Friday

currently ...

currently, I am: 


loving: having a baby around the house. There is something so lovingly sweet about a little gummy smile and big bright eyes. I love it! I swear I am already thinking about more babies even though just a few months ago I swore I was done. Eek!

reading: sad to say, I have no books going on right now. I have a couple that are waiting on the shelves at home, but I haven’t made the effort to get it together and read them. One of those books being Mo' Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove.

watching: to be quite honest, I’ve been falling asleep right after the news lately, but I am catching up on the Good Wife when I can. 

anticipating: I have a cabinet that I picked up off a curb when we first bought our house. The cabinet sat in my mom’s storage since 2009, and it has finally made its way into my house. I can’t wait to sand it down, give it some love, and store pretty things in it! 

listening to: Jack Johnson’s From Here To Now To You. I received two copies at Christmas and swore I would return one so never opened them up. Finally I decided two copies of Jack Johnson it’s so bad and I’ve been in love with this CD ever since!

planning: on organizing our finances now with our new budget and baby number twos expenses. I am not enjoying this, but I know it’s better to face the music that live in la-la-land.

working on: sewing projects in order to create a nice stock of Wacky Little Creations to take to a First Friday or Farmers Market for sale! Babies are cute, but they are expensive!

Passport to fun - Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Around the Clubhouse World Review

Pack your bags and grab your passport. Join Mickey, Minnie and pals on a whirlwind trip Around the Clubhouse World!. Featuring over two hours of song-filled fun.

Climb the Eiffel Tower in France and say ''bonjour'' to Mademoiselle Daisy and Monsieur Donald Duck. Then, rescue Gondolier Goofy when he goes adrift in Italy's Grand Canal; solve the mysterious riddle of Pharaoh Pete's pyramid in Egypt, and meet a dancing dragon at the Great Wall of China. With your help - and the right Mouseketools - your Clubhouse friends can get their special passport stamped at each wonderful location.

Video Release Date: May 20, 2014 | Purchase online: Amazon.com or your favorite retailer


Disclosure: I was sent a screener copy from the vendor in order to write up an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

Last week we received a copy of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Around the Clubhouse World, and ever since I let the kid, aka my wonderful lovely son, open up the box he has been invisible around the house. I typically am not one to let me kid lounge around in front of the TV all evening, but every once in a while a parent needs a break. My boy is a jumping bean, nothing entertains him very long, he jumps and climbs on everything, and hauls out all of his toys into the middle of our tiny living room, but this week I haven't had to worry much about that because he has been so entertained by this DVD. 




What I liked most about the episodes where the adventure and exploration. I am in a constant state of wanderlust, and to see my little boys eyes light up with wonder while "visiting" different parts of the world in this video, it makes me pretty happy. Alonzo has had his passport since he was about 8 months old, and it proudly wears a stamp or two. Now with this video he is actually learning what a passport is for, and he can't wait to get some more stamps in his own book.

Speaking of passports, the DVD comes with an activity passport that you can put stickers in. Each section is on one of the countries that Mickey and pals visit during the episode. The kids can paste in the countries flag, signature dishes, and a clubhouse pal. 

This DVD is a whole lot of fun, and it inspires a little curiosity about the world within the little ones. If you have a special kid in your life, this would make a great gift!

If you are a Disney Movie Rewards member you can get a $6 off coupon when you purchase Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Around the Clubhouse World along with an another eligible title. Check it out!




Bonjour!

Belly Aching

Holy water! It's been a couple rough weeks over at the Wacky Little House. We've been dealing with heading back to work, a 31st birthday, a 3rd birthday, the stomach flu, teeball season, and now what I thought was food poisonous- that might actually be a second round of the stomach flu, and all within the past three week!

Sorry for the missing face but I just couldn't pull it off to be here too. I do have tons of Drafts that I guess I should go back and finish though. Rest assured, I believe that we're at the end of this yucky tummy thing, and finally things seem like they are getting back on track.

In order to ease back into things I'll leave you with a list of the top 4 highlights, here we go:

1. Unexpected trip to our lovely San Francisco. We caught cool street performances along Pier 39, shopped like we weren't locals (magnets and SF sweatshirts included), spent some time at the park, and enjoyed the tasty treats that the Ferry Building has to offer.


