Saturday, December 24, 2011

We've been homeschooling since last October and it's working really well for our family although we tend to stay very busy and occupied between work, school, home, and family.

Sorry for the lack of posting here lately. Jack has been great. He's growing. He's developing. We have no major medical things going on. We're adjusting to spending our lives away from doctors and hospitals.

Monday, November 21, 2011

No More Gimmicks

When Jack was little, I wanted to know what gimmick would make him enjoy tummy time and start crawling around. He army crawled a bit so then I was looking for the gimmick to get him to walk. I saw other children happily sitting in the little group circle for circle time and I wondered what gimmick would make Jack do the same. As he continued to grow but not talk I wondered what gimmick would make him start talking. Still I read, I ask other parents how on earth they got their kids to do this and that.

When I'm at my best, I realize there are no gimmicks or maybe there are but Jack and I don't need any. God is at work in Jack and through Jack. He has his own timetable. God's vision of Jack is perfect. And Jack is happy. He is happy to be who he is. He's happy to do what he can do. He's happy to test out his rapidly growing list of physical skills.

What Jack needs, what I need is relationship. I need to meet that little boy right where he is and relish and love that stage we're in even as I encourage him to move toward that next step. No gimmick will make life more fulfilling.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Late Entry into Thirty Days of Play Challenge

We're late joining up but I'm excited to join Hands On: As We Grow and The Imagination Tree in the 30 Days to Hands On Play Challenge. You can read about it here and here. Every day, they take turns providing a play idea for us to try. We are going to put aside 15 minutes a day of dedicated, non-interrupted play.

At our house, we do "special time" at least once or twice a day but those are times when I promise to allow no interruptions and I allow Jack to lead the way in play. This will be a separate time of play where I will attempt to lead the way with a play idea.

I don't want to go all legalistic on us by going back and doing all the play ideas that have already been presented this month so I'm going to do the day 1 challenge of saying what I hope to accomplish in the challenge and tomorrow we'll dive in with the challenge for day 17.


Day 1:

Today's activity

Spend a little bit of time thinking about this challenge. What do you hope to gain?
Think about your child (or children) What do they really love doing? What are they good at? Their special interests? This will be really helpful as the challenge unfolds.

My answer:
I have a very simple short goal: to expand our play. We get stuck in a lot of doing the same things. Jack and I both tend to like things staying the same BUT we need some fresh new things to try to improve Jack's development and mine.

Jack loves to move, move, and move some more--run, jump, bounce, skip, ride anything with wheels. As Jack's speech continues to emerge, he likes to play with sounds, words, and phrases. He is most joy-filled when he has my full attention and we are playing together. He tends to be a "sensory seeker". He enjoys swinging, being squeezed tightly and spinning (himself, balls, pinwheels, wheels, and gears and anything else he can get to spin). He does not do much make believe or fantasy play except playing with Elmo.

I'm excited! Wish us luck and say a prayer as we work on expanding our play repertoire. I probably won't post everyday but will more likely do a recap every now and then of how things are going with the different challenges.

Here's my partners in play:

Friday, November 11, 2011

Do you remember when the world was an amazing place full of delightful surprises every few minutes? It's fun to watch Jack grow and plan and work and work on his own objectives. He makes the most gains when he has his own goal in mind. Spinning a hot air balloon is quite the motivator. Who knew that this colorful little spinning thing would help Jack work on planning, estimating, and evaluating? When is a hot air balloon a speech therapist, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, a teacher of the visually impaired, and a kindergarten teacher? Take a step back and just watch your kiddo during play. It's amazing!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Tough Phase

Jack is talking more every day. It is very cool to get more insight into what he's thinking. He is very excited to share his thoughts and opinions with us.

Too bad his thoughts and wishes don't always align with those of his parents...enter the boundary enforcers...

Cue the ominous music...

Not getting your way or not being able to express what you want can lead to big enormous powerful feelings of frustration. Have you ever been extremely frustrated in a conversation with another person and just wanted to shake some sense into them or walked away from a conversation thinking you'd like to hit something?

No? Hmmm....well you're very lucky and probably not gonna get the rest of this post then.

Back to Jack...when he gets frustrated these days he starts swinging or kicking or both. And he's a very strong little boy. What's a Mom and Dad to do?

I have friends that spank for hitting. Dr. MacDonald of Communicating Partners recommends silent restraint as in your child loses his physical freedom yet does not get your attention. Supernanny would put the child in timeout I think. Still other people recommend reading books about hitting together. Other people recommend giving your child words to express their frustration or acceptable alternatives like punching a pillow. Patty Wipfler of Hand in Hand recommends restraining your child while calmly and firmly telling the child "I won't let you hit".

