Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I am a behaviourist by training and as any behaviourist will tell you - motivation is where it's at. I have realized that Kingsley does not have a lot of secondary reinforcers. He doesn't love any stuff. That's a problem. I can't tempt him to talk, to move, to eat, to do anything! The only thing that works for him are me and the girls, and when we're the ones putting demands on him, our value drops pretty quickly ;) I need to make him want to say words, to ask for things and to label them. I need to make him want to look at books and point to pictures. I need to make him want to move to get something he really wants. Because right now, it's amazing how he can make the one word MAMA mean so many things (go away, give me that, stop bugging me, pick me up, make her go away, I'm shy, where are you? are we done yet? I'm done, etc.) and as a result, need nothing else to say or do.

Enter: Elmo.

Before Rachel, I thought the red guy was a big gimmicky annoyance. Even after Rachel came around, I didn't really get the appeal. He's cute, sure. He laughs, yeah. Kind of scared Rachel. Regardless, I have acquired a bunch of Elmo stuff over the years and I decided it was time to break it out and attempt to turn Kingsley into an Elmo lover. It's working.

It started with this video, which is now the top cathing entertainment Elmo and Ricky Gervais: Celebrity Lullabye It actually makes me laugh out loud, even after watching it 50 times this week. Kingsley smiles as soon as Ricky appears with his guitar. He looks at me for my reaction every time it gets to the end and Elmo says "Mr Ricky's done enough!!" (I'm actually laughing as I write that).

Anyway, now I have him pointing to Elmo in books, actually looking at the TV when Elmo is on (yeah, I really am TRYING to get my 18 month old to watch TV :p), scootching across the floor to get to my iPhone to hold it while Elmo is on. Progress.

And really, this little red guy isn't all that annoying. I kinda love the way he dances. These are some more of our favourite videos:
Outdoors, Jason Mraz
Elmo's Song
1, 2, 3, 4, Feist
What I Am,

On a related note, I'm also trying to get him attached to a lovey. The girls are both so attached to their blankies, and as annoying as that can be, it's really helpful for them to have a comfort item. If any kid needs a comfort item, it would be Kinger! The reality of King's situation is that one day he'll be back in the hospital for a stretch and I'm working on getting somethings to keep him comfortable and settled when that happens. He sleeps with his Monking, but now I'm consciously taking it out of his crib and bringing it places with it so he can play with him more. It's so adorable to see him hug his monkey.

Then there was the blanket issue. You would not believe the number of gorgeous, sentimental, handmade blankets the three kids have received over the years. Have any of them decided that they love them? Not a one. I can only sigh. Rachel's blankie is a second hand crib blanket that I picked up at a garage sale for $5.  Cordelia's is a generic, green fleece Winnie the Pooh blanket from Zellers, and Kingsley has decided he also wants the ratty old green Pooh blanket as his. Oh, boy. As a consolation (to end the tug o' wars that were happening), I pulled out from our stash a similar generic, mass-produced blue one with footballs on it, of all things and he began snuggling instantly.

 Again, I sigh. At least he's happy.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Summer is


We've been having a record breaking heat wave and non-stop action here. Since school ended, my sister and her daughters visited, then the girls had a week of mornings at camp while Kingsley and I started 108 home reno projects, and now we have finished the first of two weeks of swimming lessons for the girls, so days revolve around the pool. Playdates, out of town visitors, birthday parties, ice cream, what's not to love about summer?

I love being busy. I love being wrapped up in our own fun stuff. I love how little things can make your house just that much more your home (even though we're doing it so we can LEAVE our home!). I don't even mind the heat. Kids are fabulous, life is going well.

And for those few of you who don't already know (*ahem* Kristin) the last Harry Potter movie was incredible. Ah, gives me shivers.

I don't think Jeff will volunteer to go see it again with me. And if for some reason we ever end up having another boy, his name would possibly end up being Neville. ;)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Silly Mom

Hi, it's me, Kingsley.

