Sunday, February 26, 2012

Made the Cut!

I had my first Parent Teacher conference on Friday afternoon. When I arrived at the school, the kids were still playing in the yard, so I snuck into the school, because I knew if Christian saw me, he would think it was time to go home and the meeting would have been impossible.  He was so wrapped up in pulling another kid in a wagon that he didn't even notice me and didn't hear a little girl loudly say,"hey Christian's Mommy, what are you doing here?"

We sat in the kitchen, out of sight, because in 5 minutes they were coming in for nap time.  The director reviewed his developmental milestones, cognitive and social level and language levels with detailed forms they use.  As expected, he is still behind in language but is at an incredible level due to the fact that English is his second language and he's only even heard English for 14 months.  She did say she's noticed bigger leaps in his language in the last month, so that gap may start closing faster.  I thought his language was improving quite a bit lately, but then I didn't know if it was just wishful thinking.  So glad to know it's real!

His large motor skills are right there with other kids his age, with the exception of his balance, this he needs alot of work on.  His legs are still not as strong as other kids his age due to the lack of iron and vitamin D he had when he came home, but it is improving a great deal, so I expect the balance to catch up soon.  I'm going to enlist my Dad to build a balance beam, close to the floor, that he can play on at home. They have one at school and the director says he loves it, even though he falls off alot.

The other thing he needs alot of work on is his fine motor skills.  This is where daily tasks come into play alot, and I just need to remember to let him do them.  I'm either in a hurry or don't want spills, so without realizing it, I tend to do the small tasks for him.  These are things like twisting the caps off water bottles, toothpaste, etc., tearing open things like the breakfast oatmeal packets and peeling things like bananas and stickers off the sheets. So today I let him do it all and he did great, the stickers gave him trouble, but heck, the usually give me trouble too!  I looked online at things to do to develop fine motor skills, other than writing and the ones stated above, and opening and closing latches was another good thing along with lacing things and buttons.  I found some latches in my basement that I'm going to mount on a board for him to play with and my Dad said he had a couple more to add too.
I got online and ordered some lacing kits and a stuffed monkey that you can dress with clothes that have buttons, snaps, clips and a zipper.  I think he'll have fun with these while working those chubby little fingers :)

So all in all, the parent teacher meeting went great and we didn't get kicked out of preschool!
I just can't say enough how blessed I am that I was able to get Christian enrolled in this preschool.  The directors and teachers are absolutely wonderful, they work so hard to expose the kids to a multitude of experiences and you just feel how much they truly love what they do by the commitment they have to the preschool.  They are a blessing to every child they encounter.  Thank  you with all my heart Busy B's Preschool!!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Christian has been pretending a box of crayons is a guitar for the last several weeks.  He really ramped up after he saw his cousin Curtis playing his guitar.  Growing up, my parents did everything they could to expose us to as many different things as possible because they said it made a person more well rounded, and I believe that too. So I have been trying to expose Christian to as many different things as I can; music, sports, reading, nature, science, mechanics of how things are made, art, etc.  And with music being a big part of my life, it's natural for me to want to develop this with him if he's interested, and so far it looks like he is.

After searching the stores, I decided on a child's play guitar from Target.  It has a keyboard on the fret and a motion sensor thing when you strum the strings (there are no strings), a zip bar, three settings for music genre and three settings for music type.  Thankfully it also has a volume button!  I bought it yesterday and he's barely put it down.  He's added a little dancing to support his vocals :) I'm happy he likes it and it will be interesting to see how long it holds his interest.  I'm being careful not to push him into anything, just showing him different things exist and he can do what he wants with it.

He still likes soccer and I think before we do another swim class, I'll look into either a baseball or basketball clinic with the YMCA.  These activities are greatly improving his coordination, making his legs stronger and helping him understand how to listen and follow instructions in another atomsphere other than school.  It's really helping his maturity level catch up as well as making our bond even tighter.

Target sponsors free family night at The Magic House, so we went this past Friday. As expected it was packed!  Christian hasn't been there yet and the last time I was there was with my niece and nephew many years ago.  The place has expanded and is more amazing than I remembered.  Christian was so overstimulated, he just ran from one thing to the next in a daze of confusion.  After I managed to slow him down and got him to focus, we were able to actually "do" some of the activities.  We both had a blast, confirmed by his meltdown when we had to leave :)  I asked him what his favorite thing was and he rattled off everything he could remember. Heck, I don't think I could even pick ONE thing as my favorite.

