First, my apologies for being MIA the last 10 days - pro-tip: whatever the boys and I have had, endeavor not to get. Seriously.
Now, back to business, shall we?
1 year ago today, I started writing Planet Josh. With really no idea what I was doing or where it was going, or even if I'd have enough to write about for a whole year let alone longer... yet, here we are! Still no idea what I'm doing or even where I'm going with it all but hey, people come, they read, and some of you even stick around, for which I am exceedingly grateful.
The last year has been an interesting one for Josh, from the Uggs revelation, the gift of his i-Pad, and the downward plunge of behavior for so many months - some things have changed.
We lost one inhabitant. Dear Zeke is gone but not forgotten. But Buddy and Chewy are still with us and happily still being the silly creatures they are.
I think that as far as the Blue's Clues counter goes, I will now count the number of times I have to re-load his episodes on to the i-Pad from my computer. He really enjoys just making things happen on it, which includes deleting the episodes frequently, so I am now having to plug it in to my computer to re-load the episodes multiple times a day. There's no way at this point that I could keep track of how many episodes he watches - he has the i-Pad constantly and is always moving through them all.
I have managed to reduce the number of times per week we get him fries from McD's, limited to twice a week now (yes, that is a significant reduction...! ). He still asks for them, though not quite as much as he used to. Other things have surpassed the fries requests, though some of them mean the same thing. For example, he'll ask to "go in the car" almost more than anything these days. But this means several things to him - it means he wants to go get fries somewhere, it also means he wants to go on a trip to find some sand, it can also mean he wants to go to the train station to pick up grandma, or go to the grocery store to get the potatoes he likes. If I could find my site designer guy again, I'd probably have him change the counters a bit.
After some terrible and frightening experiences, we finally managed to find something to keep him buckled in his seat in the car. I can't tell you what a relief this has been and what a difference it makes - I can handle any meltdown he wants to have in the car as long as he can't get out of his seat-belt. Zach is now officially allowed to be in the front passenger seat, so he's safe up front while Josh has the middle row to himself.
Speaking of Zach, we've talked about bacon, purse-babies, crazy field trips, what it's like to be Josh's big brother, and how Nickelodeon inspires some... interesting.... conversations. He's getting very close to being as tall as I am, the voice is changing, and my right-hand guy is just becoming a fantastic young man, not to mention seriously needed comic relief (if you don't pay attention to my side-bar, you should, specifically, the "Entirely Random" section).
Overall, Josh is doing pretty well right now. There's always a trade-off to be had, like when we went to get his hair cut last week, he spent the 25 minutes while Zach was getting his done first, attacking me. But by the time it was his turn, it was out of his system, and he was great for the actual cut. So he'll bring me to tears but then turns around and makes up for it by kissing me on the forehead and sitting quietly in my lap... this is just how it goes sometimes. He still goes through difficult sleep cycles, but you might be pleased to know that I have worked hard at getting more sleep myself. He also still goes through needs-to-be-naked cycles....
School is going to try something with him to see if it will help his communication - they are going to go back to using PECS with him for a while. There is some new data out that has shown that with kids like Josh who have very limited communication skills and have used PECS in the past, if you use them again for a time, they often have a nice jump in their verbal vocabulary, like, it gives them a boost. So we'll see how that goes. I have noticed that he's using more actual sentences sometimes now, as opposed to just single word or two word requests.
Speaking of school, I need to remind them to print out the square-dancing picture for me! And I just had to smile - yesterday when I dropped him off at his classroom, all the kids said hi to him as he walked in, and one of the little boys said very enthusiastically, "Hi buddy!" It's a simple thing. But it brought a huge smile to my face - his classmates are very attached to him.
I still have not monetized the blog and probably won't. Maybe it's naive, but I still hold to the "people come here to read, not be assaulted by ads" theory. When I'm famous (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!), maybe then I can charge something meaningful for ad space. But until then? I'd rather have Zach's gems sitting in my side-bar.
I don't do a lot to promote the blog. I have a hard time with all the "you have to comment on other people's blogs to GET comments on yours" or the "I'll follow you if you follow me" deal on Twitter. I still only follow those I am interested in and I read and comment on blogs I actually LIKE and find funny or interesting, not simply to get people to come here. This hurts me, as far as readership and followers (what is this, a cult?!) go, I know. But it's just me. I've never been big on jumping through hoops unless truly necessary so, there we go.
I am thrilled that I have readers all over the world now, despite my best efforts, lol. I would love to welcome you all - if you take a trip back over to my side-bar you will see a fun little widget at the bottom, that shows the flags of the countries of visitors to the blog (that's not for the year, I just put it there a few weeks ago). For a while I thought Canada was my second biggest readership but turns out, Australia and Great Britain alternate between number 2 and 3 - this means my family is slacking, nice work guys ♥ :)
Anyway, it's very hard to believe it's really been a whole year already. Thank you very much to everyone who reads about our Planet here, your support means the world. One of these days I'll figure out what I'm doing.