Every night, my husband or I place Ari’s all but one of his stuffed animals in the four corners of his crib. [Muttsy (aka: Upstairs Puppy)] has been tucked under his arm for months now!] For the past week, Ari has been rearranging his animals as soon as I lay him down in his crib. It starts out like a roll call:
“Puppy? Baby? London?”
Then it evolves into Ari scurrying to the four corners of his crib to gather all of the animals. Initially, he tried to place them all under his arms. After a night or two of being unsuccessful at that, Ari placed the crib crew in a heap and collapsed on top of them like a concert-goer jumping into a mosh pit.
Tonight, after Ari took the initial roll call, he started saying, “Everybody! Everybody! Come here!”
I laughed. “May I turn on the light and take a picture of you with your animals?”
“Every-BODY!” he corrected.
“May I take a picture of you and everybody?” I replied.
He grinned a goofy-baby grin at me which implied his consent. I turned on the light and snapped a few pics.
“Light off!” he commanded.
I walked across the room, shut off the light switch, walked over to the crib, closed the gate, and said, “good night.”
“G’night, g’night, g’night!” he replied. “I luh-ooo.”
He nodded. Naturally, I began suggesting other options for things he could eat: cheese, raspberries, blueberries, peaches… you get the idea. But he just kept saying “pnt-zins.” I had no idea what kind of fruit would be called “pnt-zins.”
Thankfully, Ari stayed patient. He didn’t cry; he kept repeating “pnt-zins.”
“Do you want pretzels?” I asked. (That couldn’t be what he wanted.)
“Yes!” he said, his face lighting up.
“But you’ve never had pretzels. Or have you?” I looked at Ari. Ari grinned back at me.
I walked across the kitchen and grabbed a bag of pretzels from the pantry.
“Pnt-zins!” Ari yelped.
“Who let you try pretzels?” I asked him.
“Ih-ba-belle! Daddy!” He implicated his sister and father.
“Oh really? Isabelle and Daddy let you have pretzels?” I said. Must’ve been when I was out of town…
“Yes!” Ari declared.
“Oh boy,” I said, making a mental note to have a conversation with my husband and daughter tonight.
Ari took a bite. “Good!” He smiled. “Yummy!”
“Of course they’re yummy, they’re salty,” I replied.
Ari kept biting and chewing. “Yummy!” he declared again and again, until he finally said, “Muh pnt-zins puh-lease.”
How do you deny a polite (and somewhat-reasonable) request?
You don’t. At least, I didn’t. So I handed over two more pretzels.
I’m still planning to talk to Marc and Isabelle tonight. Because I kinda want to know what else Ari has tried that I don’t know about.
If Isabelle didn’t look like a miniature version of me, then I’d doubt she were my child. Her demeanor is vastly different from mine, as well as my husband’s.
When she used to do something outrageous (behavior-wise), I’d look at my husband and say, “she must get this from you.” He’d shake his head and swear up and down he was a well-behaved kid (True.) and that he didn’t know what would possess her to do whatever it was she did. Hence, I stopped trying to shift blame to anyone for Isabelle’s antics about a year ago. She’s her own person — plain and simple.
Yesterday morning, the three of us were eating breakfast together. I asked Isabelle if she had any specials other than P.E. on Mondays. She shook her head sadly. So Marc told Isabelle P.E. was one of his favorite parts of school.
“I don’t like P.E.,” Isabelle told him.
He probed for a reason. He tried to sell her on the merits of the games they play in gym class. (Apparently he liked dodge ball!) He provided compelling reasons for the importance of P.E. participation.
“I’ll do it, but I don’t like it!” Isabelle said firmly.
“What specials do you like?” I asked.
“Not P.E.,” she said.
“I didn’t like P.E. when I was in school either. I was more of an art and music kid,” I declared.
“I like art and music! And computers! I like computers. We drew silly faces on the computer the other day. I like my computer teacher too,” Isabelle stated.
I smiled and looked at my curly-haired, blue-eyed mini-me. Perhaps she is my daughter after all.
We read lots of books that rhyme, but until very recently, Isabelle hasn’t been able to form rhymes of her own. In the past two weeks, Isabelle has been making connections between words that rhyme. It’s usually one or two pairs of words per day. I love hearing her rhymes when they happen. Well, most of the time.
Today things got silly.
We were practicing articulation after school. She came up with two words — phone and bone — that rhymed. I was delighted. Perhaps too delighted. After making two more rhymes with her practice words her rhyming ability went off the rails. She began making up nonsense words to make them rhyme. While initially cute, it turned our no-more-than-15-minute practice session into a half hour. (Like most kids, she doesn’t want to sit down to practice her speech after school. Hence the reason I promise a short, intense session.)
After about five minutes, I started recording. (I couldn’t resist.)
My husband and I shared the news with Isabelle nearly three weeks ago. We spent the next two weeks calling our families to share the news. Then, we shared our announcement on Facebook last week. Now it’s time to share the news with my Slicer friends.
We’re expecting a baby this fall!
My first trimester was filled with fatigue and nausea. The past three weeks were going better. However, yesterday I received a diagnosis of placenta previa that will make my pregnancy a bit more high-risk. Overall, I feel good, but I’m a bit nervous about what’s to come. (Aren’t most expectant mothers nervous?) As I’ve said since I found out I was pregnant, I’m proceeding with cautious optimism.
But, on to the fun stuff. Naming the baby!
