29 August 2011

Audrey's Adventures in Hair

Saturday morning was a beautiful morning.  We got up and ate breakfast together and then Adam left to help a family in our neighborhood move.  It was about that time, that I noticed the mountain of dishes in the sink, which was starting to spill onto the cupboard; so I put on Dora the Explorer to entertain Audrey for a bit while I did some dishes.  Luke was content to play in the kitchen - alternating between rearranging the canned goods, reorganizing the tupperware cupboard, and climbing into and out of his high chair.  Everything was going well.  Just as I finished wiping down the counter-tops, silently congratulating myself on being such a productive wife and mother, I noticed that I hadn't heard Audrey talking to Dora that much.  It had been awfully quiet for a few minutes.  Most mothers out there will know that (especially with young kids) that is usually not a good sign!  I went downstairs to find Audrey safe.  Sitting next to her pair of kid scissors and a pile of her cute hair - no longer attached to her head!

(This is what I call Audrey's "Brave Face" - 
the one she uses whenever she is sad or hurt but is trying really hard not to let it show.)

She knew that she should not have done that.  I've told her many times that she isn't allowed to cut her own hair, and that she can only use scissors if mom or dad is with her.  The last few days I've been working on some scrapbooks and she's had a lot of fun cutting paper and Adam showed her how to make snowflakes on Friday night.  We've been having fun with scissors and I guess the temptation was simply too great for her to resist having a go at her hair - since I was occupied with the dishes for a few minutes.

The damage really wasn't too bad.  She just cut a portion on the left side, just above her ear.  It could've been much worse.

(The little scratch on her neck was not done by scissors, but by Luke's too-long fingernails; 
that and play wrestling do not make a good combination.)

Adam and I had a long discussion about what we should do to fix it.  We talked about taking her to a salon and having it cut.  But I haven't been very impressed with professional haircuts for Audrey, both times that we've taken her I've left feeling like I could've done just as well and for free!  

...But with this, I was worried if I didn't do a very good job, then there would be even less for the salon to work with to make a cute hairstyle.

So, we took her to the Regis Salon in the mall.

She had a booster seat and a fun little Zebra cape to wear.  (Fun fact:  the girl who is cutting her hair is Stephanie, who I've been going to for the last 2+ years.)

I told Stephanie to just give Audrey a cute, slightly A-line cut.  Audrey was a champ in the chair - she was really still and patient and did a good job.

I think it turned out really cute!

After the hair cut we went to Claire's and got some cute clips (for cheap!) and that seemed to brighten her mood significantly.

Audrey was quite the little hit at church - she got so many compliments on her new hair cut!  I could tell that she really liked being told how darling it looks!

Now, you may have noticed the title of this post is "Audrey's Adventures in Hair"... plural.  I've told you about the first one.

Our second one happened just about an hour ago.

Adam was online (at the kitchen table) doing something for school.  I was putting Luke down for his nap.  Where was Audrey, you ask?

Audrey was downstairs...

you guessed it... cutting her hair!

This time we didn't find her.  She came upstairs and said, "Do you like my new hair cut?"

I was so confused.  I put the scissors way out of reach, I'd thought.  But Audrey had managed to climb to the top shelf of the bookshelf to retrieve the scissors.

This time she'd done more significant damage!  She cut pretty close to her scalp in a couple of places - again on her left side (must be because she's right-handed).

This time I decided that I would just do my best to fix it.  And hope that her hair grows fast!

And this is what we ended up with:

I tried to blend what she'd done and cut around her ear to try and make it look like this style was done on purpose!

And I left her right side alone. So, it's a cute little asymmetrical pixie/bob hair cut.  Actually, in the world of hair I hear this is all the rage right now.  It's just not too often that you see it on a 3 year old.

Audrey is on the cutting edge of hair fashion right now.

Not too many people can pull that hair style off, but Audrey is definitely one of them!

(I have to go now to find a better, more Audrey-proof hiding place for all the scissors in our house!)

25 August 2011

More Than Words

This is our cute boy, Lucas.  (Or Yucas to Audrey.)

(I love the overbite smile!)

He just recently turned 2 years old.  There are so many things that I love about this kid.  He is a lot of fun.  He loves to laugh and play - he especially likes chase games and tickle games and other physical, interactive games.  He is very affectionate and sweet-natured.  He loves hugs and cuddle time - especially if there is a pair of eyebrows within reach.  Something about the soft texture, he loves.  He has always been pretty cautious and deliberate in his physical manipulations.  For example, he knew how to walk long before he stopped cruising (holding on to something while walking).  So, when he finally did let go and began to walk all on his own, he was super stable and sure on his feet.  He has always been a fairly quiet baby/toddler.  Not too loud or boisterous (although he loves when we are), he seems content to just play and interact in quiet ways.  His temperament is naturally laid back, not very demanding or high maintenance.  He's a good, sweet kid.  As with his motor skills - walking on his own when he was ready - we've been content with him beginning to talk when he's ready, too.  Because, while he still only says a few words, some of the time, he is a very effective communicator.  He makes his intentions clear and that has kept any frustration levels (for all of us) to a minimum.  He uses lots of nonverbal strategies to make his meaning clear, as well as incorporating gestures and eye contact and body language.

