Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wedded Bliss

Delinquent bloggers need not apply for my job, I've got it fully covered.

Holy smokes, I haven't blogged since July.

That might be just fine if we'd been sitting in a corner since July, but we've been BUSY! It was summer after all. Camping, swimming, biking, working, dancing, playing, it was a great summer. We're already back-to-school, back-to-activities. But never mind all that for right now, I'll backtrack through the pictures and try to dredge up some memories from the hard drive between my ears.

For today, may I please introduce a good lookin' cast of folks...

The gorgeous bride and her handsome groom are my cousin and her new husband. They were married on the September long weekend. The so-cute-you-could-bite-them little people are my kids. Really. I know, it's hard to recognize them. After all, Aaron is wearing pants, and you can't see how many teeth Meredith is missing and her beautiful hairdo hides the still-growing-out bangs!

More to follow. Promise.

Monday, July 5, 2010

A tale of two teeth

As you may recall, high on the list of things to accomplish at the age of five was losing a tooth. After riding a bike with no training wheels and crossing the monkey bars were crossed off the list, losing a tooth remained there. Lonely. In top spot. Age six came, and still nothing more than a couple of wiggly teeth. You can imagine the level of excitement in the house yesterday when all of a sudden one of those wiggly bottom teeth became exceedingly more wiggly and I proclaimed:
"You'll lose that tooth this week."

The word of mom is the word of mom, after all.

Meredith wiggled it through bedtime stories, waggled it through bedtime cuddles, and had to be told more than once to settle down and go to sleep.

This morning the tooth popped out in a bite of toast.

She was more than a bit excited. You'd think she'd won the lottery. It was contagious actually, I got to feeling all giddy as she dashed around the house before daycare making sure all the preparations were in order.

The precious first tooth would be stored in her glow-in-the-dark tooth holder necklace for the day, then hop into the pocket on Toothy's back as she was hung on the door of Meredith's room to signal the Tooth Fairy her time was nigh.
She wanted to wear the tooth necklace to daycare and could NOT be persuaded otherwise, despite descriptions of massive calamities involving losing the tooth in the playground.
After daycare she looked a little different.

There was a bigger window in her bottom jaw.

And a different little pearly white in her hand.
I was amazed! Two teeth in one day! Had the other one been so loose that losing its next-door-neighbour-crutch was all it took for it to pop out too?

Why didn't she seem more excited?
As the story unfolded, apparently she was sitting in a big armchair with her friend and just happened to open up the tooth necklace because her friend just had to see the tooth, and it just happened to fall down the edge of the chair. An upholstered armchair with a non-removable cushion and no access from underneath.
Apparently more than one of her friends stuck their little hands down the side of the chair to see if they could find it. The proverbial needle in the haystack. As I gamely jammed my hand down the side of the chair too at pick-up time, Meredith casually mentioned that they'd found some pretty gross stuff down there.
But no tooth.
So in an effort to make sure the Tooth Fairy's visit was not for naught (and more than likely in her mind, to avoid a we-told-you-so discussion at home), she pulled out the next tooth.
It was loose, but nowhere near as loose as the one that fell out this morning. I must have asked her five times (with a grimace on my face) "Didn't that hurt?????"
On the drive home we had a talk about how likely the Tooth Fairy is well accustomed to missing teeth, the rate of children swallowing their teeth or losing them on roller coasters and all, and that perhaps should this scenario EVER present itself again we could content ourselves with WRITING A NOTE instead of PULLING OUT A SECOND TOOTH.
She dictated a note after we got home, just to advise the Tooth Fairy of the day's events.
"Dear Tooth Fairy,
I'm sorry I couldn't give you my tooth. I was at daycare with my tooth and I opened the container and the tooth came out. I lost it. I'm sorry, but another one fell out and is in my tooth holder.
From: Meredith"
Stubborn much??