Isabelle wants to be involved. Take a listen to this audio recording to find out why Isabelle will not be in charge of picking her future baby brother’s name:
Isabelle is excited about being a big sister! She is constantly talking about all of the things she wants to do and share with the baby, which is adorable. She kisses my growing belly and talks to the baby at least once a day. All that said, she’s not going to be in charge of naming this sweet boy once he arrives. That will be up to me and Marc!
Isabelle has been wiping off kisses — as a joke — for the past few weeks. It’s playful and funny. It doesn’t offend me one bit. However, I like to pretend I’m offended. This morning I captured an exchange between the two of us about wiping away the kisses I give her.
Like any mom whose kid has CAS, I am always listening to my child’s speech with heightened awareness. Lately, I’ve been noticing Isabelle has been having trouble with the vowel sound in words like first, fur, glitter, hammer, her, Jersey, and sure. (New Jersey is the one that initially triggered my concern since Isabelle has been saying “New Joisey,” which sends shutters up and down my spine!) I’ve tried correcting her, but I haven’t been able to correct her mouth posturing. Therefore, I brought this issue to the attention of her speech therapist this morning.
Isabelle’s speech therapist worked tirelessly to determine where the problem was occurring so she shuffled through a bunch of /r/ words with vowels. She determined the issue was mostly with the medial /er/. Now, I have word lists and am armed with ways to help Isabelle fix her mouth so she can pronounce the words correctly (i.e., encourage her to pull back her lips into more of a smile when she says the medial /er/, rather than allowing her to round her lips when she makes that sound).
Like all of the articulation things we work on, this will take practice and patience. I know we’ll get there. A little humor will go a long way. So, in that vein, here’s part of a funny conversation I overheard between Isabelle and her speech therapist when they were trying to fix up the pronunciation of Jersey this morning.
“Mommy!” Isabelle called from the hallway at 6:45 a.m.
I couldn’t imagine what she wanted or needed before 7:00 a.m. (That’s when her OK to Wake Alarm Clock turns green, signaling it is okay to come into our room.)
“What’s up?” I asked when I came face-to-face with a wild-haired curly girl wearing pink bear pajamas.
“Well, can I bring my Trixie book to Mo Willams?”
Last night, right before bedtime, I informed Isabelle my parents would be taking her to see Mo Willems at the New York Historical Society this summer. I informed her she could select one book to have him sign. Apparently, this had been on her mind all night since she couldn’t decide which one to pick when I told her last night.
“Sure you can,” I said.
“So he writes the Trixie books?” she asked.
“Yeah, he writes all of the Knuffle Bunny books. And he writes the Elephant and Piggy books and the –”
Isabelle finished my sentence. “And the Pigeon books too!”
“That’s right. He writes three different series of books you know, plus a few others.”
“That’s a lot of books!” Isabelle chuckled.
“It sure is!” I responded.
“Oh,” she laughed as her curls bounced. “He might be busy that day!”
I laughed, delighted by her insight and thankful she might have an understanding of why there’s going to be a huge line she will have to wait in to get her book — whichever one she decides to bring — signed.
I swim laps — twice a week — after dropping Isabelle off at school. There’s a pool in the same complex as her school so she likes to accompany me to the locker room before I drop her off with her teacher.
I have no idea why she likes going to the locker room. Let’s be honest: it smells like feet. But she enjoys watching me put my things away in a locker before I take her to class. Most of the time no one is there so we just chat for a few minutes while I put my things away. No one is being hurt by this (except for her olfactory sense) so I indulge her locker room requests whenever we get to the complex with time to spare.
This morning, just before we left the house, I noticed Isabelle was busy cutting the corners off of some construction paper and affixing stickers to the same paper.
“What are you doing?” I asked. “It’s almost time to go.”
“I’m gonna give this to someone in the locker room.”
“Who? There’s usually no one in there.”
“Someone will be there,” she replied.
“How do you know?” I asked.
She didn’t answer me. She kept on working until I said, “Come in to put socks and sneakers on!”
The pitter-patter of feet came down the hallway with her masterpiece in-hand. I tried not to roll my eyes. There were Bad Kitty stickers all over the paper. Just what a random adult would want from a random kid.
* * * * *
After I swiped my membership card at the front desk, I asked Isabelle, “What will you say when you hand the paper to someone?”
“You’re not going to just shove the paper in someone’s face, right? I know you do that sometimes when you give away your art. You have to say something first.”
“What are you going to say?”
Still no response as we walked down the stairs. Was she ignoring me?
“Are you going to say ‘this is for you’ or will you just shove the paper at the person?” I inquired.
“I’m going to say, ‘I made this for you.'”
“Great!” I replied.
Isabelle insisted on opening the door to the women’s locker room. “After you,” she said.
I giggled. How old is she?
We walked in and Isabelle beelined to the only woman in the locker room — who was in the middle of getting undressed! Before I could even ask Isabelle to give her a moment to get her clothes on, Isabelle walked right over to her and said, “Hi, I made this for you.”
“For me?” the half-clothed woman said.
“Yes!” Isabelle declared.
“Did you make it by yourself or did your mom help?” the gracious woman inquired as she donned her pants.
“By myself,” Isabelle said proudly.
“Well, thank you,” the lady said.
“You’re welcome,” Isabelle responded.
The lady got dressed as I unloaded my swim bag into the locker. Just as she got ready to leave she told Isabelle, “I’m going to hang this on my wall when I get to work later.”
“Okay,” was all Isabelle said. But honestly, I think that made her day.