Wednesday, March 31, 2010

CSSBS&SSSS*: Day Three

* Camp Stimey Spring Break Sensory & Social Skills Special Session

Ah, Day Three of Spring Break! Unless my memory is faulty, Day Three is traditionally All About Squooshy Art and Playdate Day.

You know me, always traditional. So I made sure to sandwich our squooshy art time in between our playdate and our sleepover. I also wedged in some heavy duty basement-playroom cleaning time, but that's not fun at all, so I'm not going to talk about that.

I'm sure that of all the words I've used thus far in this post, "squooshy art" is probably the most interesting to you. Let me be a little more clear. Last year, Sam and I made a Peeps diorama with a friend, having been inspired by the Washington Post's Peeps diorama contest.

This year I was inspired to lead a Peeps diorama art day by the Peeps rabbit we blew up in the microwave last year. More specifically, I made a diorama of The Blob.

Those poor sons of bitches. They never saw it coming.

Oh, right, and my kids made some too. Sam was the only one who didn't annihilate any Peeps to make his diorama. He made a sweet little castle scene featuring the Rainbow Fairies and some of their friends.

Quinn was perhaps the most destructive of them all. And the most abstract. I'm not quite sure what he was going for here, but I think he accomplished it.

I call it "Guernica."

With a touch of "Silence of the Lambs" thrown in.

Jack made a somewhat confusing Super Mario Bros. Wii background diorama with an impaled Peep sitting in front. As with Quinn, I'm sure it means something. I'm just not sure what.

I think his maniacal face sort of explains a lot though.

I think you might know that these finished (and oh, so polished, if I do say so myself) works of (yes, I'm going to call it) art don't tell the whole story. The real story here was the experimenting part of the process. And here is where the "squooshy" comes in.

I present to you: Our Victim:

Don't worry about the bits of blobular Peep left on the plate, little guy.

This is what happens after you nuke a Peep for 20 or so seconds.

And this is what happens after you put him BACK in the microwave for another 20 seconds.
He'll smell bad too.

Then this is what happens when you let him sit on a plate for about an hour.

Thus concludes the Squooshy (and then Flat and Hard) Art portion of Day Three.

Coming Tomorrow: Try to Make Jack and His Equally Socially Uninterested Playdate Interact With Each Other Day!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

CSSBS&SSSS*: Day One & Two

* Camp Stimey Spring Break Sensory & Social Skills Special Session

School is out of session for spring break, which can only mean one thing: Camp Stimey is IN SESSION.

I have all kinds of plans to work on our social skills and social thinking this week, along with a bunch of fun sensory things to do.

Day One was a little bit of a disappointment. Or rather, Day One was a completely successful Day of Preparation and Tedium. We went to speech therapy (social skills!!!) and then we came home and played some video games (crazy sensory input!!!) and I took a nap (um, I got nothing).

But then we went to the grocery store (social skills put into practice!!!). Jack and Quinn happily and socially hung out in the little car cart at the store, while Sam whined the entire time about wanting to sit down.

Unfortunately there were five reasons he couldn't sit down:

1. He is far too huge to cram himself into that little car cart.

2. He is far too huge to sit in the little seat at the front of the cart.

3. We were, you know, at the grocery store.

4. Jack and Quinn are waaay more unpredictable than Sam is at the grocery store and there is no way I was about to release them into the aisles of the store while Sam sat in the car part of the cart. A little lot of whining was a small price to pay to not lose the little ones.

5. I wasn't about to give in to the WHIIIIIIIIINING!

Then Alex came home and we had a big fight (what not to do with social skills!!!).

Day One, fini.

Day Two was better. Here's a hint as to what Day Two consisted of:

What? You need more? Okay. Here's this:

Why, yes, we did go to a store dedicated solely to the sale of Peeps and Peeps-related merchandise.

Yes, Day Two was Peeps at National Harbor Day!

For the social skills part, we went with my friend E and her two kids. And, yes, our whole point in going to National Harbor was to go to the Peeps store. We sort of figured that the rest would work itself out. I gotta tell you, sometimes those we'll-just-figure-it-out-when-we-get-there trips are the best. Today? Case in point.

The Peep store was fun, except for when I bought a pound of bulk Mike and Ikes and then Sam dropped half of them on the floor immediately after I paid for them. Fortunately, the cashier was super nice and let Sam replace them free of charge. I imagine that must happen a lot there.

I think the best part of the day was the sculpture on the beach at the Harbor though. It is called The Awakening and it is made up of five separate pieces put together to look like a giant (or, if your kids have just seen Percy Jackson, Poseidon) rising up from the sand.

Watch out, Jack! He's coming for you!!!!!

Clearly, the best part, however, was climbing all over Poseidon's face.

I made sure to act the adult though. Per usual.

Yes, I did tell Quinn to pretend to pick the giant's nose.

