April 2005
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About Us

Welcome to the Brookston family blog. We'll post updates here on what's going on in our part of the world, and especially with our son, Porter, who has been diagnosed with some form of autism. Our hope is that this blog will help us deal with all the issues we'll be facing and keep our friends and family informed as well.

Jay B.


Sarah J.


Porter Brookston
born September 10, 2001


Alice Brookston
born July 7, 2004

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April 30, 2005

Millennium Park

Categories: Photos, Porter, Alice, Sarah, Movies — J @ 6:25 pm

We took the kids today to Millennium Park in San Anselmo. It was a very cool park with tons of stuff for Alice and Porter to do. Porter dug in the sand some more, rode in a red chair swing and climbed around on the structures there. Alice also went on the swings and learned she likes to eat sand.

Alice watchs Porter dig out Henry and Gordon (you can just see them poking out of the sand).

Here’s a Quicktime movie of Porter hanging onto a trapeze bar as it slides on a track. The second movie is of Alice in a swing howling with laughter. You can either download the movies to your desktop or just click on the link to play them in your web browser (assuming your web browser has the quicktime plug-in installed).

• • •

Snuggling

Categories: Photos, Porter, Alice, Sarah — J @ 11:29 am

Sarah and the kids snuggled in the snuggle chair this morning.

This is why we bought a big, over-sized chair.

• • •

April 29, 2005

Tactile Workout

Categories: Photos, Porter — J @ 6:29 pm

Another thing Porter’s OT, Theresa, asked Porter to work on was getting his hands dirty and experiencing more tactile sensations such as mud, sand, etc. Apparently Porter understood her because after his OT we went to the park where he spent a couple of hours digging in the sand with his hands, just like she wanted him to do.

Porter after his tactile workout. Notice Henry is covered with sand.

• • •

Swingtime

Categories: Photos, Porter, Movies — J @ 5:55 pm

Porter had his second session today with his new occupational therapist. He had an even better time this session as she’s getting to know what works best with him. She says he’s all prop (pronounced prope), meaning proprioceptive. Proprioceptive sense is one of the near senses.

According to the Out-of-Sync Child, by Carol Stock Kranowitz, the five senses we’re all familiar with (think XTC’s Senses Working Overtime - See, Hear, Smell, Touch, Taste) are called the far senses because the stimuli comes from outside the body. She also identifies three additional senses, the near senses - Vestibular, Tactile and Proprioceptive senses. These near senses, by contrast, “react to what is happening in our own bodies.”

The Vestibular sense is the inner ear and concerns movement, gravity and balance. The Tactile sense is in the skin and concerns processing information about touch. The Proprioceptive sense is in the muscles, ligaments and joints and concerns body position and body parts.

It is this last one that Porter’s OT believes to be most out of sync. It is why Porter loves to crash into things, be squeezed or squished and hang upside down or be swung around. It appears to be sensory feedback that Porter is dysfunctional with, as he seems to crave stimulation rather then shy away from it as a person with inefficient, instability or insecurity of movement would do.

Swingtime for Porter.

Here’s a Quicktime movie of Porter swinging on the trapeze at his occupational therapy session. You can either download the movie to your desktop or just click on the link to play it in your web browser (assuming your web browser has the quicktime plug-in installed).

• • •

April 28, 2005

Dancing Femme

Categories: Alice, Movies — J @ 3:30 pm

Our little Alice has discerning taste in music. She’s been enjoying the Violent Femmes’ fifth album, Why Do Bird Sing? A lot. Everytime she hears it, she rocks to the beat and dances.

Here’s a Quicktime movie of Alice dancing to the Violent Femmes. The song she’s dancing to is Hey Nonny Nonny, which is great song using as its lyrics (believe it or not) a 16th Century poem by the Shepherd Tonie entitled Colin. What’s a nonny, you might ask? I think Edmund Blackadder (as played by Rowan Atkinson) said it best in one of the episodes of Blackadder:

… and don’t say “tush”, either! It’s only a short step from “tush”
to “hey nonny nonny”; and then, I’m afraid, I’ll shall have to call
the police.

Shakespeare also used the expression “hey nonny nonny” in his poem “Sigh No More, Ladies” which appears in the play Much Ado About Nothing. For what it’s worth, the OED also notes that “nonny-nonny” is a meaningless refrain of obscure origin and was “formerly often used to cover indelicate allusions”.

But more exciting then Alice dancing, the video also includes a few seconds of Alice standing unsupported. Can walking be far behind?

You can either download the movie to your desktop or just click on the link to play it in your web browser (assuming your web browser has the quicktime plug-in installed). But be warned, this is a long one.

