Monday, November 25, 2013

Pills are not yummy

My poor daughter has started taking thyroid meds along with her growth hormone injection every day. Normally I crush a pill and mix it with a bit of juice and have her drink it  Today she didn't want to drink her "hormone juice" she wanted to just take the pill. Ok, saves me a step if she can do it. I told her they were yucky, so don't bite it. She accidentally spit it into the cup the first time she tried to swallow it down with a swig of juice. She said it did not taste yummy. Second sip, gone. My four year old can swallow pills! I was 12 before I could. I'm both awed that she can do it and saddened that she needs to. At least she's happy and healthy.  I love my little girl. She's amazes me every day. Love her little leather jacket. :)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Little Show Stopper

Photography by Jarod Ormsby
Today, Maggie stole the show. We had the primary program during church, where the children age 3-11 get up in front of the whole congregation to sing and give little talks bearing testimony that they are children of God. It's amazing, uplifting, inspiring, and encouraging to see such little people speak of spiritual things with such conviction. Maggie is only 4, so at her age they give them a line to memorize and say into the microphone in front of everyone. She had her line memorized the first day they told it to her. We spent the next few weeks asking her to repeat it, just to make sure she would remember.  We would go over how she would get up to the pulpit and hold the microphone and say her line. We practiced on our little toy microphone at home.  She was really excited, but still every once in a while she wouldn't want to do it; just refusing to participate. This is not out of the ordinary.  Maggie is a very stubborn, opinionated girl.  She does what she wants, when she wants, only varying from this course when bribed and coerced to do otherwise. I said a little prayer that she would be willing to do it, and not throw a fit because she was being forced to do something she didn't want to do.

When her turn comes, she marches up to the podium with the other kids in her group.  She waits patiently in line, then steps up the two steps to grab the microphone. You can barely see the top of her head over the pulpit, but she says in a clear loud voice, "My testimony is strengthened when I share the gospel!" A smile is threatening to split my face and tears are pricking my eyes. Then....
She won't let go of the microphone and says "I want to say it again!" Bless the hearts of her teacher and the primary leader who was helping the kids, they let her say it again. Everyone was laughing.  I couldn't stop. I was crying I was laughing so hard. Luckily a song was next and the kids were loudly singing about the prophets as they pulled her away from the pulpit.  She threw a bit of a fit, but her teacher knows just how to calm her and had her standing in front of her seat singing along with the other kids in no time.

I'm so grateful for patient, determined teachers and leaders that are in place to help Maggie. I'm grateful for a loving, supportive husband, and for an adorable and exhaustingly active son. I'm grateful for an energetic, stubborn, outgoing, curious daughter. My family brings me so much joy. I love them.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Parents of Picky Eaters: There is hope!

Meet the pickiest eater I've ever come in contact with: Maggie. 
She was pretty open to new flavors of baby food but once we started introducing real foods she started gagging and throwing up. Often. She hated chunks in her food so the higher stages of baby food were out of the question.  She did love all the crunchy little finger foods though.  So we kept offering her those. Eventually she didn't really want the baby food anymore, which was fine because I didn't want to buy it anymore.  That stuff is not cheap.  We'll ignore my obvious mistake in not making my own. Out of laziness and/or not thinking we didn't really keep offering her new foods, we just gave her what she liked, because at least she was eating.  She was doing ok until about 18 months old she refused to eat anything gooey, mushy, or "gross" in any way.  She was eating crackers, chips, dry cereal, popcorn, and milk.  For a while it was almost exclusively milk.  Any attempted introduction of new food resulted in monumental tantrums. I had to chose my battles, for my own sanity, and that was not one I chose then. I had other things to deal with, like getting her to walk, and interact in any small way with other children, and.... yea, you know, it was a long list.

The tides have changed. This is my recent battle of choice. We've progressed slowly over the last 2 years, adding juice and smoothies, apples and carrots, because there were some really awful constipation problems.  Now, Maggie is reeeeeeeeally good at compromising and bargaining.  She'll do almost anything to get what she wants. If I can get what I want out of the situation too, I figure it's a win-win. She's also big into making Mommy and Daddy proud. Which makes me so happy!  So now she's discovered the benefits of trying new things. Sometimes she hates it, but she still gets what she wants, ie, another cup of milk or a bite of Mommy's candy bar.  Sometimes she just gets to brag about trying new things, which is fun too. And sometimes she even finds new favorite foods.

