Wednesday, February 29, 2012


We all had a great time when we visited Haley's Grandma and Grandpa a couple of weeks ago.

We had a very relaxing weekend. We ate well and we put jigsaw puzzles together. Haley basically played on her laptop all weekend. She got to visit with Heather. And, of course she got to ride Grandpa's tractor.

There was something that we didn't do, however, that Haley really wanted to do. I didn't realize how important it was to her until we were leaving.

We didn't go to the Tree Farm.

Apparently Haley had her heart set on it.  She may have mentioned it once or twice, but we didn't have plans to go there.  We only had two days to visit and besides it was cold and rainy.

Those are our excuses.

Haley doesn't care.

As we were driving away from their house she said the usual things.  "Bye.  Grandma.  Bye.  Grandpa.  Bye.  Heather.  Tractor ride.  Fun."

Then she said "Tree Farm."

"We didn't go to the tree farm this time did we?"
  I said.

"Tree Farm." she stated a little louder.

Little did I know that was only the beginning.  Since then it has become a daily conversation.  We have established that Haley wants to go to the tree farm.

She wants to "camp" at the tree farm.  She wants to sleep in a "tent," in her sleeping "bag."

She wants to have a "fire."

It surprises me that she wants these things.

It has been a long time since we have tented at the tree farm.

I thought about it and realized that it was about five years ago. I found some pictures of that camping trip.

I guess she really enjoyed it.

Just look at that face.

She was so little.

So every day she talks about camping at the tree farm.  She wants me to put it on the calendar.  We have been trying to explain to her that we don't have plans to go to the tree farm.  We tried to explain to her that it is too cold to camp.  We told her that it wouldn't be warm enough to camp at the tree farm until Summer.

I don't know if she gets it.

She just yells back at us "Shubber!"  She can't say Summer.  It sounds like Shubber. 

So it goes like this:  "Tree Farm.  Tent.  Sleep.  Bag.  Tractor.  Grandpa.  Camping."

"Haley it is too cold to camp at the tree farm."


"Yes, it is too cold."

"CAMP." she says pointing at the calendar on the refrigerator.

"I can't put it on the calendar, Haley.  I don't know when we will go.  I only have one month on the calendar and it will be at least four months before we can go.  We might go in the summer."


"Yes, in the summer."

So life goes on...

Then a little while later she walks up to me and says "Shubber," by this time I have forgotten what that means so I look at her with my Dumb Mom Face.

"Tree Farm.  Camp.  Sleep.  Tent.  Fire."

"Oh, right. No. We can't camp until summer."  I say.



Saturday, February 25, 2012

Teach a girl...

You have heard the saying "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.  Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."  

I believe in it.

So you were probably encouraged by my last post about Haley dressing herself for three days straight.  Well, I hope you didn't get too excited, because you are probably going to be disappointed.

I got excited.

After the outfit that Haley put together Monday morning I got to thinking about what she might dress herself in to school the next day.  I thought that if she put on something that I didn't think would be appropriate for school it would be very discouraging for her if I told her to change.  

So I ran upstairs on Monday afternoon and I rearranged her dresser drawers.   

They were a complete mess anyway.  I pulled out all of the questionable clothes.  The tops that would need a layering piece because they might be too thin, had spaghetti straps or were too low cut.  The tops that were too short in the midriff.  The tops that just didn't fit her anymore.  

I carefully laid out her tops in her dresser drawers so that she could easily pick one without having to rummage.

Her short sleeved tops drawer.

Her long sleeved tops drawer.

Her sweaters, button up shirts and hoodies.

I didn't tell her until the next morning when we went upstairs to get her dressed.  I opened the drawers and explained to her what I had done.  I don't think she was too excited.  I actually got the feeling that she really didn't want to go to school.  At least she sure didn't care about getting dressed.  

She jabbed her finger at the topmost t-shirt in the top-most drawer.  I opened her pants drawer and she jabbed her finger at the top-most pair of pants.  Then she plopped down on the bed and refused to do anything.  She didn't even assist me as I assisted her.  It was very disappointing.

The next day wasn't much better. 

It wasn't much better all week.  

She did seem to be more interested in putting her outfits together as the week went on, but she was not interested in getting herself dressed and she certainly didn't do it on her own like she had on the weekend.

