The Harnisch Family

The Harnisch Family

Mar 30, 2012

Macy's Signing Book, Picture Cards & potty-training

Remember Macy's Signing books?  Below are some pics of Macy and her Speech Pathologist, Sharon, reading them together.
signing "play"
Macy loves these books, I can tell she really connects and engages with them.  :-)  Afterall our kiddos are extremely visual learners, and who better to learn from than themselves right?
Her Early Intervention team has been wonderful!  They keep coming up with great ideas and sharing so many useful resources with us.  Between, books, picture cards and signs, we've got just about everything covered.  Sharon, her speech path, has given us several laminated signs to post around the house.  One success as a result of the cards worth mentioning, is the fact that we've been baby-gate free for over a month now!  Thanks to a STOP sign perched on the second step.  Macy doesn't like it (insert pouty face here), but she GETS it, and knows to STOP! 
We also have laminated picture cards hanging on the fridge and pantry.  So when Macy asks for a snack.  Using her appropriate signs for "More", "eat", "drink", "milk", "cracker", "please", "thank  you", etc....she can now be even more specific by choosing from a variety of picture cards that are readily accessible to her.  We try not to respond to her grunting & pointing (as she is not quite verbal just yet), so these cards and signs allow her to communicate effectively, clearly and without frustration.  Works both ways really!!  It's awesome to see her responding so positively to the use of these picture cards & signs. I also strongly believe that opening the pantry and exposing her to ALL the options can be overwhelming to limiting her choices to a couple "cards" helps narrow down her decision making process.
She is also getting used to hearing the word "NO".  It is important that she understands that it is NOT snack-time, all the time.

Sharon has also made us a really cool song book - with laminated pictures and words, etc...Macy LOVES singing and dancing, so now she can be in control and choose the next musical selections herself  :-)

Another thing Sharon MADE me do, was take photos of all of Macy's toys.  Especially the ones I keep locked away (yes locked) in the closets, toy boxes & cupboard (plus many we keep in the basement toy room).
Don't get me wrong, we still have plenty of toys & games laying freely & openly around the house...just not ALL of them, ALL the time (helps my sanity).
It's funny how you don't realize how many toys your kids have until you take this sort of "inventory" of them.  In any case, 100+ pics later, Sharon, printed & laminated them all for us.  Now Macy can look through her picture cards and select her next toy she wants to play with, without making a huge MESS of her toys ALL OVER my living room floor in the process.  win-win! 

Below are just a few examples of what these picture cards look get the idea.  :-)
Sharon spelled out the names of the toys as well as the corresponding "sign" on the back of each card.  Does she rock or what!?  I know this took a lot of time for her to do...and I appreciate her doing it very much!
 of course my kid likes to play with toy cameras...are your surprised?
and who doesn't love a large bowl o'balls.  It's not like I actually "cook" with this large oversized mixing bowl.  hehe  This continues to be one of Macy's favorite "toy selections"
musical instruments & her parachute, are also high on her list of fun things to play with.  So are baby dolls, toy phones, puzzles, stacking blocks, farm sets...the list goes on really I guess...


Speaking of is a quick pic of Grandpa Lee reading one of our FOUR blog books that we have printed out.

I love keeping this blog...I especially LOVE once our words and photos are finally published to hardcover book form.  (each book 300+ pages).  SOO FUUUN!!!!  I love being the keeper and sharer of our families precious memories.  :-)

Oh & yes, you saw in the title header the word "potty-training".
We had Lucy (her Occupational Therapist) over today to address and consult us on this.  Along with open cup drinking...
but back to the potty...

Over the last few weeks, Macy has exhibited SEVERAL signs, CONSISTENTLY, that she is ready to begin the process.  HEAVEN HELP US!!!

1) She loves dressing and undressing herself  (as well as her baby dolls)

2) She enjoys interacting with the toilet  (both in the real-life bathroom & the one in her dollhouse) 

3) she steals big sisters underwear and puts them on herself over her clothes  (all the time & not just one at a time)

4) she signals to us when her diaper is soiled by patting her bottom and giving me the "potty-face"

5) she then proceeds to go over to her diapers, grabs one, brings it to me, lays on the floor and LIFTS HER LEGS.

We can't deny these clear ques & obvious signals.
I suppose, even though every part of me is in denial and wants to ignore it, we must address it.  She is ready to begin, what I know will be a long road, of potty-training.  BRING IT! 
We are going to start slow & keep this as low-key as possible.  It will be simple really.  Every time she tells us her diaper is dirty. (we will actually be transitioning to pull-ups soon)  We will tell her good job and direct her to the bathroom, where her special potty-chair is.  Encourage her to sit on (sans clothes).  Then change her pull-up.  We just want to make the association and introduce the toilet to her gradually.  It's a marathon right!?  :-)
I am not getting my hopes up.  I have heard SEVERAL stories of how challenging it is to potty train our little one's with Down Syndrome.  For obvious reasons...So, I will be optimistic, yet realistic at the same time. 
Patience is key. 

...deep breath...

