Friday, March 8, 2013

My Little Monkey

Even before he could walk, Eli liked to climb. So I started calling him Monkey. This past week, a light bulb went off in Eli's head. He can reach things with a stool, or better yet, my desk chair. Now he's started pushing my chair around the kitchen to reach everything. He uses his whole body to climb up onto the chair - he lays his stomach onto the chair, pulls his body up, then moves around until he's sitting or standing (it's usually standing).

He's used this newly acquired skill to climb onto our kitchen table,

I was only gone for a minute and came back to this. Eli started it. Tali copied.
climb onto my desk, and, most importantly, reach things on the kitchen counter like tomatoes or toys, clean dishes, or breakable things.

Sadly, there is no way that I can think of to child-proof for this. Unless I remove all of the chairs from our kitchen and we start eating on the floor like the Japanese, I just have to keep my eyes open all the time.

Update: About five minutes after I wrote this, Eli climbed up to my desk, grabbed a blue permanent marker and scribbled on my desk! Luckily, Tali saw it before it was too late (I was doing dishes) and helped me clean it. Watching him like a hawk isn't so easy. Maybe I can lock him in Jackson's crate?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Happy Purim!

Today Tali had a Purim parade at school. Each child in her class was instructed to dress up like a character from the story. Of course, all of the girls (except one) chose to dress as a princess. Depending on when you asked her, Tali was either Vashti or Esther. She couldn't make up her mind.


When Eli saw her putting on her crown before we left for school, he insisted on wearing one too. He picked out the ONE crown with writing - it says "Princess." He refused to take it off until the parade was over. It was very funny to see a little boy in a flannel-style shirt and bomber jacket wearing a princess crown.

The parade at school is simply a short walk from one building to another. All of the moms line up with their iPhones to take pictures or video. It's a ridiculous parade but the kids love it. Tali was so excited for it that she talked about it for a week. When she was marching, Tali was so happy to see Eli that she just had to greet him. Eli took that as his cue to join her class on their march into the other building. I'm sure some parents ended up with a picture or two of the back of my head as I chased after Eli. (Sorry!)

Hope your Purim was as eventful as ours!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Ooops...There Go the Pacifiers

So long, pacifiers. You did your job well but it's time to move on.
So by accident, we stopped giving Eli a pacifier yesterday. It was coming soon (two weeks from now, actually), but it wasn't supposed to happen yesterday.

I was at Tali's OT?PT therapy gym when I got a text from Eli's babysitter asking where the pacifiers were. I'd put them all in the steam bag to clean, not realizing there weren't any more in his room. Since she knew I was planning to get rid of it soon, she thought I'd started without telling her. Luckily, he went down for his nap pretty easily. She said he was asking for it, but was mostly okay that he didn't get it. Because of that, H and I decided to go ahead with it and get rid of them for good.

That night was not as fun. He screamed (and I mean screamed) for 45 minutes before finally falling asleep. I learned early the next morning that not only did he not fall asleep with his pacifier, but he was also without his security blanket. He'd thrown it out of the crib in anger during his 45 minute scream. But, he did it. He slept through the night without it.

So we continued. Today the babysitter said he was okay at nap time. Thinking we were through the worst of it, I put him to bed without a peep. But five minutes later it started. This time it was only for 15 minutes and I think he still has his blanket. Tonight, I'm throwing them all in the garbage. It's a bit bittersweet for me. They were a great comfort to him and he's my baby. This is the last time I'll be throwing away pacifiers. Sad.

I'm sorry, Eli. But it's time for them to go. You're growing up (too quickly).

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Therapy, Lots of Therapy

Here we go again. It's been two months (and two days) since I last posted. It's always on my mind, but I never seem to have the time. Besides just daily life with two kids, I'm juggling endless amounts of therapy and therapists. It keeps me busy!
Tali and Eli in the ball pit at Tali's sensory gym.

It all started this summer with Eli but has expanded to Tali who now gets twice the amount of services as Eli. Since Eli was not crawling or even standing and his weight was a big concern, I got him evaluated for physical therapy (PT) and nutritional counseling through the county's Early Intervention (EI) program. This program offers services free of charge to children who qualify. The pediatrician was on the fence as to if he would be approved, but he was! Thanks to H's excellent persuasive skills (that law degree comes in handy), Eli was granted physical therapy three times a week for 45 minutes each time. He was also assigned a nutritional evaluation quarterly. Because of his therapist, he learned to crawl, walk and now run. She's wonderful, even if Eli has been protesting lately because it's hard work and he's lazy.

