Doggy-sitting Sammi for 10 days! 

26 Feb

   
    
   

Flu bad!

26 Feb

   
    
 

Hanging by his arms in between the living room chairs and he said: “wow. My hands are getting colder and colder and colder” 😂

13 Feb

  

Videos!

10 Nov

I know I’m the absolute worst with this blog lately. I think about what I would love to be writing nearly every day, but the sun rises and sets far too quickly lately.

We have moved to a new apartment.

Things are going really well.

Asher is the most precious 3 year old ever to have lived.

Phillip is wonderful and a hard worker.

I’m learning lots of German and feeling very settled and comfortable in my daily routine (which hopefully doesn’t mean something is about to be thrown out of whack!).

My parents will be here to visit us in a few days and we are SO excited!

And here are some videos:


This one cuts out because of my darn phone capacity, but he will often just randomly start “breathing” like this, which means he’s pretending to be Darth Vader.

And my current favorite:

Asher is super in to talking about dreams right now. He asked us not too long ago what dreams were (after hearing the word in a song). We explained dreams to him and then started giving him examples of dreams, which really just means we started making up ridiculous stories of things about which he “might” dream. The dreams usually start out with something that he knows and understands, and then something very strange will happen, and then the ‘dream’ always ends with us saying that he wakes up in bed and asks himself “Was that real?! Nooooo, it was a dream!” He has refused to try, but today he “talked about” two dreams for me. I got the second one on camera and I love it! I’ll write a transcript below, in case you can’t understand him.

“What if you have a dream that you were doing make-up on, and suddenly your make-up gets REAL. And your make-up talks to you real. And it says “hello Bre. Hi.” And you say “Hi…What?! That’s not real!” …and you say: “I’m in my room… was that real? Noooo, it was a dream!”

Wanguage.

12 Sep

This video cut out a bit, but all that you miss is me asking the question: “What language does your friend Mateo speak?”  Well, that and the ending where it cut off because my phone storage is too teeny.

And this was him at the glasses shop waiting while his frames were being adjusted yesterday. He is very in to playing pretend right now and this is one of his current go-to personas:

Hahahahahaha I love it! Whenever he hears someone say something he doesn’t understand he always asks “Hey… what he speaks?” He’s really become interested in languages lately. He knows that we speak English at home and that most of our neighbors speak German at home. Except for his little friend Nate, who is from the UK and, according to Asher, “Nate speaks Engwish wif an accident.” hahahaha He means an “accent,” of course. Though he typically responds to German in English, he responds appropriately which lets us know that he understands. He uses his teeny little voice to say “Gruezi!” to all the passers-by when we’re out walking and he says “d-d-danke!” whenever someone gives him something when we’re out. He also does one heck of a robot impression and likes to pretend that he is a kitten or puppy, who apparently have extremely high-pitched voices. lol Oh, Asher! He’s nothing if he’s not entertaining!

Asher videos

9 Sep

Hi, All! 

Life is busy. You get the drill. But here are a few cute recent vids of our boy. 

 

In his boxer briefs conversing with an older neighbor who was working outside of our cracked window. You can’t really hear what she’s saying until the end when she says “Bye bye Asher,” but just hearing a little bit of what he said to her makes me smile. 

 

Last weekend we were so happy to get to spend some time with our dear friends the Galiks. Naomi is 2.5 months younger than Asher and they are, in their own words, best friends. They play so well together that it is unbelievable! Not only do they just enjoy entertaining each other, but they are SO incredibly polite to each other! They offer each other turns, say “please” and “thank you” and “you’re welcome” and “excuse me” and “Oh, excuse ME.” hahaha They are kindred spirits and we are thankful for Naomi (and her parents and sister!). Anyway, here they are playing together (and wearing matching shirts!): 

 

And finally, I just think this is cute. I love conversing with him. hehehe

Asher is “FWEEEEE!”

