Friday, November 26, 2010

Holiday Photos of Our Surfers

It was very cloudy, but we had all four kids home and clean at the same time so off we went.


I love how the personalities of all our kids come through in these pictures. Kayla is so sweet, Ayden Jane is always finding a way to be funny. Noah is our resident ham and Mckenna, well, you never can tell what Mckenna is up to but it is always creative (as you can see from her surf board).


This was Ayden Jane and I taking a walk on the beach. She loves to walk down the beach, look at the birds and shells... The clouds were really rolling in and there was even a slight shower, but AJ was determined to take our usual walk down to the pier and back.



Thursday, November 25, 2010

Taped Knees = Tone

Okay, so I do not really understand it all but here is what we saw today. Ayden Jane's legs are taped which keeps her belly in ('turned on') and results in a very LOUD child. AJ has been great all morning but is talking so loud the other kids asked if her hearing has been checked. Amazingly the stutter is gone (well, back to an average 3 year old stutter). I am guessing the stutter would have resolved on it's own over time, but something about turning on the tone in her body accelerated the process.

At times I think that Ayden Jane no longer has trouble with low tone, but this experience proves to me that there is just an underlying tone issue in Ayden Jane. That she has learned to cope and over come it, but it is alway there lurking as their natural tendency. It is not a strength issue, it is better described as a neurological issue. It is more about signals than actual abilities. More about the involuntary system than about what we actively do. It can be improved by doing more and connections can be laid over time (over a frustratingly long time for some), but it is just something that people with PWS have to work at that just is there for those without PWS. I am really okay with that. As long as it can be improved we will work on it.

We have another big travel day coming up Dec. 4. We will go 4 hours to a soccer game for Noah and then home again in the same day. We will see how it affects AJ. Jen will help me brainstorm some ways to keep her tone turned on during the trip.

We had a great Thanksgiving Day. Gary and the kids played outside for much of the late morning and early afternoon. AJ then took a great nap and was ready for supper when it was time. She had turkey, carrots, green salad with almonds and a baked apples and walnuts concoction. On the table and enjoyed by all were also mashed potatoes and stuffing, but Ayden Jane was very happy with what she had. It was quite stress free. When we headed for desert, we gave AJ a bit more apples and walnuts but topped it with about 3 tablespoons of plain vanilla ice cream. She was thrilled! So far, family is slowly changing toward AJ's diet and AJ is accepting of, "no you can't have that, but you can have_____".

So a bit of comedy to end the day. I told Ayden Jane to take off her socks, shoes and pants and put her pull up on for bed. She went to the bedroom to do so and came back very proud of how funny she is with 4 pull ups on. Even way past bed time on a crazy day the kid is doing everything she can for a laugh.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Taping

Jen taped Ayden Jane's legs today in physical therapy. It was very entertaining to watch AJ play with the new feeling of tone and balance after the taping. It definitely pulled the belly in though. This is what it looked like from the back.



And from the front, although as you can see it was hard to get AJ to stand still.


It is was a good day of PT and Ayden Jane's static balance is really improving. It is so interesting how tone effects her. She has the full ability to stay, 'turned on' she just doesn't. Weird.

As for her speech, we are still struggling with a pretty bad stutter. Not sure what to do to help it resolve, but I believe it will take care of itself in time.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fun Pictures and a Video

First off, Happy Thanksgiving from St. Peter Lutheran School. The best little preschool around. They just love Ayden Jane for who she is, quirks and all. I chatted with a couple of mom's from there, something I just had not had a chance to do, and found that 2 or 3 others speak the language of therapy and doctors... The school is such a blessing.

The pictures are just a couple of AJ in her Turkey hat with all her friends at the thanksgiving feast.


They served chicken nuggets as 'turkey', a cornbread muffin which I swapped out for a grain free almond butter muffin, corn on the cob and green beans. We just opted out on the pumpkin pie, but most kids didn't eat it either!


