Express to Play

train to play SmadarHalperinEpshtein

Photo: Smadar Halperin-Epshtein

 

Take the express train

To a fun-filled day

Recall the awe

Of speed and sway

And hold on to

The gift of play.

 

 

For The Daily Post

A Pun Discovery

duck duck duck OfirAsif

Photo: Ofir Asif

 

The five-year-old bounded up the stairs. I could hear him giggling. He stopped two steps below the landing and tilted his head at me. A brown curl flopped over one eye and he blew at it.

“When does a duck duck?” he challenged.

I grinned at his giddiness. Language for this child had just began to turn more fun than frustration, and his emerging fascination was delicious. “When?”

He chortled. “When you throw something at it! Because …” he demonstrated, bobbing so deeply that I reached over to grab his shoulder to ensure he didn’t lose his balance on the steep stairs, “duck … like this … is same as … quack quack duck!”

 

 

 

For The Daily Post

Rhyme Time

 

dragonhillart.blogspot.com

Photo: dragonhillart.blogspot.com

 

“Hi, bye, my, spy,” he walked in, grinning.

I smiled at the five-and-a-half year old. A head of brown curls and melt-you-on-the-spot dark-chocolate eyes, green glasses, summer freckles, a missing tooth from playground accident at age three, a superhero hearing aid. Pure charm.

“Why, shy, guy, cry?” he challenged.

“Why indeed?” I chuckled.

“Ask my dad,” he giggled. “He told me that one. One, sun, fun, done.”

“You’re rhyming a lot today!”

He nodded. “I’m practicing. My grandpa gives me a dime every time I rhyme.”

 

 

 

For The Daily Post

Berry Prickly

blackberry

Berry Prickly

 

Gavin (age 4) is picking berries with his mom and grandpa in the woods outside his grandpa’s house. He’d picked a few himself but encountered a thorn … and now is quite content holding the bowl, nursing his owee finger, and ‘directing traffic’ to the “good ones.”

Gavin: “I know why it called a Berry.”

Mom, intrigued: “Why?”

Gavin: “Because it berry prickly!”

 

 

For The Daily Post

Brushosaurus!

 

toothbrush holder

Photo: Pinterest

 

 

Quite a few of the children who come to see me have sensory issues that make teeth brushing a daily struggle. Princess and superhero themed toothbrushes are one way to make a necessary routine child-friendly and help with carryover and healthy oral-care. Another is to add a ‘toothbrush guardian’ (added bonus: this allows an inexpensive way to keep up with the recommended frequent change of toothbrushes).

To make Brushosaurus, drill a pair of holes into a plastic toy to make a handy dandy toothbrush organizer. Has been known to work just as well with magic ponies, sheep, unicorns, giraffes, and even the occasional Brushoturtle.

Brush on!

 

For The Daily Post

Lollipop-it

So there’s that child with diabetes. Another whose family only eats raw foods. A third family is strictly vegan. There’s the child who cannot have any food additives. The one whose mom swears sugar turns her angel to a dysregulated mess. The (not so rare) kid who won’t touch fruits, let alone vegetables. The family that wants to move toward less junkfood but hates to put a damper on healthy treats.

There are many different solutions, and different reasons why many would want to try. As you probably know (and fairs and carnivals had proven), most yummy things are instantly better on a stick …

Here are some of the creative ideas parents have shared with me and/or I had suggested over the years. Some we have incorporated into the session (for sequence, cause/effect, before/after, all manners of narrative), others helped desensitize finicky mouths and tender palates. Mostly, they were fun! Enjoy and maybe share own!

