Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I can't believe how Anthony is ending up to be the good one. I took him to PT today and he did very well. He has a cut on his forehead - he woke up with it so we don't know how it happened but we assume he scratched it in the night. I was able to wipe it out for the most part.
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"I Read"

It's one of his few two word sentences.
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Eating an Oreo

This morning.
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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bouncer Town

After an initial problem with the hillbilly door person over whether or not it was a good idea to crunch sweet Anthony's hand with a giant stamper, we had a good time at Bouncer Town. I had to get a little mean with the woman, she was an IDIOT. I understand that they stamp the kid's hands and the parent's hands, because they want to be sure you leave with your own kid but you should have seen this stamper! The last time I saw one like it was at the Rockaway Township Public Library in like 1978 or something!
Anyway. It's hard - he really loved the slide but he got a teensy bit confused in the bounce houses, because he ... oh I don't know, he just doesn't play like other kids. His own drummer, blah blah blah. But we think he had fun and he's cute in the pictures! They both fell asleep on the way home, but thank GOD Anthony woke up and we didn't have a napping-through-therapy situation.
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Poor Anthony. He was up super early this morning, 5:00 was when I heard him, and he sounded sort of distressed so I went in and he was SOAKING wet so I changed him and put him in dry pajamas and sat with him for a few minutes but by then Maria was up and screaming and I had to go into her so I left and hoped he would go back to sleep but it was not to be! So we have all been up forever and everyone is very grumpy. We have to go to occupational therapy at 3:00 and I am worried already that he'll be so cranky we won't get anything done.

Yesterday Mike and I went to look at a new school for Anthony. It is incredibly, impossibly expensive, so unless our insurance covers it or we refinance our house I don't know that he'll be able to go, but we are going to try and find out. I can't get all mad about the fact that it's so expensive - it's one on one therapy, all day, so what are you going to do? Someone has to pay for it. What I am trying to figure out is that we have to do something and I just have to figure out what it is. I want to be doing enough for him. Everyone is so agreed on the fact that you have to do early intervention and he's going to be four next year and that is sounding less like a little toddler and more like a little boy to me. So we're going to see about this school and if it doesn't work out I'm going to see about learning about this ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy myself and seeing if I can do something. To me, that makes the most sense - I am here with him anyway, everything is really far away from us, so taking him places always requires a lot of time in the car for Maria and will for the next baby, too. So who knows. In the meantime, we are all VERY eager for Anthony to go the hell back to school on Monday. :)
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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Morning

She is so funny - she is all over him for that pancake! He has no interest in the pancake and she did eventually get it, but he just ignores her, as if to see if she will go away.
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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Poor Mike

Anthony likes to be carried down the stairs now, and he likes to be picked up FIRST. This can be VERY difficult on the carrier. Usually I try to get Maria first and at least get to the landing but Mike got unlucky today and had to do the whole stairs.
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Thursday, December 25, 2008


I can never have pants on both of them at once. :(
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Fourth Christmas

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We gave him his guitar last night, in the last hour before bedtime when we are always dying to mix it up a little. He really liked it.
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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

He came downstairs on his own this morning, he must have slept well. I was up all night and didn't hear him! But anyway he was all wet so that's why he's not dressed here.
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Monday, December 22, 2008


Anthony in a sack.
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Green Eggs and Ham

This outfit is from my mom and the pants are warm. It is freeeeeezing here this morning, it was 1 degree when I woke up so the key for me with these kids today is warmth. Anthony and I are going out to therapy later - he normally goes to PT on Friday but they are closed this Friday so we are making it up today. I hate to take him out in it but what are you going to do? It will probably be good for him to get some fresh air, we didn't go anywhere yesterday. He is reading Green Eggs and Ham here and studiously ignoring me.
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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Year End Meme

This is for Anthony, but I'll answer.

1. What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before? Got diagnosed with autism, started therapy, started school. Turned three. Started school - I mention it again because before this year, Anthony never successfully just stayed somewhere else, without us. This keeps amazing me.

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year? If I had a resolution for Anthony, it was that he could talk and communicate better and I guess he can. However, it is also our resolution for this year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Ha - Anthony's mother gave birth this year! Our cousin Lisa had a baby late last year, as well as my friends Katy, Julie, and Emily.

4. Did anyone close to you die? I guess no.

5. What places did you visit? Where did we go this year? We flew to NJ this summer. We went to see Mike's grandmother twice, in Westport, and we went to Mike's mom's several times. Anthony is getting really good at traveling in the car.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008? We would like Anthony to talk more and communicate more, blah blah blah repeat repeat. :)

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Maria was born on January 11. I can't remember the exact dates, but we had our case conference in May when Anthony was diagnosed, he started school in July and then again in August.

8. What was your biggest achievement(s) of the year? I think Anthony's biggest achievement has been going to school. He is sleeping - well, he is still a bad sleeper but he is in no way the lunatic in the night that he was this time last year. He throws away his popsicle stick on his own now. It is truly the little victories!

