Why does he wake so early???

After a night of interrupted sleep and then being woken at some awful its-not-even-time-for-early-birds-to-be-up time by a small child yelling “Mum, I’ve got poos in my pants. I should have done that in the toilet”…… “and I need bweakfaaaaast, I’m staaaarrrrrving!” not even coffee was helping this homeschool mum function today.

After breakfast I set Ryan up with snowflake making (beads and pipecleaners) but got out the beads which have holes too small for threading. Finally realised why it was so difficult and swapped the beads but Ryan had lost interest. We made the paper magic kingdom set we got at Wendy’s on our break away recently. Once put together Ryan didn’t look at them again, apart from trying to feed some to the dog, sigh…

We decided to cuddle up with a pile of books. I have so many books he has never seen as every book sale I bring at least 1 bagful home. Today I grabbed 4 books we havent read and 2 early readers Ryan has read. After reading them all Ryan wanted to read Chocolate Mousse for Greedy Goose 1/2 a dozen more times and was in fits of giggles. It’s quite a funny book!

Next he needed some physical activity so I pulled out a new punching bag toy (thanks Kmart!) which needed inflating. It has water in the base and everytime it tipped you can hear it sloshing. Ryan thought it was fantastic!

Morning tea and some quiet time watching YouTube before Ryan headed back to the lounge. I wanted something to keep him busy for a while, and not asking me the same questions over and over (yip, he was in stuck record mode!) so grabbed an old science fair board, insulation tape (because it holds well!), and some paper tubes and plastic tubes. Stuck it altogether, put a tray under it and a container of marbles. Ryan spent ages posting and listening to the marbles bumping down the tubes. Win for me!

He made gross burpy noises in the pvc pipe, drew on the whiteboard, found letters with the pool noodle letters, and played with the key windchime we made yesterday.

After lunch the pvc pipe became a pretend horse, the punching bag got hugs and Alex and Ryan played Buckaroo (pyjama day for us today).

Some water play with blue water, turtle, fish and shells plus watering can and bottle. Someone looks tired too (here’s hoping for sleep tonight!)

Intense Wednesday!

The countdown has begun to Ryans 8th birthday! I put a visual countdown on the fridge above his daily visual calender. Ryan wanted to colour in this morning – 1st time he has ever asked to do this and Big Bird had to be “blue” (said while holding a yellow feltpen – pretty sure this kid is colourblind like a lot of his male relatives!) When he was done he put it on the fridge “to show my Dad” he said 🙂

I was still doing the morning dishes/tidy up and he went to the lounge and was drawing happy and sad faces. He called me to “take a picture with your phone Mum!” lol. He’s really on to it today! We listened to/sang the new song he learnt yesterday to help breathing – Deep in the forest where nobody goes…

A puzzle, counting gingerbread men and hiding them under cups – he still isn’t getting the memory game concept but working on it, singing Jingle Bells with the Tone Bells, and then Do your ears hang low? book and CD.

Throwing the giant dice and counting the dots then Ryan wanted to remake the balloon rocket we made on Monday. This time we used the hallway and tried using the bike pump and foot pump to save blowing up the balloon but neither worked. Ryan had fun trying though.

Next we made a windchime out of keys. We painted them with glittery nail polishes and twisted a coathanger to hang them off. We both ended up with super sparkly hands and Ryan loved making a “ding-a-ling key thing” (his words!). This was an activity for our Winter theme (wind).

Thomas the tank engine counting puzzle cards 1-5. Lots of hand flicking stimming from excitement today!  

Fine motor skills posting coloured pasta into jars and Ryan coloured a picture to post to Max (a penpal from the NZ Homeschool penpal group). He has been doing lots of intense concentrating today, most activities have been his own choosing! (And the silly monkey hat reappeared lol)

We read The Magic School Bus Rides the Wind, Mike and the Ice Queen, and Ryan read me “Just look at you”
Starfall – audio read-along book “The gingerbread boy”, ABC for kids – free Google Play Store app (tracing letters – Ryan did upper case A-Z) then watched home videos of himself on my touchpad. Youtube was Crazy Frog, The ants go marching and The three little pigs (all Ryan’s choosing). 

