Tuesday, April 20, 2010

SEW: Special Plans

playing Daddy's guitar with Daddy!

I have to brag on my husband for this week (though he deserves it every week, of course!).  He has been gone on what will be a 9-day trip, but he planned ahead for us!  Every day we read the Bible together as a family, after breakfast and again after supper.  We review Isaiah's catechism with him both times, teach him how to pray in the morning, and sing together at night.

I would do this anyway during Thomas' absence, but he took the time to record himself reading the short passages to us!  He also played the guitar for us for our singing time in the evenings.  It has been great!  Of course, we'd rather have the original, but being able to see and hear him and "interact" with him has been grand.  And Isaiah has LOVED it.  He gets very excited every time and asks to watch the videos several times.  He blows Daddy kisses and says night, night and love you, too.  And makes my heart melt...

Tot School

Isaiah is 50 months old

Last week Isaiah was my big helper!  I actually had energy, and we were able to get some much-needed cleaning done together.  He would lead me around the house saying, This way, Mommy!  Beep! Beep! and make sure that I got to the right places.

We enjoyed a family day before Daddy left on a 9-day trip.  Thankfully the rain held off and we were able to take a nice walk and enjoy a special lunch out together.  Since Daddy left, Isaiah has enjoyed looking at these pictures from that day and telling all the things that Daddy is "wearing" in the pictures.

sorry, honey, but Isaiah thinks they're great, so I just had to share!

We also had a special treat of a package from the States thanks to my husband's cousin, Linda and her sweet children!  Thank you so much!  Isaiah lunged for the box as I began to open it in front of him with the cry of Toys!  He looked through all the books as he told me, I read.  I read it, Mommy.

And his favorite activity last week was definitely play doh!  He's enjoyed this before, but he's never dug through his toy box and brought me the container to me to open for him to play with!  It was a learning moment for me because at first I put him off because I knew it meant I would have to vacuum when he got done, and I just didn't want to vacuum.  But then he got so disappointed, though not fussy about it, and I thought, you know what, I can vacuum; I need to celebrate the fact that Isaiah communicated to me what he wanted to play with.  

He doesn't play with it in the conventional manner, mind you, but rather just tearing it apart and moving it from one container to another; but he loves it!

This was also a perfect activity for him to do while standing up.  I'm so thankful that my arm is strong enough again at last to get him in his big braces!

We've enjoyed some exceptionally beautiful weather lately, which means LONG walks outside!  Not many pics, but tons of fun and sunshine!

This week we're keeping busy to distract us from Daddy's absence, though it's really only somewhat effective.  We're so ready for him to come home!

Enjoy checking out the other Tot Schools at 1+1+1=1.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tot School--Catching Up

Isaiah is 50 months

Well, my blogging has been rather sporadic as of late due to the fact that we've been enjoying some amazing weather and some extra time with friends since we can all get around the city a little easier with our little ones now.  Public transportation is not easy with lots of snow and strollers or wheelchairs (in our case) and moms with broken arms.

Hooray for spring at last!

But, my lack of posting doesn't mean a lack of learning!  Isaiah has been making some great progress in some areas of life skills, things that he can do for himself.  My pictures (though few) represent the past couple of weeks--better late than never!

enjoying some time with Slava--they actually play together really well!

Dressing Himself:

Pants work well as a scarf, too, right?

Isaiah has actually made some great improvements in taking off and putting on his shirt by himself.  We help him with his balance, and he does just about everything with his shirt on his own.  He still requires some verbal and physical cues, but he's doing great!  Another fun part of this is that he will tell me what he wants to wear:
What shirt would you like today, Isaiah?

Truck! (or) McQueen!

He has also started undressing himself when we come in from our walks.  He'll take off his gloves (which we really don't need very often any more now!) and his hat on his own.  Oh, and he has to wear his truck hat, too when we go out.

Communicating Needs:

Isaiah has made a jump lately in his communication skills!  Naturally, it's hard to take pictures of him talking, so you'll have to take my word for it.  Whenever I try to take a video, he of course clams up!

We've been told that children with spina bifida often communicate in a manner that's called "cocktail chatter".  This simply means, I think, that they understand certain responses to certain questions, but they don't always completely understand what is going on in such a way that they can volunteer information or creatively participate in a more "advanced" conversation.  They can be good at "small talk", but perhaps don't always understand beyond that point.  As Isaiah's communication improves, we sometimes see signs of this, but most often we are pleased with his comprehension of what is going on around him. His responses to our questions are improving, and we just keep consistently working with him on conversation skills.

So, all that to say, here are some of Isaiah's new phrases (usually ending with Mommy or Daddy):

I'm ready!

I wait, Mommy.
I read. (as he turns the pages to his book, magazine, or most often requested Bible)

In response to "did you" questions he will answer, I did.

He will also try to sing along with us by repeating words.  I LOVE THIS!

And he still says Honey, all the time, which is absolutely adorable, especially since he says it with the cutest little southern accent!

