated it for months, with him escalating louder and louder before dropping the subject. How many chances to tell him about his world did we completely miss because we didn't know what he was trying to communicate, and how frustrating must it have been for him wanting to know about that big machine at the construction site we were passing, or pointing out birds, and being told to be quiet instead? He CAN talk, he CAN make noise and CAN open his mouth, but he doesn't. If it's because he isn't hearing US clearly, including not putting words in the right order, that would most certainly make it very difficult to learn how to talk. VERY difficult. But you can't test processing until he's five, six, seven years old. Speech therapy is the only therapy I see being referred to the school district in 11 months.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Cleaning house

I'm trying, TRYING, to go through Kittyboy's toys and post what he really doesn't play with on Freecycle. I've done this a few times, once when we realized that he just wasn't a stuffed animal person and we gave away most of those, and another time when I was just fed up with the amount of toys we had. We gave him a teddy bear for Christmas (it was wearing a sweater, I couldn't resist) and a book for his birthday, chipped in with the great-grands on a bunch of plastic farm animals, and that was it - then the extended families' gifts came out. He has probably twice the amount of toys he had before, not that any one person gave him a WHOLE bunch (though several are big), but more that everyone altogether just gave him soooo much. Naturally, I'm anxious to clean out from what he got last year. But what has to go? The little blue teddy bear some friends gave us while I was in the hospital with him, that's special because of the time and because I know they didn't have money at the time whatsoever. He doesn't play with it, but it's still special. The wooden blocks he doesn't play with, I know he'll play with one day, and future children will play with them. He's got a whole big box of them, you don't give away basics like that. We've already passed off stuff he didn't play with often to other houses where he spends time - my parents, Husband's parents, an uncle's - and found out that the in-laws take it personally if anything they gave him comes back, regardless of whether it was given for an occasion or just something they saw and picked up because he "might like it". And then there are the vintage Fisher Price toys out in the garage - they aren't in the best of shape, but they're things Husband and I remember playing with when we were little. We can't get rid of THOSE.
He has the pint-size ATV, an un-motorized ride-on toy, one of those big red and yellow Fisher Price cars (he can't figure out how it works, but the in-laws would be insulted if we offered to bring it back to their house for him to play with when he visits there - and IT'S HUGE, so if they visit and it's not here, they'll notice), and two big Radio Flyer wagons. One is in pretty good shape and is from, again, the in-laws, and one needs some fixing up but I looooove it because it's a bit of an antique and well worth fixing up. He has a rocking horse, and a rocking caterpillar. Caterpillars, my gosh, he's got a three-foot and a SIX-foot one the trucking uncle picked up at a truck stop somewhere - couldn't decide which Kittyboy would like, so he got both.
Then there's also the fact that we will at some point have more children!
So... any suggestions? Here's what I've come up with thus far:
1. Take inventory of toys at Other Houses - get rid of anything I don't remember, or which has lost sentimental value in the months that we didn't miss it.
2. Anything easily and cheaply replaced at a dollar store or Walmart. If the replacement value is under $5 (maybe $10), it's not worth the "cost" of storage.
3. Take things that aren't often played with to the Other Houses to replace those which were gotten rid of (see #1).
4. Inventory the vintage Fisher Price, and find out if anyone on Freecycle collects such things - if we really, really want the little plastic record player, we can buy one off of Ebay sometime that actually works well.

Seriously, input would be great.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


So, I spent a couple HOURS on blogspot last night finding other Orthodox bloggers, and was distressed that many of them hadn't written anything since '05...'04...'03... I did find a bunch to add to my blog list, but it was kind of a letdown to find blog after blog written by a priest's wife (YAY!) that hadn't been updated in years (waah!). Oh please, presbyteras and matushkas, keep writing! I have to learn your recipes for vasilopita, what it is you say in Russian at Christmas (I used to know and have forgotten), and how on earth to keep the Lenten fast with a toddler!!
Had services this morning for St. John the Baptist. I am still learning which hymns I only have memorized in English, and which I only have memorized in Greek, and so I still sometimes start a hymn and then have to switch languages to finish it. :)
I have a toddler who will eat apple or orange slices happily and scream when there are no more, will eat salad more often than not if the dressing is ranch, and as I've said before, will eat just about anything at least once, but "doesn't do" chicken nuggets. We got drive-thru after church because Husband had to go STRAIGHT to work, and figured a 20-piece nuggets would take care of everyone - and got a small fry in case Kittyboy went vegetarian on us. Kittyboy took ONE (1) nugget. He then held it in his mouth for at least 20 minutes. Child-feeding trick I learned from a VET, used to get dogs and cats to swallow pills - rub the throat in a downward motion, it triggers a swallow reflex. It works in humans too; rub down across your adam's apple and I just about guarantee you will swallow. We used to do that after every bite he took, as a matter of course, because he wouldn't necessarily swallow otherwise. So I did that, repeatedly, but of course he couldn't swallow something he hadn't chewed, and there IS no chew reflex, just rubbing his cheeks and jaw to remind him there's something in his mouth. He did swallow it at some point, long after I'd given up. That was his one nugget. Good thing we got fries. Kittyboy's just not a big fan of meat, that's all there is to it. Not a bad thing, just something that requires more flexibility and planning sometimes.
Well, I should get going now, I'm cleaning the house to hopefully have Father come over for a house blessing for the new year. At the start of '07, everything was falling apart, I was recovering from the c-section and all, and at the start of '08, we just couldn't seem to get things nice enough to feel comfortable having Father over. A house blessing is EVERY room, so it includes the rooms into which you usually shove everything when someone comes over! But this year, we are determined. The first Sunday of Lent, if not beforehand, Father IS coming. And the house WILL be clean. I swear.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Roast Brussels Sprouts

