Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Elephant Says What?

Logan continues to make gains in his speech, although, on a daily basis I still feel pretty frustrated when trying to communicate with him. This is why I really need to document all of the little things that are huge successes if I stop to think about them. This is cute. On Saturday, May 21, he asked for me to read Perfect Piggies at bedtime by saying "wee wee wee." This is unrelated to speech progress, but on that day, Logan also figured out how to jump down the stairs. EEP! He loves doing this quite often now.

Monday, May 23 was an important day for new words and sounds. Logan said "dada" with "d" sounds! This is a BIG deal!! Then he said "boo boo" while I was putting a band-aid on Mia's skinned knee. He wanted one, too. Wow! This is one of the few times he has really tried to communicate without our initiating it.
Later on he said "bee bee" while pointing to a picture of bees in a book and I also heard him say "car" with the end consonant sound! (new to hear that "r" sound!)

On Tuesday, May 24, Logan decided to sit on the toilet. I know this has nothing to do with his speech progress, but it is interesting to me. And he continues to try at least once a day to use the potty, although he hasn't succeeded yet.

Last Wednesday, May 25, he said "beep beep" while playing with cars and trucks at play group! Then on Monday, May 30, Logan said "boo" several times while peeking out from behind the curtains. Later that day, he asked to watch Blue's Clues by saying "goo goo." (We had offered the choice of that or Backyardigans.) Another unrelated example of how Logan is becoming independent is that yesterday morning he walked upstairs, went into his bedroom, opened his dresser drawers and got out a onesie and a pair of shorts! (And possibly the most amazing thing about that is that the clothes were weather appropriate, which is darn near impossible to pull off given this crazy spring we are having when it's 50 degrees one day and 80 the next!)

I'll end with this thought on my silly boy: Logan now has an ongoing joke he plays when I put him to bed. I tuck him into his elephant blanket and tell him, "Elephant says {insert elephant sound} to which he responds, "rawr." I laugh and say, "No, elephant says {insert elephant sound}." He roars again and we go back and forth a couple more times before I say good night. I know that he knows that's not right and he is starting to display a sense of humor, which I love.

Memorable Moments from May

May 5, 2011
While running into the backyard:
Mia: "Wow! A whole field of dandelions!"
Proof that everything is a matter of perspective.

May 11, 2011
Logan dropped the dog's ceramic food dish on my bare foot. After a trip to Urgent Care and some x-rays, it was determined to not be broken, thankfully. (Of course, it felt like it was!) And that is why the dog now eats from a plastic dish.

May 12, 2011
After discovering that she had been into my makeup... and smeared some on her face as well as all over in the bathroom sink, Mia explained, "I decided to decorate my face!"

May 13, 2011
Logan discovered how to unsnap his diapers, much to my dismay. 

May 19, 2011
In the car...
Mia: "We will probably see some excavators."
Me: "Oh? Where will we see excavators?"
Mia: "Probably at some 'struction sites."

May 21, 2011
"I found a bug, which is my favorite, and I killed it."

May 24, 2011
Mia: "Mommy, I made a mess in my chair." (after eating a hot dog for lunch)
Me: "Yes, your face is messy, too." (noting the ketchup)
Mia: "I just dived into that bread!"

May 24, 2011
Logan had a cold and refused to let me wipe his nose, so I offered him the tissue and said he could do it himself. He instead gave it to Mia, who wiped his nose for him. And everyone was happy.

May 25, 2011
Brett: "You're up early."
Mia: "That's because my curtain was leaking a little daytime and I decided to get up!"

May 25, 2011
After bath time, Mia was riding her stick pony around the living room, buck naked. I may be in for trouble with this one...

May 26, 2011
While quizzing her about safety:
Me: "Do you know what matches are?"
Mia: "Patterns!"
You have to admit it's a good answer, even though it's not the one I was looking for.

May 26, 2011
While picking up toys in the basement:
Mia: "When will we be done cleaning?"
Me: "When we can see the floor."
Mia: "I can see the floor!"
Me: "I mean all of the floor."

May 30, 2011
Mia: "Hey, Daddy, I was pretending I was brushing my teeth with frosting!" (said while eating a doughnut)

Paper Plate Basket of Flowers Craft

This craft never got displayed at our house because Mia almost immediately took the flowers out and told me that she wanted to put Easter eggs inside instead of flowers--I think I may have seen this craft somewhere before and that might have inspired the flower basket. I'm not really sure, though. I guess you can decide whether or not you want it to be an Easter craft, a Mother's Day craft, or just a spring craft.

