Monday, August 22, 2011

The Spinny Chair

Say hello to our "Spinny Chair"! We've had this for a while, but I thought it was worth a post. I took these pictures during "quiet time", so no kiddos in it, but I'll try to do some "action" shots later.

We first saw this chair in a speech therapist's office while we were taking a seminar. It was where they were doing the childcare and all the kids, autism or not, LOVED this thing. They would hop in, close the cover and one of the SLP students would spin them around and around! We learned it was from IKEA, so on our last trip to Seattle in June we took a spin by the store on our way home and picked one up (and managed not to buy anything else, amazing!) Here's a shot with the cover open.

And here's the cover reminds me of something from Mork and Mindy, no?! Morgan and Piper love taking turns as well as spinning together. They fit in there quite nicely right now. Piper has even figured out how to lie on her tummy and move herself around with her hands too! I know...hard to picture, but I'll try to get a shot of it. She doesn't move fast, but she likes doing it herself.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Lots of Language

Both Morgan and Piper are making nice progress with their language lately. This is encouraging for us in so many ways.

Piper, at 23 months is consistently using combinations of words. The other day I swear she said to me "I want eat a hot dog." Really. Oh, and "hot dog" is what she says when she means any kind of food. She also has finally decided to call Morgan "Boo Boo." I think she attempted "Morgan" for a long time and it finally dawned on her that "Boo Boo" was way easier to say. Last night she made her way around the dinner table pointing at each one of us saying "Mama eat," "Dada eat," "Boo Boo eat." Very cute. Even when she wakes up in the morning she'll call out "Boo Boo, Boo Boo!" until Morgan comes in her room to see her. It's nice to see Piper hitting her milestones with language. Obviously we did not see this with Morgan. It still amazes me that this happens naturally with "typical" kids. We've had to work so hard with Morgan to help her language along. It's nice to see Piper might just do it on her own.

Morgan has been using a lot more spontaneous, descriptive language lately. She is talking a lot about what she sees and even a little about what she feels. Last week I was playing a game of catch with her. I wanted her to come closer to me, since we were not doing well with her standing so far away. She refused and I "pouted" for a bit. She then said "Mama want to be happy!" This meant she wanted me to smile, I think. She's said this more often to all of us and is very satisfied if we give her a big smile. I'm not sure if she's really understanding the emotion or just wanting the smile instead of a frown. Doesn't matter, it's nice that she is recognizing the expression. She still is using a lot of repetitive and "scripted" language, but that is OK as long as new language is happening too.

Morgan is also talking more directly to Piper. She tells Piper that she is doing a good job and encourages her when she does new things. She is recognizing the words Piper is saying and often I hear, "That's right Piper, that is a ...." Too cute! If she doesn't want Piper to play with her she says "Piper, you go play with the...." She actually looks at Piper when she says these things, instead of looking at me to do something, or help the situation. This makes sense, since kids with autism tend to have a slower processing speed with language. She is able to keep up with an almost 2 year old and interact. Hopefully as we continue our RDI program (still in the parent education stage) this will improve and she will be able to interact with older and older kids. I'm feeling better, as we get closer to the school year starting, that we're making some progress this summer.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Yesterday we were making our way out of the gym childcare area and I heard a loud voice directed my way. I looked down to see a girl who was talking directly to me in a very serious tone. She said "That girl was mean to us!" I said "Who was mean to you?" She pointed right at Morgan and said "THAT girl!" I asked her what happened and she said "She took our toys away from us."

Sigh. I knew this would happen at some point. Of course not being there, I don't know what really went down. Possibly Morgan was fixated on some particular toy and did take it from the other girl(s). Possibly the girl interrupted Morgan playing and she fought back. Morgan would never be intentionally "mean" as she doesn't understand what that is, but I'm sure it's how it appeared to the other girl(s). Who knows...when we left the gym I stopped Morgan and asked her if she took the girls' toys. Morgan said sadly "Yes." Morgan does not know how to lie, so I know she must have done this. We had a little talk about not taking toys other kids are playing with and she seemed get it. Well really, I just talked at her, but something seemed to register like she understood what I was saying.

I expect this to only get worse as Morgan not only is possessive about toys, she just doesn't understand the social cues involved with sharing and playing with other kids. She's making progress with Piper, but I imagine older kids can be intimidating or anxiety-inducing for her. I'm sure this is not the first time she's ruffled some feathers at the childcare. Luckily I have not gotten any negative comments from the staff, so far.

To tell you the truth...this particular girl totally rubbed me the wrong way. I know my kid was probably in the wrong, but I'd say this girl was the mean one. The way she spoke to me, with such a nasty expression on her face...she may just be a future bully in the making. If I was Morgan, I wouldn't want to play with her either.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Water Park Wonder

These are a few (not so good) pictures from my phone of the water park we visited on Saturday. This is actually one of the Spokane County Parks and Rec pools, but it was AMAZING! It is a little pricier than some of the other rec pools ($2 for kids under 6 and under 2 are free). Kids over 6 and adults are $4 each. Not too bad. We made it in for $10 (until Piper turns 2 at the end of August).

Some friends saw a picture of this "aquatic center" on a local kids' activities booklet and we decided to check it out. We cannot believe this has been here for THREE years and we just heard of it. It is about a half an hour from our house on the South Hill. We decided we will be going back every weekend for the rest of the summer. It was THAT GOOD!

I know it's hard to make out from my quick pictures (kids were running around). There is a zero entry area right in front which was great for getting acoustumed to the water and later in the day we just lounged there while the kiddos climbed all over us and the play structures. In the far back, you can see a HUGE green water slide. David went on this MANY times with Morgan who just loved it! They rode on an inner tube and she exclaimed things like "we're on the green slide!" and "!" on the ride down. There is also a "lazy river" with "rapids" and water shooting over you. The big "bucket" contraption you see in the front of the picture is CRAZY! It dumps SO much water on you! The first time Piper and I ventured onto it, we got totally blasted with water! So much so that it completely busted her ponytail holder. I'm glad she was still able to stay upright. Piper kept pushing me away from her because she realized she could walk in the water by herself all the way up to her chin. She's now perfected her bubble blowing. Her swim teacher would be proud!

There is also a concession area. They don't technically allow outside food in there, but we observed many people with there own snacks and lunches. We had brought some food for the girls and it worked out great. I don't think they police the food too much. We had such a fantastic time! Next Saturday we're planning on staying all day. Piper threw an absolute FIT when we told her we were leaving to go home for naps. She kept trying to run off into the water again. I'm sure she'll still throw a fit next week, but jut maybe she'll be too tired to care. This was the place to be on a hot sunny day in Spokane!

I'll try to get some better pictures next time, including the girls!