I'm copying this from, because being from February of LAST year, every time I try to "share" the page, it says it can't be found. Sounds REALLY good to me! I hope to grow a Brussels sprout plant indoors this summer, or maybe two if I try this recipe and it's as good as it sounds. From what I read, they're VERY finiky plants - too hot outside, the flavor is strong and unpleasant. Not enough water, same problem. Hmmm... sounds like an indoor plant to me. I thought for the longest time that sprouts were supposed to be horrible, but had honestly never eaten them. So one day (as an independent adult) I bought some and steamed them with basil and such, and they were good. Just like little cabbages. And the plants are FUNKY looking - a single stalk with little sprouts growing off of it, like a bat with baseballs stuck all over it. That alone makes me want to grow it - this recipe, though, is doubly tempting.

February 21, 2008, 11:11 am

Recipe of the Day: Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Garlic By Mark Bittman

  • 1 pint brussels sprouts (about a pound)
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, to coat bottom of pan
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Trim bottom of brussels sprouts, and slice each in half top to bottom. Heat oil in cast-iron pan over medium-high heat until it shimmers; put sprouts cut side down in one layer in pan. Put in garlic, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • 2. Cook, undisturbed, until sprouts begin to brown on bottom, and transfer to oven. Cook, shaking pan occasionally, until sprouts are quite brown and tender, about 1/2 hour.
  • 3. Taste, and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Stir in balsamic vinegar, and serve hot or warm.

Source: The New York Times

Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Monday, January 5, 2009

An answer to a prayer I hadn't prayed

This is an example of how, when God gives, He gives in abundance. Sometimes, you get exactly what you asked for, nothing more, nothing less. I asked God once to give me at least enough voice to finish out a Liturgy when my throat was really bad, and got EXACTLY that - after the last hymn, I couldn't TALK. Well, I did say just enough to finish the Liturgy... I didn't say anything about conversation during coffee hour. And sometimes, He does say no. I wanted contacts at my last eye exam - turns out I'm a horrible candidate for them, so that was a "no". To quote the Stones, "You can't always get what you want."
And sometimes, you don't get JUST what you want, you get what you didn't dare ask for. Case in point - dining room chairs. I planned poorly, and gave away all of ours before shopping for more. Friends said they were apartment-hunting, I said, "Great, when you find one, you can have our old dining set (the chairs we were using, the table was being used outside)." And I planned on replacing our chairs with ones from Salvation Army, a couple at a time. The eclectic look, you know. This was in July, however, and because in the first place I had nowhere to store the chairs we'd be giving away, and in the second place I'm just not that "together", I had done no chair-shopping when our chairs all departed for the friends' apartment last month. I went to Salvation Army, and lo and behold, there were NO chairs that were not in a set with a table. NO single, lonely, mismatched chairs whatsoever. I went back again, and again, and there just weren't any, period. My budget didn't cover new chairs, unless they were folding chairs from Walmart. After a couple weeks of nothing to sit on and all meals on the couch, I talked myself into accepting that folding chairs would be okay (they perform the basic function required, after all), and furthermore they would even be a GOOD idea, because our house is so small, and we could fold them up when not in use. But it kind of stunk, because those still aren't CHEAP, and of course money's tight. So as a last resort, I posted the following Wanted on Freecycle:
"Do you have one or two kitchen/dining room chairs that no longer match your other furniture? Maybe they need a leg replaced or something? ...We have a table. We have no chairs. I'm not picky in the slightest, if it clashes too severely with our dining room, that's what paint is for, and I can do simple repairs too. I'm willing to drive out of Springfield for something to sit on!"
I didn't expect much - chairs that went in a basement or attic because they needed some sort of basic repair, then the person got rid of the set and forgot about the one in storage, etc... I expected to put in elbow grease at the least to clean them up, IF anyone had chairs to get rid of at all, and was bracing for some basic carpentry and painting to get them into shape. I didn't even think to ask GOD for chairs, I mean, that's such a basic silly little thing. You don't ask God for chairs.
Well, He got involved anyhow. Carpentry? Painting? Wood glue? It was Friday the 2nd that I put up a Wanted for any chairs, any condition, anywhere, and I now have THREE chairs, and they are beyond what I had ever thought to hope for. The first I got is a lovely red-blond shade, wooden, in great condition with a curvy design carved out of the back. Gorgeous. The two I picked up this morning are, get this, THE SAME WOOD. It's the same red-blond, this time with a geometric design on the back. And pads. On the seat AND back. And arms!!!
Kittyboy's booster seat is on the one with the curvy back, and we have the ones with arms. And more and more, every time I walk into the dining room today, I think about how God really DOES give in abundance sometimes. I mean, that's really it. All I needed was something to sit on. Stacked milk-crates would have fit the bill. And I didn't even ask God for milk-crates. And now I don't just have chairs. I have BEAUTIFUL chairs, no work required. They even look nice together, and with our table. I have more than I dreamed of!
And boy, am I thankful!