21 Aug

Asher doesn’t nap anymore… Aaaaaand… I’m behind on my posts again (Correlation AND causation). At this point in my life/Asher’s life, I can’t sit down and realistically hope to write (or do) anything (substantial or not) when Asher is around. He will play by himself really well when I am cleaning or sometimes when I cook or just up doing something. But heaven forbid I sit down. I absolutely cannot sit down by myself without ticking him off. He especially hates when I try to sit with my computer. We don’t really give him much screen time, so perhaps he thinks that if he can’t have screens then neither should I. I don’t know what the deal is, but I know that I can’t sit with my computer without a huge fight going down that leaves us both frustrated and nothing having been accomplished. heheheh Oh, life! (to illustrate this, I started writing this 4 days ago. Today is Thursday).

So anyway, this is to tell you a bit about Asher’s birthday! Woohoo!! He was so excited this year! He understood exactly what was going on and was SO happy to be celebrating his birthday. His birthday was on Sunday, but we decided to celebrate the whole weekend starting on Saturday by taking him to a little German town right on the border. We mainly went to see the aquarium for his birthday, but we ended up shopping and having dinner there too. Rather than explain everything, I’m just going to post pics from his birthday in various slide shows on here and attempt to share our day with photo captions. That might be easier for me to write and easier for you to read or not read – whatever you prefer. 🙂

 

I think you have to click on them to see the actual slide show. You can do that, or you can just thumb through here enlarging whichever ones you want to see better. I don’t know. Do whatever you want. Oh, one more thing — I made multiple slide shows. There are four of them. I tried to separate them so you will know where they end/begin. Hopefully it won’t be too confusing. This isn’t my best Blog post, but I am struggling for time right now and I just want to do this! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a few other random pics from the Saturday birthday day trip:

 

 

These are from his birthday-day

 

 

 

These next ones are mostly from our afternoon at a park by the lake on his birthday. After this we went home and bathed him (he was FILTHY) and made his favorite dinner (pasta with fresh veggies on the side) and had a “dinner date” so he could watch Cars 2. He has sort of seen it before, but never really paid attention. He loved it! It was a great day. 🙂

Vienna!

15 Jul

Vienna! Ah, it was so beautiful! I am going to try to tell you all the great things we were able to do while in Vienna. Woo! Here goes…

We arrived on Saturday around lunch time. We spent a little bit of time wandering around the airport buying local SIM cards for our phones and figuring out what types of train tickets we needed. Then we headed into the city to find our hotel. The airport train brings you only to a single station that is in a mall, so we walked around the mall for a while to get Phil some socks and Asher some food. The app we were told to use for train/tram/bus connections was no good, so we were completely lost and not at all feeling up to walking for an hour to find our hotel. It was difficult to figure everything out, but we were able to figure out via 3G that there was a tourist info office not too far from where we were, so we headed there to get help with public transportation. Um… even I’m getting boring as I type that, so I’ll skip ahead.

Phil’s conference officially started Sunday afternoon, so we had a semi-slow morning on Sunday, then Asher and I decided to head out for the day to let Phil work on his presentation before leaving for his conference. Asher and I went to the Schönbrunn Tiergarten (zoo), which is the oldest zoo in the world. It was a beautiful zoo with a great selection of animals. Asher loves elephants, so we were both happy that we were able to watch the elephants get some special treats that day. A bigger elephant kept pushing a little guy one when he tried to steal her treats. It was, as zoos often are, a good mix of adorably entertaining and sadly depressing. We also saw some HUGE hippos. The hippos at the Zürich zoo are kind of small — like the size of fat sheep or something — nothing like the whoppers they had at the zoo in Vienna. Hippos are super dangerous, right? We couldn’t really get in to the hippo pen, but I was kind of shocked at how low the gates were (maybe almost as high as my chest) and how close these enormous hippos were. I feel like I just read a story recently of a woman who was bitten in half by a hippo. Oh well. No one was eaten the day we were there, so we went about our business as usual. We also saw a panda bear, which was fun to see. There was a woman next to me who was recording a video on her iPad of the panda eating some bamboo (she said he was eating eucalyptus, but it was bamboo). She eloquently narrated some very interesting facts about panda bears (they are one of the rarest mammals on Earth? Is that true?) and said many times that it was such a “beautiful creature.” I agreed that the panda was a beautiful creature, but I just didn’t have the heart to tell her that she hadn’t started the video recording. We also saw koala bears, which were tiny and adorable. I have been to several zoos in my life, but I don’t remember if I had ever seen a koala before. Oh, another favorite of the day were 3 PRECIOUS baby cheetahs! They had tall skinny legs, super thin bodies, and the most preciously beautiful little kitten faces. Oh! So cute! Asher and I stood and watched the baby cheetahs do absolutely nothing for a solid 15 minutes as we echoed each other with rounds of “awwwwww.” So cute!

