Wednesday, February 20, 2013

They did it!

So proud of the guys! They made it to the summit of the tallest free-standing mountain and highest point in Africa!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Getting closer to the top of Africa

Campbell and Colin have been making great progress and are doing well. Should be at the summit of Kilimanjaro in the next few hours! Will keep updating as I get more info!

Keep on trekking

Campbell of the jungle

Climbing Kili

Campbell & Colin at camp after day 1

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Our flag

Friends, we now have our flag for this mission. It was designed by the very talented Holly Cruise. Holly and her sister have a company that makes incredibly cool clothing for kids. Completely Eco friendly. Check it out at . Next time you will see this flag it will be on top of Africa.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Optimism and autism

Folks, to whoever reads this blog, autism makes many loathe benchmarks. (I.e) your toddler should be doing....may be doing....can possibly be doing....on a rainy Mondays of an odd numbered month of a leap year your toddler could possibly.... As the months progress, and still many benchmarks go unchecked, excuses start being made. She once said something and made sustained eye contact. Then you are told stories by worried relatives of hey everything is ok my child didn't say anything for a long time and now....whew wont shut up. But you begin to realize that something is not quite right. Denial and excuse making turns into reluctant acceptance of despair.
My daughter is very smart. Sophie is a gem. These last couple of weeks, we have sat and listened to her speech. She is really exploding in terms of her conversational skills. Whether it is asking for what she wants, reading words, saying "I love you.", singing, or having conversations with her Barbie dolls, she is really using her language. Now we are able to satisfy her needs and really get to know her sense of humor more and more. Perhaps my favorite thing she says outside of the obvious is the devilish twinkle and half grin she gets when she asks for "chocolate sauce". Sounds pretty typical no. Taking a look back 4 months back, 12 months, Im thrilled with how far she has come with eye contact and speech. That makes me even more optimistic for the future. And optimism for a parent with special needs is like gold, a precious commodity.
She may not be "typically developing", but she is awesome. Her accomplishments make me the proudest papa out there. So I've been thinking back to the benchmarks we missed and the emotional wear and tear that we endured. I realize that Sophie may not be developing at the rate the book says, but she IS getting there. Maybe she will develop more slowly in some areas and quicker in others. With the proper therapies and some dedication, you all will see what an amazingly bright and wonderful child that we are blessed with seeing daily.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Tears and triumphs

You know you're in for it when you get the "silent cry". Parents, you all know what I'm talking about- those few moments post-incident when your kid's eyes fill with tears and his or her mouth opens wide enough to possibly swallow the family pet. The longer the silence, the greater the eruption to come. Then the comes the deafening cry as your kid lets it all out. Ugh.

Now ordinarily these occurrences can be resolved fairly easily. But when your kid cannot entirely convey to you what hurts or happened, it can be heartbreaking and incredibly frustrating. So as Sophia sobbed on the couch, I knelt in front of her asking her countless questions: "What happened? What hurts? Is it your tummy? Did you bite your tongue? Does your ear/eye/mouth/elbow/left knee/big toe hurt? What? What is it? Please tell me..." As if pleading with her would get her to tell me. The only word she managed to utter amidst the sobs was, "hurts". So I ran through the body parts again. And she just cried and said, "hurts".

This went on for nearly ten minutes. Really makes you feel helpless as a parent when you can't take away your screaming daughter's pain. All you can do is continue your game of charades and hope whatever it is resolves itself quickly. Those ten minutes can feel like an eternity though.

Sophie has made tremendous progress though. She has been using a lot of the phrases she has repeated echolalically, now independently and appropriately. And with attitude too. The other night I was trying to get her to tell her sister Emerson good night; after the second request, Sophie looked at me with one raised eyebrow and said, "I know". Even her "no" replies are getting stretched to two syllables as she injects some attitude. It's hard not to laugh sometimes.

We've also seen some great imaginative play as well. Santa brought our girls the Barbie Dream Townhouse, complete with sound effects and elevator. Sophia confiscated Emerson's Barbie and added it to her arsenal of Barbie dolls to play with. I absolutely love listening to her narrative of what's going on at the Townhouse. For example, Barbie 1 enters through the door and says,"Hello, it's nice to see you" to Barbies 2 through 4. I try to be as quiet as possible to avoid disrupting her play. I love every second of it. It's moments like these that make you forget about the frustrating or upsetting times. Just listening to her sweet little voice talking amongst her toys or singing her own improvised versions of songs is simply wonderful.