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Fun with language delay

Charlie (age 6, newly) has an expressive and receptive language delay/disorder which makes it hard for him to express himself in words, particularly as it relates to complex grammar and extra particularly when he's feeling strong emotions.  On the other hand, he is very comfortable with numbers, so he often uses them to express superlatives and extremes.  "I want it like, one hundred!" is something we hear fairly often, and if something is really extreme he'll say it's one hundred twenty, and recently he's said some things are like one thousand.

He had a very bad tantrum the other day with the requisite hollering of invective:

"I hate you! I hate you very a lot! I hate you like FOUR THOUSAND!"

Ungrammatical, but right on-point when it comes to talking about his feelings.  Progress! 
Well, there's about a year of catch-up to do here so I'll jump right in.

1. Had total hysterectomy.  Much endometriosis and scarring found. Surgery went well. Menopause is fine. Mostly recovered from surgery but not totally.

2. Charlie continues to be ridiculously cute.  Is now 5 and 3/4 and is learning to read (with difficulty) and is a whiz at numbers and spatial stuff.  Is often kind and thoughtful, and makes friends easily.  Has mad gross-motor skillz, and acceptable fine-motor skills.  Is left-hand dominant which is a bit of a drag given the absence of his left hand, but this may be why he is particularly good at doing things with his left arm. Has the impulse control and temper of a stick of sweaty dynamite.  Also is magnitudes more hyper than his already-hyper peers.  Getting some evals in May.

Charlie tattoo temp
Charlie snow
Charlie painting

3. We have a dog now. Pepper, age 1.5 ish, half border collie, half pit bull.  Great dog if you don't mind a certain amount of chewing of everydamn thing in the house, including our hands and feet.  Also there is occasional ankle nipping. He is quite trainable, though - he has learned sit, "soft" (soft mouth/no teeth, that is), and all of the parts of fetch except letting go of the ball after bringing it back.  Now that it's not 20 degrees below zero we can get back to training.  Goal is to teach him to recognize "ow hey stop biting me ow knock it off goddamn it!"  Anyway shortly after my hysterectomy Charlie, whose teacher was having a baby, said our family was too small and we needed to get a baby or a dog.  So off we went to the dog shelter.

4. My Dad took a bad fall in November and ended up with a spinal injury and significant paralysis, which he has been in rehab working on diligently and with some progress.  This situation required putting Mom into a memory care facility since she has dementia and he had been her caretaker. We have a helper who takes her to visit him every other day so they're managing.  Overall good family cohesion has come of it but it's also been a source of depression and drama for more than one of us kids (we are seven).  I doubled up my anxiety/depression meds (Lexapro) which has helped quite a lot, and have spent a lot of time playing video games.  The new-ish (2013) Tomb Raider is particularly awesome.

5. In the course of taking care of my parents and their house, I have become the official family archivist of all papers, photos, and letters that we could find.  There are letters going back a couple of generations.  It's all pretty amazing and mind-blowing, particularly because my aunts and grandmothers died or developed dementia before I got to know them, so I suddenly have this whole trove of the female history of my family to scan and sort through.

6. Since the hysterectomy my energy has been much better but my concentration has not improved - well, now that I'm on enough Lexapro it's starting to come online again actually - so I've set my not-writing aside entirely (I have a novel that I'm not writing as well as some short stories that I'm also not writing) and decided to spend more time drawing, since I don't have to think too cohesively about that.  Also I do sort of feel that if I'm at risk for having dementia in my later years, which is possible and is much on my mind at the moment, I'd like to have a creative pursuit that doesn't depend so much on words.  Also because I don't feel physically like crap all the time now, I want to take advantage of that and do some physical artistry.  Anyway these are WIPs - they are on their way to being either full watercolors or complete failures, depending on how the next phase goes. I invested in a small set of really good pan colors and I'm experimenting with them to get used to the stronger pigments before I start in on these.

(after a shower)
Me: Charlie, when I say I want privacy in the shower, I mean it. Your curiosity is not as important as another person wanting privacy.
Charlie: No.
Me: Yeah! It's called bodily autonomy.
Charlie: No it's not.
Me: Then what's it called?
Charlie: It's called....nothing.