We've been in this phase in varying degrees of intensity for quite some time now.
We've tried all of these methods, yes all of them. What surprise that Jack needs an approach that is individualized to him!

I don't know what the answer is but I do know what I believe and what I want. I believe that Jack tries hard to do what is expected of him. I believe that Jack cares deeply for me, his mom, and for his dad. I know that he does not want to hurt us. I know that it's frustrating to not get my way or to feel that I'm not understood or that my feelings are not considered. I know that I want Jack to know that I am here to help him and guide him.

This morning, as his frustration bubbled over yet again, I looked right into his eyes as I restrained his arms and legs and said, "You know how Mama helps you when you are having a hard time riding your bike?" Jack was puzzled enough to stop wiggling for a moment and said, "Yes." "I am going to help you keep your hands and feet to yourself, too." My sweet boy said, "Okay" just before wiggling an arm loose landing a swat on my leg as he said, "watch shapes!"


Marie (mother of Jack, born May 2005)
Check out our blog at for glimpses into our busy life with a boy who is busy growing and developing in his own way in his own time

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day 2011! I hope all of you are having a wonderful Mother's Day!

Jack and David made me the most beautiful card:

 My ever poetic and romantic husband also manged to find this card which surprisingly expressed just what he wanted to say:

 And I received this wonderful surprise from my mother-in-law:

Psalm 37:4 says Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. ( I cannot remember a time when I did not wish to be a mother. As a child, I remember thinking about what kind of mother I wanted to grow up to be. I truly believe that God put that desire in my heart and he fulfilled that desire over and above how wonderful I imagined it could be. He gave me this sweet guy

He made Jack persistent and from his persistence I have learned to have so much hope! He made Jack attention-consuming so that I would not multi-task my way through his life and miss the wonderfulness of each moment. He made Jack sweet and loving to provide me with even more of his love. I could go on and on.....

But God has also richly blessed me with a desire that I did not even fully realize that I had. In fact, he both gave and fulfilled the desire without me taking much notice of it. Did you see the card from my mother-in-law? It's the kind of card that a mother would give a daughter. It's the kind of card shared between two people filled with love for one another. There's nothing like a mother's love and I've privileged and blessed to receive that kind of love from my husband's mother. She's really not even his anymore :) She's mine!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Last night, Jack was rolling around the floor and playing with his drum sticks. He had them crossed one over the other and suddenly looked up and said, "It's an 'X'." Excitedly, I said, "Yes, it is." and called Dave in to see it too. Jack continued in this way, making a y and a v unprompted. He tried to make a w and a z but realizing he needed more than 2 sticks he made those in parts. Then Dave prompted him to make a t and an I.

Kids are so amazing! Jack is a sponge taking in so much information and I love when he shares.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Waiting for the train...

Jack and Uncle Noah hard at work at the zoo.

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Saturday, April 30, 2011

The park bridge inspector is back. He just has a new mode of transport.

Friday, April 29, 2011

I knew they wouldn't make it through the movie.

The boys are trying to stay up as long as they can but their lids are getting heavy....

Jack and his "best fwend" are enjoying a late night snack.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Look who's cooking thanks to Grandma's wandering foot (that gathers the loot)!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Shadow dancing...we were so slow to come outside today so we're makin up for it by staying out late.

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You never know when you'll hear, "Okay, take a picture, achoo!"

Mr. Two fisted 'peanut butter jelly' eater asked me to take his picture. I figured he must want y'all to see how cute he is today.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

If you do not know Jack, you may not get the coolness of this picture. Jack is visually impaired with light perception in one eye and he's legally blind in the other. He does not have depth perception. When he walks (actually he usually runs) we encourage him to use his long white cane to help him identify curbs, drop-offs, things in his path. He gets better with each use of the cane. BUT you can't use a cane when riding a bike. As usual his ever adaptive self, Jack has learned to look out for curbs and use the bike itself to measure the distance to the curb. AND he has become quite adept at using his little non-bending fine motor impaired fingers and hands to lift the bike up/down the curb independently. Hope you are enjoying this beautiful day as much as we are!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

"Go trail, Mama, go traaaaaaaaiiiiiilll" is what I heard this morning. Translation-Take me bike riding over by the bike trail but I will most likely want to ride on the sidewalk by the school. In any case, you are going to hear this repeatedly until we get there.

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Making it Look Easy?

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

2 hours later and he won't admit he's getting tired!

Lunch break

Taking Elmo for a ride.