Mckenna and Ayden Jane just doing their thing around the house. Mckenna is such a great big sister.





This one is from the Daddy Day a while back. Gary took the girls and found a fun jumpy house along the way.




This video we took real quick before we had to head to one practice or another. Ayden Jane is holding her hands like that so she doesn't lose her silly bands. (those things are beginning to drive me crazy) I will try to get lots more over the holidays.

video

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Travels

Kayla was chosen to play in the North/South State All Star game for volleyball. It was at Erskine College which is nearly 5 hours from home and she spent 3 days there. She had a great time and Ayden Jane and I got to go watch the big game on Sat. Five hours is a long time to drive for one game, especially for a 3 year old. Ayden Jane has proven to be an amazing traveler though. It is strange, though, how long trips affect her muscle tone and even neurology. I remember when she was really little too much car seat time always made her feel a bit mushy, but I thought she had out grown this. We learned different on this trip.

On the way back, AJ was stuttering unbelievably! It was like the first syllable of what she was saying was about 15 seconds long (literally). Then a more typical stutter would kick in. Here is an example that we heard MANY times. She was trying to start a sentence and was calling me saying, "hey Mom." It came out, "heeeeeeeeeeeey, Ma,ma,ma,ma,ma, mom." Then she would get a couple words out of what she was trying to tell me and get stuck so she would start the whole sentence over again and it was just as painful. Kayla and I laughed ourselves silly listening to her at first (only because we really believed it would be gone the next morning), but eventually it was just painful. Kayla, being the great big sister she is, spent about 45 min. playing "flying hedgehog with her to get us home." It involved throwing a toy back and forth and would normally not be tolerated in a vehicle!

So, how did she wake up this morning? Stuttering a tiny bit, but nothing like last night and she is sticking that belly out for sure! Good thing is that I am sure she will get it all back in shape in no time, but it is still fascinating. Talk about use it or lose it! Just one more bit of evidence that daily activity will be mandatory pretty much for the rest of her life.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hanging Belly not the Belly's Fault

Ayden Jane is down off this last spurt and we are seeing more great things. However, it seems we also have to deal with a bit of fall out as well.

I e-mailed Jen yesterday to give her a heads up that Ayden Jane is really sticking out her belly. When she is just standing still it looks a bit like a gymnast having just finished a routine and throwing up her hands and arching her back. I am really not sure sometimes how she does not fall over! Now as long as she is active and moving, she lines up much better, but when she is in a static stand, well, YUCK is the best way I can describe it.

So we had therapy shirtless today and Jen tried to address the belly. She was not happy at all with the posture! She tried cueing some muscles... and ended up using kinesio tape on AJ's belly. Ayden Jane calls it her super belly. Then Jen was still not able to get AJ into the correct posture so off went the long pants! Jen found the root of the problem was in her knees! I certainly did not think to look there! Basically, when standing still AJ is hyper extending her knees and 'hanging' on her ligaments at her hips for stability instead of keeping muscles turned on.

Okay, stand up. Lock your knees, let your hips fall forward relaxing all belly and upper body muscles and let gravity take over. Yep, a bit like being 9 months pregnant. Now, bend your knees just slightly so you have to turn on your quads. Amazing how everything else turns on isn't it? So Jen did lots of things with AJ that made it so she had to keep everything turned on. We had AJ in a big saucer standing on a stool so that she had to keep it all activated to keep her balance as she reached for a toy or put together pegs. She had her stand with one foot up on a couple of books. She even had AJ roller skating through the house.

We are going to give Ayden Jane the week to sort out her 'new' body from this last spurt and then Jen will decide if we need to block her knees. I don't really know what that means, but it has something to do with not allowing her to lock out her knees... It has happened before that as Ayden Jane goes through a growth spurt it takes a while for her body to sort itself out, so we are hoping that is all that is going on. I am so glad that I have Jen to keep such a close eye on AJ. She manages to correct things before they become too much of a habit or are able to cause any structural issues.