Monday, June 28, 2010

End of an Era

Tomorrow is the last day of Kindergarten. An entire school year has passed in the blink of an eye. It feels like Meredith has been in school for three months, maybe four. Not ten. And tomorrow is the last day of this paradise on earth called Kindergarten. Meredith and I have been working on a little gift for the supreme genius of Kindergarten-ness, Madame Katie. A few weeks ago when I asked Meredith what she thought would be a nice gift for her teacher she cooked up an elaborate plan of inviting her over, making a nice seat on the deck under the umbrella, and serving her all kinds of delicious party foods and drinks.

This child loves a party.

I gently explained that her idea, though fabulous, would be tough to execute and "just imagine if EVERY Kindergarten child invited Madame Katie over.....the summer would be too short!"
So we settled on party food instead (with a few party drinks thrown in for good measure).

We assembled "Madame Katie's Summer Snacks" in a cute little metal tub that has dividers inside for six bottles and a bottle opener conveniently attached to the handle by a chain.

Meredith worked hard to do her best printing, and I'm hoping it's something her teacher will enjoy and use. I forgot to take a picture of the card she made, but the message is timeless.

"Thank you Madame Katie. I loved you being my teacher. It was nice being in your class. I will miss you. P.S. You always look pretty."
Inside, and out.

Monday, June 21, 2010

You can't make this stuff up...

Or, Everything I Needed to Know I Learned in the McDonald's Bathroom.

Or, you can dress them up,

but you can't take them out.

We had quite an eventful weekend.

This weekend marked the last few days of the week that Dave was away in California for work, and his trip to the U.S. Open to celebrate a momentous birthday. Instead of heading to Pebble Beach, the three remaining household members headed to Virden (really, the Pebble Beach of rural Manitoba) to celebrate.

We were heading out to celebrate Airdrie and Kevin's wedding shower and social.

The bride-to-be looked lovely!

Some of our favourite small people were in attendance! Baby Owen, the newest of the cousins, was there and prepared to be shocked by the overwhelming family paparazzi.

Sweet Morgan worked the camera with all the assurance an older sister can bring.