While Eli was initially getting tested for services, the PT noticed Talia's behavior and sent me down a new path with her. After some private occupational therapy (OT), we decided to get her formally tested through the school district in a program called CPSE, which, like EI, is free for children who qualify. This one, however, is funded by the school district instead of the county. At the beginning of the school year, we learned that she qualified for OT, PT and a SEIT to come to the classroom three times a week. Tali has been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and is labeled "sensory seeker" (click here for a good explanation of what that means - it describes her perfectly). Her various therapies help her learn to how to take control of her sensory seeking issues, how to focus in school and how to interact with others. In addition to all of her therapies, it was strongly recommended that I keep her stimulated with physical activities every day.

Tali before gymnastics class.

This week, Eli started another therapy - speech. He's 19 (almost 20!) months and still doesn't speak. He's had one visit so far and it went very well. But adding this therapy to my schedule is starting to make my head spin. This is my weekly therapy and activity schedule for the kids:

Monday - Tali's SEIT at the school, Eli physical therapy in the morning, Tali stays late at school for a gym class, Eli speech therapy in the afternoon
Tuesday - Eli play group in the morning, Tali OT at home immediately after school, Tali ballet in the afternoon
Wednesday - Tali's SEIT at the school, Eli physical therapy in the morning, Tali stays late at school for a nature class
Thursday - Tali OT and PT back to back at a therapy gym immediately after school
Friday - Tali's SEIT at the school, Eli speech therapy in the morning, Tali gymnastics immediately after school
Saturday - Tali ice skating (H takes her because this southern girl has only strapped on skates once in her life)

And somewhere in this busy schedule, I need to find time to run errands, take care of the house, grocery shop, cook, clean and pay just a little bit of attention to my kids and my husband.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Yesterday at School

Today I was told this brief conversation happened during lunchtime yesterday between Tali and her teacher, Anne. FYI - this teacher is very into food, eating healthy and gardening. She's also Hungarian and the perfect combination of structured and kind. (I think she's fantastic.)

Anne: Wow, Tali, you are eating raw, whole cranberries with your lunch?

Tali: Yes, and they are very sour. You probably wouldn't like them.

Ha! She's so funny!

What I wouldn't give  to experience taste through Tali's mouth just for one day. And she's not even four years old yet.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hurricane Sandy, Day 4

Good news! We received word from NYSEG that we should have power back sometime between Sunday and Wednesday. Today was Thursday so it's not too far off. And even though we have power, we're really stuck at home. The roads are bad and we don't want to get in dangerous situations until we know the power lines and trees are cleared off the ground.

Today was a much easier day. In the morning, I took Tali down the street to the neighbor's house. They have two girls and the older one is our favorite babysitter (but she wasn't home) and three large Standard Poodles. Tali stayed over there to play while Eli had his PT. I took Eli over after and he had a great time with the dogs when they weren't cornering him to lick his face.

The rest of the day went by quickly and Tali actually walked Jackson in the evening instead of sitting in the stroller. As long as the weather is decent, these days will go by quickly.

In addition to Day 4 of being stuck at home with the kids, H has also been home. He's worked from home every day. I've always said that I'd go crazy if H worked from home, but now I have to take it back. It's actually been great. Really great. H spends the day working in his office and we mostly stay out of his way (the kids really want to go in to see him and every once in a while, I let them). When it's time for lunch, he eats with us. When it's time for dinner, he eats with us. If he wants a break, he spends a bit of time with the kids. There's no 3-hour commute for him and the kids get to see him a bit more. We're not in each others space all day but if we need to talk about something, it's easy to do so. For me, it actually works very well. I'll be a bit sad when it's over.

H playing with the kids in the kitchen while taking a break from work.

Trick-or-Treat - The Video

H uploaded a short video last night of the kids at the mall. This was closer to the end of our 45-minute Trick-or-Treat experience. I have to admit, they had great costumes and looked adorable.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurrican Sandy, Day 3

Happy Halloween! We've been holed up in the house for quite a few days now but we finally made it out today. Thankfully.

