Wednesday, December 2, 2009

After the wife picked me up from work yesterday, we were riding home and she was explaining that she has Misha try different sounds while they ride around in the car.

With a bit of prompting, Misha proudly pronounced "Sh-sh-sh-kol-ya" (russian word for school is shkola). Then she asked him who was in his class. He replied, "de-ti" (deti = children). For the rest of the ride home, he continued spouting out those words. Of course by bed time, he would only say, "kol-ya".

While I brush Misha's teeth in the evening, we sing the "ABC song". He does fairly well alternating letters with me. He still gets hung up on "L-M-N-O-P" though.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Misha updates

Couple of quick Misha updates.

Misha has strung two words together finally. He began recently to say "Baba Cindy". That is a great leap for him. He doesn't even sign two words in a row generally. He surprised the nursery workers the other day when he told them "on" for some toy he was playing with.

Misha is also more receptive to new books. He occasionally will bring a new one over.

Praying is still going strong. I need to look up some more signs for him to expand his prayer repertoire.

He and Nikolai are quite the odd couple. They can be seen playing the piano together, or sitting at a table playing with stuff at the same time, but then they start taking toys away from each other and smacking each other (Nikolai hits harder than Misha does). Typical sibling relationships. And when Misha is getting changed or going to bed, he never fails to remind one that he thinks that Nikolai should go too.

Monday, October 19, 2009

20 Questions, Part II

My interrogating Misha on his day has started to pay off. It's quite exciting, actually.

Yesterday, I picked Misha up from nursery. He was happy to go, of course. Really a good thing. He is happy to go to nursery and happy to leave. No complaining, either way. Anyway, I digress.

As we were leaving nursery, walking down the hall to the room where Ira teaches, Misha pulled his hand out of mine and stopped. I stopped as well. Misha then started signing to me. He signed "play", so I confirmed/asked him if he played in nursery. He responded verbally with "ball". Then he signed food, so I asked him what he had for snack. He usually doesn't respond to this one without prompting, but this time he signed "crackers" and said "nana". That is marked improvement.

This is unique in that he is not asking for something. He is volunteering information without prompting. This is great.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monkey see, monkey do

As an aficionado of music, Misha will jump through hoops to listen to music he likes. Alisa reported the other day that Misha had tried to play a CD in the stereo. He must have observed Kiril doing this cause the downstairs is often turned into a discotheque.

Evidently, he procured a CD from one of the disc books hanging around. He walked over to the stereo "blowing" on the CD. Misha is working on blowing and so far puts his upper-lip over his lower and blows down. We are still working on that. Then he pushed the Open/close button, and put the disc in . It wasn't in correctly so it didn't close all the way, so he further attempts at getting it to play were foiled. But it's just another case at how observant Misha really is.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

20 questions

Misha is enjoying his school experience. He is progressing steadily in their curriculum and that is nice to see. So when I get home from work, I try to get some interaction going by questioning him on his day. There is kind of a format on getting Misha started with these kind of things. This usually involves prompting him with pointed questions that I generally know the answers to.

So it started out with something like "Misha, did you play at school today?" And Misha would then sign "play". Then we continued on to the next question.

Now I ask Misha what he did and he will sign "play". I can then ask him what else he did and he will answer. I am still prompting him about doing puzzles and color sorting but since neither of us know the signs for those, it's hard to get him to do that one. But I will ask him about his lunch and what he ate.

The same tactic I approached when teaching him to pray. Sometimes I would/will ask the kids who would like to pray. Misha started answering "Yah!" (russian for 'me'). So I started verbally "assisting" him to pray. Then I thought, "Wait a minute, he can sign!" and so I started trying to teach him some signs for praying. At first, it was all prompt, but lately he has got a hold of the concept and is doing stuff on his own. This usually cracks the kids up. For instance, last night he was in the "thanking" part of his prayer. He signed "thank you" then "food", then "mama", "food", and then said "Baba" (grandma), said "Mama", "Bya-bya", and "Ga-ga" (see last blog). Then we bless the food and he signs "Jesus" and said "Amin'".

