Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Focus- Roo

Roo, also known as Muffin, T-bird, T-bone, and about seventeen other things that pop out of our mouths at random times... she rocks. Spending so much time with her and Kanga for the past year has really bonded us. I love being her honorary auntie. She loves me too. Except for when I put her down on the table to take her picture when she was perfectly happy being held.

Kanga is half Thai, so Roo is a quarter. (not too shabby.... must insert Adam Sandler Hanukah song reference here because in my head I sing "not too shabby" every. single. time...) Her Kunyai (thai for grandma) is concerned that she might not grow up speaking it, so makes sure to talk to her pretty much exclusively in Thai. It's so much fun to listen to her new words, because sometimes they don't make sense to me because they're toddler babble, and sometimes it's because I don't speak the language. :) She knows little songs and nursery rhymes in Thai and Kanga has sung them often enough that the other kids are starting to pick them up too. It's hilarious to hear. I love listening to Duchess and O'Malley speak Thai to her, and all the kids can now point out Thailand on the world map and yell "ROO'S KUNYAI FROM HERE!!!!!"

Roo's Kunyai cuts hair, and I think this picture will make her happy- it's the first one I've seen where Roo actually looks like she might need a haircut. The silky tresses have taken their time growing in and Kunyai's been frothing at the mouth to attack her grandbaby with the scissors.

She's opened my eyes to a whole lot of things. I didn't know anything about therapy or standers or working with muscles or neurology but it's been easy to learn because I care. Because she is ever so much more than a special needs label. Because she's amazing and I want to do everything I can to help her while she's here. I want her to be challenged and educated and not frustrated, just like any other kid.

I guess in a way it's a tiny bit like having a special diet- people who don't know me well feel so sorry for me that I have to be gluten free. They tell me how they could never do it, and how it must be so hard, and say all kinds of well meaning things that usually annoy me because they just don't get it. Her family has to deal with stuff like that all the time. No, she isn't sitting or crawling or walking yet. Yes, we're working on it. No, we don't really need your pity thanxverymuch. If you've spent any time at all around her you can see that Roo would have no idea what to do with your pity. She has such joy. Such a zest for life. She loves Mickey Mouse and getting thrown up in the air and having people talk to her like the grownup Pink Lady she is, not the baby who needs help. Sure she has challenges to face, but if you have to do it, then yes, of course you can. Maybe it wouldn't be your first choice, but if she was different than she is, she wouldn't be Roo.

The last time I got inspected, the licensing rep noticed her stander in the corner and asked about it. Roo wasn't here that day so I just explained that it was hers and that she was using it for therapy. I got really defensive when he was asking about whether I was equipped to deal with her needs. I know he just needs to know in an advisory capacity, to check for safety and the handicap laws and all that legal stuff, but I didn't want him to think she is hard to care for. It made me mad, a little. She's a kid. I take care of kids. I take care of her. 'Nuff said. Everybody's got something that makes them different, and hey, at least she can eat whatever she wants! Don't assign it more weight than it deserves.

There's a balance for me- I certainly don't want to make her limitations be the biggest thing about her, because she needs to be able to feel normal typical- (a much better word to use. Normal is a dryer setting.) I want to make things as much like everybody else as I can. But then, there are times that just isn't possible- her physical capabilities are just different from the other Pink Ladies. It's kind of a tightrope to walk and I hope that I'm always sensitive to what she and Kanga need.

So, the fabulous ECI ladies come and do therapy, we work with her too, and in the meantime she's just so much stinkin' fun.

She does have front teeth of course, but the fangs are still a lot longer and it totally cracks me up. She looks very vampirish in a lot of her pictures. :)

I really love this picture. She looks like she wants to lunge at me and bite my neck.

