Thursday, April 14, 2016

Ode to a Car Seat

My third and final baby has outgrown this infant car seat. 

Big man weighed in at 21 lbs 7 oz at his doctor's appointment last week and the seat only goes up to 22 lbs. So, while the baby in question was taking his morning nap, I swapped around and installed new car seats. I came back inside and went to pick this up this old piece of plastic to send it on it's merry "Konmari" way.
But this piece of plastic fought back! Out of nowhere, my heartstrings got tangled up in that 5-point-harness and shot 70 mph down memory lane. 

I saw Kevin, the human swing, fist closed tight around the Graco handle, rocking a baby to sleep while we talked with people after a dinner at his parents' house.

I saw Alexander, all strapped in for a road trip. He had been crying, but I finally remembered to put on Uncle Eric's demo CD and now he was quiet and listening intently. 

I saw me and Kevin, sitting on a couch, taking turns using our feet and hands to rock the sleeping baby in the carrier on the floor. 

I saw myself, arm through the handle, twisting my body back and forth to rock a baby while I chatted with friends after book club had been "over" for 20 minutes. 

I saw Jacob, latched onto the stroller, cruising through the airport with Alexander in the seat in front of him.

I saw Christopher, rear-facing in the van, smiling and giggling at Jacob singing in the backseat. 

This carrier brought all 3 boys home from the hospital, It has held my babies and kept them safe for almost 9 years. It's been a valiant little trouper. It's worn and old and it's time has come. But I'm not sorry to cry just a little. I have so much joy to look back on and this piece of plastic was certainly in the frame. 

Friday, April 8, 2016

DIY Anti-strip Back Zip Jumpsuit

A few days ago Alexander was suffering from a rash and he was taking off all his clothes so he could scratch and wipe off all the prescription cream we'd put on him. An online search for an adaptive clothing solution didn't yield the options I was hoping for. I looked at onesies, but I really wanted something with shorts to it; something that came further down his leg to really circumvent the scratching. I didn't want anything really "long johns-y" or heavy though, because we live in Georgia and it's already getting warm here in April. Finally, I hit on a search term combination that brought me to The Adaptive Clothing Showroom and their "Children's Back Zipper One-Piece Onesies-Like Underwear"

It's got all the right features for my situation - except - the price. Now, I realize $20 isn't terribly bad for a utility garment like this, but add in the shipping cost AND the time I was going to have to wait for it to get here if I didn't ante up another $25 for Priority Mail, and it just wasn't for me. I started looking really closely at the design, to see if I could find a way to sew something like this with what I had on hand at home. I had fabric, I even had snaps and zippers (which would be a pain to install, but hey). Then it hit me.

The Christmas Footsie Pajamas! I could cut up the Christmas Footsie Pajamas!

My two oldest kids don't usually wear footsie pajamas, but I get them fun new PJ's every Christmas and last year was a footsie pajama year. I racked my brain and realized I'd put the kids' winter clothes in Christopher's (the 8 month old) closet. He was already in bed for the night, but I snuck into his room with my iPhone flashlight and dug those PJ's out! 

Upon closer inspection, Alexander's PJ's wouldn't work because fleece is not the best warm weather wear, and the zipper went all the way down to the ankle. But Jacob's! 

Jacob's PJ's were perfect. A beautiful cotton jersey material. Zipper only half way down the leg. Covered in Santa Clauses and Christmas Trees but who cares about that?? I chopped those arms and legs off and had Alexander step into it with the zipper in the back. Zipped that baby up and Bam! An Anti-strip/Anti-scratch jumpsuit better than anything I found online! 

And guess what else? He LOVES the thing. I was worried that the neckline would bother him since I put it on backwards, but it hasn't fazed him a bit. He also seems to really enjoy the Christmas pattern on it. His rash is almost totally better and the past two nights, he's brought me the jumpsuit to put on him when it's time for bed.

So! If you're on the hunt for a Back Zipper One-Piece "Onesies-Like" anti-strip garment, and you'd maybe like to save a little money, here's what you need. 

1 or more pairs of 

I recommend the cotton (jersey knit type) material and the Leveret brand item for the following reasons -

- Cotton is cool and light and sensory friendly

- Jersey knit won't really fray or unravel, so you don't have to hem anything. You just cut the arms off at the length you want, and cut the legs off about half an inch (or more if you want) under the end of the zipper.