New Year's Resolutions

Why, may I ask, do we arbitrarily select January 1st as the date for making changes in our lives? Why not the first day of spring (spring cleaning in a metaphysical sense!) or on Thanksgiving when we're counting blessings (and we could then come up with ways to make our lives even better...), but instead we just go with the first day of the next year. Personally, I think that the way we mark time seems QUITE arbitrary, especially what with scientists now adding "leap seconds"... but that's beside the point.
I'm calling this a New Year's Resolution because it "resolves" an issue I encountered while sending Christmas cards, so this is the first chance I'm getting to DO something about it. And, if I write here, "Hey WORLD, I'm going to do this!!!!" chances are better that I actually WILL.
I'm compiling a list of older relatives, friends, etc, who do not have e-mail. Once a month, I will write each one a letter, and send it by US Post. I would resolve to call, but a phone call that lasts any length of time is punctuated by an ongoing monologue of "NO! Put that down. No, no throwing. No, I can't read that right now. Leave the cat alone..." etc. You get the idea. And apart from my parents, I don't actually LIKE talking on the phone. That's why e-mail is a lifesaver for me! I can type in between playing games, while reading a book (that's a trick you should try sometime, it helps when the book's memorized), or with Veggie Tales cranked up loud. I can start an e-mail when I have a thought RIGHT NOW, then save a draft and come back to it when Kittyboy's asleep or something. A long e-mail (or blog post!) can be written over the course of a day, in little minutes here and there. Phones don't work that way!
So, I'm going to write loooong, chatty letters, by hand, on notebook paper if nothing else, and they're actually going to get mailed, too. I've always been bad at keeping in touch with people. That really is a fault of mine. So that's my project! Nine is my favorite number, so the 9th of every month is now dubbed Letter-Writing Day.
And thank-yous! Thank-yous are getting sent this year. Cross my heart. Really. They are.

Friday, January 2, 2009

More Baby-Sign News

Kittyboy has the sign of the cross ALMOST down pat, except he does it backwards (the Catholic way). Obviously that's because he's following the movements of our hands as if in a mirror, so that'll straighten out with time. We were eating in a restaurant with friends once shortly after he'd started doing it regularly, and I forgot to cross myself before eating. He looked at me, said "Mm!" and crossed himself. He then was so taken with his first taste of fried okra that he crossed himself before every bite. Books that have icons on the front, he points at and crosses himself. The little photo album in which I have his icon cards is getting beat up and will need replacing at some point. Signing for Jesus is going nowhere, though he may have put together that the Baby in Mary's arms is the same person as the grown-up man by the same name, because when I point out a picture as Jesus, he signs Baby. That's partially owing to me arranging his icons in the photo album as diptychs, where the Theotokos and Child (Mary and Jesus) on one side are directly opposite the one of Jesus as a man. The Baby's name is Jesus, the man's name is Jesus, so when he does sign, he does Baby for both. We're putting the pieces together, albeit sort of backwards. Signing for Mary, he has figured out, although it's very close to the way he signs Cat, so if you're in a store and he does it, it might be that he saw a cat on something, or it might be that you're passing the Nativity displays. Context is key. Joseph doesn't need a sign - after I'd spent some time sitting with him at the manger scene going over "Jesus - Mary - Jesus - Mary", he picked up Joseph and SAID "Dadd-n!" (Daddy).
Horse and Cow we're also seeing, though he doesn't differentiate between the two. And both are very close to Hat. He stood by a set of shelves by the door and pointed, then put his fist up to his head. I guessed, "Hat? You want your hat?" because he does have a favorite hat he likes to wear around the house sometimes. He put his hand down, and then did it again. "Horse?" He turned and pulled the donkey from the manger scene out from behind the shelves. We've been calling it a horse because, well, it LOOKS like a horse, and when I called it a donkey, he signed Dog (doggie). Angels are still Birds, which I suppose follows a logic similar to signing Baby for Jesus.
I can't imagine what people did with really late talkers before they started sign language with babies. Were it not for Toilet (diaper change), More, Eat/Drink, and Night-Night, life would be sooo much more complicated than it is. With signs, we'll be able to start toilet-training without him necessarily talking yet, as soon as we get the skill of pulling underwear up and down. If we were waiting for him to talk, I have no idea WHEN we'd be starting. And he's learning the basics, the name for things, and how language is used, NOW, so that however late he talks, he'll already know all that.
Oh, and just now I may have seen him sign Jesus (he'd brought me the photo album to look at), and it's sort of a vague mid-level sign he does for a lot of things. A LOT of signs look like each other. But it's a start!