Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tot School--Takin' It One Day At A Time

Isaiah is 49 months old

Well, Mama is still somewhat incapacitated, so we didn't do many structured activities.  And in all honesty, after talking with a wonderful and wise friend this week, I have to tell you that aside from the carry over from the different therapies, our Tot School is not nearly as structured as it might appear on the blog.  Usually I start an activity with Isaiah, and then just let him do his thing.  This week, he had a blast (which made our time so much more fun)!

I got out our treasured construction paper, and we tore it up!  Literally.  After a few minutes, Isaiah got more into the ripping.  And I just asked him to repeat the color names to continue getting him familiar with them.  He identified green and blue on his own!

So we had the big pile you see on the table, and then we got out the glue.  Isaiah LOVES glue.  

We have large white sheets of paper, and I just let him have the bottle of glue and do whatever he wanted.  Then we stuck the different pieces of colored paper all over the big white paper, banging on them as hard as we could.  I'd show you the end result, but it's a surprise for someone back home.  :)

I've been wanting to work on hand coordination in more interesting ways.  We finally finished up some syrup that was sent to us, and I thought the bottle would be great for pouring.  I've had a hard time finding the right-sized container for this.  The bottle was still a little big, but Isaiah had fun!

The boy is slightly obsessed with syrup and pancakes, so he got excited when he saw the bottle.  We called the water inside syrup, which seemed to increase his interest.  Or syrpup as Isaiah calls it.

I had a hard time getting a good shot of him pouring.  Here I was helping him get the motion a few times.

Then we added a funnel.  He liked trying to get it in the bottle opening and watching the syrup go back inside.

It didn't take him long to figure out that the funnel was the middle step.  He kept trying to pick up drops of syrup to put in the funnel then the bottle.

And then splashing ensued, naturally.

He asked for a spoon!  I love that he thought of what he wanted to play with on his own and was able to tell me!  Guess who ran to the kitchen!

He told me he was making pancakes. :)  Smart Little Man!

Here's to having fun with it!  Mama learned a lot this week, but that's for another post...my left hand is tired after such a long post.

Check out the fun at 1+1+1=1.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

SEW: Substitute Teacher

Not the best quality picture, but still a precious moment--Daddy has been spending some extra time with Isaiah since I broke my arm.  He always spends time with Isaiah, and he is always teaching him things, of course; but it's been special to me to see their bond strengthen during this time.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tot School--Anything Goes!

Isaiah is 49 months old

This week did not go at all as planned, and I really mean that in the strongest sense possible!  And this post will be short because, well, for one thing, typing with one hand is not my best skill.  Monday, I had a fall on the ice and broke my arm, so Tot School was not so easy to accomplish.

Thankfully, I have an amazing husband whose schedule was a bit more flexible this week, and he has been doing pretty much everything that requires 2 hands, like cathing, doing enemas, giving most of the meds and lifting.  When I can type a bit faster, he's getting a huge post on my personal blog!

Thanks to Daddy, Isaiah has had some more number focus this week.  I even got to join the fun with counting M&M's!  Isaiah made it all the way to 4 one time so far this week!  He is very consistent with 1, 2!

We did a lot of reading from our small personal library.  Isaiah seemed more interested in our Eric Kinkaid's Nursery Rhymes book that some good friends of ours gave him.  

We also looked at all our family picture books over and over and over again.  Isaiah was able to tell me just about everyone's names in our extended family!  I think he has some nicknames that I don't quite understand for some of them, and sometimes his aunts and uncles were called by the names of their children, but he did the best he's ever done!

A friend and her little girl came over to play one day, and she taught Isaiah how to act out The Three Little Pigs with lots and lots of laughter.

Isaiah and I played "catch" one afternoon (when the throbbing in my arm lessened).  He actually seemed to try to aim the ball for me, which I don't remember him doing before.

And he continued to progress verbally.  Some of my favorites lately:

I'm coming!  Yes ma'am!
I pause it.  (any time we need to stop music or a movie)
I drop it.  (whenever something falls)
I'm funny!

and my current favorite:
Thank you, Honey!

Check out the other Tot Schools at 1+1+1=1!

Oh, and any suggestions for keeping things running smoothly with a little person while mama isn't quite up to par would be great!  I had started a schedule for us, which has been helpful, but Isaiah isn't exactly able to keep that going on his own like an older child could.  I'm sure I'm not the first and will not be the last to be in a situation like this, so share the knowledge, parents!  I look forward to hearing your ideas.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

SEW: Generations

Learning from my grandma, circa 1979 

Now I have my own little helper to teach, 2010

Check out other SEW memories at 5 Minutes For Special Needs.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Tot School--B Week II

Isaiah is 49 months old

B is for...