I decided that if she at least got herself dressed today that would be something.  There wouldn't be the rush to get ready like there is on a school day.  I had to leave the house fairly early to take her Big Sis to the dentist and when I left she was still in her pajamas.

When we got home she came running into the entry to show me what she was wearing.

Guess what!

She was wearing the same outfit she had worn the previous weekend.  The same purple top that her sister had given her that she had gotten at the Zoo. Of course by now I had washed it.

I said "Haley, did you get dressed all by yourself?"  

She said "Yeah."  

Her Dad peeked his head over the upstairs railing and said "She needed some encouragement, but she did pick it out and she did dress herself." 

I said "Woo!  Hoo!  Good job Haley!" and I gave her a big hug.

Haley likes her clothes.  She likes to layer.  The one constant all week, including the weekend that she dressed herself, is that she likes to change her outer layer.  She wore four different tops over the purple t-shirt last weekend, a sweater and three different hoodies.  Each day this week she would start out in a hoodie and then go upstairs and change into a sweater or another hoodie.  Yesterday she put a long sleeved white t-shirt with grey stripes over a black t-shirt with fluorescent lettering on it.  

Just now she came in to the kitchen wearing a white long sleeved t-shirt over the purple t-shirt she was wearing.

She can dress herself.  

She does dress herself.


Teach a girl to dress herself and you never know when she will get dressed, what she will wear or when or how often she will change.

Monday, February 20, 2012

I Am Bustin' with Pride

We spent the weekend at my husband's parent's house.  Haley's Grandma and Grandpa's.  It was a very laid back visit.  We basically spent the entire weekend eating the amazing food that Grandma made and putting together jigsaw puzzles.

I lounged around in comfy track suits.  Haley's Big Sis wore pajamas.

Haley rocked yoga pants and a t-shirt.

It was her decision.  It was her doing.  I had nothing at all to do with it.

Saturday morning we had eaten breakfast and were just sitting at the table talking.  Haley got up and went upstairs.  A little while later she came back down. 


Her sister was still in bed.  I went up and asked her if she had helped her.  She hadn't.  She did say she watched though.  Haley did it all by herself.  Bra and everything.

A little while later she went back upstairs and came back down with some socks.  She brought them to her Dad and he put them on her feet.

Sunday morning was much the same.  No one said anything to her, she disappeared up the stairs shortly after breakfast and then came back down wearing the same yoga pants and t-shirt she had worn the day before.  She threw her socks on the floor in the middle of the living room and sat down on Grandma and Grandpa's lounger. 

We all looked at each other and smiled. 

I asked her if she needed help with her socks.  She said "Yeah."  So I put her socks on her.

Her Grandma and I talked about the likelihood that she would dress herself again on Monday.  I thought it was interesting that, although we were both duly impressed, our assumption was that once she was back in familiar surroundings she would revert to her old ways. 

We were wrong.

We got home late Sunday night and went right to bed.  This morning we all slept in.  Once we were up, we were just hanging out in our pajamas.  Haley had a bowl of cereal and then she watched YouTube videos on her laptop.  When her sister came down about an hour or so later she asked her if she wanted French Toast. Haley said "Yeah."  So Big Sis made them both French Toast. 

After they were done eating Haley started to walk out of the kitchen.  She turned to me and gave me a half wave over her shoulder.  I waved back.

A little while later she came back in to the kitchen, dressed.  She was wearing a different pair of yoga pants and a white camisole.  In her right hand was a pair of pink socks and her left hand was poised for a high five.  I gave her one and helped her put her socks on.  She went back to the laptop.  A little while later she left the room and then came back in wearing a pink sweater.  She put her hand up to me as she passed in what appeared to be a high five that didn't really need a response. 

She knew she was good.

I am so proud.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

It Would Help with This Deception

Bonus points if you can name that popular children's movie...


As you well know by now, Haley loves to visit her Grandparents.  She decided shortly after they left - when they were here for Christmas - that she wanted to go to their house.  She drove us crazy about it, like she does, for several weeks and then she didn't.  

I don't really know why, but we had a reprieve.

Last week she really enjoyed talking to them on the phone.  It has become a ritual.  My husband either calls them or they call him every Thursday.  On those occasions he brings a phone to Haley and puts it on speaker and she joins in the conversation.  She usually just listens and giggles, but occasionally she speaks. 

