Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Evolution of a Hug

I am a hugger.

My friends that are huggers know that about me.  They know to give me a hug when I see them.  I am not obnoxious about it (I hope.)  If I know someone isn't a hugger or if I feel some hesitation from them I don't force it.

I need at least ten hugs a day.

My kids aren't huggers.  I expect hugs though, they don't get a free pass. 

Getting Haley to give a good hug has been a process.  Haley's Hugs are pretty famous.  Especially the side hug, the back and bump and the run-by. 

There was some confusion for a while what a hug even was.  Haley thought that when I said hugs I meant Kisses.  Sometimes when I ask for a kiss, I get a hug. 

Haley's Big Sis discovered that if you hold your arms up like a touchdown signal Haley will do the same and then you can give her a hug and it feels like she is hugging you back.

Lately that hasn't been enough for me.  I need the squeeze for it to be real. 

So I asked for it.

I put my arms up, Haley put her arms up.  I went in for the hug.  Her arms stayed up. 

I said "Haley, I need a squeeze."

She did it.  She put her arms around me and she gave me a squeeze.

"Haley!  That's it!  You gave me a hug!"

"Good job."

"Yes, you did a good job.  Mom likes those kind of hugs."

Her hugs have been getting better.  We have been practicing. 

I hug her a lot. 

I love that girl! 

I am getting real hugs now.  Every once in a while I have to remind her to squeeze.  It kind of feels like cheating, but not enough for me to stop.

I am a hugger.

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Little Sticky

Haley had a dentist appointment on Friday morning.  It was the best one yet. 

Well, kind of. 

She sat right down and let the hygienist put the seat back down.  She was very still and very calm.  She opened her mouth wider every time she was asked. 

I kept resisting the urge to get my camera out and take pictures, or perhaps video.  I knew that if I did I would break the spell.  Every little thing the the hygienist did I was sure was going to set her off, but it never happened.  She was able to polish all of her teeth.  Floss them.  She even scraped the tartar from her teeth. 

I was floored. 

Never did I think that the day would come when Haley would lay back and allow someone to pick at her teeth with a sharp instrument.  When she was done the hygienist sat her up and Haley reached out to me. 

She wanted a high five. 

She knew that she had done well.  I was so proud.  I told her how good she was.  I said "It was so much easier that way wasn't it?   You didn't have to hold your head up the whole time."

She said "Yeah.  Good job."

The dentist wasn't quite ready to see her yet so she was able to get up and get her prize.  She is so used to that routine that she didn't even need me.  The hygienist gave her a plastic bag and she went in to the prize room.  She chose a little car and a bouncy ball that lights up.  Then she got herself a new toothbrush, some flossers and a new timer. 

She sat back down and we waited for the dentist.

Soon the dentist came in and laid her back in the chair again.  There was a slight hesitation, but she let her.  The dentist asked her to open her mouth and she used the instruments to examine her teeth.  She poked and poked and then said "This one is a little sticky." 

She has a cavity. 

The dentist wants to put sealants on several of her teeth too, but she doesn't want to do it all at once.  She also thinks that we should have an orthodontist consultation.  I had a feeling that would happen some day.  At this point I don't see Haley getting braces, but we will see.

So I made an appointment for Haley to get a filling.

That should be interesting.

Friday, January 27, 2012


Haley stepped off the bus yesterday afternoon with a great big smile on her face.  She didn’t hesitate a moment.  Her foot hit the pavement and she was practically skipping up the drive way.  I loved watching her – especially with the sun shining like it was. 

It was beautiful.

I was watching her from our front porch.  As she stepped on to the porch I smiled and said “You seem happy.”

She said “yeah.”

“Did you have a good day today?” I asked.

“Yeah.  Fun day.  Walk.  Ucky.  Wak. Wak. Wak.”

“You went for a walk today?”

“Yeah...  Ucky. Wak. Wak. Wak.”

“You saw ducks?”


“They were quacking?”

“Yeah.  Fun day.”

That was officially the first time that she volunteered to tell me what happened in school.  That was the first time that she told me something that happened to her during school that I didn’t already know.

It was beautiful.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


We are all on this planet for a reason.  I believe that.  I believe that God created us for a purpose. 

Some people know what their purpose is, some are still searching.  It is my sincere hope that everyone finds their purpose so that they can fulfill it.  I honestly don't believe that God would put anyone on this planet without a purpose.

I am not completely sure if I know what mine is yet, but I feel like I am getting there.

What about Haley?  What is her purpose here?

I don't know, but I know she has one.  I know it deep down in my soul.  Because everyone does.


I have thought about this before.  Actually I think about it a lot.  I am a thinker.  I am also a worrier, but that is for another discussion.

This morning I began my day, much like I often do, reading the blogs of other mothers of children with special needs.  I was struck by a story that I at first couldn't really believe.  Not because it was unbelievable, but because it was such an affront to nature.  To the nature that God created.  Then as I read more I became distraught and finally angry.

