Sunday, February 28, 2010

Skyler's Baby

Wow tomorrow is March 1st. Where did the time go? Things here are hovering somewhere between good, and stressful. Work is going well. I enjoy my time off in the afternoon with the baby, though I am really missing C, it is kind of nice to have some time to myself with the monster. As you saw from the last post we have been busy. Baking, and doing chores and everything else. I think it's immensely important for Skyler to be involved in all steps of everything (providing the activities are safe or can be made safe for him) otherwise he will never know how the food gets to his highchair. I want him to be involved in the whole process once he is old enough. Not just food either, pretty much anything he is capable of doing (with or without help) I want him to learn to do.

Yesterday was busy as we spent the whole day vacuuming, steam cleaning the carpet, and shampooing it. We moved all the furniture around and I did some decluttering. It's been a long couple of days this weekend, but I did manage to make some time for myself. I had a nice bath with candle light and slathered on some cocoa butter lotion, and worked on a puzzle. Me-time is always good.

In other news, today was a monumental first for us. We left Skyler in the toddler/infant childcare room in our church. He has never been left alone with anyone but our friend so far. This was a big step. There are two ECEs in our church childcare infant/toddler program. There were only about 4 or 5 kids in there, so the ratio was really good. The girls were super nice and they held him the whole time because he was tired and a little bit weirded out about being without mom or dad. C and I were volunteering in the RE program, I was in the preschool to grade 2 room, and C was in the 3&4 room. The room I was in was right next door to the infant room so I could hear them the whole time and they told me I could pop in and out whenever I wanted, so of course I snuck a peek at him a few times. He was pretty well behaved, I didn't hear him crying at all. He whined once or twice, but that was it. They sang lots of songs, and he seemed to enjoy that. He loves music.

I was amazed C and I actually managed to leave him alone for a couple of hours without freaking out. And I mean us freaking out not him. Overall it went really well, I'm glad we were able to do it. I can't wait to get him into some groups and socializing with other babies. On a related note, I bought Skyler a doll the other day. It is an adorable, soft, (all natural material) cotton doll. She is the cutest thing ever, her skin is not quite white, not quite brown, somewhere in between like mine. She has a little white diaper and a pink bow in her hair. Her name is Willow, and yes I bought my son a doll. We're trying to work on the whole "gentle" thing, as Skyler has a problem with "patting". It's our fault really as we teach him to pat the ground with his hands, and pat his knees, and he pats mommy and daddy, but sometimes if he's super excited or upset, the patting becomes hitting. He doesn't quite get that it can hurt someone if he isn't gentle. We do the "gentle Skyler, like this" and take his hand, and show him how to do gentle stroking like petting a cat.

He is catching the concept of gentle, slowly but surely. If I say gentle now he will usually start rubbing gently for a few seconds before he goes back to patting or smacking. We're working on it. He hasn't had much exposure to other babies or toddlers though, and we plan on trying for another one soon, so I'm hoping to teach him to be gentle with his "baby" so that when he's socializing with other (real) babies he remembers to be gentle. So far we've practiced petting the baby gently, giving her kisses, and soft hugs. He still likes to pat her head when we first pick her up, but I'm hoping over time he'll remember that "baby = gentle". I'm sure you understand why it's preferable to have him learn this on a doll rather than a real baby. Haha. Anyway, I'm proud to say my son has a doll along with all his "boy" toys. If boys can grow up and become daddies just the same as girls become mommies why shouldn't he be able to act it out as a toddler?

Just my two cents anyway. I hope you all are doing well!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I Have the Best Guy Ever

Doesn't everyone want a guy who will bake them muffins, sort the recycling, make them beautiful pictures, and play music for them? Luckily I have a guy who does all that.

Of course he does like to help me eat the muffins too. Which is quite alright with me. After all he made them.