 


Monday was supposed to be super hot. I didn’t bring a strong SPF sunscreen and really didn’t feel like sweating all day, so I took Asher to an indoor water park. It was a teeny bit ghetto, as water parks have a tendency to be, but it ended up being a really great day. It was inside in the middle of the city, and I’ll tell you what — Europeans sure know how to make excellent use of the space that they have available to them! It was just one large room that included: a lazy river, a big wave pool, a single water huge slide that went all around near the ceiling of the building, a baby pool (that was super warm… presumably from all of the urine in it), a little kids pool complete with playground equipment, a bigger kids pool with some slides and a pirate ship to climb in, and a little ring-around type pool that had water that pushed you SUPER quickly around the twists and turns (that was my favorite – I held on tightly to Asher and we both zipped around and around, enjoying the cool stream and trying our darndest not to drown). Since it was just the two of us, I didn’t get any pictures of Asher swimming, much to my dismay. I snapped a few selfies when we took a break for lunch, but that’s it. That night we met Phil at the hotel and went to a great little Italian place near our hotel.

Tuesday Asher and I went to the Leopold Museum to see the Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele collections, among other Viennese artists. I was a bit nervous bringing Asher to an art museum by myself, but that little boy did GREAT. I explained to him that we had had lots of fun at the zoo and swimming, but that this was an adult place that was not for playing. The rules were that he had to let me hold him or sit in his stroller quietly and that he was not to walk around on his own. He said okay, so we went in. I carried him around and we talked about everything we saw on the first 2 floors. Though I hadn’t planned out how I was going to talk to Asher about war yet, we ended up talking about war, since there was an entire section dedicated to Viennese art depicting World War 1-inspired images. (this month marks the 100 year anniversary of the start of WWI, so there were exhibits all over town about it). Asher seemed both interested in and saddened by war, which I guess is good enough for a toddler. When we saw pictures of violence he said “Oh! No…” with a vocal tone that emphasized a disappointment in humanity well beyond his two little years of age. He enjoyed pictures of children, but not when they were sad. He enjoyed colorful pictures and definitely saw some of what we call in this house “booty-butts” …and he saw plenty of other other body parts that I tried not to talk too loudly about with him. You know the types of images I’m referencing, right? A lady ought not type such words on her Blog, but I will say that the body parts he saw rhymed with “Bagina” and “bun-bircumcised benis.” Art! Amiright?

Wednesday we had an appointment to visit the ZOOM Kindermuseum in the Museumquartier in Vienna. I was particularly excited about this since I used to bring DJ and Finn to the awesome children’s museum in Richmond and I have always wanted Asher to experience something like that! I just assumed that all children’s museums must be great. The one in Vienna, though… eh. It was alright. The organization of it all, in my opinion, was terrible. You can’t go in without a reservation, which seems strange. Then they bring EVERYONE into the little ‘age-appropriate’ area at the same time for one hour. We were in the “Ocean” room for kids ages 0-6. It was beautifully decorated and had lots of really great play areas for little kids… but not when they are all let in to run amuck at the same time! And that’s a big age range. There was a daycare/school group of 5-6 year old who were basically just terrorizing all of the little kids. Asher was really overwhelmed by all of the kids pushing and yelling and taking and just being dreadful (you know that type of kid). No one was watching the school-aged kids and I very quickly became “that” mom who was shouting “NEIN! GEH!” at random kinds when they started shoving poor Asher around. There was an “ocean” area, then you could go up into a big boat, and then step off of the boat and into the “jungle.” Again, it was a great place, but just not entirely conducive to great play when everyone goes in and out at the same time together. I got some pictures, but I feel like they are the kinds of pictures that lie, since they look like Asher was having a great time when in fact he was borderline miserable. We were in the room for exactly one hour and then in a quick rush, they told us all to leave. Asher and I were both a bit irritated when we left. We did that and then we got lost walking around the city for a bit. We ended up going to the House Der Musik that same day, which was a great time for both of us. We learned about what sound is and how it works and got to listen to lots of different sounds. That museum wasn’t necessarily geared towards small children but it was extremely interactive and Asher really enjoyed most of it. (*Edit* After I wrote all of this, I realize I think we did the Haus Der Musik after the Leopold Museum and we actually went shopping after the children’s museum, but I don’t want to rearrange my photos and paragraphs after all of that… and because Asher is demanding some attention right now so I really just need to be done!)