Please read this blog post by a fellow mom of a child with special needs - and if you have time go on to read about it from the perspective of the mom of a happy child that needs a kidney.  A kidney that her doctor doesn't think she deserves because she is cognitively impaired.

Think about that.

Haley is healthy.  Thank God!  What if she needed a kidney?  What if a doctor said that she couldn't have it because it says "mentally retarded" on her paperwork?  The mother of this happy child was able to speak through her tears.  I am not sure that I could, much like her husband. 

The very thought of it makes my heart ache. 

We all have a purpose.  We are all here for a reason.  Some of us know our purpose.  Some are still searching.  Some may never know, but God does. 

God knows us.  Each one of us.  He has a purpose for our lives. 

We all deserve to live it out.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Back to The Future

Now that Haley can no longer choose The Grinch when she wants to watch a video she has been cycling through some of her old stand-bys. 

In the last week or so she has gotten into Back To The Future.  We have the three DVD set - all three movies.  She usually chooses the third one because it has horses and a train.  She watched it non-stop (read: anytime she wanted to watch a video) for about a week. 

Then one day she got out the VHS tape of the second one. I don't really like her watching that one as much.  It is quite a bit darker and there is more cussing in it, there is cussing in all three, but that one seems worse.  She watched it for a couple of days and then she wanted to watch the first one. 

The original. 

I hadn't seen it in a long time and neither had she.  She had a blast. 

She laughed out loud during most of it.  She got really animated.  She started repeating what they were saying.  Everything they were saying. 

Doc!  Marty!  Butthead!  Shit!  You name it she was yelling it. 

I chose to go the "ignore it, don't make a big deal out of it" route. 

Haley's Big Sis and I had some difficulty stifling our giggles, but we didn't admonish her.  We just let it go.  She doesn't usually say things like that from movies outside the context of watching the movies.  That would be a big step. 

I might welcome it. 


Friday, January 20, 2012

That's Better

Haley doesn't have the best track record with being in an audience. 

She doesn't like to sit still.  She makes weird and sometimes rude noises.  She really does not like to be shushed, she shushes back and then it escalates.

Taking her to the movies is out of the question.  I tried it twice and both times were a disaster.

Her sister's school choir concerts were pure torture for me.  I left in the middle of one crying, because I really wanted to watch my daughter sing.  After that my husband and I ended up either taking turns going to them or getting a sitter, which isn't always easy.

The same with plays.  That was nicer though because there were more performances.  I went to one and he went to the other.

Our church experiences have been mixed.  If I am there and sitting next to her she is pretty good.  If I have to be somewhere else for the majority of the time she doesn't do very well at all.

We have a new situation. 

Haley's Big Sis is on a school basketball team this year and her Dad and I really want to watch the games. The first home game that came up my husband said "What are we going to do about Haley?" I just said that we should take her and see how it goes. We took separate cars so one of us could take her home, but we didn't need to. She was great.  She sat there the whole time and didn't whine at all.

She stood up when we stood up, she clapped, she yelled, she even changed the way she was sitting when she started to get uncomfortable.  I was really proud of her.

At first I don't think she realized that her sister was out on the court playing.  We tried to point her out to her, but I don't think she got it. It helped when her sister came in to the bench and Haley could see her up close. We tried to point her out and asked Haley if she could see her, but she didn't seem to like that.

There was a game last night.

Haley came off the bus in a really foul mood.  Her sister asked me if I was going to come to her game alone.  I said "No, we are all coming."  She was concerned that Haley would behave badly at the game. 

We all went. It was fine.

I think that there is something about the acoustics, the people and the mood of a basketball game.  She knows she can make noise and clap and get silly and her Dad and I won't stop her. It is freeing for her.  There were a few moments when she started making her "raspberries" and giggling that I got a little concerned, but there was so much surrounding noise it wasn't bad.  I distracted her by clapping and turning it in to a cheer.  She clapped with me and her Dad even joined us.

Haley was in a bad mood before the game and after the game, but at the game she was great.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pretty Please

My husband and I have always used "Please" and "Thank you" with our daughters.  If we want them to do something or go somewhere or hand us something we use those words and we expect them to use them too.

I have learned that I get better results if I don't yell at my daughters from another room when asking them to do something.  I try to walk up to them, get their attention and then make my request using please and thank you.  I am not perfect.  I forget sometimes, but I do try.

I have noticed lately that Haley responds really well to please.

Sometimes my husband sounds demanding when he doesn't use please and I am sure it sounds that way to her too. 

When Haley's Dad asks her to take out the recycling it sounds like this:

"Haley, it's recycling time." or "Haley, take out the recycling."  The response he gets is usually "ugh!" (read a grunt)

I tend to say "Haley, can you please take out the recycling?" or "Would you help me take out the recycling, please?" to which she usually says "Yeah," gets up and comes in the kitchen to help me.  It may be a coincidence, but I don't think so.

It works when I take Haley to the restroom too.

