Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Dummy Fairy was a bit of a chicken... but partial success!!

Thought I should update to say that the dummy fairy had a slight problem after removing the final dummy from Sasha's mouth (all the others had gone under pillow...) - she woke up 20 minutes later and was wide awake, crying for her dummy. Sleepless nights flashed before me and as I'm not quite ready to go back to that, I (sorry the dummy fairy ;)) caved in and gave her the dummy back for sleeping. However when she got up in the morning I was very clear in telling her that was the only dummy and it needed to stay under her pillow for sleep time only. Well, amazingly, she took to that rule instantly and it has remained under her pillow during the day. Sometimes she has gone upstairs by herself to have a sleep in her bed during the day and it gets used then, but it never comes down during the day now, and we've even managed 2 very long car journeys without it!

So I'm really quite amazed how good she has been with that. However yesterday we had the worst day we've had with Sasha in a long while, where I did question if I should have kept it.... we went to visit an old friend of mine who is about an hour's drive away. Funnily enough I did stop and think about whether to take the dummy with us as a car journey with sleep was forecast, but I resolutely decided it shouldn't leave the house or else Sasha would assume she could find it in my bag anytime. Sasha was quite niggly when we first got there (somewhere new, 3 other young children there, understandable really) but after 20 mins or so it was like a switch had been flicked and she happily skipped about finding things to play with. That probably lasted an hour at most, and then the niggles and wanting to leave started again as she got bored. As we did a little tour of the house Sasha sadly got her fingers trapped in a self closing door, and although it fortunately wasn't a bad squashing, it did start the screams off, and they lasted for the following hour, as she decided she wanted to go home. As I'd only just said yes please to my friend offering to make us lunch, going home wasn't an option and so I had to try and placate her - but nothing I said worked, she just got more wound up and almost screamed herself sick. Spoiled everyone else's lunch off course (including mine, which I had to eat balanced precariously on my knee whilst holding her) and so I did wonder if I would have just been better off leaving. But that would have been giving in to what Sasha wanted, and I felt it was important not to - as Tamsin says frequently at the moment 'Sasha always gets her own way'. That isn't true of course, we don't let Sasha make all the decisions and Tamsin doesn't have too bad a time of it - Tamsin's mostly upset of course because she's not getting her own way!!! But she was really good at my friend's house, and it can't have been a very pleasant experience for her either poor thing - I know I had a headache when I got home, she probably did too. The car journey home typically only took half the time of the one going and both girls woke up as we pulled onto the drive, so more tears followed as Sasha had not had a long enough nap and was still too tired. I was glad to finally put my feet up that evening!

In sharp contrast to that was today, when I had to take them for an early morning dentist's check up followed by feet/shoe measuring. Well Sasha took it all in her stride, sat with Tamsin in the dentist's chair and opened her mouth for (just) long enough for the dentist to count all her teeth. We were very pleased as Tamsin's teeth seem to be in excellent condition with one new one growing at the back. Even Sasha's teeth look pretty good, amazing considering how infrequently we manage to persuade her to put a toothbrush in her mouth (let along actually brush the teeth....). After that we dropped in to Clarks where Sasha actually let the male assistant put pop socks on her and measure both her feet on the foot gauge - I nearly fainted! (8 and a half in case you're wondering - Tamsin is now 11 and a half, both girls have very narrow feet). Then a visit to the toy shop, where I managed to escape having only spent £1.50 on 2 choc lollies for the good girls (I know, bad for your teeth :) ) and home in time for lunch. Despite being stuck indoors due to British summertime being cancelled, the girls were both very good all afternoon, amused themselves mostly and neither of them had a nap - almost unheard of! So no doubt they'll be up at the crack of dawn tomorrow, cranky as anything :)

Haven't managed to blog about the holiday yet, but one thing from that I must quickly talk about is how Sasha has suddenly developed a fear of her fingers going wrinkly after swimming! Half way through a leisure pool trip in Tenby she started pulling at her hands and getting upset about them - upset enough that I had to take her out and console her. Yes I know it sounds odd, and it is indeed completely irrational - I can't imagine many other 3 year olds not 'getting' what it's about despite having it explained. She loves swimming too, so I really hope it doesn't continue to cause a big issue - hopefully we'll find that out tomorrow!
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Saturday, 14 August 2010

Tonight's the Night..... Dummy Fairy is on her way!!

Ah, just back from a lovely holiday in Wales and I'm sure I'll blog a bit more about that another time. Just wanted to catch up on today first, as it's such an important day for me.... yes, the dummy fairy is finally coming for Sasha tonight. Well I say for Sasha, but actually for Tamsin too, as she couldn't bear to be left out - she always loved her dummies, fairy came for her at the age of 2 and a half and then 4 months later she started sucking her thumb, which she still does!! In an attempt to stop that, i did actually let her have a dummy at night again a few weeks ago, more as a joke than anything, and fortunately she saw it as that so they've not really been used, but they have gone under Tamsin's pillow tonight too... all to be replaced with chocolate coins for one night only! Of course that'll be no comfort once they're gone, so we're battening down the hatches and preparing for a tough couple of days as far as Sasha goes....

That's assuming I can get them off her first of course... I explained at bedtime what was going to happen, and took all 6 dummies up to her room (I think we did have 10, so it won't surprise me at all if Sasha manages to find some that the dummy fairy forgot over the next few weeks, but hopefully I'll get to them first in a mega clear out!!!). So anyway, I told her and then put the dummies under her pillow, to which she laughed and quickly grabbed them all back up in one handful. So I tried leaving them on the table next, and made her count them for me (so hopefully she'll remember the relevance of the same number of chocolate coins in the morning) - well when I said 'let's count them', she did - in Spanish!!! Think it all seemed a bit of a joke to her... hey ho, it will become real tomorrow and we'll see the tears then when she can't have them anymore. That's if I can prise them out of her hands - when I left her to sleep she had a very tight hold of 5, and the other one in her mouth of course!!