If you’re not on Facebook, then you have not yet seen Asher’s great dance video that I posted the other day. Here it is: 

Thursday Asher and I got up fairly early and went to the fabulous Schönbrunn Palace. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that, since it seemed like a big trip, but it ended up being SO worth the time and effort. It was gorgeous! We took the smallest tour available. It was like 25 rooms or so, which ended up being perfect. I was given a little audio guide and was able to move through at my own pace, which, once I got a room or two ahead of a guided tour group, was great. I learned a lot about the Austrian imperial family and some about the culture and architecture of the 17th, 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries (I think that’s about right). I realized just how much we normally focus on religious history while walking through the palace because every time we’d see a new painting or wall mural Asher would say “Is dat Jesus?” After the palace tour, we walked along some of the back gardens and took some pictures. A person or family could easily spend a day or two there because there was so much to do and see! There were TONS of gardens, plenty of tours and demonstrations, and everything was just gorgeous. We ended up only staying for a few hours, but it was a great trip that we both really enjoyed. That was the place I most wished Phil could have visited with us. He would have really enjoyed it. Then after the palace Asher took a short nap in his stroller and we headed over to the Prater, which is a famous amusement park in Vienna and the reason I decided not to stay all day at Schönbrunn. I had read some really excellent reviews for the place, but man. It was strange. You know that bad feeling you get at skanky carnivals? The one where you keep wondering if someone just grazed your butt with their hand? The one that sneaks into your stomach when an acquaintance full-body hugs you for a few seconds too long? Yeah. That’s the vibe I got from the Prater. Since I was alone there with Asher, so we stuck to the little kid rides and they were all, I’m quite sure, from the first generation of carnival rides ever created. Shoot, maybe they were THE very first kiddie carnival rides ever created. First of all – They were FILTHY. And they so old and run-down looking that I really felt like I was walking around a list of Buzzfeed photos depicting abandoned places. The people who worked there seemed either to be stoned out of their minds or just plain ol’ out of their minds. Seriously. One of the younger guys who was running one of the kiddie rides went into a back shed looking thing between ride-runnings with another doped-out looking skinny guy for a few minutes. I have no idea why they were going in there, but I assume it was to do lines of drugs… or drop drugs… or whatever the correct drug-doing terminology would be. The other ride operators were really old people who had overly-expressive clown-like facial expressions and walked around talking to themselves. Maybe their faces looked like that because they didn’t have any teeth. Maybe they looked like that because they were partially melted after being outdoors for the better part of a century. Who knows? A few of the rides that Asher went on the ride operator turned on the ride for Asher and then literally WALKED AWAY. Ummm… is that safe? They also never questioned his age (lots of the rides he went on said they were for ages 4 and up), even when I said “he’s only 2” they just looked through me like I didn’t exist and motioned for him to hop on. Don’t get all up in arms with me about it, Asher made it out unscathed. There were a few that I just outright said no to because I didn’t know if I could trust that he’d be safe on them, but I did let him go on the ones with strings, er, safety belts I mean. It was a really, really weird place. It smelled bad and felt… sad. Just weird. We didn’t go on the super famous and old ferris wheel that I had originally planned to ride, but we went on another ferris wheel. That was the only ride I went on that day and it was, despite the rest of the place, nice. I’ll tell you, though, I used to love the thrill of being way high up in the air, but the last several years I think I’ve developed a relatively stressful fear of heights… especially when my 2-year-old wants to climb around and look out everywhere while the little circle-thing we’re sitting in wobbles back and forth and when the guard rails are too short and the doors are practically non-existent. We quickly made some “rules” and then we snapped a few pics when we were high in the air. It was a bit of a rush for both of us, and, though it was a little bit scary, it was worth going up there for the the cool breeze and the great view of the city.