Actually what she does during most of the call is she runs and finds me or her Big Sis and excitedly tells us that Grandma and Grandpa are on the phone. We say something like; "That's cool Haley, go and talk to them." or "I know Haley, it is exciting!  Go back in the other room and talk to them."

The next day during breakfast she tells me all about the Call.  She recites what they talked about.  

"Call.  Grandma and Grandpa.  Heather.  Tree Farm."

Last week she excitedly talked about the Call every day afterward.  Then she wanted me to write something on the calendar that we keep on the refrigerator.  I don't know if she wanted me to write the next time that they were going to call, or something else.

It started ramping up.  I came to realize that she was remembering that back in January I might have pointed to the February calendar and talked about visiting Grandma and Grandpa.  

I have been avoiding the actual conversation.  

I have been reluctant to tell her that we are planning to go up there.  I almost broke down the other night.  I figured that the way she was nagging me might be worse than what she would do if she knew we were actually going.  I was getting the vibe from her Father and her Big Sis that I shouldn't say anything though.  

She was focusing on the Call so I focused on it too.  I told her that she would be able to talk to them on Thursday, even though they probably weren't planning on calling because they will be seeing us on Friday.  

That seemed to satisfy her.

Then I tried to decide how I would tell her that we were actually going to Grandma and Grandpa's house.  I didn't have it on the calendar, so I thought maybe I should put it on there.  Should I do it while she was in school, or should I do it when she got home so that she would see me do it?

Then I had this idea.  Let's get Grandma and Grandpa in on it.

I asked my husband to email them and have them call us last night, instead of Thursday night.  I wanted them to ask Haley if she would like to come up to their house.  I thought it might be fun for her to get an actual invitation.

So that is what they did.  They called us.  Haley got to talk to them (a day early) which she was excited about.  She really wanted to talk to them when we were getting in the car to go to her Confirmation Class.  So it was nice that when we got home and walked in the door we could hear that Dad was talking to them.

They asked Haley about church and then they talked about Heather and then they told her that they were lonely and they wanted to know if she would come up and visit them at their house.  She said "yeah."  She was smiling. She was thrilled.  She was relatively quiet though.  I hope they weren't offended.  

After she hung up she threw her arms up in the air and screamed "Grandpa's House! Yay!"  She gave me a double high five, or ten, as it were and she yelled "WOOOO!"  Then we went over to the calendar and I wrote Grandpa and Grandma's across Friday and Saturday.  She yelled "WOOOO!" again and ran out of the room and up the stairs to her sister's room.  She told her "Grandpa and Grandma's house." and then she came back downstairs and told me again.  She said "WOOOO!" several more times followed by high tens(?)

So I think she is excited. 

I did finally convince her to go to bed and then this morning she started packing.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What Haley does on the Computer

I have been asked "What does Haley do on the computer?

Well, she does a lot.  She goes on YouTube and she watches shows that she likes like The Lion King, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Road to El Dorado.  She also watches videos that other people make using those same movies and others.  Those are her top three though.

She searches for those same movies, somehow, I really don't know how she does it, but sometimes she is on eBay looking at Grinch merchandise and $400 Daylight models.

Sometimes she finds videos like Tarzan and she does this:


This was just a small portion of the time that spent giggling at this video.  She just kept hitting play again and again.  I think she was at it for at least an hour.

The other day I walked around the corner to find her doing this:

In this case she was watching a DVD of Back to the Future III.  I was so excited to see this.  She was playing.  She was mimicking, sort of, but there was a lot of imagination happening.

Of course I didn't have my camera.  

I had to run and get it and by the time I got back the movie had moved on and she wasn't doing it any more.  So I asked her if she would do it again.  Now I don't know why I thought she would because she has a track record of never performing for me.  I imagine that she would say "I am not a trick pony, Mom!"  

Well, this day was different.  

She was more than happy to oblige.  I reversed the video back to the part where Marty and Doc are riding their horses really fast and she put her dolls back on their horses and she did it again.  

That was new.

You may be wondering why the keyboard is red.  Well, that is another story entirely.  