I managed to get the dishes done yesterday, and the vacuuming and everything else. It was all in all a day of lots of work, tons of cleaning, but it felt good to have a nice clean home. Today we spent the day making things. We made muffins together, we made jello playdough (smells soo good, but don't eat it. yuck!), and peanut butter play dough (which is delicious) and we took a nice walk to the store as it was only -9c outside. He drew with his crayon (he is getting exceedingly close to holding it properly!) and then he painted with his toddler paint, and some glitter paint, took a bath played with (and ate) some peanut butter play dough, and now I am hoping he will sleep.

The jello playdough is the same as the recipe I use at work to make playdough for the kids except you add jello, and the peanut butter play dough is awesome (as long as your kid doesn't have allergies to nuts, clearly mine doesn't). The recipe calls for milk powder, and I picked some up at the store but when I got home I realized we have a quarter of a can left of infant formula that Skyler hasn't finished and I didn't know what to do with it before.. So I decided to substitute the milk powder for powdered baby formula. It tasted great, and had a bunch of vitamins and whatever in it. I also used powdered sugar instead of honey because honey can contain botulism and isn't recommended for babies under 2. The recipes for edible play doughs are here if you want them.

I thought the edible playdough would be a great idea since he really needs to work on his fine motor skills, and it's something he can manipulate. It's also great from the perspective of his low vision because it smells good, and he can put it in his mouth and it has a cool texture. Luckily he doesn't have any tactile hypersensitivities. He enjoys all sorts of textures, even the sticky ones. Tomorrow I plan on cutting up some strawberries for him and hiding them in a bowl of (real) whipped cream. I think he'll enjoy it. I know he likes both strawberries and whipped cream, and being able to dig through the whipped cream to find strawberries will be good for his motor skills too.

Also we've noticed that Brailling everything in the house was an excellent idea as Skyler has started to isolate his pointer finger to touch the Braille. I love seeing his progression. In less awesome news his cold is still hanging on. It's awful hearing him trying to hack up phlegm and knowing he doesn't know what to do but swallow it. He's still having trouble sleeping since he's so stuffed up. I'm glad I took him on that walk today as it allowed him to sleep for a little over an hour and to get some fresh air. I'm sad to say he doesn't get much fresh air since it's winter and it's always too cold to go out, we drive everywhere. If it's nice tomorrow maybe we will go for another walk so he can get another nap in. I'm so excited that tomorrow is my first day of working only the morning.

Anyway I thought it was so cute that Skyler helped me bake today and I had to share it with you. I want to know what kind of cute things your little ones do for you! Or the fun things you got to help your family members with as a kid. Let me know in the comments.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Wow it's only noon and I've already taken out the garbage and the recycling, and done two loads of laundry, fed the baby (thrice) and read Skyler three stories, played ball with him and given him a bath, and done some tidying and reorganizing. I also played a computer game somewhere in there. I've been up since 7 by the way. I still have to do the dishes, but I'm thinking now that he's down for his nap I may even find the time to feed myself and take a shower. Got my fingers crossed for those two.

My poor baby has an icky awful cold. He is full of so much phlegm, the poor kid, he can hardly breathe. He keeps hacking, but he doesn't know to spit it out and his nose is running nonstop. Of course he's had trouble sleeping because of it, but I'm amazed he can sleep at all. I just want this cold to be over for him so he can go back to breathing normally and sleeping at night again. Of course I am happy to say that I am now done working my split shift.

Yesterday C and I went to a workshop for Blind & Low Vision parents and teachers, we learned a lot. The speaker was an O&M instructor and a Dr. of education. He works with blind, low vision, and deaf-blind children. He was an engaging, funny, and articulate speaker. We really enjoyed the workshop. They even gave out cds at the end that are full of awesome resources for blind children and their development, plus it has an overview of the whole workshop, and it goes into even more details than the slides in the presentation did. I'm very glad we went, I think we took a lot away from it.

