Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Russell Report

The past few months have been a very trying time. We've gotten over our illnesses, but now we have to deal with the changes in Russell's behavior over the past several weeks. I'm speaking primarily of the tantrums that he unleashes whenever we ask him to do something he finds objectionable, such as leave finishing his dinner or leaving a store.

I've heard of the "terrible twos", but Russell is now nearly four years old and he is still behind his peers in several aspects. Primarily, his language skills and ability to hold a conversation are severely lacking. He talks to himself often--typically repeating phases that he hears at school--but rarely initiates conversation with others. In terms of his social skills, Russell does not play with other children with the exception of Punky and one or two others. We understand that these behaviors are typical of autistic children.

But it is the tantrums that are the most frustrating. It is difficult to take him out in public because he will often refuse to go where we want him to go. Sometimes, he will just lie down in the middle of the street when he gets upset with something we say to him (like, "hurry up!").

In other aspects, he is clearly improving. The most obvious area of progress is potty training. Right now, all he needs to complete are wiping his tush and peeing standing up. He also appears to be able to read some books.

The pictures that I post of Russell appear to be that of a healthy, happy child. In general, this is correct. But in terms of his language and social development, Russell is not out of the woods yet.

Monday, March 20, 2006

We're Back!

The Fabulous Brewster Boys are back! Posted by Picasa

After an ordeal that lasted over a week, all of us are now healthy and back at 100% of pre-stomach virus strength. The whole episode started when Russell apparently caught a stomach flu bug from a classmate at school and threw up in bed 9 days ago--on my birthday. In addition to vomiting everything he ate or drank for 24 hours, Russell also had diarrhea that lasted 5 days. Russell then passed on the illness to both me and Punky on Monday.

I can tell you that I have rarely felt worse than during the first 24 hours of this latest illness. I ended up missing two days of work, and Russell four days of school. Jenny, who was the only one not stricken by the bug, was going crazy from all the puking and poop-filled diapers surrounding her. Despite the situation, we resisted the urge to call Jenny's mom for temporary help. No need dragging her into our situation where she could get sick herself.

Now that we are all well, the boys are finally eating and sleeping normally and we can get some rest. We even had a chance to visit the SF Flower & Garden Show on Saturday.

On his best behavior, Russell admires the garden displays at the Cow Palace Posted by Picasa

Punky holds onto a flower from an admirer at the garden show Posted by Picasa

Russell enjoys the miniature train and garden display at the SF Flower & Garden Show Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Out Sick

You may have noticed my recent inactivity. It's because we're all sick at home with the dreaded stomach virus. More details after we all get better.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Question of the Day

Who is this man on the left? Posted by Picasa

The man on my left is my uncle, Dr. H.D Chen from Shenyang, China. He was in town for a meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology.

During the Cultural Revolution, my Uncle was purged by the Communists and spent 10 years in exile on a farm in the middle of nowhere. His only crimes were that he was university-educated, the son of a landowner, and his older brother (my father) lived in the United States.

At around the same time, his father (my Grandfather) was convicted of being a "capitalist roader" and sentenced to a long term in the Chinese gulag. Unfortunately, he did not survive.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Happy Birthday Jenny

Russell gazes intently at his mother's birthday cake Posted by Picasa

Russell checks out his mother's 38th birthday cake as his Grandmother claps Posted by Picasa

Picture of the Day

Russell and Punky put the finishing touches on a puzzle Posted by Picasa

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Moonbat Teacher Takes Refuge in My Hometown

The liberal rot from America's institutions of higher learning has infected my hometown. From Parsippany, New Jersey, comes the news that "teachers" at Parsippany High School are conducting a "trial" of President Bush for war crimes and torture. To be perfectly honest, I'm actually from next-door Whippany, but Parsippany is literally 4 or 5 blocks from my parents' house. The Daily Record (NJ) reports:

President Bush is being tried for "crimes against civilian populations" and "inhumane treatment of prisoners" at Parsippany High School, with students arguing both sides before a five-teacher "international court of justice." The panel's verdict could come as soon as Friday.

Teacher Joseph Kyle said the "hearing"-- he preferred that term to trial -- opened on Monday in a senior advanced placement government class. The school's principal said he signed off in advance on the subject matter.

At the high school, prosecutors rested on Wednesday following testimony from nine "witnesses," Kyle said. The prosecution list included Khaled El-Masri, a German citizen allegedly tortured by U.S. forces; international human rights attorney Michael Ratner; Larry Wilkerson, chief of staff for former Secretary of State Colin Powell; retired CIA foreign policy analyst Ray McGovern; and U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
Social Studies teacher Joseph Kyle has been actively brainwashing Parsippany students with his radical ideology. During last year's election cycle, Kyle had his students conduct a series of mock debates for the New Jersey Governor's race. In the student "election" taking place after the Kyle-inspired debates, the Socialist candidate, Tino Rozzo, won on a platform of a $12-per-hour minimum wage and a "socialized healthcare system under workers' and community control".

Students in Kyle's senior AP politics and government class organized the debate and poll, in addition to acting as stand-ins for the gubernatorial candidates. Of course, the candidate for one particular political party was branded an outcast, as the Daily Record (NJ) reported back in November 2005:

Stephanie Foltzer, 18, ably stood in for [Doug] Forrester, though Kyle made it clear that the Republican wasn't a popular choice in her senior class. "The Libertarians were highly desired. So were the Democrats. Nobody wanted to be the Republican," Kyle said.

"Stephanie, who's truly not a conservative, was forced into that role," he said.
It's no mystery why no one in a class of more than one hundred students living in "relatively wealthy, Republican-dominated Morris County" would voluntarily choose to represent Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Forrester. As the evidence clearly shows, they've been inundated with liberal propaganda from socialist relics masquerading as teachers. What I don't understand is why parents of Parsippany High School students are apparently willing to put up with teachers spending their time indoctrinating their children with left-wing ideology rather than teaching the subject at hand.

Let's hope someone speaks out soon. Starting on Tuesday, Kyle's sophomore class will be placing long-deceased President Andrew Jackson on trial for alleged abuses against Native Americans. I guess its time for Parsippany H.S. senior Stephanie Foltzer to play the "bad guy" again.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Picture of the Day

Flowers from the Victory Garden Posted by Picasa

Exhausted, Again

The past month has been a painful one, as Russell's sleeping patterns have changed once again. In this latest cycle, he has been waking up between 3AM and 5AM, running into our bedroom and leaping onto our bed. Sometimes, he wakes up Punky in the process. Occasionally, he will not fall back asleep and that will require me to entertain him for several hours until daylight. Since he usually does not take naps at home, he is likely losing between one and two hours of sleep per day.

Lately at school, he has been irritable and not following directions from his teachers. I suspect that his lack of sleep has something to do with this bad behavior. Even Jenny's mother has noticed that Russell seems sluggish at times.

The impact of Russell's behavior has spilled over into my well-being. I am also losing around two hours of sleep per night. At work, I feel like a zombie unless I drink massive amounts of coffee. To make up for this, I can go to bed at 9 or 10PM along with the kids to catch up, but this means a dirty kitchen, unpaid bills and the kids' stuff scattered throughout the house. I can get away with this perhaps once or twice a week.

So if I appear to be posting to this blog sporatically, or if my commentary seems to be a bit off target, you'll know why.