Monday, April 28, 2014

'meeting' Lola...


Lola "met" the extraordinary woman for whom she was named this past weekend, during an unexpected and unplanned trip to Chicago, where my mother's family is from and still resides.

My Grandma Abe, or Grandma Lola as she's now known to my kids, died in 2002.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

'teaching' ASL

Every now and then we get the question as to how we go about teaching sign language to Millie.

The answer? We don't, not as much as you'd think anymore. We don't teach as much as reinforce what others have taught her.

Her therapists mainly have been the ones teaching her and educating her on the signs, then Ray and I scramble through various books, online sites, and flashcards to keep up.

Honestly, Millie knows more than we do. As does Lola, who is great at being our interpreter.

Millie just beams when someone talks to her in "her" language. She loves to see other people communicating this way and to know she isn't alone. Especially when it is another little kid.

A few weeks ago, a therapist lent us a DVD, which has more or less been playing non-stop in the car recently. Millie just loves it.

Here she is practicing her signs (and if you hang in there 'til the very end, there is an extra-special bonus at the end, but maybe that's because I'm biased...):

video

Happy Wednesday.
- Bethany :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Hosanna

Lola has come a long ways since the beginning of the school year. She's less shy, more open to trying new things and has become Miss Chatterbox with her friends and classmates.

But she still hates to be in front of large groups.

We went and saw a play the other day and she loved it, just sat entranced by the whole experience, especially since she knew several of the kids on stage. I asked her innocently enough afterward if she would ever want to do that herself - be on stage - and she gave me a very emphatic NO.

At church, depending on the season and tone, the kids are usually invited to come up to the alter twice: once for the children's lesson and, then, at the end, to make music and wave fun things, like ribbons. Lola has refused to do either, unless I go with her.

This past Sunday marked Palm Sunday.

As we walked into the sanctuary, we all received our palms. And s we sat down, the service opened with the pastors immediately inviting the children to the altar, to wave their palms and sing.

I didn't even have time to turn and ask Lola if she wanted to go.

She was already off, half-running down the aisle. I barely had time to gently push Millie on to follow her sister.

And Ray and I sat holding hands in the pew as we watched Lola and Millie join with the other kids and choir members as they paraded around the sanctuary waving palms and singing.

Lola was never scared, just happily waved at us from time to time. And Millie was happy, as usual, grinning and doing her half-run, half-stomp throughout the church.

Millie wouldn't wave the palm, and in fact wouldn't even hold it. Instead, she gave it to Lola. Then, an adult would see the one little girl among many who didn't have her own palm so they would offer theirs. Millie would gladly accept it, only to hand it off to Lola, who eventually came back to our pew with several palms.

It was pretty funny.

But more than that, it was pretty special.

As they finished their parade, Millie joined Ray and me. Meanwhile, Lola kept on walking to the altar, took a spot on the choir risers and joined with the other kids as they sang.

I was flabbergasted. And so proud of her.

Church was, hands-down, my favorite part of the whole weekend.

Hosanna.
- Bethany :)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

words...

This morning I was advised to turn my back to Millie, to ignore her on occasion.

It would be done with great love, good intentions.

Let me explain.

Millie used to be somewhat forgettable, easily overlooked. She was  quiet and so easy-going, content to just be along for the ride and never insistent on being the focal point of life.

Yeah, not so much anymore.

And good for her!

Now, she is very insistent. She's a true Mommy's girl, more so than Lola ever was. She wants to be with me and have my attention 24/7. She hates when I leave her at daycare or when I turn my back to her to focus on someone, or something, else (like, you know, dinner).

Well, she used to just sign "Mommy," "Mommy, "Mommy," over and over again, to get your attention.

Then she started signing "Mommy" and patting the spot next to her o the couch, saying "Mommy, come here and sit with me. I'll watch TV and be quiet for 5 minutes, but only if you're right next to me."

Then, because when my back is turned I can't hear her, she started grunting a bit and making verbal noises to get my attention.

But, as it happens, I got used to that too and wasn't so attentive.

A few weeks ago, then, it came.

"Mom!"

Now that got my attention.

Now it's frequent: "Mom!" "Dad!"

