Thursday, May 28, 2015

Discovery Center

Willow, Judah, Judah's aide & myself spent the afternoon at the Discovery Center/Gilbert House today. I was only able to capture pictures of Willow.
She loves pretend play - especially pretending to make & serve food. Tonight she was running around with a big couch pillow flopping up and down on her bottom.. telling everyone it was her big tail! ha.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Super Fun Things Judah & Willow do at Gymnastics!!

They go every Sunday morning. Their instructor, Sula, is also an ABA therapist. It's basically fun therapy that Judah gets to do with his sister. They love it. And she's great at her job.

These photos were taken through the viewing windows. Bad glare, sorry.

Judah on the rings, balancing on a hard cushion (which is moving underneath him). Willow has her feet on the trampoline edge & her hands on the bar, using feet & hands to move down the bar.

Willow is pushing Judah on the swing. The swing looks to have been made out of a pool noodle. Judah pushed Willow on the swing much harder. ;)

She loves to swing.. and swing.. and swing...

Judah was particularly affectionate with Sula today, seen hugging her here.

That "basketball" is actually a big, soft cushion.

The cocoon swing in the back is such comfort for Judah (pressure). I wish we could afford one of those to have at home.. a beautiful calming method.

Willow is playing with hand clappers while keeping her balance to walk down a beam, no problem.

While I was there at gymnastics, the two women behind me were talking about movies and how it was hard to find a movie with an original plot these days. I asked them if they had seen the Brass Teapot. I didn't mention that my little brother had written it. One looked puzzled, she obviously had never heard of it. The other one said, "Yes. It was so good, but really hard to watch." I told her that there was originality in that film. She agreed.
Tim is looking for actors/actresses for his next film by the way. To be filmed in June/July 2015. Link here:

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Happy Birthday Claire

We took the kids to Super Bounce this afternoon. It's basically a building full of bounce houses. The rule is that kids must wear socks while playing, no shoes or bare feet allowed. Judah refused to keep his socks on. He kept ripping them off his feet & throwing them. He raced away many times, trying to get through kids and up the gigantic slide.. he made it up once.. then slid down all of the 1000 steps he had just climbed to get up there.. then made it up again and tried to go down the slide with Willow (must be one kid at a time). She raced to the huge slide on the other side and flew down before he even realized she was gone.

Poor kid. He's been there many times and we've never had a problem. They go, they jump, they get worn out.. we leave. Today he was set on being barefoot though. He typically wants to be either barefoot or with shoes & socks on... but not just socks. However, wearing socks with no shoes has never been a problem for him there.. until today.

The owner came out pretty quickly (we'd been there MAYBE 10 minutes) and told us Judah could keep his socks off if that was going to keep him calm. I let go of Judah. I had been holding him on the floor, trying to help him calm down. At one point I couldn't hold him any longer and Scott held him. Thankfully the other 2 kids didn't go far!! Judah was punching me and slamming his arm on top of my head repeatedly as I held him down. People were staring. When Judah would get away from me, parents would grab their kids if Judah was close by.

The owner had asked me if Judah was "special needs" when he was letting me know that Judah could keep his socks off. Would my answer to his question have really mattered? What was he going to say if I said that he wasn't special needs? "Sorry, he isn't allowed to behave this way if he doesn't have a diagnosis.. sorry, only special needs kids can have a meltdown here..." ??

Judah raced off and climbed up their gigantic slide in his bare feet the minute I set him free. That's when the owner told us that we had to leave. Climbing up the slide is not allowed. Climbing up the slide is not possible anyway.. or so we had thought. I've never seen a kid make it up that thing. I've never seen a kid make it HALFWAY up that thing. It took Judah about 10 seconds to make it to the top. Judah continued to run up the slide until Scott could catch him. He ran up it at least 3 times. Scott knew he wasn't going to be able to run up the slide. All he could do was wait at the bottom for Judah to come back down and try to catch him before he headed back up the slide.