These sweet faces were like an oasis in the desert by the time we finally arrived there.
I was hoping to leave the house by 10 to start the drive. At 9:00 I looked at the clock and thought "well look at that, we're almost ready to go and it's only 9:00."
That's like inviting the Bermuda triangle to relocate to your backyard.
The next hour disappeared into loading the car, coming back in the house for just one more thing, changing one child's clothes because they were soaking wet from playing in the grass, coming back in the house for just one more thing, locating the cat in the neighbours yard after discovering that one of the gates no longer latches, changing my clothes from the muddy cat, and coming back in the house for just one more thing.
All we had to do was get gas on our way out of the city and we'd be off.
At the gas station I decided to get a carwash. After all, we were all now in clean clothes and it would be a shame to get dirty by leaning against the car.
Aaron has a bizarre fear and fascination with car washes. He quite likes the manual type of carwash, but is terrified of the "blue" carwash. It's the type of carwash that has the soft cloth brushes. To him I guess it looks like he's about to be swallowed by a sea of blue octopuses. Octopi?
When we went in to pay for the gas I kept reassuring him that the car wash at THIS particular gas station was a very friendly one, and he continued to whimper with anxiety. The gas station attendant chimed in that indeed it was very friendly and in fact there were little elves that sprung up from nowhere to wash the car, but he'd have to look quickly or he'd miss them.
Ohhhhh so helpful.
So into the carwash we go, with Aaron sitting on my lap to keep him from wailing.
We presoak - no problem.
We soap up - no problem.
And then all the lights go out in the carwash and the door at the other end opens.
Our car is still covered in soap.
No elves.
After sitting in stunned silence for a bit, we drive the soap-mobile out and back around to the front of the gas station.
Again I take both kids out of the car, traipse into the shop, inform the attendant that the elves have gone on strike, get a new carwash slip, put both kids back into the car and head back for round two.
By some miracle we made it through the carwash the second time, fully washed, rinsed and dried, and headed out onto the open road.
Part way there, we made a roadside pitstop because Aaron needed to pee. I'd brought the potty along but as I was standing at the side of the road it seemed SO much smarter to me to just leave the potty in the car and teach my three-year-old how to pee standing up. As he watered the grass it occurred to me that I might have just opened Pandora's box. What was I thinking? It had never occurred to this child before that moment to even TRY peeing standing up.
I spent the next 10 miles waxing poetic about how that was only something we did when we were in the middle of nowhere with no potty and certainly was NOT as much fun as peeing sitting down.
By some miracle he hasn't tried it again since then. I feel like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.
We stopped in Brandon for some lunch and a chance to play on the climbing structure at McDonald's. After wearing off some energy (and boosting their immune system...) in the climber we made one more trip to the bathroom before loading back up in the car to drive the final leg to Virden. I took all three of us into the wheelchair accessible stall as the bathroom was busy and it was the best way to corral everyone in one spot.
Aaron had his turn.
Meredith had her turn.
As I had my turn, the conversation went something like this:
Aaron: "Mommy, do you have a vagina?"
Mommy (who recognizes this conversation and now feels a deep sense of fear): "Yes"
Aaron: "Does Mer Mer have a vagina?"
Mommy: "Yes"
Meredith (chiming in ever so helpfully): "All girls have vaginas"
Aaron: "Do I have a vagina?"
Meredith: "No Aaron, you're not a girl, you have a penis."
Aaron (now wailing and throwing himself on. the. floor. of. the. stall.): "But I want to be a girl, I want a vaginaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa."
At which point I threatened him with loss of limb if he didn't get off the floor and quickly made a lot of conversation about hurrying up to wash hands and get on the road.
I could hear snickering from inside the stall as the dialogue unfolded, so like any mature adult, headed out of the stall with blinders on pretending not to see anyone else in the bathroom. Meredith washed her hands and I lifted Aaron up to wash his.
The lady at the next sink leaned over and smiled and said: "I've been there. One time my daughter asked her pediatrician if he was going to smell her nuts."
By some miracle we got back into the car without the ground swallowing us up entirely.
The rest of the day proceeded rather tamely by comparison. Aaron didn't break any of the shower gifts, despite his efforts to the contrary, and Meredith ate enough peanut butter marshmallow cake to sink a ship. Best of all we got to relax and visit with family into the evening.

We drove on to Deloraine that night and spent the night at Grandma G's apartment so we could sneak in a visit with her too. Aunt Lois was in from Alberta for a visit, so the kids got reacquainted with her and she won Meredith over for good by sharing the adventure of looking through an old suitcase. The suitcase originally belonged to a great-great aunt I believe, and the things in it were likely my great-aunt Bessie's. After watching her delight in exploring the treasures, Aunt Lois invited Meredith to choose something to bring home. Much to her delight, she chose a little wooden box filled with jewels!

She tells me she has it hidden under her bed, but the exact location is a well-kept secret.
Some cuddles with Grandma G were the biggest treasure of the day though.

The kids fell asleep after only 10 minutes on the road, and stayed asleep for a good portion of the drive home.
By some miracle I get to keep these kids!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Picnic Season

As of tonight we're officially 0 for 2 on picnics actually held outdoors. Tonight was the family picnic at Meredith's elementary school, and owing to the rain, thunder, and my Ronald McDonald hair from the 3000% humidity, the picnic was held in the school gym instead of in the school playground.

A little inclement weather was not enough to prevent my kids from eating Freezies as long as their legs.

Did you know a Freezie that big is paradoxically equivalent to 3.5 litres of liquid? Or at least enough to make a three-year-old pee his pants in the carseat on the way across the city - a feat he had never accomplished before?

Seems every other child in the place was of the same mindset. The Freezie mindset that is, not sure what happened in their carseats after the fact. I'm sure these three mature Kinders didn't have any such toddler trouble...

The daycare family picnic was last Friday, and the pouring rain was enough to make me leave the camera at home. Little did I know I'd miss the chance to snap a photo of Aaron petting a llama with hair exactly the same colour as his. Ginger knows no bounds.