{Basket of Flowers by Mia, Age 4}
  • paper plate
  • scissors
  • craft sticks
  • tape
  • crayons 
  • construction paper
  • green marker
  • ribbon (optional)
  • paint (optional)
  • paint brush (if using paint)

  1. Cut a paper plate in half.
  2. Trim around the the outer arc of one half of the plate. This piece will be the basket handle.
  3. Color your basket and handle using crayons or markers.
  4. Tape basket handle to the back of the paper plate half.
  5. Make flowers for the basket. Mia traced some flower shaped cookie cutters and I helped her cut them out. She also used some flower shaped sponges (which we had bought on clearance at Meijer) to stamp some shapes with tempera paint. Once the paint was dry, I helped her cut them out.
  6. Using a green marker, color some craft sticks to make stems for the flowers. Tape craft sticks to the back side of the paper flowers.
  7. If desired, add a decorative bow to the flower basket. You might also want to add one to the back for hanging it.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Butterfly Garden Collage Craft

After dying pasta recently, I decided that the bow ties (farfalle) would make cute butterflies so I came up with this spring collage craft for Mia to do. It was a perfect activity for this rainy spring day.

{Butterfly Garden Collage by Mia, Age 4}
  • construction paper
  • tacky glue
  • cupcake liners
  • scissors
  • bow tie pasta
  • green pipe cleaners
  • markers (optional)
  • green construction paper (optional)
  • food coloring for dying pasta (optional)
  • corkscrew pasta (optional)
  • beads, buttons, foam, yarn, etc. (optional)
  • clear tape (optional)

  1. Glue about 3-5 cupcake liners to a piece of construction paper to make flowers. We put glue just on the inner circular section so that the outside part stood out to make 3-D flowers.
  2. Decorate the flowers. Mia used markers for the flower's centers, but you could use buttons, beads, craft foam, paper circles, or yarn. 
  3. Make flower stems. Trim green pipe cleaners to fit the paper and glue down for the flower stems. You may need to press down and hold for 10-20 seconds to help the pipe cleaners stick. We also added a small amount of clear tape to help hold them. You could also use drinking straws or paper for the stems or just draw them with markers.
  4. Add some "butterflies" to your garden by gluing bow tie pasta to and around the flowers. You might also choose to add corkscrew pasta "caterpillars." Again, it helps if you press down gently and hold for about 10-20 seconds to make sure the pasta is securely attached to the paper. Note: If you want dyed pasta shapes, follow the same directions for making dyed pasta necklaces.
  5. If desired, add grass or dirt to the bottom of the paper. Mia chose to draw these with markers but you could also use yarn for grass or cut some fringe on green construction paper and glue it to your paper.
  6. Once the glue is dry, you can display your butterfly garden collage.

"NO, Mama!"

Today Logan had his final session with his speech teacher for this school year. He loves when Ms. Pam comes to our house, and he does such good work in a short period of time. Today he said "ball," which he has attempted to say before, but this time he definitely used the end consonant sound, which is new. Logan would supply the words "go go" when Ms. Pam said "ready... set..." to signal that he wanted to do something again. He has said "go" before, but not in such a reciprocal way. He also identified a picture of a bus by saying "bus." Up until then he was calling every vehicle a "ca" so this is a big deal.

The biggest deal of all, though, is when he got hold of a colored pencil. I tried to take it away from him because I was afraid he would poke himself with it. He clung tightly to it and cried, "NO, Mama!" This is his first two word phrase!! There will come a day when I will be totally annoyed to hear him talk back to me, but for now I am ecstatic.

Monday, May 16, 2011

"Just Ducky" Foot Print Painting

Logan's teacher helped him make this cute little duck at play group last week.

{Ducky by Logan, Age 20 Months}
  • paper
  • paintbrush
  • yellow or brown paint
  • black and orange markers
  • bowl or plate to hold paint
  • newspaper (optional)
  • paper towel, baby wipes, etc. for cleaning up
  1. Use a paintbrush (foam works well) to apply paint to the bottom of child's foot.
  2. Press child's foot onto a piece of paper. (I like to do this by placing the paper on the floor on top of some newspaper and having the child stand on it to make the print.)
  3. Clean child's foot and allow paint to dry.
  4. Make the heel of the foot print into the duck's head by using a black marker to draw an eye and an orange marker to draw a beak.
  5. Display your ducky painting or give it away as a gift. (Foot print art makes a nice Mother's Day present.)
Note: While at play group again today, I noticed the ducks that inspired Logan's teacher and they had been cut out and arranged in a construction paper pond setting. Very cute! (May 18, 2011)