I will try to get some video of Ayden Jane tomorrow. She has the most adorable little gallop now when she goes from place to place and her run is looking good. Words just can't do them justice.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I've Come a Long Way

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting another PWS mom and grandma and their 2 beautiful girls. We visited for the afternoon and talked and got to know each others kids. I have to say Ayden Jane was awesome as she traveled 3 hours in a car to go meet people she had never seen before and spend the day in a place she had never been before. I think that is enough to make most 3 years olds a bit grumpy and out of sorts. Ayden Jane was her independent self, but her behavior was great and she enjoyed the playground and the house of 'new' toys.

I think Ayden Jane worked her magic and brought a ray of sunshine to the families day. I know that I would have given anything to have a 3 year old like AJ run though my front door when I was struggling to figure out what the diagnosis of PWS meant. I tried to answer questions and just show that our life is pretty normal. Well, as normal as a family of 4 kids with 14 years between them and a husband who works nights can be. The time was definitely too short as I felt we could have chatted and played with the girls a whole lot longer, but it was fun.

For my part, it made me realize that it is not just Ayden Jane that has come a long way. I remember the constant worry about AJ, but I don't feel it ALL the time anymore. I remember worrying that she would never __________ (fill in with smile, crawl, walk, talk, read, have friends...). I remember the urgency of every feed, every therapy, seemingly every minute of the day. I remember the feeling that we were one small step from her somehow waking up one day with the entire list of possible challenges provided by PWS. It was oppressive. The first years were just HARD. Oddly though, I knew there was worry and pressure.... but when in the middle of it you just keep going. I remember watching how hard AJ was working and I knew I had to do everything I could to help her. It was interesting to step back in time a bit. To see a Mom facing that worry head on, a Mom in the trenches doing everything possible, a Mom facing a giant unknown with determination and love for her child.

Good parents are amazing but special needs kids teach you as a parent a range of emotion, challenge, strength, worry... you never asked for but, in the end, are unbelievably thankful for. It is a wild ride, and although I would take the challenges away from AJ in a minute if I could, I am truly thankful for the ride.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Lilah

Lilah is a little friend of Ayden Jane's. She is an adorable bundle of energy and if Ayden Jane manages to even remotely keep up with Lilah through the years she will excel. Today Lilah turned 3. Now, I realize that it is not remarkable that there is an adorable little girl named Lilah who happens to have turned 3 today, but what is remarkable is the change in AJ since she turned 3 just 6 weeks ago.

At Ayden Jane's birthday we worked for about a week to master saying 'Happy Birthday'. She still did not get what I was talking about. She did not really know what presents were about. She did not sing really any songs on her own. She was not good with numbers. She still talked mostly in the same phrases and joined in our conversations by asking one of 2 or 3 standard questions which had nothing to do with what we were talking about.

So, yesterday I asked Ayden Jane if she wanted to get a birthday present for Lilah. Her answer, "Yes. I get Lilah a present for her birthday. Lilah is 3 just like me. She not 2 any more." We picked out a present and the rest of the afternoon, Ayden Jane kept singing, "Happy Birthday to Lilah, Happy Birthday to Lilah."

I am so looking forward to Christmas. I have been amazed at how much she already understands about the holiday and the excitement of it all. She gets the idea of giving and receiving presents. She is becoming familiar with nativity scenes and Santa Claus...