About 3 o’clock Ryan had a strange episode, I’m not sure what quite happened, but he suddenly burst into tears, was shaking and saying “help me, help me” very upset and seemed terrified. After hugs, food and drink he still wasn’t himself so I set up warm water and bubbles and that calmed him. So strange :/ Alex asked him what was wrong and he said “I’m just crying because I am” 😦

Nice big bubble bath and some French toast (his current favourite dinner) – toast bread soaked in whisked egg/milk mix and cooked in the sandwich press with butter, then sprinkled with cinnamon and a little sugar.

More toast and YouTube – songs from Moana and washing machine videos. Ryan was up super early this morning so hoping he settles easily tonight!

Tremendous Tuesday!

This morning Ryan was really calm so I thought we would try story time at the library. It’s aimed at preschoolers but at Ryan’s learning level so we went. Before we got dressed I asked Ryan if he would like to go to the library? He said yes. I asked “do you remember the library rules?” and he replied “no yelling and no running”. Good answer… not sure if he knows what he means but he says the same thing everytime we go. We don’t go often, in fact, I think the last time we went was at Easter to get an egg from Hetty the hen! When we arrived he held my hand and we walked around all the aisles and looked at all the windows. Ryan asked why some were open… and could he open the ones that were shut. Down the children’s end there were lots of people and lots of noise. Ryan immediately started to pull at my arm. I tried to get him to sit away from the group, but in hearing distance of the story. He started to panic so we did another walk around the books and headed back to the car. I praised him and said what a good visit to the library we had because he was quiet and stayed with me. 

Once in the car I told him we had a quick stop to make then the supermarket. We got a park right outside the health food shop, which is quite cramped with lots of shelves of small items so I was a bit nervous. I said “hold my hand and keep your hands to yourself please.” Ryan found the 3 on the parking meter and pushed it then put money in the slot. Once in the shop I quickly found what I wanted and we lined up to pay. Ryan did really well standing next to me, and I talked quietly to him as we waited, telling him how pleased I was he was waiting nicely for our turn. Back in the car more praise for good listening and we headed to the supermarket. I knew we were possibly getting to the end of his coping limit so I mentally reduced my grocery list to the bare essentials, and considered the dairy when I realised milk and bread are at opposite ends of the supermarket, but decided to risk it. Ryan chose a trolley and asked to buy carrots. He counted 6 into the bag, weighed and printed the price sticker all by himself! – important lifeskill right there! Halfway down the next aisle an older gentleman came up to us, pointed at Ryan and said “It’s a ginga!” Ryan looked confused so I said “he’s talking about your lovely red hair” and kept moving. Then the man said “you know they are becoming extinct? He’s a rare breed!” and then he walked away. Well! What do you say to that lol! We certainly think he’s unique 🙂 🙂 Bread and milk in the trolley and we found the conveyor belts (what Ryan calls the checkout). Ryan unloaded all the items to be scanned and helped bag them at the other end. Into the car and home. A successful morning and fantastic behaviour! Ryan got some maltezers as a reward and we had a drink and biscuit. Then we took a carrot, from the shopping, out to Clover.

Some time on Mathseed then toy guinea pigs and some playdough. This was tricky because the carrots are tiny and Ryan had to really concentrate to pick them up.

He was starting to get twitchy so I suggested a bounce on the mini tramp.

The Wanganui Home Educators facebook group are doing a lego challenge where an challenge is given each day and kids post pictures of their creation. Today was build a robot. I hadn’t taken much notice, since Ryan doesnt build with lego, but he opened his blocks after he got off the tramp. Ive never seen him use them so was surprised. I said “can you build me a robot?” and to my total surprise he said “yes”… and then told me “body, legs, arms, head” as he added blocks!!!

I read some books aloud and Ryan sat and looked through them again after I had finished.