It's music to our ears.

It's been happening now for several weeks so it's not so news-worthy. But what happened Monday was.

It was me, Lola and Millie. And I can only do so much with two hands. So I'd asked Lola to keep an eye on Millie while I was trying to get everyone shuffled out of the daycare.

But Lola wasn't cooperating and wasn't paying attention to her sister, which of course made Millie sad.

She was signing for Lola, making noises, but no reaction came.

So then...

"Lola!" Millie said, fairly emphatically. It was more like "la-la" but it was clear.

And it sure got Lola's attention, as it did mine.

We haven't heard it since, and we likely won't again for a few weeks. That seems to be how it goes with Millie, she says something once but not again for a while.

But we know she said it.

We heard her say it.

So the advice was, Perhaps if she's more vocal when you aren't paying attention ... pay less attention on occasion. Make it into a game.

And I'm willing to try it, as long as it is benefiting her and not upsetting her of course.

Everything is worth a shot...

***

I leave you now with a funny story.

One of Millie's PT goals is to ride a trike this summer. But she's destined to fail. Because she won't even sit on one, much less pedal. They've brought it out at her PT appointments a few times, and actually had some success earlier this week just pushing her around on it, but she doesn't like it.

This past weekend, we learned why.

We took out Lola's bike. The one with training wheels.

And Millie flipped out. She wanted to ride the big-girl bike.

Lola, who is now much too tall for that little bike, was more than happy to let her sister sit atop it. And then it became a game as Lola pushed her around.

Fun times.


We're all so excited for spring.
- Bethany :)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

mornings...

Yesterday, I found strange black splotches all over my skin as I was getting dressed. I cleaned them off, or tried to, and promptly forgot about them. Until I went to pour myself my coffee and found them on my right fingers.

What the heck? Well, as I went back toward the bathroom to clean myself up (again), I figured it out: The pen that I use on my wall calendar apparently leaked. Everywhere. And it had dripped onto me while I was still in my jammies.

By the time I left for work, the calendar had a very dense, wet line of link running all the way down it. It was rather striking and I thought Ray might get a kick out of it when he gets back home late tomorrow. So I left it alone.

***

This morning. I had a Walking Dead dream, which was kind of strange. I do watch the show but we're several weeks behind, thanks to our decision to cancel cable at the beginning of the year.

In my dream, which was probably more of a nightmare I suppose, I was running from some zombies and was scratched, which is essentially a death sentence if you're not familiar with the show. I had to ask someone who was running with me to "put me down" so to speak.

Anyhow, I woke up disoriented but the numbers on the clock quickly brought me to the present: 6:42 a.m.

Exactly 35 minutes past when I'm supposed to get up. The alarm never went off?

What the heck? And then I remembered spending 45 minutes last night adjusting my phone (as in adding back deleted contacts, fixing the wallpaper, making it so I can see my own texts instead of just everyone else's, etc.) after letting Millie entertain herself with it while Lola was at gymnastics yesterday. I never even thought to check the alarm clock.

So I was up, quickly trying to get the girls awake, vertical, and into the kitchen for breakfast. It was as chaotic as you'd expect, since we had exactly 30 minutes to leave for the bus.

Ten minutes in, we were right on schedule and I was thoroughly proud of myself.Lola was dragging her feet a little bit, but we made a game out of it all and she was slowly coming out of her sleepiness.

And then, with about 12 minutes to go, I went and got Millie dressed.

As I came into the hallway, I found this:


Ink everywhere. Apparently it hadn't dried since yesterday and someone's little fingers managed to spread it all over the wall.

"Millie!" I turned and checked her fingers. Clean.

I turned toward Lola's room, where the 5-year-old stood in the doorway trembling a bit, "I, I, I didn't know what it was!"

Her lip started to quiver and she knew she was in trouble.

"I couldn't get it off,"  she whimpered, and she held out her fingers, covered in ink.

Nine minutes to go...

We had a tough morning Monday, Lola and me. We were just about out the door when she told me that she'd lost her mittens and then we couldn't find her snowboots (even though they should always be in the exact same spot every day...). We did eventually find them but we had to, quite literally, run for the bus, which was already at the stop down the street. I was mad, Lola was feeling bad. It left her rattled, it left me shaken all day. Not the best way to start the day, much less the whole week...