That was the last day of Phil’s conference, so Friday we were finally able to spend the day with Phil! It was great! We got up and went out for a nice relaxed breakfast. Then we headed to St. Stephen’s Cathedral, which I had been excited to see with Phil all week. It was, of course, gorgeous. We ended up going on a tour of the catacombs beneath the cathedral, which was quite interesting. I had never seen human skeletal remains before… and now I’ve seen several the skeletal remains of thousands of people and stacks and stacks of human bones. Spoiler alert: They look just like the fake ones you can but at Party City in October. Asher was pretty interested in the coffins and the bones. I was really interested in the tour guide’s weird accent. Both his German and his English sounded like he was speaking with a rubber band around his tongue, which is kind of typical for Austrians, I think. Weird. After St. Stephens, we went to enjoy a world-famous Café Sacher torte and some coffee. It was a cold and rainy day, so we were happy to have anther opportunity to do something we wanted to do indoors. After that, we headed to the Jewish museum. Vienna was a very important city for Jewish people for a long time, since it was the home to a huge population of Jews for many years. The museum had a LOT of plaques and things for reading. LOOONG readings. It was all very interesting, but not entirely practical with Asher. He did well, but still. Neither Phil nor I read everything, but it was definitely worth seeing. We learned how the Jewish population grew and prospered in Vienna, and then of course there was a lot dedicated to the Jews being exiled and killed during the war, and then the rebuilding of the local Jewish population and a bit about the modern day Jewish community in Vienna. What a sad, sad history this world has. I will say that that museum in particular made me proud to be an American. America may not be perfect, but thank goodness for America’s support of Jewish people in WWII.

Saturday we had another fairly slow morning. We all took showers, had some coffee, then packed up all of our stuff to check out of the hotel. We left around 11 and then went to see the city with our 2 little suitcases in tow. We ended up not doing tons of crazy stuff that day. We went to the Augustine church, which dates back to the 14th century and was where some of Austrian’s imperial family were married. It was small, but worth seeing. We took Asher to a playground for a while, so he could burn off some energy and do his little kid thang for a bit. There were lots of beggars in Vienna. There are plenty of homeless people in Zürich, but not so many decrepit-looking ones with their hands out like in lots of other big touristy European cities. We passed one guy in particular near the playground. He looked so sad. I watched him for a while while Phil and Asher played in the park. I saw tons of people pass him, and only a few people acknowledge his existence. That broke my heart. I have no idea why he was homeless and unhealthy-looking and poor, but he was a person. I always used to think it was cheesy when my Mom would say “there but for the grace of God go I…” when seeing pitiful looking people, but I thought it that day. Bless that man’s heart. I gave him some change the second time we walked past him. Though we really don’t have many people like that in Zürich (at least not that I see), I’m going to try hard to “see” people like that, rather than looking the other way, even though it makes me uncomfortable. Anyway, after the playground, we went to the Austrian National Library museum, which houses over 200,000 books that date all the way back to the 16th century and is absolutely beautiful. There was a really interesting WWI exhibit set up in there, which we enjoyed. I know a bit about WWII, but until last week I didn’t realize how little I knew about the first world war. I really learned a lot from all of the WWI exhibits I saw last week and it, like the second one, was terrible. After the library museum, we went to see St. Charles’ Church. It was gorgeous from the outside, but for some reason they charged 8 Euro per person to enter and see the sanctuary, which we were really not interested in paying. It was too hot and we had already spent too much money and we thought it was stupid to charge people to go into a church, so we turned our noses up at the people and stormed out, which I hope taught them a lesson on being normal. Well… we didn’t exactly “storm out,” or make any sort of “impression,” but still… we left quietly. We then headed to the airport, had a quick and easy flight home, and then sprinted through the pouring down rain from the bus stop to our lovely home and practically straight into our lovely, lovely, lovely beds, which were the very best part of coming home. Asher fell asleep on the way home, which always makes bedtime a breeze since he just transfers right to bed at night. He was SO out of it when I took him to the bathroom and took off his clothes, but as soon as I put him into his own cozy bed that he had obviously missed all week, he let out an excited giggle and wiggled into the blankets with a HUGE sleepy grin. He was happy to be home. 🙂

