Friday, August 29, 2008

It's a Boy

We received the papers from the Alabama courts today. Looks like Cowboy is the proud, legal parent of a 100-pound boy (me, too, I guess). It seems like yesterday C1 was six years old, now he's playing football with his own (albeit small) cheering section of screaming little girls.

I am now calling him C1, with Curt being C2, of course. This is due to another blogger who had her stepson come live with them and the mother had her sign an agreement she would never speak of her son on her blog again. Hello? Free speech, anyone? Anyway...

He has fit in very well. In the words of his football coach (who also happens to be the assistant principal) "I've never seen someone come in and fit in so well. He's run with the main crowd from the beginning."

He has a crush on the prettiest girl in school. She's a beauty. She also lives down the street. Although she has a boyfriend, they've gone on walks, gone to the park, and hung out at her house. He will not admit to this crush, but I know it's for real.

He is doing great in football. Interceptions, long runs, photo in the paper. He hasn't made the great touchdown yet, but that will probably happen. My parents came to see him in his game last night as well as my nephew. They won. He did well.

Is this too good to be true?

I guess we will find out at report card time.

He was an honor roll student, save for the past two years. Boy, did things go downhill from there. However, the grades we've seen have been good. He says it's all good. I hope he's telling the truth.

If he brings home a bad report, Cowboy will lose it. It won't be pretty. We don't know his history in school that well. This is all new to me. I just want him to do the best he can.

I hope he knows we're his most loyal cheering section.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Baby, Write This Down

Curt basically refused to hold a pencil by himself. He would take my hand, put it over his, and we would write his name or other letters together.

That is, until this week.

He did these at school. This one he traced (obviously) and added an extra "C."


Freehand! Ok, he started the "C" too far to the right and had to start back at the left with his "u." Also, the "4" (they said) was under the "r" isn't very clear, but I'm pretty impressed for his first attempt ever!

(However, the fact that I scanned these and posted them on a blog may have already tipped you off.)

ETA: When I picked Curt up this afternoon, I learned this certainly wasn't an isolated incident. He's been writing all week. Even the other kids were bragging on him. Now, if we could eliminate the pinching. I'm off to the middle school football game.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I'll Take These Odds

Nearly 80 percent of children with language delays at age two catch up when they turn seven, according to a new study.

In the study led by Mabel Rice, the Fred and Virginia Merrill Distinguished Professor of Advanced Studies and director of the Centre for Biobehavioral from Curtin University in Perth, Australia, the team examined the language development of single and twin children in the western part of the country.

They found that of 1,766 toddlers, boys are three times as likely as girls to be late-talking toddlers. Yet when the children were 7 years of age, no differences were found between girls and boys.

Rice said that obviously some kind of mechanism kicks in for the boys.

“Between the age of 2 and 7, they actually learn language faster than girls. After age 7, boys and girls stay on the same trajectory.

“For children who are still late talkers in school, it is important to provide early intervention and enrichment. “Parents should contact a speech pathologist if they have any concerns,” she added.
The data in her latest study also show that a mother’s education, income, parenting style and mental health does not predict when a child will start to talk.

“In our large and diverse sample, children in families with limited means have as good a chance at starting to talk as those in families with lots of resources,” said Rice.

The study is published in the April issue of the Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Awarded!

Monday mornings suck. But, not so much when presented with something like this:
Thanks, Brenda! I'm honored! Brenda is an incredible writer; her stories are so vivid, I can smell the pizza and hear the laughter. She also tagged Bizzy with this award -- and rightly so.

Although there are many blogs to which I would like to make this presentation, I'm going to pass the medal to two blogs I've stumbled upon fairly recently, drowning in kids and Second Half. Both are very well-written and resonate to me in certain ways.

It's a nice way to start an otherwise fierce Monday. Strained talk about finances is making the home life pretty stressful. Relief, hopefully, may be in sight.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Here's to the Crazy Ones

I saw this quote on drowning in kids. Great quote, great blog.

"Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as crazy, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."
- Jack Kerouac -

Zelda Fitzgerald watercolor, "A Mad Tea Party" (She is one of my favorite crazies.)

