Friday, February 22, 2013

Psalm 23

Once a year our church devotes a Sunday evening to showcasing the talents of the children in our church. This coming Sunday night is that night, and this is the first year that Ethan has met the age requirements to participate.

I'm still unsure of whether or not he will actually DO his talent in front of the church by himself, but I am not unsure of his talent. One of Ethan's greatest strengths is his memory. Earlier in the week, we began reviewing all of the memory verses that he has memorized. I was planning on having him recite a couple from memory for his talent. However, I started to realize that Ethan might be able to tackle longer memory verses. So, yesterday we started learning The 23rd Psalm.....and today he is reciting it without any cues or help. Here is a video of him doing so......he case he decides not to participate on Sunday. :0)

Psalm 23:1-6
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul;

He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Making Valentines = Fine Motor Skills Developing!

I LOVE arts & crafts. However, my son does NOT. Every time I would try to get him to color, cut, paste, etc., he would scribble a little something on his paper and was ready for the next thing. While I was pregnant & dreaming of what motherhood would be like, I envisioned Ethan & I spending hours making crafts, coloring, painting & creating. Until recently, that was still a dream for this mama.

Here are a few pictures of our first crafting time making valentines this year. Ethan simply wanted to put stickers on paper. I slowly was able to get him to write a name or draw a shape & color it in....I was so excited.

Here is Ethan ready to create some valentines!

He is adding stickers to his paper....great for toning up his fine motor skills.

After he ran out of room on our refrigerator, he began laying them on our floor.

Later in the week, I decided to attempt creating more valentines. This time I added scissors & markers to the equation. Ethan has only cut in front of me ONE time....and it literally was one snip & he cried the whole time because he didn't want to do it. His teachers & therapists have told me that he is able to cut paper, but I have never witnessed it......until this February!

Here is Ethan with his valentine stamps, markers & construction paper. It's difficult to see, but in this picture he is cutting out a brown heart.

At first, he would snip a bit, and then pull the extra paper off of it.

He amazed me by continuing in that manner until he cut out the entire heart! It is a bit jagged like the one in this picture, but considering that I had never watched him cut out anything, I was ecstatic!

Then, he wrote his name on it without any prompting from me! I love this picture for a couple of reasons....His tongue is slightly out to help him focus, he is using his opposite hand to steady the paper, and his pencil grip has TREMENDOUSLY developed over the course of this year! The OT at his school told me that they are working with him on writing smaller....which was evident in this craft project.

And then it happened folks!!!! He began cutting his hearts without stopping the scissors & they were wonderfully rounded!!!!!! I was so excited!!!!!!!!!!

I briefly got a video of Ethan while he was cutting out his first heart. Eventually, I remembered to FOLD the paper over & cut one side of a heart. It was easier for him to cut, but this was all a new thing for Ethan & me. Ethan cut out a heart, stamped it with valentine stamps, glued it to a larger piece of paper, and wrote his name as well as the teacher/therapist's name for which he was making it. He made one for Daddy, one for himself, and one for each of his 5 teachers/therapists at his school....all his idea.

Cutting. Who knew I would be so excited over such a thing! I feel a pun coming on.......This kid really knows how to CUT straight to my HEART! :0)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Do You Hear What I Hear? Pretend Play!

Ethan's pretend play has been off the charts compared to how it has been his entire life thus far. Every time I spy him playing "house" with his cars & figurines, it just gives me goosebumps! It is a sign of a HUGE challenge being accomplished...and I'm so excited for him!!!

Well, the other night, Ethan was taking a bath, and I could hear him playing. Nothing out of the ordinary about that.....or was it? I just HAD to try & sneak in to video him. He was playing with 3 ducks...a mommy duck, a daddy duck, and a baby duck. He gave them our names....but he also gave them VOICES! As you can see on this video, Daddy duck has a low voice, Mommy duck has a high voice, and baby duck has Ethan's voice.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Ethan is doing amazing, you guys. Seriously. He is finger painting with his ENTIRE hand...not just one pointer finger. He is using appropriate language more & more. This week when he got his hair cut....a typically tramatic experience for him....he hopped down out of the chair & said, "I love getting haircuts!" And his pretend play is out of this world! He is doing great....seriously. He is soaring past our expectations in several areas. What a HUGE answer to our prayers!

However, we are also really struggling with him. This entire school year has been really hard on him which makes it hard on us as his parents. We started out the school year with digestion issues. After months of trial/error, doctors visits, medicines, and so on, we think we have solved that puzzle. It's something called "Toddler Diarrhea" which is due to a child eating too many carbs. SOOO our Ethan. But as long as we focus on him eating the few fruits that he enjoys, it seems to be under control.

