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Archive for October, 2008

Why It’s Important To Read Preschool Coloring Worksheets

Although I am accidentally homeschooling my (now 7) and 8-year-old boys, my three-year-old, Sue, attends a sweet church-based preschool several mornings per week.

She has a tiny “pack pack” which she brings home each day stuffed with colored apples, traced letters-of-the-day and the like.  I’ll have to admit when my first child went to pre-school, I seized the backpack every day, looking for evidence of advanced coloring skills and creativity.

Now I am enthusiastically excited about Sue’s coloring because she is the first child I’ve ever had who actually colors.  The boys would just slap a random, cromulent color streak across that special “letter of the day” and call it complete.

Sue, however, gingerly colors in the lines, traces her name and genuinely makes an effort.  It’s a new era for us…we’ve never witnessed fine motor skills like this.  A three-year-old who can actually button a coat?  Who knew?

Still, it’s not like I’m racing through the ‘pack pack’ every day after school to note how well she colored the apple tree, or scarecrow or whatever the season calls.

Big, big mistake!

So today, my tiny three-year-old approaches me at the pick-up line with these prophetic and painful words:

“Mama, CiCi died and Pastor Tom put her deadness in a shoe box; now she is in the ground in the woods over there.  He told us about it in the chapel and we sang songs for her and everything…Where were you, Mama?”

Whoahhhh…..wait a minute!  My head spins in disbelief and confusion…I thought this was the “Happy Harvest Hayride Day” where we wear orange and remember the blessings of the harvest…what’s this about a burial???

I looked down at her serious face.

“You mean, CiCi the cat…she…she… passed on?”  I asked in disbelief.

I kind of looked up at the crowd of mothers and teachers gathered around witnessing this interchange.  They nodded knowingly as if I were the greatest dolt of a mother to ever grace the school.

“Yes, Mama.  She died.  She’s dead.  She’s gone in a shoe box in the woods now.  Pastor Tom did it for us.  But we got to sing songs…”

I hustled my tiny sweetheart away from the throng…away from the confusion…so I could gather my own scattered thoughts for a moment.

I buckled Sue in the Britax.  And then in the depths of the van, beneath a crumpled Burger King bag, I found the previous day’s “pack-pack.”  I searched through the pack and amid the carefully colored Fall Leaf sheets and pumpkin seed art, I found a letter–carefully typed–explaining the untimely demise of “Ci Ci,” the preschool mascot cat…A sweet creature who camped near the front door of the school in a cat dome only to greet each child as he or she entered (or was coaxed into) the school each day.  Because of our allergies, I always had to remind gently, “See that sweet Ci Ci–now let’s just look and not touch her…”

Yet she was always there…every day… so dependable.

Until a parent unwittingly hit her with his or her van.

A touching memorial service was held for Ci Ci today; parents were encouraged to prepare their children in advance, and then attend the service with his or her child to assist in the grieving process.

My poor child grieved alone.

And then she burst into tears about a caterpillar that someone had killed on the playground.  And she cried and cried and cried in the clean, preschool bathroom as I held her, understanding at once her young, first-fruit brush with death and the transience of life.

And then she had diarrhea.

I finally calmed her down enough to take her back to the van, gently buckle her in, warn her brothers to be quiet, and promise to search for some high fructose corn syrup-free, dye-free, artificial color-free candy since the candy we ordered three weeks ago for this very same purpose had not yet arrived.

I tried one health store to no avail; they only boasted some wretched carmine-dyed nuts.   If you don’t know what carmine is, you’d better educate yourself–it’s a food coloring derived from boiling a cochineal bug.    So we slogged on to the next health food store only to hear the tell-tale “Oh!  Oh no!  The brown!  It’s coming!  It’s out!”

Yes, a soiled Britax car seat.  Candy abandoned we traipsed home for a bath, clothes change and the ever-challenging project of car seat dismantling.

It was a good day, though.  All in all.

And so I leave you with this sage word:  Read the preschool coloring sheets; they might be important.

Posted on 31 October '08 by , under Faith is the Evidence, Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 15 Comments.

Happy Birthday Edward !

My sweet Edward is 7 today.  Here he is at age 1.

It’s amazing how quickly time flies.