I wish I could describe the cognitive light that has come on. She is just so much more aware of her surroundings, and thus is just more a part of everything.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Music Class and Behavior Issues

Today I went to Ayden Jane's school and watched her with a new music class. It was a sort of free trial and is run by a woman who has been doing kindermusic ect. for years. I love watching Ayden Jane with the other kids at school. There were just 3 from her class that stayed. Her's is the youngest class in the preschool so it was fun to watch Ayden Jane with older kids (1-2 years older). AJ was so excited to sit by a friend we see at horses. She was a bit slow at first, but by the end was not shy at all. She even spoke right up to the teacher whom she had never met before. She joined in with the marching and tapping... My favorite was when the teacher passed an instrument around and when it was AJ's turn, she was a little shy. She held the mallet but did not hit the instrument. The teacher told her she did great and to pass it to the next person. AJ said, "wait, I gonna hit it first." Sure enough she took her turn, was so proud and then passed it on. Very sweet. I had to chuckle though when the teacher told them all to hold hands and her little friend went to take hers. Ayden Jane jerked her hand back like it panicked her. In the end she looked at her friend and reached her hand back toward her nervously. On the way home she just kept saying Ellie hold my hand. Ellie my friend...

Now on to the not so cute. Ayden Jane definitely has some behavior issues. Mostly, they center around her ability to suddenly freak out when things don't go her way or she want something and the answer is no. The one that drives Gary the craziest is when you attempt to help her and she screams as though injured or at least insulted. No this is not entirely surprising as she is 3. I guess what is odd with AJ is how quickly she reacts this way. For the most part, I try not to appease the panic, but to tell her I cannot understand what she wants when she talks like that. Or to calm down and use big girl words. Or just plain, stop whining and tell Mommy what you need. She is capable of doing it now for the most part. She will still push beyond this (and cause Gary to nearly flip) but I think she is at a point where she can really understand and learn to control herself. Not sure how to make the leap from getting her to calm down and talk to us to catching herself and using words first. I think that battle is one that will have to come down the road just a little bit.

It reminds me of when the older kids were little and they never remembered to say please without prompting. Example: Mom, I want an apple. Me: How do you ask? Kid: Please can I have an apple? Me: yes. I moved to this: Mom, I want a snack. Me: you did not use your manners. Go play and try it again in a little while remembering to ask right the first time. 5 min. later, Kid: (amazingly) Mom, may I please have a snack

It is not the same thing, but I think the same concept will need to be applied. For now, I am in the prompting phase. It is all AJ can handle. Hopefully, she will 'prompt' herself, but if not I will have to figure out how to crank it up a notch to help her learn to do so. (It will greatly improve Gary's sanity)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

On the Other Side of the Wave

Ayden Jane is definitely still 'coming down' from this last wave, but I love what I am seeing so far. Of course, maybe some of the reason I love it so much is that I am just coming off 2 weeks of insanity! Let me recap that last 2 days.

If you read a couple of days back, you know that Ayden Jane had a great day of ST and at school. I left off before we headed out the door to horses and she was about to take on Mrs. Rona and convince her that AJ was riding Zip. Well, I arrived a bit early to horses so she could talk to Mrs. Rona before they got all the horses ready. Rona was teaching a group lesson so I thought Ayden Jane would like to watch for a minute before our turn. Hmmmm. Ayden Jane sit quietly and watch... not a good plan. AJ went to the gate and yelled out, "Mrs. Rona! I ride Zip tonight." First of all, the barn was quiet with the exception of the little bit of sound the horses were making in the dirt and Ayden Jane was LOUD! It was all I could do to get her to stop yelling. Luckily, one of the volunteers offered to Ayden Jane to take her to pet the horses... Once Mrs. Rona was done Ayden Jane went to her and loud and clear said, "me ride Zip, not Tamara." Rona tried to convince her to ride Tamara, but in the end we just decided it was way easier to call Tamara, Zip for the evening and be done with it!

Once on the horse, Ayden Jane did not slow down the talking or the volume. Jen (our PT) came for her monthly visit and was very excited to see how much action she gets on Tamara and how great she looks up on her. Jen took her shoes off to get her to do some tricks, but that sent AJ over the edge. We think there is just so much going on when she is riding Tamara that taking the shoes off just sends her over the edge. Anyway, she rode for an hour and would have kept going, but we had to head to Kayla's volleyball banquet.

