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May 02
2010

Our Aging Onesie Model

Posted by Brett in birthdayautism

I can't believe our first little Snugfits model is about to turn four! He still seems like a baby to me, maybe because I see him on our website everyday modeling some funny onesie or another on his chubby little baby body. He still has that thick marshmallow look to him, but now he's a taller marshmallow.

He's been riding Gavin's bike lately, much to Gavin's dismay, instead of the bigwheel. They fight over it constantly. Now I know where the phrase "Knock down, drag out" came from: Somebody somewhere had a 6 and a 4 year old brawling over a bike. The helmets and kneepads are employed more as combat armor than bike crashes.

The new thing is to hook up the baby trailer behind the little bike and pull Bodie around the circle, like a little rickshaw. It's a riot! Bodie loves it, but needless to say, Gavin and Garrett don't do well at taking turns on the bike. Sara and I decided it's time for Garrett to have his own two wheeler.

Gavin and I made a special trip to pick out a bike for Garrett. First to Target  (they always get first dibs on my dollars, before the cash gets inevitably sucked into the supermassive black hole across the street with initials WM). Gavin was extremely overstimulated with the excitement of the bike hunt. He was stimming around my red cart, hopping and skipping, staring at the lights on the ceiling then at the floor, bumping into Target patrons on occasion. I'm used to apologizing for him, since usually he's completely unaware of others when he's in that state. We finally made it to the bike rack at the back of the store. A quick scan of the bikes concluded that I indeed would have to feed more money to the juggernaut across the street. Target has squat for kids bikes. Oh, but Gavin had several picked out within the first 45 seconds. Unfortunately, Garrett would need stilts under his feet to reach the pedals.

Out the door we went to the world's largest employer, where we were greeted with a smile and an odd look as Gavin's excited stimmy dancing and humming around me was reaching an uncontrollable crescendo. We found the perfect bike right off the bat. It's a bright green bmx style Hotwheels edition - complete with training wheels already installed and a sweet hand throttle that makes a revving up noise when you twist the handle! Garrett's going to go berserk when he sees this tricked out ride!

We're going to make him search the house and yard for the bike on his birthday. It's so much fun - I make little clues for him and he has to figure out each clue to get to the next one, the excitement building with every step. The clues say things like "Your next clue is on the trunk of our biggest tree…" It'll be a riot. Now I just have to figure out where to hide this bright green bike...

 







Mar 28
2010

Kids' Digital Cameras

Posted by Brett in childrenautism

During the process of getting all the photography done with Bodie modeling the new Snugfits colors, Gavin has become intrigued by cameras. He's just thrilled by the idea of capturing an image and keeping it, going back to it and looking at it again and again. He and Garrett got their own little kid digital cameras back at Christmastime, but right now the interest is really booming. I think he's seeing the practical use of the camera, as he "sits in" on Bodie's photo sessions. To be honest, Gavin can't just sit in on anything. He has to be smack dab in the middle of the action, so he gets his little Mickey Mouse camera and starts snapping away! He actually helps the process because Bodie is distracted by him, and Gavin can always make the baby laugh.

The camera is great. It's the red Disney one sold at Target for $56, not the "Discovery Kids" camera sold at Kohls. We bought that one first because it was on sale for $26, from $80. We thought surely it must function a lot better than the less expensive Disney camera, but it was terrible! The screen was so blurry you literally couldn't tell where the camera was aimed other than color and shape. It didn't have an automatic shut-off, so it went through batteries like Garrett goes through a box of Dunkin Donuts. That camera was a real piece! The kids were pretty bummed.

These Disney cameras, however, are incredible. Most importantly to me, they don't drain batteries on a daily basis. The pictures are mostly well focused, and the kids can even add graphics to them! They really get a kick out of taking my picture then adding honeybees buzzing all around my head. They're pretty durable too. Bodie has proven that, as he treats most objects he gets his hands on as either a hammer or a projectile. At least he hasn't tested the camera's buoyancy yet. (Knock on wood)

Scrolling back through the shots on Gavin's camera is hilarious. He's got about 30 pictures of various street signs and traffic lights, lots of different colored Jeeps, tons of his brothers, another couple dozen shots of his favorite t.v.  show, Peppa Pig, and then a few of Sara and me working around the house. I notice that I look angry a lot. I need to be more camera wary, and less "scowly".  There's one random shot in there of a huge "number two" floating in the toilet. He must've been pretty proud of that one, nice tapered ends and all. Its a shocking and repulsive image, but to him its something to take pride in, I suppose! Being potty trained is still a big achievement in this house, and something to be commemorated!

