Brotherly Love

Bare Chested

We celebrate all milestones around here. And Wil's new skill is no exception. So with great pride I share with you. . .

Shirtless Wil. His new skill? He has learned to take his shirt off. And he takes it off as often as he can. I find him shirtless in the morning, after nap, at the table, playing with his brothers. I put his shirt back on, go about my business, and he takes it back off.

Way to go Wil!


It is widely understood, I believe, that mom's to young kids develop "mommy brain." The most responsible among us becomes forgetful and irresponsible. I once was a very dependable person. I arrived early - not just on time - to events and meetings, kept appointments, returned calls in a timely manner, remembered birthday's and other important dates. Not anymore. I'm not sure when the shift took place. Was it due to new motherhood and overwhelming fatigue with boy 1? Was it the shockingly early arrival and subsequent health issues of boy 2? Was it the surprise of boy 3 and his feisty spirit? I dunno, it is cumulative I guess. I write all the important things down in my time key. But then I forget to look at it.

It is not just the ordinary forgetfulness that has crept into my life. I seem to have this profound amnesia when it comes to the realities of going into public with all three boys. Like going out to eat or shopping at Target. I don't know how else to explain why I keep taking them, all three, into public. I did it again earlier in the week. We went to the grocery store. Simple enough, right? They will be fine, I thought to myself. We will run in and out, I will get them a cookie to keep them quiet while I race around the store, they will be content in the race car cart. Please let there be a race car cart available. And there was. You know the one? With the big green double seat attached to the front of the cart. Steering wheels for the kids to turn. Impossible for mom to navigate. It took us five minutes just to get in the store though. Luke is fine. I am carrying Wil and trying to hold Timothy's hand. Timothy does not want his hand held and keeps yanking it away, threatening to dash into the parking lot. He thought it was a game, despite the sternness in my voice. Finally I had to get him on my other hip. So with 60 lbs in my arms I make my way inside and get them settled in the race car cart while calling out for Luke to wait on me.

And then the fun began. After the cookie pit stop I started making my way through the store. We didn't even get through the produce section, where Luke insisted on putting every piece of produce within reach on the scales, before Timothy started antagonizing Wil. Wil, who really can't handle that kind of thing. First T takes off Wil's glasses. Wil screams and screams. I calm him down in front of the strawberries, clean his glasses, get them back on and give Timothy another stern "no." He grins. As Luke is taking off down the next aisle I notice Wil putting his finger in Timothy's mouth. Before I could stop what was coming Timothy bites down hard on Wil's finger. Wil screams again. I mean really screams. One of his mad screams with hands up and out and head down. This one, I realized, was going to require a cuddle. So I get Wil out while trying to beckon Luke, nuzzle him, sing to him, tell him it is going to be okay. I have only three items in the cart. When I try to put Wil back in his seat he screams. So I try to push the 'hard to push' race car cart with one hand while holding Wil. This doesn't work. I put Wil in the main part of the cart to keep him away from Timothy. Wil, who clears any surface he sits on, begins throwing items from the cart overboard. Sigh. I try to put the items with Timothy but he won't have it either.

At this point I seriously consider going home without my groceries, wondering what I was thinking in the first place, but I just can't bring myself to do it. I decided to take my pain. With my new resolve, Wil in the deep end of the cart, Timothy driving, groceries on the bottom and Luke promising to stay with me and keep his hands to himself I press forward. Then a man on the same aisle that had witnessed a good portion of our show turned to me and asked, "Is he Down's?" Resisting the temptation to correct him outright I simply reply, "He has Down syndrome, yes." He gives me the standard comment about how I have my hands full (I can't imagine where he got that idea!) and moves on.

Timothy is irritable as we move through the store because he wants to get out. He is letting everyone know how frustrated he is and nothing I give him keeps him quiet. I have made my way to frozen foods by now and decide to just let Timothy walk. Again, what was I thinking?! He takes off. I reign him in. He screams in anger. I ask Luke to please hold T's hand and stay with him, we are almost done. But Luke runs into a friend from school and disappears into the "book and random items" section. I couldn't see him but I could hear him. What did I hear? Luke laughing hysterically as he jumped on a whoopie cushion. Over and over and over again. And then there was Timothy pulling book after book off the shelves. And then The Man reappears. He begins talking to me about Wil. I try to interact while attempting to regain control over Luke and Timothy and quietly vowing to never, ever bring them all to the grocery store again.

We make it to check out where the folks in line ahead of me part like the red sea and insist that I go to the front of the line. Hmmm, maybe there is some advantage to having them with me? Nope, not worth it.

But somehow I know that I will forget just how taxing a simple trip to the grocery store can be for all of us and I will attempt it again. It is easy to forget when 30 minutes later everyone is happy and laughing and dancing to Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band. And those moments, thankfully, are unforgettable!

Reeaaally Absorbant

This is what happens when you forget the swimmie's. Walking was a struggle but there were no leaks!

Paper Hat, Anyone?

For the last several months Luke has been making paper hats. All he needs is a piece of construction paper and a stapler. Everyday I come across his hats - in the kitchen, in his bedroom, stacked on the bookshelf in the den, and sometimes even the bathroom. When I ask what he is going to do with all his hats he plainly tells me, "I'm going to sell them."

Well okay.

Yesterday James and I returned from a meeting to find this.

Me: Hey Luke, whatchya doin'?

Luke: I'm selling my hats, do you want to buy one?

Me: Sure, I would love a hat. (I dig out a quarter, hand it to him and take two hats)

Luke: You can only have one hat.