All of this isn't to say that we haven't been working with him.  A few months ago, we started meeting with a local Early Intervention program that specializes in working with children who are under the ago of 3 that are experiencing any delays.  They have given us lots of ideas of how to interact with Luke that will encourage him to increase his communication skills, ways to focus on language and bring that out in him.  It's been great.  We've really learned a lot.

And Luke has made strides in small, but significant ways.  He is still pretty quiet though.  And more and more, I am beginning to think that he will just do it when he is ready.  It may be that his laid back and sweet temperament, coupled with his cautious, deliberate nature has combined to create a very sensitive, quiet kid.

(Being shy with the camera.)

Participating in the Early Intervention program has been good for us.  About a month ago, we began an additional class that this same program had recommended to us.  It's a class that was created by a program based in Canada, called the Hanen Centre.  And the class is called More Than Words.  It is actually specifically designed to help children who are on the Autism Spectrum, learn how to more effectively communicate.  While Luke doesn't fit into that category, the Speech-Language Pathologist that leads the class says that all of the techniques that you learn in the class are just as effective with kids who are only experiencing a delay in their speech-language skills.  The approach that you use with kids who are on the spectrum is the same that you would use with kids who are just behind in their skills.  The goal for both is to help catch them up to their "normal" or "average" peers.

(I do have to say that there is nothing "average" about our Lucas.  
That sounds biased but it's not.  Just the truth!)

So, I go to the More Than Words classes every Tuesday night for three hours each session.  It's an eight week course.  I've really learned a lot.  It's very naturalistic and easily adapted to fit your particular situation.  I'm excited to see what kind of progress we will continue to see as the class goes on.

One side effect of being a part of this class, is I keep getting a song stuck in my head.  You can probably guess what song I am talking about.  It's actually not that bad that I get it stuck in my head, because I do like the song.  It would be much worse if it was something that I thought was really annoying or tiresome.  Here's the you tube video for your listening enjoyment.

I love the harmony on that song!  Admittedly, I have always been attracted to music that is kind of pared down and simple - letting the music speak for itself without a bunch of production gimmicks.  Because most of the time, that is what it is - a gimmick.  So, two guys with only a guitar and their harmonized voices is great with me.  I like the message too.  How often do we say "I love you" to those around us but then treat them in a way that might put that love in doubt?  It's a worthwhile question - what would you say if I took those words away?  You might have to prove your love through your actions instead of just mere words.

So, every Tuesday (or any day when I think about the More Than Words class, I find myself singing or humming the More Than Words song.  It's kind of funny.

Another funny thing about the More Than Words class was something that Audrey said last week when Adam brought her along to pick me up when the class was over.  I guess as they pulled into the parking space in front of the building, Audrey said, "Mom's at the dentist?"  (The building does kind of look like one of those nondescript, could be just about anything kind of a building.)  And Adam said, "No.  She is in a class that will help us learn how to help Luke learn how to talk."  And then Audrey said, "Oh.  Yeah, Luke needs to learn how to talk... but he also needs to learn how to listen."

We can't stop laughing about it either.  Every time I think about that little exchange (which Adam told me about right when I got into the car that night) I have to smile and chuckle to myself at her funny cleverness.

We have really been blessed in the Kid Department.  I couldn't have asked for two better kids.  Both of them are so different and unique and special.  They bring so much joy and fun into our lives.

We are lucky indeed to have stewardship over such amazing little people.

23 August 2011

Our Favorite New Writer

The other day, I wanted to take a few pictures with my girl.  So we did.

We got the smile but not the eye-contact with the camera.  So we tried again.

I love this one.

Then I thought I'd capture a more true to life portrait.  Audrey sucks her thumb.

And we're ok with it.

For now.

But of all the pictures we took that day, this next one is my favorite.  I love Audrey's expression.  It makes me smile.  It cracks me up.  I love it.  (I don't so much love me in this picture; but you win some, you lose some.  That's just how it is.)

After we took these pictures Audrey wanted to practice writing her name.  A couple of months ago, I got a big Preschool workbook that has all these practice pages for writing letters and numbers, drawing shapes and learning colors and counting, etc.  And she has really loved doing all of the lessons - we try to work on a few pages every day.  She's just recently started to ask to write her name.  So, usually I write the letters of her name in dots and she connects the dots and then does free-hand copying after that.  She really likes it.  It's fun to see her get so excited about being able to write her own name.  Here's one of the first pages with her name.  She does really well... then it kind of degenerates a bit toward the bottom of the page - but great for a beginner, I think.