After the eating part, which was pretty short and sweet, the coaches went into awards presentations. Ayden Jane was loud and funny and could not sit still. She wanted to know when she was getting her trophy. When Kayla was called up for all state honors Ayden Jane went with her. It was hilarious. We tried letting Mckenna take her out into the lobby to play, but she took it as license to sprint. Luckily, most of these people know enough about Ayden Jane to know that she is amazing and totally find the irony in her being so active and loud. We've spent 2 years trying to get her to talk and be active. How do I turn it off when necessary?

Okay, so at this point it is about 7:30 and we have had ST, school, jumped on the trampoline, horses and the banquet. You would think that we would be ready for bed. Nope. Ayden Jane went strong running around the house teasing and chasing and jumping on the bed. She took a nice warm bath... no help. Finally, about 9 she wound down. The good part about AJ is that the amount of time between winding down and falling sleep is generally about 2 min.

Today she was up at 6:30, went to preschool and had PT at 12:30. She showed many positives from this spurt! Woo Hoo!!

1. She is completely conversational. Nearly gone are the, "what color your eyes?" ect. sort of programed questions she used to rely on. In fact she engaged Jen in a conversation about her dog (AJ even remembered its name is Hogan) and her kids... I had to translate waaaaay more than I used to for Jen, but it was totally because AJ is coming up with such original ideas that you cannot predict what she is saying. She pulls things up from months ago and connects new thoughts to old conversations. It was really quite amazing (and entertaining) to watch.

2. She had some great stability in half kneel (something we have been working on for a while)

3. She is following long directions really well.

4. She shocked Jen 2 times by asking about or commenting on our conversation. Jen and I are good friends and we were talking about things that have nothing to do with AJ and yet AJ showed by the way she added in that there is no more talking around her and assuming things are going over her head! (I think this is positive)

We bounced with Mckenna for a while and Gary just took the littles to find more entertainment. She is still non stop action, but under control now. The whining is ending, the 'itchies' are better and she can slow down and listen again. Whew.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Baby 'Luke'

Ayden Jane was absolutely hilarious tonight, but my heart cannot stop thinking about this. Ayden Jane's antics can be the topic of tomorrow.


Baby boy "Luke" born September 7, 2010

Caucasian

Born full-term at 39.5 weeks

6 lbs 4 ozs

19 1/2"

Baby Luke was diagnosed with Prader-Willi syndrome. He was discharged from the hospital on October 25th, and is with a temporary care family. He is being fed by a g-tube and is doing very well. A speech therapist, occupational therapist, and physical therapist have been working with him weekly. Both birth parents continue to express a strong interest in making an adoption plan for Luke.

Birth parents are educated professionals. Birth mom received excellent prenatal care of this planned pregnancy. No history of alcohol or drug usage. The birthparents are willing to consider an adoptive family residing anywhere in the USA. Their number one concern is that an adoptive family will have a great deal of knowledge about Prader-Willi syndrome and be ready to offer a structured environment in a loving home to their son with full understanding of challenges the child may face. Birthparents are not requesting an open adoption.

Please let us know as soon as possible if you would like to be considered as adoptive parents for this little boy.

Thank you,

Leslie Wright, MSW

Birth Parent Counselor

Family Resource Center

5828 North Clark St

Chicago, IL 60660

Phone:773-334-2300

jturner@f-r-c.org

www.f-r-c.org

Speech Therapy and Horses

Ayden Jane has been involved in Speech therapy since she was 15 months old. It is a little hard to tell with ST just how it is helping. Our original ST was great with AJ and helped get her going. Since AJ turned 3 she has been going to ST at our local school and seems to love the switch. It has been a change for me too as it is our first therapy where I drop her off and pick her up. Nope, I don't even stay. (Of course, it helps that I have worked with Mrs. R before and am completely confident in her.)

