September 2001 page 1 of 2
Sunday 2 September

Last night Dan was playing with Damian with the Fisher Price "tree house." (Supposed to be Robin Hood's forest, but not around this house.) Dan had snakes chase after the kids, who were scared. Then elephants came. One of Damian's current books has an elephant trampling on a snake (snake ends up okay, of course). So Damian quickly hid the snakes to keep them safe from the elephant. That's the kind of initiative we want to see more.

This morning Damian asked Dan, "Daddy, come." Dan said "where?" Damian said "to Damian's room." All standard stuff these days. Dan asked "why?" Damian said "play with toys." This is huge. We've had such trouble getting him to answer why questions. It requires a certain type of abstract thinking. We've been working on it: for instance, I often ask Damian why, and when he doesn't answer, I rephrase, "What are we going to do there?" and then he answers and I say "That's why" and elaborate a bit. Looks like he's started to figure it out.

Damian had NO PROBLEM AT ALL tonight with my washing his hair. I'd say the massages are definitely desensitising him (though not in a bad way -- he really enjoys the massage and sometimes overreacts to the deep pressure touch -- a kind of tickle-startle reaction). He put the wet washcloth on his own hair, though, and water dripped into his eyes. Not so happy about that, but after I dried it off, I could go right on with the hair-wetting. He got a little nervous for a while, but calmed when I soaped my hands with shampoo and positively beamed while I rubbed the shampoo into his scalp. I said it was like massage and asked if I should rub his scalp when I give him his massage tomorrow night. He said yes. So I'd say it went extremely well. An amazing difference.

After his hair washing adventure, Damian stood up to get out of the bath. He said something something something Starburst. We used to use the Starburst to get him to look up at the ceiling so I could rinse off the soap, so it's become a customary after-hairwash treat. I said I didn't understand, could he repeat that? He said "I want a Starburst." He got one. And then I realized what he'd just said: "Sweetie, here, have a Starburst." He must have been playing back an earlier bath experience in his head. Verbatim. I've heard autism can bring with it a phenomenal memory bank. Here's proof.

Monday 3 September

Damian was making funny noises with his mouth closed. I told him he sounded like a truck going backwards. He got up and started walking down the hall backwards, beeping.

Dan thought we should start asking Damian what his favorite X (food, toy, etc) is. In a way, it's similar to answering a "why" question. It requires a certain kind of thought and measuring in his mind. I tried it today. His favorite gummy bear is red. He told me with no hesitation. His favorite color flower is red too. Hmm. I asked what his second favorite color flower was. White. So it's not just red by rote.

He's learning how to wait for what he wants. Lately, when he wants something he just says it over and over like a record stuck in a groove. But today at the grocery store, he asked for juice. I told him it was in the car and he could have some when we got back to the car. He repeated it a few times and then moved on. He was happy to get the juice back at the car, so it's not that he forgot. He was able to wait. This is new. This is good. And tonight, he wanted a cookie. Dan told him he could have it after dinner, as dessert. This one was harder, but Damian did wait.

Whenever one of the Little People has an accident (falls out of a tree/car/ferris wheel), Dan has the doll cry and want a tissue, etc. Just like Damian. Damian wipes the mock tears with his shirt.

Some stims are emerging or re-emerging: jumping at random times (seems okay, mostly, maybe we can turn it into pretend play?), shaking his head fast (we say his head must be on loose and "tighten the screws" -- he laughs and stops), banging his head on the mattress and running into us, slamming his head/body into us (not so fun, but possible to turn it into a game). He also has been toe walking a lot. I know it's all theoretically bad, but the jumping is good for him in some ways (organizes him physically), and most of the other stuff seems like normal kid things to do; it's hard to know where to draw the line. It's also -- and I think this is important -- always easy to interrupt. He doesn't get stuck in it. He never did. Unlike some kids, I gather.

Damian seems to be (starting to be) able to recover from his own tears. He wanted a cord that went with the Nordic Track. When he saw that it wasn't in my hands, he cried. I told him he'd have to tell me without crying. He calmed down and told me what he wanted and I gave it to him.

Tuesday 4 September

I brought Damian to the park this morning. First we went on the big kid swings together -- he faced me on the swing and held onto the chains. Another mom and kid were a few swings away, doing the same exact thing. Damian was fascinated, kept looking over to check them out. I've noticed this lately, he seems more interested in other kids.