(at the beginning of a 2 hour road trip)

Charlie: are we there yet?
Me: we're still in our driveway, so what do you think?
Charlie: how long?
Me: Two hours.
Charlie: Two Hours! That's a long time! That's an evil bastard!

(later in the trip)
Charlie: I'm going to call you poopy names now, Mommy. Poop. Poop. Poop. Poop.


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Mommy's little helper

Me: *working the computer*
Charlie: Mommy, I want a castle. *climbing all over Mommy and grabbing my mouse hand*
Me: I have to save up money to get you a toy castle. It’s going to be a few weeks. Can I have my hand back?
Charlie: But I want it now!
Me: I need to do my work on the computer to make money. We’re out of money now because we spent it all on fixing the washer and dryer, so this is what I’m doing to earn money for your castle. Can I have my hand back?
Charlie: *rapidly hits a zillion keys on the computer, closing what I was working on*
Me: AAAHHH! What are you doing!!!?????
Charlie: I’m helping you make money faster on the computer. *Presses more keys*

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Charlieism of the day

Me: Did you play with your friends at school?
Charlie: Yeah
Me: That's good, it's nice to have friends*
Charlie: Yeah
Me: Daddy and I have friends too, but our friends are grownups, mostly
Charlie: I know. It's weird.

*cloying statements like this are part of our ongoing "don't punch your friends in the neck" campaign.  Fortunately, Charlie is a very nice friend most of the time, and is popular with his classmates despite his occasional hulkism.

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Charlieisms of August

Upon arriving at the toy store to buy a birthday present for his friend:
Charlie: Can I have choo choo train? For me?
Me: Yes, but we have to pick out Nayeli's present first.
Charlie: Then we can look at choo choo train?
Me: After, yes. What do you think Nayeli would like for her birthday?
Charlie: Ummmm...I think she wants a choo choo train.

Upon discovering that I had taken down the fish mobile that usually hangs by the stairs:

Charlie: Hey! Who did that? Who did that? That's not right!
Mike: Mommy took it down, I think she's cleaning it.
Charlie: MOMMY! You put it back right now! You go time out!
Me: *meekly goes and stands in hall for time-out, on the theory that we model the behavior that we would like to see* {yeah, that does not work at ALL by the way}
Charlie: That's right. I know what you did. Don't do that again.

Charlie: I want Christmas tree.
Me: Christmas tree? Christmas is in the winter, we can't have a Christmas tree until it's winter.
Charlie {looking at me with incredulity}: What? Why not?
Me: *tedious explanation of seasons and holidays*
Charlie: But I want Christmas tree.
Charlie, to Mike: Daddy, Mommy said no Christmas tree.
Mike: Oh, are we out of Rice Krispy Treats?
Me: *slaps forehead*

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What's wrong with your elbow?

So Charlie has started asking me "what's wrong with your elbow?" when I'm sitting next to him at bedtime. He pokes it and says "do you have an owie?" and then asks what's wrong with it.

I had assumed he was doing this because I have crocodile skin on my elbows that's kind of ashy and weird colored, because I am made of dry.

Anyway my answer has been "there's nothing wrong with it, it's just like that. No, it's not an owie, that's just what my elbow looks like. It's just different from yours, that's all." But the obsession has puzzled me, because I am an idiot.

Last night it suddenly dawned on me...

Me: "Do the kids at school ask you what's wrong with your elbow?"

Charlie: "Yeah."

Me: "Well, tell them that nothing's wrong with it and that it's just different from theirs, that's all."

Charlie: "Okay. But what's wrong with your elbow?" etc. (He is 4, after all...can't stop asking a question just because it's been answered.)

I'm rarely smug about my parenting choices but on this occasion I'm quite pleased that the answer I was naturally giving him is the same one I actually want to teach him, rather than the total opposite which is sometimes the case with me.

Unrelated to the above, here he is showing off some shirt stickers. (That's where stickers belong, apparently)


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Charlie (yelling from upstairs): Come upstairs, Mommy!

Me: (muttering from my downstairs desk): I'll be there in a minute.

Charlie: One, two, three! You come upstairs RIGHT! NOW! Mommy!

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