She is casserole girl to the extreme, which pleases me deeply. I cook a lot of pasta and stir-fry and stuff that's all mixed together and it takes some kids awhile to get used to it. She shovels it in with both hands and gets incredibly messy. It's very satisfying as a cook to watch somebody enjoy the food you made like this. :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Play Dough

Did you know Play-Doh has gluten? We can't use it here. Most of the time we substitute Moon Sand instead, since everyone enjoys that too. Some days it's fun to make playdough we can all use though. Here's the recipe I use:

gluten free play dough

It works well for mushing and playing, but I found out from sad experience that it does NOT bake well. With regular play doh you can fire it in the oven to make little statues. This stuff oozes and cooks and looks very yucky. But sometimes your first grader has to take a sad oozy elephant for her school sculpture, because we have no other options. :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Yesterday was low key and fun. Esme and Tink are both all over the place now- scooting, crawling, trying to pull up on things... they don't like to be in the living room anymore since I have to keep moving them away from the tv, so they spent at least an hour together in the playroom while the others were napping. They did really well- only knocked each other over a few times. Esme did pull a chair over on herself at one point, which didn't hurt her at all, and actually made me really proud since I didn't realize she was to that stage. They grow so fast.

O'Malley and Lilo are cracking me up on a daily basis with their imaginative play. I really like to sit at the table in the dining room or do the dishes and just eavesdrop on them in the playroom. They were playing in the kitchen area earlier and I caught this:

L: O'Malley!! Where you going? You need to come back here and help me cook dinner!
O: I don't want to.
L: Yes you do. Chop this... what is this?
O: It's tomato.
L: Oh. Yes. Chop this tomato. We are having lotsa vegetables for dinner! I making a big salad!

Then there is noise, and I peek in to see O'Malley looking defeated and halfheartedly whacking at the plastic tomato with the plastic knife.

O: I'm all done. I need to go find Catwoman.
L: No. First help me with dinner! Then we will go kill her.

Vegetables and Catwoman, that's how you balance some good gender-specific play. :) O'Malley got Batman Lego on the Wii for his birthday, and so he is currently obsessed with Catwoman. I love the Lego video games. When you kill the bad guys, they fall apart into a little pile of Lego bricks. It's adorable.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Focus- Aurora

Aurora is just exploding these days. She looks so much older all of a sudden and her vocabulary is taking off in leaps and bounds. She was my youngest teeny baby for so long, and now she's one of the oldest of the Pink Ladies. (Kanga's term for the 5-pack of Silvermist, Aurora, Stitch, Roo, and Bianca, who move in a herd and might as well have matching jackets!)

She can sing the alphabet and count to ten and she's starting to use color words appropriately, even though they're not always correct. It's a milestone just to be able to say ANY color word when somebody asks you "what color is this?", rather than a blank stare or saying something like "milk" or "bear" just for something to say. :)

Her current obsession is babies, real or fake makes no difference. She loves to get close to Hercules and Tigger and carefully pat their feet and talk sweetly. She's not quite as gentle with the baby dolls in the playroom just yet. I guess she knows she doesn't have to be. This morning she had a whole array of things laid out on the table to play with- baby doll, bottle, towel to wrap it in, fake plastic tray with waffles and fruit... she sat in the midst of her bounty and shrieked at anyone who came close. MINE!! She was so funny about it. SHE was the mama. Nobody else should help or get remotely near, lest she move into wounded mama bear mode. I had to trot out my canned speech, which I haven't used lately but I sense coming back multiple times a day with all the Pink Ladies moving into this stage:

"No, honey, it's mine. I bought it to go in the playroom and I share with EVERYBODY. Right now it's your turn and in a minute it will be her turn, and we will all share...."

Sharing is such a hard concept to learn, because at this age it usually means "I had this thing in my hot little hand and then some grown up came along and said it was time to share and that means now my friend has MY THING." Less often do they realize when people share with *them*. It's all about the times when they're losing the object. Tough lessons.

Most of the time, she is a sunshine girl and just motors around doing her thing, singing and dancing her way through the day. This is a fun age and she's good at it.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Don't forget we are closed Monday April 12. It's the day Tigger was originally scheduled to arrive, plus we had out of town plans. :) See you Tuesday!

And Friday Focus on Silvermist should be up soon.....

Friday Focus- Silvermist

Okay, I dropped the ball last week, posted this completely empty, and then never got around to fixing it. I'm going to back post it for Friday anyway so I'm not as behind, and we'll try round two.

