Monday, June 25, 2012

Anniversary Cake

My grandmother used to make pound cakes in multiples, like 5 or 6 in a day.  She would cut them in half, wrap one half and freeze it.  Often she would send at least one of the other halves back to the College of Charleston with my daddy, who was skinny as a rail from running cross-country and track. 

When Joe and I got married one of the best parts of planning was selecting the cake.  I mean, who doesn't love cake?  We found a woman who made a lemon pound cake that was Uh-may-zing!  Let me tell you how special it was.  When I walked into the reception hall, I smelled something wonderful.  It was my cake!  It was excellent that day, and one year later. 

This year we celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary.  Instead of buying something or making a standard chocolate cake, I decided to try my hand at a pound cake.  Before I share this recipe, I should note that my sister is queen of the pound cake--why would I bother making one when hers are the best?  Well, being 9 hours apart from each other and all, I didn't think she would be coming up just to bake us a cake!  Without further ado, here is the recipe:

Pearl Pound Cake, from the Sandlapper Cookbook

2 sticks butter, at room temperature
1/2 c. shortening
1 c. milk
3 c. sugar
3 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
5 large eggs
1-2 tsp. flavoring

Grease and lightly flour a large tube pan.
Cream butter and shortening well.  Add sugar gradually.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add baking powder to flour, and add alternately with the milk to the creamed mixture.  Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour, 20 minutes.  Cool in pan. 

Hope y'all enjoy this as much as I do.  Look out, sister, there's a new pound cake maker in this family!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Visit to the Neurologist

Due in part to my child's pediatrician being awesome, we were able to get in with a pediatric neurologist this past week.  Having never been to a neurologist, pediatric or otherwise, I had no idea what to expect.  The four of us spent a little more than 2 hours with the doctor.  Talk about thorough!  We talked about everything from Nathan's slightly early arrival (insignificant) to his aversion to loud noises (significant).  We talked about developmental milestones, injuries, and Nathan's ability to read and spell. A great many things seemed trivial to me, but not the doctor.  Guess that's why he has the initials M.D. right?!

Once we were done getting through the details of Nathan's childhood, the good doctor started his physical evaluations: reflexes, listening to the blood flow up to Nathan's brain, walking heel-to-toe and that sort of thing.  It was truly fascinating to watch the doctor do this--all the while, Nathan was completely complicit and obedient, if not a little distracted at times.

We came home with a lot of new information to digest, as well as some local resources to help us get started with things.  We learned that Nathan's original diagnosis of ADHD is correct--there are just other things mitigating his treatment and responses.  There are, indeed, some neurological (and sensory) deficits.  Mostly Nathan seems to have auditory and tactile issues, which we knew, and he does exhibit some sensory-seeking behaviors.  The doctor also identified hypotonia, both in Nathan's hands and feet.  The hypotonia is causing Nathan difficulty with fine and gross motor activities (no wonder the kid has trouble with his bike, and why he refuses to "write" much of anything).  Perhaps the most notable piece of information is that Nathan seems to exhibit Autism-like tendencies.  This puts him in a category known as ASD, or Autism Spectrum Disorders.  More specifically, he seems to have Aspergers's Syndrome.

The treatments for these things will vary greatly, and only the ADHD is treatable with medications.  As for the hypotonia and Asperger's, the treatments are non-pharmaceutical.  He will need extensive occupational therapy (OT) and physical therapy (PT) as well as social skills training.  We have lots of reading to do, and lots of therapy to prepare for.  The learning curve will be very steep for a while.  There will still be bumps in the road, but now that we have a map and itinerary, we are set for a great trip!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Consistency is the Key

Two really tough things for me as a parent are consistency and follow-through.  My grandmother once said the hardest thing you will ever have to do as a parent is say NO.  Boy, was she right!  Today we were all supposed to go to a birthday party, depending on whether or not Nathan behaved himself earlier in the day.  From the minute he got up this morning, he fussed, whined, moaned, griped and cried.  About what?  Who knows.  We had repeatedly told him that if he couldn't act better than that, he would be staying home with me.  He was actually fairly calm when Joe and Keira left--it wasn't until he realized where they were going did he start to get upset.  As it turns out, he and I had a nice afternoon.  We played with (little) Legos and his magnetic balls and sticks, both of which he can't play with when Keira is nearby.  I got to putter in the yard for a while which is incredibly therapeutic for me.  He had a dinner of his choice (mini corn dogs and fries) along with Disney's Robin Hood as a movie.  When Keira gets home it will be bath night, and then off to bed with prayers, stories and lullabies.  And all will be right with the world again, as my children turn into heavenly creatures as they sleep.

I hate telling him (or Keira) no--it makes me feel bad.  However, I know that I am doing the right thing: I set boundaries and established rules, and I follow through with the appropriate consequences.  It's true--children do thrive when there is stability and constancy, both in their daily routines and in the world around them.  For a child like Nathan, who doesn't tolerate change well, it is even more critical.  So while I may feel lousy for saying "No" I know that I am doing the best for my child, and for me.  And that's all that matters.