Here she is trying watermelon at Grandma Ralph's house. She ended up eating probably a quarter of that watermelon over the next few days. 
She now loves peanuts and fresh peas, discovered she does not like tomatoes, and is willing to try any type of drink, chip, or candy.  She'd have quesadillas every day if I let her.  I was seriously so happy when she wanted to eat a normal kid food.  There is now enough variety in her food choice that I don't have to bring food to a restaurant.  We can usually find her something off the menu.  YAY!! I'm seriously so happy. Making sure your kid eats right and gets enough X nutrients is stressful, and almost impossible when they are so picky.  I am so glad this phase is coming to a close. On to the next one...

Preschool.  A wonderful 3 hour break for my day, and often during Brooks' morning nap.  I get to do dishes and laundry, blogging and sewing, and my favorite - I usually get a shower! That didn't happen very often during the summer. :$ 

Brandon is wondering if maybe we should hold her back a year because she'll be one of the youngest in her grade.  Opinions? He said he had a hard time sometimes being a young one as well.  I don't want to make school unnecessarily difficult for her. Luckily I've still got a year before that decision needs to be made. I know she definitely won't need the help academically, but maybe socially...

Monday, September 16, 2013

Summer Fun

I was honestly dreading summer. I was so worried about having to spend all day with both my kids. That may sound awful, but I need this break while Maggie's at school.  I give the biggest kudos to those who homeschool.  You are made of stronger stuff than I. I love my children, but being their mom is my full time job. And by full time I mean 24/7.  Every few weeks I'll take a few hours and go out on a date or have a girls night and I get to be away from my beautiful kiddos.  But almost all the time it's us. The Maggie, Brooks and Mommy team. And what would I do without my fabulous husband? I would be a disaster. Even more kudos go out to single parents. I am so grateful I have a helpful, loving husband. And he's handsome to boot!

Anyway.... thought summer would be awful, turns out it wasn't.  YAY! We had lots of fun outings with family and friends. Here is a barrage of pictures to prove what fun we had in no particular order:

Learning the joys of a squirt gun.  She most liked squirting herself, but found great enjoyment in getting other people wet as long as their reaction was over the top.

Playing at the beach.  Brooks was learning how sand feels....with his mouth. 

Touching sea anemones at the Pacific Science Center with Daddy and Auntie Michelle.

Loving on a lollipop at her birthday party. (She's 4 now! Crazy.) There was a bouncy castle and pinata as well. Lots of fun!

Getting free slurpees on 7/11

Picking plums off our plum tree. We also went to a friends house and picked tangerines.  The picking was made much easier for her when some of the branches broke off the tree and she could just sit on the ground and feel through the leaves to find the fruit.  She really enjoyed it.

Shopping next to Brooks. He LOVES her! Now that he can crawl he just follows her around the house trying to see what she's doing.  The fact that he pulls her hair and takes her toys means that she's still not a huge fan of him being near her.  She does like to talk to him and about him though.  We're making slow and steady progress.

The inevitable eggs. You'll see them pop up in a number of the pictures.  Yes, she still loves them.  Luckily we have moved past the obsessed phase.  I am so SO glad that's over. There were a couple months at the beginning of the summer where she would only talk about and play with eggs, screaming and throwing tantrums if we tried to get her to play with or talk about anything else.  Through a few days of almost constant screaming and crying we established rules.  She was allowed to play with them for only a few hours every day.  This evolved into: if she was obedient she would be able to play with them, and if not she had to wait until tomorrow.  Now, they are still fun for her, but they don't entertain her for hours like before.  And she rarely chooses them when asked what she wants to do.  She's moved to reading books again.  Which is good. And so tiring.  She loves the ones that have been brailled. Which is good. She needs to be practicing more with braille. It's also mind numbing since we only have so many books that have braille. At least I get to interact positively with her. And I've learned that this too shall pass and we will move on to the next fixation.  

Back to the adorable pictures.  She went down a waterslide for the first time, and very much enjoyed swimming.  Though after our first adventure, she now knows "I have to wear floaties when we go swimming so I don't sink." She brought an egg in, was standing on the stairs and when it floated away she jumped after it. And did it again in the hot tub. Which was just deep enough in the center that she couldn't reach.  Nerve wracking. But we're good now that we have the floaties!