2. Returned to work and sent baby boy off to his first day of day care. It was a rough one, but we both survived.


3. Celebrated two of my favorite dudes birthdays! Hubby had lots of yummy BBQ and scored a great sampling of some craft brews. Silly Big Brother turned 3 and got pizza wasted with his best pals.


4. Mommy got a new sewing machine! I need lots of practice and luckily was able to hunt down lots of fun fabrics at our local Savers. My goal is to make some mommy and baby items to put up in a shop to help pay some bills around here. Nursing covers, bibs, leggings, toys, and more will be coming soon! And for very reasonable pricing!


That's all from this side of the screen. How has everyone been? Where are you guys at? Please leave your blog links in the comments so that I can be sure to follow along in your wacky adventures!

Toodles!
Jess

Tuesday

Wyatt's World

In honor of National Autism Awareness Month, I have asked my friend Jennifer to share her story with us. Jenn's son, Wyatt, is a 6 year old boy living with Autism, and this is her story...


When I saw my son for the first time, I never thought he’d become a statistic; a faceless number with a label that’s both controversial and misunderstood…my son has Autism. As soon as you read that word, I’m sure your mind wanders to what the mainstream media has fed you: a mute, antisocial child who is aggressive, absent, and rocking in a corner somewhere. As with most things in the media, this is not reality. I want to share a little about how Autism looks in my household. I also want to share my experience to not only spread awareness and education about Autism, but change your perception on Autism and the stigma that follows that label. 

My son Wyatt is a rambunctious 6 year-old typical boy. He loves to roll around in the dirt, wear his cape and pretend to be Superman and crash trucks into each other while Ironman shoots lasers at Optimus Prime. He loves to cook, watch movies, sing, dance, play with animals, and laugh his little face off. He also happens to have Autism. His journey with Autism began when he was seven months old. My husband and I began to notice that our little miracle baby wasn’t developing like other babies his age. He wasn’t sitting up, rolling around, or attempting to crawl like other babies were. We took him to his pediatrician who assured us he was fine…boys develop slowly, nothing is wrong. A month later, my husband tragically passed away. At that moment, I was faced with the reality that I was now a single mother and had to ensure my son never felt like something was missing from his life. 

A month or so after my husband passed, I noticed that Wyatt still had made no progress in his development. Back to the pediatrician I went and again I heard her famous line “Boys are slow. Don’t worry about it”. But, a mother’s intuition runs deep and I KNEW something wasn’t right. What followed were months and months of various pediatrician visits and online searching. I was determined to find an answer so I could help Wyatt reach his developmental goals for his age. During this time, every little milestone Wyatt achieved was celebrated with pomp and circumstance. He walked at 18 months and uttered his first coherent word a little after he turned 2. By this time, I had pinpointed a few possible disorders or delays that fit Wyatt’s various symptoms. On the bottom of my list was Autism. Since doctors still didn’t want to help me out, I chose to go back to school and educate myself on mental disorders and delays that could afflict a child in their early years of development. This is where I learned just what Autism meant…and I realized it described a majority of Wyatt’s symptoms. Long story short, on the day of my graduation from the local community college, May 25, 2012, I got the call that my son was diagnosed with Autism and Cognitive & Adaptive Delays. After years of fighting and pushing for some answers, I was finally given a solid explanation and treatment options for my son. 

For those of you who may not know about Autism, I’ll try and share what I can so that you will have a clearer picture in your mind about this increasingly common mental disorder. To begin, there are three terms thrown around a lot that are actually similar: Autism, ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), and PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified). Autism is considered a spectrum disorder. This means that it has varying degrees of severity and symptom presentation; a child diagnosed with ASD falls on the spectrum in some capacity. Those diagnosed with PDD-NOS may have some characteristics of ASD, but mostly present with atypical symptoms that don’t fit into the ASD category.