Though our main daily excursions before Friday didn’t include Phil, Asher and I were happy to be able to have dinner together with him every night. We rarely-to-never eat out in Zürich, so we all enjoyed getting to try new and different delicious foods together. We went to a few different Italian places, a Mexican place (no bueno this far from Mexico), a few Viennese places, and an indian place. It was great. The German word for “Viennese” is “Wiener.” I must share that I giggled seeing the word “Wiener” everywhere, just like I used to giggle when I first moved to Zürich and had to get used to seeing and hearing the word “Fahrt” at all the train stations. hahaha Silly German language! And just for kicks, here are a few random pics that didn’t fit into the other spots:

 

So there you have it! That was our trip!

Another quick update!

4 Jul

I have a lot to do today, but I wanted to write another quick update for everyone since Asher met with a speech pathologist today and since we will be busy for the next week.

Phil wasn’t able to come with us this morning, so Asher and I went alone. we were almost 20 minutes early, which was a problem, since there is no waiting room. haha We went across the street and enjoyed some Spinatwähe (spinach quiche type thing, only very Swiss) and some freshly squeezed juice. It was actually quite nice to sit for a minute before the appointment.

I digress. So the lady we met with was really really nice. She’s not at all old, but definitely older than me. Maybe the same age as my parents or older. I’m not a good age-judge of Brits. She’s from the UK, which is nice, since going to a German-speaking SLP could get difficult. I’m already digressing, I think. I really need to just write what I need to write. *ahem*

She said yes. Asher has a problem. :/ She said not to worry about it for a few days and she will send me information on things to do with him at home. She said if after a few weeks we don’t see much/any improvement, then we will start going in to see her regularly for ‘therapy.’

I still have not replied to Erin’s comment that she left on my last post, but I really appreciated the thought(s) and I did mention the second language thing to the lady today. We plan on putting Asher in to a Spielgruppe (play group? The closest thing we have in the US to a Spielgruppe is a preschool, but there are no academics in Spielgruppen) to give him a chance to play with other kids and to help him strengthen his German. She said that since he has such strong language/verbal skills (other than articulating sounds, obviously), she said that, though that is a problem for some kids, the second language shouldn’t be a hinderance to him at this point.

So basically she confirmed what Phil and I already knew. I was both relieved and saddened to hear her say that he does need some help. I thought he did, but then that news that something is “wrong” with my baby just hits my heart hard, you know? BUT I am very glad to know that we have found a very kind, knowledgable lady who can help him. He is really struggling and the help is going to be a blessing. Here’s hoping we can apply the techniques she will teach us easily and that they will help him!

Oh, one more thing before I end this — she said that, as we move forward, if we are for some reason not making progress, she knows tons of great people who are able to take an even broader approach in order to target the root of Asher’s problem. Specifically, this came up when we were talking about his vision issues and the ways in which Phil and I have been uncomfortable with the Atropine drops that he received for over a year. Hopefully it won’t come to needing more help, but it’s good to know that there’s help out there.

I’m starving, so if this sounds a bit melancholy, that’s a large part of it. I’m super hangry over here. I am sad about how much Asher has been struggling lately, but I left the lady’s office today feeling encouraged and very hopeful. Right now I just need to eat. 🙂

AND — Asher was SO good and SO precious while we were with the lady. She offered him cookies, and he very politely said “Dhanks!” …and then asked for another “p-p-p-p-p-pwease?” …and another … and another. hahaha He doesn’t normally like cookies, but he liked whatever she was giving him. She complimented his behavior and manners and hilarious sense of humor and said over and over again that he is adorable. All things I already knew, but of course I like hearing that from strangers. He’s a good boy. 🙂

Quick update on Asher

25 Jun

Hi, all! This is an informal and quick update to let everyone know about Asher and the random things he’s had come up lately. I really don’t feel like writing right now, but I want to let you all know that we’re in the process of getting him sorted out.

