Thursday, May 22, 2008

Carnival Therapy

Today was Laura's last day of swimming lessons. What a wonderful experience this has been for her. Not only is she learning the important skill of swimming, but she has blossomed in self confidence as she worked on her own, out of the shadow of her siblings. Though she needs to repeat this beginner class (she is still leary of getting her face wet or jumping into the pool), the personality boosters are evident in other things she does.

Laura had a long afternoon in Maple Grove with 2 therapy appointments, one hour each: one a physical therapy assessment, and the other, occupational therapy. In the waiting room, she was just a stitch....jumping around with her Hollywood Dora shades on, playing hide and seek, and being simply silly! My normally quiet and shy youngster was all out extroverted today! This frame of mind was very positive in the therapy rooms as in the absence of her stubbornness remained a very cooperative little girl.

As expected, she did just fine with the OT portion, just a few little things that we can work on at home. Physical gross motor skills are another story. Improvement has not been that great over the past year, and she is at least one year behind normal, so she will resume weekly PT appointments. This will not only help to catch her up to her peers, but increase her own enjoyment of activities most kids take for granted (like riding a trike or scooter or even climbing steps). We will certainly re-enroll her in special ed services this fall...the school has done wonderful things for Melissa in that department, so we know it will be helpful to Laura too.

All the kids beat us home, including the son of a friend who will be with us until Monday evening. But Grandma C was there, in charge, meaning that the kids got a warm welcome and snacks on their arrival home. The kids love it when Grandma comes because she actually gives them attention, feeds them food, plays with them outside, and takes them to the park. Things that their overwhelmed Mommy can never seem to do all in the same day. I look forward to these days as a Grandma myself someday (hopefully some long day away from now!).

We all went to the Carnival at the elementary school where Jonny and Michael were already stationed at their service posts. Jonny was a kitchen helper (like a real life "Bubba") and Michael was running the mini-golf game(where Melissa got a hole in one!). For just a small fee, we had 80 tickets to burn on games and food. Grandma bought the kids balloons, dinner, and an extra hour playing games. Between all of the golfing, baseball and basketball throwing, dunk tank hitting, inflatable obstacle course managing, bounce house jumping, ring toss and bowling ball rolling...the kids got a work out! I think that going to a carnival once a week over the summer instead of driving all the way out to Maple Grove each week will be plenty of therapy for my girls. And because of our very high out of pocket deductible, the carnivals would be a lot cheaper (and more fun for the other kids in tow). I think we have ourselves a new summer plan!

Jonny and I had to run out from the carnival early to make it out to St. Boni in time for his baseball game. This left Grandma with the trio of Laura, Melissa, and Crispy who were all on their best behavior and having a great time. Grandma ? met them for dinner and to drive them home as Jonny and I had left with the baby in such a rush. We were running behind (surprise), and to our horror, arrived at the baseball field with no other maroon shirts in sight. Were we at the wrong field? We spent the next 10 minutes frantically driving around the city, looking for kids we recognized at each field. No luck. We finally called Bob to ask him to double check the field and time for us online. Hmm....we were on the right track, so we circled back to the original field. Now there were 6 other maroon shirts warming up their gloves. By gum, we had been early.....we had made it there FIRST. Can you even believe it?!? Never considered that as a possibility!

The game was great, and tied at 22 to 22. Gotta love Pee Wee baseball. I worked with Jonny a bit on his batting (using some encouragement I had learned from the golf pro who gave me a few lessons), and Jonny hit the ball! It was great to see the relief on his face. He is doing a great job on the field, really playing his position and stepping in for others when they are after the ball. A great team player. Tubby was content to snack and flirt with all the adoring baseball moms on the sidelines. Babies just have a way with people, don't they? They are good therapy for anyone, any age.

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