His Russian vocabulary is increasing a little bit, too, as we are able to spend more time with our Russian friends.

He's also seeming to communicate physical needs a little bit, as I wrote about here.  And the other day he even seemed to know when he was pooping on his own (other than his normal pooping time).  This may seem strange, but I've never been so thankful to clean up a mess as I was that day when he was trying to tell me that something was wrong!


Isaiah had several weeks without using his walker due to my not being able to put him in his big braces. :(  Thankfully, this is changing!  He had several long walking sessions.  At first he seemed to forget a little bit, but the skills are quickly returning, along with his communication of where he wants to go or not go and when he wants to move or not move!

and yes!  he's balancing on his own here while using both hands to play with his little frog that then had to ride permanently on the walker


Isaiah now consistently counts to 3, and he has on several occasions gone to 4!  M&M's are a great incentive!

So we've been busy, even if it doesn't look that way.  I get my cast off Saturday, and we're looking forward to some more activities to do together!  I love hanging out with my Little Man!

Check out the other Tot School fun at 1+1+1=1.

SEW: I'm Ready!

Isaiah has started voluntarily saying several new phrases as of late, one of them being "I'm ready!"  This is especially helpful when it's time to walk in our newly abundant sunshine!

And it's almost time to lose the hat and wear a lighter weight jacket!  Woohoo!

Check out the other great things happening around the world at 5M4SN:  Special Exposure Wednesday.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

SEW: A Couple Months' Difference

Remember this:

Well. here's what it actually looks like:

Spring is on its way!

Check out the other Special Exposure happenings at 5 Minutes for Special Needs.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

He's Growing Up

Just the other day my husband commented on Isaiah's lack of inhibitions.  We had been out for a family walk or returning from some public setting in which Isaiah had been not acting in a typical Russian fashion.  In public Russians are reserved to say the least.  Interactions with strangers are kept to a minimum, except when it comes to our son.

Oh no, Isaiah will regularly flirt with strangers or talk loudly in a very happy voice.  Thomas and I usually can't keep ourselves from laughing with him, and we aren't really interested in suppressing his adorable personality.

But something happened yesterday in great contrast to this behavior.  Thomas and I had both commented that Isaiah just doesn't seem to realize that there's anything different about him than other kids, and we like that.  Yesterday my friend, Oksana and her little boy Slava came to play.  It was time for one of Isaiah's cathings, and since his little friend is also a boy, I didn't even think about asking them to leave the room, especially since Oksana had just changed Slava.  But Isaiah seemed to have different ideas...he got all shy and sheepish looking.

I wasn't sure what was going on at first, until I asked him if he wanted some privacy, and he said "uh-huh" with the sweetest little look in his eyes.  Oksana and Slava naturally complied, and he was completely fine after that.

I don't know if he is understanding that his way of going potty is different, or if he's just growing up and realizing that he wants some privacy when he goes potty.  Either way, I thought it was pretty neat, actually.

I don't necessarily want Isaiah to become inhibited.  I LOVE his carefree and playful personality; but I think it's really wonderful that he is beginning to communicate to me better the things that he wants, even if he can't explain the exact emotions that go along with those wants.

What are ways that your children deal with differences? How do you as parents teach them to be themselves?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Tot School--K Week II

Isaiah is 50 months old

This week we moved on to the letter K, the next one on our speech therapy list.  Isaiah can say this letter very well!  We didn't do a specific craft with the letter as my arm is still healing, so we focused on working in the kitchen!  I am trying to include Isaiah in some of the regular things that we do every day as my helper, and he really seems to enjoy it!

I don't have a picture of this one, but he decided to help me clean in the kitchen.  We keep a floor rag for wiping up random water.  It stays by the sink, and Isaiah decided that as he crawled around on the floor he would clean things up for me with the rag.  He seemed to be singing a little cleaning song as he moved around the kitchen.  And he even seemed to say, "I cleaning!"  Hooray for increasing vocabulary!

We colored Easter eggs one day.  Isaiah's coordination still needs some improvement before I trust him to spoon a real egg into dyed water that could stain lots of things, so we improvised for him.  He got to play with water, much to his delight.  First he stirred it, then he splashed it, then he poured it all over himself.

Next I gave him plastic eggs to play with, and he did a great job opening them!  Yeah for better hand strength!

As a surprise for Daddy we made chocolate chip cookies.  Isaiah took care of the flour for me.

I finally realized this bowl was just too big...

...so we got two smaller bowls, and he stirred and transferred (even once with the spoon!) and just had fun making a big mess.

He played for an hour with his bowls of flour!  I asked him a few times if he was done, and would emphatically say "No!"  Until the park dries enough for playing in the sandbox, I think we found a great and rather cheap substitute!

This week Isaiah has also learned how to help me lift him better and hold on better while carrying him.  I am very thankful for this as my arm continues to heal, and he is getting bigger!  He is almost 23 pounds!!!!

Check out the other Tot Schools for great ideas for different stages at 1+1+1=1.