We celebrated at Red Robin followed by a gluten-free cake!  His “big party” is a sleepover next week…that should be interesting…

Posted on 29 October '08 by , under GF/CF Diet/Food Reviews, Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 11 Comments.

My First Give-Away Ever !

OK, I’m copying 9,000 other people who have given away this magazine already but I did get an email from this group offering a free copy so I thought I’d do a drawing in honor of Sensory Processing Disorder Month!

If you’d like to be in the drawing, just leave me a comment here and make sure there is an email included so I can notify you if you win.

I’ll keep this open until November 5th to give people plenty of time to enter and vote!

Posted on 28 October '08 by , under Autism Spectrum/Sensory Processing. 9 Comments.

Stone Fox Asked: Squatty Potty American Style

WARNING: These photos are not for the faint of heart, or the easily grossed-out.

This post is being perpetuated at the request of Heidi, AKA Stone Fox, at Mom’s Ministry and More.  She pontificated on the yuckified potties where she lives overseas and I told her we had some mighty putrid ones at our local football field.  She challenged me to photograph these and post them.

I seized that challenge!   I pledge to share those disturbing potty images below.

First, here is her indoor squatty potty.  (Mighty weird and mighty gross with all the standing, hunching and hovering that must go on.)

And now, the “American Dream” Squatty Potty Photo Essay:

My “delicate flower” 3-year-old would rather “tee tee a weed” in the woods behind the football field than attempt to grace this beast.  Can you blame her?

It gets more troubling:

There is never toilet paper here.  Why the lock?  Can someone explain this?

Here you see a supposed soap dispenser.  Who wants to wager whether or not there has been actual soap in here since the Nixon era?  Any takers?

Why would it matter if there was soap, however, since there is no running water anyway.  (There is a sink, though, which is a nice, decorative touch.)

It compliments the mirror:

It’s a nice place to relax, powder your nose, touch up your lipstick and freshen yourself a bit before getting back out there with the crowd to cheer on your team.

The generosity of this powder room never ceases to amaze me.  Whereas there is no running water, no toilet paper and certainly no paper towels, they do provide a lovely trashcan:

I leave you with an image of a dear, delicate fan who yearns to cheer for her team, and does so knowing that her only toileting options are those described above.

Now that is a fervent fan indeed!

Posted on 28 October '08 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 15 Comments.

Fall Harvest Festivities

Sue attends the sweetest preschool in our hometown.  It’s the kind of small, intimate preschool housed in a church.  The director, Miss Annette, is a tireless woman in her 70s or 80s and she plays hymns on a tinny-sounding piano while children from all age groups gather around to sing.

It’s something from another era…a simpler time.  Being at this school reminds me if my own preschool days way back in the 1970s when we used to make butter by shaking thermoses of whole cream as a school project.

Here is Sue with her best school friend, Q!  When Q decided to be a pirate, Sue had to be one too.

Lucky for us, we had a pirate costume just her size!

Here’s Sue with another sweet friend who is only a year younger than she is!

Even some of the parents dressed up.  Just about what you’d expect from a Perfume Stalker:

(Please check out her delightful blog Many Sparkling Gems when you have a chance!)

Now I’ve given her a reason to get even with me!

Should be interesting!

Posted on 27 October '08 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 4 Comments.

I don’t know who did it, but thanks!

First, let me say to you all of you who read this mindless blather called a “blog” are profoundly wonderful and will never know how deeply you have blessed me!

One of you nominated me for this DivineCaroline blog award, and honestly I am touched beyond words.  If you want to reveal yourself to me, please do so and I’ll thank you via email at least seven times ; )

Everyone else, vote for me if you feel so led, but certainly don’t feel pressured.

If I do, perchance, win, I am donating my Visa Check Card money to support Chloe, a sweet 5-year-old child in my hometown who has suffered from a rare form of cancer, called neuroblastoma, for three years.

(See my previous post about her here.)

That’s all I can say!  Thank you for thinking of me, and thank you for reading.  You have all given me purpose and support during some trying times, an I am blessed to call you all friends.

Posted on 25 October '08 by , under Faith is the Evidence. 7 Comments.

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Sensory Day

One thing I have learned during the approximately 4 months since we received our diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder, is that fine-tuning and remaining diligent about my child’s sensory diet makes all the difference in the success and failure of any particular day.