Fortunately, we brought a butterfly home with us so we could capture it on film.

Like her wispy bangs?

What's that, you say? Wasn't she growing her bangs out like more than a year ago?

Indeed I thought we'd made it through the bang-growing-out phase and were approaching the bangs-are-long-enough-to-stay-in-the-ponytail stage. In a fit of stubbornness (is that a word?) however, Meredith decided she did NOT like the hairstyle I had created for her daddy's birthday party a couple of weekends ago, and took matters into her own hands when I stepped out to run a last-minute errand (read: buy more beer).

I came home to find her previously braided hair in a fluffy mess around her head. When I asked what happened, she informed me she did not like the fabulous do, and when she couldn't get the elastic out, hand handily cut it (and a good sized chunk of her hair) out.

Voila, new bangs.

Fly little butterfly, fly......

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


This little face graduated from Kindergarten today.

We've got the Diplome de Maternelle to prove it.

Doesn't it seem like we were just getting the Kindergarten Information Night invitation in the mail?
Doesn't it seem like we were just buying a backpack and pair of princess sneakers?
And now here we are, acting out song after song in French, surrounded by friends and a year's worth of construction paper and lamination.

We will never forget Madame Katie. Thank goodness today was not the REAL last day of Kindergarten. We've got about a week and a half more of Madame Katie time before mini-Madame-Katie has to say au revoir to real-Madame-Katie. I'm so thankful that the school is small and Meredith will have the chance to encounter this remarkable teacher in the hallways and on the playground. She has set the bar very high, and I'm so pleased that Meredith has spent the year with someone gifted to do what they do.

As far as we know, most of the friends will be back next year, and it will be interesting to see how their friendships change over time. I'm fascinated by the idea of looking back on these pictures of Meredith with her friends when she's a teenager. How many of them will still go to school together?
Will Mr. Blue Eyes, aka Josh still be there?

Ayden is moving to a different school in September, and we'll all miss the chance to see him and his fantastic family on a regular basis at daycare and school. Gabrielle will be back for Grade 1, as will the rest of Meredith's daycare pals.

Party-dress Kate was cute as a button and Meredith is sweet on Kate's baby brother. Maybe we can work a brother swap on those days that she's not so sweet on her own little bro.

It was a beautiful, sentimental day. The kids did a fantastic job of preparing a program for their parents to watch and I can't imagine how Madame Katie still looks so young after teaching 17 Kindergarteners the lines to a play performed entirely in French!
As if graduating wasn't enough for one day, there was more excitement to come on this wonderful Wednesday. Tonight was also the year-end piano recital. It was an exciting event, capping off Meredith's first year of piano. Her lovely teacher, Carol, hosted the recital at a local nursing home so the kids had a chance to perform for their families and some of the residents of the home. Aaron charmed all the ladies, asking question after question about their wheelchairs and walkers, and even chatting up a lady with a patch on her eye. Nothing is off limits to that kid, and none of the elderly folks seemed to mind one little bit! He sat on a few knees, tried to abscond with a cane, and sat still better than I could have hoped when the performers were playing their pieces. It's a piano school full of girls thus far....will Aaron be the one to change that?

This is the only still picture I managed of the evening, all the students and the eternally-patient Carol. She has saintliness running through her blood.
Meredith is the youngest of the students and did really well at the recital tonight. She stumbled a few times, but kept right on going. As she was playing one of her songs, one of the nursing home residents said 3 or 4 times "She's cute" in the hearing-impaired version of sotto voce. After she finished playing, Meredith asked me "Was it rude that I didn't answer that lady who was asking me a question while I was playing?"
Bravo, my six year old! Oh the places you'll go.....