After that mess, Ethan began to start not sleeping well again. He would either wake up crying & screaming or he would wake up at 2am ready for his day to begin. AGAIN, trial/error, doctors visits, medicines, and so on, we think we have solved that puzzle. We give him 2mg of Melatonin every night, and more times than not he is sleeping soundly through the night. And so are we....most nights.

Also during this same time, we have discovered that Ethan has allergy issues as well....through the same trial/error, doctor visits, etc. So he is also on allergy medicine now too. He is so funny. Every night when we give him his medicines, he wants us to re-tell him what each one is is like our nightly cute.

But the biggest issue we have been having this year seems to be getting worse. I try to stay positive & look at all Ethan is accomplishing, but I do have to deal with his negative behavior as well. That is just a fact of parenting. However, I feel like I have exhausted all our efforts & knowledge. I just don't know what to do with it anymore.

One reason for this blog is for my personal "get it off my chest" forum. Take it out here, so I don't take it out on those that I love. And that is what I need today. I'm at the end of my rope in this area, and I feel helpless in my parenting. I just don't know what to do.

Ethan is pushing kids, hitting kids, and this week he was sent home early because he was having a hard day. What that meant was that he was so overwhelmed or having an off day that lead to him PUNCHING another classmate...several times. My kid is becoming a 4 year old bully, and I am sick to my stomach over it. We have been dealing with him pushing kids & rolling on kids for almost 2 years now, but it seems that as he is growing, so is his aggression. He seems to need more & more outlets for his pressure needs. This is one of the reasons that we bought a pool last summer & why we bought a used bounce house this give him an outlet for his "aggression needs." He can give his muscles the workout they need in a positive way....not by hitting his peers.

But since he punched a kid this week, I don't think these things seem to be helping. I talked with his Easter Seals team this week, and they have noticed an increase in this as well. They have started working with him on expressing his emotions with words using emotion cards & activities. I have to remind myself that he used to express EVERY emotion by screaming or having a meltdown, so we are actually experiencing progress....I just don't like this phase.

Well, folks, I feel like I have exhausted all of my knowledge & resources in this area. Social stories, reward charts, talking, etc. So, when he was sent home early from school, he asked to watch a TV program. I told him no tv because he hit his friends. OH MY GOSH!!!! That TOTALLY seemed to get his attention!

He wasn't sad or upset.....just curious as to why no tv? I was then able to have a real talk with him about hitting & pushing.....that people don't like that.....and if he continues to do that, then he won't have any friends. You'll never guess what happened. He teared up! He looked at me and said, "If you don't have friends, you don't have anything." That's right, Ethan.

He seemed to FINALLY understand what I have been trying to get through to him for the last several years. He still continued to ask to watch different things on TV, and I kept reminding him that he couldn't & why. He never once cried, but I think he actually understood.

The next day at school, Ethan's teacher said he was a completely different kid. Using kind words, no fits, playing nicely. I hear she even video taped some of it! We had planned on having a meeting to discuss what to do with our Ethan, but after the day he had at school of being wonderful.....we have decided to postpone. We are stumped, but want to continue to see if this is working for him.

Corey & I have created a "traveling rewards sticker chart" for us to try with him. It would travel from his Easter Seals preschool to his school district preschool. The more stickers he earns for kind behavior, the better the reward. I need to run it by his teachers, but that may be something we want to try while we are on a positive roll.

We are really having a difficult school year, but I'm also thinking that it may be for a reason. Maybe the reason is to reassure all of us that Ethan will need an aide next year in Kindergarten. And this is all happening for us to be 100% sure in that decision. It is still hard on Corey & I though. Please pray for us & for Ethan as we deal with this issue. Ethan is such a sweet boy, and I don't want him to bully his peers. Thank you!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

My Funny Valentine!

My Ethan just CRACKS ME UP! He is soooo funny! Here is some Ethan humor that I have been collecting as it happens.....ENJOY!

My phone started ringing in the other room. Ethan looked at me, and I said, "I hear my phone ringing." He replied back, "I should hope so!" And he laughed & laughed! 

Me: "Ethan, you are are my favorite little boy!"
Ethan: "Mommy, you are my favorite little girl." 

Aunt Rachel: "Ethan, did you have fun playing with Hunter?"
Ethan: "YES!"
Aunt Rachel: "Did you have fun playing with Macie?"
Ethan: "Yeah NO!"

Ethan was becoming upset when his instructors asked him to practice diving in the pool at swimming lessons. Confused, we kept trying to ask him at home. Eventually, he was able to tell us why. "Because the sign says NO DIVING."

