Monday, October 29, 2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Growing Up Kayla

My baby girl Kayla is growing up. This is her usual sleeping pose below, thumb in mouth, blankie in hand. The blankie, a sleep sack, has been with Kayla since she was about 9 months old. She has never missed a sleep without this blanket at her side. Kayla is now 5.5 years old.

Up until quite recently, Kayla couldn't sleep without either soothers. Last year we tried having Santa send her a "magic" glove that she could wear at night to remind her not to suck her thumb, accompanied by a letter that said she was getting to be a big girl and shouldn't be sucking on her thumb - and of course that didn't work. Kayla wanted to stop sucking her thumb, she even told me she wanted to, but she said she just couldn't stop. Kayla told me how it would take her a lot longer to fall asleep at night because all she would do was think about how much she wanted to suck her thumb. Since I couldn't bare to have her lose sleep over it (she is only just 5),  I reluctantly told her to go back to her thumb sucking for now and we'd figure something out together later on. How do you help a lifelong thumb sucker stop?

So I googled around and found physical contraptions for the thumb, pj's with nubbed sleeves, and repellant spray for the thumb. None looked promising.

Last month, Steve took Kayla to the dentist who commented that Kayla was getting an overbite and would need braces because her front teeth were starting to protrude due to the thumb sucking. The dentist told Kayla she should stop sucking her thumb.... And so she did. We aren't sure what happened, but the dentist told her to stop and Kayla just stopped on her own. I think maybe having a third party tell her to stop sucking her thumb struck a chord with her. Later on Kayla told me her secret is to put her hand underneath her pillow while she sleeps such that she can't suck her thumb. Now why didn't I think of that?

Coincidentally around the same time, Kayla's blankie went missing for almost a week. We searched the entire house looking for her blankie and because it was nowhere to be found, she ended up having to go to sleep without it. One night turned into two nights turned into a week. Finally when we found it during the weekly folding of the laundry (it had gotten tangled inside a bed sheet), Kayla was happy to see it and the thumb sucking returned. Obviously the blankie and the thumb sucking were self perpetuating each other at night.

A few days later we "lost" the blankie again. Surprisingly, Kayla only asked for the blankie the first night and has since seemed to have forgotten about it. And the thumb sucking has stopped.

Its now been about 2 weeks. The blankie is hidden in my closet and every day I tell her I am so proud that she no longer sucks her thumb. I know its such a hard habit to break as I sucked my thumb for a very long time as well. I feel bad that I've hidden her blankie from her as its been with her for so long, but she doesn't seem to really need it anymore - she's growing up......maybe I'll start sleeping with it as it reminds me of my Kayla as a baby.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fall Weekend At Wonderland

Making full use of our Canada's Wonderland season's pass, we took the girls this past weekend for their last visit to the park. It was a bit wet, but they had fun going on the Halloween treasure hunt, going though the haunted house and just splashing around in the puddles. The park was very empty and Steve managed to hop on some roller coaster rides with no wait and the girls jumped ride to ride, even staying on their favourite rides for an extra turn. Steve has become a carnival game junkie and took his first attempt at climbing the rope ladder....and would you believe it, on his first try, he was a WINNER! Thank goodness they gave him a choice of a huge stuffed animal or a MP3 player.

Kayla learned the poem at school and wanted to share it with us. We all think the poem is hilarious and her depiction of the poem is cute.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Zero Words but she can Sing

Lately Lauren has been singing! She has  zero real words but she can sing in tune to over a dozen songs using "ma", "ah",a little "ba", and other sounds. Its quite amazing as she picks up on the tunes of new songs quite quickly and is able to sing the song back in tune and with the right intonations. Lauren often sings while in the car and playing. Her favourite songs to sing to are Old McDonald, Five Little Ducks, Wheels on the Bus and Happy BIrthday. I've even heard Laren sing along to a classical piece from one of her toys and Glad You Came by The Wanted. Its interesting how she can so quickly imitate a tune but when it comes to motor actions, it takes so much more effort and practice. Her love for music come from multiple sources. Lauren is in music therapy and Kindermusick classes once a week and Kayla is often singing around the house too.

Last week Lauren's SLP said she heard Lauren say "Lauren" while looking at herself in the mirror and "no" when responding to a question yesterday. I am in complete shock and disbelief - but then again, we heard Lauren say "hammer" and "banana" several several months ago and those words never came back. Often we will hear her say a word once in therapy and it never repeats itself.So I guess we will have to wait and see what happens.

In the meantime we continue to use PECs as Lauren's main form of communication. Her school has incorporated PECs into snack times and is working on incorporating it into her activity time. At home, we continue to introduce new cards and she is learning them well. Of course, I keep going back to the old cards and testing her just to make sure she hasn't forgotten them! We have now about 10 food cards and a few toy cards. Her favourite card is raisins (you can see how its so worn). The cards in the first picture are ours, and the cards in the second picture are the ones the school uses.

I've been leaving the PEC book in the same place in our house so Lauren knows where to go. Lauren will spontaneously go and grab the PEC card and bring it to us indicating what she wants. She pulls the card off the velcro and will yell loudly "mamamamma", calling for my attention, while running to me with the card. Of course I always make her go the extra mile, so sometimes I'll simply open the pantry or fridge and then ask her to point out the item she has on her card. I know she must hate me much work to get one little box of raisins!

I've noticed lately that Lauren is doing more shared and joint attention. She is often looking at me with more meaningful looks and glances and trying to get my attention to show me something. Since school started she has been pointing a lot more and using her point as a way of showing me something, which is fantastic. The other day she tugged at my pants while I was washing the dishes and then pointed to her socks. I asked if she wanted to take off her socks, and of course got no reply (so assumed yes since she had pointed to them), and told her to sit down and take them off and sure enough, she did just that. When I took her to Kindermusick class for the first time (Steve usually takes her), she entered the music room and kept pointing to the shakers on the shelf and kept looking at me and looking at the shaker - great joint attention! 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Let's Go Blue Jays

Jays vs. Yankees - a Saturday game with the kids and their cousins. They were a bit restless, but thankfully there was plenty of empty seats for the kids to roam around. Armed with snacks, drinks and popcorn, we managed to stay till the very end. Lauren loved the popcorn and Kayla covered up her arms with blue jays tattoos. While nobody paid any attention to the game (except for Steve), it was a fun experience - although not really worth the $50 a seat for the kids who barely sat.

Kayla presented me with my own invitation when I walked in from work this evening. It was such a warm and happy feeling. Her writing is maturing and her pictures...well they are still very "sticky" but coming along in her own time.

This year Kayla has homework. Her Montessori (she is now a Graduate or Senior Kindergarten equivalent) is now asking that she do a page of Math and English from her workbook every night. Kayla loves doing her homework and asked if she could finish the entire work book on her first homework night. I asked the teacher, but they politely told me no - just 1 page/night - boy was Kayla was disappointed.

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