Thursday, October 15, 2009

Racing the rain

Its raining in the darkness outside and I woke to the same sound this morning. The chickens were most mournful and Frost was concerned about a coat in case he got very wet on his way from the bus. I should have known that the blue skies of mid-morning would not last (cloudless windswept blue) more than an hour when I decided to walk to the playground and library - a walk which takes at least half an hour each way.

It was just so blue and sunny that I was fooled. Later, when we were at the playground the wind suddenly changed and huge black clouds covered the far hills above the arboretum. I told Wren to get in quick because "the rain is coming back!" I dashed up the hill to the coffee shop and holed up there for the first downpour.

Here are some pictures from our walk. Unfortunately I missed the really scene-setting picture of myself returning home with my hair plastered across my face, my fleece and woolen gloves soaking and the library books wrapped in a towel under the stroller. Yeah, be prepared.

Walking in fall, Wren keeps asking me to stop so he can pick up leaves. As I push him this is what I see typically. For a while after each walk he asks me "where that leaves are?" as if I should be keeping track of them.

The playground we visited is not our regular one so Wren was excited to try out the slides. Here is is pretending to be a lizard coming out of a lizard hole. I dried the slide with the towel (which was later used to cover the books).

Here Wren does BIG JUMP (also caught in movie) from the teeter totter. Note, he is now wearing the bonds shirt Mum bought for Frost. I discovered a box of 3T clothing I had stored and Wren is now set for fall long sleeved shirts.

This is to show off Wren's new [thrift stored] sweater. Its made in Iceland and is pure wool. It was $5. I wish it came in size Women's M! The cool thing is that it has VERY long arms so Wren's hands are never cold as they are with regular size 3's.

On the way to the park we passed a garden full of dahlias and corn stalks. Wren stopped to smell the dahlias (they don't smell like much) and we were both impressed by the Big Dahlia. Wren wanted to take it home but I told him that the gardener was very proud of the Big Dahlia and would be sad if we took it. We took a picture instead. When I put it into iPhoto it suggested brightening the picture which is a bit underexposed. I like it this way. It is creepy, slightly malevolent. For the third year in a row I have planted dahlias but failed to get one bloom. I am giving up.

The BIG Dahlia

Time to smell the dahlias.

Today Wren coughed less but remained very chesty when he coughed. I think I will take him to the naturopath this week to see if we can help clear his chest. Last time he had a cough like this is lingered 3 weeks and then he developed pneumonia from a fever-illness on top of it. I don't like that path and would like to do more to help. I remember reading about a family in which both parents were hospital respiratory therapists. Their child had a severe pulmonary condition and survived against the odds because of their care. I thump Wren on the back in a misguided and hopeful imitation of "loosening phlegm" - I need some more guidance!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Penumbra Faire

On Saturday, Frost Wren and I went to the Penumbra Faire at Enumclaw for Alexander's birthday. Frost dressed up as a knight and Wren wore his dragon outfit. It was bitterly cold, the wind felt as if it had blown straight from the glaciers on Rainier and the steel grey skies were an appropriate counterpoint to all the hand forged armor and chainmail. Unfortunately the faire lacked roasted chestnuts, soup, hot mead and slabs of roast pig but was otherwise realistic and entertaining.

Two events were exciting. One was jousting on horseback and the other was shooting arrows at a troll. The troll was a large man dressed in chainmail and a formidable black helmet which obscured his face. The bows were small and loosely strung which lowered the odds of hitting him, plus he jumped and dodged despite his size. At a quiet moment he walked over to us and took off his helmet revealing realistic looking pig tusks coming from his lower jaw.

Wren was horrified, his reaction worsened by a wench-friend-of-troll who told him that The Troll Eats Babies for Breakfast.

Wren started crying and said he had to go away. The Troll, remaining in role, tried to ameliorate the situation by saying he was full. That made Wren feel even more worried and the rest of the morning he kept saying "not go back there to troll!"

Here are some pictures of the event.

Frost and Zephyr watch Jousting

Alex aims at the Troll

Frost Meets the Lost Boys
Frost, Isaac, Matthew and Zephyr

Wren speaks chicken (in our neighborhood)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Two Years and 10 months

This morning I woke to an emailed newsletter from Swedish Hospital - titled "Your Baby and Autism Screening. Under the big banner - "YOUR BABY IS TWO YEARS AND TEN MONTHS OLD" it announced boldly that:

"One in 166 children today is diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder, making it more common that pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined."

Thankfully, I am not worried that Wren has an autism spectrum disorder but someone writing that newsletter has a screwy perspective if they think that many mothers of 'healthy' toddlers are worrying about toddler diabetes, toddler AIDS and toddler cancer. I should hope not. It just seems an odd comparison.

Recent CDC data shows that autism rates may be closer to 1:100 so a more reasonable comparison would be to heart defects. Imagine receiving an email "one in 100 children today are diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder making it as common as a congenital heart defect," which would also look odd.

The truth is that concerns with autism are pretty widespread and newsworthy. "one in 100 children today are diagnosed with a congenital heart defect making it as common as autism spectrum disorders."

That's startling.

Wren today (at 2 years 10 months)
Wren still has a cough but it hasn't kept him up at night for a few days. I kept him out of preschool today and yesterday in case he catches something else on top of the chesty cough and I'm right on the fence about taking him to the naturopath and/or doctor. I have been listening to other kids with this cough (kids at preschool and Kyler) and they all sound the same so I am not sure whether he needs to be seen or not. I am giving him cod-liver oil, echinacea, honey cough syrup and his daily vitamin. I occasionally hide some reishi in his hot chocolate (prescribed by the naturopath). He is in good humor so I hope he recovers on his own.

Wren is very talkative and demanding. He tells me what to do and shrieks and yells if I use a firm voice or say no. If I agree with him we get on well. Unfortunately he tries to dominate Frost as well which does not go as well.

This morning Frost was very sweet and played puzzles with Wren. They made many digger puzzles we found in the cupboard, stored from when Frost was small.

Wren loves board games but does not play by the rules.

He also loves to make "guys" or duplo people or stuffed animals talk. This is his latest favorite thing. I talk the animals and he talks and responds to their needs and the situations we create together. He has endless concentration for this game.

We are going for a walk to the coffee shop.