Thursday, February 19, 2015

Cayman's Questions, The Continuing Story

Yesterday when I picked Kobe up from preschool I came ready to try my new idea - to have Kobe ask Cayman a question about her day in attempt to cease her repetitive question "How was your snack?".

You know the scene by now but let's review it one more time.

Kobe gets in the van.

Cayman asks, "Kobe, how was your snack?"

"It was good, Cayman."  It amazes me how sweetly Kobe answers her in the beginning despite the high predictability that this question will be heard again and again, as it always is. 

And here it comes, "How was your snack, Buddy?"

I enter with my brilliant plan to point Kobe as leader to their conversation.  "Kobe, ask Cayman what she did while you were at school."

"Cayman, what did -"

"HOW WAS YOUR SNACK, GUYS?" Cayman shouts.  Guys??  We've got imaginary people appearing now.

The too frustrated Kobe shouts, "NOT RIGHT NOW CAYMAN BECAUSE I HAVE TO ASK YOU -!!"


Kobe becomes completely still.

He doesn't say a word.

Not a sound.

Just a long pause and this look in my direction.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Cayman's Questions

Every time we pick Kobe up from preschool he no more has one foot in the van and Cayman is already asking, "How was your snack?"

"Good." he tells her.

"Kobe, how was your snack?" Cayman asks again.

"I said good! Cayman." Kobe answers sharply.

"How was your snack, Buddy?" she asks again. 

"Cayman!  I said good!!" tension growing.

Every. Time.  No joke, this is how it goes.

I often step in here and prompt Cayman to ask a new question.  When she can't think of something else I provide it for her, "Let's ask Kobe what toys he played with today." "What friends played with him?" or "What was the snack?"

Yesterday I decided to not intervene and see what would happen, hoping Cayman would think all on her own to ask a different question.

The redundant scene began.
Kobe got in the van.

Cayman asks, "How was your snack?".

Kobe answers, "Good."

Cayman asks again.

Kobe answers, frustration growing.

We're on the road now and Cayman asks again. "How was your snack, Kobe?"

"CAYMAN! I DON'T WANT YOU TO ASK ME THAT ANYMORE!!" Kobe shouts back at her aggravated.

"KOBE, HOW WAS YOUR SNACK??" Cayman yells.





What was I doing while driving this crazy mobile? 


I lost my sanity a long time ago. 

Cayman's repetitive question asking is a behavior that gets on my nerves too but I can accept it.

Remembering the days when Cayman use to not talk.  That seems so long ago.  She talks a lot now.  However, for a kid that has a lot of words she doesn't really make a lot of sense in conversation.  Often she is redundant in her speech, asking the same questions again and again.  Or asking a question that its answer is so obviously apparent by simple observation she even knows it.  She wants to interact so badly, which is such a beautiful desire, but she doesn't know how to so she falls back on what she knows will get a reaction - her sure-knowing questions she understands.

Today I have a new idea I want to try.  Instead of pulling the instructional redirect in Cayman's direction like I have, to tip it toward Kobe to ask Cayman a question about her afternoon while he was at school.  She is starting to get better at providing answers adequately to simple questions about her day so it may be a challenge she's up for. 

Let's see how the little conversationalists do today.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Photo Booth

For Christmas Aunt Sam got the kids a creative gift - a photo booth prop kit.

It required some crafting - punching out, gluing, and taping - to put the pieces together.  Nothing too difficult. 

Who am I kidding? Doing nearly anything with a strongly independent almost 2 year old, a bossy 6 year old, and impatient 4 year old is patient trying.

I love doing crafty projects with the kids.

Really I do. (<----Needed to be said for self reassurance purposes).

Mostly because I am that crafty type personality. Also because the kids really enjoy those type of activities too.  But quite honestly I have to push past the dreaded feeling every time and gear myself up for it, setting the dial to extreme patience, low expectations, and intense managing skill readiness to redirect, redirect, redirect, redirect, redirect, redirect without losing my freaking mind!!!  That being said I go through phases where I avoid this torture until I am reminded how good it for them (and me).

And thus we have fun!!  A lot of fun!  In particular, this one may have been my most favorite project the kids and I have done!  I think they would agree especially when they learned the crafting would be followed up with pictures.

"The big camera or your phone, mommy?" Cayman asked.

When I told her the big camera, she bounced up and down cheering, "yay!!".  Kobe and Cassady joined in too.

These kids get their camera enthusiasm from me but their zaniness certainly comes from their daddy.

I have no words but just an "Oh. My."

Monday, February 9, 2015

Cayman's First Lost Tooth

Cayman lost her first tooth today!!

I noticed the dark gap between the row of pearlies this morning as I helped her get dressed for school.  I gasped in excitement, "Cayman! You lost your tooth!!"  Her tongue immediately explored the vacant area upon mention of it but she wasn't happy.

No, she was upset and turned away with a grumpy whine.

When something is different and she doesn't understand it triggers her anxiety.  I quickly said, "Cayman, I am so proud of you!!  You lost a tooth!" and stretched my arms out inviting her to receive my happy hug.

She smiled!  :)

Then ran into my arms giving me a happy squeeze.