- The knit allows for give and stretch. Jacob's PJs were a 4T and they fit Alexander (who is 43 lbs) with room to grow. He could probably even wear a size 3T since the legs are cut off and length isn't as important.

- Another perk of the knit giving and stretching is the collar. I mentioned above that I was worried the neckline would bother him because being on backwards makes it extra high. The knit has allowed the neckline to naturally shift forward and away from his throat (where it would definitely bug the heck
out of him.)

- The zipper on the particular item I linked to above only goes part way down the leg. I cut the leg off about half an inch under the end of the zipper and it worked great. Most other brands I've looked at in toddler sizes have the zipper all the way down to the ankle. You could use something like that, but you'd have to know how to shorten and reinforce a zipper (which I do know how to do, but it's a pain).

- I've spent a lot of time hunting for sleep n play's (another name for footsie PJs) for Christopher lately so I can tell you that Leveret is the 2nd least expensive option for sizes larger than 6-9 months.

- If you have an Amazon Prime membership, this item qualifies for Free 2-day shipping. (Free and quick is my favorite!)

Hopefully this idea helps other families in similar situations. Gotta keep our kids comfy! 
Luck and Love,

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Photo Dump for Papa

My dad has a facebook account but never ever gets on there. I forget this, so I forget that I need to keep posting to my blog or directly sending him pictures if I want him to see them. So here is a post of how long Alexander's hair has gotten since you (Dad) were here in the summer.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Scrolling (An ABA terms lesson)

In scrolling the student emits a correctly formed topography, in other words, the student uses a well formed vocal word or sign, but the topography emitted is not the one that would usually control the specific reinforcer. The error pattern is one in which the child says words or uses signs that in the past have resulted in the delivery of reinforcers but are not the correct word for the particular item they want at the time. Most often in scrolling, multiple error responses are emitted in a sequential fashion which may include the correct topography. It is almost as if the student is fishing for the correct response. 
- Mand Training - Pennsylvania Dept. of Education 

And now in English -
Scrolling is when a child uses the wrong word or multiple extra words when trying to ask for something. This usually happens part way into therapy, when the child starts to get the basic concept that you expect them to do something (sign, speak, tap dance??) in order to get what they want but before they have enough practice to be able to recall the correct word/sign when they want it. So they pull up the word or words that have gotten them the most success in the past. It's not the best case scenario, but it's a step in the right direction. It can also be cute as heck.

At the moment we're focusing more on PECs with Alexander and moving directly from PECs to vocals but for a while he was using a handful of signs pretty consistently. His main ones were candy, show, car and drink. And just about any time he wanted a drink, he'd start at the beginning of that list, with the intent to work his way through. Our protocol was to stop him and help him get it right but his little hand jive was pretty adorable. (And it was the best feeling to see him trying.)

When Jacob first started saying "goodnight" he started off by just saying "t" and then, later, "night, night." We were so happy about it, though, that he started saying "t" for everything, because he thought it was the magic sound to get our attention (which, let's be honest, it pretty much was - what sound is sweeter than your child asking to go to bed?) It was fairly amusing teaching him to differentiate the request for "night, night" from the requests for candy, milk, etc. One or two experiences of being lead to his room instead of handed an m&m and he figured it out quick.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Itty Bitty Olympians

Alexander's special education class took part in our county's special olympics last Friday. Alexander was an "athlete in training", I volunteered to run a station, and Kevin, Jacob, and "Beepaw" (Kevin's dad) came to play, too. All the athletes and ait's were assigned a buddy from the high school to help them participate in the events (and Alexander's was great!), and Alexander had our full entourage following him around most of the time. The ait's got their very own "Itty Bitty Olympics" to do and here are our boys at a couple of the stations.
Alexander thought we were thoroughly inefficient to stand back and try to throw the balls at the target. He demonstrated the practical approach by walking up to the bullseye to place his "dart."

Later we took the boys to the bounce houses, which of course they would have stayed at forever if we let them.

Then I insisted on attempting to get the boys' faces painted. I had the girl do a heart on my cheek while the boys watched and Alexander thought it was so cool, he sat perfectly still while she painted his sun.
Jacob reached up and smeared his before it dried but he sat still while it was going on, too.
Such a great day! We love our itty bitty boys!