Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lydia's 1st Christmas

I thought I'd share some of our Christmas pictures while a squirmy 8 month old tries to type her own message on here:

Yes, it was Lydia's 1st Christmas which makes things extra exciting. Our kids together are the dynamic duo (if you haven't already noticed in the pictures) and to remember this year, I decided to put some of their shared moments to song.

Lydia's 12 Days of Christmas:

On the 12th day of Christmas my Big Bro gave to me

12 goodnight kisses
11 Thomas re-runs
10 tickling fingers
9 mismatched socks
8 early wake-ups
7 bonked heads
6 swigs of apple juice
5 cups of puffs

4 pulled out hair bows

3 racecar sleepers (hand-me-downs of course)
2 candy pez
and a wrapped chocolate kiss fished-out by mom

We had a wonderful Christmas. It was probably one of my favorite ones so far as a little family. It was simple, and we all enjoyed dressing up for Church Christmas morning (Stevie and Daddy in matching shirts and almost matching ties). Lydia gave us the biggest reaction to her gifts, which surprised us, haha. Stevie sure got into the giving part a little too much...with the candy, juice, and puffs. Whenever I hear, "Here a go" (horray for another sentence!), I need to go see what's being given away. "We share our toys not our food and cups." Apparently, Stevie was more into the Pez dispenser than the candy itself, so I guess it was an "easy" giveaway. They are becoming more interactive (which is definitely a wonderful thing) and it's so much fun to see.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Stevie's Christmas Miracle

Over the past 2 weeks, we have seen some amazing changes in our boy. We don't really know what's going on in his little body that are causing some delays, but I do have my hunches. We have started him on probiotics and vitamins. We started 2 weeks ago. His changes began 2 weeks ago as well. Coincidence or not, Stevie is improving, and we are thanking the Lord.

His mood is so much happier and playful. The brightness in his eyes and face seems to have "come back." (I hadn't talked about this with anyone but Matt and my mom, but I had noticed in his pictures that they just weren't capturing my boy the way I see him. It worried me, it made my heart ache. His smile and eyes were back for our family Christmas pictures. I can't tell you how I cried with Matt over those pictures. That's my boy in there.) He's trying to talk to us. He still speaks in his own language as he used to, but he is saying so much more in "English." I have my little list of his words from before beginning Early Intervention, and now his updated list of his vocabulary. He has said more words these past 2 weeks than he has his whole life. I waited almost 2 1/2 years to hear him say, "Mom" (which has become "Mommy"). Matt waited even longer to hear "Daddy." I know some parents of children are still waiting...years and years, and that pulls on my heart deeply. Typically, he would call my name and then jabber in his language. He had some words like, train, plane, truck. Single words, expressive words (wow!), and "Mommy" were what made up his "English." He said, "Where are you?" for the first time when he was 17 months old, and he never went past that, and lost it too. He now, at 30 months, has some short phrases/sentences again. "I want help" (this helps him so much), "Where'd go?" "Here we go!" Yeah, he likes to "go." Signing...for just a few words....and his jargon are more his thing.

Two days ago, Stevie helped me bake cookies. He loves the dumping and mixing of ingredients. I think he ate his weight in chocolate chips, but he had a great time. The cookies came out of the oven, I set them on the counter to cool, and he said it. He said, "Mommy, I want ookie." I could've cried. Never before had he put my name in front of an English sentence. Never before had he desired a need or want with a full sentence. And, I think he's only said "cookie" once before then. He only wants to sign it. You better believe that boy got a cookie even though it was almost lunch time!

Yesterday, we had a rough day at Kids Gym, and I asked him if he wanted to go. "I want go." Do you want to go home? "I want go home." For us, this is huge. This is amazing. He has started telling me, "I need change." He has never cared about a messy diaper in the past, and now he's telling me with words! He's also able to say, "drink", "juice", "milk", "snack", "lunch"....and so much more. At speech last week, I was telling his therapist about the changes we were noticing. I was praying he would show her. He often shows us better than his hour with her. That week, he said more words and had no tantrums with her. No throwing himself on the floor when the challenges were too much or he was unsure of what she wanted...or being unable to communicate his wants. There were three times the expectations or challenges were a bit much for him. Instead of throwing himself down on the floor, he reached up to Sophie with arms out for a hug. I observed from the other room with tears. This is my boy.

