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Nov 13
2011

Cub Scouting

Posted by Brett in milestonesautism

 

Gavin is a Cub Scout - a Wolf Cub, to be exact. He is so proud of this fact, and it has really been an empowering experience for him thus far. He says things like "Cub Scouts don't do it like this, they do it like that." and "That's not the Cub Scout way."

He has a "Hygiene Chart" that he has just become obsessed with. His fixation (autism driven?) on this chart has really helped his independence. He has to check off each box everyday, like drinking water, brushing teeth, bathing, etc. As soon as he wakes up in the morning, he climbs down from the top bunk and goes straight to the chart taped to the wall in the bathroom to check "Get enough sleep" off the list. Then he goes to the kitchen and gets a cup of water to check off the Drink Plenty of Water box. All of a sudden he's taking care of himself without any prompting! Just knowing that the chart is there with unchecked boxes is enough to get him moving in the morning.

Becoming a Cub Scout almost instantly gave him a new sense of pride. I'm not sure what did it, maybe the Cub master that came to school recruiting new 1st and 2nd graders? Gavin seemed pretty energized by the sales pitch, and came home that day demanding I take him to the "sign-up" meeting. At the meeting, the same fellow that spoke at school was there giving his speech to the parents and sons. I was just excited to see how focused and attentive Gavin was to this seemingly boring lecture, and all the whispered questions/comments he was peppering me with:

"Can I get a hat?"
"I will need my own flashlight."
"Do North Carolina bears eat Cub Scouts?"
"Are girls allowed here?"
"I need to earn lots of patches!"

Stationed prominently behind the pacing and prattling Cub master was a giant, 4 foot trophy for the Pinewood Derby. Many of Gavin's questions revolved around this glittering object of desire, and who could blame him? I had never seen a trophy like that, certainly it must be from the world championships or something. It stood at a true four feet tall, no kidding. And with a dazzling golden Pinewood Derby car at its apex in the wheelie position, looking like it was about to launch into orbit, Gavin was absolutely captivated by it. "Dad - we have to make a car that will win that trophy. We have to."

My experience with Cub Scouting was somewhat lackluster. I remember enjoying the time with my Dad, but it was nothing like they advertised in the brochure. Our pack never did any of the camping, canoeing, BB gun stuff in the 2 years I participated. It was all just knot tying and little crafty things. I was more into sports, and scouting eventually didn't fit into the schedule. Gavin has had a tough time with sports, and real trouble with the notion of teamwork, so scouting is a great way to condition him to the idea of cooperation and helping others.

He is starting to get the concept of being an unselfish, altruistic Cub Scout already. He really wanted the hat to wear, so everyone would know he's a scout. I said, "Ok, let's get you a hat that says 'Cub Scouts Rule' on it! Wouldn't that be sweet?" He looked at me with a deadpan gaze, pitying my foolish lack of the Cub Scout perspective, and said "You can wear that hat, Dad. A real Cub Scout would never wear a hat like that."



Aug 12
2011

The Other White Meat

Posted by Brett in menu planningfoodcooking

Ok, so here's one of the items from the lunches I was writing about. I figured I better go ahead and post some photographic proof after my rave review. This pig was an entree in the boys' lunch on Tuesday. Sara made an extra one for Bodie, so I actually got to see one in broad daylight before it was packed into a lunchbox! Normally I only get to see the tattered remains of what Sara created, after G and G get home from school and I rummage through their uneatens for a quick snack.

I presented this pig to Bodie at lunch, he got the biggest smile and uttered one word, "Piggy". Then he promptly picked off the nose and ears and popped them in his hungry little mouth. Next he picked up the rice ball, and I guess he didn't like the sticky texture since he set it right  back down. Thanks be to God for that, too, because I was starving!

He didn't get a second chance at it. I gave him an apple and slammed that pig like there was no tomorrow.





Aug 07
2011

My Brilliant Wife

Posted by Brett in mompreneurmarriage


I apologize to my billions of readers all over the universe, for my lack of composition this summer. I've let you down, and I have no doubt you've all been wandering listlessly through the summer, unguided by my insight, like a throng of honeybees whose hive has vanished. I don't have an excuse. Well, I have a bunch of excuses, but I'm so wracked with guilt that each excuse I conjure up seems such a paltry exoneration, I can't summon the will to type it. However, I couldn't let this occasion pass without acknowledgement.