  1. Watermelon lollipops! Less mess, better grip, perfect yum.

Watermelon lollies

 

  1. Kiwi lollipops! Good with chocolate ganache, of course … but also as ‘naked’ frozen slices, or if dipped in sweetened yogurt and frozen, possibly with coconut flakes or cocoa nibs.
Kiwi Lollies

via showfoodchef

 

  1. Flower Fruit Pops – fun to make and super fun to eat. Cantaloupe, grapes, watermelon (also works with strawberries, apples, nectarines, firm blueberries … you get the idea!)
flower fruit pops1

Via LindsayAnnBakes

 

  1. Easy Fruit Pops! For another variation on the theme, which works wonderfully for birthday parties, picnics, and other lessen-sticky-fingers-everywhere events.

fruit pops

 

  1. Veggie wands! For a savory alternative on a stick! Works well with ’rounds’ of sliced mozzarella stick, fresh mozzarella (pictured), or any firm cheese. Just as yummy with the whites of hard boiled eggs or cubed cooked meat. Also great with baked tofu cubes, for those who prefer vegan sticks.
sugarfreekids pop

via SugarFreeKids

 

  1. And … even the most incomplete list won’t work without frozen pops … Lollipops’ cool cousin! Make them with fruit, fruit and yogurt, and combinations galore! It works well to partially freeze in small paper cups or in old fashioned ice-cube-trays, then stick a craft stick or lollipop stick in when it is almost but not quite set.
frozen fruit yogurt

Via: Moncheriprom

 

As this list is by no means comprehensive, let alone exhaustive … Will you take a moment to share in the comments what your favorite ways and things are to lollipop-it?

 

 

 

For The Daily Post

“A Case of Constant Disastering”

Geiger Counter

What upsets your cart? What throws you off? What drains your battery of oomph and energy? Do you get riled up in a flash but calm down glacially? Do you struggle to maintain the smallest bit of equilibrium while others seem to swim in zen-like Flow? Have you been told off for “over-reacting” and being “overly sensitive”? Does it, indeed, seem to be that e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g is just too much to process, let alone appreciate and thrive in?

That is how life is for a teenager I know.

She calls herself “a case of constant disastering.”

Her days are spent in never ending rush to keep up with assignments that don’t get done because she is too stressed to focus on them because she already worries she won’t manage and then doesn’t. She feels mired in conflict with her parents who she says don’t understand why “every little thing” throws her off. She struggles to attend to all the balls she perceives are in the air and thinks are hers to juggle (only to find out later some were not, and that she’d dropped the very ones she shouldn’t have) …

Her body swings from all out anxious to shutdown and molasses-like, weighed down by overwhelm. She blames herself for both, which only feeds the shame that feeds the stress that feeds more “constant disaster.”

She hates this about herself. She wishes to be someone different.

“I wish I could be stoic,” she says. “Strong, you know.”

“But you are strong,” I respond.

She shrugs. She knows. Some days more than others.

She understand how her body’s calibrations had gotten to be quite so delicate: born very prematurely and with serious medical issues that required many painful interventions, her nervous system (and psyche) could not really process the overwhelming stimuli she was exposed to. Her reactions still mirror some of the pathways that became the foundation of her default. Of her survival formation. Her parents, too, were terrified and anxious. Oh, they did their best in love and caring, but they, too, were scared. For her. For her future. Of hurting her. Of disconnecting something. Of something worse than disastrous.

Panic was real and tangible. Babies in that NICU die. She almost did. Twice.

They were all of them scared. Much of the time.

Is it a wonder, then, that life wobbles precariously tentative, at the smallest reminder?

“But I’m not a baby anymore,” she points at lanky limbs that have long ago outgrown any crib or incubator.

“I know,” I smile.

“Now I’m just a Geiger meter,” she complains, “and my body beeps ballistic at the smallest variation.”

“Tricky,” I nod. “Also … kind of skillful.”

She pouts, but then a smile pushes a small corner of her mouth and the other corner joins in and she grins, eyes atwinkle. “Yeah, like a full-on skill at constant disastering.”

 

For The Daily Post

Grit of Will

up up and away

Photo: Smadar Halperin-Epshtein

 

They don’t give up.

They push on, they keep trying.

For the plainest of skills.

Simple tasks need endurance:

Every sentence’s a summit

Every speech sound’s a triumph of will.

