Friday, April 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Danny!

(Danny one day old)

I was lucky enough to become a mother 14 years ago. My son Danny was born health and happy in South Carolina 14 years ago. Happy Birthday!!

(This was taken over a year ago but it is a great pic!)

Mmmm what are you eating?

I have always been a fan of yogurt. I like it. The kids like it. My new favorite is Greek yogurt. I found several different brands and flavors. My favorite is the one by Fage with honey. It was so good. I picked out some kid friendly looking kinds. I will offer them to the kids this weekend. There is so much more protein in Greek yogurt than in traditional yogurt. I got the big container of plain yogurt for my mom. She doesn't eat much meat and sometimes has a hard time getting enough protein in her diet. She said she hasn't tried Greek yogurt before so I am going to surprise her with some.

Why I hate baby walkers and exersaucers

Hate is such a strong word but I do feel it is fitting in this case. As everyone knows who has visited my blog I work with special needs infants and toddlers. I also worked with typical toddlers for years in a classroom setting. Now I go into children's homes and daycares to work with them. Well, it is not uncommon for me to see the dreaded exersaucer or baby walkers in homes or daycares. I usually ignore them if the child in question does not have a motor delay. What really bothers me is when I am introduced to a child that has been stuffed into one of these contraptions since they were able to hold their head up. Some children spend many hours a day in these things. And then I am asked to help these children learn to sit up, crawl, and to walk. These contraptions do not help children learn to walk. They encourage the development of atypical skills and behaviors like toe walking. In a lot of cases they even cause noticeable delays in motor development. I won't even go into the time I was told by a parent that they used it to make their child stay in one spot so they would watch TV. That is a whole other post. Now, as a parent I have used these "things" before. My children were never put into them before they could sit supported and they never spent a lot of time in them. As soon as they were crawling they generally did not like to stay in one place and I discontinued using them. With my newest baby who is 3 months old I have decided to forgo their use. Providing floor time is the best thing a parent or caregiver can do to help their child develop their gross motor skills. And, that is what I plan to do!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I want to live there!!

As a Star Trek fan this was a great find. I could not resist taking a picture. At the corner of Startrek Lane and Startrek Circle, how cool is that?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Painting on the porch

As we speak Dad has set up the little kids' table on the back porch for a painting activity. It helps that Evan was already stripped down. I have totally rubbed off on him! They always enjoy painting. Annika got into the mix and Lyn came later to join them.

Lyn the photographer

Lyn took these pictures all on her own. Her subjects behaved for her OK. Evan is actually watching himself and trying to do one of Annika's ballet moves.

Birthday gifts

Annika asked for a ballerina dress up outfit for her birthday from Granny and that is what she got!

Granny took Danny to the bookstore to pick out his gift and he got a book! Their birthdays are next week but since they will be at their Dad's house then we celebrated this weekend.

Connor the geologist

Connor has had an interest in rock collecting lately. He takes his rock book with him where ever he goes.

One, two, three, four....

It is so hard to get all of the kids to participate in picture taking. This is the latest effort. Evan was the one who decided to be the wiggle worm this go around. Danny will be 14 in a week. It is hard to believe he is so big. He is about 5'9". That is a good two inches on his mom. No telling when he will stop.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Dr. Eliot

I was sitting in my favorite spot on the back sun porch holding Ben watching Evan and Eliot play. Without any prompting or help she went and got two puppets and a toy stethoscope. She spread out her blankie on a box chair and began to play "doctor". I asked her what she was doing and she said she was making them feel better. By the way, it isn't cold out. She just saw her jacket and wanted to put it on. I love it when I see kids using their imagination during play. I have to work so hard at my job to teach children with developmental delays how to play that sometimes I forget how easily it can come for some children.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's potty time!

I found the best little potty at the store today. Evan is a bit over due to be using the potty and Eliot is ready to start going to the potty. I've been keeping my eye out for a simple solid piece one that the kids can use easily without much help. When I showed them their new potties they insisted on holding them all the way home. They were hilarious. They made up potty songs, put them on their heads and tossed them in the air. Evan used it twice when we got home. I am so proud of him. This type of potty reminded me the potty in one of my favorite books and videos. I am sure a lot of people have come across it before. It is called Once Upon a Potty. They have a boy and a girl version. The song in the video is catchy and will get stuck in your head.