Super Bounce had bounced us out.

In the van, Willow was crying. Sebastian was complaining that we were only there for a few minutes and that he didn't get to do anything. Scott and I were pretty much speechless in the front seat.. I was holding back tears. Scott grabbed my hand and then the tears came. The kids didn't see.

From there, of course, we had to do something super special.. we drove through McDonald's for ice cream, went home to pick up Sebastian's bike and Willow's basketball and headed to the park. We all had a nice jog at the park, chasing Sebastian down forest trails as he raced off on his bike. I pushed Willow in the swing for quite some time. That girl could swing for hours (the boys went through this stage as well). We ran into one of Sebastian's best friends from school. His friend was playing tennis with his dad & siblings. I got their number, so we can hopefully have a play date soon. Then we played basketball. Judah & Willow each threw the ball straight up in the air and then chased it as it rolled away... and then fought over it. Judah was doing well taking turns.. Willow, not so much.

Willow has a princess basketball. She seems to like basketball and is already learning to dribble at the age of 3. I've also taught her how to fold clothes, wash & put away dishes. Sebastian is learning how to do his own laundry and has recently learned how to clean toilets, clean up dog poop & sweep. :) Judah is now able to put on his own socks and shoes. He's also learned to build train track (and does it well!). He hardly ever screams "Mom-meeee!!" for help with toys anymore. He's learned to wipe down the table, fill Pixie's water & food bowl & put his dishes in the sink after eating (he does this better than anyone). It's tough keeping them motivated to do chores. Willow is the only one who remembers her chore. She never refuses to do it (the boys often refuse). Willow usually asks for more chores in addition to her daily chore. They all have a daily chore, which changes daily.

There was a 6 year old having a birthday party while we were at Super Bounce. Happy Birthday Claire. I hope Judah didn't steal your turn on the slide.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Library Chutes and Earthquake Drills

Sebastian is going to show this picture during his final project at school on Friday. It's a picture my dad sent recently of the roosters on his farm. They are doing presentations on farms - the kids wrote about the animals they would have, the name of the farm, etc. I'm looking forward to seeing it!
His group chose to have goats, sheep, piglets and roosters on their farm.
Yesterday, Willow & I went to pick Sebastian up at school early & got caught in the middle of an earthquake drill! They wouldn't let us in! Finally one of the front desk people came out & very seriously told Willow & I to pretend there was an earthquake happening. She told us to "take cover", ha. So Willow and I stood under the little roof near the entrance and "took cover". The entire school was emptied in a little over 2 minutes and it was QUIET and organized. It was a sight to see. Afterwards, I told Sebastian that we had tornado drills when I was in school. I asked him if they ever had those at his school. He said, "No, we don't have those kind of drills. Oregon doesn't really get tornadoes." ha. Silly me! That was my first earthquake drill!
Sebastian had his first "hot lunch" at school the other day. He's taken his lunch every day since he's been at this school. When he came home he told me, "The lady put carrots on my plate! I told her that I didn't like carrots and that I didn't want any, and she told me that the GOVERNMENT makes her put carrots on my plate!! Can you believe that?? The GOVERNMENT makes her do it!!" hahaha
It occurred to me days later that I should have told him that the GOVERNMENT makes you take 2 bites of everything on your plate. ;)
Willow told me yesterday that the wind had knocked a tree down. She said, "It was a little tree. And the wind made it fall over! The wind pushed it over! And it didn't even say sorry!!" She was very serious about this. Ha!
Judah is suddenly talking up a storm.. sentences, questions.. it's pretty surreal!! Today he was at the library with his favorite Thomas book in hand. He had brought it from home. He watched someone return her book through the chute inside of the library. He thought it looked fun. He walked up and sent his Thomas book down the chute. When he realized that he couldn't get it back, he panicked. haha. We got it back, don't worry. ;)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Pretty Girl

Recently someone very wise reminded me that we are the ones who choose our emotions. We spent a good hour talking about this and I spent the rest of the day happy.. and the aide was looking at me like something was wrong with me.. but that happiness made my day so much better.. it made my confidence strong.. and boosted my kids positivity as well.

