Tuesday, January 31, 2006

James and the Giant Peach

Tonight I read Chapter 14 of James and the Giant Peach to David and Jaclyn. The reading of this book started with Jaclyn a couple of months back - it was our thing. We would read a chapter every so often - whenever the mood struck us during bedtime. So tonight for some reason, David was interested as well. Jaclyn sat in a tiny chair next to me. David stood behind me on a toy chest with his arms wrapped around my neck. We had a blast.

I read the chapter and we stopped at this line "We are about to roll away inside this great big beautiful peach to a land of...of...of...to a land of - "..."Never you mind" said the Ladybug.

We stopped because David was cackling. It was hysterical - he wanted me to repeat this line again and again - laughing at the phrase - "Never you mind". In thinking about it - that line does make me chuckle. At one point all three of us were laughing hysterically.

It is moments like this that I treasure. It is an inner joy, only other fathers know about spending time with their children. But this was a life moment - James and the Giant Peach was a favorite book of mine when I was a kid. So in a sense, I am passing something along to my children. And I wonder - what will tomorrow bring?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Nurse Jaclyn

I have been under the weather for the past couple of days (since Sunday). Not sure why - but it was an evolving sickness - first feverish, then tired, then stomach virusish, then more tired. The scale tells me I lost 5 pounds this week - but who knows.

What I do know is that I love my daughter. She nurtured her daddy over the past couple of days. Reporting to mom, when I felt hot or looked tired. She walked me up the stairs to bed. Came in the room in the morning to see how I was feeling.

What is most surprising to me is that she is evolving from a baby to a little girl. Very smart, outgoing, loving, free-spirited, a little testy at times but oh so joyful. What scares me is she really is like a miniature person that I can talk to and interact with. I guess what scares me the most is that she will be 6 years old in 2006. It is mind boggling to imagine I am now becoming a veteran of fatherhood - and I feel like I have so much more to learn.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Three's Company

Mornings in the O'Leary household are like a like a pot of boiling water. The bubbles start slowly but get faster and faster until they reach the boiling point. The OLeary household starts out quiet....then slowly one child arises, then another, then another until..... everyone is up (including mom & dad). During the week, I am usually already on the way to work prior to wake-up time. However it is a joy when I do get a chance to see the kids in the morning. Now we all got our funk in the morning - some are cranky, some are tired, some are joyful. But yet, there is a lot of stuff to be done - bathroom, getting dressed, brushing of teeth - and my wife makes it happen. She is amazing about the things she multi-tasks and gets done.

But the pleasure I find are the moments in time - moments you can't recreate or get back with the kids. This morning was one of those moments. But like I said above - we all are not always in synch in the morning - some take longer to get going then others (not mentioning any names.... David). We have bunkbeds - David on top, Jaclyn on the bottom. Now J.P. loves to explore and do what his older siblings do. Being on the top bunk is one of those things. This morning - J.P. decided to climb the ladder to the top bunk - which he succeeded in doing. Next thing we know - Jaclyn followed her baby brother up there ("just to protect him" - so she says). Meanwhile I am trying to get dressed and I hear my wife say, "John - you have got to see this".

I walk into the kids room and see all 3 kids on the top bunk - as Nana would say - they were "Happy as Larry". It was a priceless moment in time for all 3 kids to just be up there. J.P. running back and forth, Jaclyn providing stability for her mobile baby brother, and David playing with his car. Three was not a crowd on this morning - Three was pleasant Company.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Fathers Playing Catch with Sons

Today I played catch with J.P. for the first time. J.P. is 18 months old and is David's younger brother. What I find most interesting is that I love both of them so much, however David and J.P. are so different. For instance, at this point in time, I have never played catch with David. But today, for the first time I played catch with J.P. I really played catch with him! It was amazing, how he comprehended the fact of throwing the ball (albeit a miniature plastic rock) and then catching the ball (well, sometimes grabbing the rock from me). It was an amazing experience. You must experience the J.P. belly laugh - it can't help but bring a smile to your face.

Interestingly enough, during my catch with J.P., David came by with his helicopter. J.P. was okay with this fact and being 18 months old, went on his merry way. So David came by and laid on my lap and we played with his helicopter. This evolved into both of us giving each other a hug and then laying on the floor playing with the helicopter together.

At one point in time in David's short life, I believe it bothered me that David has no interest in playing catch. I wondered is it just his like or dislikes or is it him "being in his world". But ya know, today I didn't care today about that, I really didn't. I really just enjoyed that moment in time with him.

So I think - I am now accepting David for all he is - and that is great and maturing for me. But yet I wonder - it just ain't right for a son not to want to play catch with his father.

Monday, January 16, 2006


One of things I love most about David is his laugh. My goodness, his laugh is soulful and contagious. Now please understand it is hard to know what makes him laugh. Yes, of course, simply tickling or picking him upside down does the trick for any 4 year old. But I guess this blog is my search of CONNECTING with David. Because for a long time in the first days, months and years of his life - I could not connect with him. I really love him so much.

Sunday night he was telling me that he had his socks on - very convincingly I might add. Now clearly I am looking at his feet - and there are NO SOCKS ON THESE FEET. I am staring at these cute toes and saying - David, I see toes, so if I see toes there aint no socks. He tells me again he has socks on. Well, I respond in my most convincing Bronx Italian accent - "David, if I see toes..... FORGETABOUTIT!". Well he starts cackling. We repeat this for about 15 minutes (of course with my beautiful 5 year old daughter jumping in)

Sure enough, he wakes up this morning, sees my wife and says - "Mom, if I see toes....FORGETABOUTIT!". My wife is convinced that David and I are officially crazy.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Good Days, Bad Days & GUM

What I find most interesting about my son is that I can't figure him out. For example, right away we know upon wake-up at 7:30 AM whether it will be a good day or a bad day. Saturday was a bad day - where as, upon waking up, David did not want to get dressed. This led to defiance for everything that day - brushing teeth, eating breakfast or getting into the car. So imagine the struggle of me and my wife (who spends the bulk of time with him at home during the week) to do the simple things throughout each and every day. And to top it all off, this past Saturday also included a basketball game for my daughter (whom I love coaching - but that is a story for another blog).

But that was yesterday, and today is Sunday. Today we attended Jeremy's christening. David has anxiety when experiencing new places. Today we went to a church for the first time and a reception hall for the first time. But surprisingly, Today was the exact opposite of yesterday. David was cheerful, happy, engaged, and a joy to be around. Still a bit vocal of what he wants by saying a defiant NO or a joyful YES. But all in all - I had a barrel of laughs with him today. We tried a new technique today. We gave David a piece of gum before entering the church and reception hall. From my comments above we found it to be a success. We feel it provided stimulus to him. After 4 years, another lesson learned. But why do I have this lingering question "What will tomorrow bring?"

Welcome to My Blog

I have been meaning to start this blog for quite some time. How many of you have said that about something at one time or another in your lifetime? My son is now a bit over 4 years old. I feel I am starting this blog a little late since so much has transpired. However, I also feel the Lord has provided me inspiration to do this now - so it is the right time. Ultimately I am starting this blog now because I find this battle of Autism to be never-ending. That is, once I feel we take 1 step forward, we take 2 steps back. There is so much to say and I hope to just freely express myself in this blog. In the end, I hope it helps me, helps others, educates all of us and in the meantime provide me with a historical perspective of all the wonderful progress my son has made. I love him more than words can ever express.