December, 2005

We had a fun outing to the Audley End Miniature Railway Santa Special today. We followed DeeDee, Trevor, Joe, and Lizzie (Trevor's mom) there and rode with them. Both Sam and Nina got to meet Santa and even got little teddy bears! Then afterwards we had a quick picnic and Sam enjoyed several of the cookies DeeDee and Joe had brought. Even Nina got to taste her first cookie. Sam did amazingly well on the train ride; there were two long dark tunnels that even I found a bit scary, but they didn't faze him too badly.

Sam is officially clear from E. Coli now. He got his second negative result today. It is such a relief to be through with that but it will probably take some time before I trust our food and water again. Technically he would be able to go back to Brunswick next week but Brunswick will only be in session Monday and Tuesday and it will all be Christmas preparation so I think it's probably better that we just wait till January. And Brunswick will be what he goes back to; I spoke with the Steiner school folks and they are completely full for January but thought that there may be room for Sam for September. So it's Brunswick or nothing, and given that choice, it looks like Brunswick. It feels to me like Sam has grown up just in the time since he's been "in quarantine" so maybe it will go even better when he goes back. One can hope.
Nina is standing for maybe 30 seconds without support now. She is very good at making sounds on the kazoo and even on the recorder. The harmonica is a bit tricky-- maybe in a couple months. :) She now has 5 teeth altogether and seems to be working on getting even more. Nina has also been eating more and more solid food. I think the teeth have helped in that department. We got to go on a play date at Jo and Nick's house; their son Tom is just 4 months. It was fun for Nina to be the big girl!
Nina is showing more and more interest in books. Now she wants to hear/see them almost more than she wants to eat them. She has also started to show that she understands more words. Nina is funny about eye contact. If she feels I am not giving her enough she will lean out of her way to catch my glance. It is darn cute.
Lately Nina hasn't been sleeping very well and she has a bit of a cold. I hope it will pass. It's hard not to have a cold in this apartment in the winter given our interesting heating and mold situations. Hmmm... Well, it's toughening us all up, there ya go.
Sam is actually very into Christmas this year which is neat. Today he actually asked me, "Mommy, where is Santa?" I thought that was great. He is definitely using more and more language. We finally had a speech therapy appointment and the SLT felt that his language was "coming along well." Very unfortunately Sam's ENT appt. which was supposed to be December 9th has been postponed till February. That is too bad because 1) I think he almost definitely has fluid in his left ear 2) the tube is visible in his right ear but won't come out, just like it was with the left ear. The things that have been more problematic with Sam lately have been clothing and general rigidity. Clothing is turning into quite an issue. The jacket Sam had been wearing is a 3T and isn't insulated, so it was getting both too small and too light for current conditions. We bought him a new jacket which granted is a bit too big but is warmer. We forced him into it to see if it would fit. I then called the Autism Helpline and they said we had to be much more gradual. So for maybe a week the jacket has followed him around the apartment and he has shaken hands with it. Also for maybe the past 3 weeks Sam has refused to wear anything but his Boston USA fleece as his middle layer. So today when it was time to go out (which is also a fight) I gave him the USA fleece. After many tears it turned out that he wanted to wear his new jacket. Wow. So he did!
We went to the Swedish Lucia celebration in Over last Sunday. That was quite fun. Nina kept chasing after this little girl who had a ruffly skirt on. Sam has also gotten into wishing us a happy Lucia.

Well, the snow got here a bit after Christmas, but that made it like an extra Christmas present. Håkan is on vacation this week and he and Sam had a wonderful snowy afternoon today, building 3 mini-snowmen and doing target practice with snowballs. Nina thought it was pretty too and definitely wanted to join Sam playing in it but I think that'll have to wait till she's walking... which may not be long now. She can stand pretty solidly on her own now and has been "cruising" along the furniture a lot.
So Sam has now celebrated his third and Nina her first Christmas. It was a good Christmas. Sam actually got excited about Santa. We read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" a bunch of times. And of course we've watched the Wiggles "Wiggly Christmas" so often I know most of the words by heart. Nina has also gotten really into the Wiggles which is a bit frightening.
Our most festive day was probably the 24th; Håkan cooked and baked up a real Swedish Julafton meal and my friend Lauren and her friend Debbie joined us for the afternoon and for dinner. It was fun for us all to have some Christmas company.