    Just One Question

    Logan had his first visit to the allergy specialist this morning to have his stubborn eczema checked out. While I was relieved that he didn't need to get poked a million times (as I recall pretty clearly how delightful painful that was when I had it done at age 9), I feel a bit silly, because it turns out that the best solution for really dry skin isn't less bathing, as I had always thought. It might be helpful to note that even our pediatrician, a wonderful doctor, dropped the ball on this one because she had previously confirmed my misconception and I had continued to do the exact opposite of what the allergy specialist said to do: "hydration therapy." I know, it sounds like something you might do after a particularly tough week, but apparently it's a fancy way of saying "give your kid a bath every day and then slather him with lots of moisturizer 6-10 times a day!" And apparently, the moisturizer of choice is something called Vanicream, which I have not heard of before, but he says they use it to cure the most horrific sounding cases of eczema and it's by far the best available. His second choices were Eucerin or Aquaphor, both of which we have tried so I guess it's time to bring out the big guns. He also has a prescription for a different steroid cream than the one we tried from the pediatrician and advice to try chewable children's Zyrtec for the itching. We tried the liquid kind previously, but he always spits it out, so I am hopeful that it will work. The problem with the itching is that he opens up the skin. Not fun.

    The odd thing about this experience is that I left the office with only one question tumbling around in my head, and it had nothing to do with eczema. Once we were in the room the kids wanted to eat something (no big surprise to any moms reading this), so I got out some Goldfish crackers (can't go anywhere without those). That was when the nurse told me that food wasn't allowed in the office because of all the different allergies that their patients have. This made sense, of course, and I quickly put the snacks away. Then I noticed a small sign near the doorway stating that food wasn't allowed. I just wonder why they don't post that prominently in the waiting room so that people see it when they first walk into the office? There were at least three signs asking parents to make sure their children don't "pound on" or "kick" the "bug table" because it "is for everyone to enjoy" and I even remember reading a little plaque that said, "Laugh and the world laughs with you. Snore and you sleep alone!" But I don't recall any warnings about not bringing food into the office. Isn't making sure people don't become violently ill or go into shock more important than a toy?

    Wednesday, May 11, 2011

    Gaga, Baa Baa, & Tada!

    Logan is continuing to make nice progress since starting Early On for his speech delay. I am excited by all of the new exclamations, animal sounds, and word approximations that he has learned since the last time I posted! While these words may not sound like much, I am hopeful that this will lead to increased communication and his actually being able to tell us what he wants.

    On April 25th I realized that he had started saying "Gaga" as his version of Dada/Daddy. I think it's pretty funny, but Brett is less amused. He doesn't like having a nickname that sounds so much like a certain popular singer's name. However, I think he will have to agree that it's better than being called "Mama," which is what Logan used to call him before that.

    On April 26th, he made two new animals sounds, which are self-explanatory: "baa baa" and "quack quack."

    May 9th was a busy day for Logan. In the morning he was possibly saying "truck" while riding in the car. I am pretty sure he said "cookie" after seeing the cookies we had baked while he was napping (which is interesting because he does not like cookies). I haven't heard him say this since he qualified for Early On! Later, while we were playing outside he squealed, "Whee!" when he was on the swing. Then, he made an approximation for "dig" while digging in sandbox. Later on in the evening, he said an approximation for "tada!" after building a tower out of Duplos.

    And finally, he said "num num" while pretending to eat hyacinths he picked from my weed flower bed yesterday.

