Saturday, March 26, 2011

Asperger's? No - I said how much for a "Hamburger"

Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.

~ Forrest Gump's Mama

One of the most beautiful things about my three children is how very different they look from one another. Some people seem confused when the pieces of our family are separate. But once they see us all together, I can almost hear the "ah-ha" moment occur in their brains.

Savannah, supposedly, looks like me. Mariah looks like J. And without missing a beat, the first thing J said to me in the delivery room when Isaiah was born was that he looked like Savannah. (The geneticist has since denounced that theory, noting he doesn't resemble anyone in our family. Bah. What does she know?)

Three very different babies from the same two parents. Three unique personalities that conflict and compliment each other all at once. Isaiah is adventurous. Mischievous. Curious and loving. Mariah is affectionate, humorous, and warm. Savannah is sweet, thoughtful, and extremely creative. She is also what we always thought was super shy.

Through the years, Savannah's lack of peer relationships has become more apparent. But again, I chalked it up to her being painfully shy. We sought outside resources to help her deal with the shyness and anxiety. But her therapist saw something more -not wanting to pile my already full plate, but she had a very strong opinion as to what we were seeing in Savannah. So she began investigating and felt an extensive evaluation was warranted. We consented. And then we got the news: Savannah has Asperger's Syndrome.

Funny thing, she looks the same. Still breathtaking. She still tells the same dry jokes. And laughs at them. She still wrestles with her brother until one of them is begging for mercy. She still annoys her sister by knocking on her bedroom door and leaving before she answers. Still the Daddy's Girl who will creep out of her bed to see him if he comes home late from a mission.

But now she's "Autistic". High-functioning and doing remarkably well - blossoming - at her new school, yet still labeled. I wish I could say I was shocked. Twinge of sadness, but not necessarily shock. A mama knows what a mama knows and from Day 1, I knew there was something quirky about my firstborn child. And now it has a name. With that name comes resources. And support. And as far as I am concerned, some peace.

In the box of Life's Chocolates, I have been delighted with the sweetness of some pieces and gagged on the unexpected bitterness of others. Expecting the worst doesn't leave me cowering from life's next challenge.

Because it's all still chocolate after all.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What I Learned at Camp Schmidt

1. First of all, there are no bunnies in the woods.

2. A campfire is better than Prozac.

3. S'mores are underrated. They should be a food group. Seriously. Yummy.

4.Ghost stories and hayrides in the dark can still scare the bejeesus out of me.

5. Dawn is a gorgeous, powerful time of day. But I'm still not a morning person.

6.Clear, odorless, moving water is probably potable. But you might want to strain it through your teeth first.

7. Sometimes getting lost is half the fun.

8. Fifth-grade girls can survive on very little sleep. They rest long enough to recharge their mouth muscles. Cuz they talk. A lot.

9. When it comes to friendships, my child has impeccable taste.

10. If Mariah was stranded in the woods with her classmates and the only way out was to swing on a vine over quicksand without so much as touching the quicksand, I'd never see my child again.

11. Spending time with my middle child in the middle of nowhere was worth the sleepless night, the taste of camp food, and the haunted hayride-induced heart palpitations.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

From Russia with Love

You've heard of the "Black Russian" (the drink, the bagel), but have you met the "Smiling Black Russian"?

J recently returned from an assignment in Moscow with Vice-President Biden. Even though we feel like we've traveled the world, Russia has never been on our radar. J brought back pictures and souvenirs that made the kids and I feel like we were there (and enough toiletries from the swanky hotel to smell like we were!)

J at Red Square

St. Basil's

Ice, ice, Basil's

Crystal Basil's - one of my gifts

Musical Basil's - one of Savannah's gifts

Babushka Babies - another gift. J brought back a set for everyone.

When in Russia, what else do you get the Eagles' biggest fan (*Savannah*)?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

One Foot, Two Feet...

...Isaiah's two new feet

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!