Monday, May 23, 2011


We are spending A LOT of time outside lately! Maybe not in rain, but warm or cold, these girls especially LOVE to swing on their new swing set. Here's Grandpa and Daddy putting it together, with a little help from both girls! Morgan still says most days while she's swinging, "Grandpa and Daddy build the swing!"

Now we have all kind of activities outside for the girls, the swings, a slide and a sandbox, all courtesy of Grandpa and Gram B, over a few years time. We also have a few bright colored balls they like to throw and kick around and this last week we pulled out the bubbles. Those things are "magic!" It's actually been really nice for us so far this year in that both girls can go from one activity to another without much assistance. We're now free to keep up with watering our tomatoes, trimming bushes and trying to keep up with the crazy weeds.

Once we finish playing in the backyard, the girls like to head into the front yard. They like to visit friends on our block, draw with sidewalk chalk and help water plants. Really, it's hard to get them to come inside when it's time to make dinner, especially Piper. She's going to be an outdoor girl, that one.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Orange Butterfly

We went to the end-of-year carnival at Morgan's "typical" preschool yesterday. It was so much fun for both Morgan and Piper! They would have been happy staying in the bouncy house/slide all day long. Piper was the hit of the parents as she was the littlest one to brave the steps and big slide. They were so amazed and just laughed when she just threw herself down the slide with utter joy!

And...Morgan amazed us by agreeing to have her face painted. She saw one of her friends who had a pink butterfly on her face. I asked if she wanted her face painted and she immediately said "yes" and then requested an "orange butterfly." You see, she couldn't tell you this yet, but this kid's favorite color is orange. She always uses the orange crayon first when coloring and loves her orange straw cup. One time at Target she kept requesting orange while looking for a new swimsuit. I did the best I could and found one with some orange in it, but I think she was still disappointed when it wasn't ALL orange. Finding clothing in primarily orange shades is not easy.

Not only was it great that Morgan requested the orange butterfly herself, most notably she sat still for it and let someone actually paint her face! Last summer we tried this at Valley Fest and she completely freaked out when the person came at her with a paintbrush. I think it helped that the person painting her face was someone she'd seen before (an assistant at the school) and she was in a familiar place. She really admired her orange butterfly the rest of the day and was really proud whenever someone mentioned how pretty it was. Obviously it wasn't a professional artist who did the painting, but it was beautiful nonetheless!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Plans curtailed

So, our busy week proved to be "too" busy. I was afraid that might happen. Wednesday afternoon I drove up to Morgan's school to pick her up and her "main" teacher was waiting there with her. I thought "uh oh, this can't be good." The assistant teachers usually take the kids out to the buses/parents. I knew something was up.

It turns out that on Tuesday and Wednesday Morgan had some serious crying/screaming fits in class. She has never done this before at the district school. I was glad to hear that the teacher thought this was "out of character" for Morgan, but I fear this may start an unfavorable trend. Apparently the meltdowns are focused around their "circle time" where they sit and sing songs. Usually Morgan LOVES circle time and will sing us the songs they sing. In her Monday "typical" class she's always the first one on the rug.

Since we found out that there was going to be a "performance" of sorts we've been asking her what songs they are singing. Each time she says "no" and refuses to sing. So, now she's refusing to participate at school. So, yesterday we agreed to see what happens. I mentioned that we were having a busy week and we'd make sure she got a good night's sleep. Do you think she somehow felt the pressure of preparing for the event?! Could she be that intuitive?

So, we decided not to attend the Autism Society meeting last night. Morgan took a nice nap and had a great night's sleep last night (no wake-ups). She went off to school just fine. I went to pick Morgan up today and again, the teacher was there. No dice. She freaked out again today, maybe worse than the other two days. When it was time for circle time she threw herself on the floor and yelled "NO CIRCLE TIME!" Yikes. The teacher gave her choice of circle time or sit in a chair. She sat in the chair and cried, but was frequently given the option to return to circle time. She refused. Then when they took to other kids outside Morgan had to stay inside and do "something" related to circle time with the teacher. The teacher does not let the kids get away with not participating and make sure they participate in some way. She managed to get her to sit down and sing one song with her. On the way out to the playground Morgan kept trying to escape, saying "I need to use the potty." Apparently this is a way she's learned to avoid circle time this week. They'd take her to the potty and she wouldn't use it, it was just an excuse to get away. The teacher did not fall for that today and made her go out to the playground.

So, she basically encouraged us not to attend the event tonight. She said this for behavior reasons. She thought that if Morgan had a meltdown on stage we would have to remove her, and that would reinforce the bad behavior. I essentially agree with this, but it's still hard not to question it. We have no idea how Morgan would react to the situation, a new place she's never been, bright lights and a ton of kids singing at once. Probably not the best scenario anyway.

