Wednesday, July 6, 2016

4th of July: Smile Gratefully

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Blazing summer heat intensified the smell looming from neighborhood bar-b-ques and July wild raspberries ready for picking.  Classic signs of impending Independence Day celebrations to come.  I never fully know how far to plan our Fourth of July activities since Noah's sensory challenges vary and can be unpredictable.  Yet, with summer in full swing, I can't help but want to absorb that feeling of bar-b-ques, picnics and evening fireworks.  I decorated the kitchen table with a disposable stars and stripes tablecloth and adorned with a handful of red, white and blue napkins and paper plates.  Luke and Noah in matching flag shirts, ready to celebrate the day.
Ironically Noah lost his fourth tooth the evening of July 2nd, just in time for the 4th of July.  He went to reach for a toy and his strong athetoid movements caused his arm to jerk back and he hit himself in the face knocking it out.  It had been very lose but not lose enough for us to pull.  We both were relieved that Noah didn't swallow this tooth.  The search for his 3rd and swallowed tooth was called off after seven whole days of searching.  I never imagined that I'd be mashing feces in an attempt to locate it, yet the mother in me really wanted a full collection of my child's baby teeth.  I suppose I would have made a terrible gold miner as I failed to locate that teeny speck of white.
Given the track record of special need children who frequently swallow their teeth, I have to accept that three out of four isn't bad considering the challenge of a child who cannot put their hands in their mouth to wiggle out their own teeth.  Noah left a tooth fairy note to explain the loss of his third tooth and the tooth fairy still left him money.  She must have been feeling particularly bad for him as she increased the amount for his 4th tooth to two dollars.  Noah beamed with delight over the financial increase.  Let's hope this is motivation to prevent him from swallowing any more.

It certainly is different looking at Noah with a new smile.  His smile always particularly precious, now has a new character about it.  And it feels like a piece of his childhood is fleeing and I miss the days of yesterday.  Common feelings of motherhood for all mothers.   Yet, we can't remain frozen in time and while Noah doesn't blossom in milestones, he certainly grows and thrives in a variety of other ways that tells my heart he's growing up.

Noah's grandparents smoked brisket and ribs, and I attempted my own smoking of salmon for the first time.  I'm trying to branch out and try new things.  I often get so comfortable in this comfort zone I create for myself that I never leave the boundaries of what I've familiarized myself with.  The salmon was a good first effort, but perhaps I added too much salt for the brine and I certainly will consider that more brown sugar the next go round is essential.  Noah found his blend of smoked bar-b-que and potato salad delicious and was only moderately found of his pureed fruit salad.  Of course he loved his cheesecake finale.  The child with a perpetual sweet tooth. 

Noah doesn't do well in regulating body temperature.  Extreme heat and cold is problematic and always has been.  Upon the recommendation of other special needs parents we purchased Noah a Water Mat from Walmart for $19.  Was probably the best $19 I've spent all summer.  It's like having an 8x5 play waterbed type area for Noah to roll around in and offers the a cool soothing comfort from the cold hose water.  And the really great part is both children like being together which gives them an opportunity and way to play together.  It's really a super cool product that I wish I would have found years ago for Noah.  Now I have to hope it doesn't spring a leak as he's grown quite attached to it.
Noah also geared up in the Upsee to help his daddy water the flowers that were destined to suffer a demise due to heat stroke without a much needed drink.  I had hoped to walk Noah in the Upsee, however once we were suited up together it was apparent that Noah has simply grown too tall in comparison to my short height.  I think we will have to pass the Upsee activity on to him and his daddy.  I wish there was another product similar to the Upsee for older, growing children.  The entire family will be sad when we have to retire the Upsee due to growth.
We walked to the city's Fourth of July celebration which they hold in front of our house at the park each year.  We always walk down and then walk back.  They have small activities like inflatable bounce houses, live music, and free cupcakes.  We never really participate in anything, our family dynamic is so different that even in a crowd we still stand out.  It's really a quick walk there and a quick walk back - really simply to say we checked it out.  We didn't realize when we moved into this house that the city's fireworks were nearly overhead our house.   Not the best for a child with a severe sensory processing disorder.  Noah is always a gamble on how he'll react.

Surprisingly, there was no big meltdown or hysterical crying this year.  He was very jumpy with each pounding loud boom, and I am not sure he loved that feeling.  He did however tolerate the situation to get through it, and seemed to use his grandmother and her assistance with an umbrella to prevent any rain sprinkles from touching his legs a security blanket, but I assume he was likely very relieved when the firework show had concluded.  Despite neighborhood lingering fireworks he fell asleep relatively quickly. 

"When all your attention is focused on fireworks you forget there is an empty sky in which the fireworks appear." Michael Jeffreys


Noah's Miracle by Stacy Warden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.