Ball pit. So much fun!! Brooks loved it, Maggie loved it. They spent a good half hour in there before we had to move on and go get some lunch.  Maggie tried to count all the balls. I think she got to a hundred and twenty something before realizing she wasn't getting anywhere.

Riding the quad with Daddy.  As you can see by the ridiculous grin on her face, she absolutely loved it.

Mini golfing with family.  She could still use a little practice.  :)

Helping Daddy wash the car.  She loved spraying him with the hose.

And this last weekend she went on a Daddy Daughter Campout and they had a great time.  This is her feeling the fire. (Ok, so this picture is actually in our backyard around a little firepit we borrowed from a friend to make some s'mores, but I'm sure this is exactly what it was like. Though I can't really say since I was at home with Brooks eating ice cream and watching chick flicks.)
As you can see, lots of fun, and lots of new experiences.  My belief is just go out and do it.  Do the things you want to, but make sure to find ways to help your kids experience them too. I am sad summer is over, but I'm also glad I have a bit of time for myself again.  Hoorah! for Brooks napping at the same time Maggie is in school!! Now, lets keep this up so I can actually mop the floor.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Last Day of School

I love Maggie's school. I love her classmates, the art easl, the playhouse and dress-ups.  I love the trampoline, the play dough table, and how there are like 8 different types of tiny chairs. I love the huge sensory bins of rice and beans and that they play with bubbles and shaving cream and finger paints.  I love that Maggie comes home singing new songs and telling stories of where she and Lori have gone on a walk. I love the books she comes home with every week that have been lovingly brailled and texturized so that she can experience the pictures. 

I love love LOVE her teachers. I cannot say enough good things about these wonderful women. They've provided Maggie with such a loving, supportive, structured, fun experience.  She loves school.   Maggie made leaps and bounds this year in so many areas!  She willingly touches almost anything for at least a little bit. She likes play dough, and dressing up, and painting, and playing in shaving cream.  She allows other kids in her class take her hand and lead her to the next activity.  She wants to be near them.  Not necessarily play with them, but she enjoys having other kids next to her.  That's monumental!! She's still not great at sharing, but most preschoolers aren't so that doesn't worry me. 

Her last days of school were full of lots of bitter and not so much sweet. We tell her when changes are coming to our normal routine so that she can prepare herself and hopefully transition better.  So she had known for about a while that school was coming to an end. I don't know how well she understood until it happened, but she knew the idea.  I was dreading having to spend all day every day with her again. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my daughter, but sometimes I don't want to take her to the store, or have her "help" me do the dishes or listen to her talk about Easter eggs all day. 

She was pretty frustrated when she realized that the last day of school meant she wasn't coming back for a couple months. I was frustrated. But that didn't stop her from having a great last few weeks.  She went the last month or so without any tantrums. Again, unheard of awesomeness! Maggie transitioned willingly and was much better at following directions. Our last day of Braille class we were able to stay after for a bit and just chat with Laura.

As per usual, Maggie spent most of the time spinning in circles on the dirt surrounding this tree.
Which she would sometimes stop to bonk her head on. Apparently that's a fun thing to do.  Weirdo.
 But she is just so happy when she gets her way. How can I say no to her desire to sprinkle dirt, rocks, and sand everywhere? I can't. It leads to lots of scrubbing it all off in the bath.
 We had to say "Have a great summer!" to Laura first.  Maggie really loves learning Braille.  She can tell you the dots of all the letters in the alphabet.  Now we're working on her knowing them by feel.   Laura is a very attentive TVI and a great friend.  Lucky for her boyfriend she was also able to get her baby fix every so often via Brooks.  He flirts with Laura to no end, always smiling at her.
Then the last day with the whole class they enjoyed an ice cream social!  Maggie is such a beautiful girl. I love her. Side note: If you're wondering why she usually has braids in her hair its because she insists on them.  She loves the feel, and we get some good one on one time together talking and singing as I braid her gorgeous hair. It's fun for both of us.
This is Patty. She's also visually impaired and she is SO sweet. She's a year older than Maggie and they had Braille class together. They get along very well. We'll miss her when she goes off to Kindergarten.
And Ella and her sister Jenna. Ella and Maggie were in a little play group together last summer trying to help adjust them both to a classroom.
Maggie loved the ice cream.  So I'm sitting sideways on this bench holding Brooks in my left arm against the table trying to convince Maggie to let me help her eat the ice cream so she only makes a smallish mess. Brooks proceeds to grab someone else's ice cream off the table and fling it over all of us. 
It's a very different experience having a sighted child after having Maggie. I never had to worry about keeping things out of her reach because she didn't know it was there.  Well, we'll figure it out eventually.  Until then, life is a happy mess. 