The other thing that Haley does when she is on the computer is concentrate.  She concentrates so hard on what she is watching on the screen that she drools.  We learned the hard way that drool is not good for a laptop keyboard.  She shorted it out recently.  It seems that there was a puddle in the keyboard.  It sat that way over night.  

The next morning the keyboard did not work.  

Haley doesn't really use the keyboard.  She mainly uses the mouse and sometimes hits the space bar.  She didn't miss the keyboard that much.  The rest of us did, so we had to buy a new one for the laptop.  We put plastic wrap over the keyboard to prevent that from happening again.  My husband found a little plastic keyboard cover recently that he put over the new laptop keyboard.  It seems to be working pretty well.

So that is what Haley does on the computer.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Amazing! Part 2

Haley had her filling appointment on Saturday.  She was so good.

I have titled this post "Amazing! Part 2", because that is what her dentist kept saying. 

"She is amazing, Mom."

We arrived a little early so that Haley could watch the train go around the track near the ceiling of the waiting room.  They have a giant button on the wall that kids can push that operates the train.  It is Haley's favorite thing about the dentist.

They called her in and she sat down in the dentist's chair.  The hygienist asked her if she wanted to watch a movie.  She said "yeah."

This has not worked well in the past.  They have a really space aged system that looks like virtual reality glasses with headphones.  The last time we tried this she did not like all the stuff that we put on her head. 

She chose Pocahontas.  They got her set up with the video and the earphones.  Then we waited. 

Well, I waited.  She was fine, laying back watching a movie.

I don't know if you will be able to see this, but she is looking at me in this picture.  She did this a lot.  Of course, she is doing it now because I got the camera out, but she looked at me a lot during her appointment.  I just kept smiling at her.  I was trying to be reassuring.

So after this the hygienist put the "Happy Air" mask on her.  We decided to use the Happy Air just so that she would lay still.  She had it when she had her tooth Wiggled Out and she seemed fine with it.  Haley chose strawberry for the scent of her Happy Air.  It went just over her nose.  She laid there watching her movie and breathing in her Happy Air for a long time.  The dentist was busy with other patients.  I am sure Haley was feeling fine, but I got more and more nervous as time went on. 

I started wishing they had offered me the Happy Air instead.

The hygienist offered her a Popsicle.  A little while later she offered her another one.

Eventually the dentist came in and got everything under way. 

Then not only did Haley have the movie glasses, the earphones and the Happy Air face mask on, in her mouth she had the drill, the suction, the thing that looked like a scissors that was holding her mouth open and two pairs of gloved hands.

She just laid there.

I know that all of that is not unusual for someone who is getting a tooth filled, but this is a little girl that up until very recently wouldn't let me put my finger in her mouth to check to see if her new tooth was coming in.

I am sure that the Happy Air had something to do with it, but even so, she was doing so well.

The doctor explained what she was doing to Haley the whole time.  Not technically of course, but in a way that was reassuring to Haley.  She told her that she was going to brush her teeth when what she was really doing was drilling.  She kept telling Haley that she was doing a really good job and she kept telling me that she was amazing.

Every once in a while her feet would twitch, she would tighten up her leg muscles or she would flex her foot.  I don't know if at those times she was feeling something or dancing to the music of Pocahontas.  It made me nervous.  When she did that I would reach over and rub or pat her leg.  I was worried that she was feeling pain.  They didn't use any kind of numbing agent. 

She never made a sound.   

At one point she gripped the arm rests.  I patted the hand closest to me and she reached for my hand.  I held it for a while.  She held my hand and then she relaxed and let go.  She grabbed the arm again.  Still no sound.

When they were all done she gave me a high five.

She wanted to get up, but they wanted her to lay back and breathe straight oxygen for five minutes.  She was still watching the movie.  The doctor told me again that she was amazing and left the room.  After the five minutes was up Haley got to choose something from the prize room.

I had a little more trouble with this appointment than she did apparently.  It took me a while to feel calm again.  Haley seemed fine though.  She said her tooth was better.

The moral of this story is:  I should never underestimate my child.  She amazes me at every turn.  Just when I think that something will never happen for her, or that something will be traumatic or she won't be up to the challenge I find out that she is. 

That she is strong. She is smart. She is capable.

She is amazing.

Friday, February 3, 2012

In The Night

There is a sound that I dread. 