We had horse riding after lunch today and Ryan led Chester around a few times – well supervised by a young man who has gotten to know Ryan well and everytime they passed the tap that turned the overhead sprinkler on he distracted Ryan by chatting. They convinced Ryan to have a ride before being allowed to wash some teatowels. They understand his currency lol. As the washing machine was filling a group of kids arrived and one boy was in Ryan’s class at school for 2 years. They haven’t seen each other this year but he saw Ryan and immediately said “Hey, Ryan’s here. Hi Ryan.” And Ryan replied, without looking away from the machine, “Hi (boys name)” … Ryan had recognised his voice! Conversation over, both happy 🙂 🙂

A quick trip to the doctors and chemist for Alex and Ryan did really well. I let him play a maths game on my phone at the doctors (homeschooling out and about!) and I got him nuggets and a frozen coke to help pass the time waiting at the chemist. Thankfully I got a park right outside and our chemist give you a buzzer so they can buzz you when your meds are ready. He was all smiles when a school teacher from last year walked past and waved. “Mum, mum it’s (teachers name)!” And then a friend parked next to our car so there was lots more excited yelling and banging on the window!

Home for bath, dinner, stories and bed!

Wet cold Monday but busy busy busy!

Ryan woke up “starving” (his word) and after breakfast we dropped Alex at school. Once we got home Ryan refused to get out of the car. Eventually we made it inside and Ryan helped me do the morning housework – vacuuming, and scrubbing the bathroom with the TurboScrub brush (an electric scrubbing brush that spins). Ryan did a great job using the TurboScrub and helped put the vacuum away for me.

Reading was practising following the words with his finger and I read him Toy Story and The Magic School Bus Arctic Adventure.

Flash decided to chase Percy around the track and Ryan thought that was very entertaining! 

Letter recognition was practised with cut up pool noodles that I have written letters on. We talked about each letter as he randomly put them on the metal bars (our coffee table tipped on its side). Then I realised we needed a line under the letter so he knew which way to put it. This was the first time we did this and Ryan like “hiding” them under the coffee table for next time. 

Writing practise was “dog to bone” worksheet following the wavy line, the letter ‘d’ wipe-clean page and his name. Then we had morning tea where Ryan had more v8 juice! 🙂

We bounced and rolled the swiss ball up and down the hallway and everytime the ball veered into a doorway we would yell “hey Mr Ball, you can’t go in … David’s room/the lounge/Ryan’s room/outside!” Ryan ended up laughing more than yelling lol!

Maths was the number 3 page in his workbook but while looking for 3 birds to circle a mega-meltdown happened… that I didn’t see coming… and after it had subsided Ryan needed lots of hugs and was very pale. Unfortunately our tv remote, which was thrown against a wall and smashed into so many pieces I couldn’t figure out how to fix it, was deemed unfixable by Stefan when he got home. Not happy but thankful it was just a remote this time :/

We sat and played on a few new free apps I downloaded from Google Play Store. The sensory one is great and he quietly watched the Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame Street. Highly recommend if you need to teach a someone how to calm themselves. 

We did counting with plastic gingerbread men and tried memory with 2 red and 2 green gingerbread men under cups but Ryan either didn’t understand or was being super silly, I’m not sure, so will revisit it another time. Then whiteboard drawing while learning breathing exercises. The Occupational Therapist sent me some songs that encourage breathing and today’s one “Deep in the forest” was a huge hit! 50x on repeat and I’ll be singing it in my sleep lol!

After lunch we made a balloon rocket and that had us both in fits of laughter as it flew off the sticky tape, did loops and made funny noises.

A rainy afternoon meant going early to get a park near Alex’s school so I grabbed my touchpad and Ryan played 123 Numbers (another free Google Play Store app) – number tracing 1-20 with balloons and praise after each number and a cool little lion 🙂 

At home Flash decided to attack the balloon rocket string and that really amused Ryan, especially when Flash got a piece of sticky tape stuck to his back paw and spun around chasing it lol!

Water play (Ryan requested “blue water and funnels please”) before bath time and Ryan was so excited he’s all blurry in the photos lol.

Busy busy Monday with ups and downs but lots of fun too!

Sunday at home

For a number of weeks/months we haven’t been to church on Sundays, due to a number of reasons (not all Ryan- related but his need to constantly move and talk has made it very difficult) and it is something I need to work on making happen again as I miss it and its important to me. 

While I was pondering the coming homeschooling week I looked up “kids bible study ideas” on the internet and Ryan saw me looking at a website with a picture of a book each of the boys were gifted when they left kindy at age 5. He went and got his and asked me to read his “book from kindy please” (The Beginners Bible) so we read the first story, then found the animated version on YouTube.

