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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Lots of new things

Aidan had her first day at her new school yesterday. They said she did well and she came home happy and full of energy. We had a really great evening together. Aidan even came home with a "Monday folder" that contains information about what she will be working on this week and information sheets for Christianne and me to fill out. We had to sign the folder and send it back today. It really is like being in school! This week, Aidan's class will be working on recognizing the letter "A", the color red, and circles. She had music class yesterday and I think today is library time. Unfortunately, we had a very tearful drop off this morning. She stopped crying about 5 seconds after I walked out the door and looked like she was recovering when I peeked in. Hopefully, it will get easier. The lead teacher ("Gran") seems to want us to sneak off while she distracts Aidan. We have a policy of always saying good-bye. It leads to more tears in the short run sometimes, but how awful for a child to confidently go off to play, thinking their parent is still there, only to turn around for a hug or encouragement and find them gone. That just seems not so good. So, we are still working out the kinks.

Aidan's speech has just exploded in the last few days. She is regularly using short sentences and communicating much more effectively. It was like she woke up one morning and it all just started to click. It really is fun to engage with her in the new way.

We are working on using the potty. She got a brand new Elmo potty for her birthday (early) and pull-ups. We haven't had anything happen in the potty yet, but we are making progress with spending time sitting on it.

Aidan is still struggling with a little biting. She's bitten me twice in 2 days. Last night she did it again and she got sent to time out. After time out is over, I always go in and ask her why she got sent to time out. Not that I really expect her to be able to answer that question, but I want her to get used to the expectation that she think about what she did (as she becomes developmentally able to do this). Last night, I went in and asked the question and Aidan replied, "I bite." I about fell over. We talked about no biting and using words when mad. Just another sign of her growth and development.

She had a great time with her birthday party on Saturday. We had 7 kids over and spent most of the time in the backyard playing with water toys. Later, she played in the sandbox with her wet bathing suit. Fun times! It was really a wonderful time for everyone. I'll get some pictures up.

Friday, August 22, 2008

New School

Well, Aidan will start her new school on Monday. It seems like a very fast transition, but we didn't want her to start a new room at her old school, be there a week, and then start a whole new school. Hopefully, she won't miss getting to say good-bye too much. She has been in such a mood this week. I hope something new and stimulating will help. Her new teacher was there this morning when I dropped off the application and gave me a big hug when she heard we would be joining the school. I hope that bodes well.

Oh, I forgot to say that Leprosy is spreading through the Steve colony. Two more have been stricken with the disease. One required surgical intervention to first remove the decaying nose and then suture the area to prevent Steve's brains from leaking out. The other is in the process of losing his nose. All told, 3 Steves are now ailing, but staying strong for Aidan, who is hugging everything in sight and begging for her pacifier. Poor baby needs some soothing!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Biting and Compassion

Well, our almost-two-year old, sweet Aidan, decided that, since she's almost 2 and full of big emotions and a little overwhelmed by it all, she would take up biting. I thought we might skate through with no biting. I guess not.

Wednesday I picked her up and her teacher told me that she had bitten at least one other child that day. Her teacher attributed it to boredom and feeling frustrated because of that. She got sent to the office for an official time out. Not just an in the room time out, but an in the school office time out. Our little girl, sent to the principle's office already.

So, Christianne and I didn't shame Aidan, but we did talk about "we don't bite" and "no biting." And I talked with Aidan about using her words and going to her teacher and saying "help" (or as Aidan says, "elp!" if she got frustrated.

Today, Christianne picked her up and the teacher said she had good news and bad news. The good news is that Aidan did not bite any other children today. The bad news is that Aidan bit herself twice. Once on each hand during various bouts of frustration with other children.

Clearly, she got the message that biting others is not acceptable. And, her feeling was so big she had to do something with it. (I have to say the psychologist in me who has worked with a lot of people who self-injure died a little even at the thought of Aidan hurting herself in this fairly normal way. I did refrain from dialing my friend who is a play therapist for a panic consultation.)

Tonight, we role played with Aidan things she can do when she's mad her frustrated. We worked on saying "Help!" as loud as she can. We also worked on wiggling her whole body when she has a big feeling she doesn't know what to do with. Christianne and I pretended to be fighting over a toy and when one of us yelled help, the other would stop. Then we pretended to fight with Aidan for the toy and coached her to say "help," at which point the other one would come in a negotiate a compromise. Hopefully it will start to transfer and no one, Aidan included, will be bitten.

