Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Very Special Special

As a reward for being Really Useful (apparently that's the biggest compliment on the Island of Sodor), Oliver was treated to a day out with his best buddy Thomas!

We didn't exactly tell him what we were doing, but all morning he was asking for Choo Choo, so we thought the baby genius had figured it out.  But then again he saw me grabbing some Thomas DVDs for the 1hour-ish car ride up there.  Or maybe he knew we were up to something.  Who knows.  The kid's too smart.  I did tell him we had a Special Surprise for him... and then because I watch way too much Thomas and I could resist, I called it his "Special Special."

He was pretty psyched when we got there and he saw what was up.

When he saw Thomas he stared waving and gave chase as he made his way down the track.  Adorable! Too cute for words!  I just loved how excited and in awe he was.

There were lots of other things to check out there, too.  Oliver is very impressed by these Early American Steam Engines.  They sure are pretty neat.

We HAD to get a Thomas tattoo.  On his hand.  Just like his Gymbo the Clown stamp he gets at Gymboree.  He kept looking down and rediscovering it all day.  Unfortunately it was gone by bedtime.

And then there was the moment I nearly cried....

...his first carnival ride!  

Oliver loves the quarter rides in the mall, but usually bolts if you actually put a quarter in them to make them move.  Well, the night before going to ride with "the Cheeky One" we happened to be at the mall, and I happened to have quarters.  For the first time he was excited to really ride the little trucks.  It was kind of a relief for us since we weren't 100% sure how Oliver would take to riding a train.  There's a train that runs inside the mall and he loves watching and chasing after it, but was terrified when we attempted to get him on it.  And back in December he loved seeing all the vehicles at the Touch-a-Truck, but didn't want to climb up in them.  Well, he is officially a big boy now.  

Oliver barely cracked a smile the entire day.  You would think he was miserable, but we know our kid... furrowed eyebrows aside, we could tell he was having a great time.  He is always very serious and focuses all his energy in absorbing new experiences. 

So remember that time he was afraid to sit in a firetruck...?

Fear's gone now!

He loved the rides.  So cute...and he actually cracked a little smile.  Briefly.

Owen actually had a great time too.  He was all smiles and giggles all day.  I forget how big he is getting sometimes.  If you noticed in the picture of me and the two boys on the train, Owen is thrown in the Moby Wrap pretty sloppily.  Well as we were heading over to board and our ride time was being announced, I nearly panicked trying to quickly get the Moby on and park the snap-n-go and strap Owen into the wrap, all without slowing Nate down too much.  So he kind of just got thrown in there so I could carry him on the train, and then I realized... he's no floppy baby that needs to be tucked in to me anymore.  He's a big baby who enjoys being out and able to experience things too.  Talk about sweet and sour!  I loved watching him giggle and reach and enjoy the ride, but I also felt a little pang of jealousy seeing all the other moms wearing their babies.

Unlike some other people there...we were not about to drop major dollars in the gift shop (as much as we wanted to), but we did score Oliver this Lego Thomas that he had a blast putting together and taking apart  over and over and over and over.  And speaking of souvenirs, I would like to take a minute to laugh at all the parents who bought $10 balloons for toddlers to carry on a windy day.  Suckers.  So glad Oliver is still oblivious to all the things he just has to have!  Oh man, someday soon we will be suckers too.  And we will be in the group of suckers with TWO kids... buying TWO overpriced balloons that will be deflated and trashed by the end of the week (if the kids manages to hold on it to that is).

At the end of the day we had two dirty little engines who needed a wash down.  

Owen now sits up in the tub making bath time much easier.  This was his first bubble bath, (we don't do bubble baths very often, they kind of seem like a waste of soap to me), and he LOVED it.  

Yeah it was an awesome day!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

How to love a child...

This actually made me cry.

All a parent wants to do is protect their child from all the ugly in the world.  I feel so awful for Akian and can imagine what it felt like to his father to hear his son pushed to the point of tears by a teacher.

A teacher! How many kids are in school everyday and how many parents are putting their faith and trust in teachers to mold and guide their children.  Imagine the shock of having that person you trust with your child treat your baby in such a way!