Then again... we got to the small fry playground area and were faced with two little girls, about 2 1/2 years old, running around chasing each other up the jungle gym. Damian froze. He was clearly terrified of going anywhere near them. They weren't so very rambunctious, but he found it completely intimidating. I sat him in my lap and tried talking him through it, but he didn't relax and enjoy himself there until they left.

Damian has finally discovered the drawer where we stash the gummy bear vitamins. He's seen me take them from there before but somehow never processed, "Aha, I can get me some of that." I gave him a few, told him he could have more tomorrow morning, and tried to distract him. It worked, but at the end of his massage, you know what he said? "I want a red one." "A red what?" "A red gummy bear." Pause. "I want a yellow one. I want red and yellow." Oy. Dare I say, he's turning into a three year old? Maybe not the same versatile language facility, but the intent sure is there.

He's very into miming my actions right now. This has been going on for a while, but it comes and goes, I think with the amount of symbolic play we engage him in. It's a kind of measurement of his interest/focus. It's nice to see. Also miming things he sees in books. Started flapping his arms like a bird in one of tonight's books. He likes being birds and airplanes these days.

Wednesday 5 September

First day back at school after 2 1/2 weeks off. New classroom. Same main teacher and one of the assistants is the same too. Thank god for that; it made the transition so much easier. Damian was uncertain at first, but settled in fairly well. May told me later that he warmed up and did very well, using his loud voice for singing and some talking too. Which meant he felt fairly secure. The class itself feels different -- the kids are mostly a little older, I think. One is clearly low functioning, and the teachers really have to work to keep him present (he sat on a therapy ball during circle time, for instance). But a few others (and maybe more than a few?) have significant language skills and were interacting with each other unprompted. Playing together, even. This will be good for Damian. He really needs to be around kids who can pave the way for his progress.

Damian said goodbye to Gamma this afternoon -- completely unprompted. She hadn't even said "Goodbye Damian" yet. He knew she was leaving, so he said "Goodbye, Gamma." Sounds small. I guess all his milestones sound small when you don't know what goes into them. But for him to offer up a phrase unprompted, neither asking nor describing, that's no small thing.

I asked Damian how many toes he had. He counted them. Correctly, no problem there. But I had trouble getting him to just say "five." He had to keep counting to get to five first. So I started asking him how many ears he had. He said, "one, two." We worked on this for a while, and he did end up comfortably saying "two." I asked him how many belly buttons he had. He said "two." I said, "Oh yeah? Show me." He pulled up his shirt, pointed out his belly button. I said, "Okay, that's one. Where's the other, smarty pants?" He pulled up MY shirt and pointed to my belly button!

Thursday 6 September

Damian has little hesitation about his new classroom, less than he did about his old one. When I ask him which he likes better, his new or his old class, he says "new class" with absolute certainty. May reported that he did well again today. He spoke in his loud (ie: normal) voice over half the time, he followed along very well in circle time, miming nearly all her movements. She said he still won't go up to other kids of his own initiative, but that she was going with him to the other kids, having him say hi to each one. Yesterday he needed prompting, today he didn't, or very little. (I think she'd model it and then he'd say it too.) And she had the kids touching -- a hand on a shoulder, hand on hand, that sort of thing. She said in the spring, Damian was very uncomfortable with this. Now, even with new kids, he's fine with it. Progress, definitely. She did say, though, that he was clingy in the yard, wanted to hold hands a lot, and that he wouldn't paint but wanted her hand on the brush and then he put his hand on hers and guided the action. Neither of these surprise me but they do disappoint me. New habits, important to break.

On the way home, I asked Damian if he wanted to go shopping or go straight home. He said go straight home, so we did. After lunch and cuddles, he announced something I completely missed. I asked him to repeat it more clearly. He had to repeat it several times before I finally understood: he was saying "I want to go grocery shopping." Interesting part is, I hadn't said "grocery shopping," just "shopping." So we went. As we got ready, he added, "I want to go to Whole Foods." Which I hadn't planned to do, but what the hell. We went.

Gamma and I discussed Damian's unfortunate developing habits, things like not wanting to put his own socks on or open the lid of his sippy cup. Dan and I are dealing with some of them, but not all. It's too much to make him change every little thing all at once. Gamma said she's starting to make it a game. If he doesn't want to go to the door, for instance, she makes it a game: who can get there first? And then it's fun and he goes for it. It was a great reminder. It's so hard sometimes to make things fun and silly that way, but it really takes the sting out and throws him out of his obsessive compulsive tics (a strong phrase, I know, stronger than I mean; I know they come from the underlying issues but manifest as this).