First of all, he’s started stuttering really badly. We don’t know what exactly is “bad” for his age, since stuttering in general is fairly common among children ages 2-5ish. We first noticed that he started doing it a few months ago, maybe in February, but since he’s so young we really didn’t think much of it and decided to completely ignore it. He started to notice he was doing it and shortly after that he kind of slowed down and wasn’t doing it as much. But then about a month ago it came back full force! It was so bad that he could hardly say a word for a solid week and then just chose not to talk for about 3 days. He was miserable. Needless to say, it was both heartbreaking and worrisome. So we started looking in to what we need to do to help him through this. We got some pointers from some widely-known stuttering support organizations and set up an appointment with his pediatrician. His pediatrician said that, because of Asher’s age, they don’t typically suggest any type of therapy or anything unless the child really seems to be suffering. But after a short conversation with Asher he said it would be best at least to get him evaluated. Though Ash still struggles to get words out a majority of the time, it has definitely been better since that one terrible week. He still does it more often than not and, though he tries to ignore it sometimes he just has to scream or cry or something and say “I DON’T HAVE ANY WORDS!” He wasn’t composing sonnets or anything, but he was articulating himself extremely well for his age not too long ago. He was speaking in full sentences, using quite a broad vocabulary, and enunciating fairly well. We’re wondering if his brain is perhaps more advanced than his motor skills, thus causing him to stumble? I really don’t know. We do have an appointment for him to be evaluated by a speech and language pathologist, though. So that will be good. I spoke with her briefly over the phone and she said that she thinks it will most likely clear up on its own, but that it’s best to evaluate him just in case she thinks he will need some sort of intervention. This sounds perfect. I know that, because of his age, chances are that he’ll grow out of this stutter, but Phil and I both feel best knowing that he will be evaluated by someone who knows what to look for in a child who needs help.

So that’s the first thing. The second thing that I want to do a quick update about is his vision. First, the good news: He has binocular vision now!!! This is so so so so so wonderful since this is something that is often never achieved by a person who has amblyopia. I’m positive that he has developed this so quickly because he was so young when we found out that he wasn’t using his eyes correctly. I have said it before and I’ll say it again — we are so thankful that our pediatrician knew to check his eyes! Some more good news is that his visual acuity seems to be improving. Visual acuity is the way that a person sees, regardless of their eyeball’s ability to see. Visual acuity has more to do with how the brain processes the visual information that an eye sends to it. So a person with a weak glasses prescription may actually have a much worse visual acuity than a person with a stronger prescription (with glasses on, I mean), because the visual acuity depends on how well a person’s brain can use the eyes. I hope that makes sense. It’s a hard thing to understand and thus a hard thing for me to explain. So anyway, Asher’s prescription is still pretty strong, but he is learning to use his eyes much better and thus seems to have clearer vision. He first “read” the eye chart (they have easier eye charts for small children) in February and really couldn’t see much of anything. But last week and this week he read the eye chart down quite a ways! Still not to 20/20 vision, but to I think 20/80 or 20/60 maybe, which is great! That being said, he still must continue to improve his vision. While we have heard great things about our pediatric ophthalmologist (PO), I’ve heard that she is the only one in Switzerland who uses Atropine (eye drops) therapy rather than patching to treat amblyopia. I’ve never been happy about the eye drops, since they are a very harsh chemical and I just hate putting a dangerous chemical into my baby’s eye every day. Plus, the more I have learned the more I realize that they really aren’t a terribly common practice. It can be deadly if swallowed and can cause some terrible side effects  even when used appropriately, which is quite scary considering we were using it on a child who really can’t verbalize any negative effects he’s experiencing. We had noticed, though, that he seemed very stressed for the past several months. We kept thinking it was transitions, or him being tired, or growth spurts, or whatever else, but he just kept seeming stressed and agitated. Knowing what we know about the drops, we decided it was time to ask to try something different. So at our appointment with our ophthalmologist last week, when she told us to continue 5 days/week of Atropine and that she’d see Asher again in 6 months, Phil and I looked at each other and then I said “well, we’d really like to stop the drops.” The PO kind of seemed annoyed, and without really responding took out a piece of film and stuck it to the inside of Asher’s glasses. She said, “okay. You can try this film on his lens instead. Leave it in until December. I HOPE it will work.” It’s hard to tell if she was actually upset or not, since her default facial expression seems to be “furious,” but whatever. Of course I want to treat Asher’s amblyopia, but Phil and I are both glad that we will no longer be putting those stupid drops in his eyes. Okay, now I’m rambling. So we stopped the drops. Another thing, though, is that we wanted to get a second opinion. So after doing some research, I learned that we should try out a developmental optometrist (DO) and was able to find one semi-close to where we live. So Asher and I went to meet this woman today! It was great! She agreed that Asher’s current glasses prescription is appropriate. She said he actually needs an even higher prescription, but it is best not to give a small child a full prescription because you want them to work hard to use their focusing power so that they don’t develop their vision in a way that is dependent on glasses if they don’t actually need them. I was surprised to hear that he actually “needs” a stronger prescription, since I had asked our PO about that several months ago, but was really only given her “who the heck do you think you are?” face. The DO said that his binocular vision is excellent, which was wonderful to hear. She had Ash in 3D glasses and looking at all kinds of different things — it literally brought tears to my eyes to see him so blatantly grabbing for the 3D images! The DO said not to keep the film in his glasses, but instead to do light therapy every day with him. She gave me red and green glasses (like, the lenses are colored, I mean) and a little light and told me to shine a light in his eyes through the different colors a few times each day. I don’t completely know why I should do this, but I’m going to look in to it. She also said that there is very new research that suggests doctors have been treating amblyopia all wrong for decades by blocking the vision in the good eye. She said that the real cause of amblyopia is that the amblyopic eye actually has TOO Much light, rather than not enough, and so if one eye should be blocked, it should be the amblyopic eye and that it can actually hurt a person’s vision to block the good eye. I don’t know how I feel about that yet, but I’m going to look in to it.