So now I need to work on my signing vocab, so that I can teach him some more school and prayer words.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Misha strips!

I was thinking of what kinda picture to post with this, but it didn't think I would risk doing a search for something along the theme while on a lunch break at work. So this one will be without an image.

The good news is that Misha is beginning to undress by himself with some verbal prompting. It's easiest with the pajamas. They are loose and stretchy and he manages to get them off without much problem. We are also working on getting dressed with some hand-over-hand help. He seems to enjoy this especially when it's his Elmo clothes.

I recently found Elmo's Adventures in Grouchland for a couple bucks and brought it home. Misha loves Elmo, but hasn't quite warmed up to this yet. He watches a bit, but then wanders off.

Misha is making progress in school. He is learning color sorting and puzzles, which he seems to enjoy doing according to their daily progress reports. The new school is a good thing.

Misha and Nikolai are still trying to work on their relationship. There is a bunch of toy sharing issues and book sitting issues (Nikolai sits on the books Misha is looking at), and parental attention issues. But Nikolai is also starting to see in Misha a playmate...or play thing. He has started grabbing Misha from behind and hanging on. It is certainly entertaining to watch.

Misha's bedtime routine includes me telling him that it's time for bed and him starting on a list of people he thinks should also be in bed. It goes something like this:
"Misha, time for sleep." (This is after putting him in bed and singing a song or something)
(Misha signs "sleep)
"Nikolai is already in bed."
"Elmo is in bed, too."
(Misha thinks for a minute)
"Baba." (Baba Liza)
"Baba will go to bed in a minute."
"Mama will go to be in a while."
"Ga-ga." (???imaginary friend???)
"Ga-ga is in bed already."
"Bya-bya." (???too???)
"Bya-bya is asleep."
(Misha starts again)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Updates, updates everwhere and not a thought to think

Well, it's been a bit. Have been busy. So, here are the updates.

Summer is over. Although not much has changed. Ira decided to home school the kids using a virtual elementary school. Our local district was out of places, so she signed them up (it uses the same curriculum) in a neighboring district. She likes it, though it makes her busy. She is going to be even busier when Dasha starts waldorf.

Ira -- Crazy Russian mom. Homeschooling the kids (her angle is that she gets to learn all this stuff too). She is going to be teaching 3 part days a week at the pseudo-waldorf school. I tell her she is going to be so busy she will drive either herself or me into the nuthouse but she doesn't believe me. Oh, why doesn't she believe me.

Asya -- Started home school. Math still takes her a million years, but she adores history. Can't get enough. Still reads like she is dying of thirst. Get's a kick out of Ira's faux paus when dictating ("singers??? of the Declaration of Independence").

Kiril -- Also started home school. Everyday he whines about how he hates it, whines when Ira makes him correct his mistakes, but still gets done in time to play half the day.

Dasha -- Enjoying life like only a 7 yr old can. She loves playing and can entertain herself for hours. Put her together with Kiril and they get silly really fast.

Bo-ba -- Nikolai is a normal 1 yr old. He is toddling all over the place. Ira finally decided she was tired of him waking up to snack in the middle of the night and got him to sleep through the night in just two or three evenings. He is also building a vocabulary: Mama, Papa, Baba, Allo (when the telephone rings), hamburger (he got that from Misha), Asya, Dasha, Aff-aff (dog, also from Misha), etc. He is a handful.

Misha -- Me-me started school this week. He seems to really enjoy it and is learning. The autism structured class seems to be a beneficial thing. He is learning to sit still, put his feet down, etc. A guy that served in Ukraine the same time as I is one of the asst instructors in his class. He is getting clever though. He can open the doors, if they are not deadbolted and escape, which he has tried. He took off from Baba the other day in the park and headed for a busy street on the far end of the park cause he wanted to see the cars. Baba finally caught up with him right at the street. We gave him a talking to and now he knows that cars can give him owies.

Me -- same ole same ole. Work, work, work.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Off and on for the past few nights, minus the night we were "camping", Misha has been getting up a few hours after going to bed crying. I haven't quite figure out what it could be, unless he is having nightmares.

