A week with Alex (by Grandma)


When I arrived at Shannon and Eric’s on Friday morning, Alex was so excited to see me that he didn’t bother to tear his eyes away from the TV.

Friday is a therapy day for Alex. When his therapist arrived, he was so excited to see HER that he almost dragged her through the door. I told Shannon that wasn’t fair and I was going home. She was so sympathetic. She just laughed. The therapist brings a bag of toys. As they play with the toys, she talks about what he is playing with and what he is doing. This day she had a felt board with felt pieces that cling to it. One of the pieces was a dog, one was a clock. As he put the pieces on the board his therapist reached out and patted it and said “pat pat pat”. Pretty soon Alex would say “pat pat pat” while he was patting the piece down. Then he would have to say more or use the sign for more to get another piece. I also heard him say dog and clock. It was interesting watching him interact with the therapist. Anyway, I found out how to impress a child. Show up smiling: Bring toys!


Alex woke up at 7:30. He didn’t seem upset when I walked through the door to get him up, but when we got downstairs he walked into the kitchen and went all the way to the pantry and looked in there. I know he was looking for Mommy. That has really been the whole extent of his reaction to no Mommy and Daddy.

Alex doesn’t like to eat as soon as he gets up, but he wanted something in the fridge. When I opened it he pointed to the shelf where there was a sippy cup of juice and a half of juice box. First he finished the juice box then the sippy cup. When I asked him if he was hungry a little later, I had the fridge open and he pointed to the egg carton. So he had eggs for breakfast.

While he was watching the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse they were counting the petals on a flower. Alex was pointing to the petals as they counted. On the same show, when they need a special tool everyone calls “Oh Toodles”. Alex was also calling for Toodles. His word is not identical to their word, but you definitely know what he is trying to say.

At some point during the day Alex also noticed my watch. He touched the face and said clock!

At bedtime I asked him if he wanted a story. He said no to every book I offered, so instead he played with some plastic turtles he has. Each turtle has a different shape on its back. When he sees the one with the crescent moon on it he says “moo” for moon. The shells come off the turtle and you have to match the shape in the shell to the shape on the turtle to put them back together. He is very good at matching the shells with the right turtle. He had a little trouble with the star at first, but then he figured out what to do. He walked around to the other side of the turtle. The shell was turned the right way now and he could put it on.


Yesterday I thought maybe Alex had actually wanted his milk and I had misunderstood and gave him the juice instead, but today there was no juice box or sippy cup of juice. I asked him if he wanted milk and got an “uh uh” and him shaking his head no. He put his arms up for me to carry him, and pointed to the little fridge where Shannon keeps their pop and his juice boxes. He picked a juice box and drank about half of it before he started chewing on the straw. Later he took me in the pantry and pointed to the Fruit Loops, so he had cereal and milk for breakfast. I don’t actually know if this is something he eats for breakfast, but he did today.

One of the things that they are teaching him in therapy is to ask for help. They repeat the word help and show him the sign for me. Alex’s version of “do you need help Alex” is he brings you what he is having a problem with. Usually it is Lego blocks. I ask him if this is what he wants and he keeps saying no and shaking his head. One time he just wanted the blocks apart. If there is something he wants in another room, he raises his arms for you to pick him up and then he points to where he wants to go. Today he wanted to go to the cupboard with his sippy cups. He rearranged the lids then he took a small juice glass out. He wanted something in it so I put water in it so he couldn’t make a mess. He drank it and wanted a refill. I refilled it twice more before he spilled it on the floor. I heard uh oh and looked at him as he was scrubbing the water into the carpet.


Today was warm enough to take Alex to the park. They have toddler swings and a jungle gym/slide. We went to the slide first. He’s very good at going up the different steps. He like the covered slide and the curved slide the best. Then we went on the swings, but they seemed to be rocking him to sleep so we went back to the slides. A little girl and her mom came to eat lunch at the park. When she was done the little girl came over and said “Hi” to Alex. He said “Hi” back. That surprised me. Then they played follow the leader, mostly Alex would follow. He was also interested in the squirrel that was hanging around hoping for food. He would follow the squirrel to the tree and then walked around the tree until the squirrel finally went up the tree. Alex would point at the squirrel and say “squa”. Not a bad try for a hard word. Soon it was time to go home. Alex was worn out. Tonight when I asked Alex if he was ready for bed I got a no. He picked up his sippy cup and we went to the fridge. He wanted more milk. He drank that pretty quick and then he got Teddy and Bunny and we went up the stairs to bed.


