Time to open presents.
And then we put on an episode of Harold and the Purple Crayon he's never seen before thanks to his new DVD.
And then... good night.
Happy Birthday, Toby.
What, you don't know that name?
Hmmmm, How about Tobes, Tobikins, Tob-EE-as, or (surprisingly enough), Tobias.
Yes, you know those. As well as Cutie Cutes, Stinker Stinks, Sweetie Sweets (sensing a theme?) and Poopy Doopy.
It's a good thing your Dad and I took so long to agree on your name, huh? After all, we're sooooo committed to it.
Well, here we are. My "baby" is three. Last Friday we said our goodbyes to Ms. Amber your play therapist. This Monday we had our last appointment with Ms. Elaine your OT. Later this afternoon we do your outtake assessment with Early Steps. Breath in. Breath out. (That's a reminder for me. You're totally like, whatev.)
Yesterday I watched you play in our new kiddie pool, chasing Blue and mimicking him as he jumped over the side and splash crashed inside. You gleefully followed suit, purposefully sliding into him, and I thought, when did you start playing like such a big boy?
The guest room closet is used for the "in between" clothes. Too small for Kaden, still too big for Blue. Too small for Blue, too big for you. Except, Mr. Weed-Fast-Grower, more and more clothes are going straight from Blue's drawer to yours. Your father has a hard enough time as it is if I ask him to put clothes away. Now, it will be impossible. Blue is FIVE, today you are THREE. What are you trying to prove, kid?
You are my snuggle buggle boy. The best part of my morning is the five (sometimes ten!) minutes you relax against me and drink your almond milk. I hope this is our tradition... forever? Is that too much to ask? You especially love to snuggle in "my bed" (which is what you say even though your talking about my bed). But you don't just reserve snuggles for me. You'll put that little head into any old shoulder that gives you a squeeze. You've won over many, many a heart that way.
I love your giggle. Especially when you're over-tired. The sillies attack and you pretty much can't even stand up you're so overcome with the hilarity of life.
I can always get a laugh out of you by saying, "guppy," or "bootsie." To you, these are just the silliest words. And when I say, in my best Woody voice, "There's a snake in my boots," you may even come out of a tantrum, you like it so much.
You're skinny. I'm a little worried the doctor is going to yell at me on Friday at your check up. Sometimes you eat. Sometimes you don't. You will never turn down a slice of turkey (a compromise in our veggie household), raisins, bananas, fruit bars (Target's Archer Farms brand), or Publix chocolate chip cookies. Everything else is hit or miss. One day you're a bread addict. The next day you turn up your nose to it. One day you act like you could eat a whole carton of strawberries. The next day you refuse to acknowledge their existence on your plate. Sometimes when I'm cooking dinner you try and steal every cherry tomato you can get away with. Other times, when such cherry tomatoes are legitimately yours, you decide they are meant for nothing but squishing between your fingers. So. Rotten. But when you want to eat you do and until the doctor tells me otherwise I think you're eating enough, so unlike your big brothers who have to try things or eat certain amounts before they can be done, I just totally follow your lead. Because the few times I've pushed you, you've just thrown up on me. Lesson learned!
You recently survived your first trip to the dentist and, a few months back, your first "professional" haircut. I put you through these new things and you totally exceed my expectations. But this not being potty trained yet thing is holding you back. It's gotta happen for you to get out of the baby room at church and if I'm going to ever sign you up for any type of Mom's Day Out, which, now that you're three, I could possibly do.
No pressure, kid, but Momma's got goals for you this year. Yup, like use the potty. I also hope you'll string more words together and use more verbs and pronouns. And not give up on utensils quite so quickly. You start off your meals with the best intentions, and then midway I'll look over, and see fistful-of-dinner approaching your mouth.
Now that your three, these aren't just MY goals, but they're on paper typed up in your IEP. Totally official. Seriously, where you poop and pee is now of interest to the St. Lucie County School District. Embarrassing? Well, master the skill, and off the list it goes!
AND a broom!
You are my greatest source of laughter. Sometimes we just lay on the floor and laugh and tickle and do airplane where you're up high on my feet. Before I know it twenty minutes have gone by.