After he wakes up and tries to leave the room, which is bad enough cause he would certainly wake up Nikolai, and who needs two screaming kids in the middle of the night, he won't calm down unless someone is in the room with him close. One night I was trying to get to sleep (I don't get enough as it is), and he started screaming. So I put him back in bed and tried to go back my own. As soon as I closed the door he was crying again and trying to leave his room again. Finally I pulled Kiril off his bed and told him to sleep on Misha's bed with him.

Last night when it started I put him back in bed, which of course didn't work cause he started screaming again. I finally decided to not let him leave, but not chase him back to bed. So I held the doorknob. He screamed and screamed and would run back to bed and then back to the door screaming and crying. After a couple minutes of that though, he gave up and went back to bed on his own.

So I am left wondering if he is having nightmares at night. Does he dream of a big bathtub of water and him behind a fence, or of me coming at him with a pair of hair clippers and some eye drops.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Misha and the haircut

We finally gave in and gave Misha a haircut yesterday. His hair was so long, it was getting in his eyes. Based upon the past couple times we have done this, I was expecting the worst.

Misha had been outside playing in the water and was all wet and probably dirty, so Ira put him in the tub with Nikolai. Then she called me upstairs to do the deed. When she told Misha that we were going to cut his hair, he began to get excited/agitated. It usually takes a presidential order and some physical force to get him out of the tub, but when she announced a haircut, Misha stood up, climbed out of the tub and made a run for it. I caught him before he made it out of the bathroom and have no idea where the streaker was planning on hiding, but he was determined to escape.

It actually didn't go so bad. He didn't like it, of course, but I didn't have to tie him in knots to get him to sit still enough to cut it. And it turned out fairly even.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


This sibling rivalry thing is getting out of hand. Misha gets so upset when Nikolai get a diaper changed that one day recently, I just pulled him up on the couch, removed his shorts, un-velcro-ed his diaper, re-velcro-ed it, put his shorts back on and he was happy as a bug.

Misha gets jealous when I trim Nikolai's nails too. The funny thing is, when I get to Misha's nails, he doesn't even like getting them trimmed, but if Nikolai has them done....

Yesterday, I noticed an all NEW behavior. Nikolai, like all little kids is in a phase that he likes to swat you in the face if you get close. We are trying to teach him not to do it. So, yesterday, when he smacked Ira in the face, we said, "No-no, Nikolai, don't hit. Be nice. etc." And what does Misha do? He runs over and smacks Ira in the face. Earlier I had been playing the guitar while sitting on the floor. Nikolai had crawled over and was hampering my attempts to play by putting his hands on the strings. No sooner had I told him not to and removed his hands, Misha was there putting BOTH his hands on the strings.

I have yet to use this to my advantage. I really need to try the bed time thing. I am also thinking that it's time to potty train Nikolai.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Farm and the War

A couple weeks ago, Ira talked her friend into going down to her friend's parent's farm in The-Farthest-Point-From-The-Bright-Center-Of-Civilization city again (It's right outside Capitol Reef National Park). The last time they went down, I had just started a new job, didn't have any PTO, so I drove them down and then picked them up. In the meantime, I managed to get raw milk poisoning and tear my meniscus. When Ira mentioned how fun it was, I reminded her that my memories were less than fond.

Anyway, this time around, there was too little warning and really a bad time to be absent from work, especially with our corporate taskmaster PHBs breathing down our necks. So, I drove them down Tuesday evening, spent the night, drove back to work Wednesday and then back Friday afternoon to pick them up. So much fun. Misha stayed home with Baba Liza cause Ira didn't think she could keep track of Misha and Nikolai at the same time. Misha and I did go swimming, which he absolutely loves. And we ate french fries. I think he really liked the 1-on-1 time with Baba and Me.

Friday when I went down, I drove quickly home from work and picked him up and he absolutely was thrilled to go on the 3 hr drive down there. So, coming back home, Nikolai was tired and he isn't as enthusiastic about road trips as Misha is, so he was crying and squawking nearly the entire ride back. Misha doesn't like it when Nikolai squawks, so Misha would belt out his own annoyed squawk every so often....I love going down to the farm!!! At least Ira and the kids had fun.

