Uncategorized

A Great Lunch Date

Smiling with Her Lunch

Isabelle and I were out the door early for some medical appointments. My parents spent the morning with Ari so we had the chance to go out for lunch — just the two of us — after her appointments were finished.

“Can we go to that grill place where they have the toys I liked to play with when I was younger?” Isabelle asked.

I knew she was referring to the Chocolate Avenue Grill. It used to be one of my favorite lunch places in Hershey… until I stopped eating gluten in 2015. Now there are about five things on the menu — none of which I really want — that I can eat. However, she asked sweetly… so I said yes.

After Isabelle realized she was a bit too old for the toy bins in the foyer, we continued to our table. Isabelle and I chatted while she colored. She ate all of her food and drank her juice without me nagging her once. It was downright delightful.

Once I paid the check, we made our way through the raindrops to our minivan. Once we were inside, I turned around to check if she was buckled. I was about to say something when Isabelle said, “That was really nice. I liked having lunch with you, Mommy. Just us.”

I smiled. “I know you love your brother. We all do. But Ari is challenging to eat out with these days, isn’t he?”

She nodded.

“Should we do this more in the summertime?” I asked.

Isabelle nodded vigorously.

Therefore, I made a mental note to make sure we have more meals out — just the two of us. We both need it.

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Uncategorized

Drowning My Sorrows in a Green Smoothie

I checked email moments before I pushed the ignition button on my car. An email* I had been waiting for arrived in my inbox. I clicked on it. The message was not one I had hoped for; the words stung my eyes. It took me a couple of minutes to regain my composure before I could drive away. (Thankfully, the eight-year-old in the backseat extended me some grace when I told her I needed to make a phone call rather than turning on Kidz Bop.)

How do you take away the sting of bad news?

When I walked through the door around 5 p.m., I was greeted by a little boy who yelled “Hi, Mommy!” when I walked through the door.

“May I have a hug?” I said doing my best to hold back tears.

Ari wrapped his chubby arms around me and pulled me in. That should’ve been enough, but it wasn’t. Once Ari released me from his embrace, I removed my shoes, grabbed the bottom of the blender, and headed for the fridge. I poured ten ounces of water into the blender cup. Then, I opened the refrigerator door and grabbed the baby spinach. (Click here for the Blueberry Apple Cider Smoothie recipe I made.)

“I wanna smoothie!” Ari said.

“You’ll share it with me,” I told him. (He loves green smoothies as much as I do.)

After Ari helped make the smoothie, he helped me drink it. However, he soon became interested in what Isabelle was doing so he toddled off to play with her. That’s when I realized I was left with a green smoothie and a healthy dose of disappointment.

*= My apologies for being vague. While I share quite a bit about my life, not everything feels comfortable to put out in the world. Before your mind runs wild, the email in question doesn’t have anything to do with work or my kids’ health.

slice of life · Uncategorized · writing · writing journal

First Writer’s Notebook

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Front Cover of the Notebook

Over the weekend, we attended a blueberry festival at the farm where we pick pumpkins, apples, and blueberries annually. While there were plenty of berries to pick, one of the best parts of the festival happened away from the blueberry bushes. It happened amongst the craft vendors.

Isabelle insisted on browsing the craft vendors’ wares. I felt myself get frustrated since Isabelle, like many kids her age, usually wants to blow her money on junk. She’s been saving her money and had $24 to spend. And that made me fearful she was going to buy $24 worth of junk! (Yes, I do have the final say. Like I said no to her buying stuffed animals. However, I can’t say no to everything!)

The second vendor’s tent she walked into was selling polymer clay-covered notebooks. They weren’t cheap: $12 for small ones and $24 for large ones. Isabelle insisted she wanted one. Even though it was a notebook, I felt my heart sink a little bit. Was this going to be an overpriced scribbling pad?

“Let’s come back after we pick raspberries and blackberries.”

Isabelle held me to that promise. Even though she visited other vendors’ tents, she bought a small notebook since “that will mean I’ll still have $12 left.” (Imagine how pleased I was with that declaration!)

Lo and behold, Isabelle has written in her new writer’s notebook the past two days. In fact, she’s pretty excited about writing in it. She’s decided to keep it in the car so she has something to do while we’re driving places. Of course, that makes looking up unfamiliar words and decent penmanship challenging, but I think she’s off to a great start. Take a look:

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Perhaps I should’ve looked inside the notebook to make sure it would be appropriate (in terms of line size) for a rising second grader. But then again, she wants to write, so perhaps I should continue to have a hands-off approach on this one!

slice of life_individual
Head over to http://twowritingteachers.org on Tuesdays for more slice of life stories.

slice of life · Uncategorized

Super Snuggles

This year I didn’t cook anything special for the Super Bowl. I made a normal dinner, which we ate at the table. (For the past few years, I’ve made nachos from scratch — easier said than done — and we’ve eaten them at our coffee table while watching the Super Bowl.) At the end of dinner, my football-loving husband invited everyone into our great room to watch the game.