Me: But I gave you a quarter, that is 25 cents so that gets me two hats.

Luke: Well, that doesn't matter, you can only have one. I have to save them for other people that want to buy my hats.

Me: I understand. However, if someone wants two hats and they give you enough money to pay for two hats you need to give them two hats.

Luke: But they're my hats.

Me: But you are selling them. People are paying for your product and you have to be fair by giving them what they are paying for.

Luke: One hat should be enough for each person.

My friend Kim tells me I overtalk with Luke, I think she is right. So I shut my mouth at this point and wish him well in his sales. Then I think that I really must save these conversations for his future roomates, bosses, wife, so they all know what they are getting into.

He did get some business.Two neighborhood girls brought .30 over and requested three hats. And he gave them three hats.

Time in the yard

With a five year old who does not quite have the swimming thing down and a 21 month old and 3 year old who both require, and demand, being held in the pool we tend to spend most of our time in the yard, rather than the neighborhood pool. I just can't manage the three of them, around water, by myself. So the backyard it is.

You might remember this from last March. Our back yard was in need of some attention before the storm and we had resolved to give it an overhaul in the spring anyway. Mother nature just helped us out a little by clearing some trees.

We put down more sod, some azalea's, lorapetalum, and I got my perennial garden going. Here is our backyard now. And how we are spending our time there.
And here is our resident hummingbird perched, with a full belly, in my petunia's.

Speech Camp Finale

For the last month Wil has been attending Speech Camp for three hours every weekday morning. It functions a lot like pre-school with an emphasize on speech and language development. The University of South Carolina runs the camp and staffs it with students earning a Master's in Speech/Language Pathology. Apart from $25 for materials there's no charge for the camp. So the USC students get their intern hours and the kids get some extended speech therapy over the summer.

And Wil? He loved it! Our guy is most definitely social and he loves to interact with others. His new in home Speech Therapist cannot get over how attentive and cooperative he is during her hour with him. We hear that from all of his therapists. That is Wil. When anyone sits down on the floor he will situate himself directly in front of them and wait for the play to begin.

And music? He loves that, too. He stomps his feet, swings his head, gestures wildly with his hands, and has a big ole grin on his face. So speech camp was right up his ally.

Input from teachers who seemed to adore him, lots of play, and lots of music. Today we got to see some of what they have been working on. They had an end of camp program. To be honest I expected it to be chaos. What, with 20 kids that are speech delayed, learning delayed, some cognitively and developmentally delayed like Wil. How could it not be? And for sure I thought Wil would have to be held by a teacher in order to keep him from his quick bear walk escape. Boy, I was wrong. Wil sat on his designated spot on stage, stomped his feet and signed along to some of the songs. And he grinned and clapped and grinned and clapped.
In the picture below you may notice him tapping beneath his chin. This is his sign for "Nonnie," whom he had just spotted in the crowd.And here he is signing "pop, pop, pop" (both hands palm out moving in a circular motion) as they sing a popcorn song. This was clearly his favorite of all the songs.
He was so delighted with himself! And he was by far the most enthusiastic clapper!After their performance the teachers began handing out completion certificates to each of the kids. But Wil, finding this part a bit too boring, decided he was done. So he got up and walked away. He made a beeline for his Papa. And then continued his applause.

We were applauding too, grinning big for our boy, as this simple program reminded us of the important moments in life.

Luke funnies

While in the mountains we were without most technology. No phone, no wireless, no tv although there was a dvd player hooked to a small screen television, no signal for our phones. We were basically cut off from all that was going on outside of the one -or were there two(?) - stoplight town where we stayed.

At first it was a little disorienting - not being able to check email, read the handful of blogs I enjoy, see who Deanna eliminated on "The Bachlorette" (did I just confess that? okay, yes, I got sucked into this show and now, being the loyal person that I am, must see it through. Don't judge me too harshly), receive phone calls, etc. Oh, and there was not a Starbucks within 100 miles! But that was good since I had previously committed to give up caffeine. It forced me into it and past the caffeine withdrawal phase.

Of course, we found we didn't need any of those things and that it was good for our souls to be without them for a time. As far as entertainment? We get plenty of laughs watching and listening to our boys interact. And, of course, talking with Luke. Here are a few of my conversations with Luke that made me laugh last week.

Luke: Can elevators get stuck?

Me: Wondering where this came from since we are no where near an elevator. Yes, they can.

Luke: How do you get out?

Me: They have emergency buttons in them - you know the red button we always tell you not to push? That alerts someone that the elevator is stuck.

Luke: What if the electricity is out?

Me: who is this kid? Good point Luke, that is why elevators have a phone in them, so you can call for help. Hopefully we won't ever have to experience that, it sounds scary to me.

Luke: Are you kidding! It would be great. And if we had a monkey he could just climb right through the top of the elevator and help us get out.

And another. . .

Luke: Did you and dad know each other when you were kids and then got married?

Me: No, we met as adults when we were in graduate school, got to know each other, fell in love and then got married.

Luke: Oh, I think maybe Dad is still trying to figure out who you are.

While walking a trail.

Luke: Isn't that funny how that branch is hanging?

Me: Yes, that is a little funny.

Luke: Yeah, but not funny haha. Funny weird.

And one more. While driving home (James still back in the mtns.) with Wil and Timothy both screaming their screeching screams Luke was asking question after question from the third row seat.

Me: Luke, honey, I cannot hear you. I need to concentrate on driving. This is not the best time for your 20 questions.

Luke: Okay mom, I'll just ask ten.

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