Church every week has turned into a battle. The older 3 monsters actually usually conduct themselves fairly well. The two youngest monsters have declared war. The Nikolai-Misha squawkfest continues there. Nikolai is just a one year old who doesn't want to sit on laps anymore. Misha doesn't like it particularly either, but if you let him go, he immediately goes for the accordian door seperation and starts pushing it back and forth. Even when you hold him, he start hooting, trying to get a good echo. He loves nursery though. Loves to go, loves to leave. He has even slipped out on occasion, from what they have told me. The only way to get both of them to somewhat calm down is to occupy them with animal crackers or other such goodies. I guess it's a blessing in disguise though, cause if I didn't have one or more worm on my lap, I am sure I would be dozing off.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sibling rivalry

Misha has sibling rivalry issues big time. Whenever one of us is holding Nikolai or playing with him, feeding him, or whatever, Misha is there, vying for attention. Even if he has just eaten, he begs off Nikolai's food. When he is just changed, he will beg to be changed again if we are changing Nikolai. I already blogged on how he will try and push him away, or put his foot on his head. I have now found out a good use for this.

I was trying to get Misha to follow a 2-3 step instruction set. Go to your room, get a diaper, bring it back so we can change you. Misha was not moving. No motivation. He just looked at me and wandered over to a book and wasn't going to do it. After several times of trying to get him to do it, I finally told him, "Ok, I guess will change Nikolai's diaper then." Shooooom, Misha was off like a shot. Ran down the hall as fast as his wobbly little legs could take him and was back in record time with not one, but two diapers, climbed on the couch and was lying down waiting for me to change his diaper.

I wonder if it will work when it's bed time. "Misha, I guess I will have to go put Nikolai in bed."

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Misha is in

Ira is overjoyed. A while ago, she applied to have Misha accepted into a relatively intensive preschool run by a mental health group. They specialize in autism and have a very structured system.

So, Ira had me go with her to the eval. They did some one-on-one with Misha and ran him through their observation tests. They also had us fill out some intensive questionnaires. I blogged about them a bit ago.

Ira was crushed when they didn't accept Misha into the program. She decided to fight for it though and played all sorts of phone tag with them in order to have him retested. Finally, she got something set up for this past Tuesday. It was in Provo, not far from where I work, so she got me from work and we went together. I think she needs me for moral support...and to keep her from getting too combative. Mother Bear syndrome, sheesh.

I picked up on a couple of things in this eval. One, was that the original test was done without us. They observed Misha and didn't ask us questions. All the info they got from us was on the questionnaires, which were geared toward a mental health eval, not a special preschool eval. Two, the people doing the initial eval were interns. That could be why they didn't accept him the first time.

Misha does have some quirky behaviors that are autistic like. Social interaction is a major one...that is the lack of. He doesn't interact with kids his age. He barely interacts with his siblings and that is only when they dance with, sing to, twirl him or get him something he wants. He has a lot of interaction with Ira, myself, and Baba Liza. Then the list goes to Baba Cindy, Deda Robert, and then siblings. For instance, he barely interacts with Melanie when she is down from WA cause he doesn't know her. The wheel spinning, button pushing, the hesitancy to touch things or try new foods. The histerical laughter when we drive past phone lines...stuff like that.

So, Ira was on cloud 9 yesterday when they called and said he was accepted into the program. I still have hesitations, but that is from the length of class, not necessarily from the program. I guess we will see how it goes.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Misha forgets words too

Recently Brady's mom worried about him losing his only word, "Yah!" Has any one else seen that with their 1p36ers I wonder. We have. I am not sure it's right to say it's "comforting" to know that they are similar in this, but it's the possibility that it is connected to the syndrome that helps categorize it. Misha has picked up several words that he uses for only 1 day or maybe even a week, then they are gone. And no matter what we try to do to get him to say them, he wont. He just garbles out his default "word".