So this evening I did just that. Damian had pulled a kitchen towel off the rack and wanted me to put it back on. So I took the towel and said I was putting it on the rack but put it on his head instead. He had a pouty look like he was about to get upset, but I made it clear that I was being very silly and he went with it. I kept saying I was going to use the rack (he kept handing me the towel and requesting it) but somehow missing and putting it on him. It finally ended up on the cat (who was in the living room -- we migrated). Cat didn't mind.

Friday 7 September

I sat in on Damian's second speech class with his new ST, Bird. She's going to see him four half hours, mostly during school hours. Less running around, but I hate him being pulled out of class. Apparently that's just the way it works, though. I liked the way she interacted with him. Upbeat and warm. She's more focused on speech than Hallie was, more focused in general. Very different style. I tentatively liked the way she works, though. I think she needs to learn a bit more about what excites him, but she's on the right track. As a speech therapist, Hallie's a great floor timer. Bird's more directed. Apparently she did some of the same activities yesterday with him that she did today (playing with a dollhouse, playing with plastic food) and got a lot of spontaneous language, but today he was exhausted and so she got less.

Damian was very bossy today: "Turn on the light." "Turn off the light." "Turn on the fan." "Sit on the floor." "Lie down on the trampoline." He adds "please" when I don't do it right away. I'm amused.

He spotted a scrape on my knee (he wasn't there when I fell). He pointed to it and said "Mommy has a scrape" and on in that vein. Which I found interesting. Later, he was unscrewing the cap to some herbs I take. He'd just seen me pop a couple of pills in my mouth, so he was set to do that too (very into copying lately). I told him they were Mommy pills. So he said "Mommy takes the Mommy pills."

Damian spotted the laundry basket. Dumped out the clean laundry. Went off with the basket. I was too tired to follow. Soon he came into the bedroom: "To the living room." So I came to the living room and found out what he'd been up to with that basket. He'd found the cat asleep on the ottoman and put the overturned laundry basket on top of him. Capturing the cat. He wanted me to see his handiwork. I was very amused. And pleased that he'd not only thought through the whole action, but then went and fetched me to show it off.

I give him choices at every meal. I list three things he likes and then ask him one by one which one he wants. He says no until I get to the one he's decided on and then he says yes. (And yes, I wish he'd just give his choice when he hears the possibilities, but he usually doesn't. Yet.) Tonight he chose lasagna and added, "I love lasagna!" He must. He ate an adult-sized portion. I no longer have to hide the green parts (spinach, zucchini). He's accepted them as part of this meal.

He's started asking to have his face wiped with a napkin after every bite. I have him hold the napkin with me, and these days he does the wiping. My hand is just a formality. I also have started telling him I'll wipe his face after he takes X more bites (anywhere from one to three). He does. And it's working: the after-every-bite thing is diminishing.

Saturday 8 September

He was kind of a mess this morning, crying at the drop of a hat. I think he was just exhausted from the week (and a particularly bad night -- he came to our bed at 4:30 and half-woke two or three times, crying out).

Damian was using some kid scissors. He likes to pretend to cut his (and our) hair. As he did so, he said, "Maureen cuts Daddy's hair and Mommy's hair." (Maureen is indeed the name of our hairdresser.) Dan asked, "Who cuts Damian's hair?" "Hugh," Damian responded. (Right again.) He added, "Hugh cuts Damian's hair."

Later, he and I wandered into the guestroom, where Dan was preparing to lift weights. Damian said, "Daddy is going to exercise on the Nordic Track." (Actually, I'm the one who works out on the Nordic Track. Damian saw me do it a few days ago, so it was on his mind.) Once Dan started lifting the weights, Damian stood in front of him and mimed lifting weights himself (doing squats). I said, "you're exercising!" Damian said, "Just like Mommy and Daddy are exercising."

It's becoming more common but I still always think, "He's talking!!" I don't do it anymore when he asks for something or labels something when asked, though god knows that's recent enough. But this conversational ability is just starting to come in and is still a wonder to me.