The lost tooth was lost.  I secretly felt sad. 

Her first lost tooth. 

My first lost tooth as a mother. 

And I didn't know where it was.

After I got her on the bus and off to school I searched more deeply and to my excitement found that lost tooth on the bathroom floor where she had brushed her teeth this morning!  I couldn't believe it!  I thought for sure she had swallowed it and it was long gone.

It is so tiny!  And so cute!

I couldn't wait to show Cayman her tooth when she got home from school and see what she thought of it.


to tell Daddy about the exciting news!!

I announced, "I found the tooth!!"   

Cayman looked intensely at the miniature rectangular shape in my open hand.  She asked, "That's mine?" 

"Yep, it is!" 

I thought maybe she was beginning to feel excited about her lost tooth.

When I asked her to hold it so I could take a picture of her with it, she freaked out again!  She was not going to touch that thing.

A friend tagged me on facebook this morning to this Calvin & Hobbes comic and it was appropriately funny today. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Cheerio Towers

The final snowfall totaled 12 inches that we received yesterday.  The county went to a level 3 snow emergency and school was closed today. 

Pinterest gave me a good idea, an activity for the kids to do that wasn't too messy and suitable for their range in ages. 

Cheerio towers. 
Place a skewer, (or a raw spaghetti noodle), in a ball of playdoh.  Thread cheerios onto the stick.

That's it.

So simple.

The kids loved it! 

I haven't gotten the big camera out much, only for special occasions.  I use my iphone camera mostly.  It's fast, convenient, and I can silence the shutter to capture the kids naturally with no break in their attention.  But today I got the DSLR camera out, like old times, because I've been missing that.

I snapped pictures, changed settings, felt happy to find a piece of myself again.  Their reactions to the camera cracked me up.  Every time the shutter snapped they pointed and asked me, "What are you doing, Mommy??" like I was invading them.  It was some sort of a HUGE DEAL that I had this object in my hands pointed at them.  Goodness, so much has changed.

Kobe began to cover up his face telling me he couldn't make his cheerio tower because I was bothering him.  (lol)

Oh kid, you have no idea just how big my love is for taking pictures and it was renewed today.  Brace yourself. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Cassady is Excited About Daddy Coming Home

Whenever there has been a long absence from writing on the blog I always feel I should write the back story to bridge the time between then to the now to get it all caught up.  That is a drab and therefore makes me avoid the blog altogether.

It's better to start someplace than no place at all though, wouldn't you say?

Let's skip over that long absence and simply begin again.

A few weeks before Christmas Mike was away on a business trip.  I put a homemade calendar up of the days he would be gone and had a marker for the kids to move with each day as a countdown ticker for them to keep track of the date when Daddy would be back with us.

While Mike is away I make short videos throughout the day and send to him, giving him a piece of home to keep with him.

This video has been my favorite!  The kids and I watch it over and over, laughing.  I tell Cassady the day is Wednesday.  She repeats a two syllable sound attempting to say Wednesday as she points in the direction of the calendar I made.  She is a sponge and is amazingly aware of everything going on around her.  Not much gets passed her.  At this point I tell her that in two more tomorrows Daddy will be home.  She replies, "No." in disbelief.  I say, "yes".  A short moment passes as she thinks about this and then it hits her - Daddy will be home soon, and she exclaims, "Yes!!"

Cracks me up every time!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pumpkin Carving of 2014

It's old news by now that my favorite Fall activity is carving a Jack 'o Lantern.

Small kids change largely from year to year and the anticipation of what their reaction will be to the pumpkin gutting mess makes it a new experience each time.

Kobe started slow, hesitant to touch the pumpkin goop.
Soon his arms were elbow deep in the hollow pumpkin pulling out fists full of orange slime.
Right along with me.

Cassady tried to pick up the pumpkin.  lol

When she was not successful she gave me this look that translated to "Biiiiggg Pumpkin!"

Cassady seemed to be taking it all in.
Not really bothered but not eager either.
Intense watching.

And Cayman....oh Cayman.
She keeps it constant from year to year, loathing this pumpkin carving tradition.  We always set a place for her because children often have that Green Eggs and Ham attitude, the mind set they don't like something even before trying it.  We encourage her every year to give it a try.  If she doesn't like it she doesn't have to continue.  Cayman does have her own ideas and they are hard to persuade. 

 Daddy touched her hands with his messy hands.  

Cayman washed her hands and after processing her misery she wandered around the kitchen and the table while the rest of us were busy cleaning out our pumpkins.

It helps to hide behind the chair and give the pumpkin the death stare.

Or stare out the window contemplating the meaning of life and what on earth does pumpkin guts have to do with it?
Kobe drew the template for his jack 'o lantern all by himself.
Collecting the seeds to bake.
We all love the finished Jack 'o lanterns, Cayman included.  Would that be because the lit up faces are beautiful or because it means it's over (for this year anyways)?

Pumpkins from Left to Right: Daddy's, Mommy's, Cayman's, Kobe's, and Cassady's.

Monday, August 25, 2014

First Day of School

Today was an amazing day!

