English is a fantastic language.

I have always had a penchant for words. Spelling, reading and writing are exercises I enjoy very much. The Sunday News includes the NY Times crossword and I’m happy for that…otherwise I’d spend up to $10 a month for real news and awesome crossword puzzles.

I must confess to watching the Scripp’s Spelling Bee on TV yesterday. Given the chance, I would have loved to have competed in that competition as a young student. One young girl…who ultimately won…spelled words on her hand while she spoke the spelling out loud. Makes total sense to me. How do you see a word in your head?? It must be written before it can be spoken.

Colin has his own little language. When excited, he combines Spanish and English and Colinese. There is cadence and rhythm to what he’s saying, but none of it makes sense to the naked ear. Words that he has made up are repeated over and over and to him there is a definition, but not to me.

Many months ago he declared “Liam…You’re a MUDSLAM!”

Initially we thought he was calling his brother a Muslim…say “mudslam” 4 times fast and you’ll understand why.  Liam…you’re a mudslam!  POW!  

Blowing bubbles with him yesterday he got so excited with the big bubbles that I made…..

“WOW! Google bam monkey pop!”

Last night Andy gave him the ritual daddy bath. While drying him off, Colin declared daddy a “Goofbagel!!”

Those words wouldn’t show up when he’s ready for Scripps.

So what, you Stinky Poopy Head Bergel Boppy Gop Merkel!!!


Fun With Food

How to eat a cinnamon bagel:

Toast it on the number 31/2 setting (not 3 or 4) and wait for the “pop!” when it’s ready. Lather with cream cheese. Cut each half into 4 equal pieces. Eat all the cream cheese off the top with your index finger. Let it sit on the counter because Sponge Bob is on in the living room.

Now he won’t eat it because it smells cold. 

The child’s sense of smell has been guiding his decisions this week.  He has to smell it before he eats it (or wears it). White rice smells great and therefore tastes good. Cinnamon bagel smells cold, so can’t be finished.

One of our challenges with Colin is meal time. Since food is not his motivator, mealtimes are not always a pleasant experience for him. He’ll complain of being “really hungry” but eat two bites and is “so full.”  I don’t think he recognizes that his belly ache could be fixed if he’d eat.  Since he probably doesn’t taste food the same way we do, meals don’t matter too much.  He would also prefer to eat everything with his fingers so that he can feel the food on the way to his lips and that doesn’t always work out! I’m going to start using Julia Seinfeld’s cookbook, Deceptively Delicious. See if I can’t sneak some summer squash into that mac and cheese. Hopefully it won’t smell bad.

He LOVES chocolate milk. But…only the Extreme Chocolate milk from “the store called Giant”. Hershey’s syrup in white milk doesn’t pass the test, neither does powdered chocolate. We went to dinner at a local restaurant and he ordered chocolate milk. One taste and he could tell they used syrup. He wouldn’t drink it.

On the short list of things to eat are:
Mac and Cheese (Kraft or homemade). Hot dogs. Noodles. Bagels. Rice Krispies or Cheerios. Cracker, chips…tortilla chips preferably (we call them torties). Peaches. Pears. Green apples, sometimes with peanut butter. Jelly sandwhiches. And Danimals strawberry drinkable yogurt. Lots and lots and lots of Danimals.

The doctor said he’s healthy even though his weight is that of a 3 year old and for the first time ever, he’s made it onto the percentile chart!

I’ll take his word for it.

I Am From….

Our church asked us to write a poem or verse about where we are from…or who we are. I didn’t have this done in time, nor did I know what it would be.

But tonight it came:


I am from the womb of a black haired, dark eyed Jewish woman who shouldn’t but did.

I am from the seed of a brown haired, green eyed man with sawdust on his hands.

My contractions began in the middle of the Goochland Depart of Corrections while she served for crimes I know nothing about.

I am loved by the hips of a lady who fed children by the dozens while they waited for new homes.


Two people who couldn’t but did.
A woman and man who loved and served, yet were left empty handed.

A history of dairy farms, hay bales, tractors and early mornings.
Mountain churches, outhouses, barefoot babies and bullet holes.

Swinging bridges, hollers and Sunday School.
Wagon rides, britches, coverings and Bibles.

Mennonite history.
Grandchild of a Bishop and missionary.
Daughter of ministry.
Child of expectation.