He said "park" one day 5 times. The next day it was gone. He also said "Stiiiiinky!" for a few days. Now he just says "Aaee-eeee" (the intonation is right, just the letters are gone). I did't know why he lost that one cause it was one of his favorites. There are other words, but those are the two that popped into my head. There has been only one case I know of where he actually improved his pronunciation of a word. With the song he likes us to sing "All night, all day..." he change Awww yay to Awww dyay all by his lonesome. I don't know whether it is due to apathy, laziness, or just the switch in his head flipping back off, but it has happened.

I don't worry too much for a few reasons. He is improving and growing and advancing. He is picking up other words and signs and sometimes I have to catch up to him. He is a blessing to be around. He is healthy. I figure someday, he will reach the dev stage where he will talk. But whatever, however and whenever he does will be fine with me.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Eval for Misha

Misha has an eval at a new preschool this week. Ira signed him up on the waiting list a couple of years ago and he finally came up at the top of the list. The hours are 6hrs a day 4 times a week instead of 3 hours. Not sure how I feel about that.

His eval was at 8am and kids had school at 8.30, so I dropped Ira and Misha off at the eval and took the kids to school and came back and joined the fun paper work. The questionaires are made by the sponsering company behind the preschool which is a mental health services provider. Ira made me laugh. She was marking the funniest things because she was taking them out of context.

For instance: there was a section with a bunch of stuff on emotional problems like anger. She had marked the behavior "Runs away from home." When I asked her about it she said, "He runs away from home." I corrected her, "No he wanders off. It's not the same. He doesn't get mad at you and run off." He would have to learn to get mad first. The other was under a suicide section. She marked that he was "Detaching self from others." We got a good laugh about it.

What was nice was when we came into get him (they eval'd him seperately), he got all excited ran over saying, "Yah! Yah! Yah! Yah!" and grabbed my hand. When I got home from work, he ran over and hugged my leg.'s nice to be loved.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Oh! Sole Mio!!!

Recently Misha has been trying to sing. What's funny is he doesn't do too bad, all things considered.

It all started about a year ago when we were are a birthday party for the daughter of a friend of a friend of a...dunno, somehow connected through the local Russian (Ukrainian, Uzbek, Ossitian, Georgian, Krgyz, etc) chain. I went cause they promised me yummy food. Anyway, when it came time to sing "Happy Birthday" Misha, who loves music, signed, "More". After a few times of me doing that, he made his attempt which I blogged about a when it happened here.

A month or so ago, Misha started singing another song from a russian movie and engaging us to sing it for/with him. The song starts, "Mama! Mama! What am I going to do? Mama! Mama! How am I going to live?" (translated losely from the russian song). Misha will try to get you to sing by getting in your face and singing, "Mama, Mama". The fun thing is that he gets the notes right.

His latest is the first part of "Angels watching over me" a gospel song. It goes "All night, all day angels watchin over me, my lord." He gets the tune right again, although he needs to work on the words more. It comes out more as "Aouu yay, aouu yay". But the point is that he is trying and I was thinking that this could be the key to getting him to talk more.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Little Dentist Shop of Horrors

Misha went to the dentist yesterday. He had a bit of decay on one molar and we thought it best to take him in. The other kids went in too. Asya has a canine that is coming in slowly through the gum, Kiril may have had some gunk but didn't, and Dasha had a little brown spot they drilled out and filled. He looked at Misha first, but decided to save his for last, so he got to watch the other kids go under the lamp. He was watching intermittently, signing "ouch" occasionally, and complaining the whole time. Then it was his turn.
The dentist, who is really good, sent Ira and the kids out. I got into the chair with Misha. I put his feet in between my legs, held, his hands against his chest with one hand, and held his head with the other. I thought I would be humane and also closed his eyes. He screamed the entire procedure which took just a few minutes. It's bad enough trying to brush his teeth, but this was torture for him. They didn't even have to deaden him. But he got a little revenge. A couple times he was able to chomp down on the dentists finger. Not that he did it on purpose, but hey...whatta ya do. He has been complaining to us about it ever since. He points to his mouth and lets us know that he knows it's all our fault that the mean ole dentist got a hold of him.