While I'm driving, Ethan is opening a new Hot Wheels car in the backseat.
Ethan: "Mommy, what's this?"
Me: "I don't know."
Ethan: "What's this light for, Mommy?"
Me: "I don't know."
Ethan: "Mommy, are these stickers?"
Me: "I don't know."
Ethan: "Mommy, do you know anything?"

Ethan: "Mommy, I'm hungry."
Me: "How about a cinnamon roll?"
Ethan: "Oooo! Great choice Mommy!!!"

While making valentines, Ethan says, "Charlie Brown doesn't have a girlfriend. But he does have a dog."

During swimming lessons, Ethan hollers across the pool, "Hey, Mom! I just peed in the pool!" 

As I was laughing at something Ethan said, I said to him, "Oh, Ethan! You crack me up!" Ethan walks over to Corey because he was VERY concerned....almost in tears. "Daddy, why is Mommy cracking up?"

Ethan asked us if he could have smoke in his room. Confused? Us too. Turns out he was talking about his humidifier!

While waiting for Daddy to come out of the gas station as he was paying for our gas, I am sitting in the front seat of the van. I am on my iPhone & Ethan is in the backseat on his iPad. We were almost home from a long drive, and we were stopping to fill up our now empty gas tank. All of a sudden, I hear Ethan peeing! I turn around, and Ethan has one hand on his potty bucket & one hand on his "pee dispenser." He looks up at me and says, "Hey, look Mom! I'm peeing!"

Monday, February 4, 2013

Our first messy craft in the playroom!

Like many of you, I have an addiction to Pinterest. It is not uncommon for me to be found randomly browsing this amazing website periodically throughout my day....and just before I go to bed. I love to see the creativity on there as well as discover new sensory play that Ethan & I can do while we are at home together.

While browsing for "snow" activities to do during the month of January, I came across this SUPER SIMPLE craft! Stacy at Share & Remember shows us how to make SNOW PAINT!!!!

Mix Equal parts shaving cream & glue

Here is what it looks like after mixing it.
Paint! We traced some circles to make a snow man, and Ethan LOVED painting it. He is still prefers a brush to finger painting but he covered more area on his paper than he ever has before...and painted longer & focused more.

Here are our finished products! Once they dry, the paint has a dimensional effect so you can feel the paint. It kind of feels fuzzy & soft. SO EASY!!!!!! You could add faces, glitter, and other snowman items, but by the time it dried...I was ready for Valentine's day stuff! Maybe later....if we EVER get a snow day around here! I like to have at least ONE a school year!

Friday, February 1, 2013

February Playroom Update

A lot has been happening at our house over the last couple of months. Between bouts of sickness and holiday events, we have managed to move forward on our basement sensory playroom. Here is how it looks today...

It's hard to get the whole room in one shot but here are 3 corners of the room. And, yes, it's a mess but we were playing!!!!

Here is the missing corner from the above photo.

And this is the corner where the first two pictures were taken from....leading back through our basement kitchen. This is what we are currently working on (the kitchen).

So, the room is divided into 4 sections. The first section is the grown up seating area. I made curtains for these very large windows out of king size sheets...just striped them. We also have our old couch (hide-a-bed), garage sale coffee table that I repainted, and Ethan's trampoline. Sorry it's a bit dark, but the sun was REALLY shining through the curtains that day.

This second section is the playroom. I LOVE this bookshelf that I got for $20 on Craigslist. We also have many hand-me-down toys & my yoga ball (for therapy play). My sister donated this out of date globe that we fixed to be hung from the ceiling, and my friend Megan gave us these large maps that are perfect to cover up our unfinished walls & add color/interest.

This is our newest addition! For Christmas, Santa brought this for Ethan. It's a bounce house that fits perfectly in this space! Now that Ethan is growing older & bigger, he seems to need more jumping room & more often. The trampoline wasn't cutting it anymore although it's still a wonderful tool for us. And rumor has it that Santa got this used for $50!
Here is the the fourth section. Ethan LOVES the newly added fireplace (made & donated by my In-Laws). It definitely helps keep this cold basement warm! And our In-Laws' old entertainment center for VHS watching. This side of the room leads to a bathroom.

I love this basement playroom so much! It is finally safe for Ethan to be in as well as functional enough for us to spend our mornings downstairs. We are working on the kitchen/storage section right now. We have also decided to put my craft room down here as well....on the other side of the basement (not pictured). And the swing is still in the works. We have lots to go, but I'm so glad we are at this point. Ethan can play, I can do laundry, we can do messy play & not stain my's wonderful!!!!