So, this morning, today, I took a breath, and I laughed. I crouched down and gave her a hug and told her it was OK, that right now, the only thing we had to worry about was getting ready for school.

And she relaxed.

She got dressed for school, then asked to change, then asked to change a third time.

And I let her. What was the harm?

Well, eight minutes later, as we walked out the door right on time, I remembered, Millie's meds. And I ran back inside. And then, Garbage day, and I ran that out to the curb, pushing the stupid garbage can over the stupid snow and the stupid ice, nearly slipping the entire time. And then, Millie's drink, and I ran back inside to get her some apple juice for daycare.

By the time we actually left the driveway, we were running about four minutes late.

Luckily, the bus was running about six minutes late.
- Bethany :)


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

a Princess tea party

A few months ago, I saw an ad for this:
Honestly, OK, it was a wee bit more than we'd usually pay, but since it was a fun event that would actually be happening here, in our town, and because the Anna and Elsa would be there, we figured, Hey, why not? It gives us something to entertain the girls during this never-ending winter...

So a few weeks ago, we dressed up two little Princesses and went to have tea with the Princesses...

Of course, they needed their Prince...
Who was, um, perhaps, maybe, the only guy there. Sorry, Babe.

And we found our seats...

And waited as they introduced the Princesses, one by one.

Lola was ecstatic.

The highlight for her, of course, was seeing Anna and Elsa. Because, you know, if we watch Frozen once a week, it's really closer to, I don't know, twelve times maybe. I mean, Millie has made up sign language for each character and her favorite parts, so we know exactly where she wants the movie to start every single time. (Yeah, our kids aren't spoiled...)

But you know, it's one thing to see the Princesses and be excited.

We had no idea how Millie would actually react to having to get close to them...
Um, yeah. They were best friends. The hardest part ended up having to hold her back and wait her turn behind other little girls...

But they got their meet-and-greets in and got lots of Princess hugs.

And then something not completely unexpected happened.

Millie loves Ariel. She does. She was her first preferred Princess, though she has since become more captivated by the Frozen sisters.

Or so I thought.

We had to go clockwise around the room to meet the Princesses and Ariel was, well, close if we would have gone counter-clockwise. And the whole time Millie was trying to run back to see her.

But then, finally, it was her turn.



Can you tell how happy she was? She was beaming.

Once the round-the-room tour was over, it was time to have some food and visit with a special guest. Each table got one Princess and while we knew who'd we requested, Lola wasn't quite quick enough to notice that our table was decorated in snowflakes...

But she saw who was getting closer to our table...

And was thrilled.

Of course, once Elsa actually sat down, the kids got shy and didn't have anything to talk about. I prodded a few questions from Lola here and eventually she warmed up. A little.

Millie, though, well, she just kept trying to run to Ariel's table.

At one point she asked if she could see Elsa, so I let her do that, but she basically took it as an opportunity to bolt for Ariel's table instead.

Soon enough, though, snack time was over and it was time to dance.

The girls were supposed to go gather in circles and hold hands and dance.

Millie, well, she just wanted Ariel all to herself for a minute or two.

But then Ariel (thankfully) convinced her to dance with the other kids.


It was a great afternoon and the girls had a terrific time.

My one mistake happened just after this:
Lola had run to Tinkerbell to say goodbye as the Princesses left the event. And Tinkerbell gave Lola a little bit of pixie dust. She warned her that the pixie dust wouldn't work here though, that she wouldn't actually be able to fly.

As we walked away and tried to grab coats, mittens, etc., I wa s abit distracted as Lola aske dme where the pixie dust would work and I instinctively said, Pixie Hollow.

Well, Lola already equates Pixie Hollow with Disney World.

So in her eyes, the Pixie Dust is going to work whenever we do go back...

And she has clutched that darn "Pixie Dust" so tightly ever since, swearing she isn't going to lose it "ever ever never" until she is able to fly just like Tinkerbell.

Oh joy.
- Bethany :)