Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Name Surprise

Morgan has been learning to write her name all school year. Each day she brings home a slip of paper where she has written her name over a light tracing of the letters the teacher has provided. At the beginning of the year her name was only slightly legible, but has improved vastly since. More recently she has been writing her name independently, as you see below. She has been doing this for a few months, so when she did this I did not take a picture of it on it's own. This particular day I randomly asked her if she could write Piper's name too...

Well, would you look at that!! She CAN write Piper's name! I was so surprised and proud of her. For a girl with challenges with her fine motor skills, I had no idea she could do this.

Here's my girl looking quite proud of herself. Sorry for the blurry was the only one where she didn't make her goofy smile.

Then, I decided to ask her if she could write my name, Mama. Well, of course she can! Look below the "Mo" in her name.

Finally, this one was more challenging for her. If you look just to the right of the tail of the "g" in her name, Morgan wrote "Daddy"...sort of. Close enough! What a superstar!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Piper's Sunglasses

Piper knows she's funny and clever. These pictures were taken over the last few months, you can also see evidence of the changing of our seasons. Both Piper and Morgan love the small collection of kids sunglasses we have and Piper likes to get creative with them. She actually asks me to pull over the car and take pictures of her now!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Creatures of Habit

Recently I have realized how much we are all creatures of habit. Morgan tends to do this in an obsessive way, but it is really not far off from what the rest of the family does. David likes to have his protein smoothies every morning and the girls help him make it the same way every day. I have my rituals in getting ready in the morning and preparing to go to bed at night. Being a "planner" by nature I have many routines and ways I like to plan out my days, weeks, etc. A little spontenaity is necessary too, but I definitely err towards the routine.

Yesterday was a perfect example of us being "creatures of habit." I decided spontaneously to take Piper to the mall in the morning. It was the first day in a while we didn't have any plans and I thought it might be fun to take her to the play area and then go "shopping." We also haven't been to the mall in quite a while, so it was a nice change of pace. When we go I always like to park in a certain area because of easy access to the escalators and play area. There is also a favorite coffee spot by this entrance, but since I had already had an iced coffe at home I wasn't planning on going there.

So...we went to the play area, then a ride on the kiddie ice cream truck. Then I coerced Piper into going for a "walk." She doesn't yet understand the concept of "shopping," but she might now after yesterday. I wanted to get a few hair accessories for Morgan. She recently has become more interested in (and tolerant to) wearing pretty things in her hair. I usually put her hair partially back with a ponytail holder, but lately she has allowed me to clip a pretty flower in it. She's worn one a few days to school and comes home still wearing it! So, I took Piper to Claire's and we had a fun time trying on hair accessories. She was surprisingly cooperative and even handed the sales associate our items to buy. It also helped that we bought some more "princess" stick-on earrings. She loves them and we recently ran out. I might have a little shopper on my hands!

On the way out of the mall I steered us back towards the exit close to our car. This also leads us back by the coffee place and when Piper spotted it, she pointed and said "Coffee and cookie, Mama!" Ahhh...she remembered the usual routine. She also remembered that sometimes that I would buy her a shortbread cookie when I got my coffee. She literally dragged me into the store. I'm surprised she didn't order the coffee herself! As soon as I did she pointed to the jar of cookies to make sure I got one and headed right to the spot we usually would sit. When I got the goodies and headed over to her I sat down across from her. She immediately pointed to the spot next to her and said "sit here Mama." I guess we know who was in charge at that moment! Though I wasn't intending on getting a coffee treat that day, it didn't take much for me to be persuaded by a cute little blond girl. Our routine won out that day, bit I didn't mind at all.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Morgan "isms"

Morgan's language takes leaps forward at times and at other times leaves us totally puzzled. We are grateful that she seems to be continually making progress, though not without her challenges. Many children with autism are non-verbal, so we feel very fortunate that Morgan communicates as well as she does. Here are a few anecdotes from the lest few days.

On Tuesdays our neighbor's daughter spends some time with us while her mom works. One of her first requests that morning was to watch Tinker Bell. She knows we have all the DVDs and looks forward to watching it at our house. This request came as I was getting Morgan ready to go meet to school bus. I decided to pop the DVD in so the "little" girls had something to watch while I finished with Morgan. As I put the disk in the DVD player the machine told me "disk is dirty". I was in a hurry, so I was annoyed with this. I pulled the disk out to clean it and Morgan came over to me. She put her hand on my shoulder and said "Oh Mama, I know it's frustrated." Of course, she meant "frustrating", but the fact that she was trying to actually console me was amazing! She's never said anything like this, so I was pretty shocked. David was still home at this point and we looked at each other, thinking "Did she really just say that?!" I gave her a hug and thanked her for trying to make me feel better.

The same night we were eating dinner and Morgan had finished her meal and was restless to get down. She absentmindedly started poking at the divider in the leaf table with her (metal) fork. We told her to stop and she told us "No, it's yummy!" Huh? She then tried to lick, or possibly chew on the table and we again told her to stop and that we don't bite the table. Annoyed she looked at David and said "No Daddy, it's yummy and I want to eat your chair, too!" Huh?! (again) Eat the chair? We suspect she was trying to talk back somehow, but the language she used really made no sense. On one hand it's good she is showing these developmentally appropriate reactions, but she struggles with being able to connect that emotion with appropriate language. Hey, one step at a time, right? In the meantime it makes for some funny commentary. Since then, David and I have been using the phrase "It's yummy, I want to eat your chair, too!" just for the funny factor.