Saturday, November 8, 2014

Blogging Break Infant Botulism

I feel like I just got back to blogging, but life got in the way. I hope to come back and share what we are dealing with here real soon. In the meantime you can read part of the story on the following link. I encourage you to just leave a comment of encouragement to my son and daughter-in-law.

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Why Did God Create Dinosaurs? Selena’s View


Selena asked me a question the other day, “Why did God create Dinosaurs?” I was curious as to what her hypothesis was, so we set out to take what information we know and figure out the best answer we could.

First of all Selena grabbed the Bible and turned it open to Genesis.  She started pointing information out to me pretty quickly, so I had to slow her down and make her think. I asked just a few questions:

  1. In the Beginning how many people were on the Earth?
  2. What do you think the Earth looked like?
  3. Why would dinosaurs be important to the health and ecology of the earth?

Based on these questions Selena decided that because in the beginning there were not a lot of people on the earth, that God created dinosaurs to protect the earth. I asked How?

She continued, well we needed lots of large herbivores to eat or mow down the vegetation to prevent it from overtaking the Earth, plus we needed the Carnivores to prevent the herbivores from eating all the vegetation.  We also needed Omnivores to keep the balance.

I asked her one last question: “Why did God allow the Dinosaurs to go extinct?”

She thought real hard and at first she said that God killed them all during the flood. I asked her if she was sure of that answer, after all God did command Noah to put 2 of every animal on the Ark. This took her a while, and she counter questioned me with, How do we know that God put dinosaurs on the Ark, and if he did why don’t we still have dinosaurs, though we do have relatives to dinosaurs, I mean real dinosaurs?

In an attempt to come help her think this through I asked her a few questions:

  1. Thinking to our study of Dinosaurs, when did the largest amount of dinosaurs die? Is there evidence of Dinosaurs after that time?
  2. How long did Noah and the animals stay on the Ark?
  3. What do you know about floods, and how do you think the Earth looked like after the flood?

After a little thought she decided most of the dinosaurs died during the flood, but yes, there is evidence that some were still on the Earth after the flood. She remembered that Noah, his family and the animals were on the ark for a year. Thinking to how the Earth looked like after the flood, she remembered seeing some of the flooding we have had around here, and decided that the Earth went through a change, after the waters went down, it would not have been the same, maybe not as much vegetation for the herbivores, if they couldn’t survive, the carnivores wouldn’t survive long either, and we wouldn’t need the omnivores to keep the balance.

I don’t know if her hypothesis is correct, and neither do you, but I did remind her the day would come that she would be standing face to face with God and could ask Him for herself. Rather her hypothesis is correct or not, she put a lot of thought into it, and worked hard to try to look at everything, from science, biblical, to geography to make her hypothesis, so it sounds like a good one to me.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Big Step


Selena took a huge step today, she had her first guitar lesson. This wasn’t easy for her, she didn’t even want to talk about these lessons the first of the week, and begged me to teach her. While yes, I have played a little guitar a teacher I am not. Her fear I know came from all the rejection she has received from all the things she has tried, and the schools.

We got up this morning and Selena expressed her feelings, we gave it a name, “Nervousitement” If you can’t guess that is her term for feeling both nervous and excitement, a very normal feeling. We decided to just cancel school for the day and allow her to just relax.

An hour before we had to leave, Selena loaded her guitar in the car, you know it wouldn’t have been good to have forgotten it. When it was time to leave, she was very quiet all the way. We made arrangements for her instructor to meet us at a small church so we could follow him up their house for this first time, glad we did, not to say I wouldn’t have found it, but I was not expecting to go up the side of a mountain on a dirt road. It really isn’t far, we drive further for other things we do, it was more just not knowing where we were going.

Once there Selena was nervous and it took a few times to remind her what she was there for. Her instructor is great, it didn’t take him long to get her so engaged, that she was laughing, bopping her head and feeling like she was a pro as she played one single note to his three note tune. The lesson ended and she could proudly say “I did it!”

