Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tot School

Isaiah is 51 months old

Thanks to Daddy, Isaiah still got some Tot School learning in this week.  I am basically on bed rest, not to lift or move Isaiah and supposed to lay around as much as possible.

Isaiah's daddy searched YouTube for some great number, letter or color videos.  He did a great job finding short clips that Isaiah really enjoyed watching.  He did a great job repeating the numbers or letters or colors!

And one really fun thing--he was sitting on the couch one day playing with his toys, when I heard him randomly and completely unprompted say, One, Two, Three, Four in the cutest little singing voice!

No pictures from official learning times, but here's a couple of Isaiah with his fabulous substitute teacher:

Gotta love the perks of lovin' in the middle of the day!

I'm guessing that we won't be posting about Tot School for a couple of weeks as I continue on my bed rest and as, Lord willing, Nadia will be with us soon!  But don't forget to check out the other Tot School posts linked up at 1+1+1=1.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

SEW: The Help of Friends

A friend's helpful hands...

...made this sweet smile possible.

Thank you, God for thoughtful friends.

See other Special Exposure Wednesday memorable moments at 5M4SN.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Tot School--G Week II

Isaiah is 51 months

This week we finally got back into the speech therapy list for our alphabet school.  Since it's been a while, I'll just say that the use of the alphabet is more for me to have a spring board for activities to try with Isaiah.  I'm doing my best to make them interesting for him but also productive as far as the therapy goals that his therapists in the States gave me before we left.

We picked up with the next letter on our speech therapy list, which was G.  And G is for...


I drew the big and little G on his drawing board in green crayon.  We found all his shades of green crayons and markers and he actually colored and did his horizontal lines very well!  I think it's more difficult for him to do his other lines and circles while standing as he has to work hard just on balancing at the same time, but he did great with his balance!  He was able to let go of his walker with both hands several times for several minutes.

Oh, and it was all his idea for his friends to sit with him while he worked on his drawing board.  I LOVE how he is getting better at telling me what he would like.

He also found his play doh several times this week and asked to play with it.  He would bring me the container and say All mine, which I thought was a creative way to let me know what he wanted.


I tried to get him in his braces even more this week.  He did really well walking around our little space.
We were also able to go outside a lot more near the end of the week!  I had to take more sitting breaks than in the past, but as long as he could watch the cars go by, Isaiah didn't seem to mind one bit!

Things that Go

When Isaiah had occupational therapy, he HATED working his puzzles.  I hadn't pulled this one of some trucks out in a long time.  I just nonchalantly put it on the table to see what would happen.  He immediately started taking out the pieces and even tried to put 3 of them back!  One piece was almost in the right spot!  I was thrilled, so I told him to smile for a picture with the puzzle, and this is what he did...


Ok, this is a stretch, and I don't think I ever said this word with him, but when he asked for his "colors", he did well moving them from one place to another, or gathering them. :)

But I did some gathering of my own.  I've been wanting to organize Isaiah's toys for a while now, and I finally had the energy and time (all at once!) to do a deep clean of his room and organize things a little better.  My preference would have been to get flat containers with lids to slide under his bed, but that would mean spending money, so I just used the crates that we had, and it works all right.  We have one for "Cars, Trucks, and Things that Go", one for "Legos" and one for everything else.

I was also able to finally get the posters up that our cousin sent us!  Unfortunately I can't get the glossy ones to stay up, but the alphabet one is doing well.  We look at it together, and I've found him looking at it when I get him up from his "nap".  Just some passive learning with it right now, but I'm sure it will be even more helpful later!


And what would G week be without some serious guitar time?  Isaiah's little guitar finally met its end, so he had the special treat of getting to strum Daddy's guitar a few times this week.


We continue to work with Isaiah on his children's catechism questions.  We are having a bit of a dilemma however, and I would appreciate any advice.  For the past 3 years, Isaiah has been able to do the first 2 questions without any problems at all.  We added the 3rd question about a year ago, and all was going well.  Suddenly, however he wants to answer the first 2 questions with the answer for the 3rd question.  It's like it's stuck in his head or something.  We're having a hard time discerning if this is behavioral/needs discipline issue or a genuine part of some of the learning difficulties that Isaiah might have.  He does tend to get stuck on certain words or answers in other situations as well.

We are trying to develop some more interesting ways to review his catechism with him to see if maybe he's bored with the process.  I have to give my husband kudos in this area as he has been the main one to try new things.

But any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated.


And just in time a wonderful package arrived with some fun goodies for Isaiah (Thanks, ST!).  He seems to really like glasses, and I was thrilled to have some pipe cleaners, which I thought would be perfect for making him some play glasses.  My husband whipped some up in no time!

(my husband is less than thrilled with this picture, but it was the only one I had with Isaiah's cute play glasses, so sorry, honey)

Lord willing, we'll continue our alphabet school this week.  We're pretty much taking things one day at a time here as we wait for our Little Lady to join us in the outside world.

But be sure to check out the other Tot Schools at 1+1+1=1.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

SEW: Big Brother

Check out the other Special Exposure Wednesday posts linked up at 5 Minutes for Special Needs.