While we were playing, Aidan got a little wound up and hit me in the face with a beaded hat. It hurt and I played it up a little to make the point. Aidan apologized and gave me a kiss. But here's the really compassionate, sweet part: Of her own volition, she left the room and went to the kitchen where we keep the Puppy Patch (cold pack for owahs) in the fridge. She came back asking for help, got me up, too me to the kitchen, said "Doggie, owah, help" (or some combination of that) had me open the fridge and get out the puppy patch. I handed it to her and she put it on my owah. It was so sweet. I picked her up and gave her a big hug and told her own proud I was of her for being so thoughtful and sweet. It is really great to see her developing the ability to care about others.

In other news, we are signing Aidan up for a new school. It looks like she could start in the next week or so. Her current school has been great in many ways, but is really going through a transition time and the school is suffering growing pains. In a couple years, things might be different, but Aidan really needs some more challenge and stimulation and we just aren't seeing it happen at her current school. Her new school is strong on structure and focus, but also seemed really loving and when I told them her first sentence was "I don't want that" they responded "We love self-esteem here!" I really hope they will nurture her soul as well as her mind. It feels like such a big decision to make. We both want what is best for Aidan and the known always feels safer than the unknown, but I think it will be a good move. If you want to check out the school, it is here.

Time to do a little cleaning and go to bed. Hopefully, Aidan isn't sleeping under her pillow or without her diaper tonight.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

"Oh gosh" "Oh well" and Pictures

Aidan has adopted two new phrases of late. The first one is "Oh gosh." The second is "Oh well." Both are very cute. Her other big accomplishment today was that she asked to walk at the grocery store and she walked almost the whole time (with occasional hugs) but even more impressive is that she 1) stayed with me, 2) when I told her to "freeze" she stopped immediately (and froze in place - very cute), and 3) did not pull a single thing off the shelves. I was very impressed with her behavior and told her several times how proud I was of the way she behaved. She also walked through the store singing "Happy Birthday Aidan" at the top of her little lungs (or Twinkle, twinkle little star). We will work on appropriate vocal decorum next.

And here a few pictures. Sorry it has taken me so long to update them.

In her princess dress:


Aidan, the adventurous eater:



Hawaiian day outfit for school (she chose the shoes):


Aidan picks out her own clothes for school:


We went out to dinner to celebrate Aunt Mary's birthday. Aidan had a long day and it was late. She decided she needed a little personal space so she set this up all by herself and took time to be quiet on her own. Isn't it great to see her listening to that little voice inside her? Fortunately, the restaurant wasn't very busy so she could do this:


Aidan was playing with a mixing bowl. I told her that when she was little, she used to sit in it. So, she tried again:


This is her new "Blue's Clues" chair. She drags it all over the house to sit in it:


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Cooperation Station

I know I've been posting lots of updates about things Aidan is accomplishing, but I am just amazed at what she is learning day by day and how she is developing. Every day there is something new. Yesterday, it was her blossoming social skills that amazed me.

After school, Aidan and her friend Ava were playing on the playground. They have these little sit and ride toys out there (cars and trucks and things). Both girls wanted to play with the same toy. After a little bit of help from me and from Ava's dad, the two actually started playing with the toy together. They took turns, with one riding and the other pushing and were able to take turns with almost no prompting from the adults. Every once in a while a little reminder to "use your words and talk about it" was needed, but they played well together for probably 20 minutes or more. It was great! I'm sad that Ava may be moving to a new school soon. She and Aidan are good friends and we like her parents a lot too.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Big weekend and proud moments

Aidan had a very big weekend this past Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was our usual of Little Gym and swimming. We then rushed home for a nap (I had planned 2 hours, Aidan chose 1.25 hours), a late lunch, and then off to a birthday party for one of her Little Gym classmates who just turned 2. More playing in the gym, cake, goldfish pretzels, and juice. Then more playing, balloons, and gift bags, and then home.

Sunday, we had church in the morning and then out to brunch. Home for a nap (2 hours this time) and then back to church for the 5:30 service because we then had to go out to a birthday dinner for Aunt Mary.

Here's one proud moment:

Aidan attended the entire 5:30 services (about 45 minutes) and was so good. We sat in the back for the first part of the service and she colored and did quiet things. The peace came just in time, as she needed a break from being quiet and contained. Then, for the liturgy of the table, we all stand in a circle around the altar. Aidan took a book (a fish book, which was appropriate as the Gospel was the Feeding of the 5000) and stood up on the altar step, quietly looking at her book. She was quiet the whole time, except when Christianne was cleaning up the altar after communion. After Christianne consumed the last of the consecrated wine, Aidan piped up, "All gone!" Both of us told Aidan how proud we were of her and what a big girl she was to have behaved so well in church.