This morning, I took Jackson and the kids (in the double stroller!) out on a walk. We ended up running in to two different neighbors (who live two houses away from each other and barely even know each other - my street is so not friendly). So our little walk turned into a 45-minute walk.

We got home, played in the playroom, had lunch and then naps. Eli barely napped and Tali didn't. When they woke up, it was time to Trick or Treat! Since our town was still without power, we decided to take the kids to a mall in Connecticut about 40 minutes away. Since Tali doesn't really remember Halloween from last year, it was fine. They had a great time and Tali got a ton of compliments on her costume. Some even stopped her to take her picture because they thought she was so cute.

We got home, the took a bath, we ate dinner and then they went to bed. All in all, a much more manageable day.

Unfortunately, the damage is so bad out there that I'm not really planning to drive anywhere else anytime soon. The main road off of our street is full of downed trees and power lines. Some lines are touching the ground. Scary and dangerous. I'd rather go crazy at home. I can't believe I just said that.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy, Day 2

We were lucky. Very lucky. We woke up this morning to some minor damage - a few fallen trees, a few broken parts of barn fencing, minor damage to the barn, and the trampoline flew across our property. There was no damage to our house. And our generator is working beautifully. But even though the majority of the storm was over, it still rained most of the day. So, we stayed inside.

I gave the kids another pajama day. And I wore sweatpants (yes, I wore sweatpants) all day. This morning, we played in the playroom while H cleared a tree blocking the road and then got his work done. The kids had fun playing by themselves for a bit and then we had a ball party. We took out all the balls (we have a lot) and played various games for an hour.

Eli in his new favorite spot - on top of the bench to look out the window. He has to climb into his wagon and then onto the rail to get up on the bench. He's quite good at it now.
Tali playing dress-up.
Inside the toy cabinet.
Tali playing dress-up.
The rest of the day was more of the same. The kids had fun playing around the house. We tried to entertain them when we could. They each got a new toy today from our secret toy stash (various birthday/Hanukkah gifts that we've put aside and give them throughout the year when we need to). They took naps. We ate a hot lunch (grilled cheese with apples) and dinner (cauliflower macaroni and cheese) and I regularly, quietly thanked H and everyone involved for the generator. It really makes such a difference. I can't imagine how we'd be doing without it.

Now if only someone would come and entertain the kids for a bit. I have no idea when Tali will actually go back to school (it's estimated that it'll be 10 days - 2 weeks, at least, until we get power back and right now only emergency personnel are allowed to drive on the roads) and I need a bit of a break. We're all going to go stir crazy before this is over. I can see it now.

Fallen trees and a bit of the barn.

Some broken fence in the lower paddock.

Some of the damage to the barn. The door is off it's track due to the winds from the storm.

This is ONE tree that fell. It was all the way in the street but H spent a lot of time this morning clearing it from the road.

Another view of the fallen trees in the back near the barn. Cool to see the whole tree, roots and all, simply knocked over.

Tali's trampoline. All the way down at the bottom of our property. She was a little upset when she saw this.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy, Day One

Today was the first day of Hurricane Sandy. It went pretty much as I expected.

I let Tali stay in her pajamas all day, as a special treat. I also bought some Tootsie Rolls at the grocery store yesterday since they both love them. It's a special Hurricane Sandy treat and they got two today. Tali was very good most of the day. She played quietly by herself, mostly with her dolls and blocks.

Taking after her Aunt Cara.

Another view of Tali's dolls in their little town.

Eli was actually the difficult one today. He wanted to get into everything that he shouldn't: the fireplace tools, Jackson's crate, the artwork, my laptop, etc. The best was to keep him in the family so that's where we played for most of the day. 

The storm didn't really hit us until the afternoon and we lost power around 6:00 p.m.  There were a few blackouts before the power went out for good. I think I was more worried about the kids being scared than they were actually scared. But I'm not sure that they'll actually sleep through the night tonight.

The biggest news is that we have a generator. So, we are really fine. I feel lucky that we have one. It's honestly some of the best money we've ever spent.

The winds have picked up as the night has gone on. But here is a sample of what it looked like around 8:30 p.m.