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No new wrap around sunglasses for Mr. Hard to Fit. Adaptation ideas, anyone?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The skuut bike bit the dust today but, never fear, Spiderman is here!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Revving Up the Coloring

Jack is not known for being a big fan of coloring but he is well known for enjoying playing with anything with wheels. I saw Vroom Vroom at No Time for Flashcards and it reminded me of a great idea a friend had given me to have Jack color with car crayons. I never found any so I was thrilled to finally get to try out the idea.

I already had candy molds that I used to make Jack dairy free chocolates back when we thought he was allergic to all dairy products. And I had some crayons that we had previously melted to make thinner and easier for his little hands to hold. I just remelted them.

Here was my finished product.

The truck, airplane, and train turned out best. Next time, I won't use previously melted crayons. I think I would have gotten better results. I also probably won't use the muffin cup liners. Last time I melted the crayons straight in the pan and that seemed to work better.

And a little tip....if you are messy like me and excess crayon is cruded on your candy mold, just boil some hot water and pour a little over the mold just where the crayon is stuck. It melts the excess and you just rinse it away. (That is okay since crayons are non-toxic, right?)

I chose the best looking ones to present to Jack.
We got a bit of zoom zooming out of them.
Jack wasn't really thrilled with them though and he has learned a grasp that works for him with regular crayons. I'm not sure that he could really tell what they were supposed to be except for me telling him because of his visual limitations. I do think that a visual child would love them though. So we'll be filing this away under creative gift ideas.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Jack's first regular paper actual "dot to dot". He did not enjoy this as much as our chalk sticker dots and definitely not as much as the animated Ipad dot to dots but he did tell me the next number and held the crayon as I guided his hand to the next dot.

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Sorting by Color

As I was scouring the web for ideas, I came across The Easiest Toddler Color Sorting Activity. I loved the simplicity yet effectiveness of the activity.

I do have construction paper and various colored pegs and what not around and could have done the activity just as laid out here but I decided to try it with Jack's light box hoping that it would help him to more easily distinguish the colors.

 I pulled out the blue and red overlays,

the red and blue pegs,
and also the red and blue bowls*.
*Jack has fine motor issues and difficulty distinguishing colors so I decided to decrease the challenge a bit for the introduction of the activity. I pre-sorted the pegs into their correctly colored bowls.

Here's the set-up with the overlays side by side on the lightbox.

Here's what it will look like with two of the pegs correctly placed.

Jack seemed to have real difficulty with this activity.

I helped him place one blue peg in the correct spot to get him started.

He really acted as though he did not get what I was asking him to do. I previously mentioned that we were concerned that he might be color blind. At times, he seems to recognize colors in isolation but it's not 100%. Even though he knows color names now, it's hard to tell if he's not paying attention (looking at the object) or he just doesn't know the color.

Off to the web I went to try to understand why this task might be difficult. I found this comparison of what a person with and without colorblindness might see when looking at a color wheel.

See how similar the red and blue appear?

So the big question.....was the activity difficult because he just plain old wasn't interested or is he color blind and finds it difficult to distinguish the two colors?

And I wonder if using the light box and light box materials exacerbated the difficulty of identify the colors.....

I'll take any suggestions especially from those of you who are color blind.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Jack's Kind of Sensory Play-Vestibular

When the trike tilts up on 2 wheels as you round the table, you definitely activate your vestibular senses.

Sensory Play

I've seen this idea on lots of different sites and lots of blogs so I don't really remember exactly where I first heard the idea but here's our incarnation.

You need a large container of some kind.

We had this great cookie tin that our neighbor gave us last year. I chose it because the beans make a nice sound when stirred around in the tin.

Add your beans.

Select some small toys and/or prizes that will motivate a reluctant kiddo to reach in for the sensory play.

Bury your toys/prizes.
Hmmmmm......if you are like me and you run out of beans and your toys are not buried, add rice.

You can do surprise digging from here or you can make picture and/or word cards to give the kids a specific item to dig for.

I elected to make cards to encourage Jack to dig. I then labeled the cards with black marker and braille.

Since I had cookies in the "sensory tin", I waited until after lunch when the inevitable cookie request would be made. I explained that we were going to play a game to get his cookie.

I showed him the cards to show him what was buried.

Then I introduced the tin....

Hmmmm....I am not impressed.

He was a little hesitant to stick his hand in so I helped him move the rice and beans around hand over hand.

Got what I'm after!

 Once he found the cookie, he was all done! Well, at least he did not fuss and did reach his hand in. I'll save our rice and beans in the tin for play another day.