In other news, Kiril got baptised on Saturday. Yay. It was a fun day. We delayed it so that Baba Liza could attend. It went well. Kiril was excited. He got baptised with his friend Conner. And we had a banana split bar afterwards to celebrate.

I am working on putting tile in the master bath this week. Wheee. Will be so glad when it's done. Can't wait to be able to use my own bathroom and shower again. Also started biking to work again. Not too shabby after a break of a few months.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

School has been good for Misha. I think it very helpful for him to be in a different environment, with different people, and a different regime. So, for 4 days a week he misses his nap. The bus comes a bit before noon and brings him back around 4. Nap time is usually around 11 a.m.. So, when he doesn't get his nap, he tends to get a bit sleepy around dinner time. The picture is after trying to wake him up for a few minutes. It took several more and sticking a plate of food under him in order to rouse him enough to eat.

But school has been good. He really enjoys riding on the bus. They send a laminated page home everyday with a report. It has the snack options he had (sometimes those are visible on his face), the activities he participated in that day, and with which therapists he had time with. At the end an option explaining what kind of day he had. Misha has never come home with anything but "I had a good day, today." He has started another round of gains. Ira noticed that he was able to put pegs toys in the foam holes without problem. He has picked up several words and sounds. He tries to sound out the letters he studies in class. He even signs more. When we went outside the other day, he started signing something and it took me a minute to understand that he was signing "snow". He also tries butterfly which is a difficult one. The other day, I was lounging on the floor doing homework with the kids. Misha crawled up on my back and was sitting there bouncing. Baba Liza asked where he was going and he answered with a sign. She didn't understand it, but repeated it for me. He was signing "horse".

Friday, January 30, 2009

All tuckered out

It's been a trying few weeks. I am ready for a break of some kind. Although today it feels like the break is going to be my knee.

We recently put an offer in on a short sale house. In the meantime we listed our own house. The geographical difference is about 4.7 miles. So hopefully, we would find a buyer and get the bank to sell us the new one at the same time.

We are also trying to get our house presentable. This means fixing chips in the paint, leaky faucets, packing up some of our stuff, etc.

This couldn't have happened at a worse time. I have projects deadlining at work and am working from home in the evenings to try to get them done. Which means that in addition to dinner, homework, music, and work, I also have honeydo projects every evening. And inevitably while trying to fix one thing, I broke another. Sigh. Then work can't figure out what projects are the important ones so they switched. Sigh. And I am not sleeping enough. Yawn.....sigh. But I do realize there are worse things that could happen.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Give me your tired, your hot, your hungry masses yearning to breathe free.

She made it...finally. Tuesday morning, we made the trek up to SLC with all the kids, some relatives, and extras to a theater near the district court for Ira's Naturalization Oath Ceremony.

So with some excitement and a little bit of sadness, she raised her right hand, repeated the oath and woohoo, is an American Citizen.

I gotta say was torturous for me. What I will say is if you have the opportunity to participate in the future...leave smaller children home.

Unfortunately the balcony in the theater was about 90 degrees. The kids were dying. While we were supposed to be there promptly at 9 am. they didn't start until around 10 am. So she was sitting with the rest of the applicants, I was up in the overhot balcony with 6 hot, bored, hungry kids. At least until Mom showed up and relieved me of one of them. Then I had only wiggly Misha to take care of.

Once it started, it was fairly short and well paced. Part of the delay may have been the pregnant lady who went into labor and was administered the oath outside, then sent off in an ambulance to the hospital.

We celebrated by going to McDonalds cause the kids were starving, the Russian store cause Ira wanted to, and the stayed at home. I even got a nap. It was bliss.

All aside, I am glad we have hit this milestone. Now we can invite Baba Liza and she can get a green card. Yay.

Misha update: Misha is saying "hot"...more like "haa", but he is using it appropriately. He is also using "uh-oh" appropriately like when he drops something (intentionally or not), when someone else drops something, or when I start counting. He also started mimicing Kiril's lament, "Oh, man!"