    Saturday, May 7, 2011

    Dyed Pasta Necklace

    {Pasta Necklace by Mia, Age 4}
    Materials for Dying Pasta:
    • tube shaped pasta
    • food coloring
    • bowls
    • water
    • vinegar 
    • spoon or slotted spoon
    • tin foil
    • cookie sheets
    • zippered baggies
    Directions for Dying Pasta:
    1. You will need one cup of water in a bowl per color of pasta you wish to dye.
    2. Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar and food coloring. (The directions I found online call for about 20 drops of liquid color, but I used gel food coloring and just used a spoon to blend each color.)
    3. Add pasta to the liquid mixture and let soak for about 20-30 minutes. (I used one cup of Ditalini, a short tube-shaped pasta for each color: pink, blue, green, and yellow, but other types of pasta such as macaroni, penne, rigatoni, and wagon wheels will also work if you are planning to use them as beads.)
    4. Remove pasta from bowls and set on foil-lined trays. (I used a slotted spoon for this.) Discard dye or use to make coffee filter carnations. Allow pasta to dry over night.
    5. Store dried pasta in zippered baggies.
    Materials for Making Pasta Necklace:
    • previously dyed pasta
    • yarn, string, ribbon, etc.
    • scissors
    • tape (optional)
    • cookie sheet or tray (optional)
    Directions for Making Pasta Necklace:
    1. Cut a length of yarn (or ribbon or string) and tie a knot on one end, making sure that it is large enough to prevent pasta from slipping off. (Tip: I like to actually make a small circle on the end before knotting and then use this as a place to secure the necklace when it is finished.)
    2. If desired, wrap a small section of tape around the opposite end of the yarn so that it resembles the end of a shoe lace. This prevents the yarn from fraying when you thread the beads.
    3. Thread beads onto necklace as desired. (Tip: I have found that placing a few beads onto a tray-- or cookie sheet if you don't have a tray-- is helpful. It gives you or your child a large enough area to work on, but it prevents the beads from rolling all over the place and making a mess. You can also store works in progress directly on the tray.)
    4. Once your necklace is complete, tie off the end to the desired length and trim off excess yarn if necessary.
    5. Wear your dyed pasta necklace or give it away, perhaps for Mother's Day.

    Thursday, May 5, 2011

    Cinco de Mayo Cheese Roll-Up Snack

    Well, actually this was our lunch because the kids are pretty small, but I am thinking it would make a perfect after school snack for older kids. And I will be the first to admit that this is probably not the most "authentic" of Mexican foods, but it is kid-friendly and fun to make.

    • taco-sized soft tortilla(s)
    • string cheese stick(s)
    • vegetable oil
    Other Materials:
    • microwave
    • paper towel
    • oven
    • cookie sheet
    • small bowl for oil
    • basting brush
    • pot holder
    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. *Note*: Oven should only be used by an adult.
    2. Soften tortillas in the microwave. Lay a paper towel inside of your microwave and add as many tortillas as you would like to cook. Add a layer of paper towel over the top and microwave about 10-15 seconds.
    3. Pour a small amount of vegetable (or similar) oil into a small bowl (approximately 1-2 teaspoons.) Using a basting brush, coat one side of a tortilla. Place tortilla oil-side down on a cookie sheet. *Note* Kids can help with this step.
    4. Unwrap and add one string cheese stick. Place string cheese toward one side of the tortilla and then roll the tortilla as tightly as possible. *Note* Kids can help with this step.
    5. Set rolled tortilla so that the overlapping edge is facing down. Repeat steps with additional tortillas as desired.
    6. Bake about 5 minutes for a slightly soft tortilla, longer if you like yours crispier. The cheese will be softened but not so melted as to ooze out of the tortilla.
    7. Enjoy your Cinco de Mayo Cheese Roll-Up on May 5th or any time you want a healthy snack.

    Sunday, May 1, 2011

    "Mother" is My Middle Name

    She is so clever and perceptive that I shouldn't be surprised at the things Mia says, but they are often amusing. It's always interesting and entertaining to see a four year old's perspective on things.

    April 18, 2011 
    It was snowing and Mia said, "Mama, it's still winter. We thought it was spring, but we were wrong!"

    April 18, 2011
    While in the car, we saw an old VW Beetle. Mia laughed and exclaimed, "Look at that funny car. It's too small. It looks like a clown car!"

    April 26, 2011
    Mia: "I can't wait until I grow up so I can be a princess."
    I asked her what her second choice was in case she couldn't be a princess.
    Mia: "I will just play dress up!"
    And just for the record, she knew nothing about the Royal Wedding at the time. This was completely out of the blue.

    April 27, 2011 
    If not a princess, then maybe a lawyer... We had the following conversation at lunchtime:
    Mia: "I'm still hungry. I want another PB and J."
    Me: "Do you want apple or banana?"
    Mia: "I want more PB and J."
    Me: "I'm offering you fruit."
    Mia: "Jelly is a fruit."
    I didn't even know what to say. However, after a couple of minutes she told me she was ready for apple.

    April 28, 2011
    Mia: "I love you, Mother." (She normally calls me "Mama" or "Mommy" and more recently "Mom" on occasion, but this is a new one.)
    Me: "I love you, too, but why did you call me 'Mother'?"
    Mia: "Because it's your middle name."
    So, apparently you do learn something new every day!