Then we all went to dinner. Aidan did well with the bag of toys I brought and through the consumption of a very large plate of guacamole. She then decided she was tired to sitting in the high chair. Christianne tried to get Aidan to sit with her, but Aidan would have none of it. We had a booth on one side of the table and I gave Aidan an activity to do there and then gave her a blanket and Steve. It quickly became clear that what Aidan needed was some quiet alone time. Fortunately, the restaurant wasn't packed and there was an empty table next to us. Aidan took her blanket, spread it on the ground, got Steve, got her books, got her milk, and arranged everything just so and then snuggled on her blanket. She ended up sitting on her blanket reading her books and hugging Steve. Her cousin Andrew eventually sat on the floor and read with her. That was one sweet picture. We were proud of Aidan for identifying what she needed and making it happen.

Oh, and Aidan's learning to tell happy, sad, and mad faces apart (we have a book and we've been practicing. She's getting pretty good.


The other day, Aidan and I were having a snack between Little Gym and swimming lessons. She was happily eating her snack of crackers and smooshed fruit. I was having my energy bar. Aidan comes up to me with her bowl of crackers, holds the bowl out to me and with big eyes says:


How sweet is that?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

A bunch of random things - with pictures!

From the "It is all in how you ask" category:

Aidan's developmental questionnaire has this item on it, "With your child watching you, line of 4 blocks in a row. Does your child copy you and line up 4 blocks?"

So, for a couple of months, I've been lining up 4 blocks, giving Aidan 4 blocks, and asking her if she can copy me. The resounding response? "NO."

I did it the other day and she looked at my line of blocks and said, "Choo-choo." I said, "Aidan, can you make a train like mine?"

That girl sure can line up 4 blocks.

(I wonder if she has to pick out 4 blocks or it is OK that I gave her the maximum amount she could use - I hate that questionnaire.)


The other night, Aidan and I got home early and went to play with her toys. This lead to many train creations out of blocks and then lots of choo-choo time. At one point while we were playing, Aidan grabbed my glasses off my face. She knows this is a no-no. I tried to get them back, but she was very insistent. So, I decided to watch and see what she wanted to do. She carefully folded up my glasses and put the out of the way from where we were playing, saying, "Right there."

And then she came and tackled me.

A great game of rough-housing ensued and we had a great time playing together. I figured out from the context that she wasn't taking my glasses to take them, but she took them because she wanted to wrestle and she knows that I take my glasses off before we play like that so no one gets hurt. Today at swimming lessons, she did a similar thing, taking my glasses off and putting them on the side of the pool so she could splash me in the face.

Am I a geeky mother to think that is pretty amazing for a 23 month old?

Here are some pictures of our fun:


I don't know why she did this, but she had fun and was very intent on it:


This is what happens after Aidan helps with her laundry:



During the same play session, Aidan initiated, with no prompting from me, our "boogity, boogity, boogity, boo!" game (see June's vacation/update post for explanation of this game). It used to be that I would have to start it. Now, she can apparently remember it, symbolize it in her mind, and choose to act on it. It is amazing to see her theory of mind develop. (Only a psychologist mother would use the phrase "theory of mind" in her child's blog/baby book.)



Today, at the Little Gym, Aidan did a somersault all by herself - 3 or 4 times.


Aidan has shown in small ways in the past that she can have compassion for others who are hurting or sad (usually with a little prompting). Today, she demonstrated her ability to be absolutely horrified at another person's (or stuffed mouse's) plight. Her little mouse Steve has a button nose. (You may remember that we have 5 Steves so we are never without one.) Aidan likes to chew on Steve's nose. Today, Steve developed leprosy and his nose fell off. Aidan was distraught beyond belief. She held him and kissed him, and said, "oh no" over and over. She finally calmed when I told her that he would be OK, but his nose would never be the same. She's given him extra TLC today. She was mightily confused when I handed her another Steve later in the day and he had a full nose. Poor kid's going to have impair reality testing and need therapy.

Steve before:


Steve after being stricken with leprosy:



Bedtime is going better. The books seem to be good incentives and last night she earned all 5 and kept all 5. She's also putting herself to sleep with less crying and carrying on, which is good. Once she gets that down, maybe we'll work on a big girl bed.

What a 23 month old needs in order to go to sleep:


(That would be a pillow, 3 blankets, sippy cup, hand crochetted hat, and at least 7 stuffed animals.)


She's also showing interest in using the potty. She asks to sit on it about once a day now. After she moves to her next class (August 25th), we'll start working more intentionally on it. Until then there is no real point because they won't do it at school until they are 2.


Swimming lessons are going very well. Aidan loves them!

Those are the major updates.