Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Social Story

You've heard of B.C., right? As in 500B.C. - before Christ? Well, my life has become a series of things I used to do B.G. - Before Grace. As in, "I used to run, B.G." and "I used to teach Spinning, B.G." and "I used to go shopping, take naps, and travel, B.G." You get the idea.

Crawling under the pool table.
Don't get me wrong. I have an amazing little girl in my life who has opened up a whole world that was nonexistent before. But, lately I have been reminding myself that this is a marathon not a sprint and it is okay if I do some things for myself. One of those things is going back to the gym. On Feb. 11th, I started going to the gym. To do this consistently, I chose a place that is family-friendly, close to home and work, and enlisted Kyle's help with Grace some of the time. You see, the gym has child care and kids can be in there for up to 2 1/2 hours at a time. For me to attend a Spinning or Step/Bosu class Grace has to go to the playroom or stay with Kyle. The first few times it worked out great. She went right in and I was able to get an hour of exercise relatively guilt free. But last night we hit a wall. She cried so much that she made herself vomit. And I was pretty sick, too, when I made the tough-love decision that leaving at that point would only teach her that if she cries enough, she will get her way. It took a lot of strength to calm her down, clean her up, and hand her over to the childcare workers when she was so clearly upset. But I did it and (for the record) I stressed about it for the entire workout.

So, tonight I took a page from my teaching experience after being reminded of this strategy from my friend Aimee. At school we use picture schedules and social stories with some students who have limited vocabulary, don't do well with change/new situations, or who need reinforcement about events in their day. Over dinner tonight, Grace and I created a short story together about going to the gym. I started telling and writing the story and we talked about the gym even though it wasn't a "gym night". After she went to bed, I typed it on the computer and added some clipart to make it look like a real book.

Front cover and some pages from the book
My goal is to read the book to her a few times tomorrow before we go and maybe allow her to take it with her to the Kids' Klub for the staff to read if she needs to be reminded that I am coming back. If it works, we might just laminate it and take it with us every time!

I am also considering having her bring a comfort object or a DVD. I noticed another little girl brought her stuffed animal last night, so we might do something like that. Another strategy I am tossing around is some sort of sticker chart and a timer, where the child care workers can give her a sticker every 10 minutes and when the page is full that means I am coming back. I am open to any other ideas, so please share!

Monday, February 22, 2010

When did she get so big?

Grace's school pictures were delivered today. Seriously, when did she get so big?It is so cute how Grace can name all the kids in her class. It isn't a surprise. After all, she spends all day with these friends, but it is just so funny that she knows their names and I don't!

Back row: Miss Kathi, Miss Chris
Second Row: Frederick, Mathieu, Josh, Maddie, Noah, Marayyh
Front row: Michael, Trey, Genevieve, Grace, Daniel, Maggie

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Does that make us groupies?

For the second year in a row, we went to see Elmo Live (with Kellie and Dawson, of course!). Like last year, the Sesame Street characters did not disappoint as they danced and sang their way across the stage to the delight of hundreds of children in the audience.This year, the show was entitled Elmo's Green Thumb. The story was about Elmo finding the perfect place to plant a sunflower he had grown from a seed and was now too big for its pot. In true Abby Cadabby style, she mixed up the words to a magic spell and instead of making the flower bigger, she made almost all the Sesame Street characters small! As tiny creatures, they learned to appreciate the insects, soil, water, and sunshine you find in a garden. The message was good, but it was probably lost on many of the kids. Still, I know Grace loved the music and a couple of times told me she had to get up and dance. She wasn't the only one...there were tons of toddlers in the aisles wiggling to the tunes.

So, going to see Elmo and his buddies two years in a row....do you think that makes us groupies?

Before we left for the show,
Grace showed me Elmo outside on the deck.
It looks cold, but we have had "warmer" weather (mid-30s)
and sunshine the last few days. It almost feels like spring!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Good, clean fun

Yesterday, Grace had her first experience with shaving cream. When I taught first-graders (back in the day) sometimes I used to let them use shaving cream on their desks to practice their letters and simple spelling words. It is a great activity for sensory and fine and gross motor development. So I bought some for Grace this week and let her experiment. Update to answer Aimee's question in the Comments section: Our kitchen table is glass, so I didn't have to put anything on it to protect it. But I have heard other people use a plastic table cloth (like the ones you get for parties) and then just fold it up and put it in the garbage. That would make clean up easy!

At first she was hesitant and I had to put my own hands in it to show her that it was okay to touch. It didn't take long after that for Grace to get her hands full of it!Since Grace was fully occupied, I got to play with my camera a little and experiment with the focus. Notice it is on Grace here...and on her hands here.She didn't know the shaving cream was on her nose, ......but she certainly, deliberately, put it all over her arms, clothes, neck and chest! It must have felt good on her skin.We went right into the bathroom for a bath after this!(Grace's hair is pulled back in a "pony" because we had just come back from the pool at the health club!)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

S is for Snow

Grace has been working on learning her letters - G is for Grace, M is for Mommy, etc. You get the idea. So today it was S is for Snow!The sun was out and it wasn't too cold so we went outside to take advantage of the big snowfall we had on Friday night. The snow wasn't wet and sticky enough for making a snowman and it was too deep for sledding, so we just played.Daisy had a great time running around, too. She has been so good lately, staying near us and coming when she is called.Kyle and Grace (well, mostly Kyle) dug a cave/igloo/fort. It started out like this,and then he made it pretty deep into the snow piled up from shoveling the driveway.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Funny girl

Just playing one evening this week after school....

Can you see the beginning frustration on her face
as she tried to untangle her necklaces?
Watching Grace work through the problem was very interesting.
I offered help right before the whole endeavor ended in a fit.
Grace likes to wear her sunglasses....upside down!
She was very proud when she discovered this style
and I told her all the cool girls wear their glasses like that.
(Does she have any idea what "cool" is?)

And just to make you laugh...

Kyle was looking at cars on the computer that is located the living room. Grace, who was sitting on couch playing with her toy cars, looked over her shoulder and said, "That my favorite car." The rest of the conversation went something like this:

Kyle: "Oh yeah. Why do you like it?"
Grace: "Like the color. I want that one."
Kyle: "What will you do with it?"
Grace: "I get the keys and drive it!"

Funny girl....maybe in 16 years!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I couldn't resist

I just couldn't resist taking this photo last night when Grace was sleeping. What you can't see is that both of her arms are flung straight up above her head. I wanted to take more, but I could tell the flash bothered her, so I only got this one shot.