We still have our struggles and challenges. We aren't out of the woods yet. We finally had his OT evaluation, and he will be getting those services. We have other appointments yet. But, Stevie is improving, and we pray it continues.

Probably my most cherished moment (well, maybe it's tied with the cookie sentence) has occurred twice. I enjoy a good 7th Heaven episode, haha, and Stevie cues in to the theme song. He's always liked music. Sometimes he'll bob his head to it. Well, I'm sure you've all heard the theme song. Two different times now over the past 2 days, he has sung one word. "Go." "Where will you go when the world won't treat you right? The answer is home. That's the one place that you'll find 7th heaven." He has never sung before. Matt and I stared at each other with jaws dropped. He has the sweetest voice, holding that little note. "Wow, good singing Stevie. Mommy loves to hear your voice." And, I think that song is sort of just right for him these days. And go figure, he likes the word "go." The other time he sang it was the same word "go" or it was the "home." I can't remember because they sound similar and have the same long note.

His little voice singing. His sentences telling me his wants and needs. His bright smiling face. Prayers being answered. My boy is my Christmas miracle.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Table Time

I mentioned in an earlier post I've been doing what we call, "Table Time" with Stevie most weekday mornings. It's usually during Lydia's morning nap. Here is a list of things we've been doing. I take out his little art caddy I got in those dollar bins at Target, and inside are 2 or 3 "options" (unless it's a baking project, water time, or oats and trucks...he only needs that "one" option). He can do one of them or all of them...his choice.

*Oats in a pan with construction trucks, cups, spoons, etc. He would do this one every day if I let him! (I definitely use this one on days I want to try to get something accomplished!)

*Coloring books/pages, crayons, and markers.

*Bingo Markers and paper or coloring pages for "dot" art. Stevie likes this one, but it's messy. The dot markers aren't as easy to wash off him.

*Magnetic letters and a tin.

*Tonka mini cars and trucks and a road play mat.

*Can with pipe cleaners. (He does have a tear line on his face...sometimes, he gets frustrated, but this kind of activity is really up his alley.)

*Pom-pom container with holes.
Several of these ideas came from this blog...she has SUPER ideas!

*Animal cards and oatmeal container with slit to put the cards in and take them out.

*Water tub and water toys, cups, etc.

*Play doh and accessories.

*Crafts: Crayola's website has some good ones. We often are making trucks and trains...go figure. This fall, we made a finger leaf tree (and I did this with my 1 year old Sunday School class too, so cute!): Today I have a little painting project to do, so I'm giving him a wooden ornament (left over from ones we did in Children's Church last year) to paint while I paint.

*Oh, yes, he has a pocket chart! I love it. It's a very small one...from once again, the Target bins at the beginning of the school year. He has a verse on there (we hope to change up once he's able to memorize and share), pictures of his family members and names, and usually Thomas trains to move around. Now, he has a nativity scene he helped make. He mostly did the gluing because glue sticks are his thing. Of course, he decided he still needed a Thomas train Percy or whoever is behind the stable.

*Baking...he helps with brownies or cookies, and then I often give him another little bowl of some flour to play in with measuring cups and spoons.

*Magnetic pen and balls (This was like a dollar from the Christmas Tree Shops...a favorite store!)

*Curlers...not to put in his hair, hehe. He can take the sponges on and off the plastic holder...eventually, he can do more of the snapping closed too.

*When there are 2 or 3 options in the bin, there is usually one of the activities listed above and then often a coloring page, a book, or some matchbox cars reserved for Table Time. This way, we don't go through the "fun" activities or "different" activities as quickly and there are several days before repeating. We also start with snack, which takes care of that, and adds a little more time.

I'm sure there are others, so I'll do a post again in the future with new things. If you have a toddler, go ahead and try some of these. They really have been wonderful in our house. We now have a cupboard in the kitchen reserved for Table Time activities. Stevie gets a little time with me or on his own that is a bit more structured, and when he's busy working on his own, I can get some dishes done.