Brought up in the world of buses and taxis.
Vacationed on tropical beaches…surrounded by palm trees, monkeys and sun.

Surrounded by Hindus and Muslims and Pagans.
Sleeping in to the sounds of water on sand.


Addicted to water and sunsets and tidepools.
I long for hot sunshine and wine and tomatoes.
Milking cows in my sleep while waitng on surfboards.
My knees are bruised from prayers for my children and
I can’t stand the silence when the Imam calls Time.

My life has spanned countries, nations and cultures.

Yet, at the close of the day….

I am fully the product of where I have come from. The heritage born in me…the culture fed into me….the lifetimes of living sequestered in me…

At the end of the day….
I come from a place I’ll never return to.
I was born in a place that I’ll always call home.
I lived in a place that I’ll always return to.
I am in a place that I’ll make my own.

No Zipper Pockets

Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) is the brain’s inability to correctly interpret the information it receives from the senses. Clothing tags feel like sandpaper.  Vacuum cleaners sound like fire alarms. Food is tasteless.  Monday might be a day for hypersentivity and Tuesday might be a day for hyposensitivity. The rules change with the wind.  SID often rides the waves with ADD/ADHD, OCD and Asperger’s Syndrome or other Autism spectrum disorders. Or, it can stand alone.

SID is also now officially part of our family.

We’ve always known that Colin is “wired” a little differently. We just didn’t know what wiring was used at his creation.

It would explain why he cried as an infant when I dressed him in turtlenecks. Golf shirts or button down shirts are extremely stressful. No collars, no way, no how. Smelling things that no one else can was always what we deemed “weird.”  Did you know how “stinky” the paper on a doctor’s office exam table is?  He can’t sleep under the sheets on his bed. I thought he was just being obsessively neat by not wanting to mess up his bed. Turns out…the sheets make his feet feel hot…so, surface sleeping only.

New clothing goes over like a fart in church.  Colin is never impressed with new clothing. Rather the opposite. He wants nothing to do with it and stresses and cries if we ask him to put something on that he’s never worn before. Makes shopping a true treat. It could be the smell or the texture. It could be anything or nothing at all…but he’ll flat out refuse new shirts, pants and jackets until he can warm up to them a bit.

When he was licking the sidewalk last summer, we thought…how strange!  But, now that he’s moved on to putting toys in his mouth, we know why.  He LOVES superfast rollercoasters and teacup rides…he’d literally jump on our trampoline for hours if allowed… but hates to be swung around by the arms or turned upside down. His perception of where his body is in relation to his surroundings is completely different than ours.

If you offer him a handshake or a high five…don’t be offended if he looks at the floor and blows a raspberry. If you ask him a question, don’t be alarmed if he sits down and shuts his eyes. He’s not being rude…he just doesn’t know if you’ll feel, smell or sound good if he answers you.

If Colin comes to your home and has to eat a meal with you…don’t feel bad if he’ll only eat the foods that are safe in his world. Since he was a baby, food has not motivated him. There is a menu of about seven things that are sure to bring smiles. He discriminates based on texture and he could care less about taste. Home runs for sweet stuff or bland carbs.

He’ll separate himself from a crowd, or cover his ears, shut his eyes and hide away somewhere.  If you look him in the eye, don’t be distressed if he sits down on the floor, hides under the pew or puts his head down when you ask him a question. Eye contact is like nails on a chalkboard when he doesn’t know you.

But…he is five years old and has been reading for more than 2 years. He loves phonics and argued the idea with me today that “ph” should sound like “f.” Made perfect sense to him. He finds complex patterns in words and designs. He loves numbers and is obsessed with anything ending in a 0000.  The hymn books at church are a guaranteed source of distraction while he searches for 100, 200, 300 etc… He does simple addition and subtraction in his head, yet has never been taught how to do math. He plunks out tunes on the piano that he’s heard, but no one’s taught him.

It will be an interesting ride!  

Getting dressed this morning a new rule was introduced. No pants or shirts with zipper pockets. It took three tries through the pants drawer to find a suitable garment.  No explanation as to why…just no zipper pockets.

So…we’re in for a treat with this child. 

An amazing, complex, brilliant, sweet, sensitive, irritating, frustrating, loving and beautiful child.