Most of the day was spent doing washing… seriously, how do we make so much washing!… and Ryan sorted, loaded and watched most of the loads. 

Water play with coloured water and a small bucket of water beads kept Ryan content for about 30 mins.

I brought his rebounder inside. It had been away since it wasnt being used much. I made room in his bedroom for it. He has been jumping a lot lately and I thought he may enjoy the rebounder again and I was right! He keeps thanking me for getting it out. He likes it by the wall so he can hold the windowsill to steady himself or he falls down a lot.

Today’s big achievements … Ryan ate 3 of my 8 slices of apple (he thought he was very funny “stealing” my food lol) and 1/2 cup of V8 orange mango passion fusion (vegetable and fruit drink)! Wahoo for new foods and actual fruit!

Hydroslide day!!!

Between swimming on Thursday afternoon and this morning Ryan must have asked approx 1000x if David can take him on the hydroslide. It wasn’t going on Thursday (which I knew and was pleased because I don’t do hydroslides lol) and Ryan loves it. So shortly after 10am this morning I dropped Stefan, David and Ryan to the Splash Centre. Alex and I spent some quality time together shopping and picked the others up at lunchtime. Ryan was happy but exhausted. Not surprising considering he was up and down most of the night and then a morning in a noisy environment. 

We had a quiet afternoon – and a complete house search for Percy the train who had disappeared! Ryan wanted to go out again so we did the recycling – Ryan helped this time but then took off and a kind lady stopped him before he ran in front of a car! Then a walk at Gordon’s Bush and Ryan pulled the trolley all the way around.

More loads of washing and Ryan helped rotate between the washer, dryer and baskets – while watching Toy Story… again! I’m starting to miss Moana, Nemo and Dory. They had become usual background noise and now its Woody and Buzz fighting and bickering! Sigh!

Lots of stories before bedtime and Ryan borrowed my spotty cuddly blanket so hopefully he’s tired enough to sleep more than 2 hours in a row tonight! 

Finally Friday…

I woke at “dark o’clock” (our name for anytime during hours of darkness that people should be sleeping) to a small child next to me in bed asking “hold my hand please mummy” and a husband who had decided he would get more sleep on the couch (smart thinking!)

When the sun came out we ventured out to get our Friday morning coffee and then I was dropped off at 303 Parent Support Centre. I have been involved at 303 since it opened, approx 10 years ago, attending mornings of craft, coffee, learning, and meeting other parents. I have made some amazing friends there and had great support at hard times too. I try to pop in some Friday mornings to have some adult conversation and be “me” not “Mum” for a little while.

Stefan and Ryan took the red trolley to Gordon’s Bush and Virginia Lake for a walk. Ryan had turns riding in and pulling the trolley. They hid painted rocks, found some and put money in the box to make the fountain go, before coming to pick me up again.

After lunch we made felt penguins (our Winter theme activity) and Ryan had fun putting his together. They didn’t look exactly like the Pinterest pattern but not too bad! And in true Ryan style he had to taste the glue lol!

Sensory play was Gloop (cornflour and water). Ryan spent a while mixing, then pouring the mix between the bottle and the jug, needing help to steady his hand so it didn’t slosh everywhere. He liked watching it drip through the funnel as it was quite thick.

I asked Ryan if he wanted his tunnel out and he said yes. I got it out of the cupboard and when I took it to the lounge I found Ryan trying to put his train tracks together and he had a little grey train tunnel. He thought that was what I meant! So we put new batteries in Percy and Thomas and he got to play in the tunnel and watch his trains do loops… and wear the monkey hat  (still backwards) that has been a favourite for a couple of days now.

And our exciting news for the week… Ryan has done #2’s on the toilet 3x this week (and only once in his nappy!). This is so great because he is learning when he feels he needs to go rather than the usual “I should have done that in the toilet not in my pants” which is how he tells us he needs changing. We have given lots of praise and he keeps saying “I’m so proud of me. I did poos in the toilet… not in my pants.” Hopefully this could be a turning point after 6 years of toilet training! 

Tired this Thursday… yawn!