My kids kind of hogged the giant's mouth. Maybe they'll grow up to be dentists.

But they weren't above visiting the less desirable parts of the giant as well.

No, Quinn, you don't high five with your ass.

It looks a little like the hand finally got Jack, doesn't it?

While Sam was slightly less into the sculpture, he brought on the sensory part by experiencing the wind. And, no, this photo I didn't stage.

You know it's coming..."KING OF THE WORLD!!"

But Peeps and sculpture cannot a whole day make. We stopped for lunch at a burger joint where both Jack and Quinn put the ketchup bottle from the table into their mouths. Bllleeeecccchhh! *shudder*

I took the offending bottle to the counter, but it got me thinking about how often stuff like that happens. To my ketchup bottle. That gets left on the table. For me to use. Oh, right. And I was bummed out about the germs my kids got from the bottle too.

Right next door to our lunch zone was the Launch Zone, which is a mini precursor to the National Children's Museum, which is slated to open in, like, 2013, juuuuust after my kids age out of children's museums. The Launch Zone is basically a one-room space for kids to whet their little science-y appetites.

Here's Sam doing science:

Or, you know, coloring a picture of an Easter bunny.

This next photo is a little closer, right? Here is Jack doing science.

Or, you know, stamping animal tracks on a piece of paper.

Oh, here we go! A magnifying glass. We have science!!

If a magnifying glass is involved, it's automatically science.

After this, we had to bodily wrestle Jack away from the sand on the beach, which is his particular favorite sensory thing.

Day Two? Fresh air, candy, and art for four hours FTW!

Coming tomorrow:
Supah Social Day! Now With Sleepover!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I Dare You to Not Be Overwhelmed by the Cute

Today I took Quinn to the Playseum, a fun new children's play space near me. There were many incredible and fun things to do there. Many. But when I was paying my admission fee and the lady told me that there were baby bunnies that the kids could pet, I knew that I would happily open my wallet and give her all of my cash if she asked. Because...bunnies. Baby bunnies.

For reals. It is possible for something soooo cute to actually exist?

This is Quinn trying to figure out how to smuggle the rabbit out of the Playseum.
No, wait. That was me.

Everything seems to be in order here.

Quite possibly my favorite photo in the history of time.

Quinn decided that these two bunnies really liked each other
and mashed their heads together to make them kiss.

After, like, forty minutes, the bunny wrangler put the rabbits away and we were forced to visit the other parts of the Playseum.

This next group of photos is cute too. Not Baby Bunny Cute, but still cute.

There was one room that looked like the kind of room I would imagine a grandma would hang out in. With the exception of the bunny room, Quinn liked it here best.

He's going to grow up to be an eccentric old man.

Next up was a trip to the grocery store. Why do they complain so much when you take them to an actual grocery store, but they will happily play for hours in a pretend store?

Especially one with honest-to-gosh freezer cases? Without, you know, the freezer part.

Do you think I'm the only one who wonders
how many kids get trapped inside the cases?

I made him wear an apron for a while to accurately play the part of a worker.

This photo would only be cuter if it were a baby bunny wearing the apron.

And you're never going to believe this, but they had a terra cotta warrior!

This photo is slightly less impressive than the one I lost from the museum.
Something about the scale is off.

So, yeah, all that was fun and all, but don't you really think we should go back to the room with the bunnies? Amid the seventeen hundred photos of Quinn with a tiny rabbit that I took, I also found a few of him interacting with the other animals that the Playseum had.

Like this dove.

Shortly after this photo was taken, the dove flew away.
Which was kind of dramatic.

Quinn also liked the hamster. Especially after the lady let him feed it pieces of apple. Then we got to feel his cheeks to check out where he'd stashed the food.

The hamster's cheeks, not Quinn's.

All in all, a pretty successful afternoon. See? Not every outing is chaos.

And did I mention the baby bunnies?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Kids Are Not "Museum Kids"—Or "Out in Public Kids"

I don't quite know how this shit always happens to me. I don't think I'm that bad of a mom. I don't think I'm neglectful in public. I try really hard. My kids aren't bad kids. They try really hard. Why always the drama then?

My guys and I went to see the Terra Cotta Warriors at the National Geographic Museum today (maybe yesterday by the time you read this). It was a very cool exhibit and I got to go with my friend E and her two kids and also Urban Mama and her little trio.

In an effort to prove that it's not all my fault that the Team Stimey portion of this trip was a little chaotic, I will now present to you a list of things that went wrong, with the implication that they are clearly not my fault.

1. The exhibit took place in the middle of DC.

2. Our tickets were for 5:30 p.m., a.k.a. rush hour.

3. You try navigating your way to this museum at 5 p.m. what with all the one-way streets and no-left-turn signs. It took me a looooong to time to triangulate in on the museum.