She couldn’t wait to pull her guitar out and practice after we got home. She is very excited to go back next week and is hoping that she can show her new teacher that she can do the one note he taught her today. We are very proud of her!

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Helping Selena Make Friends

One thing that seems to be a common thread with Gifted Children, or Autistic Children is their struggles with making friends. I think Colleen from Raising Lifelong Learners wrote an excellent post on helping Gifted Children Make Friends. She has some great ideas and if your wondering how to help your Gifted Child, or looking for information as to why your Gifted Child struggles in making friends I highly recommend checking her post out. 

For us we struggle with two areas while trying to see that Selena gets her social needs met. We noticed from the time Selena discovered she could read all by herself, she use to get confused as to why other children her age could not do the same things she did. Her vocabulary was so strong that most kids didn't understand what she was talking about, sometimes even adults didn't understand her. The second part that has hindered Selena is her inability to deal with large group activities. When in a situation where there are too many children, her anxieties get the best of her and she goes into flight mode looking for a quiet place to retreat to herself, this is more of a result of the Autism. 

She wanted friends, every time we went for counseling, she would leave in tears crying, "I just want to be normal. I just want to be a normal kid!" We felt this strain was breaking her so we stopped therapy for now. Since we have Selena's self esteem has returned and she excepts the fact that it is OK to be different. We still longed to see her have friends. 

This is not something I recommend everyone doing, I think you really need to know and understand your child. We have a friend who is a single mom who was struggling to keep a job due to lack of babysitting. We have known her and her daughter since Selena was born. J is 2 years older then Selena. I agreed to babysit, and just see how the two girls would get along. It was a leap of faith that I was taking, would J understand Selena, would she except her, would they be friends? 

Let me just say these two girls play so hard together, this is not to say we don't have our moments, or times when we have to discuss appropriateness with Selena but J has become Selena's best friend. Believe it or not there are times when J even tells us to not worry, everything is fine, that Selena is being normal. J is not afraid to ask me anymore what drives Selena, or why she is doing what she is doing. J has an imagination just like Selena and they do a lot of role play with dolls, My Little Ponies, or stuffed animals. The same type play that Selena's counselor did with her. I think this is the best therapy there ever could be for any child. 

Best friends taking selfies. 
Best friends playing with their electronics. 

   What would best friends do if they couldn't enjoy the great outdoors together. From going to the park to playing in our yard, they play with a lot of passion and have a lot of fun. 

Best friends doing their homework together. Now from my point of view of how my relationship was with my best friend when I was growing up, this appears to be pretty normal to me.

This has worked and been a positive experience for us, but remember we can't pick our children's friends. These two girls didn't have to get along as well as they do, but we are pretty pleased that they do.
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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Building Upon A Rock

We had some extra time yesterday so I decided to introduce Selena to building our tower on different type of foundations. I first asked her what type of foundation she thought would be best to build her house on? She responded on rock. Now I didn't catch on at first and it wasn't until we were half way through our experiment before I realized what rock she was talking about:

Mathew 7: 24

Therefore everyone who hears these words
of mine and puts them into practice
is like a wise man who built his house on the rock

She taught me to listen more carefully and ask more questions before beginning our lesson. I will say though I was one proud Mama to know she had related God's Word to her daily science. 

We represented sand with dried beans, and layered them in the bottom of a wooden tray. We then began to build our tower. 
The first observation that Selena made was that the tower was leaning and didn't seem very stable. As we proceeded through the game it became more unstable. 
Selena decided to push more of the sand around the base of the tower in an attempt to make it more stable. But no matter how hard she tried, she just could not make it anymore stable. 
Instead of allowing the tower to fall over we carefully took it apart so that Selena could see how the sand had been shifting underneath. She then concluded that Sand was not the best place to build a house. 

We had a quick discussion on what most foundations are made of, concrete, hard rock. Using our legos we quickly made a foundation and began the process of building our tower on top of our foundation. 

The first observation Selena made was that now the tower appeared very straight and sturdy. We did continue the game and she discovered we could actually take the tower taller then before. 