Monday, May 3, 2010

Birthday Bashes - The Remix Version

Backtracking from Aaron's big day was the combo birthday party that has become our family tradition. With the kids' birthdays so close in time, and Easter generally sandwiched in the middle somewhere, it just seems to make more sense to get both sides of the family together to celebrate once, rather than try to find two dates that work for most people.
It's got nothing to do with me not wanting to clean the house to big-party-standards-level twice in a month.
Thankfully the kids really seem to enjoy it. In a way, I think it makes celebrating their birthdays easier for each of them to cope with. Kids' emotions are so much more honest than a grown-ups and it's easy to understand why it's tough for them to watch another child open gifts when they are opening none. Don't get me wrong, I abhor the practice of giving a child a gift so they don't feel "left out" on someone else's special day, but I do appreciate what a tough lesson it is to learn. Our joint family party is the day the kids receive the bulk of their presents and they're generally so enthralled in their own loot that they haven't got a moment to notice what their sibling is getting.
Or, if you're Aaron, you're so deep in a gift bag that you wouldn't see a herd of zebras if they ran through your house.

It was a wonderful day, and a terrific reminder of how fortunate we are to be surrounded by the love of our family and friends on these important occasions. Our house felt like it was bursting at the seams with people who genuinely love our kids for the special small people they are. When I tucked Meredith into bed that night she said "Oh Mommy, today was totally the best!"

Now that's worth cleaning the house for!

This year's choice of birthday cakes was exponentially less labour-intensive than last year's Atomic Betty and Thomas the Train cake frosting marathon. Meredith has decided she doesn't actually LIKE cake (Auntie Krista is shuddering somewhere....) so opted for an ice cream sundae buffet instead!

Aaron is still just young enough to not have formulated a specific request for a cake, so I tried a recipe my friend Linda has made every year for her son for at least 16 years. The title seemed fitting for our little whirling dervish, and Dirt Cake was made! It was delicious, most likely owing to the main ingredients being Oreo cookies, whipped cream, pudding and cream cheese. Topped with gummy worms and a front-end loader, of course.

Aaron wanted to eat his serving of the cake with the front end loader but settled for licking the cake off of it intead.

As if two birthdays to be celebrated wasn't enough, it was also the perfect opportunity to give Dave his 40th birthday present in anticipation of his upcoming birthday in June. I've been cooking up this plan for a year now, and was so excited for him to finally find out! Dave's headed to the U.S. Open golf tournament in Pebble Beach in June, so I figured finding out about it in April would be enough lead time to arrange flights and car rentals and all that jazz.

He was completely surprised, which was the best part of all!
Still to come, the blow-by-blow of Meredith's big day. But maybe another day, because this party girl needs her beauty sleep.

Birthday Bashes

I'm three or four birthday parties behind at this point. No time like the present to catch up, before the memory fades to black because despite my attempts to argue to the contrary, if my kids are getting older apparently so am I!

Spring is the birthday season in our house. Meredith and Aaron are born six weeks apart, so spring brings anticipation of their two birthdays, Easter, and the melting of the snow all in a short period of time!

Today is Aaron's birthday, and we've finally ascertained for certain that he is three. He's been campaigning for weeks to be considered five, but I think we've settled on three as of today. I can only speculate that he's entranced by the age of five because Meredith seemed to be five for sooooooo long and there are some amazing things five-year-olds can do.

Like chew gum.

Anyhooo, today is the big day and furthermore it's his champagne birthday. Three on the third. We celebrated with milk instead of champagne, spoilsports that we are. He didn't need to get his kicks from champagne, he got them from his brand spanking new guaranteed-child-wearer-outer, also known as a trampoline.

I'm sure he burned a thousand calories before he even ate his birthday breakfast of Froot Loops. We're a no-sugary-cereal household except for two times a year. The kids get to pick a box of any kind of cereal they like for their birthday, and his choice was Froot Loops. Good thing we got the trampoline!

After breakfast it was off to daycare. In honour of his special day, we asked one of his favourite people to come by and provide a little birthday fun for him and his daycare pals. He is lucky enough to have a music session every week with the amazing Sonya from Wee Be Jammin' music. She does a music program for each of the age groups at the daycare, and Aaron has most of her material memorized. Wednesdays are usually "Sonya days" and he brings his fancy green guitar from Mexico along with him. Today he got to jam out with his guitar idol.

