Friday, August 31, 2007

Another part of the paperwork process down & Help from a neighbor

Vicki came over to witness my signature on the paperwork I've been working on to get Acer registered with SSI/disability. I'd done the paperwork on the computer and just need this filled out so I could drop it off at the local office.
I don't work Friday evenings so we enjoyed a nice family evening at home. Bill mowed the lawn and Acer and I meandered up the street. Our block has maybe 15 houses on it, we're about #5, it takes us about an hour to walk the other 10 houses and back. Acer's into exploration and fun, not speed. Thankfully, when I say "Stop" he stops. This saves me from a frantic run down a driveway to stop him from going into the street. This night as we walked we met three groups of neighbors, the third, an older gentleman, asked if Acer were the reason for the signs (Blind Child at play) and said that they'd had those signs up themselves years before. Turns out his 27 year old son (currently studying Math at UM) is blind. He had lots of information about the various organizations and said that if his wife were home she'd have lots of info for me. What a pleasant surprise, to meet someone who'd been through it himself, so very close to the house.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


A little background, We've been taking Acer to the potty, standing him on the seat & divesting him of his pants whilst he stood there (should that be depanting?). So now Acer is taking himself to the potty; this is good except... three times now I have walked in after he has said the magic words and have found him standing on the toilet seat already. I'm not sure how he got there because we don't have a step next to it to climb up on & my mind refuses to imagine the process.
I definitely don't want to startle him and then have him fall off and I don't want to discourage his independence but, how the heck do I stop this?

Wagons Ho!

I had a class on grass diseases etc and spent an hour looking for the class before I found it. The place they described in the paperwork was actually two seperate places & I had to figure out which one was the right one. Bill and Acer went over to Kristen & Kiera's to take a look at their computer. I arrived later and enjoyed spending time with them and Dad/Husband Mark. We took a walk around the block with their dog and wagon. At various times Acer was in the wagon or pushing the wagon and Kiera pulled, pushed and rode in the wagon. Bill should be adding the video here soon.

Bill - Just as soon as I get permission from Kiera's parents.......

Which I just did!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Questions, Questions

I did part II of an interview for a study we're part of - transition to adoptive parenting. I'd scheduled it for the time Acer normally naps and so my being on the phone didn't impinge on his personal time at all. I believe it doing this study because there are so many studies out there that can be skewed, but if you don't participate you shouldn't complain. Also that day we had to have a guy come out to fix the fridge. We were lucky to get one to come out that day because the starter for the compressor had gone and it was 60 degrees inside the freezer by the time he arrived. Thank heavens we have the chest freezer, otherwise our food would have spoiled.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Driving in China

When we were there, we saw some very interesting driving patterns. I DID take some video, but have no access to it at the moment, but we found the following excellent descriptions, in this article, they explain the concept of a "Nanchang Left Turn." Boy was this accurate!

And for those who need to see it in action:

This is really the sort of thing that we saw.


Scary, isn't it?

It was for us, until we saw the oxen. But that is a different story.

Cable guy

We waited for the cable guy to come and run the line for our phone & internet. We don't actually have cable TV as we only watch a few hours of TV a month, if that. Lobelia was in her Missy Loud Mouth persona and she barked at him every time he left a room or came back into the house. Thankfully she's only loud, not a nipper, but she's still annoying especially because whenever she barks, Acer barks imitating her. Not sure what the cable guy thought, two dogs and two people and one of each is barking at him.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Not quite a week this time

We've had a funny boy this week around the house, nekkid dragon wrestling, nekkid rocking horse riding, deliberately making up new words to songs, playing with toys he's never played with before, and joyfully running down the street to "follow Mama".
He's done pretty well on the dry pants issue, especially if we have a normal schedule that day. if we have to go somewhere, it can get a little problematic so he goes back into a pull up.

Wednesday (8/22) Acer was so grumpy I had to put him down for a nap twice. Not because it was a punishment, but because the first visit (1.5 hours) he didn't sleep at all. I let him get up & get a little food & exercise & then he went back down, 5 minutes later, he was out for almost three hours.