For instance, low vision children often get overlooked and studies show that a fully blind child in their childhood/adolescence tends to do better academically than one with low vision simply because teachers assume too much of the low vision child. They assume that because the low vision child has some vision that they must be seeing the whole picture and understanding it, whereas with completely blind children they know that they have to teach them in other ways without relying on visual learning. Which is not to say that the low vision child cannot learn visually, but just that we can't forget that he is still legally blind, and he may only be seeing small pieces of the whole and not really understanding what he's seeing because he cannot see the whole picture. We still have to make those adaptations and make sure he is understanding the whole concept.

Last night we took out the Braille labeler and went Braille crazy. Just about everything in the apartment is now labeled in Braille. Don't misunderstand me though, I don't intend for my one year old to be able to read it. That's not my intent at all. The reason everything is labeled and done so within his reach is that sighted children are exposed to the printed word everyday. It surrounds us, billboards, ads on tv, books, packaging on food, it's everywhere. They learn at a young age that this print stuff is associated with words, that those markings can be read. So by covering everything in Braille I am encouraging early literacy, and the normalcy of Braille. I want him to feel those bumps, I want his fingers to be familiar with them, so that when the time comes to learn it, he isn't overwhelmed wondering what this stuff is. I want him to make the connection between print, and Braille, and words.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


One more day and I am free in the afternoons. The sigh of relief when that happens is going to be so enjoyable. We've been thinking of moving to a two bedroom apartment soon, I am ashamed to say we are still in a one bedroom (that bedroom now belongs to one Skyler L of course) and that we're thinking that one day we may want our own bedroom. Haha. Anyway as a result of this desire to move we've begun purging a bit, trying to get rid of the excess, and believe me there is a lot of it. Hopefully we can clean out a bunch of stuff and by the time we actually move, there will be less junk, and mainly just the essentials to move with us.

And now, picture if you will: a young woman, in her work clothes, fingers poised, on the pinky hangs a yellow soother. In between the ring finger and middle finger balances a syringe of clear liquid, and pinched between thumb and forefinger is a blue pill. These are the things that to me symbolize a baby and motherhood. Close your eyes and see if you can draw to mind the scent of a baby. What does a baby smell like to you? Baby wash? Baby powder? Something mundane and baby-related? For me, the smell of baby conjures up the smell of liquid pedia-prednisone. It's a strange, sweet smell. It's often how my baby smells.

Make no mistake though, I am not complaining. I only offer a small window into my world. I want others to see that it's different here. It's not bad, but it's different. Just like it is for many of you out there reading this, our lives are not usually worse than others, just different. I would not trade that scent association for anything. That is my baby, and that is his smell, and I love him just the way he is. (Except maybe when he smells less like pred and more like poo. Then his daddy can have him for a few mins.. heh heh)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Saturday Housekeeping

Good morning everyone. It's a sunny saturday today. I only have 3 days left of working 3:30-5:30 and then I am done. I'll only be working 7am-1pm. I'm excited for it, honestly it can't come soon enough. Next Friday C and I have a workshop held by the AER (association for the education and rehabilitation of blind and visually impaired people) on independent living skills and inclusion. Our OT will be there as well. It should be a good workshop. Monday there is no school (and no work!) because it's Louis Riel day or "Family Day" I'm not even sure which one it is, but it's a stat holiday invented by a local radio station that they had petitioned and sent in to the government and now we have a holiday woohoo. So Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are my last days working in the afterschool program.

Today my home is a wreck. Normally I keep it clean in here, I tidy everyday during my 1pm - 3:30pm break. For some reason though it's not as neat as usual. C usually does the dishes and the laundry and that kind of thing, but it seems he's having trouble getting himself moving when it comes to the household chores.. Which means I am stuck doing it since he is working today and tomorrow. I'm not too upset about it though. I'm hoping I can plow through it today while Skyler naps and then everything will be nice and tidy for tomorrow. I'm excited for church tomorrow. We're doing a mystery buddies thing and I'm going to get my code name. I've already written my letter. It just needs to be put in an envelope and dropped in the church mail box.