I found the three of them in the great room once I got up from the table. Marc was watching the game. Ari was alternating between reading books and playing with his collection of balls. Isabelle was snuggled-up on the couch under a blanket.

Painted in WaterlogueThe time hovered around seven. I considered making Isabelle go upstairs since her bedtime was rapidly approaching. Instead, I asked, “May I snuggle with you?”

“Yes!” she said.

I cozied up next to her and chatted for a few minutes before she drifted off to sleep. (Somehow Marc got her upstairs and ready for bed.)

I retreated to my office to do some work until it was time for Ari’s nighttime bottle. When it was time for him to go upstairs, Marc transported him up the stairs to his bedroom where I held him as he drank. I noticed Ari was more awake than usual after his bottle. So I asked him, “Do you want more milk or do you want to snuggle?”

“Nugga-nugga,” he replied. (That means “snuggle-snuggle.”)

Painted in WaterlogueI obliged. I sang lullabies as he wiggled around looking for the perfect spot. Finally, he laid across my lap as I rocked him to sleep.

My Super Bowl Sunday was filled with snuggles. And for this non-football fan, I have to say, I think it’s the best Super Bowl Sunday I’ve ever had. (Sorry, Marc!)

slice of life_individual
Head over to http://twowritingteachers.org on Tuesdays for more slice of life stories.

accomplishments · art · ocular motor dysfunction · OT · slice of life · Uncategorized

An Artsy Celebration

Isabelle has enjoyed doing art for the past couple of years. She’s taken a couple of art classes. However, despite the instruction, most of her masterpieces look like this:

Scannable Document on Oct 30, 2017 at 5_43_33 PM

or this:

Scannable Document 2 on Oct 30, 2017 at 5_43_33 PM

I appreciate these pieces since they feel like modern art. However, there aren’t any discernable objects most of the things she creates. Ever since the ocular motor dysfunction diagnosis, I understand why she struggles. Therefore, when I picked her up at art class this afternoon, I looked at her oil pastel creation and felt tears prick my eyes. But they weren’t tears of sadness; they were tears of happiness.

Scannable Document on Oct 30, 2017 at 5_42_40 PM“Is this a self-portrait?” I asked.

“What do you mean?” she responded.

“Is this a picture of yourself?” I asked.

“Yeah, how did you know?” she replied.

“Because it looks like you, honey!” I responded.

Sure, her eyes aren’t that big nor are her lips aren’t that red.  But I could tell it was a self-portrait prior to reading note the teacher sends home with each child.

 

Scannable Document 2 on Oct 30, 2017 at 5_42_40 PM
One of the things I adore about Isabelle’s present art class is that her teacher sends the kids home with their artwork + with an explanation of the artist whose work they studied (in addition to their task).

 

“You should be very proud of yourself,” I told my daughter. “This is a masterpiece! We should hang this in your garage gallery.”

“Okay,” she said as a small smile spread across her face. “When can we hang it up?”

“We have lots of other pieces to hang up along with this one. Would this weekend be okay?”

“Yes!” she replied with more enthusiasm.

Progress takes time. Today was a reminder that she may be taking small steps forward, but they are, indeed, forward.

slice of life_individual

growth mindset · slice of life · speech · Uncategorized

Speech Workout

SOLSC on TWTWe had an intensive home-speech therapy session this morning.  It started with me letting Isabelle pick what she wanted to work on.  The choices:

Isabelle wanted to do the puppy pages first.  Of course she did!  Who could resist the cute dogs in the book?

But the thing is, the work she had to do wasn’t so easy.  She had to name actions using nouns, verbs, and objects.  She had to combine different levels of bisyllabics, polysyllabics, and final consonant words.  The workout book reminds parents (or SLPs) not to stress about proper grammar yet.  As a writer, I initially wanted to stress about this, but I’ve come to realize it’s more important for my child to be able to move her mouth, tongue, and jaw in a variety of ways so she can put together simple sentences.

I recorded Isabelle using my iPhone’s voice memo app this morning. I did it so I could play back what she said… so she could hear herself. Once she went down for a nap this afternoon, I uploaded the files to SoundCloud because I want to share with others, like you, dear reader, how hard my little one is working.  Children with Apraxia don’t have words rolling off of their tongues like kids without Apraxia.  It’s HARD work for them.  And boy did she have a speech workout this morning!  Take a listen:


I’m sharing the next sound file since it includes her frustration towards the end of it. I know some things are so tricky for my daughter to say, but yet she perseveres in the face of something that’s really tricky.  (Granted, it sometimes takes a lot of encouragement from the cheering section — me — but it’s worth it in the end!)  Apraxia isn’t always pretty or perfect.  And that’s okay.  Because my daughter has a growth mindset, which is allowing her to make progress with her talking, which will ultimately help her in other aspects of her life.

 

slice of life · Uncategorized

Haircut

You know your child
Is getting older
When the hair stylist
Clips her hair up
In sections
Before cutting it.

You know you’re lucky
When the hair stylist
Says she had an easy time
Because your child
Was so chill
In the chair.

You know you’re the parent
Of just one child
When you’re still
Taking photos and writing
About your child’s
Fourth haircut.

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