It was a nice day today, but the weather report said we were going to have thunderstorms right around the time I would take Alex to the park so we didn’t go. I talked to Shannon’s friend Susan, who lives across the street. While we were talking she asked Alex what is name was. He didn’t answer so I asked him if he could say Alex. He said something which, while it wasn’t exactly Alex, sounded like he was trying to say Alex. Later Susan brought her little girl Cindy over. At first Cindy was shy but then she got down and was playing with the toys. Alex was following her. When they left, Cindy gave me a kiss. Then Alex gave Cindy a kiss. It was really cute. One thing I learned while Susan was here, Alex can open the front door if it isn’t locked!

Just before bedtime I noticed Alex walking around with his hand in the front pocket on his jeans which is something I hadn’t seen him do before.

When it was time for bed, we couldn’t find Teddy (his bear he sleeps with). We looked for awhile and then we gave up and went up to go to bed. He laid down with just bunny, and never cried about the missing Teddy. But when I went downstairs I searched again and found Teddy and took him up to Alex.


We went to the park again today, but it didn’t go well. Alex was more interested in throwing temper tantrums because of various things happening at the park, than he was in playing on the slide or the swings. We left after 10 minutes.

Wednesday night we played with Play-doh. He has cookie cutter shapes that come with the Play-doh that he likes cutting out of the Play-doh. When he made the bunny shape he picked it up and said “hop hop hop” while he made the bunny hop. When he got tired of the shapes, he used his Play-doh scissors and cut them in pieces. Then we put the Play-doh away and it was bed time.


Instead of going to the park today, we took a walk around the block. Alex was happy just being in the stroller and looking at all the sights to see.

Play-doh time tonight was a repeat of last night. He also keeps checking to make sure the lids are on the right container. He likes to shake the containers to see if the Play-doh is inside.


Mommy and Daddy are home. Alex and I were in the dining room playing with his toys and we heard a sound. Alex got quiet but went back to playing. When he heard another sound he went running toward the door. Mommy and Daddy peaked around the doorframe. Alex stared at them for a second then came running back to Grandma. It was not the reaction any of us expected from him.

This weekend was Jenna’s weekend with her Dad. I want to take this opportunity to point out that when Jenna got to the house on Friday night, she received a warmer welcome from Alex than Mommy and Daddy did that morning. But actually, he’s used to her disappearing for two weeks at a time.


Shannon was making burritos for breakfast. I went into the dining room with Alex and he spotted the plates on the table and he wanted in his chair and he wanted food, now. Eric gave him some cheese and Alex started to eat it. Eric also gave him part of a burrito shell just to hold him until Shannon got the eggs cooked. He finished the cheese and wanted more. I was trying to get him to say please (Totally forgetting that the therapist was working on the concept of more), and Alex put his fingers together in the sign for more, without any prompting. That is the first time he did it spontaneously.
The past week with Alex was a lot of fun. For Shannon and Eric this week was go to Vegas week. For Alex it was make Mommy look like a liar week. Here are examples of that:

What Shannon said :
Alex doesn’t drink much juice.
He doesn’t eat meatloaf, that one piece will make two meals for him.
He doesn’t like mashed potatoes.

What Alex did:
Asked for juice every day
Ate the whole entire piece of meatloaf in one meal
Ate all his mashed potatoes (along with the meatloaf he hates)
Some of the words Alex uses are hop, milk, juice, yeah, uh uh (his word for no), egg, dog, duck, squirrel, banana, egg, pat, clock, ball and Toodles (the last one is from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse). He also says blue, block, zip, moon, nose, mouth, and hair. He has some sound puzzles that he is very good at putting together. When you put the animal in place the puzzle makes the sound the animal you just placed says. Alex can say moo, neigh, meow, ruff. The other puzzle is pictures of vehicles. Alex can say boat, car, bike. But the word he says the best is circle. Both syllables. You are left in no doubt that he is saying circle. It’s a shame that Alex isn’t talking yet, because if you count all the words listed here that he uses there are 30 words that he is using on a regular basis.

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