One more (kind of funny) thing.  A few days ago, my name was written on something (I don't remember what) and Audrey saw it and while pointing to each letter, she said:  "M for Mom, A for Audrey, N for Nest, D for Dad, and Y for Yucas."  Cute, huh?  What's funny about it, though, is that my name is spelled with an I. So, first she mistook the I for a Y; and then because she still doesn't make the L sound for Ls, Lucas is still Yucas.  So actually, phonetically, she is quite right.

Man, I love that kid.

16 August 2011

They Go Together, Too

A couple of weeks ago, I took the kids to my sister's house for a visit.  We left in the morning for the two-ish hour drive and spent the afternoon enjoying each other.  Audrey and Talea were busy jumping on the big trampoline, playing dolls in Talea's room, running around outside, eating pizza for lunch, and swinging on the tire swing.  They have so much fun together!  Dawnette and I were busy talking while trying to keep Luke out of trouble - which is no small task.

Our two little girls really love each other.  Dawnette's older daughter, McKayla, was also in on the fun - she's always so good about playing with Talea and Audrey, and watching out for Luke, too.  (She's there in the picture above, in the background with Luke.)  So I told her to come and get in the picture with Talea and Audrey.

At one point, Talea got some dress up clothes on and needed help with the zipper.  I was shocked when I recognized this particular dress.  I looked at Dawnette, eyes bulging in disbelief, and said "Is that...?!"  And she said, "Yep."  And it was.  The dress Talea put on was a dress that I wore when I was her age.  And Megan did too.  I'm not certain if Dawnette did as well... but I assume so.

The multi-generational dress:
On Talea:

On Megan, circa 1983:

And on me, circa 1984:

It was a fun day.  

I'm so glad for good family relationships.  I know I am lucky to get along so well with my siblings and parents - there really is very little discord in our family.  And I am glad of it.  I hope that I can do the same for Audrey and Luke, that the (relative) harmony of their young lives can transfer to mutual respect and affection into their later lives.  

I'm so thankful that, no matter what, I have a sister on each side of me to help bear my burdens, to share my excitement, to just be a part of my life - come what may.  

Because the best thing in my life is having my sisters play double duty as my best friends.    

04 August 2011

They Go Together

First of all, what does this picture remind you of?

When I snapped it, it kind of reminded me of those Look n Find books.

You know, like "Where's Waldo?"

For the last little while, Audrey has claimed to be scared of her room or her bed or just bedtime in general.  We think that it's most likely just a delay tactic... but that doesn't mean we don't treat it with sensitivity and patience.  But we've also tried to think of things that we can do that will help bedtime go smoother.  So, Adam and I were talking about when we were kids and what helped us.  Adam was afraid of the dark.  I don't remember feeling afraid of the dark, but I do remember some nights feeling more scared than others and on those nights I would have my sister, Megan (we shared a room) pile all of my stuffed animals and dolls all around my head and torso, while I laid in bed.  There would be so many that you really could only see my face poking through the many other face of all the animals and dolls.  I always felt a little more secure with all of those toys surrounding me.

So, the other night we tried a similar thing with Audrey.  We had her lay down and then we placed all of her stuffed animals and dolls all around her.  She seemed to think it was pretty funny.

The next day, I had Audrey help me make her bed and we just kept all of the toys on her bed.  Luke immediately crawled on the bed and began to play with the toys.  And Audrey was not far behind.

A binky for one.  A thumb for the other.

Fun for both.

They sat in (more or less) companionable silence (interrupted by giggling and the occasional rebuke by Audrey for Luke daring to try to play with her more favorite toys).

They really do enjoy being together and playing with each other.  I love it when they are patient and kind with one another.  Adam does this "Bucking Bronco" game with them and they are so good with taking turns and sharing in the fun.

One thing that I forgot to mention in the last post, about Luke's birthday was actually one of my favorite parts of the whole day.  When we gave the kids their cupcakes, Audrey immediately did what she always does - she began to lick the frosting off.  When I gave Luke his, he was not interested!  I tried to put a little frosting on his lips so he'd get the taste of it and try more - but even that didn't work.  He pushed the cupcake aside, knocking it upside down.  Well, the cake part must have looked more edible to him than the frosting, because he began taking little pinches of the cake and eating it.

What's funny is that Luke ate the whole cupcake (upside down, cake first) but left the frosting.  Meanwhile, Audrey licked all the frosting off and left the cake.  So, between the two of them they finished the equivalent of one cupcake!

They make a good team that way.