4. At which point I realized that I was never going to be able to find parking and that if I left the block it would take me 16 years to close in on the museum again. It was right there, a half block away from the museum and in the full throes of panic that I saw the giant PARK sign. The sign was so enormous, colorful, and noticeable because the people who run the parking garage are presumably able to use their extravagant fees to keep it up to snuff.

5. Quinn fell asleep during the museum triangulation, resulting in extreme surliness. You might notice that I italicized "extreme." There's a reason for that.

6. You know what I remembered at about this time? Oh, right. Shit. My kids are insane, bad at museums, and extra-excitable when five of their friends are nearby.

7. We took a visit to the bathroom and settled in to wait for our friends. At this point, Quinn started to let me know exactly what he thought about everything: "I can't walk! I hate benches! I want to play Super Mario Bros! I love you, Mom! This place is boring! I want to go home!" I'd like to remind you of two things at this point: (a) We hadn't yet entered the museum, and (b) Quinn is batshit crazy.

8. Despite the pre-exhibit trip to the bathroom, Jack demands to go potty five minutes after entering the museum. Fortunately the guard sitting under the "no re-entry" sign takes pity on us and allows us to return to the exhibit after I drag one desperate and two surly children to the bathroom.

9. After leaving the exhibit (absolutely no photography allowed!), I got an awesome photo of my kids and E's kids standing in the one place you can take a photo with a (replica of a) terra cotta warrior. After I got home and tried to download it, my computer ate it and now it's gone. Gone. Sigh. Gone. I made my own version for you so you could see kinda how awesome the photo was.

Here's something else I'm bad at: Photoshop.

10. My kids and I went outside to play in the courtyard, because Fresh air! Ducks! A water feature! Fewer people to bump into outside!

Sam & Quinn and Quinn & Sam.
Those sure are some shiny rocks.

11. I'm standing down at one end of the long, thin strip of water when I see Jack at the other end. He looks determinedly at the water and starts running straight for it. My computer also ate the photo of what happened next. But I recreated it for you with this other photo that I took later. Ignore Quinn's head. And the reflection of Jack (or maybe Sam) in the rock. They are irrelevant to the substance of this recreation. Which is, simply:

Hi, duck friend! Room for one more?

12. Jack was trying to leap across the water. Even from way down at the other end, I could tell that was what he was doing. To someone not tuned in to Jack? It probably looked exactly like he deliberately planted himself in the middle of the water. The kid really stuck his landing.

13. I was rendered speechless. Jack climbed out and then stood there dripping while I both laughed and cried and he explained how he had wanted to jump across. Evidently I am not the only person in my family with poor depth perception and delusions of super abilities.

14. Later, Jack made a bridge with his body. If only he'd chosen this end of the water feature to jump across.

Huh. I don't think that list helped me out any. I still kinda sound like a lunatic. As do my children.

I was talking to my friend ALW today prior to this whole thing, and I said to her, "Man, there must be people all over this country who think to themselves about me, "That girl is a mess!"

Way to prove your point, Stimey.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I have long considered Quinn to be the most typical of my three children. Which is ironic, considering that he is so batshit crazy.

I can't even put a link with the words "batshit crazy" because there are far too many to choose from.

Today I took Quinn to a Child Find (early intervention) screening at the suggestion of his preschool teacher.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I Sure Do Know How to Make a First Impression

We've had Jack on a waitlist for a social skills group for a while now. It finally came through for us and his first day was this week. I'm particularly excited because the child of a Mysterious Local Austim Blogger (M-LAB from here on out)* is in the same group. M-LAB seems to have her shit together when it comes to therapists and what not. This isn't the first time I've taken a therapy recommendation from her. Plus, her kid seems cool.

Jack was happy to be in the waiting room and happily went off with his group. I was very pleased until the end of the session when the other two kids came running out to give their parents giant hugs and there was no Jack to be seen.

See, Jack was delighted with the therapy room and had no interest in leaving. So I dragged him out and dropped him on the ground. I was standing over him with about a third of my attention on the therapist who was telling us about the session and two thirds of my attention on Jack, who was clearly planning a break for it.

He made his move, I reached down quickly to grab him, and instead of catching his arm with my hand as planned, I caught the side of his face with my fingernail.

Commence with the screaming and the crying and the guilt and the holding on to doorjambs with fingernails and the prying off of doorjambs and, you know, basically the whole scene.

He made me say "I'm sorry" one hundred times. And then he made me say, "I'm sorry for putting your skin on my body."

He was pissed. Plus it looked like it really, really hurt. My kids don't use band-aids very much, but Jack insisted on one after the great skin stealing of Two Thousand Ten. Of course, the band-aids I have in my car quite literally pre-date Quinn and feature The Wiggles on them. In fact, they are so old that they still have Greg Wiggle instead of the new guy who replaced him.