Ryan was awake and manic hyper bouncing off the walls at 4am again. I spent 2 hours in his room, answering his never-ending stream of questions that repeated like a stuck record. It was a mission to keep him quiet and stop him escaping to wake everyone else up – which he said he wanted to do! At 6.15 I was about to lose the plot so I swapped with Stefan and got in a half hour snooze. 
Ryan was in fast forward for another few hours and overly affectionate, giving me kisses and saying he loved me over and over… I’m wondering if he realised he had pushed me to my limit. And everytime I feel annoyed with him in my personal bubble I immediately feel guilty as I know many mums, who have kids with autism or are non-verbal, who would give anything to hear that from their child – and I totally understand that! 

One of the goals on our behaviour management plan is to teach ‘personal space’ as Ryan is often ‘in your face’ and touches everyone (hair, faces, bellies…) and while this was kinda cute when he was little and people didn’t mind so much, it’s now not so cute and definitely not ‘socially acceptable’ to touch strangers! 

Ryan did “up and over” handwriting practise worksheet and then we made up a foam alphabet puzzle and sung the alphabet. We talked about the letters and their sounds as Ryan packed it away. And yes, another morning wearing the silly monkey hat… backwards!

Then I had coffee and a well overdue catch up with a friend at our house. I told Ryan who was coming and showed him her picture – from her Facebook page (hope she doesn’t mind) as he hasnt seen her in a while. He was very happy when she arrived and also gave quite a few kisses and hugs! Luckily she didnt mind… and we managed to chat a bit between questions from the energizer bunny and watching the washing machine and dryer working. We sure know how to entertain guests at our house lol. 

Ryan wanted to go swimming and changed into his swim top he found drying in the laundry. I haven’t taken him swimming single-handed in quite a while and was a little nervous about how it would go. Thankfully it was very quiet and we had a fun swim in the lazy river. Ryan got out once to check the hydroslide up close. They didn’t have the usual covers over the slides, which confused him, so he needed to see if they really were turned off… he wasn’t taking my word for it! He had a giggling fit when a lady, in an adjacent pool, was doing aquafloat (exercises while standing on an inflatable mat) and she fell off while trying to balance. I’m hoping she didnt hear his squeals of delight and amusement at her “bellyflop” (his words) but the lifeguard near us did and I could see her watching me try to distract him and change his focus without success lol. After 45 minutes swimming he started to get a little silly, spitting at me and splashing me in the face, so I told him “one more around the lazy river then out and dressed” I repeated that a couple of times until he looked at me and said “yes”. I repeated it once more and we did another round. As we moved towards the ladder I said “climb up and stop. Wait for me.” He replied “wait for you” and did!!! Super proud of Ryan using his “listening ears” and lots of praise, thumbs up and a high five was given!

For the rest of the afternoon we fed Clover, the rabbit, some carrots and played fetch with Toby outside, did housework (which Ryan helped with) and I had a few more coffees as my early starts were catching up with me! I’m hoping with more physical activity today he may sleep longer tonight…fingers crossed! 

Wednesday take two!

I must be tired … I called yesterdays blog Whirlwind Wednesday… and it was only Tuesday!

Ryan woke at 4am and was very demanding… “needing” breakfast, his touchpad, his slippers, and everytime I thought he was settled he came back wanting something else… I just think I wanted me up with him rather than trying to sneak a bit more sleep. 

Once we were all up Ryan decided to wear his monkey hat (that has sat in his toy box for years and only been worn once for 2 seconds). 3 hours later and he was still wearing it, and it was backwards most of the time lol.

Ryan did some bead threading on skewers then Reading Eggs on the touchpad. He traced his name over the pipecleaners.

His support worker came to take him swimming and they sat and drew pictures on the whiteboard and posted blocks before heading out. But once out he changed his mind, saying he didnt want to go, and they went through the carwash and for a play at McDonald’s instead. We can’t figure out why he has changed his mind the last 2x a swim has been offered. 

He practised his name writing and did a scissor skills worksheet, cutting the lines between fisherman and fish, but his hands are very very shaky today and he got angry with them. I’m feeling so helpless with the shaking/tremor in his hands/arms. It seems to be getting worse each day. Hopefully if it’s connected to his meds (his latest MRI was ok so that ruled out big nasties) then it will improve as we wean off them over the next few months.

We made volcanos with some playdough that had dried out. Ryan loves doing this and gets very excited when it foams. Today he was trying to blow the foam!