These are the people I like the best.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Little Wager

Finally, I got Cowboy off his chaps and convinced him to sell the fishing boat. It sold on Ebay. The good news (no, really, with our track record, this is good news!) is that we only lost $350 from our purchase price. Here she is in all her glory, currently on a trailer, heading to Memphis.

We recently bought a deck boat, which has most of the power of the ski boat, but roomy like a pontoon. The best of both worlds. So, the next course of business is to sell the pontoon.
Last year, we paid $3,500 for the pontoon boat and trailer. That actually was a pretty good deal. It is listed on Ebay as of last night. Here’s where the wager comes in. How much will we lose on the pontoon boat? $300? $500? Or do you think we will actually (gasp!) recoup our investment? .

Why did we have three boats? Hell if I know.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bad News vs. Good News

BAD NEWS:

1. Curt not only has pink eye, but when I took him to the clinic, it seems he has an ear infection as well. Oh yeah, and a weird rash.

2. I had to take the day off work.

3. The truck pooped. (This should really be #1.) It is most likely the motor. That's a $5-10,000 repair. Oh, shit.

4. The school called. C1 forgot his homework on Friday; he will be subjected to something that I can't remember. Basically, he has to do his homework in study hall and give it to that teacher. What sucks is, he did it, I checked it, but he forgot it.

5. Ange has quit, temporarily, I hope, her blog. Please come back soon, Ange, we need you.

GOOD NEWS:

1. We are all basically healthy, for the most part.

2. We have an opportunity to buy into an existing business that may turn things around.

3. C1 has somehow fit right in at school and seems to be very happy. He started at his football Jamboree Saturday and did well. Likewise, his grades are good so far. Curt has started speaking in sentences. Wow.

4. I had to take the day off work.

Yippee.

ETA: Yeah! She's back!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Just Breathe

Thanks to everyone who repsonded to my request on their stories. I loved reading them and wish we could find a way to put them together, bound and tear-streaked free for new moms entering this journey. The network I've found has been invaluable to me, so "thank you." If you have yet to respond and want to, please do so!

My dear, sweet (stubborn, hard-headed) Curt did arithmatic today. He added and added, via computer. I cheered him on at every step. It was great.

As wonderful as that was, an email I received this weekend put everything into perspective. I didn't get permission from Heather (sorry!), but I really don't think she'll mind. Her son is almost five and doing great. It said:

"Things just keep getting better and better. He is getting more mature. He is different from other kids but I am glad. He is just "son" and I wouldn't have him any other way. Like Dr. Camarata said, the things we worry about now will keep him out of trouble as a teenager. "Everybody's doing it" will have no appeal to him. He follows the beat of his own drum."

Well said, Heather. I feel my subconsicous goal has been for Curt to be like everyone else. Is that what I really want? Maybe it shouldn't be.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Moms of Late-Talkers, Come on Down!

It is not my desire to turn this into a blog totally about Curt and his language delay. I have so many other topics about which I want to grouse and moan.

That being said, I've had several comments, here and there, from moms of late-talkers. For those of you who've commented, those who found me from a late-talking search, or for whatever reason -- I'd like to hear from you.

1. When did you become concerned?
2. Have you had a diagnosis? What was it?
3. What techniques are you using to help your child? speech therapy?
4. Are there any books you would recommend that have been especially helpful? (I've heard alot recently about this book, "Play to Learn" and how it is great to promote speech.)
5. How are you and your child doing now?

I'm interested in hearing your stories, ideas.

P.S. (You knew there would be one, right? Bizzy, I love the P.S./crack analogy, btw.) Dr. B praised Curt today. His compliance, his social skills, and his language. We've been seeing him for about a year now. I'm going to email him soon and request we see him every other week. Curt has progressed so much. Wish me luck.)

P.P.S. (Somebody stop me!) If you have a blog, please let me know and I will add you to my LT blog list.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Whatever, Martha!

I love Martha Stewart, yet, I love the bashing of Martha Stewart. Does that make me bi-polar?