Cayman is officially a Kindergartener!! A real school kid!  Over 3 years of preschool has helped prepare I have to say us, her parents, just as much if not more than her for this day.  It's huge!  This is quite a milestone!  She's ready, I know it.  I have been excited for this day! (Nervous too.) For her to finally take that next step and eager to see what this year will bring to her.

I didn't cry when the day finally arrived. 

Shocked by this I questioned denial?

No.  I don't believe that is it. 

I don't feel the normal sadness like I have watched many mom's experience when they send their "baby" off to Kindergarten.  I recall reading a sentence once that said, "A special needs parent doesn't lament over their child growing up."  That feels true.  Either I am on cloud 9 too high on celebration over the growing up milestones that I thought she'd never achieve, or so emotionally exhausted from the lagging behavioral milestones that leave me earnestly longing to move onto the next phase of growing up, needing a break.

As Cayman has grown it's never felt fast.  This is both a wonderful thing and a hard thing. 

Contemplative is a good word for this state I feel.

There is a tightness in my chest that I know is normal and will dissolve with time, I'm certain of it.  I have learned the things I worry over either won't come to be or if they do there is always a way to surmount the challenge.  So don't let it subtract from the gift of what is right now!

I worry about my 6 year old Kindergartener not being potty trained yet.  I think, if only I would have worked harder with her.  But I have!  Oh man have I tried!

It's a new teacher that doesn't know her.  What if they ask her to do things that she can't, or worse, not realize what she can do and expect too little?

Her balance is weak and she has to take her time on steps or curbs.  What if they rush her?

Will she drink enough?

Will they be patient through her anxieties?  Or will they view her as a hassle and not see her place in the mainstream classroom?

Will the other kids understand her?  Will she have friends?  Will they be nice to her?

What is my role? What is best for her?  What are the realistic expectations of where she fits in?  What academic goals do we fight for and which do we let go and rewrite? 

But today, when the big day arrived, those worries settled beneath something magical.  The strength of loving her and letting her go.  I can't explain it but I felt ready for this.

The first time I "saw" Cayman was a picture the hospital had taken of her after she was born.  I was out cold under anesthesia.  When I woke up this is the photo I saw of her...  

The most absolute worst photo ever taken of her, hands down!!  She looked terrible.  I posed a smile next to that picture of my baby.  It wasn't a forced smile, it was real. I did feel a tightening in my chest for the unknown but a deep confidence took seat within me that I was made for this! 

And that is what I felt today! 

Waiting for the school bus to arrive.  Photo taken by Kobe.

When you have your picture taken by a 3 year old occasionally you'll get a finger covering the lens.

Or you'll get a shot of the feet.

Photos of sisters make me go "awwwww".

The bus was running behind, very behind, and Cayman decided to take a rest in the grass.

She was giggling and acting silly.

Then out of nowhere became whiny and moody.  That's our Cayman.  Very typical of her when she's nervous.  Or tired.  Or jealous.  Or hungry.  Or not getting her way.  Or....well I think you get the picture. 

Her Kindergarten days consist of half days, everyday.  The morning went by quick and she was back home with us!

I was happy to see a note in her folder written by her Intervention Specialist telling us about her first day of Kindergarten:

Hi Mike & Kristen,

Great first day of Kindergarten! Cayman was a little apprehensive at first but she was very excited when she walked in Mrs. E's class and saw a friend she knew from last year.  Cayman did great during the practice fire drill.  She had PT today and Music.  Cayman had leaked through her shorts after Music.  We will have her take a bathroom break before her special class tomorrow.  A few reminders needed to listen to teacher directions.  Very happy with how well Cayman did today.

Looking forward to a great year!

Mrs. R.

Today was also a big day for Kobe.

His first day of Preschool!!

Again, I was filled with more elated excitement for this kid to feel any remorse for his growing up milestone of starting preschool.  Maybe that'll come later.  I tend to be a deal-with-one-emotion-at-a-time kind of gal. So depending on what day ya catch me on and see me again later don't be surprised to learn I'm kind of fickle that way.

Having a special needs older sister hasn't been easy for Kobe.  We call him our second-hand special needs kid.  He picks up on Cayman's behavioral delays and mixes them into his strong-willed personality and wow, that's a hot mess fast!

Playgroups, children's church, story time at the library...all of these types of things I have perused to help him progress but he needs more and I think preschool is going to be that exact 'more' that we're looking for.

I'm thrilled to watch what this next year brings for him!

Attempting to take a Daddy, Mommy picture with Kobe.  Cayman was taking the pictures and was very hyper and loud.  Kobe was being uncooperative.

Despite my mid-verbal correction of reminding Cayman to use an inside voice, this is still kind of a cute photo.  Kobe was very happy, although he did tell me only once and briefly his tummy hurt. I think it was nerves but his happiness shined the brightest. 

Hahahaha, now it's Daddy telling Cayman to be "QUIET!"  Goodness that kid can be loud! And look at that little pig-tailed cutie standing in the front!  Cassady melts me with her adorableness.

Still attempting to get a great picture together.

It didn't happen.

Kobe's preschool days are half days as well but in the afternoon.

Naturally, down one child, this momma took advantage of the lighter load to run errands because going out with two kids is way easier than 3!