Edward’s needs, like that of any child with sensory issues, change from week to week, and keeping up with home OT and diet are, at times, trying, exhausting, time-consuming and stressful.

This is not meant to be a “doom and gloom” SPD post, but rather a snapshot of how a day can go when I don’t keep up my part of the SPD bargain.  I supposed it’s fitting that this wretched day transpired smack dab in the middle of Sensory Processing Disorder Month.

Here’s a recipe for doom:

Wake up late–rush to drop three-year old off at PreK; drop in BK for tater tot and apple fry breakfast because you are out of gfcf bread and bagels and had no time for eggs.  Rush in to a 6-hour science camp filled with liquid nitrogen-dipped bananas, multi-colored (read Red dye 5 and Yellow Lake 3) marshmellows dipped in liquid nitrogen, 37 other children swarming each experiment and a scientist comparing everyone in the room to a team of 5-year-old geniuses who read at 3 and and now do Calculus.  (“But Mama, I read at three and I know all about the quadratic equation; why can’t I go to their genius class??”)

Your 2e child answers the question about Kelvin (absolute zero) and is the only person beside a 16-year-old in the room who knows the answer.  The Ph.D. genius-engineer-talent-searcher-person quizzes you about how your 6-year-old knows the answer.

And then he watches your 6-year-old begin to pick pieces of paper off the floor.  And then he comes over to you and says, “You told him the answer, didn’t you.”  “No, I did not,” I assert.  “He’s an avid reader.”

The Ph.D. smiles sweetly but condescendingly and moves on.  In his mind I’m just another mother who wishes her darling was gifted.  The problems is, my darling *is* gifted; he’s just also has other issues that affect others’ perception of his giftedness.

Then your SPD 6-year-old is dismissed and hurt.

And then you are in a free-fall toward a full-fledged meltdown.  Your sweetheart is the only person who knows some random answer about carbon monoxide (and he’s right) but the Ph.D. scientist demonstrator doesn’t hear him because, at this point, your overloaded 6-year-old is mumbling…sinking into his own despair.

Your SPD sweetheart grows increasingly frustrated when he is not called to participate in each experiment.  You swoop up this sweetheart, give big hugs, deep pressure squeezes, head rubbings, hand massages–anything to try to calm him down.  Finally you break for lunch.

Because you still have no gf/cf bread, you rush back to this wretched BK and purchase a “meat disk” and some of their apple fries.  These are scarfed down hurriedly in the van with no ketchup.

You, incidentally, break one of your own molars on a bone hunk caught in your own disgusting cheeseburger; you save the molar and bone pieces in hopes of somehow using them as evidence to either a lawsuit or at the very least a purely copacetic accident policy claim.  (At the very least you can use them during science class to look at through the microscope.)

Now you rush back to the science camp, against your better judgment.

Why?

Why not call it a day and dash off to the park to swing and work off some energy?  Why press this stressed sensory-overloaded child with three more hours of science camp?

Because you committed to watch over a few other friends’ children?  Because you wanted your own NT 8-year-old to garner this science experience?  Or because in your own prideful frailty you wanted that Ph.D. engineer science man to know once and for all just how gosh-darn bright your little fellow is even if he does have sensory issues.

My science camp day ended with my tiny sweetheart bolting out the door of the church, into the yard, and toward a busy street before I caught him.

He just could not take one more minute.  Not one more minute of sitting still.  Not one more minute of not participating in experiments.  Not one more minute of staring at some excessivly large clock which greatly upset him from a visual processing standpoint.

And you know who the culprit of this whole failed day was?

Me.

I knew better.

I pushed.

I learned.

Posted on 24 October '08 by , under Accidental Homeschooling, Autism Spectrum/Sensory Processing. 15 Comments.

Sensory Swing: Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish…

Our son, Edward, who is six, has benefited greatly from the concept of a Sensory Swing as suggested by his occupational therapist.  Similar swings are available in online catalogs; however they are quite expensive so we decided to craft our own and attach it to a tree in our own back yard.

Our occupational therapist recommended we conduct a series of swinging events each day:  Once in the morning with 10 revolutions clockwise followed by a still waiting period of 20 seconds, followed by another set of 10 revolutions in a counterclockwise manner.  We then repeat this sequence once more.