Thursday (8/23) we went mall walking & the visited the playplace. Vicki & Stacey walked at their own speed & the went for breakfast at the coney's near the playplace because Stacey didn't have Alexa. Acer didn't stay in the playplace, he discovered the stairs right next to it! I think he played on them for more than an hour total. We joined V & S in the restaurant & Aunt Vicki introduced Acer to toast with butter. I just don't eat toast, and I certainly don't put butter on it if I do, but I'm making it for him now. Toast is so good it gets its own special dance. Thursday night we had some bad storms- mess making storms if you work in a nursery lot!

Friday (8/24) We got up and enjoyed a follow mama walk down the block, unfortunately he got a little too excited & ran 1/2 foot off the sidewalk & into a phone pole. Bruised smack dab in the middle of his forehead. We then went driving off to take Mum to her eye appointment. When I hollered in the door, "We're Here" she appeared and asked "Why?" Oops, the appointment was Thursday! Acer escaped his clothing twice, once he grabbed the dragon & wrestled it and Rugby the next time he decided to ride the rocking horse.

Acer enjoyed a good swim Friday too- he actually did his treading water movement across the whole pool - 24 feet! We actually played Follow Mama in the water. I'm not sure how he managed to keep his grin going as he moved, but he did, he loved it so much. We had another storm Friday night, Bill drove in it the whole way home, as he got to each city the sirens would go off. Acer doesn't seem to mind the weather at all. I'm sure he'll be getting a slicker and rain boots to go out & play in the non thunderstorms like I did as a kid.

Saturday (8/25) Bill & James can a tree cutting day in our back yard this time. The strip between the sidewalk & street is filled. They did take out a couple I wanted to leave, but oh well I just liked them for privacy, I didn't actually like the shrubs they were. After that they delivered papers for someone who is out of town. Poor Acer, in the Acer carrier for 2.5 hours. Amazingly enough Acer was dry the entire time. Mum & James came over for dinner, Mum brought a roasted chicken. She'd suggested we take half, but I just said bring it over & we'll supply the rest of the meal. It was nice, Acer isn't fond of chicken unless it's in nugget form so he ate meatballs.

Sunday (8/26) Bill & Acer headed off to church & then I to work. They always meet me for lunch on Sunday. Bill has missed very few Sunday lunches since we got married almost 6 years ago and now Acer joins in too. Our friend Will came over Sunday afternoon and joined us for dinner, it was nice because we haven't seen him in a while. He's been working and in school, which doesn't leave much time for anything else.

Today (8/27) I was doing laundry in the laundry room when Acer announced he had to "lababa" (aka#2) so I told him "no pants or pullup" as he headed into the bathroom. I expected him to pull them down & wait for me to put him on the toidy. You can imagine my surprise when I walked the few feet to the bathroom & found him balancing/standing on the seat with his pants partly down! It was one of those my heart stopped, but it is funny moments. Also today we met with the eye Dr just so I could ask questions about his condition. The Dr said that they are working on a Geordie Laforge type device, but that it's still in testing, but that would be what we're looking for for the next advancement that would actually help Acer. After we got home, Acer was playing in the lowest level of our trilevel, I could hear him & tell he wasn't emptying my bookshelves or anything else, so just kept my ears open and let him do whatever he was doing. A few minutes later he shows up with his PJ pants pulled up over his shorts! That's my boy, go for the comfort of PJ pants! Next time try taking off the shorts first little man, it'll be more comfortable for sure!

We went to church tonight and now here I am typing while Bill puts Acer to bed.

We got Acer's soc.sec. number today so I started the paperwork to get him signed up for disability. Long process, it may take 3-5 months. Here's hoping it's on the short side!
Well all for now,

Monday, August 20, 2007

And the saga continues!

