Everything Toad is New Again

So. How do you like the new digs?!?

As Toad is growing-up it only seemed right the the blog should too and now it has company - feel free to peek around, this place is pretty big! I have been wanting to write about more than just autism-related things for a while, so I think these 4 blogs should take care of that nicely. Yes, I'm serious. No, I'm not on drugs... unless you count coffee (we live near Seattle, the stuff is practically in the water here, so you know, that works for me).

I'll give you a quick run-down on the other blogs, then I'll treat you to a good Toadie story.

The main page is pretty much where I will write about anything. Current events, politics, social/cultural issues, random thoughts, whatever is in my head. Along Came George is a blog about losing my mom to cancer last Fall. Yes, so very sadly, Toad's much beloved Grandma is gone, which I will also be talking about here, just from a different perspective. The last one, Tales From the Shed, will be fun - if you have any interest in DIY projects that you might see on tv or in magazines and think "that's really cool but seriously, who does that?", I know someone who does that. I know if you're here for Planet Josh you may have no interest in the other blogs but at least check out the mastheads - each blog has its own, ALL IN THIS ONE SITE. Which is ridiculous, exactly what I wanted and completely awesome thanks to Meredith at DropFoundry and BuenoBaby (for any of you who were around back when I was writing for Momversation, she was writing for them as well, that's how we "met"). Also, please thank her husband Ben, because while she was going insane trying to figure out how to make my design wishes come true, he was busy bringing all of Planet Josh's posts over here.

OK. Now that you've seen the new blog neighborhood, let's talk about Josh. I know it's been forever, but while there have been a number of big changes in our lives over the last year or so, Toad is still pretty much the same little dude.

He is in high school now, though technically he should still be in middle school. It's a long story and I'll fill you in later. Yes, HIGH SCHOOL, where apparently he naps almost daily. I know I would have enjoyed high school a whole lot more if I'd been able to crash on a big bean-bag chair whenever the mood struck...

He still asks for fries 1000 times a day and Blue's Clues is still his whole world. He has, however, changed his shoes of choice from Uggs to (wait for it) ... Crocs. Because of course he did. The Fashion Police can sit-down and shut-up, Planet Josh is where questionable footwear trends are welcomed with open arms....er, feet.

Here's a picture of him from last summer (obviously before the Uggs fell out of favor) at one of his most favorite spots. This was also the last time he saw his grandma :(

July 21, 2012 at Dundarave Park, West Vancouver, BC

See that little block sitting beside him? That is a Peek-a-Block by Fisher-Price. I have mentioned these before in an earlier post about the toys Toad loves. He still loves them. Mostly just to hold in his hands and chew on. Endlessly. It is rare to see him without one or two as he'll even take them to school. 

A few nights ago, he surprised me. You see, Little Man has never been one to follow the crowd, even as a baby/toddler - he never crawled, he bear-walked; he didn't babble, he growled (which was hilarious, by the way); he didn't play with his toys, he either carried them in each hand or would walk around the playroom picking them up and then dropping them over one shoulder as went. Aside from being early signs that Toadie was marching to his own drummer, it also means I never saw him learning/developing in a conventional way. Which is not a problem, or anything I'm unhappy about, it just means that I do on occasion end up surprised when for example, he starts building a block tower. Which he did. And it was fascinating.

It was amazing to watch this process. I do think it was the first time he's ever really tried - at very least it's the first time I've ever seen him try. He was determined, yet unfazed by failure. He seemed amused when they fell, but was also clearly intent on trying again until he had stacked every block he could find. Problem was, his first two were always perfect, but at 3 or 4, he'd put them off-center so that any further stacking was bringing the whole thing down. I could see him thinking when he would put one on top and notice that the stack was wobbling. He'd hang on to the one he was trying to place, and try to use that one to stabilize the tower. That of course would not work and the towers were coming down every time.

I decided that while letting him figure things out for himself is good, and as a parent you do that with your kids often, I also didn't want him to get bored or even upset enough to melt-down or walk away and stop trying - the speed with which Toad can go from being happy to being in a rage is impressive and unnerving (and clearly no fun for him). So I went to him and let him start another stack. When he got to the point where he would put one off-center, I gently took his hand and showed him how to straighten it out. I did this twice, and then left the room to watch from a distance again.

The first couple of times he tried after that, he did it the same way he had been and the tower continued to crash down after just a few blocks. Then he started another one. This time I watched him straighten out his off-center ones the way I'd shown him. His tower went up high and stayed tall, he was so excited. He was laughing, making his "so happy I just want to growl really intensely" noise, and bouncing. Then he leaned over and tried to chew on the very top block. OBVIOUSLY. I mean really, what else are you going to do with it?? Then it all crashed down, Toadie giggled and built it back up again. He was a pro at it by bed-time. He made a few that were about as tall as he is and tried to chew on all of them, laughing the entire time. I so badly wanted a picture, but he's very camera-wary these days and as soon as he senses there might be one nearby, he'll stop whatever he's doing that you want a picture of. I didn't want to take the chance of ruining the fun.

It was awesome to see him enjoying a newly discovered use for his old standbys, as well as fun to see him doing something that for Toad, was quite out of the ordinary - aside from the chewing :)