I usually have her go first even if I am the one that has to go.  I have always thought that if she hears me going she might go in her pull-up and then our trip is wasted (sorry if this is getting a little personal.)  If I follow her in and watch her without saying much she will pull down her pants, sit down and then immediately stand back up.  Then I have to tell her to sit down and try again. Sometimes that works, but most of  the time it doesn't.  Now if I say "Try to pee, please."  She relaxes and pretty soon I hear a little tinkle (again I apologize.)

When she wants something I always insist that she uses please and thank you.

If she wants a glass of juice or help putting a DVD in the player I insist that she ask me in a full sentence, followed by please. Sometimes she uses full sentences on her own, but she leaves off the please.  I always ask her to say please and remind her to say thank you.  Maybe that will be the next lesson that she gets. We have been working on it for a long time.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dad. Dinner. Ready.

One of the things that I have been trying to get Haley to do lately is call her Dad for dinner. 

The main reason is convenience.  If she calls him than I don't have to, but there is another reason.  It gets her to use her big voice in a nice way.  She does have one.  She uses it when she is angry or upset.  We want to hear her voice.  And not just when she is ticked at us.

So I have been asking her to call her Dad.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Good Riddance

I finally took down and put away all of the Christmas decorations.

Don't get me wrong, I love my Christmas decorations. 

It is just that putting away the decorations means putting away the Christmas videos, specifically How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

Don't get me wrong, I love How The Grinch Stole Christmas. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

What Can She Do?

I met with Haley's teacher, her speech therapist and the school psychologist yesterday afternoon for Haley's Three Year Evaluation.  Afterward I spoke with her teacher Mr. B about her upcoming stint in the Apartment.  We learned about the apartment during her last IEP.

Haley will be in the Apartment next week.  I plan to go in on Wednesday and observe her.  I am so excited!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I Lied

Last night Haley and I went to her confirmation class at church.  Pastor has been gone for a while and the class was taught by an interim Pastor during that time.  It was nice to have him back.

When we walked in he asked Haley if she had any horses in her purse. He remembered that she usually carries horses with her.  I knew that she didn't have any horses in there so I told her to show him what she did have.

She pulled out the "80," the tractor that her Grandma and Grandpa gave her for Christmas.  Then she pulled out the Daylight and it's Tender and hooked them up.  He asked her if she had gotten them for Christmas.  I laughed and had to tell him the story of how I Blew It.

He asked if it was a special engine.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Compliment

Haley got money for Christmas.

My child loves to shop and she understands that she needs money to shop, so when her Big Sis wanted to go to the Mall she was ready.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Yadow Yap

Going back to school today must have tuckered Haley out.

As soon as she had her shoes and coat off and put away and had visited the bathroom she laid down on the couch and said "Blankie." 

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 Milestones

Looking back over 2011: the following are my personal favorites.

Haley is pretty agreeable most of the time, but in January Haley said No.

My daughter impresses me every now and then. In February she impressed me twice. I was afraid that she would no longer be able to ride Grandpa's tractor, but she put the Pedal to the Metal. When she started going to Yoga classes she not only impressed me with her skill, but her instructor thought that she was Amazing too!

In March I started trusting Haley to do more on her own. I found that all she needed were some Encouraging Words.

I spent some time away from Haley in April when I went to visit my sister and her new baby. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my husband posted something on this blog while I was gone. It was so fun to find out that she is capable of getting her own Kleenex.

In May we celebrate the birth of Haley's Big Sis and I discovered that Haley prefers to get presents rather than give them. Happy Birthday to You!

Haley has never really liked to draw so I was completely surprised when not only did she take a post-it note pad and pen out of my drawer, but she used it to draw a self-portrait; It's Haley. Haley's time in middle school ended in June and Oh, Baby did she celebrate!

We traveled to Montana in July to spend a week with my family in a log cabin. We had a great time. Getting together with my family brought back a lot of memories, most notably I remembered My Dad. Haley celebrated her birthday and I think the best present she got was Grandma C's Present.

August: My baby is growing up, but it nice to know that she loves her Mama; I Wanna Hold Your Hand.

September means back to school and for Haley this year it meant a new school. I thought the transition to High School would be easy because all of the other transitions have been, but I learned to Assume Nothing and because of that little lesson I decided to give Haley's new teacher An Introduction. Haley did well in her new school. She even surprised me by communicating with me on a whole new level when Rain Went Away.

In October I had Mixed Emotions and I wanted to ask Haley "How Do You Feel?" Later on in the month I no longer had to guess, she told me her opinion about the sweater her Grandma had given her; I Like It.

I started shopping for Christmas presents in November and I was so excited about one gift in particular and then I Blew It!

December was fun. Haley got to see her favorite steam engines and all of her grandparents and of course she got some great Christmas presents. I really enjoy going back and reading my little record of the year. I also really enjoy reading your Comments, so keep them coming!

2011 was a great year and I am looking forward to what 2012 has in store for us.


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