I heard my mom talking about me not doing stuff. She's so silly! I was just teasing. This weekend I decided to give her a break and show off a bit. 

I got myself dressed (check!)

Mom said layering on all of her hats and scarves was not exactly what the checklist meant by 'getting dressed' but I disagree. After all, we do live in Canada!

I ate my whole lunch all by myself (I've never done this before - check!)

No veggies though, those things are gross! I tossed them off my tray. 

She said I couldn't stack three blocks and she was so wrong...

I can stack four. 

I can also point to my nose (half a check!) and point to a few things in a book (another half check!)

Someone has to tell her to relax! ;)

Friday, July 15, 2011


Kingsley is hitting another big number: today he is 18 months old. How fitting that my little Potter boy has a big milestone like that on the day the last movie is released! ;)

It sort of snuck up on me. I may have been blocking it out, if I'm being honest. I feel like we are hitting some kind of Point of No Return here, where babyhood is ending and the last few days of this SB thing being incognito are zooming by quickly.

Kinger is no longer a big baby. He's just shy of 23lbs, lost some of his chub, and on the low average side for height. When people look at him, it's easy to assume that he's closer to one year old than two. People look twice when I say his age.  The not-walking stuff stops being a 'late bloomer' thing at this age.  I'm hearing less about the stories of So-and-So's Baby Who Just Took So Long to Walk and getting more of the awkward smiles. It's a good thing he's so darn cute, or people just wouldn't know what to say!

Really though, the walking thing isn't bothering me much. I'm (mostly) over it. I'm getting better at judging when to toss the SB diagnosis into the conversation and when to just accept the awkward smiles.

What is starting to nag me, way back in the back of my mind is the rest of his development.

Today, at his check up with his paediatrician, she pulled out the Nippissing Checklist. I get them in the mail every few months and I don't sweat it when I check NO, NO, NO, NO... down the list for all of the gross motor and a lot of the fine motor or eating things. But today was different. NO, he can't stack blocks. NO, he doesn't know at least 3 body parts. NO, he doesn't follow basic instructions to get things or give me things without a visual prompt....

Up until now, I have been able to brush off any developmental gains he's not making. Cumulatively, he has spent nearly a whole month of his first 13 months of life in the hospital. He has had 4 surgeries, 2 of them on his head/brain. And then the ever-complex way that one developmental skill is so intertwined with a dozen more: he didn't know how to eat finger food because he wasn't interested in picking up and mouthing toys thanks to the Chiari issues, for example.

So, part of me is saying he doesn't know how to stack blocks because the only time he'd ever have practice is when I put blocks in front of him, which I don't always think to do. He can't take his shirt off because he's using his hands to sit up. On and on, I can excuse it away. However, I don't know if I should be anymore. Is there a point where I have to stop excusing small delays before they become big skill deficits? Or will he eventually catch up in his own time?

I don't have answers. It isn't causing me too much stress, truly, just starting to nag at me a bit. I talked to his PT about it yesterday and she's going to put in a referral to another team at the centre... I forget their title, but they specialize in assessments of development sort of stuff and will be able to tell me to either relax or start pushing for more. He's also having an assessment with a SLP in 10 days, so we can see what's happening there as well.

Hey! It's wait and see time! My favourite! I'm really good at this stuff. ;)

At least I have Harry to keep me occupied in the meantime. I might be a little bit busting-out-of my-skin excited about that.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Auntie Kristi

My sister and her daughters have been visiting for the last week.

It's been a whole year since we saw her and my younger niece, Karis. A year is too long! We've made up for it with Canada Day celebrations, trips to the beach and Storybook Gardens, and tons of time just hanging out. She is a far better photographer than I am and has a swank camera, so I let her do all the capturing for the week. And then we couldn't figure out how to get all the pictures from her hard drive to mine. We are brilliant. Anyway, things have been good. We have been busy. Summer is off to a great start.

The girls are going to be at camp together in the mornings next week and while they're there, Kingsley and I are going to do some renovations around here. We're looking forward to it. ;)
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