So, is it helping? Today we did ST at 8:30 before we headed over to AJ's preschool. As AJ climbed into the car after school her teacher said, "she was sure chatty today and I could understand most everything she was talking about." I guess we will keep ST! (As if there was any doubt.)

Now it will be interesting to tell over time whether these new language skills are from the speech therapy this morning or if they are a grand result of our latest sensory spurt.

We did not have horses last Tue. so it feels like it has been a really long time since we have been there. A couple of days ago AJ decided it was time to go see Zip. We spent about 15 min. in a 'discussion' about how it was not our day to go ride Zip and that Mrs. Rona was not at the barn and how Zip was sleeping... anything and everything I could think of. Of course, that simply made AJ inform me that I should call Mrs. Rona, wake up Zip, get my keys to unlock the barn... I think her little body just knows sometimes what it needs and that is a great thing. She is also tenacious and is willing to work incredibly hard to satisfy that need which is a quality that has helped bring her so far. It does not mean, however that I can always accommodate her! It is hard to be 3 and know you are right and not be able to get anyone to listen.

Tonight we have horses. The interesting thing is that Mrs. Rona switched Ayden Jane from riding Zip to riding Tamara last time. I have tried to tell AJ that she is riding Tamara tonight but she just 'informs' me otherwise. I told her that it is up to Mrs. Rona so she will have to talk to her about it. She says she will tell Mrs. Rona she is riding Zip. Let's just say, Mrs. Rona has a huge heart, but even the horses know better than to take her on head to head. I am almost looking forward to it.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Good Stuff

Ayden Jane has been great since the swimming. She has laughed way more than whined or argued. Huge improvement. I really like this kid. I am looking forward to PT this week to see what Jen thinks. It is always the ultimate test because Jen will sort of stretch her little muscular and neurological systems and get them working their hardest. She has AJ do things that are demanding alone and also gets Ayden Jane to combine challenging skills in one activity. If AJ can begin to do this again without losing quality, getting frustrated or trying to quit, we will know we can breathe deep for a little while. The big sensory wave will be over for now. If you have been following for a while you will know that these are a pattern for Ayden Jane. I would say that the intensity varies and the length between them varies. The seeming constant is that, for AJ, they seem to always last about 2 weeks. (which also happens to coincide with the amount of time I can last before thinking I can't do this anymore) Also, we usually see some sort of big gain when they pass. The gain is getting harder to see, likely because they are more complex. In the past, gains have been easy to measure. Suddenly she can jump. Or suddenly, she is using nearly complete sentences. Or suddenly she was able to put together every puzzle in the house. It seems to me that there is definitely a cognitive spurt going on as her conversation continues to surprise me, but I will be interested in what Jen 'feels' in her.

She is not doing great with the time change, but luckily she is back to being at least a bit patient. This morning she woke up about 5:30 (which was 6:30 in her own time clock) and wanted to cuddle. This is common in the morning and she just crawls in and falls back asleep. Problem came when, at 6:30 she wanted up for good. (Of course, to her clock it was 7:30!) Well, I turned on Clifford and she was content to sit and watch and chat until nearly 7 when it was time to wake Mckenna. I think we will use this pattern until she gradually shifts her clock to line up with the rest of the house.

Funny stories: Ayden Jane still likes to use her 'little potty.' It is a Winnie the Pooh potty we got at Walmart and it has a handle that when you 'flush' says, "all done," followed by the sound of a toilet flushing. Ayden Jane will often bump it as she sits down. She responds, "I NOT all done." Secondly, during this last little sensory spurt Ayden Jane decided she would only wear her 'stripey' pants. They are a pair of pants/leggings that are multi colored stripes. So one day last week I HAD to wash them. I think we were on day 3 at the time. So, Ayden Jane refused to choose any other pants and just wore her shirt, underwear and shoes while they washed. Yep. She insisted that the shoes go on because she was not all dressed without them.

