Rotating Playgrounds

From July 2009

This summer we've gotten in the habit of going by the playground 3-4 afternoons after i pick the boys up from school. It helps the boys unwind, lets me have a chance to just play with them before we get home and i'm distracted by housework, and lately it's given us a chance to appreciate some of the benefits of living in the city.

We've taken to going to new parks every so often and now have a stable of 5 parks that we rotate based on request. The boys have named each one, so there's the "bear park," Silas favorite and named for the bear statues that spray water, the "shower park" which has an awesome water feature like a gigantic showerhead that Henry adores running through, the "close" park-- which happens to be the one 4 blocks from our house, the "sandbox" park and a few others we're still creating names for.

Henry has been exploring more and more in the past several weeks-- climbing to the top of ladders, wanting to do the monkey bars, hanging from the rings and dropping on his own, and climbing up steeper and steeper slides. It's awesome to watch. Silas has been going through a bit of a timid stage lately. He still adores the swings but constantly tells you "no high." He and Henry entertained each other for a good half hour last week "chasing" each other around the playground. I'm hoping that habit takes over because sometimes i'm just not up for another round of tag!


Physical therapy, i think we've found a match

Long-time readers, aka family members will remember that Henry was in physical therapy as a baby. He started around 9 months old and continued receiving therapy until just before his 2nd birthday. He received therapy through a few different practices; the last of which we were very unhappy with and after we left it turns out it closed. We weren't particularly happy with the therapy being delivered and we did not at all have a clear sense of the goals Henry was trying to reach nor any kind of guide for when we would get there. We were trapped on a therapy treadmill where each developmental stage brought with it a new skill that Henry needed help "strengthening."

I say all of this because i was very reticent about getting Henry back into therapy. I didn't want to repeat the bad experience, nor get back into the struggles with Henry about "practicing" the skills he was learning. We've been talking closely with our Ped. and it wasn't until Henry's 4 year appointment that we thought it was a good-idea to get him evaluated again. Our Ped. referred us to a practice that is very close and that she highly recommended. Other than the billing situation (they don't take any insurance) we have been very pleased. The office is convenient (halfway between our house and Brenda), we currently have a 5 pm slot and will soon have the 6 pm slot, and the therapist is quite good and Henry bonded with her almost immediately.

We had an initial evaluation and received a written report that we discussed in an "evaluation" meeting with Caroline the therapist this past week. Henry has some weakness in his legs, particularly his right leg. His core strength is also somewhat weak. She set out a number of physical goals for Henry, i.e. being able to walk up and down steps "reciprocally" without holding on to the railing; being able to hop on one foot, jump forward at least 30 inches, etc. She estimated in the written report that it would take 1 weekly session for 3-4 months and then going to bi-weekly session and then just periodic check-ins. During the evaluation meeting this week she said she thought it wouldn't actually take that long because of how quickly he was progressing just in 3 sessions.

The report also said that he was wonderful at following instructions, very easy to work with, eager to do the exercises, and kept trying multiple times until he got something without getting frustrated. Many of those traits i've witnessed personally but the not getting frustrated part was a pleasant surprise. This time around everything is better because as parents we feel good about the practice and the therapist and where we're headed, but primarily because Henry is excited to see Caroline and looks forward to practicing his new skills. I'm glad i didn't let our previous negative experience make me drag my feet any longer on helping Henry in this way.


Is pink for girls?

We've made it much farther than i thought we would before a dawning of gender happened in our house. Henry and Silas have both liked traditionally "boy" things from the get-go, all manner of transport vehicles, and balls for sure. But until today we've had no discussion of things "appropriate" for girls and boys. I know Henry knows who is a girl and who is a boy but he hasn't asked and i'm not sure he could explain what makes them actually different. You're supposed to answer questions when they're raised and not overwhelm kids with more than they want to know-- at least that's our current logic.

So today in the car as we're about to pull up at the park Henry says "Pink is for girls." A little bit of question mark at the end of the statement. I told him that lots of girls like the color pink but that boys can like it too. I told him that a lot of times people say "blue is for boys" but that lots of girls like blue as their favorite color. He was happy and i didn't prolong the discussion or probe to figure out what had raised it. I do know that pink has been one of his favorite colors and right now he and Silas have us mark on the calendar who gets to use the sparkly pink cup that was left by a playmate last weekend (and that will be returned clean next weekend!)


Summer Documentation

I know i need to post some pictures, although honestly i need to take some pictures! But, i thought i would use a few minutes of quiet time to post something rather than wait for the perfect convergence of events when i've got pictures readied as well-- you'd be waiting for a bit longer i dare say.

I'm home now and not traveling again until early August. That's a one-day work trip and the boys are coming with me. They get to spend 3 days with Oma and Opa by themselves, and then after picking JT up we're all headed to the beach with my parents-- Gran and Nonna and my grandmother. It was really hit or miss for a long time whether JT would be able to come to the beach this year, so we're especially looking forward to the vacation since our whole family will be together.

The list of things that various parties want to do is pretty long. There's swimming and sandcastles and jumping in the waves of course, there's flying kites, playing mini golf, eating a 5 guys burger, as well as cooking fish, going to our delayed anniversary dinner at the Buttery, and finally renting bikes and a bike trailer, possibly renting jet skis and going to a baseball game. We'll have a full schedule and can't wait to have enough time off to enjoy it all.

Quick update i didn't make before. Henry had two one-hour evaluations with a physical therapist. We'll get a full written report, but the initial feedback was that he has weakness in his legs (one more than the other although i don't remember which) and that he needs to be able to strengthen them so he can jump as far as he should be able to and do things like hop on one foot-- which he can't do at all right now. The other issue is that he has "collapsed arches." He stands and rolls his feet inwards so that his arch is almost touching or touching the ground. We've ordered some shoe inserts that is supposed to help with that. He starts his weekly sessions next week. More to come.



Tuesday when i was talking about my trip to Atlanta this week i told the boys I would take them to school on Wednesday morning and JT would pick them up in the afternoon since i'd be going to the airport. Henry said "i don't like it when you travel." It wasn't particularly emotional, but he said it and it was negative which both hurts a bit and is a turning point. Previously he and Silas both have been largely nonchalant about my travel. I know it's not easy, it certainly asks JT to shoulder a full-time parenting burden for a few days, but i also know the kids are in good hands. By all accounts they've done great while i've been away this visit. I now call and talk to both boys before they go to bed which tells me that Silas is definitely getting older. Nevermind the conversations seem to focus a lot on booboos and what they had for dinner, but the both chatter away-- Henry with his "Mommy i want to tell you something" and Silas with his "Mommy. Mommy? Mommy!" Even as i'm answering each request with a "yes Silas?"

I'm looking forward to being back Friday night and not travelling again until early August when i bring the boys with me and we go on vacation!