What’s most important to know is that each and every child diagnosed with ASD, Autism, and/or PDD-NOS are unique. Each child presents with different symptoms in a varying degree of severity. Because of this, there is no set list of symptoms that qualify an ASD diagnosis, but there is a large list of ‘typical’ symptoms that a child MAY have to a varied degree. Typically, a child with ASD has little or no eye contact, obsessive interests, trouble with change, delayed speech and language skills, unusual reactions related to the senses (the way things smell, sound, taste, etc.), repetitive behaviors, prefers to play alone, may avoid personal contact, and has odd behaviors, also called stimming (i.e. slapping hands, skipping, runs in circles). Again, these are just a few of the ‘typical’ symptoms that you may see, but each child varies in the degree in which they have the symptom. Typical age of diagnosis is around 18 months and EARLY INTERVENTION is key in ensuring a functional life for the child. Things like speech and occupational therapy and ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) are important staples in the child’s life. Once the child is of school age, you’ll collaborate with teachers and administrators in creating an IEP (Individualized Education Plan), which is a contract of sorts that sets goals and guidelines for your child that the teachers must follow in the classroom. 

This may seem like a lot of information, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. This is why education is important for everyone. You may believe that you don’t have to know anything about Autism, ASD, and PDD-NOS because your child “doesn’t have it”. This may be so, but I can guarantee you or your child knows someone with one of these diagnoses. In 2010, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) states the prevalence of Autism at 1 in 68. You read that right folks, 1 in every 68 children are diagnosed with Autism. Boys have a higher prevalence of diagnosis (1 in 42) than girls (1 in 189), but these current numbers aren’t promising. In fact, just two years prior, the prevalence was 1 in 88. Just take a minute to let that digest…1 in 68…1 in 42 boys…1 in 189 girls. Autism is more common than you may have previously thought. 


Yes, my son is one of those 42 boys diagnosed with Autism. There was no telltale sign at birth that this would happen. I didn’t do illegal drugs, drink, or smoke while pregnant. I went to all my prenatal appointments and exercised regularly. I did everything right yet my son is now 1 in 42. But, in our house, Autism doesn’t define my son. Wyatt is treated like any other 6 year-old boy: he’s expected to go to school, do his homework, do his chores, and have manners. Most of the time I’m told that Wyatt “doesn’t look autistic” and of course this is true because what does Autism look like? I ponder this question a lot and have yet to find an answer. 

So, here is how Autism looks in my household: Wyatt has a strict weekday schedule that ensures he is in bed by 8PM so he can wake up for school in the morning. On the weekends, he’s free to do as he pleases. He loves watching movies and most of the time will watch the same movie 5-6 times before he’s ready to move on to another. I can recite all the Transformers movies verbatim I now know more about dinosaurs than I would have liked to. With the help of an amazing speech therapist, Wyatt can now carry a coherent conversation. I remember when he was little I used to pray that he would one day talk and now I find myself constantly telling him to be quiet. Wyatt likes to hum and skip/run around from time to time (it’s clear he’s not fully present when he does this). It’s now an endearing part of his personality and he has since been named our little hummingbird. 

Wyatt is considered high functioning. This basically means he falls lower on the spectrum, so his symptoms aren’t as severe as they could be. Because of my earlier suspicions, my parents and I made a point to make Wyatt look us in the eyes and interact with others at the park. This is one reason why his diagnosis took so long: he has excellent eye contact and is very sociable. It’s still a little difficult at times: he’s currently in the process of being potty trained (thank you God!) and still has a meltdown very so often. He still gets stares when he has a meltdown in public and I’m told to either leave the establishment or control my child. I have to inform them that he is autistic and cannot be ‘controlled’ but rather be left to calm down and focus on something else. He is extremely picky with eating, so I have to find creative ways in sneaking fruits and vegetables into his meals. God forbid if you give him a piece of meat or take away his staple food: raisin toast. 

Yes, Wyatt’s schedule takes up a bit of time and it’s hard to plan a day out until I know his mood, but this is my son. This is just a small piece of what makes him Wyatt. He’s hilarious, loves science, and can decently carry a tune. He’s called the animal whisperer because animals follow and love on him (he’s currently adopted two random ducks that visit our house daily), and he loves to play, be goofy, and just be a 6 year-old boy. 

So, this is a small snapshot of my son’s life with Autism. His life isn’t over because of this label; it’s just a tad bit different. He may be autistic, he may be 1 in 42 boys, but to me, he’s Wyatt and I wouldn’t change him for the world. 

For more information about Autism, please visit the following sites and spread awareness! Remember, early diagnosis and intervention is vital in providing a functional adult life for the child!!



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Autism Speaks

National Autism Association