• • •

April 27, 2005

Let Me Out of Here, Screw

Categories: Photos, Alice — J @ 12:32 pm

Lately, when I go downstairs to pick up Porter from the school bus, I’ve been leaving Alice to roam around the downstairs since I’m usually gone for only a few minutes. Invariably, I find her rattling her cage at the top of the stairs, incensed because she’s locked up in her prison cell.

“Hey Da Da, let me out of here!”

• • •

April 26, 2005

Mr. Picassohead

Categories: Humor, Art — J @ 8:01 am

After my last post, Sarah has suggested that I might want to get out more and interact with adults more often. She accuses me of being too scatological. Oh, well. Perhaps she’s right. To break up the monotony of my excremental postings, here’s something just for fun that Sarah discovered. Mr. Picassohead is cool little java app. that allows you create your own abstract works of art ala Mr. P’s peculiar brand of cubism and abstraction. Give it a try. It’s fun.

• • •

April 25, 2005

Pruneface

Categories: Photos, Alice — J @ 11:20 am

For the past week, Alice has been - how shall I put this - backed up, had a kink in the pipes, had difficulty voiding her bowels. The doctor recommended a warm bath, anal probe and prunes or prune juice. We tried it all this weekend but without success. On the plus side, she seemed to love eating the prunes.

The three faces of prunes.

P.S. - Vesuvius erupted Monday morning.

• • •

April 23, 2005

Crab & Turkeys & Bathtime, Oh My!

Categories: Photos, Porter, Alice, Family — J @ 4:24 pm

We tooks the kids to the Grandparents’ for dinner (more pizza) and to see Uncle Tuck some more this weekend.

Porter helped Tuck prepare his crabline for fishing this year.

A flock of turkeys are a frequent sight in the backyard. Here, two males strut their stuff.

Alice enjoys a hot bath before bedtime.

• • •

The O.T.: In the Pink

Categories: Photos, Porter — J @ 2:32 pm

No, not the hit tv show, the O.C., this is O.T., or Occupational Therapy. Porter had his first session Friday aftrnoon with a therapist who specializes in Sensory Integration issues, which we strongly believe Porter has in spades. She worked with him for about an hour putting him through an indoor obstacle course of sorts to determine what his specific issues were and how best to teach him to integrate them more easily. There was one exercise in particular that Porter was drawn to like a duck to water: the spandex/lycra fabric chair/plaything suspended from the ceiling by three hooks. The therapist will be giving us her evaluation early next week and he’ll be meeting with her every Friday.

Left: Porter getting into the pink wonder. Right: Porter pushing around in the pink.

• • •

Uncle Tuck

Categories: Photos, Porter, Family — J @ 2:26 pm

Today Porter and Alice got a visit from their Uncle Tucker, Sarah’s brother. Porter loves to roughhouse with Uncle Tuck and after some pizza and beer, much roughhousing was done.

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Uncle Tuck, almost finished with Porter for the day.

• • •

April 21, 2005

Hit the Deck

Categories: Photos, Alice — J @ 5:33 pm

Alice ventured out onto the deck today for the first time since she’s been crawling. She seemed to like being able to move around on her own in the sun and fresh air.

Alice exercising her independence while striking a thoughtful pose.

• • •

A Day at the Beach

Categories: Photos, Porter — J @ 3:36 pm

Porter spent the day at the beach, courtesy of his Grandparents who were kind enough to take to him to Bodega Bay this afternoon. There he flew a kite, built a sand castle and played with his trains on the beach for several hours.

At the Beach, among the rocks.

A bike’s tire track marks make an ideal train track for Henry, one of Thomas’ friends and Porter’s recent fave train.

• • •

April 20, 2005

What Do You Call 1,000 Lawyers At the Bottom of the Ocean?

Categories: Photos, Porter, Friends — J @ 6:31 pm

We heard today that a friend of Sarah’s was just accepted to law school and Porter wanted to help let her know how happy we all are for her. Sarah is especially glad that it will now be someone else’s turn to be the object of all those bad lawyer jokes.

Answer: A good start.

• • •

April 18, 2005

Pear Today, Gone Tomorrow

Categories: Photos, Alice — J @ 4:48 pm

I finally pulled out the forgotten portable high chair that attachs to any (well, most) tables and fed Alice some pears. She did a little better this time, and actually ate close to half the jar. Of course, the other half she’s wearing, but it’s a good start.

More pears, daddy? Although I think this look is actually her working on her “can I borrow the car” or “will you buy me … please, please, please” look.

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