PDD — 5 Minutes for Special Needs — Page 2


Fatherhood, redefined…

My life changed drastically the day we adopted Jack. I just didn’t know how much it was changed.

We struggled to have our oldest child. She was born early, but healthy. Shortly after her birth, I had a large lump removed from my breast. 2 months after that, I had a complete hysterectomy. We knew we would never have another biological child, and we weren’t even sure we wanted to adopt at that point.

However, when J turned 5, she started questioning us about babies and why she couldn’t have a sibling. Our hearts began to change, and by the time J was 6 and a half, we had prayed enough, thought enough, and felt strongly enough to complete a home study and begin the adoption process.

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Patience Pays Off

Last week as I was writing about how hard it was to sit and wait for a pupa to get on with it and transform already, the little bugger was probably quietly doing just that. The next morning my husband picked up the bug house that the pupa had been inhabiting and I told him I was wondering if it was still alive. Knowing what he does about all things insect-like, my husband took it over to a bright sunny window and after inspecting it closely said, “The shell looks empty.”

“Empty? It couldn’t be…I just looked at it yesterday!”

He took the lid off the bug house and almost jumped out of his skin when he saw a large dark colored moth hiding upside down on the lid.

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Our green and brown caterpillar guests on their preferred leaves

Caterpillar stage


Remember this little guy? Well, about a month ago it finally pupated (is that a word?) and transformed into this…

pupa stage

Our caterpillar guest transformed, but...

Apologies that the photo isn’t better. I’ve been trying not to disturb it too much, since I suppose metamorphosis requires a lot of energy. I have to admit I’m having a hard time waiting, though. The caterpillar was at least fun to watch. This stage is like watching paint dry. I have to remind myself to check on the pupa every day (or so) to see if anything is happening. So far it just looks for all the world like an acorn that’s lost its hat.

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Ready for Summer?

idyllic Summer in the tropics

I could be ready if Summer looked like this around here

I’m not.

Friends keep telling me how excited they are for Summer. School’s out – no more drop off, no more pick up, no more lunches to pack, no more homework. I do like all of those things. Really, I do. What I’m not ready for are the long (really long) days with three busy kids who expect me to be chief activities director. I haven’t signed them up for any classes yet. I keep saying I need to get a calendar out and start marking possible road trip dates…so why don’t I just get it over with and do it?

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Scary Memories

I was sifting through my pile of papers this evening in preparation for our IEP meeting next week. It’s been a while since I’ve really taken the time to go through everything and get organized. We’ve had a relatively easy stretch for the last year or so, and I admit I have let things slide quite a bit. Well, we had a little reality check last week when the child had an hour long meltdown with a babysitter present. Time to gear up again.

I think I know why I deferred looking at all of these forms and reports. Reading through all of the paperwork brings back memories of the really scary times parenting this child.

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My Social Story

I am a big believer in social stories. I think they are probably one of the most underutilized tools for all children. My theory is because they require a fair bit of customized attention to detail for the recipient they are eschewed as being too labor intensive. We tend to like things that can be reused like hand-me-down clothing. In other words we’re kind of lazy.

I first learned about social stories before the child was officially diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. We were in that scary middle ground when we knew there was a lot more to learn but we had no idea what we were really facing.

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Mommy Boost

Dear mom you are the best cook in the world you cook good things to eat Love

My early Mother's Day present from the child


I feel like I haven’t been doing that great a job for the child lately. She has regressed a bit in her behavior at home, and my reaction has not been what I want it to be. Instead of figuring out a way to support her better I’ve been regressing myself…back to my old ways of getting frustrated and losing my temper. I need to get a grip, and soon.


The other day we were hanging out in our home office while the twins took an oh so increasingly rare nap.

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Then and Now

My twins rediscovered a set of pictures from their big sister’s babyhood. These are pictures taken during her first 18 months or so – that blissful time of her childhood when we didn’t quite realize what we were up against. As I was putting the pictures away again one of them hit me right between the eyes. It is the classic picture of a new mom right after giving birth, disheveled, tired, and oh so happy, holding the baby as if they’ll never let go. In the picture I am seriously in need of a comb, the hospital gown is barely adequate, and I am smiling as if I just won the lottery.

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The Beauty in the Beast

We, lovingly, call Jack “The Beast” sometimes. We don’t mean it in a derogatory way at all. Just in a way that we all know is true— he’s kinda Beastly (he’s a growler…loves to growl all the time when we’re out. Growls at old ladies, at kids, at dogs…). Sometimes he’s “Beastly” or “My Beasty Boy”… you get the picture.

You see, I can see the Beauty in My Beast.

You see a kid that growls and is grumpy.  I see a kid who growls because he’s sick of people staring at him, and who hasn’t slept more than 4 hours a night in his life.

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Great Hope

We are raising caterpillars at our house. It all started when little girl rescued a green caterpillar from a bucket of water in our backyard. “He was scared,” she told me. A couple of weeks before when Spring had begun to spring she asked for a “bug house” and we made one from a newly emptied plastic jar. The plastic jar became home for the green caterpillar. My bug-loving-husband picked a variety of leaves from surrounding foliage and put them in the jar with the caterpillar. Most of the time we insist that the kids put their insect guests back out in nature where they found them by the end of the day, but this time was different.

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