He and his friends also jumped, played, danced, threw scarves in the air, and generally had a rockin' toddler-sized good time. Nobody cried, and nobody peed their pants, so it was an unparalleled success.

After daycare he did another stint on the new trampoline, then chose the ever-popular grilled cheese as his special birthday meal. Good thing we pay closer attention to the four food groups the other 364 days of the year! To cap the day off, he picked ice cream at Sargent Sundae over dessert at home, so off we went. I was curious to see if turning three had magically improved his level of cleanliness when eating an ice cream cone.

It hadn't.

Good times, nonetheless.
Just imagine what the next year will bring...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Awaiting Mr. E. B.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds with visions of a chubby white bunny dancing in their heads.

I'm super far behind in blogging about the goings-on of the last two weeks, but anticipating the arrival of the Easter Bunny just simply cannot wait.

Today was a homeschooler's math lesson dream. Meredith must have spent close to an hour this morning counting the plastic eggs that the Easter Bunny had left behind in years past. Then she divided the eggs into piles of matching colours. Then she made a chart using her brand new gel pens to identify how many of each colour there was. Then we discussed odd numbers versus even numbers, and she divided all the even numbered egg piles into her basket and Aaron's basket equally. Then she transferred a yellow into the greens to make two more even numbered piles, and divided those into the two baskets. Thennnnnnnnnn she counted the two baskets to make sure each contained equal numbers, and for good measure (and because I was just finishing reading the WHOLE newspaper for the first time in a week from forever) she counted them again to be doubly sure.

My accountant assures me there are 25 empty eggs in each basket.

We also decided to give the Easter Bunny a little leg up in the world and put a small 'M' on half the eggs, and an 'A' on half the eggs. Meredith dictated a note before bed that we left beside the empty eggs.

We're enjoying the preparations this year, because we just don't know how long the magic will last. Earlier in the week, Meredith came to me with a big idea. Her suggestion was to make a mud puddle at the gate at the back door and the front door so that the Easter Bunny would have to hop through it to get to the door, and then would leave dirty footprints so she'd know for sure he was "really real."

We didn't end up making a mud puddle before bed, but it did rain most of the day yesterday so I guess the ground is still damp enough.....

Considerate and fastidious bunny that he is, he helped himself to a paper towel and cleaned his paws before he got too far into the house. Looks like he helped himself to a carrot too.
Happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Book of the Week....and birthday bears!

It's been a long time since I took the time to make note of what book is capturing the interest of the little people around here. Ever since I got a Kindle for Christmas, I've been altogether too interested in what books are capturing MY interest again! It's great though to see that both of the kids share my love for books, and that they're not just reserved for bedtime-story use.

Meredith's favourite right now is a neat book called "Imagine If....." by Karen Halpern.

It's a coil bound book with each page divided in to three sections inside.

The child can flip the top, middle, or bottom section to whichever image strikes their fancy that particular day. It provides you with a subject (teacher, invisible kid, space alien), an object (presents, a race car, ice cream cones), and a location (at a waterfall, in a science lab, at a birthday party). The rest is up to your imagination. We take turns telling stories, sometimes flipping the pages randomly, sometimes choosing the panels carefully. It's so entertaining to listen to Meredith wind a tale, though in true Meredith style, it usually has several chapters!

The subject of greatest attention around the house these days though, is her upcoming birthday. She turns six in TWO MORE DAYS. We've had a countdown on the whiteboard for the last 22 days. A spare calendar has been hung below the whiteboard and has the first 24 days of March x'd off. Everyone in a three mile radius knows her birthday is coming!

Her wish this year was to have a birthday party at the Build-A-Bear workshop, so we're off to the mall on Saturday with six of her Kindergarten friends to celebrate. I'm gathering the last of the loot bag items tonight, and included will be little monogramed t-shirts I made for each child's bear. This is Meredith's first Build-A-Bear, Sarah, modelling the finished product:

And a sadly blurry shot of the rest of the shirts.