Okay, I’m definitely rambling now. I hear Asher back there mumbling to himself, which means there will be no nap today. I’m going to go so I can sit for a moment or 2 in complete silence until he starts demanding to get out of bed.

Oh, no… I have to say that the DO will not accept Asher as a patient unless we stop seeing the PO. This is just because the practices are a bit different, so it would be dangerous to do 2 different types of therapies on the same person. So we have some decisions to make! Our pediatrician wasn’t completely on board with us seeing the DO as opposed to the PO, since more verifiable research is typically associated with POs and DOs often rely more on “unproven” theories. I get that argument, but I also am sure that Atropine is not what my son needs right now. The pediatrician said it was fine if we wanted to check out a DO, but also recommended a new PO for us to try since he understood that we weren’t completely happy with our current one. We’ll see! Hopefully that all makes sense. Phil wasn’t able to come with us to the DO appointment this morning, and there are several friends/family members that I’ve been trying to keep updated about Asher’s stuff the past few weeks, so I really wanted to write all of this out while I have a moment to do so.

Asher is back there shouting “Oh, MOM AND DAD!” “MOMANDDAD!” “MOOOOOM AND DAAAAAAD.” hahaha Before I go get him I’ll tell you something adorable that he did this morning.

At the optometrist’s office we were moving back and forth from room to room for various kinds of exercises and ways for her to examine him. The office was quite small, and for most of the time we were there, it was just me, Asher and the DO who were there. Near the end, though, a young man walked in because he was her next appointment. Asher was really interested in this guy and when the optometrist greeted him Asher went “ohhhh, dat’s her daddy.” The guy was probably less than half her age, so I’m guessing that’s not the case. hahaha then As I finished up talking to the optometrist, Asher walked up to the guy and asked “Whats yo’ name?” The guy said “My name is Lars, what’s your name?” And Asher went “Oh, my name ith Ashuh.” Lars said, it’s nice to meet you, and Asher, having walked past Lars by that point, turned around and stuck his hand out to shake Lars’ hand. hahahahahaha He didn’t smile and didn’t act silly, he was just introducing himself and shaking hands like a grown up man. hahahahaha It was really cute.

While I’m on the topic of Asher being cute, I’ll tell you one more funny thing. Though he seems to understand a good bit of German, Asher mostly refuses to speak it right now. But yesterday morning I woke up to him shouting from the other room “Peepee machen! PEEPEE MACHEN!” So I went in and asked him (in German) if he needed to pee. He went “Ja.” Then he said “Ich am speaking German!” hahahaha Hopefully that translates into written words as cute and funny as it was to me. hehe

He’s really freaking out now. I guess I should go tend to him.