Today Willow & I went to meet Judah’s aide that is on maternity leave. Luckily there were some kids where we went so Willow was able to jump right in and have fun. She is very social.
Yesterday I took Sebastian & Willow to Super Bounce. Willow played with a little girl, who she lovingly referred to as “pretty girl”. Pretty girl and her baby brother were the only other kids there. Pretty girl was 5, kind of quiet and a bit on the heavy side.. Willow reassured her every 2 minutes that she was a “pretty girl”. Pretty girl began talking more, smiling and became more composed and confident as they played. It was pretty cool to watch them interacting. Sebastian was sort of the older brother on his own, somewhat acting like he was too “big” to be playing there. He tried to stop Willow from following her friend, telling her that she was cutting him off. I think he assumed this would upset her and that he would finally gain her attention. Poor guy.. she stopped, waited for him to go and when he didn’t she darted around him to play with her friend. Sebastian did begin playing with them about the last 10 minutes we were there.
Willow always wants to see her “girls” when we are headed out somewhere. I took her to story time at the library a few weeks ago and nudged her to join the group of kids. It didn’t take her long to join in. The next time we went, she went immediately to sit with the kids and was holding hands with her “girls”, dancing in a circle for part of the time. And the next time she jumped right in again! She’s a very social little lady who always wants to have fun!
Sebastian apologized to Scott a couple days ago. He said he was sorry for everything he had done. He asked for Scott to forgive him. He asked me if he should do this right before he did it. Scott was standing nearby and Sebastian was completely aware of that, so obviously he was ready. Things have improved a tiny bit since then. It’s been a long road.. I wish the end was in sight.
Judah’s progress has been nothing short of phenomenal lately. Today was amazing. I told him, “I’m sorry, but these 2 trains can’t go in the bathtub. The other three can though.” I turned away for a minute to talk to the aide and turned back to see that Judah had taken off the 2 trains that I had told him couldn’t go in the bathtub and was heading in with the 3 that I had told him were allowed. No meltdown and he had completely understood my somewhat complicated instructions.
Judah wanted to go play outside in the rocks this evening, he said “Outside in rocks, socks and shoes (as he pointed to his bare feet)”. I’ve never heard the “socks & shoes” before! I told him that if we did that he would need another bath. I asked him if he wanted another bath and he said, “no”. He didn’t try to go outside and didn’t have a meltdown. He had understood me! Twenty minutes later he asked again. I said, “If we go outside in the rocks you’ll need to have another bath. Do you want to do this?” and he said, “no.” and that was that!
Willow has been having accidents lately (peeing her pants). Ever since she had a bad constipation problem a couple weeks ago she has been having accidents – I think she fears the toilet now. Today she was sitting in a chair and peed. Judah turned around to see what was happening. When Willow was getting clean clothes from her room Judah says to me, “What’s the matter Willow?” He said so many things today that I’ve never heard him say before. This was one. He’s said “Willow” more times today than I could count. He said, “Night, night Willow.” while he was in bed.. that one was so cute.
“Hey! That’s my ball!” That sentence was clear as day. Judah yelled that at Scott when Scott took his ball. Judah was playing on the train table with Sebastian, Willow and myself. His language was so clear that Sebastian suddenly stopped playing and began responding to Judah, following Judah’s lead. Sebastian was amazed. Judah was singing along to a song in the Legend of Oz movie (current favorite). His words were so clear. He definitely knew the song. Sebastian, Scott & I just stood in the living room and listened.. in awe. Sebastian kept looking up at me with big eyes, smiling. He had so much excitement inside of him, but didn’t move a muscle. He’s been dreaming of the day he could talk with his brother.