(And to my 5M4SN friends, I have been having trouble leaving comments on wordpress based blogs.  I don't know why, and I feel quite frustrated by this!  I so enjoy seeing your posts and learning from each of you, please know that I do come and visit!  I can't even leave a comment on the 5M4SN site for some reason, it never shows up.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated!)

Check This Out!

A friend of ours posted about this amusement park on Facebook recently.  Some of you might have already heard about it as I  am often late in finding things out from the States, but I thought I'd share anyway.

Check out Morgan's Wonderland--what looks like an amazing amusement park designed specifically for people with disabilities and even has an amazing price!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Chair Challenge

Since Isaiah can't feel his bottom, sitting is something of a challenge.  Most chairs pose different difficulties from slanted backs that don't support his back well, to slanted seat areas that promote sliding.  We're always on the lookout for something that will work better for him.

He likes to sit at the little table that we got him and play with his play-doh or read his books, but the chair that we had bought to go with the table just wasn't working for him.

Enter my brilliant husband...

He found this little wooden chair at IKEA and added the shelf braces, also from IKEA, to provide the perfect little chair for Isaiah.  The straight back helps him sit straighter and not slide.  The horizontal slats on the seat seem to provide some resistance to sliding as well.

wooden Ekby Valter bracket, $4 in the States, but turned differently on our chair

Unfortunately, the chair isn't pictured online without the brackets, and I forgot to get a picture of the chair before my husband's improvements.  The chair cost about $11 with our current exchange rate, so it's probably cheaper in the States.  Altogether, with screws and everything, we were able to have this for under $16.  (My husband wanted me to say that he already owned the drill.)  :)
Yard sales aren't that common over here, but you might be able to find something similar for even cheaper if you're able to shop thrift stores or yard sales.

Isaiah sat in his chair for an hour today without sliding or having to be adjusted--great for both of us!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Tot School--Special Guest

Isaiah is 51 months old

Isaiah has been a big help in the kitchen this week as we celebrated Daddy's birthday and enjoyed having a very special guest from the States!

Isaiah decided that whenever I'm mixing something up in bowls, he has to have the same things, too.  This is great as it increases his hand strength and actually does some pre-writing work without having to "force" him to color. :)

He helped me make Daddy's birthday breakfast pancakes, and did a great job, of course!

He was the teacher this week, as he taught my pastor several words in Russian while we enjoyed his time with us.

Another great part of Pastor being with us was watching Isaiah form another attachment.  Isaiah loves it when we have people over.  For a while it seemed like he didn't remember people from one visit to another, but now he will ask about the people who have been here long after they're gone.  He remembers their names (or the names that he's given them) and follows them around or goes and looks for them while they're here.  When they leave he is really sad, which of course I don't like for him to be sad, but I'm really excited for the mental development that this implies!

I have been told to limit my activities for the next few weeks as Nadia's arrival draws near, so Tot School will probably continue to be fairly low key, focusing on life skills and physical therapy more than school room type activities.

What are some ways that you try to incorporate learning into daily activities that don't "look like" school?

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

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tot School--Keeping Busy!

Isaiah is 50 months old

This past week (actually almost 3 weeks ago now!) Isaiah and I did our best to keep busy and pass the time until Daddy got home!

We enjoyed some great weather in the beginning of the week, which meant lots of fun time outside!  This was definitely a good idea, according to Isaiah.

Monday we had friends over!  I got a taste of what it will be like to care for a littler person with my Little Man, which means that my hands were way too busy to get any pictures of how sweet Isaiah was with our little friend.  He also enjoyed playing with her big sister--thanks, Lydia!

Tuesday we had some math lessons. :)  Yes, we talked about the wonderful exchange rate that enables us to buy an ice cream cone for $0.35!

Actually we had an amazingly fun breakthrough in communication this week while shopping at IKEA!  Isaiah often shows interest in something for about, oh 30 seconds, and then moves on to the next thing.  Well, this time he saw something that he liked, and he told me so...several times!  I was so excited, so I have to share it with you, too.

He would wear the hat for a long time, give it to me, then ask for it again a few minutes later.  He has never done this before.  He communicated with words very clearly exactly what he wanted!  Celebration!

Wednesday we went and visited some newer friends, which thrilled Isaiah--time outside traveling and playing with other little people!  What could be better!

Thursday was cold and rainy, which altered our plans, but gave us some much needed rest and time to prepare for the best day of the week....

Daddy coming home!

So while "school" might have looked different this week, we actually had so much progress in Isaiah's verbal skills and communication that I could not be more thrilled.

Check out the other kids and their fun at 1+1+1=1.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

SEW: All's Right Now

Daddy's home again.

The Perfect Ending

Despite a long break from walking due to Mama's broken arm and inability to put Isaiah in his braces, Little Man is doing really well lately with his walker.  So well in fact, that we are able to release the front wheels and let them swivel.

The beginning of the first video shows him turning out of his room with the new swivel action.  Sorry it's so dark, but hopefully you can see it.

The second video doesn't show the swiveling so much, but the ending is the best!

We are so thankful for this progress for Isaiah!  As the weather gets prettier and drier, we hope to take him to the park not too far away and let him have further to go.