At the library, a little girl was walking around humming to herself. Damian started hummming to himself exactly the same way. It's interesting. I like that he was so aware of her, in a positive way. He still often seems afraid of other kids, so to see him mimic one was lovely.

Sunday 9 September

Damian ended up in bed with me again early this morning, then woke up at 8:30 for the day. I wasn't ready to get up so I asked him to see if Daddy was up. He ran down the hall to his room (Dan had switched to Damian's bed when Damian came into our bed). Dan said, "Good morning, sweetie." Damian said "hi." Then he came running back in here. We sent him back and forth for a while, then Dan said he would get up with Damian but needed his clothes. He sent Damian in to tell me. Damian did. I gave him Dan's sweatpants and Damian went running back with them. Ditto for the sweatshirt. It was all rather adorable, all the running back and forth and reporting what the other had said and so on.

At the farmer's market, Damian asked for (vitamin) gummy bears so fast I ran out within half a block. I said I was all out, and asked him what else I might have. He said "a red heart." (I did.) When I was all out of heart candies, Damian said "No more gummy bears, no more hearts. I want a bagel." We get bagel samples at the bagel stand (and buy bagels, too). This is a ritual. Damian was thinking ahead.

Tonight in the bath, Dan asked Damian what color marble he wanted. He said "aaaaaaa... red one." I love that. It's the first time I've ever heard him stretch out a sound while thinking. In it's odd way, I think it's a vocal step forward.

Dan read Damain a new library book. He told Damian Mama was called Mamaji and asked, "What do you think Papa is called?" Damian said, "Papaji." Extrapolating. (Correctly.)

Monday 10 September

New occupational therapist started today. Now Damian's got three. Nadia at school, Heidi (we hope -- if her schedule allows!), and now Rivka. She's clinic-based (gym/therapy room/more equipment than school) and the school district's footing the bill. I liked her, quite a bit. She's got a gentle demeanor, works with what Damian wants to do, pushes him a little farther in a very non directive way. Clearly is thinking about how to make this a good OT session. IE: they climbed in a ball pit (all OT clinics seem to have one) and started throwing balls into a basketball hoop. She asked Damian to give two to me (I was sitting on the edge). This meant his walking through the balls, giving him proprioceptive input and allowing him to practice balancing. At another point, Damian picked up a flat piece of plastic that went on a jungle gym (she'd asked him to remove it from the equipment) and put it on his head (this she didn't ask). She went with it, called it a hat and picked up the other one, saying, "I have a yellow hat. What color is your hat?" This I like.

I was lying with Damian on his bed. He was playing with a stuffed Piglet, twirling it around and burying its nose in the mattress, stuff like that. Not particularly investing it with life. Nevertheless, it was kind of nice to see him interested in a stuffed animal. I picked up a teddy bear, more or less the same size, and began copying his every move. Piglet spun, Teddy spun. Piglet did a swan dive, Teddy did a swan dive. Pretty soon Damian was giggling. Then he had Piglet kiss Teddy on the nose. Teddy declared Piglet his best friend and got very sad when Piglet dive-bombed off the bed. So Damian fetched Piglet. The two stuffed animals hugged (my idea) and kissed (Damian's). I was very pleased. I'm trying to work on the concept of friendship and having fun with friends in my pretend play with Damian. Looking ahead to playdates very soon (ie: when I have the presence of mind to arrange some).

I was on the phone in Damian's room, sitting in his rocking chair while he played on the floor. He sat himself in my lap and reached out for a book. He said, "I want to read a book." I gave him a book to flip through. He wanted a different one and pointed out which. It was very pleasant sitting there together.

Later, he pulled out a laundry basket full of toys from the closet and we played with swords. Then he wanted the pliers from his tool belt. He decided we should go outside. He was very insistent on it. "I want to go outside. Put on my shoes." So we did, even though at this point it was almost bath time. He wanted to fix things outside. Like bushes. I extended it to his playhouse -- he fixed doors and windows. Then he took a bath. He fixed the bubbles on the water. I gave him a toy truck so he could fix that. He did.

Tuesday 11 September

Dan brought Damian to school this morning only to discover it was closed. So he took Damian to work to await my arrival. Damian liked it there: he found a bright blue inflatable armchair in one of the cutting rooms and sat down in it, then spotted the matching ottoman tucked under the desk and yanked it out to set it in front of the chair. He then tried to put his feet up on the ottoman but they didn't reach that far.