While dodging kids and keeping my eye glued to Christian as he raced around, I took a minute to step back and actually SEE, FEEL and OBSERVE the space, activities, energy and people.  It was creativity in every aspect and I soaked it up and left there feeling refreshed.  Being an Interior Designer people assume you are being creative all the time and see it as being "fun".  While there are many enjoyable elements, being a designer is also about hard work, technical and financial aspects, deadlines, difficult clients, challenging team mates and as expected, office politics.  Lately work has been frustrating, tiring and disappointing and I find myself unhappy more than happy, which I don't want for my life. It's exhausting feeling like you have to fight for respect, for what you've earned, for your chance to finally do "that" creative project.  At times I feel so beat down I just want to give up and say, "do whatever you want and I'll just input it into the computer."  But I just can't bring myself to do it, at least not today.  I have so many ideas I want to try and at 45 yrs old, I'm losing faith that I will be given the chance, at least at the place I work now.  There is still a thread of the good 'ol boys club that exists as well as the office politics of who you suck up to, which I was never very good at.  I was raised to believe that if you do the best you can do each day, do the right thing, always with ethics and integrity, then it will be noticed and you get your chance.  Sorry Dad and Mom, I know you believe that but it's just not the case.

So as I stood in the Magic House, I absorbed the excitement and wonder shining from my little angel's eyes, the huge smile across his face, all wrapped up in the creativity swirling around me and felt peace. I feel the spark of the creative energy again, the excitement of "what if".  It has given me so many ideas of what's possible.  I just have to decide if my workplace will help me achieve something or if I have to find other avenues.  I am cautious, yet hopeful, I can use my creativity moving forward and Christian is my inspiration, as always :)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Humming Along

I usually have music playing, either in the car or in the house. I have always loved music and thank my parents for not letting me quit piano lessons when I was 12 yrs old and wanted to be doing other things.  Playing the piano is like therapy for me, but I admit, I haven't had as much time to play since Christian came along.  We play together, which usually consists of him just randomly hitting keys and me cutting in when the playing turns into pounding :)

Christian loves music too, it was our connector between visits.  If you remember in my early posts, I took a wind up music box, that played Farmer in the Dell, to the orphanage with me.  He was mesmerized by it, kept a death grip on it, while swaying back and forth to the tune.  When it wound down, only then would he come near me to have me wind it back up, then he'd move back to his safe place across the room. Each time he came to me to rewind the box, his safe place got closer and closer to me, until he was finally sitting on my lap.  From what I could gather, the orphanage had either very little music or no music at all based on what I was told and observed.  I guess that may be why he was so enthralled, because it was something new.

So he now has music all around him; the radio, CD player, LeapFrog learning DVDs, piano, musical toys, and me singing.  I've noticed recently he's been humming when he's playing, not anything recognizable to me, but some sort of tune. I wonder if it's a Russian song he's remembering?
The other day one of the teachers told me that Christian kept catching her eye one day, making her laugh. He was either humming to himself as he played or talking to himself.  Well I guess I'm teaching him something because I talk to myself alot and am usually singing or humming a tune also, it runs in my family.  When we made the 2 hr drive to my parents house last weekend, I heard him humming away in the backseat and trying to sing the words, it was SO funny!

I am so happy he enjoys music because I believe it enhances  your life in so many areas: psychologically, mentally, emotionally, academically and socially. I've been thinking recently if, and what, instrument I would like for him to start taking lessons for.  The piano would be easy because we have one but I do know some companies have a rent to own type of payment plan for instruments.  Right now he is not mature enough to stay focused to start lessons but maybe in a year or two.  Whenever he says, "show me" when we're playing the piano, he wants me to play a song or tell him some notes. So I've been doing that but he still can't "play a song", but that's fine with me because the smile on his face and his chubby little chin lifted up, as he sings at the top of his lungs, shows me how happy he is, which is all I need.

Monday, February 6, 2012


Christian has learned the amazing art of 'pretend.'  It is enthralling to watch him and see what his mind comes up with, how it switches when a new thought comes into his head and how he acts it all out.  I love pretend!

So our sofa has become a transformer of sorts.  We've soared through the air in a helicopter, only to land for repairs, refueling and of course to get some snacks.  Magazines are our food trays, and the mailbox door in the wall is the food service window where he shouts out our order.  We each have a passenger (a.k.a. stuffed animal) who are buckled in with our seats belts, which are the stringe on the cat toys.
If the helicopter goes too high, Elmo gets sick :)

Another night we are in a bus, cruising down the street and we always get into an accident with a car.  This is because Christian wants the police to come, with their lights and sirens blaring and giving tickets to the bus driver.  First he is the bus driver, then after the accident, he becomes the police man handing out the tickets.  We have paper badges and paper slip tickets, and last night a new twist, the cat toy string seatbelt become handcuffs!  Every night a new element is added.

Then we were a boat last weekend, with sharks circling us as they swam around the coffee table.  The green shark is nice and we can pet him, but the grey shark bites us.  When they dive to the bottom, we can make a run for it but no other time. The pillows on the floor are the rocks in the ocean that we can step on and the sharks can't get us.  This game is especially fun for me because I played it when I was little with my siblings.  We would take turns tossing the pillows and see who could jump from one to the other without falling in the water and getting eaten by the sharks.  I don't think I want to introduce that element yet to Christian because I don't want to scare him.

I can't wait to see what the sofa transforms into next!  Having so much fun :)