We finished reading the Wizard of Oz and before we could watch the movie we did a craft. The craft we did was to make pages for their books and a book cover. Of course, like any of my other projects, I went a bit overboard and we only had time to get the page inserts done that day before we planned on watching the movie. I will post about the book cover soon, but for today look at how cute their Wizard of Oz “illustrations” turned out. They will be glued onto the backs of their pages that they have been writing everyday. Here they are finishing up the last page in the book. And then it was onto the fun part. I printed out heads and feet drawings of Dorothy, Toto, Tin Woodsman, Scarecrow and the Lion. Their craft was to make the body. Tinfoil for the Tin Woodsman. Gingham fabric leftover from making Elise’s Dorothy dress (which I am still trying to figure out the damn zipper on) and then painted on silver glitter shoes. I found this great faux furry trim at Joanns and bought a yard which was just enough to go around three lion manes. Felt for the Scarecrow. Finally for Toto they colored the dog (Patrick colored black, Michael colored blue and Elise’s Toto is purple and pink.) and then they glued on a little felt nose. I couldn’t be happier with how they all turned out. The big half pages are for inside the book and the single page smaller characters are for the back of the book. I can’t wait to assemble the whole book once the book cover is done.
I know. Go ahead and laugh. Me writing a post about fitness is definitely joke worthy. But this isn’t about me. Well it is a little bit about me, but it is mostly about the kids.
I have blogged about Michael’s Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) before and to say it has an impact on the entire family is an understatement. The impact is not all bad. Yes, it is a challenge for Michael daily, and it is also a challenge to parent a kiddo with SPD but there are also some positive things about SPD; mainly it keeps us moving. Moving is a must.
Michael is a sensory seeker. His body needs massive amounts of input to slow his brain down to function like the rest of us. He likes to push things, pull things, crash into things, lift things and generally find resistance and fight against it any way physically possible. Keeping all that energy locked up is a recipe for disaster, so exercise or occupational therapy is a daily requirement. The difference between exercise and occupational therapy for us at this point is a co-pay. This is not to say that OT isn’t a good thing. OT was the best thing that ever happened to Michael. OT was the best thing that ever happened to Tim and I as parents. OT taught us so much and we now have the tools to help our boy.
SPD really is a hard thing to describe. Whenever I try to imagine what Michael is feeling, I close my eyes and think about being on a plane. I am sitting economy coach and I am in the middle seat between to people who have taken over the armrests. These people smell. Not necessarily bad smells but one has on too much perfume and the other is eating a oniony and garlic filled sandwich. Both are talking loudly and at the same time. We have been on the plane for hours and I am tired of sitting. I am antsy, and I feel like I could jump out of my skin and nothing in the world would be better than being able to stand up and walk up and down the plane isles a few times to stretch my legs, but alas the fasten seat belt sign is on. My seat neighbours are still talking loudly and occasionally they look at me for a response, but I am working so hard at staying inside my small bubble and not elbowing them WWF wrestler style in an effort to gain another few square inches of arm space, that I have no idea what the loud talking neighbours asked me.
When Michael is having a bad day, this is what I imagine life is like. Sitting at the dinner table is hard. Everyone is noisy, all the smells are filling the air and he is being asked to sit, partake in dinner conversation, remember manners and try new foods. He has siblings or a parent on either side of him within arms reach. With nothing to anchor him or engage his body, the simple task of sitting at the dinner table is overwhelming.
When Michael isn’t sitting at the table well, I think about myself in that plane seat and the only things that makes the my plane situation easier is being well rested so my head is clear but physically exhausted so my body can relax. This is the goal for Michael. This is why we exercise. We exercise to help his body relax. We eat healthy food and are super strict about bed times so he can have a clear head.
Over the school year I have had the luxury of handing over that daily exercise routine to Michael’s teachers. Now that he is home full-time it is all on me. Three weeks into summer and spending all this time working on “school” and having lots of free time have led to many bad days for all of us. The only thing all those bad days had in common was the lack of movement and input. It is time to add fitness and exercise into the routine. Michael isn’t the only one who needs the movement breaks and exercise, Patrick would spend an entire day on the couch or in front of the computer if allowed. Elise is prone to nightmares and she sleeps best after a long day of physical activity, fresh air and sun.
So here we are again. Another GIMPed up graphic to get me motivated.
The Bear Crawl
Elise wasn’t the only one getting into character when doing the bear crawl.
And here is Patrick capturing exactly how I feel about the plank 47 seconds into it.
The crab walk.
And Elise chose to make the crab walk especially difficult by refusing to go backwards. Have you ever tried to crab walk forwards? It may be impossible.
I try to set an example at reading time by grabbing my book and reading with them. It would be easy to use those 20 minutes to make lunch or check email, but instead I sit down and read. It is wonderful to look up from my book and see that all three kids are looking at pictures or reading to themselves. In reality most of the 20 minutes is me answering the age-old question,
are we there yet? are we done yet? So when it comes to SAHM Fitness I try to set an example by choosing five, resting and then choosing five more. Most of the time it is fun but sometimes I find myself asking, “ARE WE DONE YET?!” when the timer doesn’t seem to end with the crab walk.
For the record the crab and bear walk are by far my least favorite.
It is only the first week of summer and already we have had some serious highs and lows.
Transitioning into summer after the rigid and predictable school day schedule has been a challenge for all the kids, Michael especially.
Michael likes to know what is coming next. Michael likes to know what tomorrow will bring. Michael does best when there is a consistent and predictable schedules. Summer is not like that, or at least this first week of summer has not been like that.
After spending the week fighting against this need for schedule I have decided to go against my dreams of a laissez-faire summer and make a schedule and stick to it. I am not big on schedules but to inspire me to sit down and try to figure everything out I spent some time making an image in Gimp. Nothing like a little graphic design to kick me into an organizational frenzy. Thus, SAHM Summer School was born. I am hoping it will play well with a week of SAHM Camp later this summer.
So far SAHM Summer School consists of 20 minutes of reading time.
Then I read from the book of the week (I am thinking some books will take more than a week) and after that the kids have to draw a picture of what I read about and then the boys write a few sentences about what they drew and I write down what Elise wants me to write and then she traces over the letter I write.
I found a display of great picture books at Barnes and Noble when we visited the store for the boys’ last day of school book buying tradition. This is the first book we are reading. At $6 a book I think I will stick with this series of illustrated classics. The pictures are great and the story is written to their level of listening.
In total all of that “school” usually takes just over an hour. It isn’t much but at least, as of now, I have one predictable and scheduled part of our summer days.
The plan is to do a few crafts and find a recipe for a treat that will tie into the book to make when we finish the book. We will eat the treats while watching the movie. The kids are looking forward to the movie night and I can’t wait to staple together the little books they made and show them that with a little bit a work they can make something wonderful.
Look at that super sweet drawing. He is now drawing all his art in black marker to “outline” everything and then he goes back and colors everything in. He has come so far and I could not be prouder of him. Three cheers for fantastic Kindergarten Teachers!