I love watching you "read" to your stuffed animals. I love how you say "Phineas and Ferb." I love how excited you get to watch the garbage truck go around in our neighborhood. There is just so much about you that brings joy to me which is why birthdays are bitter sweet for this old mom. I'm excited to watch you grow, but I'm fearful about what endearing habits you may leave behind.
But, onward we go. For in the words of Dr. Seuss (who's a very popular guy in our house these days), "And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.) Kid, you'll move mountains!"
I've got a shovel for ya. Lead the way.
But considering the contents of the plate, it didn't take much convincing to get Toby to dig in.
I love the whimsy, colors and silly rhymes of a Seuss story. The kids are right there with me. Blue would have us read Hop on Pop every day if we'd agree to it. All have loved Mr. Brown Can Moo Can You? And The Grinch (as played by JIm Carrey) is a hero in our house.
But I've never done a Seuss party.
It was time.
(How can this be? Our youngest thing will be three?!)
A person's a person no matter how small.
(This is a small hay wreath, plastic left on, with about 1,000 mini water balloons (or so it seemed!) pushed in with greening pins - about 8 balloons per pin. I used two boxes and a few pins from a third box but I still didn't get to the outer edges. The sign is card stock, took the Cat in the Hat pic off the internet, ran ribbon through the top and then I pinned it into the wreath - I figure I'll just change out the sign and use for different events as needed.)
The most fun aspect of a Seuss party is the decor!
From there to here,
from here to there,
funny things are everywhere!
Grinch in the entryway! And The Foot Book is there because I had six blue foot prints taped to the floor with words: Left Foot. Right Foot. Feet! Feet! Feet! How many different feet you meet!
Just past the entryway, this "welcome" table:
The "runner" is just wrapping paper. The basket was for donations. It was nicely full by the end of the party! And on the other side we had Seuss's Happy Birthday To You as a guest book.
The message on the sign reads, "Wait, Mate! Stop, Pop! Here is the place for you to drop a birthday message or simple, "Hi," for our very special birthday guy! Write on any of the pages something Toby can treasure for ages! Just grab a pen or maybe ten (if you think you'll need a lot of ink) Then get to signing this guest book, Friend!" The pen holder is just a tin can covered with paper with ribbon around it.
On this table: Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and blue cotton candy, mini chocolate cupcakes with frosting and red life savers, jello parfaits, strawberry and marshmallow kabobs, and Oreo Hat in the Cat cookies.
Runner is more wrapping paper. Stuffed Cat in the Hat was so on sale at Target I couldn't resist. Spoon holder is another tin can covered in paper and ribbon. Kabobs are also in paper-covered tin cans, the skewers are stuck into flower foam covered in tissue paper.
I couldn't get my Thing Three circles (internet image I put at 12 to a page and miraculously printed at the exactly right size for my circle punch) to stick to the cupcake paper so they just got tossed about. Oh, and the cotton candy starts to dissolve after awhile so it has to be put on at the last minute.
The red layers are just strawberry jello. The white is panna cotta as explained in this recipe. I made these throughout the day on Friday and gave each layer many hours to set. I meant to add a dollop of whipped cream to the top, but I always make this fresh and just ran out of time. Once guests start arriving I'm done. (Otherwise I could tinker and add... oh to infinity.)
Enter the kitchen. On the counter sat drinks. Just soda and well, this:
Also on the counter was this:
Maybe the live prop idea wasn't such a good one. This poor 'lil guy didn't end up living long enough to be named. Sigh. I kinda wanted to have a gold fish too, but then Kevin told me how often the pet shop guy said we'd have to clean the bowl and just like that I'm over it.
The pic above her has pages from Oh the Thinks You Can Think covering what's usually there. I had an extra copy of this book so pages of it were used over other pictures in a few places in the house.
Menu was this orzo salad (recipe doubled), gold fish, green eggs (no ham for our veggie family), and some puff pastry spinach things from Sam's.
Streamers are the best.
And over the tv I had some quotes, but that was it for this room because it was needed for the Kindermusik class we had. I told the instructor about the Seuss theme so she brought Seuss's ABC Book and read that too. Toby loves My Gym circle time, so I knew he would be into the Kindermusik hour we planned.
I know he isn't smiling in these pics, but he was very intent on doing what the teacher was doing and even though it was an HOUR, I'd say, he was the one who stuck with it the best!