And it turns out I can handle two kids around all the time. Even if it means I only find time to shower every few days. Don't judge. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Busy, busy, busy

I wish there was some explanation other than “Life” for why I can’t get done all the things I want to.  Like staying up to date with my blogging.  My most recent excuse is that my computer is up in my bedroom, which I only go into at night.  Day time hours are spent running around elsewhere, and by the time I’ve made it back to my room I just collapse exhausted on my bed next to my husband who holds me for the 2 seconds it takes for me to fall asleep, then rolls me back to my side of the bed when he’s finally tired, 20 minutes later.  I’m never around my computer.  And I’m not going to type this all up on my phone.  Sorry friends. So I need a laptop right? Maybe someday.  Luckily (?) Brooks is feeling sick and won’t let me put him down.  So while Maggie is at school, I can’t do my dishes, sweep, mop, work out, vacuum, shower, dust, scrub, cook, or sew like I normally would.  I’m “stuck” holding a lightly sleeping baby.  It’s nice. 

I’ve had so many things on my mind lately, things that have happened, or that Maggie has done.  Now that I’ve sat down to write about them….they’re gone from my brain. hmm…  So, I guess an update.  My daughter talks a lot. Almost constantly, if I’m honest.  Lately it has been ALL about the alphabet.  She loves spelling and telling you what sounds which letters make and what colors or foods or musical instruments start with said letters.  Maggie has figured out phonetics.  If she’s in the mood she can spell almost anything.  Which has me wondering: HOW can Hooked On Phonics actually work? We pronounce almost nothing phonetically.  Here are some sample words that she’s insisted she is spelling correctly: caoo (cow) scroo(screw) jackit(jacket) thu(the) nee(knee) shoo(shoe) Really, why are there so many silent letters in our words? A friend says she just “blames the British.” That’s fair.  Maggie’s also suction cupped herself to braille. It’s so wonderful! She can tell you the dots of all the letters and most of the numbers.  We just have to work on her understanding the feel of the letters and words.  She loves it though.  Loves her braille class every Friday and loves to “scribble” on the Perkins Brailler we have at home. 

So we spend all day talking about letters.  It’s kind of fun, and also gets old fast.  And so I’ve lucked out that it was recently Easter.  Maggie LOVES Easter eggs.  (As she says, “I don’t WANT real eggs or scrambled eggs. Mommy can have real eggs.  Maggie wants TOY eggs.” She knows what she likes.)  I started with a few eggs in her basket that had some jelly beans and chocolate eggs. After the mess that followed that mistake we’ve now switched to dry pinto and lima beans.  Man, it was a sticky mess. She didn’t eat the candy, it just got sticky and nasty from so much handling.  This girl can spend literal hours emptying and refilling Easter eggs.  So when I’m done talking about letters and being told by a 3 year old that I can’t spell correctly, I plop her on the floor with a bag of beans and some eggs. They must be the kind with the two halves attached with the miniscule strip of plastic though.  There is no enjoyment in an egg that is in two separate pieces.  What strange eccentricities evolve for comfort and continuity of routines.IMG_0701

Oh! Videos! I believe I’ve talked about this before, but here it is again because it’s been such a great success.  I love looking through old photos and seeing past activities and friends and such.  I wanted to provide that experience for Maggie.  We’ve started taking videos of life for Maggie.  Especially of things that we’d take pictures of, that were a special occasion and should be remembered.  Now we’ve got a bunch of memories for Maggie to reexperience.  When she hears the sounds the computer makes when starting up she immediately asks to watch videos.  I love it.  She has her favorites of course.  Walking in sand, crashing a cart, talking about her first day of school, jumping in a bouncy castle, riding a pony. I’m so glad to have found a way to help her remember our fun times together.