9. What was your biggest failure? Hmm. I guess we haven't had any failures. Anthony hasn't anyway!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Last year, I forgot about our two hospital visits but I think I can safely say we didn't go to the ER for anything. Anthony has been very healthy overall, although he had that Fifth Disease and a cold and runny nose that seemed to last forever. I think for starting school for the first time, he's done very well. Possibly because he has little interaction with others!

11. What was the best thing you bought? I think I'd have to say his weighted blanket. Although I hope that his guitar goes over big at Christmas.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Oh, Anthony's, of course. He is amazingly patient with Maria, who could piss off a priest. He is better with her sometimes than I am!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Ha, Anthony's, of course. Kidding! Sometimes we have been annoyed with the people that we've tried to work with for Anthony's therapies and stuff but overall, it's going very well.

14. Where did most of your money go? He's still not that expensive a person. We have to pay a copay for his visits and we are looking into a school that might cost a bazillion dollars but this year, it was no so bad. There are parents of children with autism in this country that are going into HUGE amounts of debt paying for their child's therapy and we are incredibly lucky that we live where we live.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? I don't know the answer to this. Anthony gets excited about a lot of stuff. Flipping upside down? He has made great strides this year and I think he gets excited when he feels he can be understood - or maybe that is me.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008? Hmmm. We've been singing a lot of Twinkle, Twinkle Little, Star lately. It might be the first song that Anthony has sung on his own. I don't know that a stranger could recognize it, but we know what it is.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier.
b) thinner or fatter? Fatter.
c) richer or poorer? Richer.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Talking. Blah blah blah.

20. How did you spend Christmas last year? We spent Christmas Eve at Mike's moms and Christmas day at my brother Larry's. I remember Anthony brought a big bottle of aspirin to his house and would not let it go.

21. Did you fall in love in 2008? Let's say Anthony fell in love with his baby sister. Whether or not it's true.

22. How many one-night stands? Ha, this always cracks me up. No, but he did get the KING SIZE bed in the hotel that we stayed in in NJ.

23. What was your favorite TV program? Anthony still loves Signing Time, The Wiggles (even though they have changed their format and their Greg and that has been upsetting to us), the Doodlebops (God help me), and Diego.

24. What did you do for your birthday in 2008? I was just thinking of this last night. I guess we had a party? I really can't remember.

25. What was the best book you read? We just got Anthony a picture book that he likes at school and it has gone over big. He likes his Notre Dame book and always identifies the Library in it.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? We started Anthony with a sleep cd last night and he woke up around 5:00 - so maybe not the greatest discovery. :)

27. What did you want and get? This is hard, I don't know what Anthony wants. I hope he wants yet another sibling. :)

28. What did you want and not get? Again, who knows. He wants more Pop Tarts than he gets.

29. What was your favorite film of this year? Anthony still doesn't like movies. We wish, believe me.

30. Did you make some new friends this year? Hmm. He's met some wonderful teachers and therapists. He loves his speech therapist at school. Mike always jokes around on Wednesdays, his therapy day. He says "are you going to make your move today, Anthony?" Then on Thursdays, Anthony sees his speech therapist, but with two other boys and Mike always advises Anthony that it's too late, he should have made his move and gone in for a kiss on Wednesday when he had her alone. We feel really lucky about our therapy situation both at school and at the other place - I mean, I guess I think of course they're kind and nice and like children, they went into this incredibly difficult field that I would never choose. But we still feel lucky.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Oh, I wish Anthony would communicate better, I think it would make it better and more satisfying for all of us. But not immeasurably more satisfying, just a little easier.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008? I guess uniform - he wears one to school and it's been super easy.

33. What kept you sane? There is no proof that anyone in this damned house is sane. Anthony says "I love you" now - only sometimes, and he signs it too, and it always takes me a minute to figure out what he's saying because he says "I You" and because we are an IU family I'm confused momentarily. But anyways. It's a big deal to me and it keeps me saner.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I'm going to say Greg Wiggle, because now he's gone and we miss him. :)

35. What political issue stirred you the most? I don't guess either presidential candidate would do all that we want for autism and for Anthony - because as I recall, no one was running on the "will eradicate autism" platform. But although we are excited at the idea of the first Black President, we as a family and people are disappointed at how really, truly anti-Life President Elect Obama is. It's especially upsetting to me when I am pregnant, I suppose. I like everything else about him but that. But I'm praying he has a conversion of heart, so that should get all straightened out here soon. :)