Today is our 14 year anniversary! I can't believe it . What an awesome girl I married. We've had such an incredible life so far! A really out of the ordinary journey, some might say. We had 7 super fun years together before adding these 3 little souls to the tribe, and as they say - you don't really experience life until you have kids. I think that's true.

When we got married, I know it sounds sappy, but I felt like the luckiest man on Earth. I really had no idea how lucky I was. It's hard to write about because I'm sitting here trying to think of appropriate words to convey how much happiness and growth Sara has brought me, but it's impossible! In short, I believe that Sara is some sort of super-human.

Sara is an alpha-female, in a quiet way. You don't want to mess with her, believe me. I've tried. Just ask the jackasses on the Good Ol' Boy Network known as the New Hanover educational system. Sara single handedly called to task the New Hanover Board of Education. She stood at a podium in front of them all and called them out, each of them sitting there with their brand new iPad 2, while the Special Needs kids in New Hanover county have less and less services due to the overnight "disappearance" of $2.4 million! What the hell? Sara was the only one who even raised the  question, "What happened to the money?!" They figure most parents of kids with autism or other disability are way too bogged down, frazzled and drained to do any research. They're right about that. Most parents aren't like Sara, staying up all night many nights a week, trying to decipher the best path to take with Gavin. Calculating the most effective use of these critical developmental years. Often times I've risen at 4 a.m. to start a pot of coffee, and Sara is in the kitchen just finishing the lunches for the boys after another all-nighter doing research on autism, or working on Snugfits, or folding laundry, or planning meals for the week….

Speaking of lunches, another bit of evidence on why I think Sara is beyond-human, is the lunch boxes she packs for Gavin and Garrett. You've got to see these things! They're like something straight out of a magazine. The boiled eggs are formed into little shapes like fish, cars or bears. The sandwiches are neatly pressed in a "crust eliminator" thingy that makes them look like some appetizer at an upscale Parisian bistro. The meat and cheese for the crackers is always cut into little stars or flower shapes with a cookie cutter. Its unbelievable. The cupcakes are always decorated with faces or designs which could make the cover of any magazine. And it's all done with no food dyes or preservatives: Feingold Diet! I keep telling her she's got to photograph these lunches before the boys destroy them at school. Photography isn't on the agenda at 2 a.m. understandably. Maybe I could get my lazy butt out of bed earlier and do a photoshoot for her, I really want her to post some pics of these lunches on the blog. Case in point: friday night we went to dinner with our good friends and their 2 girls, all the kids recognized another patron at an adjecent table as one of the second grade teachers' assistants. After a warm greeting with multiple hugs and high fives (it's funny how kids get so excited to see their teachers out in public, isn't it?) she stood up and addressed our table. "Okay," she said,"I've got to know which one of you parents is the one who makes Gavin and Garrett's lunches everyday. How in the world do you make all of those cute little shapes and designs? Its like opening a work of art everyday for me. I look forward to it just as much as they do!" Sara just blushed and said thanks. She didn't reveal any secrets.

Furthermore, the highlight of my boys' school day has got to be reading the note Sara packs in there everyday. It's a cute little joke or riddle of the day, then she adds a thoughtful insight about something fun they'll do that day or something she remembers about them from babyhood. Its just a sweet little reminder for them about how much she loves them, but I'm sure it helps them plow through the stresses of Kindergarten and Second Grade. Now, does anyone out there need any more evidence that my wife is the most brilliant woman on Earth?

So, what do we have planned to mark our 14th year of holy matrimony? Same thing we do every Sunday. We're getting bagels at the bagel joint, going down to the beach where our boys will roll in the sand, Sara will lounge on her bright yellow chair like the beach goddess she is, and I will rip up some tasty waves with my board like the Izzy Paskowitz I wish I could be. Okay, by "rip up", I mean trying not to drown whilst surfing, and hopefully not tearing the new beach shorts Sara got me. Hey, at least I look cool when I'm carrying my board to the water! Cowabunga. Then tonight, we'll hit the local fish joint where kids eat free on Sunday, Bloody Marys are 2 bucks, and the fish is fried so deeply it could qualify as a finalist in the dessert category at the state fair. It's a classic!















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