He also found a big beach ball and had a blast throwing it. He can now throw rather well, especially with something that size: he could hit his target. But he still wasn't making any real effort to catch it. So Dan was working on that and I suggested Damian reach his arms out wide to hug the ball when it came. He did and he caught it. Three times in a row. A hurdle passed.

He didn't quite get the whole watching-the-TV sad thing. He didn't even really take in the images of the World Trade Center in flames. Too young, maybe. Or maybe it's developmental. But when I explained it to him later (complete with one finger symbolizing the WTC, another the first plane -- I simplified it to one and one), he did get it. Afterwards, he grabbed up as many toy airplanes as he could find and spent a while zooming them around. I was too heartsick to play out the hit-a-building scenario, which is what I think he wanted.

While we were on the floor in his room, he started ringing the telephone on his Fisher Price garage. I asked who should answer it; we decided Mike the Mechanic should, so Damian had Mike go up in the elevator to get the phone (it's on a landing on the third floor). I talked Damian through the conversation, mostly being Mike's Mom but also cueing him to be Mike. It worked decently well, though I think it'll be a while before he can enter into that kind of spontaneous verbal make-believe. But what I really liked was that he got into the conversation -- when Mike's mom told him she missed him and loved him, Damian got the sweetest smile.

He asked for something. I couldn't quite tell what. Sounded like "I want the gardena." We do have a gardenia bush... I thought it was possible. But no. I told him I didn't understand. He repeated. Didn't help. He repeated it a few more times. I asked him to show me. He had a meltdown. Started wailing. I calmed him down, but told him he doesn't need to cry when I can't understand him. It only makes the problem worse. He told me again: "I want the" -- and then I understood -- "container." He was calling the sippy cup a container. I mean, who would have expected a word like that to come out of a three year old's mouth? Especially one with language issues. But it's not his vocabulary that's in question.

Actually, his crying spurts do seem to be diminishing. I think. He still has a problem with the fact that we don't hold his hand in the house. He asks to "hold hands" a few times a day, or even to "hold hands, please!" But I always tell him we don't hold hands in the house. Depending on his mood, he'll fuss for a moment or he'll burst into tears. He's just having a hard time with this. But today, he asked to hold hands, and I said no and he said, "We don't hold hands in the house." And didn't get upset. He got it.

Wednesday 12 September

May was out today -- sounds like a relative may have been under the rubble, god help her. Another teacher stopped me in the hall to say she'd subbed for May and it was the first chance she'd had to get to know Damian up close, so to speak. She said nice things about how responsive he was, but she was talking about things like one word responses, etc. Things we were pleased about two months ago. Now he's talking in full, spontaneous sentences. At home. I wish it carried over to school. It underlines to me the need for playdates with typical kids, or at least high functioning kids. He needs to get over this fear/shyness that holds him back when he's around other kids. He needs to learn to shine there as brightly he does at home.

Today was Dan's birthday. I rehearsed Damian earlier in the day to say "Happy Birthday, Daddy!" when Dan got home. So he did. Boy did he ever! In an amazingly loud, clear voice. Dan was so pleased and Damian could tell, so he said it over and over. Later, he added, "Daddy and Damian are going to a birthday party." (!) We explained that it was a very small birthday party indeed -- just the three of us, in a restaurant. He said he wanted pasta (I'd told him earlier he could have pasta or pizza). He said it in the restaurant too -- he told us a few times and then he looked directly at the waiter and declared, "I want pasta!" The times they are a changin'. I look at him and the miracle of how fast he's learning and growing and it makes up for the other horrors in my head. The world is bad and good and sad and thrilling all rolled into one right now.

Thursday 13 September

May clarified about Damian's language: he uses single words in response to questions but three and four word sentences to ask for things. That's about right, except that he also sometimes comes out with non-request original sentences at home. (And no, nobody in her family was found under the rubble. She's got lots of family there, just as we do, though. It sounds like it's hit her hard.)

Damian's getting really good at generalizing. I taught him to say "Turn off the music" instead of whining or just saying "No!" So today in the car, I had NPR on. Damian said, "Turn off the radio!"

I asked him if he wanted a bagel. Nope. So I said I was going to make myself one. Nope. "Mommy is not going to eat a bagel." "But I'm really hungry. I AM going to eat a bagel." More insistent: "Mommy is not going to eat a bagel!" I made it anyway. When I was halfway through eating it, Damian said, "I want a bagel!" I gave him the uneaten half. He devoured it.