It startles me when I am downstairs and I hear it upstairs.

When I hear it in my living room or my office it means work for me.

When I hear it at 1:30 in the morning, like I did last night, it is down right frightening!

It is the sound of Haley dumping all of the toys out of her purse.

At 1:30 a.m.

After I got over the initial shock I dragged myself out of bed and opened my bedroom door.  There she was rifling through the contents of her purse. 

"Haley, what are you doing?" I whispered.


Now I was sleepy and a little disoriented so my mind was not swift.

"Is that your hyena?" I asked, knowing full well that it wasn't, but I couldn't remember what it was. 

I knew it wasn't the warthog from The Lion King.  I knew that she had chosen that name for a different kind of animal.  And I knew at the time she named it that it was probably not a good idea to let her use that name.  Not because it would confuse her, but for this very reason. 

That it would confuse me. 

That at some point I would be asked to find said animal (in the middle of the night) and I would not remember which animal it was because the name attached to it brought up memories of another animal which it was not.

She said "yeah," even though that was clearly not the animal she was looking for. 

We both knew that.  We were both tired though.  And it was dark. 

I tried in vain to help her shuffle through the toys looking for an animal that neither one of us could see and that only one of us really knew that we were looking for.

I smelled something.

"Haley, do you need your pants changed?"


"OK, let's go do that."

She got up and I followed her in to the bathroom.

Afterward I gently persuaded her to go back to bed.  I didn't say that we would look for Pumba in the morning, but it was implied.

About an hour later (after I heard her shuffling around the house) she came in to my room.  I got up and put her back in bed again.  There was no mention of Pumba this time.

In the morning it started, after she had breakfast and got dressed, thankfully.  I looked around the house, but I didn't find it. 

I do remember now that it is a lion cub.  The one she got at the zoo the last time we went.  I spent a good hour looking for it this morning after she went to school, but so far no luck.

The bummer is that about a week ago I did a thorough cleaning of her room and I bagged up a bunch of toys that she never really plays with and I donated them.  I am pretty sure that Pumba was not amongst those toys, but the thing is that I organized everything in her room.  I don't remember seeing it, but if I did I would have put it with the other plastic animals and it is not there.

So like her Big Sis said, it is probably in a weird place that she put it, but she doesn't remember. 

Her Big Sis also said that she imagines her mind is like a log book where she catalogs all of her toys, where she played with them last and where she left them.  And when someone moves them (like I did when I cleaned) her log book gets all messed up.

So I messed up her log book.  And Pumba is missing. 

And I have about four hours to find her.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hand Signals

When Haley was small, before she spoke words at all, she used sign language.  All of her therapists used sign language with her.

The standards were yes, more and all done

She really never used no, not that that should be a surprise.

They tried to get her to do music and toilet too, but she rarely did.  Once she could speak she phased out the sign language. 

She occasionally uses it now, but she says the word along with it. 

I never know why she does it, it just comes out sometimes. 

Her yoga instructor tries to get her to answer yes or no using sign language.  When she does, I think Haley is just copying.  It doesn't really seem like a response to me.  She answers her, but she is still really quiet in yoga.

Haley seems to have developed her own form of sign language.

I wonder if what Haley is doing is really sign language. I have no way of knowing.  I tried to look up pictures of people doing sign language, there are some great sites that you can search a word or a phrase and they show a video of someone signing.  There was no way to reverse it. 

I was going to try to describe her hand signals to you, but finally I decided that I would have my husband take pictures of me doing them.

When she is explaining something emphatically she holds one hand over the other like this:

When she is mad and not getting her way she cups one hand in the other like this:

and pulls them apart quickly. 

If she is really mad she does it over and over again.

These days she feeds herself without any problem.  In fact she is getting better about scraping the food back to the middle of the plate so that she can scoop it up again.  We have tried to get her to push a bite on to the fork with her finger, but she won't touch her food. 

It took us a long time to get her to eat sandwiches and hamburgers on her own.  Come to think of it she will eat a taco by herself now too.  So really she has come a long way. 

Sometimes it seems she hits a road block and she wants help. 

It is those times that she holds her fork like Lord Voldemort holds his wand. 

She always directs this to me.

 It kind of gives me the creeps.


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