"Friends Around the World" program

Big sis has been a busy lady lately.  Between pre-school, ballet, tap, Sunday School, Bethany Buddies, accompanying her baby sis to therapy appointments, oh and don't forget Grandpa playdate's while momma goes to college (I like to call it the "Grandpa-share" program)...she's got plenty on her plate :-)
With all this productive activity, it has been nice to see her really coming out of her shell more.  She has had a few performances and opportunities to get up on stage.  It even makes this momma bear proud to see her march confidently up to the altar at church during the Children's Messages.  She used to refuse or at least insist that I accompany her.  But, now she goes up, excitedly, all on her own!  
It's the little things right?  Every little thing MATTERS!  Every LITTLE thing helps shape our little's into the person they are to become.  She has been taking many big confident steps lately.

Last week she had a big "Friends Around the World" program at school.  It was a big deal, all the kids and teachers have been preparing for weeks! There was singing, dancing and all types of ethnic foods from various countries.
 McKenzie was excited to represent the great state of Hawaii.
 check out that choreography! 
 Another one of the countries being represented was Japan
I loved how these two Japanese umbrella photos turned out!
 Is this boy a sweetheart or what!?  :)
 Kenzie watching the Mexican dancers from the background
 "Mexican Hat Dance"
 McKenzie's boyfriend Austin (yep, I said Boyfriend - ask her about him sometime, she'll BLUSH!) representing Ireland with a wonderful Irish jig.  Is he a handsome fella or what?!  Go Kenzie!  hehe
 she's really getting into it here...I understand that she was DEEP in concentration here, but I think we need to work on her "Stage presence" a little more.  AT least before her first ballet recital in June.
 The expressions on the kids' faces lit up when it was time for the parachute portion of the program...
 I was AMAZED to see the control these kids exhibited in the presence of this parachute...I mean what does one really want to do with those things?? SHAKE it FAST & HIGH of course!!

I've gotta say, Mrs. Shipe is awesome, those kids really listen to her and follow her directions well.  McKenzie puts her (and for good reason) on quite the pedestal.  She tells me that Mrs. Shipe is her best friend!  Plus, Mrs. Shipe's name regularly comes up in McKenzie's table prayers.  :)  She's tough to compete with!  When McKenzie spots her out and about and at church,'d think she had spotted a celebrity.  hehe
 The kids were singing "The Circle of Life" and it had all us parents in tears.  It was very heartfelt.
The song is over and the kids could finally shake the parachute around a bit.
 Mrs. Shipe presenting McKenzie with her PASSPORT!!
 Daddy & McKenzie showing off her passport and "travel around the world book".
 She was quite proud
How appropriate that she wanted to wear her "I heart the World" shirt that day.  atta girl!
  No fair...How does my child get a passport before me???
 I do, however, have mine (a REAL one) ordered through the US Post Office and should be receiving it, along with a Visa for my upcoming Mission trip to Bolivia soon.  Yeah, more on that to come in a later blog post.  :-)  I got vaccinated (7 shots later - ouch!) the other day, so the technicality stuff if just about all taken care of...

Mar 29, 2012

Kindergarten Round-Up

I can't believe my big girl is going to be 5 in just a couple months!  We have decided that she is MORE than ready to start Kindergarten in the fall (her pre-school teacher agrees)  :-) 
So off she went, like such a big, brave girl to Kindergarten Round-Up.
I didn't have my camera, but I did manage to sneak a quick iPhone pic...
Is that the look of excitement or what!?!  :-)
She was super excited and had SUCH a great time!!  Plus there are kids from her preschool, our neighborhood and even our block who will be starting their school adventures next year too  :-)  It helped her to see those familiar faces.
She talked my ear off non-stop about it for weeks.  It's gonna be a long summer of waiting for the big FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL for this kiddo.


During her round-up, I had plans of going into the office, but I thought...NAAAH, I went down the street and had breakfast with a few other "kindergarten" momma friends glad I did...we let out some (mostly happy) tears.  It was an emotional morning...Afterall, these are our BABIES!!!  
This is an event worth soaking in and crying over, at least a little bit.  hehe

Mar 24, 2012

Special Olympics "Young Athletes Program" pics

I've said it before & I'll say it again...we are SOO thankful for these wonderful PT students who give unto their time for our little ones each week  :-)  Their volunteer effort to teach and reinforce good quality physical & gross motor skills does not go unappreciated.  
If nothing else, it's a good time had by all.

One of the best things as a mom, is being able to just sit back & watch your little ones have fun...while you get to chit-chat (uninterrupted on the sidelines).
Productive & "no-charge" fun at that!
Here are some more pics from a few weeks ago  :-)
Gettin' their stretch on!
reach "high for the SKY"
Eisley showing off her hoola-hoopin' skills.
Even big sis gets to join in the circuit skills training.
"Catch!  But first I need to check myself out in the mirror..."
She decided the bars needed to be moved over here...
"much better"
London Bridges falling down...
"falling fair lady!"
Little E spots the big girls down below.  :)
Jump Macy JUMP!
workin' hard
Eisley gets distracted by her reflection pretty easily as well.  hehe
Circle time!
Eisley is getting SOOO close to being a full-time walker  :-)  Keep workin' girl you'll get there!
somersaultin' sister
Way to go Macy...good job "helping clean up & put away".