I am happy that C is working full time again, it means we're going to have more of an income even with me working 6 hours a day instead of 8. I'm going to have more time with Skyler, and he won't have to be passed from daddy to mommy to babysitter to bed anymore. You have no idea how much stress that was giving me. I just want him to have a consistent daddy and mommy routine each day. He'll spend time with daddy all morning, then mommy will come home and he will have mommy all afternoon and evening. The downside is we'll have less time as a family, not that we have very much right now. We will still have Saturdays (hopefully) and one other day of the week, and church every Sunday, but not much aside from that.

I've been working with Skyler trying to get him to use his pincer grasp, but he's still hardly using it at all. We've been doing things like learning how to point to try and isolate the fingers. That seems to be the problem he's having, it's isolating that pointer finger. He will gladly pinch you if you upset him, but he is pinching using all of his fingers, which is more like digging in all of his nails and attempting to remove a handful of your flesh. (Believe me I am trying to discourage him from doing this. Lots of reminders of how to be gentle, and saying OUCH that hurts!) If only he would pinch using his thumb and forefinger I would be ecstactic (after yelling ouch of course).

He seems to be trying to communicate more, he is making the "k" sound more often, lots of ba and ga and his all-time favourite da. He still says ma a bit less frequently, but he does say it. Especially if he is hurt or needs some cuddling. He does cling to me a lot too, I guess he doesn't spend enough time with me, because when I am around he often refuses to go to anyone else, or to be put down (unless I stay right next to him and play with him). I'm hoping this will change a bit when I am home in the afternoons. I want him to know that I am not just going to up and leave him after an hour, like I have been at lunch time on my breaks.

Anyway I must leave you to go and start those dishes and do some tidying. So I shall leave you with a picture of my monster reading the "newspaper" this morning. Which some of you may recognize as a Lond.on Dr.ugs flyer.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Positive Change

C got a new job! He's working 3pm to 11pm every night now starting in two weeks. The best part is it's his old boss who used to be an assistant manager at the place he worked before. Now she has her own business and is hiring him. Yay! But the best part is that my shift overlaps with his. So I told my boss today that I have to change my availability. I can no longer work past 1:30. I am ecstatic. I get to have the entire afternoon every day with my baby!! I'm so happy. I feel like a weight has been lifted from me. I just had to share that with you.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

5 Months To Go

It's been a little while. Time just keeps slipping away from me. Friday we had an inservice day at school (yet again) and I spent the day playing tag and olly olly octopus. My muscles are not so pleased about this, but what can you do. Yesterday we took Skyler to my mom's for the day, C installed a bunch of cables for her HD PVR and we gave her an old computer that was still much better than the one she had. She spent a lot of time with Sky and was playing This Little Piggy with him when he suddenly started clapping! I've been working on clapping with him for a while now, but so far he has kept his hands closed whenever I help him clap. Until yesterday, he just started clapping all by himself! My mom didn't know it was his first time and when she said "he must like this song, he's clapping." I almost jumped off my chair.

I always get so excited when he starts doing new things! Last week at church we had pizza and cake after the service and I let Sky taste some, he immediately signed for more after the pizza and the ice cream. I was so excited I didn't care that it wasn't the most healthy food, I let him have some more anyway. I really can't wait until the summer time when I can stay home with him all day every day. C has decided to quit working at my centre. This way he can stay home with Skyler. The babysitter got attacked last weekend while walking home (she's okay now) and our supervisor was mad at C for needing to stay home to watch Skyler, she told him next time he'd be fired because he needed to find his own replacement and he couldn't. So we decided that having care for Skyler was more important than C working for less than 3 hours a day.

Anyway I wanted to stop by quickly with an update before heading off to church. And now I leave you with more adorable pictures of my little guy at my mom's place yesterday.

Skyler checking out the kitty cat.

Smiling for mommy.