One last quick note, since I’ve been working on this post for over a week now, coming back to the keyboard for a few more sentences every time I walk by the computer.  I just read THIS post by my friend Kelly. I’d like to piggy back onto her ah-ha moment.  I love my life.  I am very proud of what I do.  I LOVE my children.  I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  I wouldn’t trade my insanely messy kitchen, the pinto beans scattered allllllll over my living room floor, the baby sweetly snoring in the bed on my right, or the singing I hear from the next room as Maggie’s waking up. (I have to hurry if I’m going to finish before she demands some attention)  I love my career choice. And I love that my husband is willing and able to work so hard so that I can be at home with our kids.

PS. If someone did want to come clean my kitchen, that’d be great.  I love Maggie helping me cook, but making 3 types of cheesecake yesterday for our scout fundraiser tonight has made a HUGE mess.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Miss Independent

I underestimate my daughter. She can do anything. I know that. But some times I know it in theory and not in practice.
Most recent example: Every time I go anywhere during the day, I now have to get two kids into and out of the car. (BTW I had a baby in December-more on that here) I think to myself, “Man, this would be easier if Maggie was just a little bigger and she could get into her carseat by herself.” About two weeks ago, I was struggling with Brooks crying in his seat and Maggie whining about wanting to go home and eat lunch. I opened her door, put her hand on her carseat and told her to climb in.  I was done dealing with the whining and I knew that would at least keep her close to the car. I put Brooks in on the other side, then came around the car and Maggie was in the car, trying to get into her seat. She took forever, but she got it!
Why do I doubt her? I think to myself, Well when she’s older or bigger or understands better, then she’ll be able to do such and such. Truth is, a lot of those things she can do now, if I just let her. As a parent it’s really so much faster, cleaner, and usually easier to do things yourself for your children. However, if you do everything for them, they will grow up with a crazy sense of entitlement and be able to accomplish little to nothing on their own.  I believe in letting your kids help you cook, clean, rake leaves, take out the trash, carry in groceries from the car. As the oldest child of 6 I always made my younger siblings do things for me; or at least help me. I mean really, part of the reason you have kids is so you don’t have to do chores for a while. Am I right? :)
My problem is that I don’t always make Maggie do things. It’s horrible, but I do have this mind set that she’s different.  She’s special. It’ll be too hard for her. She’ll make such a mess, I’d much rather just do it myself. I don’t want her to hate doing such and such because I tried to make her do it too young, or before she really understands. And deep down, there’s the fear that maybe she can’t do it. I have these feelings yet I get frustrated with people who do things for her. 
Many people treat her like a big (ish) well spoken baby. They want to carry her everywhere and pick her up when she falls. Give her everything she wants and do whatever they can to stop her from crying.  I’m glad I’ve at least moved past that part. I know she’s a toddler, perfectly capable of walking, and of communicating what she wants and needs. Just because what she wants is usually not what’s happening doesn’t mean you should give it to her. She, like everyone else, has to learn that not everything can be the way she wants it to be. She’s even pretty good at calming herself when a situation she doesn’t like is explained to her.
I get to help people realize that she needs to walk, not be carried, so she can learn the layout of a place and how to get around in it. That when she screams because some other kid is playing with a toy she wants, don’t take it from that kid and give it to her. Just tell her to wait her turn. She has to share like everyone else. And that when she falls down, please don’t pick her up unless she’s screaming and bleeding. Let her pick herself up. I know Maggie’s going to fall a lot, and she needs to know how to pick herself up.
Now I get to tell people to let her walk without holding her hand, let her climb into the car by herself, make her be a part of the preschool group and go inside from recess when it’s time, even though she doesn’t want to. She’ll get over it.
I let Maggie figure out how to get into her carseat by herself and now she gets into and out of her high chair, climbs up and down the slide in her room and goes potty by herself. There may be a bit of a mess involved, some spilled juice or toilet paper on the floor, but Maggie insists on doing these things by herself now that she knows how. I have to let her. I have to consciously think, Yea, Maggie can do this. Yes she can help me make cookies, and it’ll be a mess, and that’s ok because then she can help me clean it up. I need to let her try instead of assuming she won’t be able.
I am so proud of Maggie. I’m glad she’s so daring and adventurous. It’s inspiring.  I love her!DSC_0545bw