Toward the end of the day (but not too close to dinner time) we repeat this cycle.  The goal of this therapy is to assist Edward’s vestibular development.

This swing is quite easy and affordable to construct as these “step-by-step” photos reveal.  We estimate we spent approximately $35.00 on our sensory swing.

We simply bought two plastic toy buckets and slipped them inside each other.

Next, we drilled holes through both buckets at even intervals.  H was an Eagle Scout so he is an expert knot-tyer:

Here you see the bottom knot:

Clearly scout-quality.

Here is a close-up of the carabiner (purchased at a local home improvement store) linked to the rope; these are all marine-grade items, which won’t rust, and are easily available:

Here you see another stellar example of knots that keep this swing swinging smoothly and safely:

Edward can easily hop in his spinny swing:

He can even hunker down and use the swing as a hiding place:

One could do worse than be a swinger of birches…

Please email us with any questions about construction of this swell swing.  We have enjoyed it for several months!

Posted on 22 October '08 by , under Autism Spectrum/Sensory Processing. 15 Comments.

Wordless Wednesday: Zephaniah 3:17

The Lord your God is with you,

He is might to save.

He will take great delight in you,

He will quiet you with His love,

He will rejoice over you with singing.

Zephaniah 3:17

Posted on 22 October '08 by , under Faith is the Evidence. 8 Comments.

Tagging

I’ve been tagged by Felicia at Go Graham, Go! for a delightful Meme whereby I’m called to list 7 random or quirky things about myself.

(I know I’ve been tagged for a few more and I haven’t forgotten them.  In some unfair, nonsensical way, I’m working backwards.  Don’t ask me to explain it.  I don’t understand it myself.  Still please do not feel hurt if I haven’t gotten to your Meme or award yet.  I’m looking forward to doing them!)

Actually the button makes me think about shopping–something I haven’t done in such a long while and am not likely to do any time soon thanks to our cromulent economy!

Without further adieu,

1.  I am in no way afraid of bugs.  I’ll pick up a bug, clutch it, find a jar for its home/’resty nest’, research to learn an appropriate diet, work diligently to create a suitable habitat, etc.  (I guess that’s where my children get this penchant?)  For those of you who remember, guess who came back yesterday to frolic on the patio?  Yes!  It was Kim!

(I’m sure many of you are tearing up, remembering fondly our treasured time spent with Kim.)

This is some odd bug we found in South Carolina last year.  Don’t ask me what it is because although I put forth all those grand claims of loving entymology, I haven’t researched this one yet.

2.   One of my most sorrowful childhood memories occurred when, in the process of hunting for bugs, I somehow critically injured a salamander.  The poor dear coughed and sputtered with a devastating neck wounding.  That image will never leave my mind because it was totally my fault.

3.  My favorite childhood book was Castaways in Lilliput.

4.  I am an online rare book dealer.  It’s grand fun but as a result I my house is drowning in books.  Literally.  (Unfortunately, most of them are not rare.)

5.  I ruined my favorite black “fat” pants today bleaching my kitchen sink.  I hold Fly Lady completely responsible.  Do you think she’ll jot down to Target and procure me another pair?

6.  I am currently reading Epicenter by Joel Rosenberg.  For the first time in my life I am actually riveted to the news and intrigued with trying to understand happenings in Israel and the Middle East.  Honestly I’m ashamed to have lived this much of my life being so totally clueless!

7.  I *love* raspberry La Croix even more than Velvet Ants.

OK, now for the hapless participants.  At this point in the game, let me just be honest and say that I have no clue who I’ve tagged recently, tagged in the distant past, or have yet to tag.  There is a method to my madness, however.  I am tagging every 7th commenter on my blog for the past 49 or so comments.  In my world, this is mathematical randomness at its finest.  So the lucky seven are:

Christine, Bonnie, Jenniebeanv, Melanie, Patty O, Tara R., and The Angel Forever.

Now, if you were randomly chosen and have already done this Meme, just ignore this whole thing and it will matter not a whit to me!  Or, you can select a “guest blogger” to blog in your place.  The choices are endless.  Run free and be creative!

Posted on 19 October '08 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 23 Comments.