Yesterday there was a bulldozer clearing a lot near our home, very loud and violent work. It was a huge machine, mowing down 30 foot trees and pushing them into a gigantic pile by the street. Gavin (of course) wanted to get a snapshot of it, so we walked up the street to see it. As we neared, Gavin became more and more nervous, covering his ears and grinding his teeth. "DADDYDADDYDADDY" he kept repeating, and I knew he was really thinking about turning his tail and bolting back to our house. But he didn't. We found a good vantage point at the edge of the street, Gavin uncovered his ears, raised the camera, and took one quick shot. Then he turned his tail and ran back home. I was pretty proud of him for that act of bravery! Overcoming autism is all about pushing the limits as much as possible.

This blog post has sort of turned into an unsolicited review/endorsement for the Disney cameras. They really do work well, and because of that Gavin's new passion for photography is starting to flourish. It's like a unique little window into his brain. He's a kid with autism, and he's pretty quirky, and sometimes a real challenge to keep up with. This camera has been an exciting, creative outlet for him to show us the world through his eyes.





Feb 26
2010

Abominable Snow Bodie

Posted by Brett in babies

  Here in Wilmington we get snow one day a year, if we're lucky. We live in a weird climate. In the summer its practically tropical. In fact, the famous Venus Fly Trap was discovered here, and only grows in the wild within a 100 mile radius of our town! See? Weird. In the winter, we have a strange humid, windy, chill-you-to-the-bone climate some days, then it'll get up into the 70's for a few. And as I said, snow is rare. Even when the rest of the state is getting their inches upon inches, we get squat. When it does snow, schools and businesses close up and there is a run on the grocery store for milk, eggs and bread. Its crazy!

We finally got a good snowstorm. It came overnight, and in the morning everything was covered with a nice thick blanket of shiny whiteness. This was officially Bodie's second snow, but the last time it snowed he was only 5 months old. Now he's 18 months and he was completely wonderstruck when he saw the snow. I opened the blinds in the morning and lifted him up to look out, he stared for a second and his eyes got wider and wider, then he said "OH NOOOO!" I laughed. "It's just snow, Bodie. Do you want to go outside and play?" He nodded his head vigorously.

After 15 minutes of bundling our offspring, they were all set to go out. Bodie initially took some very cautious and timid steps into the backyard, curbing his famous feisty bravado at first. Then he did a happy little jig, stomping a small circle into the 4 inches of white fluff, as if testing his footwork on the new terrain. After his rare moment of hesitance, he charged full speed across the lawn, squealing and whooping like a wild animal. Inevitably, he ended up doing a full faceplant into the snow. He fell pretty hard, and it didn't look good from where I was standing with the camera. I was thinking, "Oh boy. Playtime might be over before it even began." I didn't say anything to him as he sat up, knowing that any acknowledgment of his crash might bring the tears. If I act like its no biggie, then he will just shake it off, which is exactly what happened. He popped up, looked around, and kept going.



The snow was so heavy that it bent our loquat tree nearly to the ground, making a really cool snow cave for the boys to run through. Gavin and Garrett made snow angels, a snowman with a pickle for a nose, had a snowball fight, and of course filled up a bunch of tupperwares with snow to put in the freezer for later. Doesn't everybody do that? Now they eat the snow for dessert after supper. Simple pleasures!

Of course, it doesn't last long. Within 24 hours, the only snow left was the little clump of a snowman in the front yard, his oreo cookie eyes staring forlornly at the Carolina blue sky as the sun slowly terminated him. We'll miss the snow for sure. Maybe we'll get lucky and get a double whammy this year. I guess I should be careful about what I wish for...







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