Bedtime also showed me again how amazingly bright she can be - she asked me to read one of her 15 Dora books, Dora Goes to School, which we've not read since sometime before we went away for our week holiday. I read the first 3 pages and then she decided she wanted to read it to me herself - something she did most nights on holiday with her other books, think she's enjoying that independence. Well she had a good stab at the story on mot pages, and as always said everything in Backpack in order, expecting me to repeat it, starting and ending with the same thing in the funny ordered way she does. But then she told me what was going to happen on the next page exactly right before seeing it - i.e. that Dora would have the pencils, Boots the rulers and the teacher the files (or books as she calls them). She has an amazing photographic memory obviously - despite reading that book several times myself (to her, I prefer chicklit myself ;) ), I wouldn't have known or even thought about who had what!

Earlier on today she also said 'not tickle mummy' but also 'no tickling' at relevant times, which shows she has a grasp at least of when to use verb or noun. She can say the whole 'abc' rhyme now and I'm sure she's beginning to recognise the written letters. It's a shame that the speech therapist doesn't really realise this.... we finally had a visit from an NHS SALT at home just before we went on hols, and to say it was a disaster would be an understatement. Sasha decided she didn't want the very nice lady here as soon as she arrived, and proceeded to have the biggest tantrum she's had in a long while - ending with her taking herself up to bed, screaming herself hoarse and then finally going to sleep at 11 o'clock in the morning - not particularly helpful when we had an appointment with the paediatrician to get to for 12! So anyhow I ended up showing the SALT a short video clip of Sasha on the phone to my mum, babbling away quite happily, which was about all she saw of her and so she has concluded she has a problem with 'T' and 'D'. Which may be true, but not always true. In fact she quite happily said 'draw' instead of 'straw' the night before. I feel that Sasha's speech sounds entirely depend on what she feels like saying most of the time, although I do believe T is a particular problem for her. So how she can be treated I really don't know; it has upset me greatly over the past couple of weeks but I'm back to being philosophical and hoping for a major breakthrough somehow. Not that I think for one minute that removing the dummy will do that for her speech; I just feel it is the right time to lose that particular crutch as she gets older, and I'm more concerned about her teeth than her speech on that front!

So after the SALT had been here I had to wake Sasha and drag her out to the paediatrician, which could have course have gone either way, and was in fact still wavering when the paed came down to reception to see us. Fortunately Sasha was happy to go back in her room and see the toys, and she let me speak to her for about, ooh, 20 minutes fairly uninterrupted before Sasha decided it was time to leave. Hertfordshire - very complicated system I'll explain another time) and I'm just waiting for the end of the summer holidays before I embark on that 'fun' task. It was a relief to know I would have at least one professional's backing, but on the other hand it did make me sad as really she was confirming what I already know; that Sasha will struggle in education without individual care and understanding. Sometimes I can hardly believe we are where we are - most parents have it so easy with school and their children, as indeed we did with Tamsin, and until you're faced with the difficulties you really have no idea what other people may be going through. And even saying that, I know we are still very lucky and our time will be nowhere near as difficult as what others have to go through, which makes me feel bad for feeling even a little bit down.

Thankfully in advance of the pain tomorrow we've had a lovely day; we went to see Dora make an appearance at a local shopping centre! It involved a bit of hanging around, and although the organisers were very helpful and did offer to let us not have to queue for so long, we managed to stick it out with Sasha not getting too upset (well OK we did go and buy her a Peppa Pig top while Daddy and Tamsin waited in the queue :) ) and it was all worth it when she saw Dora appear - she mouthed a very quiet 'wow'! So, as one of my favourite old mottos goes:

Life is queer with its twists and turns, as every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about, when he might have won had he stuck it out,
Don't give up though the pace seems slow, you might succeed with another blow.

And here ends this evenings lesson - I may quote the rest of that in weeks to come!
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Sunday, 1 August 2010

Bedtime books

Just a quick one tonight. I'm very happy as in response to my whispered 'I love you' to Sasha at bedtime, she did reply unprompted 'love you mummy' :)

I generally have to lie on the bed with Sasha for a while before she is happy for me to leave the room, and it did end up being a bit longer tonight but I really enjoyed the cuddle - she was cuddling me and stroking my face and almost giggling at times so it was hard for me to leave as I didn't want to! Earlier I'd read a couple of the short board books to her, and then she decided she was going to read one to me - for the first time. She picked it up and said something for every page (followed by 'the end' as that is what I always say!!!). Then she was feeling brave and decided to progress onto reading a couple of her Dora books for me. Well I was amazed, as she stopped on every page and said the gist of the story - certain words quite clearly (generally keywords like map, backpack, Diego and all the words which we usually have to call out as part of the story) but also remembering and attempting a lot of the other words, with her own language in between. She did 2 whole Dora books like this, every page, which is no mean feat as it was not long ago that she actually let me read every word from a Dora book to her for the first time - usually she's very quick to turn pages and knows exactly which bits of the story she wants to hear or not! She can now sing the alphabet song, although she's not recognising the letters yet.

So all in all a lovely bedtime. Already dreading tomorrow morning though, as it's a nursery day, and important for me to spend some time alone with Tamsin in holidays, but Sasha has become a lot more vocal lately about not wanting to go to nursery. I know she has a lovely time when she is there though, and of course mixing with the other children and adults is good for her, so although I nearly crumble every time it is important for her to go too.
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