Her excitement is contagious, even though the prospect of my little girl turning SIX is enough to make me want to search out the Centrum Silver.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Vector of transmission

Meredith's toy recorder will never be quite the same.
Not since it was thoroughly contaminated by the red-headed vector of virus transmission. Chief of Disease Spread.
Otherwise known as the child with an ear infection, maybe a chest infection, and green stuff oozing from every possible orifice.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Reporting in

This was report card week for Meredith's school. We started a tradition in November when she received her very first report card by rewarding her hard work with a little gift. We're really proud of what a great kid Meredith is, and it seemed like a nice opportunity to acknowledge that school is her 'work' and she had a positive 'performance appraisal'. Better still, she likes the boss. In fact, I'd say we all like the boss.

Madame Katie is royalty in our household.

One of the funniest of Aaron's expressions this year, has related to Meredith's Kindergarten teacher. Since meeting her in September, Meredith has been truly enamoured with this gifted early-years teacher. Many a sentence in this house starts with "Madame Katie says...." Like so many little siblings, Aaron tries his best to do just what Meredith does. So when she talks about Madame Katie, he talks about Madame Katie. Except he can't fully enunciate all the consants in quite the same way....

Enter the phrase "Damn Katie is Mer Mer's teacher. She's gonna be my teacher too."

Ahem. It's a Herculean effort to keep a straight face, yet we practically bait the poor child into saying it more often so we can enjoy it.

Anyhooooo, the report card arrived on Tuesday, the evaluation was all good, and Meredith's reward was a shopping spree at Toys R Us for anything her little heart desire.

As long as it didn't cost more than $15.

Meredith is now the proud owner of a Littlest Pet Shop virtual pet or some such creature. She tells me it's a zebra and his name is Zee. Or Zed. Depending on her mood.
We're off to see Damn Katie tomorrow morning for parent-teacher interviews, or student-led conferences as they're now called. You can't help but feel more cheerful and optimistic about this world after spending 10 minutes with a Kindergarten teacher.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Gettin' a grip

I'm ashamed to say that I rarely take the time to sit down and work at the table with Meredith. She doesn't have homework from school as yet, and it seems like the time after school and before bed is so jam-packed with activities and dinner and toy-related mediation. that we rarely sit down together to do pencil and paper activities. We spend some time several times a week practising piano together, but most of that doesn't involve the use of a pencil. It came as a bit of surprise to me then, a few weeks ago, to notice that she has changed her grip on the pencil from a traditional tripod grip, to a four-fingered or quadripod grip. When I tried to get her to hold the pencil in a tripod grip, she said her hand hurt, and quickly moved back to what was comfortable.
I'm an O.T. so I'm supposed to know something about this.
Sadly for her, my line of work involves contact with very few kindergarten-aged kids. If she was showing signs of dementia, or perhaps needed her risk for falls assessed, I'd be the O.T. for the job. Fortunately for her, I know other O.T.s who spend their day with the preschool set, and who were very helpful!

Enter the pencil grip.

Her favorite is this charming little orange number called "The Claw". Sounds much more sinister than it really is.

Second on the list is the traditional triangle grip.

Not featured in our little pencil grip photoshoot was a third style called a crossover grip that was altogether too big for her small hands, and has been relegated to the depths of the junk drawer.
I'm really amazed by how comfortable she finds the grips, and how eager she was to use them. Part of the appeal may be her recent desire to have a disability! We recently read a book called "You, Me and My OT" by Paulette Bourgeois. It's a very cute story about a grade-school girl named Emma who has an O.T. come to her classroom to work with her. After reading the book the first time, Meredith woke up the next morning and announced she "wished she had a disability, just like Emma." It's so fascinating to look at life through a child's eyes, and a constant challenge to figure out how best to respond!
In retrospect, the timing of the book and then introducing the pencil grips couldn't have been better. I'd be a liar-liar-pants-on-fire if I even pretended that I'd thought any of it through before it happened. I'll happily take the credit for how well it's going though.