At 42 Degrees

At 42 Degrees

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Headlines Read,...

Toddler develops taste buds on fingertips

Taste by touch? 

Perhaps not, but our Mr. Isaac majestically refuses any food that he deems to be 'gooey' or 'sticky' or just doesn't pass his teeny tiny fingertip touch test.

For us that translates to NO ketchup on his McHappy meals.

Not that hamburgers and fries make up the extent of Isaac's diet, but with his 'sensory issues' - we do find ourselves scrambling to find healthy alternatives to meet his particular 'sensory' criteria.

Unfortunately the adage: 'kids will eat when they get hungry' -- doesn't apply when dealing with children with sensory processing issues, because his aversion is not the result of defiance, but part of his challenges in 'processing' the sensory input.

Offering a variety of foods, including gooey and sticky foods, is part of Isaac's therapy, unfortunately most of these foods have not yet been able to cross his 'sensory' boundaries, which are guarded by his discriminating little fingertips.

So what is a mommy to do to make sure her little one is getting adequate vitamins?

A supplement would be a great alternative, but Isaac isn't open to the taste or smell of liquid vitamins, he has issues with soft foods, so I can't slip them into yogurt or applesauce. Such a little guy with still developing teeth, he's not quite ready to try chewable vitamins and I am not sure if 'gummy' vitamins will pass his fingertip test.

But, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve: whole wheats breads, cereals and pasta, mashed banana slipped into his oatmeal, which fortunately he will eat with a spoon. Aside from a McDonald burger and fries treat, the alternatives that Isaac is offered - are healthy or healthy  - he can take his pick which healthy food he wants to eat, the orange slices or sunflower kernels. Also smoothies with frozen bananas and V8 splash have been a hit and have helped cover the vitamin C gap in Isaac's diet when we run short on oranges or strawberries.

Vitamin A is my biggest concern in Isaac's dietary needs.

I wish sweet potato fries had worked, that's a great source of vitamin A, but Isaac just gave me a funny look when I offered him some, although he will eat sweet potato 'chips' and dehydrated veggie chips, but they are expensive and a tad too salty for daily consumption.

Chasing vitamin A, I scored big time with: Pumpkin Cookies.

Nice and dry and not too sweet, because Mr. Isaac does not have a sweet tooth, these nutritional cookies passed our little guy's fingertip test.

I baked the cookies yesterday afternoon and last night, Isaac unknowingly consumed an adequate serving of vitamin A, and bunch of other nutritional 'goodies' I slipped into the recipe - including: protein, omega 3, calcium, potassium, iron, and fiber.

Pumpkin Cookies:

1 15 oz can pumpkin
1 cup mashed bananas
1 cup butter or margarine (I used Smart Balance sticks)
2 cups sugar
1 tbs black strap molasses
1 tsp salt
3 cup whole wheat flour
2 cup whole oats
1 tsp baking powder
1tsp ground nutmeg
2 eggs
4 tbsp ground flax seed
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 cup raisins
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup sliced almonds
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter and sugar. Add pumpkin, bananas, eggs, flax, chia seeds, molasses and blend. Add flour, salt, baking powder, nutmeg and combine into a dough. Fold into the dough: oats, raisins, almonds, cranberries and chocolate chips.

Not having a lot of time, I spread the cookie dough onto two cookie sheets. I forgot to time how long they baked, it was probably about 15 minutes,...or maybe even a little longer.

With a base recipe, I can add a variety of different dried fruits, nuts and seeds to keep these cookies interesting and nutritional and that for us and Isaac that is great headline news!

Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day,...Thanks

Baby Issac

Never too early to teach our little ones the importance of Memorial Day.

Thanks to all our service men and women for all of their sacrifices for our freedoms.


Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Shape Sorts, Sorta,...

Toys for therapy motivation have kept me on the thrift store prowl. So far I've had great success finding very expensive educational toys for $3.00 bucks and under and most of those have been well under a dollar.

Shape Sorters for example can be quite pricey when purchased new with even the simplest I've priced in store starting at $10.00.

My little Isaac loves playing with this type toy and he has several in our toy closet which I regularly rotate  to avoid them acquiring the dreaded JTS: Jaded Toddler Syndrome.

When used for therapy the Shape Sorters are helpful for modeling: 'sharing' - he takes a turn, I take a turn, words: the shapes and colors, prepositions: down, in, out, exclamations: bing, bong, ding, or whatever else applies. It is also a good fine motor activity and perfect: cause and effect.