Oh, yes, today she decided her green pants were a good idea. First day without stripeys in a week! Hallelujah for this to come to a close and may we never be without a pool again.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Swimming Update/Momma Sick

Well, I picked AJ up from school and casually asked her teacher how her day was. The answer? "MUCH better. She was nearly back to her old self." Okay, so apparently it is a good thing that I like to swim because it sounds like we will be spending a lot of time in the water.

I am happy to say that I nearly never get sick. That 'nearly' happened yesterday. My big kids were awesome as I had no choice but to stay on the sofa or in bed. They took great care of Ayden Jane. The funny part was AJ. She would not leave me. She kept asking, "mom, you all better now?" She would climb on the sofa and sit with me. She just knew this would make me better. When the big kids would say I was sick, she would argue with them. "Mommy all better now. Mommy not sick." All in all it was very cute. Although I must admit it is much cuter today than it was yesterday!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hope in Swimming

Well, Ayden Jane's behavior has gotten more difficult. It is hard to watch because you can just see it is beyond her behavior and crosses into a loss of control. She has no desire to be 'bad' or even to test limits, she is just overly sensitive to everything and has very little self control. After heading to the play ground last night, jumping on the trampoline, doing handstands.... Things only slightly improved.

So, is it just being 3? I think I found my answer tonight. I went to a local 'resort' that has a small health club and an indoor pool and checked out membership, times the pool is open... Turns out it is not too expensive (300 for 6 months or 400 for the year for our family of 6). We talked them into a free trial tonight to see if the water was warm enough for Ayden Jane. I will definitely say it was not toasty but AJ went right in. She took her little pool noodle and rode it like a horse for laps. She jumped in and swam. She swam back and forth between Gary and I. She laughed and splashed and basically sprinted for 20 min. We came home and within 10 minutes Kayla informed me we had brought home the wrong child. This was her way of saying that Ayden Jane was so dramatically different (calmer) that she was like a new kid. We like this kid. AJ proceeded to be completely cooperative, do several challenging puzzles calmly and simply asking for help when needed. Her volume was normal, her tone had no more whine, she could keep clothing on without freaking out, she could have a conversation without getting frustrated... I honestly could go on.

The final test will be school tomorrow. AJ has had less than great days this week. I am not going to tell her teachers anything when I drop her off, I will just ask how her day was at the end. Oh, and yes, if these results hold true, it will be the best money we have ever spent!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pooh's Thoughtful Spot

Yesterday I went to pick Ayden Jane up from school a little early. No real reason, just poor timing so that was when I was going by the school... I went inside to peek at her in the classroom and I saw she was sitting in "pooh's thoughtful spot." Yep. Time out. I quickly slipped out of sight as I did not want to free her from discipline! The director saw me and told me to go right ahead and visit her in the class. I explained AJ's situation. She assured me that Ayden Jane never is in any trouble and sometimes she just likes to sit there. I wasn't so sure. She asked quickly as she went by and sure enough, it was Ayden Jane's first official bad day at school. Is it wrong that I was happy about this? I know that sounds weird, but for Ayden Jane to get in trouble means she was asserting herself in one way or another and was likely very verbal.

The teacher explained that it had been a long day of wanting to things AJ's way... and choosing not to listen. Sounds about right to me!! Nothing in particular was awful, just trying to find a way to win the battle. To me it is just one more way in which she is 'typical' 3. On the way to school today she told me, "I not gonna sit in the spot. I gonna listen." Best part is, as far as I can tell she followed through. (truth is, I think she needs a good swim)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween

Halloween was a couple of days ago, but I figured I would write up how we handled it, how it went and some ideas for future years.

So, what did we do? Divide and conquer. We decided that Ayden Jane was just too young to really understand the whole trick or treating thing and we had another option so we went with it. Mckenna wanted to trick or treat with friends so she and Gary did that.