Just in case you were worried, we're still here and cruising along. Life just keeps slipping more and more into a routine and a sense of normal. We keep busy and try to keep Acer's brain learning and growing or is it he who keeps our brains learning and growing? Between my class " Learning Through Play" and a book my cousin John sent me "The brain that changes itself" I have been learning a lot about learning.
We've had a busy paperwork & phone call week, making appointments for Acer's evaluation thru the intermediate school district, making sure we had the Dr's diagnosis for this, getting his social security number, and getting ahold of the city department for signs to get a warning sign up for our street. The signs went up today and I'm actually quite happy with them. They say " Blind child at play" I thought they'd say "Blind child in area" but "At Play" sounds much happier doesn't it?
Acer's been doing much better at keeping his "Dry Pants" dry. I think he calls them that because he'd hear "Oh, you need dry pants!" We made it most of the day yesterday, including a trip to Costco with Vicki. Vicki & I discovered that Costco had 2 packs of Nutella so we decided to split one. Then we went on the search for the perfect bread. We decided on Ciabatta, in small squares, individual lovely sandwiches, a perfect combination of crunchy bread with crannies to hold the Nutella - delicious!
Acer's also starting to speak in sentences of more than three words. We knew he could do it in Mandarin, we'd heard him, we were just waiting until he got enough English words to start doing it again.
We've now developed our own method of traveling down the sidewalks on walks. It's slow, but Acer's so very happy to have independence and not have to hold a hand (except in parking lots and streets).We use sound, either snapping or clapping a hand against my leg, and he follows. "Follow Mama" excites him so much that he's frequently doing the full body dance/run of glee down the sidewalk or thru the store. We've done it enough that last night we tried 'Follow Baba' with an equal amount of sucess. Generally we only go short distances before I let him "find" me and we continue, but using this method we have made it all the way around the block, a distance of about 40 houses.

The week In review...
Two Fridays ago (8/10) we went to visit one of Bill's Customer sites, a township office very near his work. They were very nice and had gotten Acer gifts and a huge card after we came back from China, so we thought we'd go let them meet the little man in person. Bill met us there and carried Acer around like the proud Baba he is. Bill and Acer have a variety of flips and twists they do while Bill carries him. It's quite amusing to the both of them while many others watch and worry. Acer is a great climber and quite fearless, Bill makes sure he has a good grip before he starts flinging him around so they're quite the combination.

Saturday (8/11) We finally heard from babies R Us - Acer's Halloween costume was in! I was so pleased because I had a coupon and gift cards and was worried that it wouldn't be back in stock before the coupon expired. Now I know that store bought isn't quite as good as homemade, but in my case, it was sewn much better than I would be able to. PLUS it's so dern Cute! Check out our Halloween preview below. Don't you just want to pick him up and snuggle on him! I can't wait to go trick or treating this year, although I think I'll have him collect money for unicef instead of candy.

Monday (8/13) we went walking again, this time with the Ergo carrier. It was much more comfortable for me and I think Acer liked it better too. The only part I didn't like was going down the stairs with him in the carrier, hard on my knees. Acer on the other hand found all the swinging back and forth as we went down to be quite fun.
Thursday, (8/16) Mum had her second eye operation and for the first time in my life, Mum doesn't have to wear glasses! We have a few more trips to make with her to the Dr's and then her eyes should be stable and not need weekly appointments
Last Friday (8/17)we went to the park with Kristen and Kiera. We were there for several hours, we had planned to go to a spray park, but it was just too windy for the little ones to be wet. That may have been our last outing for a while because Kristen's going back to work with the start of the new school year.
Saturday (8/18) I surprised Bill with a day long visit with his best friend and family. I had been emailing Ric's wife Steph to arrange this and we decided that just having them show up was far better than letting him know ahead of time. I was even at work until 4, so he had no idea. They just showed up on the doorstep, from two hours away, with their 4 kids and then chaos reigned! They wagon trained to the park, where there was a fundraiser for Ronald Mcdonald houses going on (unbeknownst to them before they got there). After I got home, Bill grilled burgers and we ate & then went to Erma's for custard. It was really great to see them and I appreciated their making the trip down both to meet Acer and to see Bill. While I really enjoy their company, I didn't mind being the least important one (so to speak because they came to meet Acer and celebrate Bill's birthday).
Acer gave Bill his first card and gift this year, the gift was a frame that said "dad" in many fonts with a picture of Acer & Alex in it. The card said something like , of the millions of dads & gazillions of kids how did God know to put us together. Alex sent Bill a really really nice card in the mail, with a sentiment good enough to make you want to tear up (sniff).
Sunday (8/19) really was Bill's birthday and we had our usual gaming group over, but added cake and ice cream to celebrate.
Monday (8/20)Acer and I went to the mall to let him play out of the rain. He actually asked to go to the playplace so we got ready & off we went. He has only asked to see Bill's parents before, so this was something new.
Today (8/21) we finally went swimming again, it's been too cold or too rainy to be in, but today, Acer actually swam a few feet without holding on to anything (but still wearing his swimvest). He was in for a goof 45 minutes before his lips started turning blue & we had to get out. After we went in the house we had to call Baba on the speaker phone to let him know that Acer was actually swimming. I was so proud of him!
That's all for now, I really should try to do this more frequently so I don't have to type so much at once.
Take care and let us know how you're doing!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Quiet Week