"Whatever, Martha!" premieres on the Fine Living Channel Sept. 16. Now, many people could probably spoof Martha successfully, but who better than her own daughter?

Alexis Stewart comes across as one royal bitch. I like her.

Read more about the show here. I'll be there with popcorn right after I pry the remote from Cowboy's dead fingers.

P.S. Thanks for all your nice (well, mostly) comments on my earlier post. You are right. Let sleeping dogs lie and let her hang herself. It's so much more fun to watch that way.

P.P.S. Yes, yet another P.S.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Flight or Fight?

I need advice.

I knew we weren't friends, even though she acted as though we were. I knew if she gossiped and criticized everyone to me, she was surely doing the same when I wasn't present.

We had a "discussion" two weeks ago, when I confronted her about several remarks. I agreed to "start fresh" with her as her family's camper is RIGHT NEXT to ours at Camp Redneck and our husbands are friends.

This weekend, I learned she is not happy dissing only a rip in one's boat seats or how many hours one's husbands works. She said the following (in a nutshell) to a small group of people in April. One individual finally told me.

"He's the way he is because they don't work with him. He's obviously autistic, but she won't believe that. People have told her, but she just wants to listen to that one doctor."

This comes from a woman who claims to love Curt. (Please note that I am showing great restraint in not calling her many, many names.)

I'm not going to defend myself here. If you read this, I believe you know differently. My question is: Should I confront her or not? Just because I sound calm, don't think for a minute her comments did not make me weep, scream and generally break my heart. She's a special kind of evil.

Oh yeah, and I listened to two doctors who are specialists, Bitch. (oops.)

P.S. This post is too damn depressing, even for me. To lighten the mood, I will leave you with words of email wisdom from non-blogger (but really, really should), Eva. Back in the day (for me, that would be to-day), we were notorious for our numerous p.s.'. I was known to open a sealed letter to Eva to add one, two, or maybe five postscripts.

SUBJECT LINE: another p.s.

I am reverting to all my old bad habits with you. What's next? Prank phone calls? Monogrammed sweaters? ABBA?

Seriously:
Late-talking retarded husband has a degree from Princeton. And enviable SATs. (I know you will take this comment as it's intended - to soothe your nerves.)

He has just chimed in from across the room: "Don't worry about it. Enjoy the silence."

Of course, the man can't change a lightbulb.

- Eva

Thanks, Eva. Clearly, your timing couldn't have been better.

Friday, August 8, 2008

I Found Her

It was surprisingly simple. One Google search and I found stories she'd written for a newspaper. Those bylines make you easier to find, good or bad. I emailed the newspaper and asked her to contact me. In an hour, I had a response. In lieu of the longest email in history, I just sent her the link.

She responded
(and commented on the entry! I love comments! I'm not hinting or anything. Just saying.).

I digress. She sent me a lovely email with lots of news. She is married with two children and has returned to her hometown where, surprisingly (to her), she is happy. She just recently ditched the newspaper business to become a grant writer for the local community arts center. I will not post the mail in its entirety, but I do want to share a few things without infringing on her privacy. While we are quite different (she exercises and is a great writer, among other things), I think you may see a similarity or two.

Jeanna -

I spent way too much time last night on your blog, going back through months and months in reverse chronological order. So I have a good sense of your life now: fairly complicated, but not uncommon!

. . . . . . . . .

Life NOW is filled with squabbling siblings, a labor-intensive new puppy, a new job. Homeschooling weirdness with my eager-to-learn son. A husband who works long hours. Hot summers. A pathetic garden. Canoeing on the lovely S. River. Soccer/Swimming/Violin/Art. An Episcopal church. Beer.

. . . . . . . . .

Time is so collapsible, Jeanna. And there's no such place as far away (the title of a favorite book of mine in 1983). Toward that end:

I am two for two with late-talking children who needed intervention. Both are chatterboxes now. Ditto my only nephew and my husband's only nephew. My husband didn't speak until he was four. (His father, a real character, allegedly used to openly speculate that he was "retarded" - said in a thick Old Virginia Money accent.) I remember when "Son" was that age, all his little peers were so verbal, or could recite songs, or would say clever things, and "Son" would merely grunt! I am a tad competitive, and this just killed me.