Here is Jack in the parking lot of the 7-11 where I took him to get an ice cream bar to bribe him into happiness and forgiveness.

It only kinda worked.

Team Stimey may be loud and buffoonish, but at least you don't forget us immediately, right? How important are first impressions anyway?

* Thus unnamed because she doesn't publicize where she lives on her blog.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Much earlier this afternoon, Sam said, "My frog has been in the same place for hours."

I think you know enough about me by now to know what's coming.

Later, after Sam had wandered off, I shook the tank a little to make sure that Corpsey McCroakerton wasn't faking.

He wasn't.

We're waiting until the children are asleep to dispose of this guy. I think the trauma of losing a second frog might be too much for them. Earlier today, when the frog (who, in his defense, had absorbed most of that tail by this morning) seemed to be struggling, we made sure that there was a smidge of air space between the top of the water and the bottom of the platform. Alex and I felt very confident about our ability to adapt to ensure the frogpole's survival.

"Sometimes it's an advantage to evolve second," Alex said.


I think I'll amend that to, "Sometimes it's an advantage to not be the unlucky son of a tadpole that gets sent to Stimeyland."

Godspeed, little froggie. You will be missed.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Frogpole

Look who's breathing air these days!

I'm going a little easier on this frogpole than the last one. I'm not going to clean his tank or otherwise upset his little ecosystem until I'm sure he's ready for it. I did put a cricket in his little home today. I don't want him to starve after all.

Here's the thing though. I am completely freaked out by Frogpole the Second because although he is breathing air, living on land, and jumping all over his tank when a giant human head comes near him with a camera, he still (shudder) has his tail.

Seriously. Does that look like a seriously fucked up animal to anyone else?

I think he is shamed as well. He has retreated into his cave and refuses to come out. It is as if he is shouting, "Don't look at me! I'm hideous!"

And I'm not gonna lie to him. He kinda is. But in a cute way.

Based on our frogpole history though, I'm a little afraid that he's going to drop dead in there. Croak, as it were.* I'm wondering how long he'll be dead in there before I think to take out his little corpse.

Wish the frogpole luck and good health, okay?

* Holy Christ, I am funny.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

IEP A-OK! Everything Else? Crapitude.

Jack's IEP meeting was today. There's really not much to say about it, other than Jack has the most amazing team of people working with him. They work so hard to work with us. It is incredible. We are very lucky.

We are especially lucky that they are tolerant of my arriving with stacks of paper about Jack, including a bar graph of his success (and non-success) with his goals from last year. It's fortunate that Jack's team actually wants to help him, otherwise I think I would come off as incredibly overbearing.

After last year, when I wrote many, many, many (many, many, many) posts about IEP meetings, it feels really lovely to be able to stuff all of the information from this year's IEP into two paragraphs.

The rest of my day was not super awesome. I have a cold and my face feels kind of like someone is poking it with toothpicks from the inside. It was also a lovely, warm day today and I spent it encased in a sweater and a winter coat because of the chills. Good times.

I did, however, remember to attend Quinn's solar system display at school, something I forgot about until nine minutes before it was supposed to start.

Quinn was Mercury.

Quinn went to a friend's house (thanks, Melissa!) while I was at the IEP meeting, but Sam and Jack spent the tail end of the meeting, which lasted past school dismissal, in the main office playing Nintendo DS.

Mid-day video games are almost never a good idea for my family. Timing is crucial for us and electronics. Turning games off is rough. That manifested itself today with Sam freaking out, whipping a bead necklace about in the back of the car, hitting Jack in the face, resulting in his extremely sad sobbing, which Sam responded to by putting his backpack over his head.

I just woke up from a two-and-a-half-hour nap and now I'm going to bed. Tomorrow I'm wearing sweatpants and I may not leave the house at all.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Yay! It's Spring

The snow has melted, the clouds have cleared, and 60-degree weather has arrived in my neck of the woods. At least for today. I'm not busting out the shorts yet, but I'm hopeful that spring is actually coming.

Quinn is too. He saw three signs of good weather today and it tossed him right over the edge.

1. We sighted a ladybug. That poor thing clung to the front of my car windshield all the way to my house from 7-11. I can only imagine its terror.

Quinn is on the inside of the car. I'm on the outside.

2. We saw new flower growth.

Quinn wanted to pick it immediately.

3. We saw leaf buds on the trees. You'll have to trust me on this one.

Corollary: This led to my seeing a sure-fire sign of spring: Quinn jumping up and down shouting, "Yay! It's spring! Yay! It's spring! Yay, it's spring!"

It amused me because of the other definition of the word "spring."
Boing! Boing! Boing!

Supporting observation: I also have a cold, which I will refer to as a "spring cold." Hence, it is spring.

Stupid spring, making me sick. Snowmaggedon didn't make me sick.