Thursday, November 19, 2020

Zombie Exercise


Apparently Thursday is the new Wednesday.  It happens!

So there are a few transitions during the early years of parenthood.  

There's that one where you realize that you are now physically in charge of moving a small child around because they are no longer pouched in your own body.  Strollers, backpacks, front packs, arms, etc.  You take them with you.  You can go for walks pushing a stroller and still get some real exercise.

Then they want to move on their own.  Suddenly you have a person walking when you walk.  Except, they walk so slowly.  Painfully slow.  You wonder how the heck you're ever going to bust a sweat going 0.2 miles an hour and stopping so they can inspect every ant and sniff every flower.  Okay.  That's not the exercise phase.  That's the slow-down-and-smell-the-roses phase.

Then, finally, that little shaver gets big and strong enough to go out and hike with you.  Ride a bike with you.  Whatever you like to do together, you can do it at more of the same pace.

That's where B and I are right now.  He absolutely loves to hit the trails, become a zombie and chase me until he needs a break.  Sometimes I get to be the zombie, and I chase him.  We run and run and run!

I mean, my "run" is a light jog, but what an upgrade from standing there watching him take walking breaks and squish ants.

And it's so good for both of us to get outside in this super fresh air and pant.  What a cleanse!

On our zombie chases, we usually go about a mile.  That's pretty substantial for his little legs, and it's not too shabby for a mama.

Plus, we laugh and tumble in the grass and find cool things to look at along the way.  We jump off of things and climb.  Those are all things his PT would be so happy about!

So it's nice to get out with my little man where we both get a workout in.  And, I'm not going to hide the fact that he often comes back on my shoulders.  Time for his break and my extra workout!

Speaking of, there's just enough time for us to catch a zombie run.  See you next week!

Some one is "hiding!"

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

A Lesson in Phonetics



Take a deep breath.  There's no quiz at the end.

And by the way, I didn't know what phonetics was until after the first day of my phonetics class in college!

My Dictionary app defines phonetics as: "the science or study of speech sounds and their production, transmission, and reception, and their analysis, classification and transcription."

Don't stop reading just yet.  This will all make, sense, I promise!

Why did I take this class in college?  

I was an English major, and my advisor recommended it.

Did I actually like it?  

I absolutely loved it!  As nerdy as it sounds, I was fascinated by the intricacies used between our brain and mouths (tongue placement, lip shape, breath movement, etc.) that produce the sounds we make to speak clearly.

It's what allows us to communicate with each other.  And it's such a beautiful thing.

Why do you think babies  usually learn to say the "ma" and "ba" sounds first?  Because they're easy sounds!

Hum behinds your closed lips and then open your mouth a bit.  Did you say "ma" or "ba?"  Probably!

Now say the letter "f."  Notice how you have to rest your top teeth just right on your lower lip and blow with just the right pressure to make an "f" sound.  That one is more difficult to master.

I know because I have Brady P.

He used to only be able to cognitively blow through his nose (birthday candles and all!).  He would position his teeth and lips to look like the "f" sound, but then he blew the air through his nose and blinked his eyes.  Ha!

Try that.  Say a few words with an "f" in them while blowing out your nose (and blinking).  Not very efficient.

I'm not going to go through the entire alphabet with you.  You can do it on your own on your next drive.  Pay attention to which of your mouth's accessories you use to complete each sound.

It is really something!

Now here is my point of this post.  It is also what I am so proud of with Brady P.

He can now make all the sounds of the alphabet pretty flawlessly (when he enunciates) except the letters: d, j, l, n and t.

Make all of those letter sounds right now.  D, J, L, N, T.

What do they all have in common?  Can you tell?

They all require you to put the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth.


This is hard for Brady P. for a couple reasons.  One is that his tongue prefers to go out or down.  It is a lot of work for him to stick it up.  The other is that the roof of his mouth is higher than most, so he really has to work that tongue extra high.

Okay, now hold your tongue somewhere in the middle of your mouth and try saying d, j, l, n and t again.  

What did that sound like?

Probably like Brady P!

If you are unable, for any reason, to get your tongue up there, you will not be able to produce those sound correctly.  And after so many failed attempts, your brain will reroute the placement of your mouthparts until it happily substitutes a sound.

(As another example of this, many kids sub the "wa" sound for "ra."  Heck, even some adults do!  That's a tricky one!)

But the substitutions are pretty consistent.

I know that my little man's "da" usually sounds like a "ga" and his "ta" usually sounds like a "ka."  Knowing these substitutions, I can often figure out what he is saying.

I'll be honest, though.  I don't know all the time!

But we are trying.

And with such a great team to model how to make those sounds, I know he won't stop trying until he gets them just right.

So here's to d, j, l, n and t!  The last five letters for Brady P. to master!

And here's to that phonetics class I took in college.  What a jewel that turned out to be -- especially when I sit in on his speech therapy sessions.

One of my new favorite pics of him
In the Wescoat Field

Friday, November 6, 2020

Bag of Tricks


Wow.  Okay.  This week kind of flew by.

I am the deputy clerk of Grant Township, and we recently held an election.  Not sure if you've heard of one of those, but I have been keeping track of absentee ballots for months and helping people vote on November 3rd.   Maybe you voted in your own precinct.  Good for you!

Anyway, for my excuse, I had some post-partum exhaustion after that.  Whew!  Glad that's over on my end!  

I hope...

Other than that, nobody has sent me their story yet, so I will share a super happy one of mine.

Did I tell you that Brady P. found an amazingly wonderful young lady to be his aide/mentor/magician (whatever you want to call her) at the school???

Yes!  He did!

After I was going to ship us to Calumet, she magically appeared. And she is perfect.

Here is why.

She gets to his level, sees what he is doing and what he wants to do, and steers him to do what she needs him to do from there.  Joyfully.


Did I not just talk about that?

I have already seen great improvements in his penmanship, acquiescence to do math, potty training, overall studiousness and ability to stay on task.

Those are all great, right?  I mean, that's the point of school.

But here's where I see magic.

He is not exhausted when he comes home.  He is not resistant.  He is still full of joy.

Even though his is working harder at his desk and getting more done, he is not so tired.

What does that show me?  He is enjoying himself.  He is flowing freely throughout the day and learning and accomplishing as he goes.

I also saw this improve when my own methods changed with him.  We both have more energy!

Do you see what I'm saying?

Stress and resistance, whether it be a person at work or a student at school, drain a person.  It doesn't even mean it's anybody's fault.  Sometimes the issue is not always noticed, and therefore it is never addressed.

Even if you try to work on a home project and find yourself constantly troubleshooting, you will be more tired than if your project went smoothly.  Your productivity (the end product) is the same, but the amount of energy it took to get there is different.

See the parallels?  

Now, Braeden's job at school is a bit different than the other kids because he doesn't fall in line as easily.  He needs a helper for pretty much everything.  But when that helper comes with a bag of tools and tricks to meet him at his level and get him to escalate to the realm of the other kids, that is magic.

He does not resist, and he is not stressed out.  He is praised and respected.  He is assisted and adored.  Plus, his productivity goes up, so he has more to be proud of.

His new aide has lofty goals for him, and she knows how to help him reach them.  It is so beautiful, it makes my heart burst out of my chest and tears well in my eyes.

I am so grateful it worked out this way.  I just see so much expansion and so many possibilities for him.  Not that I didn't think he was on a good path before, but this certainly gives him a turbo boost!

And we get to stay home in our little town.

For that, also, I am grateful.

B's school picture 2020

In retrospect, I should have given him a haircut before picture day!