I don't share this to diminish your struggles, but simply because misery ... loves company!

Wellbutrin?
Lexapro works for me! ;)

I look back on all my correspondence, (YOUR letters are not numbered and bound, but I DO still have them) and cringe slightly. I was so easily distracted and so ignorant of the ways of the world. Completely rudderless. But oh-so boy crazy!

Love and blessings and appreciation for seeking me out -

- Eva

I wanted to find Eva for many reasons. However, after finding out she is the mother of two late-talkers, I'm blown away. It just seems meant to be.

ETA: She has worked for several newspapers including a Pulitzer-prize winning shop. NOT just at a family-owned paper. Not that it's easier there. Nope. Not at all.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Dear Pen Pal

That was how we started our letters in the beginning.

Eva was my pen pal from the time I was eight years old until I was in college. I still have all her letters, bound and numbered, in a trunk in my current house.

We went from stories of girl angst to parent angst, to boys. From the first kiss to "going all the way." We told each other our thoughts we thought no one else would understand.

She was from Virginia. We called each other on rare occasion. I loved the way she talked, like Southern meets Canada with the how-se thing. This was before the times of nationwide cell phones. I had to pay my parents back for those long-distance calls. Still, it wasn't the same when we talked on the phone. We had uncomfortable silences that we never had in our letters. I guess because in our letters, we never actually had to have a conversation.

I felt I knew her better than I knew most of my "best friends." I knew she had a torn heart between the boy who was her intellectual equal and the one who made her loins ache.

We both wanted to be writers. We both majored in journalisim in college. We both worked in the newspaper industry for a while. She, at a family paper of her husband's.

She found me when Switchboard came out. We caught up, but didn't stay in touch as we were in our 30s and had family obligations. I'd like to find her again and give her this blog address.

She was always a better writer than me.

Perhaps this blog is a poor substitiute for what I had with Eva for all those years, all those years ago. I miss her.

Monday, August 4, 2008

She Signed

She signed the custody agreements this afternoon. The school is sending all his documents and immunization records 2-day mail. We will have to register him late, but it looks like he will be able to start school on time.

This is really happening.

Amazing.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Hick

OK, so we were on our way to Camp Redneck. That still counts, right?

Scene: McDonald's Drive-thru

C1: I want a Hick.

Semi: What?

C1: You know, a Hick!

Semi: I've never heard of that.

C1: It's right there on the menu. I had it yesterday! Look!

Semi: Do you mean a "Hi-C?"

C1: Yeah, that's it.

My stepson truly is from Alabama.

Friday, August 1, 2008

I Heart Brett Favre

I'm not a big football fan. There, I said it.

I like college basketball a lot. I like college football, but, unlike some people I live with who shall remain nameless, cannot watch it all the live long day. I cannot start my day at 9:00 am with ESPN's College Game Day and still be at it at 10:00 p.m., watching teams from the West Coast.

I don't really like professional football. Men earning $50 million a year and yet, they complain. Most pro-football players act like really, really big babies. Or buttheads. Tom Brady, anyone?

Ok, there are a few I like. That Bus guy. The Manning brothers. Peyton may as well be the governor of this state. Tennessee men dream "What if he were to come to the Titans?" with that look on their face they had when Daddy gave them their first puppy.

Then, there's Brett. I love Brett because he's...

1. Damn good-looking.
2. Not 23 years old.
3. Southern (with Southern manners)
4. Loves his family.
5. Kicks butt in the face of adversity.
6. Not afraid to cry.
7. Plays for the Pack who are owned by the citizens of the city.
8. We're talking Wisconsin, the land of beer and cheese. I also heart beer and cheese.
9. Donated millions back to the community.
10. A Team Player.
11. Damn good-looking.

And, if you think I am crazy for Brett, men like Cowboy and Flack and Proud aren't afraid to show their love for #4, either.

Brett, if the Pack don't want you back, come on over to my house.