Silvermist has settled in extremely well now. It took her a bit longer than the ones who start when they're tiny, and sometimes she does cry at drop off for a few minutes. But give her "silkie" and a snuggle and she'll be off and running.

She's highly articulate for somebody her age and tells us new words every day. I heard her count to five this morning, which made my head snap around. Had no idea she could do that. She's got funny little ways of saying things. One of my favorites is when you ask her if she wants something, she says "please" instead of yes. If she doesn't want it, she doesn't usually tell me no. She just looks at me like, okay, what's choice number 2? And the dimples! I love when I can find something that makes her smile a LOT, just so I can keep looking at those killer dimples. They rock. This is just half a smile here- usually they pop out even more.

She and Aurora are pretty much always near each other. Sometimes Stitch or Bianca will sneak in to play too, but they're both pretty independent and do their own thing more frequently. These two are thick as thieves and they crack me up.

You will eat this. You want more bites. You really do.

Hmm. Looking at this makes it more clear why one of them went home with bite marks on her finger yesterday. It's all fun and games until you can't snatch your hand back quickly enough.

Taking care of Silvermist has cemented the idea in my mind that our niche REALLY is special diet kids. She's got quite a few allergies and limitations on her menu, and it's actually been kind of a fun challenge for me to learn to tweak my recipes to keep her safe. We're gluten free here already, and I've taken care of nut allergy and dairy allergy kids before too, but this adds a new level of awareness that I enjoy, in a strange way. I feel like having her here has really made me think about the kind of meals I serve and caused me to cook healthier- more fresh fruit and veggies, less processed foods. That's good for everybody anyway, and I like being able to keep her safe so her family doesn't have to worry. It's one of the great intrinsic perks of this job.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

March- Monthly Recap

Let's see...

Not a complete fail, but partial. All on my part. They had a good time with the safari stuff that we got to do, but there is still half the month left. It took me something like ten days to find the curriculum book and by then we had gotten out of the habit of doing it. I don't feel like our time has been wasted though. We've completely rearranged the playroom and they are working on helping me figure out which toys they want down and which should be rotated out. Changing just a few things makes it a whole new room for them and it's nice to be able to SEE the toys in different places so you know what you want to play with.

And we're still doing lots of singing and coloring and talking about letters and learning. Teamwork, manners... our time is well spent. But the licensed teacher in me sometimes thinks I need more product to take home. I keep telling myself that clashes with my actual philosophy of the way small children learn. :) I confuse myself sometimes.

April is going to be devoted to finishing safari work, dinosaur and mammal recap, and pulling out some generic spring projects if we have time. We'll also probably pull out the water table, get more sand, and spend as much time as possible in the yard before it gets crazy hot. Oh, and maybe have a random egg hunt since I never got around to doing one. The weather was not cooperating the day I wanted to do it and then I got thrown off.

Comings and Goings:
Flik has moved on to his new place, although we still see him at t-ball practice. He's doing well, of course. And yesterday was Boo and Sully's last day here. It's very strange that O'Malley and Lilo are the only big kids by more than a year. Next in age is Silvermist and she's just 20 months. It's becoming a little kid place all of a sudden. Lilo will be leaving at the end of the school year and I'm actually thinking of sending O'Malley in the fall to one of my friends who does all older kids, at least part-time.

Kanga is on maternity leave with baby Tigger for the next couple weeks and Mrs. Potts (Chip and Belle's mama) is here filling in for her. It's sort of rocked Chip's world a bit. He's fine when she's not here, and he's fine when he's home and it's just them. However, he doesn't like to nap here when his mom is working, and likes to hang on her leg and cry when she's dealing with the babies. Sharing is hard work.

OH! And here is baby Tigger!

Are those cheeks not insane? I want to eat him with a spoon and sniff his neck folds. If I can find his neck... :) And we have official word- he does actually weigh more than Hercules at this point. It will be very interesting to see how the two of them compare as they get bigger.

I guess that's all I can think of for now. Happy spring!