Maths activities were parking cars in the matching numbered carpark. This was our first time trying this and Ryan did it no trouble at all! He put Dr Suess flashcards in the correct order from 1-5 after I mixed them up. 

He wanted to do water play, melting a frozen block of plastic toys with warm water, but again shaky hands caused a huge mess and he had a meltdown caused by his frustration.

We cuddled and watched an episode of The Magic School Bus on Netflix all about weather and then some Beat Bugs. 

I got Ryan’s peanut shaped Swiss ball out (thanks Kmart!) and he bounced on it, rolled it around, and rolled it back and forward with me.

I downloaded a new learning app on my phone called Starfall (free on Google Play Store) and Ryan discovered a different version of one of his favourite stories “The gingerbread boy” It highlights the words as it reads and was a good pace to keep him interested.

A nice big bubble bath and he watched Toy Story… again… while I cooked dinner. He read his own bedtime stories at bedtime. He has memorised “The Great Big Block of Chocolate” and two Thomas the Tank Engine books “The Close Shave” and “Henry and the Elephant”. He has an amazing memory! 

Whirlwind Wednesday

The day started with a meltdown because Ryan didn’t want Stefan to go to work. Then a meltdown over taking Alex to school. Then a meltdown over not wanting to get out of the car once home again. By this time we were both worn out, my ears ringing from the screaming and tense from avoiding the hits, kicks and pinching. 

I decided it wasn’t safe to take him to his Riding for the Disabled session so text to let them know he wasn’t coming. 

We cuddled down to watch some Beat Bugs (a cool show on Netflix with music by The Beatles) and after about 30 minutes of tight hugs and massage he calmed down. 

Ryan did some Reading Eggs on the touchpad and we read some stories.

Then he asked for warm water and jars so I set up a coloured water tray. He was surprised when he filled the jars and the water turned yellow and blue (I had sneakily added food colouring to the jars before he tipped water in). Then he mixed the water and it went green! After a little while I added buttons and that gave a new aspect to his play, watching them catch in the funnels.

Letter formation practise was done with a tray of salt and a paintbrush… and of course he got his fingers in it, licked them… and said “mmmmm…..” lol. Strange child! Wiping and drying the table afterwards was his heavy work activity.

Next he unloaded the finished washing, loaded the dryer and refilled the washer with more clothes… all by himself! While he did that I set up an animal tray with pearl barley. He was very interested in making all the animals “eat seeds” or the tree. Then he told me it was windy and blew as many animals over and barley around as he could! Afterwards he wrote his name over the faint name I had written in pencil.

Fine motor skills was threading beads on skewers (stuck in playdough). Even though his hands were not behaving (very jerky arms today) he persevered and put over 10 beads on each skewer!

Ryan has been using this green timer a lot today to calm himself down. He did 2 pages in his maths workbook and we moved the beads to a heavier tray because the plastic one kept tipping over when his arms bumped the sides. The flat heavy glass one worked much better.

We read a new book that arrived yesterday from Scholastic. Jungle Bells with a CD sung by Anika Moa! Ryan recognized her picture and said “it’s the chop chop lady” (from her show we went to in the holidays). I was impressed by his memory and making the connection!

A friend dropped in some old keys (for a future craft project) and Ryan took her hand and brought her down to the laundry “Look at my machine. Why is it rumbling?” and they had a conversation about the cycles, the drain pipe, and the rumbling noise! 

Storytime in the car (our Winter theme book The Magic School Bus Lost in the Snow), waiting for Alex after school, and Ryan had a million questions about each button on the dash.

Ryan, Flash and Toby played a game of chase, after Ryan let Toby out the kitchen gate. I was sure it would end in tears but after a while they each went there separate ways.

I put Toy Story on his touchpad, while I cooked dinner, expecting him to complain it wasn’t right (he’s obsessed with movie highlight reels on Youtube – Cars 3, Boss Baby and Moana each have a 20 minute one) but he sat and watched it and then ate all his dinner! Win for me! 

And…  I have heard from 2 families, who follow this blog and I’ve never met in real life, who have been accepted for an “IHC Take a Break” after reading about our break and then applying themselves! So happy for them! If you haven’t heard about it then check out IHCs Facebook page for more information. 

https://www.facebook.com/IHCNewZealand/