After this we looked up the Bible verse and discussed what God meant by building our house on a rock. I know I learned a very valuable lesson while working with a Gifted child make sure you ask enough questions to know where exactly they are getting their hypothesis. It was a blessing to my ears to hear her use God's Word to explain the best foundation for our home, as well as for our lives.  
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Monday, October 13, 2014

Balance and Gravitational Pull

One of our favorite games is Jenga. Every time we play this game Selena asks so many questions about what is happening, from "How can the tower continue to stand?" to "Why are some blocks loose and others are not?" I decided it was time to address some of these questions. We have already discussed balance and gravity, Selena understands the basic concepts of these two areas, so after a little recap we moved on.

To get started I asked Selena to balance herself on one leg. Of course her immediate action was to put her arms out to the side to help with the process of balancing herself.

I then hung the container from our Jenga game on her arm on the side that the leg was up, she immediately discovered that she became unbalanced. She asked me for an object of the same weight for her other arm to pull her back into balance. I complimented her on how she so quickly thought this situation through to come up with a simple solution to her perplexed situation.

 We then set up the Jenga game. Before any piece was removed we discussed weight distribution, and depending on how gravity is pulling on the tower, some blocks truly are not needed to hold it up, so that is why they are loose. I asked her to carefully examine the tower and determine without touching which blocks were loose. She realized just by looking that many of the loose blocks had air spaces around them.

With every move we stopped to examine the tower, how it was beginning to lean, to examining very closely all 4 sides to try to determine should the tower fall which direction was it more apt to fall in.

Selena examined the tower very closely, and determined that while the tower was leaning in one direction the opposite side had fewer support blocks, so the building would fall in the opposite direction on the lean.

I loved her concentration as she tried so very hard to figure out which block could safely be removed, of course at this point we really didn't have many loose blocks, so the tower did tip over, and yes, it tipped over in the direction she had thought it would.

Now for the fun part, she had to create a tower trying to think about where she needed support to hold the tower up, and where she could just leave blocks out.

She didn't make it very far before her little tower fell over. We will be doing more with these simple ideas and properties. We will add different mediums which to build our towers upon.

I can't encourage you enough that through what seems like such a simple toy, can actually be filled with many learning opportunities. Play and learn together.
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Thursday, October 9, 2014

October Fun!

Last weekend we drove to Spokane with one purpose, to take Selena out to Greenbluff to see a large Orchard. The weather was absolutely beautiful. We headed out to Greenbluff on Saturday morning and arrived at the Orchard at 10:00 that morning. It is really fun this time of year, they have so much for the kids to do. We took a tractor pulled wagon ride around the Orchard and was able to see the apples hanging on the trees. We really were not suppose to be on this ride, as we found out towards the end, as it was to take those out who were going to pick apples. With a quick apology the tractor driver assured us it was OK and took us back with him. Hey it was an honest mistake, there wasn't any signs that said it was only for pickers, all we could see was people loading on for a ride. 

They had a kid friendly area with slides, a pea box, (like a huge sandbox, but full of dried peas) a kid friendly maze made from pallets, and sheep to feed. We spent quite a bit of time in this area and believe me we brought home plenty of peas in our clothes, hair and shoes. 

One of the other reason for this visit was for Selena to spend time with her brothers. We had one excited little girl when I said they had pulled in. She was so excited, that to just stand there and wait was so not happening. We decided to walk out to the parking lot to meet them. As soon as she laid eyes on them she was off running, she couldn't get to them fast enough.

I was greeted by the cutest little Grandson with a huge smile on his face, holding this dog he made for me. With hugs, and hellos, Selena and her brother took off hand in hand back to the Orchard. We took turns holding the youngest Grandson, until he finally fell asleep. Selena and Charlie had so much fun and it took quite awhile before they let go of each other's hands.

It was a very fun day, and we are so glad that we were able to drive over just for this. Hopefully next year my son will be there with his little guy, then all the Grandchildren will be together.

On another note, we surprised Selena with a package today.

She starts lessons next Thursday. Stay tuned as to how well she enjoys the lessons. We are great full for a homeschool Dad who agreed to teach her to play.
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