We have already worked on the letter B several times, so I was trying to do something new with Isaiah this week.  We focused on his body.  I drew an outline of his body with the hopes of him drawing in some of the parts.  He did great while I was outlining him!  When I showed him the outline, though, he kind of freaked out.  It was a little weird, but we pressed on.

Isaiah's drawing currently consists of practicing vertical and horizontal lines and circles; so for his drawing I tried to keep things simple for him to give him as much success as possible.  I think he did great!  He did the most work on the head, where apparently he has one long sideburn on his left side.   And I suppose he drew the face as his "funny face" because that's how he wanted to pose with the picture.

The body activity took most of our time with a lot of hand-over-hand help from mama in holding the marker or the crayon.  He did the movements himself, but he seems to be having a hard time holding on to things, perhaps because he doesn't always really want to be doing what we're doing.


Thomas and I were excited to finally get Isaiah a new chalk/white/drawing board.  Now that he can stand so well, he needed something to stand by!  This has really helped him with balance, too, I think. While he draws he can't hold on to the walker as much, forcing him to have increased balance control.  We had wanted to get this for him for his birthday, but needed to finish saving up some first--you know how it is!

Books and Bears

We of course read books, focusing on the letter B.  I Love You, Daddy; I Love You, Mommy (both about bears) and The Tale of Benjamin Bunny by Beatrix Potter.  The Potter books tend to be a little long for Isaiah for some reason, but he seems to be tolerating them better.

Building with Blocks

We worked on color recognition and hand coordination with lego blocks.  Together we built a few towers.  After some fussing, of course; but that quickly turned to fun.


He enjoyed moving his toys from one box to another while sitting on his little toy car--this was great upper body balancing practice!


In the kitchen he enjoyed helping me tenderize some chicken by beating it with the meat mallet.  He then continued to want to beat everything he could with the mallet, so I let him.  Again, he needs some increased hand control.


We looked through magazines for pictures of boys.  Isaiah is also beginning to answer the question What are you? with I'm a boy.

Not related to the letter B, but still very exciting, Isaiah identified two letters and their sounds completely on his own this week!  I've mentioned before that we really like Letter Factory by LeapFrog.  This week Isaiah identified L and S, and I think largely in part to watching that video!  Woohoo!


Isaiah loves to read his Bible!  I think it's pretty amazing that he can identify a Bible from any other book, even if it's hardback and not the typical looking Bible.  Often if I haven't finished my Bible reading before Isaiah gets up, he will sit with me while I read, and this is one of his favorite spots and things to do during that time.

Be sure to check out the other Tot Schools at 1+1+1=1 where you can get great ideas for your child, no matter what their age or development.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Unusual Learning Times

We are taught in Scripture to make the best use of the time, because the days are evil (Eph. 5:17, ESV). We are also instructed to teach our children about God when [we] sit in [our] house, and when [we] walk by the way, and when [we] lie down, and when [we] rise (Dt. 6:7, ESV).

These things are hard to do! It's so much easier to let silence reign or to let little opportunities slip by. Part of this instruction I think also involves teaching our children about God's world as a way of teaching them about Him, part of why we choose to fulfill our responsibility for teaching Isaiah in our home.

As parents of a child with special needs, we've found ourselves in some interesting situations that we are endeavoring to turn into such teaching times, looking for ways to best use the time. And one of those times is Isaiah's "poop time".

That's right, even our time in the toilet room (a completely separate room in Russian apartments) can be used for learning, and not just about bodily functions. So what do we do every other day for about 30 minutes while giving Isaiah a water enema and then waiting for the business to be done?

~Well, we work on letter sounds.
~We review questions that people ask Isaiah all the time, like How old are you?, What's your name?, Where do you live?, What do you like?
~We count.
~We talk about the colors of the clothing we have on.
~He makes up games that we play. His current favorite is telling me Night Night and gently pushing my head to the side. Then he says Wake up! And I'm supposed to pop my head up and say I'm awake! (this is a good time to work on the pronunciation of that difficult W letter!)
~We review body parts.
~We sing. Isaiah is actually learning how to follow along with a song these days! He'll sing a word here and there, and it's so sweet.
~We review his children's catechism questions.
~I've started working on facial expressions for emotions with him, and he loves this one! He does the same expression for everything, but I vary mine.
~We listen to music.

The possibilities are many (though you do have certain limitations, naturally). For example, Isaiah can't sit on the toilet without me holding him, so we can't do a ton with our hands, well, actually Isaiah likes to play with my hair and try to put his hands in my mouth, but we can't do crafts or anything.

This learning time is one that I never would have anticipated. I confess there are days that I'm really tired, and I don't redeem this time as well as I would like. But we've been able to turn an unpleasant (at least in the odor area) time into something fun and enjoyable for Isaiah. It's great concentrated time that we have together that could so easily slip through our fingers or become a drudgery (not that I love giving him enemas, but hey, it's our life).

What ideas do you have for those random times that are unique to your family?