Friday 14 September

I went to pick Damian up from school half an hour later than usual: he had a speech therapy session directly after class. I stood outside Bird's office waiting and a Floor Time therapist playing with a child nearby asked if I was waiting for Bird. I told her I was waiting for Damian. "Oh, you're Damian's mom?" she said with a happy lilt in her voice, as if talking about a celebrity. "He's so cute!"

Bird told me that they had fun today, and she got a lot of spontaneous language. Dan told her earlier in the week that the key to Damian is to be silly and she took it to heart.

Outside, a group of teachers were sitting at a picnic table having lunch. I said, "Look, everyone's eating lunch." Damian said, "May and LaBelle are eating." Love that spontaneous language. I asked if he missed LaBelle. He said yes. I asked if he wanted to hug her. He went over and did. She got teary-eyed. Real tears brimming over. Seemed a little embarrassed about it, so I didn't say anything, but I was really touched.

He's talking so much more now. So much more. After lunch we polished off Dan's birthday cake (he'd brought home the last bits from his office birthday lunch). Damian said, "Daddy is going to eat the cake" and then he said, "Happy birthday, Daddy." Hee. We ate the cake without Daddy.

We went to a candlelight vigil. In the car, Damian was repeating what we'd told him about how we'd be seeing people with candles. When we got there, he kept repeating in a loud voice: "People are holding candles!" I was amused but it was such a solemn thing, I had to hush him.

Every night for the past few weeks, Dan says good night to Damian and I prompt Damian to say good night back. Tonight Dan said "Good night, Damian." Then he waited with an expectant look. Damian read the look and said "Good night Daddy." Reading someone's expression is huge. It's exactly what people with autism aren't supposed to be able to do. This therapy we're doing is really working, bringing him up a developmental level.

Saturday 15 September

This morning Damian came into our room around the time we would wake him for school on a weekday. He snuggled up next to me for a while, then got antsy. After rolling over us and dive bombing on top of us got old, he told Dan, "Get dressed." When Dan didn't, Damian elaborated: "Daddy is going to get some clothes." We asked "Whose clothes? Damian's clothes?" "Daddy is going to get Daddy's clothes."

After Daddy got up, Damian asked him to "go to Damian's room." "Why?" This took a few tries, but Damian did respond, "Play with toys." Why is getting more feasible but still seems confusing.

Damian got very upset when I came in to talk to Dan. He had a meltdown. The first of many today, unfortunately. He really has a hard time with self regulation right now, spinning out of control at the slightest provocation. Sometimes when I'm trying to play with him and I set up a slight obstruction as part of the game, he can handle it with absolutely no problem. Other times he starts crying right away. I'd like to say it's getting better, but I'm not sure it is. I think it's connected with being challenged. He's progressing wonderfully fast but there's an emotional price. And, too, it's part of his issues. He doesn't know how to identify his feelings and so they overwhelm him. He doesn't have as easy access as most kids.

We went to Pasadena. Walked around, ate out, went into stores. Damian was mostly a sweetie. I pretended the hair clip in J.Crew was a monster with big teeth. (It's one of those curved ones with big... well... teeth, you grip the ends and it opens up just like a mouth.) He loved the monster idea, hung onto the clip after the game was over. When we left the store, he was very upset at giving it up. Kept saying, "I want the monster!" I told him I had a monster at home and he finally accepted that.

Vroman's, a big indie bookstore, has a good kid's area with a train table and a dollhouse as well as lots of books. Damian was enjoying playing at various stations until other kids came over and then he split. He literally shrinks away from unknown children. Turns off. It's horribly frustrating and saddening. We coax and coax and maybe he grudgingly comes back, but he's on guard and definitely not having fun. It's as if the other kids are scorpions or wasps. He's come so very far in so many ways and is positively friendly with adults now, but it doesn't translate at all when he's around kids. How can he learn to have a friend? I wish now that we had another child. Then he'd have to learn to be okay around at least one child. Playdates are the next best thing, but not the same.

Tonight when we were watching pictures and he saw a shot of himself playing with the hair clip and said, "I want the monster!" So I dug out a few. He was happy. One was dubbed "Fred." Damian brought Fred with him when I rocked him. Asleep in bed, he was still clutching Fred tightly.

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