Earth Day

To help participate in Earth Day I wanted to get some flowers for Evan and Eliot's classes to plant at daycare. Eliot said she wanted purple on the way to school and Evan requested yellow. When I went to ask Eliot's teacher's if that was OK for me to do Eliot saw me so she "skipped" class for a little bit and we went to the store to get some flowers (and some other stuff). They had plenty of purple flowers available but not so many yellow ones. I did find one yellow one for Evan. We got back to school and Eliot dropped them off with her teacher and joined her class on the playground.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Felt board fun!

As part of my job I help children learn language. I help them to learn about the world around them and be able to interact with their environment. I use all kinds of toys and activities to introduce new words to children in new ways. I help them to use the words they already know. I encourage them to respond to nonverbal language cues and to use them. Here are my kids using felt shapes and objects to exercise their language skills. Lyn is describing her actions and ideas to the little kids. They are learning new words and using them by just being exposed to new things. The little kids (ages 2 and 3) are still in the stage where they learn better with concrete items that they can hold and feel. And, it was just plain fun to get into mom's special instruction toys!!

Baby at work day!!!

I have been meaning to show Ben off at work for a long time. Today I had the chance. He visited in the morning and flirted with all of the ladies!! Gotta love those ears!

Hanging out at the playground

We have a number of churches near our home. Some of them have playgrounds. My mom's church has the best and they welcome neighborhood kids to come play "at their own risk". So, that is just what we did! We hung out there and blew off steam yesterday till 7:30pm.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tessellations... what's that?

Lyn was working on a pattern activity in math class at school. It was all about interlocking repeating patterns. Here is some of her handiwork. Eliot wanted to model Lyn's work too. The green one a repeating pattern of a turtle. The yellow one has elephants on it. Lyn said she really liked the spider pattern at school but no one was able to get it to work right. She's going to keep working on it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Under a shady tree..

The weather has been really nice recently. The kids were playing outside this afternoon enjoying playing. Lyn, the little leader, wanted to sing Under a Shady Tree by Laurie Berkner. with everyone The little kids weren't as familiar with that song as she was. I was holding Ben and looking online so I looked up Under a Shady Tree on Youtube. I gave the netbook to Lyn to share the song under a tree in the back yard. Evan and Eliot couldn't get enough. Ever the big sister Lyn never ceases to amaze me with the patience she shows towards the little ones.

Slinky, slinky such a wonderful toy....

The little kids found some slinkies at work this morning. Yes, I am fortunate enough to work amongst toys. Life is good sometimes!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

3 months old

Ben is three months old today. He is getting so big. He actually reminds me of Danny a lot at this age. I think he is going to bigger than Evan. He seems like he is a good combination of Evan and Eliot. I think he is going to stay fair like Evan. Eliot was a lot darker at 3 months. His features look more like Eliot though. Who knows, he will just look like Ben.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Postpartum Nightmares

I saw a show today on Discover Health Channel. It was called Postpartum Nightmares. It greatly disturbed me on several different levels. It showed several mom's stories and their struggles with postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis. What bothered me so much was that it was obvious that a lot of the anxiety that led to their depression could have been avoided if they had better birth experiences without interventions, breastfed their babies successfully, and slept with their children. The show actually brought me to tears. Never once when the moms were trying to decrease their PPD were they encouraged by family, friends, or professionals to seek breastfeeding support or to put their babies in bed with them. So much of their anxiety was caused by having children that would not sleep in cribs in other rooms. The mom's actually took medication to make them stop checking on their babies at night. (They kept checking on them to make sure they were breathing.) With all of my 7 kids I was a bit obsessed with that too but all I had to do was listen for my babies's breath as they slept next to me. The whole show made me feel so sorry for those moms and babies. I have had PPD myself and I have even sought help with anti-depressants. I understand the feeling of desperation. I just can't understand not tucking my baby in next to me at night for my own peace of mind. This show was well made but the content was disturbing.

"I see a birdie Mama!!"

We have a birdhouse in the backyard. It has a nest with five eggs in it. I do believe they have hatched. The kids got the binoculars out and have been keeping an eye on them. Look closely and you can see the mama bird sitting on top of the birdhouse. I am not sure what kind of bird it is.