So did my Mom.
(She's holding my niece and singing, "Move on back," from Wheels on the Bus.)
Meanwhile Kaden was outside with another little boy his age.
So... onto outside fun.
It's opener out there
in the wide open air.
We had a Splash Zone, Lorax Garden around our sand box, and a table on which I drew cats for kids to color and add hats. Oh and juice boxes and ice pops.
I drew The Lorax and one barbaloot.I had four bags of colored sand sprinkled around and filling three flower pots that had big, fake polka dotted gerbera daisies in them. I bought new kids gardening tools for the sand box and made six Truffula trees. Four were made out of PVC, spray painted and held up by re-bar and two were drawn on paper and taped to the fence. All the tree top tufts were made out of tissue paper.
My nephew digging in. (This photo cred goes to his mommy!)
In the "Splash Zone" we just had a kiddie pool, water balloons and those splash-bomb water balls, bubbles, and a target made out of cardboard and spray paint mounted on the fence as a possible place to aim balloons and balls.
Toby and his cousin, Chloe. (Colton's twin sis)
And the coloring table:
See the spillage :-( For these cats, since I needed them mass produced, I printed up a pic, drew over it to make it darker and then traced. (All other Seuss creatures were free-hand.) Even with some wet spots, there were plenty left for coloring.
And a few final touches:
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose!
(The week of the party Kevin cut these big, beautiful bushes down to nothing but sticks and then, as soon as he was done, thought, Faydra is going to kill me.... Faydra considered it, but came up with a different solution.)
I made a playlist consisting of birthday songs, music from Seussical the Musical, music from The Lorax (my kids cannot get Let it Grow out of their heads), a few Jim Carrey Grinch monologues, and rounded it out with some of our general kids music favorites. I also found, when searching for "Seuss Music," a song called Dr. Seuss by Trever Hall that I really like.
Today you are are you, that is truer than true.
There is no one alive who is youer than you!
It was a perfect Toby party. Lots of food and friends and fun, but he never really clued into the fact that all the hubbub was about him. We didn't do a candle blowing out time or have any moment where he was on the spot. We did sing "Happy Birthday" but it was at the end of the Kindermusik class, so it was just another song to him.
(another Marissa photo cred for this one)
Dolphins! Zebras! Moose-camels! Show me now!
Toby, show-off that he is, decided to break out with the sentence, "I want see animals," at his assessment with the school board back in April. I know this, because yesterday I went for the follow-up appointment to go over their findings and subsequent recommendations.
The school board assessment was April 30th. Friday, May 11th Toby had another assessment with a speech therapist where he currently goes. Results were the same. In expressive and reception speech Toby is on the lowest end of "normal."
Especially since he still qualifies for services.
So today, along with a trip to Home Depot (When's the last time your party supply list called for rebar? Well, mine does. Kevin tells me this is what I need to get my Truffula trees standing.) I get to stop by Toby's new school and enroll him. He'll get 60 minutes a week of speech/language and 45 minutes of OT. Currently he's been getting 60 minutes of speech/language and 60 of OT, but I'm not entering into a battle over 15 minutes. We agreed easily on his first round of IEP goals. Nope, no battles.
This is after another ridiculous bout of show-offiness last Thursday.
Toby's teeth brushing habits are intermittent, and I was really dreading this appointment both for what they'd say and how he'd get through it.
I didn't have much strategy going in beyond that I purposefully scheduled Blue's recent cleaning two weeks ago and Toby tagged along so he could remember what a fun and happy place our pediatric dentist's office can be. One week out it was Kaden's turn and again Toby came with. Even so, on the morning of his appointment I reminded the receptionist about Toby's Fragile X (I'd said something when I made the appointment), I gave her some Fragile X info cards to keep with his file, and I told her that she could tell the hygienist that my expectations were zero, that all I really hoped to get out of the appointment was the chance to evaluate how horrible it was in the hopes that we could stand a better chance at the next go.
I really believed this.
We'd just come from My Gym. I'd considered skipping, but he likes it, and it's our routine, and I figured we'd leave early to give us a little downtown before the big dentist appointment, but, of course, this was the day that Toby decided he was going to be Mr. Participatory at My Gym. For the FIRST TIME EVER, he even tried a skill BEFORE the other kids and was the EXAMPLE for the other kids. It is a wonder I did not start crying. So I couldn't tear him away early when he was loving every moment of it, and I rushed a very stimulated, special needs, two year old, to his first dentist appointment.