36. Who did you miss? I guess Anthony misses me and his father while he's at school. But maybe not.

37. Who was the best new person you met? I'm going to say his speech therapist, Ashley. He really does so great with her.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008. I took this meme from my friend Erin and she said "Count to 10 and breathe". I think this would be a good lesson for Anthony too. Those wretched Doodlebops have a song called "Count to 10" and Anthony always counts with them but I hope that he gets that it really does get better in just 10 seconds. We are trying to teach him to wait and it's hard but when he can just wait for 10 seconds without flipping out, it feels like a major victory. Mike and I have learned, again, that there isn't anything we wouldn't do for these children - not that every other parent in the world doesn't know that, but it's a good lesson for us to learn over and over. It makes us feel like we are somebody - we are Anthony's parents. I hope in 2009 that Anthony can learn he is Anthony - and how important that is.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Anthony on the couch, we just got back from a walk. It's cold out but he has been kind of crazy this morning so we went out in the yard and then I figured a walk might do us both good. I was kind of sick earlier - I have been waking up at 4:00 in the morning for like a week with numbness and pain in my left arm and hand. It's a pain! ANYWAY, enough about me. :) We went for a walk and it was really nice, just the two of us. I told him, it's just like this time last year - I am pregnant and we are going for a walk! Anyway, we walked and talked about the cats and dogs that we saw, Santas that we saw, leaves, cars, it was very chatty. There is a house about a block away that has a ridiculous amount of Christmas stuff in their yard - giant santas and the grinch and an airplane with Santa on it on their roof and Anthony loves it. We were able to cut our walk a little shorter than normal by going to look at that stuff, which I appreciated. I think he feels better now. Today is his second day of no school, like a Sunday, and he is usually crazy on Sundays when he gets off his routine. SO I am hopeful that tomorrow he will feel better. I don't think we'll get out for a walk tomorrow because it's going to be like 12 degrees. :(
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Letter

Here's the Christmas Letter we sent to our out of town friends and family.

Hello and Happy Holidays! We hope this finds you all well and happy and warm, wherever you are. Unless you want to be bad and sad and cold, in which case you are on your own.

If you had told me 10 years ago that I would be sending out a Christmas Letter, I would have laughed at you for sure. But we have had such a busy, exciting year, that I just want to catch everybody up on what's going on with us. This, of course, is just in case you don't look at the blogs that I update nearly daily for your reading pleasure. :)

In January, of course, our big news was that Maria Kathleen Beck was born.
She is a beautiful girl and she is often fondly referred to around here as 'crazy' but we mean that in the nicest way. She is starting to pull up and stand and she crawls around the house, usually chasing Anthony and usually because he has food in his hands. She is a good girl and is, thank God, sleeping all night now, which makes everyone cheerier.

Mike was home for six weeks after Maria was born and we took advantage of the time to enroll Anthony in First Steps, which is Indiana's early intervention for children who are not developing on target. Anthony has been very slow to speak and although we know he is super smart - he has known his alphabet, colors, and how to count to 20 since he was 18 months old - he just was not very into talking with us so we thought we'd have him evaluated. He started right away in occupational, speech and developmental therapy. His therapists came to the house so we spent most of the spring in the livingroom, Anthony in therapy and Maria nursing or sleeping through it.

In May, we had Anthony's school evaluation, since he was going to be three in June and would move into the school system for therapy. There, he was diagnosed him with Autism , and he was recommended for the extended school year program in our local developmental preschool. He finished therapy with 1st Steps in June and started at school in July. He has been doing very well, he has speech and occupational therapy at school and we have him in a private therapy practice for occupational and physical therapy twice a week, so we are keeping busy! He really is doing well, it is slow going, but we are confident that he will continue to thrive in therapy and in school. Our hope is that he can transition to the Catholic school where we want to send the kids when he is older but we are taking it one school year, and sometimes one day and minute, at a time.

Anthony turned three in June, although he looks older. At 3 years old, he was 39.5 inches tall and 39.5 pounds. He is a terrible sleeper and a great dancer - so I guess you can't have it all! His therapists and teachers all love him, which is a good thing because it goes a long way in wanting a child to succeed. We're lucky to live in Indiana (and oh my Lord, I never thought I'd say that either!) because it is one of only seven states that has an insurance mandate for autism. He loves to jump on his trampoline and play on his swing set and he loves to play music. We got him a guitar for Christmas, but don't tell him!

We went to NJ in June so everyone could meet Maria and see Anthony and so we could see everyone. We went to a Finnegan reunion and it was great to see some family. It was Maria's first flight and she did very well - I lost my driver's license and didn't realize it until we got to Newark Airport, which was a very bad scene until the crack staff at the airport checked me for being a terrorist, realized I wasn't, and sent me on my way. Other than that, it was a great trip.

Maria will be one year old in January and in May we are going to have another baby! These poor kids of ours, Anthony is just getting used to Maria and Maria firmly believes she is the only baby in the world. They are in for a shock, as are we, I'm sure. We are staying in our house for the time being, so we are clearing out our walk in closet for a teeny nursery for the babe for the first few months and then hopefully we'll move the baby into Maria's room when she is a little older. We're very excited, of course, about the new baby.

We hope that you all have the happiest of holidays and merriest of Christmases and a Happy, Healthy 2009! With love from Mike, Joanne, Anthony and Maria

Monday, December 15, 2008


He never, EVER spent as much time in the Exersaucer when he was young as he does now. He is getting more and more jealous of Maria, though, I think because she's standing up? More of a threat?
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Sad, but Recovering

He came into the Living Room today, crying and sobbing because his Noggin videos that he was watching online ended. He got better quickly.
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