Okay, so it's been a week and a half, but who's counting? This week we've been busy doing errands and inside stuff more than fun for Acer stuff.
Mum finally went to the eye Dr. and I was glad to discover that she had cataracts (as I thought I remembered her saying) rather than glaucoma (which was what she was saying). She went in on a Tuesday and had her first eye done on the following Thursday. Acer and I have ferried her to each appointment, dropped her off and then returned after she calls. She only lives about a mile from us and the eye Dr is only about a mile from us in another direction. We waited for her for one check up, but it was pretty tough on the little guy to be in such a boring place so Mum & I agreed the drop off route was better. Mum's vision is so improved that they took one lens out of her glasses. She can now see leaves on the trees and read much more clearly than before. She goes the 17th for her next eye surgery. I'm really glad not to have a blind Mother as well as a blind son, I would have coped, but am glad I don't have to!
Last week Wednesday we went to Stoney Creek, a very large local park, with Kristen & Kiera. I discovered there that my phone does not swim well. Oh well, the rest of the day was fun and Acer really enjoys both the lake & spending time with Kristen & Kiera.
Saturday Bill scored "Acer's castle" from a garage sale. One of the little tykes climb on cubes is now set up in the back yard and a certain small & mobile man loves to go out there & climb.

Our nephew Brandon came over for Sunday & Monday nights, he's 15 and very good with Acer. A little worried about every bump & bruise but that's not a bad thing.
Monday Mum came over to watch Acer while I worked on my first assignment for a correspondence course I'm taking (for free) from Hadley school for the blind. I signed up for the class about 2 months ago, but this is the first time I've been able to complete an assignment (note, my teacher gave me an A+). Mum also enjoyed spending time with Brandon and watching as Brandon and I tried various ways to assemble the Acer Castle before it finally went together.
Wednesday Acer went to his first baseball game. The Tigers lost & it was incredibly hot, but we got the tickets for free because it was my work 'picnic'. It was way too loud for him and he just couldn't understand what was going on so he just snuggled in on Mama or Baba's shoulders & tried to make the best of it. I walked up and down the bleachers introducing him to people and he did pretty well in the meet & greet department. He fell asleep on the way home & didn't wake up when we brought him inside & put him to bed.
Today we met my friend Vicki & her friend Stacy & went mall walking early in the morning. We tried putting Acer in a spare stroller Stacy had for her daughter Alexa (2) and Acer did fine in It but it was uncomfortable for me, too short. I think it'll be back to the ergo carrier on Monday when we go again.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Latest news on Acer's eyes

Well, the results of the flash VEP are in and they aren't promising. The Doctor said that right now (here's hoping for huge advancements in the future) Acer's eyes don't show enough function to make surgery a good idea right now. It would be a lot of surgeries for very little, if any results.
So now we start the process to work with the school district and get the all help we can through there and start other processes to make sure that if it's a program that can help him, he signed up for it.
More paperwork, just as we were getting out of the paperwork stage I thought.