Brilliant parenting, I know!
But he showed me. He was a rock star totally letting the hygienist brush his teeth, save for one little bite, he let the dentist poke and even scrape a little around in there. And! His teeth are even in good shape!
The funniest part of the whole visit was that we recognized another little boy, Toby's same age, who was also there for his first appointment, but for this "neurotypical" boy it was no-go. There was much weeping and gnashing of teeth and that was pretty much it. No colorful, latex gloves ever got near that boy's mouth.
Yup, funny. (Well, from my point of view. Probably notsomuch for that boy's mom.)
Now if only his rock-starness will continue through when that new potty chair I ordered comes in...
And then this skinny little bald boy got dropped off at our house by CPS and I became a mom of two.
And then I got knocked up so nine months later I became a mom of three.
Fast forward to now, and I'm a mom of three active, wild, fun and silly boys.
It's nice to celebrate all these steps, isn't it? Today I got to do just that with all of these people. (And a few more.)
Newsweek has an article on long term care for those with special needs. What happens when they aren't kids anymore? What happens when parents can no longer take care of them? It mentions Fragile X specifically.
And now for the personal PSA...
I may have mentioned a few times in the past few weeks we have a birthday coming up. :-)
In celebration of Toby turning three we would love donations to be made in his honor to the National Fragile X Foundation. As usual (we never do birthday presents at our parties), we are asking party guests not to bring presents either but to donate online as well or...
I'd like to put together a basket of Seuss-themed goodies to donate in Toby’s honor to a silent auction at the 13th International Fragile X Conference to be held this summer in Miami. Seuss movies, books, beach towel, puzzles, stickers, or giftcards to places like Amazon or Learning Express where Seuss things can be bought – it would all be welcome! If we get enough loot we’ll split it into two baskets! Lots of families of young children will be attending this conference (like us!) so it should be a fun auction item. All proceeds from the conference silent auction go to the National Fragile X Foundation.
His party is May 19th. If you love Toby and Dr. Seuss, consider yourself invited. If you don't already have the information, but want to drop in, message me.
Blue's class hosted a Mother's Day Tea yesterday. Toby stayed at a friend's house so Blue could have me as his date all to himself.
We moms did a mad lib style story with our kids, decorated cookies, and received cards in which the kids had answered questions about us. Apparently, I am as pretty as... a goldfish. Warms your heart, doesn't it?
Obviously it doesn't end there.
After the party, school was done, so Blue came with me to get Toby. We were hanging our for a bit and Blue disappeared down the hallway to the boy's room and my friend and I didn't think anything of it, but then, it kinda occurred to us at the same time... the hamster!
Blue had dismantled the hamster cage in a way that my friend didn't even know the cage could be dismantled and Dinosaur the pet hamster was running free. Thankfully, running free in this case meant that he was simply hanging out on the table where his cage had once sat. Blue got scolded and warned he was never to touch Dinosaur's cage or hold him without a grown up around. Soon enough, the cage was reassembled, the poop pellets vacuumed off the floor, and Dinosaur was safely returned. Since Blue had never explicitly been told to leave the hamster alone, that was the extent of his correction.
Then Mommies left the room, but not three minutes later there was much suspicious squealing. Um yeah, Blue had re-released Dinosaur. He was promptly sent to wait by the door until we left and he lost TV and baseball-attending privileges for that evening. He was told he could earn back the right to attend Kaden's baseball game, but alas, he did not.
And that's the end of a Blue story.
(CSA = Community Supported Agriculture.)
Ok sometimes we were a little over our head with the amount of eggplant we got, but I can now make eggplant parmesan and baba ganoush without referring to a recipe. My kids like (LIKE!) cabbage and brussel sprouts. I have not only learned of the existance of things like broccoli rabe and watermelon radishes, but I can now cook them too.
If you are in St. Lucie or Martin County or heck, even Indian River and north Pam Beach, and you haven't been over to D and D farms and tasted of its bounty, then you are missing out.
Here is the final email we recieved from the farm. I am so excited to know we'll be able to get eggs and berries next year!