Such tenacious young children

Built of grit and forbearance

Marathoners of life’s endless sprints

All uphill.

Oh, how deeply they teach me

The depth of true mettle

In courage, in hope to succeed.

Their indomitable spirit

Forms a marvel:

Pure resolve wrought from steel.

 

 

For The Daily Post

Bumble Dog

http://www.redheart.com/free-patterns/dogs-crochet-bumble-bee-costume

Photo: RedHeart.com

 

“Our puppy is drunk!” The four-year-old announced mid-session.

“Drunk?” Their puppy was a five-month-old rescue mutt named Rooky, all paws, mischief and licking tongue. Still, surely I misheard. I looked at the mom.

“Well,” she clarified, her color rising, “he isn’t anymore!”

“But you said!” the boy accused.

“He was yesterday …” she conceded, redder still. “Drunk, I mean. He’s okay today.”

“Rooky drank Mama’s beer,” the boy offered helpfully.

Her blush intensified. “It’s not like that …”

“Mama had to pee and Rooky knocked her beer over and then he licked it up and he maked nasty burps and he walk funny. His burps smell like Mama’s beer,” the boy was on a roll. “Mama called the vet and he said Rooky is drunk. We taked him to the vet. Rooky even barfed.” The boy pointed out, impressed.

“Gramma said beer makes ‘bumble bee idiots dogs or not’,” he added in what I thought was a very grandma-like tone.

I’m considering the odds I might never see that mother in session again …

 

 

For The Daily Post

Tintinnabulation

multisyllabic

“I found some words with lotta syllables!” she announced and pulled a crumpled list out of her back pocket.

She and I have been working together for some time. Born very prematurely and with various – if not always visible – neurological challenges, she has had to work hard for every milestone, every skill, each speech-sound. At nine years old, she had good intelligibility in short words and brief phrases, but her clarity was still vulnerable in longer words or sentences.

“Hi-ppo-po-ta-mus,” she read, tapping syllables on the table. “Five!”

I smiled. This girl never needed prodding. Her internal motivation put most people to shame. If she put her mind to something, you better believe it that she’d go the distance for it, and then some. She wanted to be an actress and actresses needed good diction. She was going to make sure hers measured up.

“Ca-li-for-ni-ya and Phi-la-del-phi-a … both five! I-ma-gi-na-ry … five!”

She read several more words, repeating any one that lost a sound or two in the process. When she got it right, she repeated it again, insistent on perfection.

“My dad helped me find them,” she pointed to the list. “We had fun thinking them up in the car. We found lots of words with four … like ‘as-pa-ra-gus’ and ‘par-ti-cu-lar’, but not so many with five. Are there any words with even more, like … with six syllables?”

“Quite a few,” I smiled again. “Some you probably know.”

“Like what?”

“Responsibility.”

“Oh!” She whispered to herself and counted the syllables on her fingers, “yeah, six!”

“Capitalization”

“Like in writing?”

“Exactly like in writing. Then there’s: identification, autobiography, veterinarian, personification, generalization …”

She wrote each word down. Practiced saying it. “Do you know any weird ones with six syllables?”

“Hmm,” I nodded. “How about ‘discombobulated'”?

She laughed. “My grandma says that one.”

“How’s ‘extemporaneous'”?

She twisted her lips. “That’s not weird, just boring.”

It was my turn to laugh. “Fair enough.” I thought a moment. “Infinitesimal?”

“Not weird.”

She was going to make me work for it. “How about …” I winked, “mispronunciation?”

“Ha-ha, very funny,” she rolled her eyes. “Try again.”

She raised her eyebrows and waited. A moment ticked by as words trickled into my brain, six-syllabled but certainly not weird enough to qualify: visualization, spirituality, irregularity, disorganization, availability, cardiovascular. …

The room darkened as clouds passed over the sun and the wind picked up. The forecast promised thunderstorms. I was about to give up to a google search when a chime jangled in my window and with it came inspiration.

“I have it!” I exclaimed. “Tintinnabulation!”

 

 

For The Daily Post