Let's first talk costume. AJ wanted no part of the costume. Her sister Mckenna was all decked out in her costume as a can of bug spray, but AJ was not interested in dressing up. I am sure it is the result of her latest little sensory spurt as she is back to asking for tags to be cut out, if clothes are itchy before putting them on, complaining and yet obsessed of all things texture... She decided she wanted Kayla to paint butterfly's on her cheeks and was thrilled with that so we were all happy.

AJ, Kayla and I went to a fall festival which was basically loads of bouncy houses, slides and obstacle courses. Hmmm. I'd say it was basically the choice of therapy over candy. Good choice. Anyway, AJ had a blast and especially loved the long caterpillar looking tunnels. She went over and over. Honestly I think she probably took 50 turns on the slides, tunnels, jumpy houses... by the time the night was over. The candy is given out in a little bag at the end at a separate area that I never even saw. Great fun with no worries! As a treat on the way home we went through McDonald's and got 'apples and nuts'. Otherwise known as the fruit and walnut salad. AJ does not eat the yogurt, but the apples, grapes and walnuts are a big treat to her. Perfect evening.

Not sure what the future will bring, but I foresee trick or treating a bit but using the Halloween Fairy or Great Pumpkin trick. Let her choose a cupful of treats to keep but putting the rest out on the porch to be replaced by a present. I think I would have gone for that myself as a kid! I know Mckenna will go for it with us if needed. I would likely amend it a bit as well and have things like dark chocolate almonds that she loves, but I am more comfortable with as part of her cup of treats.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Shoulder Strength and Daddy Day

Well, this is not a very good picture of what AJ was doing. One of those times where we were so shocked by what she was doing we didn't get the camera until it was about over! It all started with her sister doing a handstand against the wall. Kayla did it the normal way you would learn or practice. She started facing the wall and then kicked her legs up so that her back was facing the wall. We attempted that with Ayden Jane, but she did not want us to help so it didn't really work. She then, as usual, found her own way to do what the big kids were doing. This picture is actually as AJ was getting down so you'll have to use your imagination a little. Just picture this with her legs straight as an arrow and her hands a bit closer to the wall! Even more impressive is the control she had as she came down. Now that takes strength!





We are also in the process of putting up a good climbing rope in the back yard. You know, the kind from gym class when we were kids. Of course, my luck, AJ will get up the rope and decide to just let go to get down! Okay, let me rephrase. We we are also putting up a short climbing rope in the back yard. I think a gymnastics class would be perfect for her at this point, but it is just not really an option. for us right now so we are attempting to bring a bit of gymnastics to her.

On Saturday I took Noah to his soccer games a few hours away and, drum roll please, left AJ here in Pawleys Island. Yep, we are pretty sure it is the longest I have left AJ in her 3 year life. It was nice to just go with Noah. No extra clothes, just in case, no coolers with food for the day, no toys to entertain or therapize in the car... Just Noah and me. (Yes, I missed her) So by noon I received a phone call from Gary filling me in on their morning. Ayden Jane and Mckenna were 'helping' Gary work in the yard and do some laundry. Apparently, Ayden Jane decided to take over the laundry herself. She slipped off and by the time Gary caught up with her she had opened the laundry soap and poured it into the cup (and all over the floor) and promptly put it in the dryer. Hey, she couldn't reach the washing machine! Luckily there were some towels in it at the time so no real harm done. Of course, Gary's progress came to a screeching halt. He took care of that little episode and resumed yard work. They were filling up his van with a load for the dump (yes, we take our trash to the dump ourselves, no garbage man) and of course the girls were again 'helping.' Ayden Jane was happy as can be when Gary noticed her hands were white. Yep. He was throwing away an old can of paint that was, apparently, not completely empty. She was so proud of herself for how well she painted the back seat! Not to worry, the car is awaiting it's own trip to the junk yard as it is terminal and has 260,000 plus miles on it.

Yep, all that and it was still before noon!! Well, they are good examples of why Kayla calls her ninja child. She can silently get into more trouble than you can imagine!