And because of communication issues Akian can't even tell his dad what's going on!? That hit home with me... I think of my Oliver who isn't speaking at a level we want him to be at, and I am so happy to have him home with me where he is loved all day every day.  Aside from being unable financially to have sent him to daycare or preschool... I have serious trust issues, anxiety issues, control issues....whatever you want to label my issues as... when it comes to my babies.  I love them so much, maybe too much, and I don't like to think about all that can be happening when I am not with them.

Nate and I actually watched Waiting for Superman the other day and were just floored with the way things are.  That a bad teacher faces basically no consequence because of unions and tenure.  An ineffective teacher is one thing... a bully for a teacher is another!  A school will have a zero tolerance policy regarding bullying when it comes to students...but what about when the teacher is the bully?  The teacher is tenured and goes to another room... a whole new pool of victims?

I know a lot of teachers and I know that it is a very difficult job.  And I know how mentally and emotionally exhausting it can be to take  care of your own children, let alone someone else's.  But is there really any excuse for finding amusement in making an autistic child cry?

My sister works with severely disabled children as an aide.  She loves her kids.  "My babies" she calls them.  It is an incredibly difficult job and quite frankly, I am very impressed with my sister for doing it... and loving it.  It's not something I would have pictured from her several years ago.  My mother in law teaches full day kindergarden for special needs children, and she will tell you how hard it is, but she pushed for the school to start this full day class a few years ago.  My point is this:  if you can't deal with the stress of the job, if you don't have that special something that is needed for a SPECIAL NEEDS child... don't do it!  I get that misery loves company, but do you really need to bring a child down to feel better about your own situation?

Ugh...just another bean in the pot for me as I continue to consider homeschooling my babies.  I really want to, just not sure how it would go.

And then there is this video I saw (which also made me cry...but in a good way) over at Dear Baby... all about lifting a child up.  Encouraging and supporting a beautiful and innocent little boy.  May all children be loved in this way.  May all children feel special.  May all children be dream, try... to go for it.

Friday, April 20, 2012

All Aboard the Pizza Train!!!

I came across a flyer for Trackside Pizza in Wallingford a little while back and thought of my Oliver immediately.  Then one day returning some books at the library, the librarian noticed that pretty much all of Oliver's books were about trains and she mentioned how fun this place was.  

So, naturally, we just had to check it out. Plus- it's not far from the pet store where we get fish for our tank, so we were able to make the trip double fun!

The dining room is an actual train car that is practically on top the tracks.  We should have checked the train schedule before going, which is what a co-worker of Baby Daddy Natey Poo suggested, but of course we didn't and I had my fingers crossed the whole time a train would go by while we were there.

Bingo!  About halfway through our dinner a super long freight train passed right bye.  Oh the beautiful expression of wonder on my little engineer's face.  As a parent, is there anything better than seeing your child happy?  It's just a little thing, really... but we love to be able to give him little moments like this.  To feed into whatever his interests and passions are and bring excitement to those little eyes.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


This was my baby's first Easter.  Baby's firsts are so sweet.  Every now and then throughout the day I would remember and give him an extra squeeze and a kiss.  And then I remembered that it was Oliver's third Easter... THIRD.  Already my little boy has been around for three of these?!  Three may not seem like a large number, but to me it is! It means my baby Oliver is getting older and older.

Saturday was our first annual egg hunt.  Super fun.  Just loved being able to spend the day in our own yard! And so happy the weather was just perfect!

Sunday I hosted Easter for the first time for some of my family.  Thanks to Pinterest, I think everything went well.  Got some really great brunch ideas and decoration inspiration on that site... all easy and successful.  Score.

My one Easter regret- 

...not getting a picture of my handsome little cuties in their Easter best.  The opportunity just never came up between me being in the kitchen getting things ready and you know... that two year old ability to sit still was just not working out.  Then Oliver came inside from playing in the yard with hives (second day in a row...whats up with that!?) and in my attempt to get some Benadryl down the hatch I triggered that insanely sensitive gag reflex and got puked on. Twice.   ::shudder::   So for the rest of the day Oliver's Easter second-best was his set of red firetruck PJs.