I'm sad about it. I LOVED this stuff as a kid (though I'm not sure if I would have participated at age 3.5?). I was really looking forward to watching her with her class and videotaping it. These are the times I feel really left out of the "neuro-typical" kid world. Why do those other parents get to watch their kid participate and I don't? I feel sad for Morgan too, though it probably really doesn't matter to her.

There was going to be cake afterwards too. She would have loved that.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Crazy Week Ahead

We have plans EVERY SINGLE NIGHT this week! This is unheard of. It also may become an issue with Morgan's routine...but we shall see. Last night we had our usual "Life Group" meeting from our church. I don't know what I'd do without these people. They are a combination of support, love, laughter and just plain great friends.

Tonight David and I are headed to our first of five training sessions of "More Than Words" aka The Hanen Method, a therapy for autism that will be run by a professor at Washington State University. I think it may be similar to RDI, which we will start in June, but this was offered for FREE! We can't miss that opportunity. It will provide us with 10 hours of instruction/therapy we can work on with Morgan before we start RDI. Apparently this therapy is also quite expensive so we feel fortunate to be able to take part. This is being organized by The Isaac Foundation, the wonderful group who is providing our RDI grant. They are also providing childcare! I hope they make it fun for the girls.Woo hoo!

Wednesday night is a meeting of our local chapter of the Autism Society of Washington. As we build our support base, we look forward to connecting with some people we met at the last meeting.

Thursday night is an end of the year "presentation" for the Central Valley Early Learning Center where Morgan attends her developmental preschool. We've been told that her class will be singing for us. When we first saw this David and I looked at each other and said, "Really?!" We've been asking Morgan for about three weeks what song(s) she's been singing at school and so far she hasn't offered any concrete information. We cannot wait to see what will happen. The video camera will be in use!

Friday night is a Shock game, that I most likely will not attend. That's fine with me as I'm sure we'll all be exhausted by then. It also has an 8:00 pm start time which makes it impossible to bring the girls. Ah well, I will keep track of the score at home and have a little time to myself. Yippee!

Saturday evening is the annual Carnival at the preschool in Liberty Lake. It has a pirate theme and will have all sorts of fun activities for the kids including a cake walk! As a kid I remember winning a cake at something similar in elementary school. I'm making my yummy shortbread to donate. We'll see if we come home with any treats of our own.

I hope to be able to post some updates along the way this week. I've got a bunch of other post ideas lined up, but all I need is the time to do it. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The little things

Sometimes with Morgan's development, the "little things" give me the most hope. The other night she finished her bath and she asked me to "put her dress on." This means that I wrap her towel under her arms, kind of like a strapless dress. Then she stepped up on the stool in front of the mirror and said "I'm Tiana!" If you're not familiar, this is one of the Disney "princesses." This is the first time she has pretended to be someone other than herself. Also, most of the time we have to remind her to say "I" or "me" instead of "Morgan" when talking about herself, so to say "I'm" anything, was amazing!

Then just a few minutes later we were in Piper's room putting them in their pajamas. Morgan went right up to Piper with a big smile and said, "Mmm, Ice Cream!" and proceeded to pretend to "lick" the picture of the ice cream cone on Piper's PJ's. Too cute!

Maybe she's continuing to show some more emerging skills with imaginary play? Any sort of progress makes me happy!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I want to spill my milk!

I should have taken her seriously when she said this. She went and did just that.

I think Morgan was missing Gram and Grandpa. They came for a visit and left yesterday. Her routine is all changed up when they arrive and then it changes again when they leave. Its hard for our girl to adjust. I knew it was going to be tough when as soon as she came downstairs she started asking for "Morgan on TV." This is her way of saying she wants to watch home videos. I told her I wanted to watch some news first. Cue first tantrum.

Then I gave Piper some of her eggo... horror of horrors.

Oh and Piper wasn't a peach either. She refused to get in her booster seat and when I decided to put her in it, she mashed up all her cereal pieces in protest, then sprinkled them on the floor.

So, as Morgan was in one of the many tantrums of the morning she ran over to the table and declared "I want my cup! I want to spill it!" I had moved the cup away from it's usually spot since Piper was trying to climb on the table and grab it. I decided to test out the seriousness of her threat and gave her the cup. Sure enough. She turned it upside-down on the table and half of it spilled onto the floor. Time-out ensues. Oh, and she'd already had a time-out earlier for yelling at me because I wouldn't turn on her videos.

It's funny how most kids would think "I'll spill my milk" without actually saying it, so then it's a surprise to the parent when they do it on purpose. I guess until she figures that out I'll have fair warning on her plans for destruction.