Only there is a teeny tiny catch to second-hand Shape Sorters, is very rare to find the original shapes that actually go with the original Sorter. To make matter even more complicated, the shapes to most sorters are very specific in size and shape to fit only that sorter.

How very cynical of the toy companies, it's as if they were scared to death a child might actually consider trying to play with their toy with rogue shape!

However some shapes do happen to fit other sorters and wooden blocks fit the bill pretty good for generic square and circle shapes, but what if the ultra cool sorter you have found for .59 cents has shape holes are too small for even wooden blocks?

Mommy starts flipping through possibilities.

First Thought: make some bean-bag type shapes out of felt, but my 'art and craft' time is quite limited.

Second Thought: cut shapes out of thick cardboard or craft foam, this could and would work, but it would be difficult to make the shapes 'thick' enough for easy manipulation - we're talking a two year's chubby little fingers, here.

Third Thought: actually I didn't have a third thought until I was in the check-out lane at the thrift store this Saturday and saw some thick foam - gardening kneeling pads. Immediately I saw the possibilities for potential shapes: nice bright lime green color, easily cut, yet thick enough for little fingers to grasp easily and most important, at $1.25 I wasn't take a huge gamble, so I purchased two pads.


In theory these should have cut perfectly, but in practice my circles weren't complete spheres.

But they were close enough for Isaac to get the idea. Most of the shapes I cut, I made to jusssst fit, so Isaac would have to push down,...a task he loved,...he started playing with these before I finished all the shapes, I stood at the counter,...he kept signing for 'more.'

Please note that these shapes are made of thick foam,...which a toddler or infant could and would easily take an experimental bite out of,...even Isaac,...who doesn't have 'mouthing issues' isn't to be trusted to play with these on his own, parental supervision strongly advised....It's always better to be safe than sorry with little ones.

From Isaac's point of view these Sorta, Shape Sorter Shapes are winners!

Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Moving Forward,...Even If You Feel You Are Sitting Still

This photo I took of Michael in the car the other day really struck a cord with me as I noticed the blur of scenery in the window contrasting with the serenity of Michael's pose.

So engrossed Michael doesn't even seem to realize he's moving forward,...if fact later he did look up with a quizzed, "We're already here?"

With Isaac's speech and developmental therapy we don't always see immediate improvement and it can be easy to get discouraged when it feels like his progress is Sitting Still,...but it's not,...just like the speeding car,...other forces are working to propel us and Isaac toward our goals.

Philippians 4:19

New International Version (NIV)
"And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus."

It can be so easy to forget when life gets difficult that 'all things do work for good'....and...'all your needs' will be met.

Frankly I was panicked when our pediatrician recommend I contact a speech therapist IMMEDIATELY!
In tears, I called the number our doctor gave us the moment I got home,...and praise the LORD,...the therapist was able to see us the next morning for an evaluation:

That was just this February.

Since then:

0 Isaac has learned over ten signs.

0 Isaac meets with his speech therapist Miss Fern every Tuesday.

0 Isaac has been enrolled in an Early Intervention Pre-Pre-School Program,...that has a very limited number of slots available for students....We had no waiting list,...I just picked up the phone and praise the LORD,...since it is the end of the school year they had no waiting lists and several vacancies from children that have graduated to the next level!

0 Isaac's vebal vocalization is rapidly improving,...we just have to get on the same page to what the precious little darling is trying to tell me with his expressive babbling. 

0 Isaac is enrolled in a summer program that will include Kindermusik.

0 Isaac is also already enrolled for the fall semester,...again no waiting lists.

0 Isaac will began receiving services from the State Early Intervention programs to supplement his private therapies. 

Until I tapped all of this onto the computer screen,...time seemed standing still with Isaac's progress,...but actually it's been a blessed blur,...we are moving forward and that is our goal.

Onward for this little guy!

Until I post again,....may God bless and keep you!

Saturday, May 12, 2012


WOW, stories really do work!

Isaac had a GREAT week at school with nary a tear and LOTS of happy smiles!

I need to break out my ironing board,...more stories to come!

Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Social Stories To The Rescue,...

Last week was Isaac's first classes at an Early Intervention Preschool center. To say he wasn't exactly happy with his new school routine is putting it mildly,...way too many tears!

Thus,...hopefully,...Social Stories to the rescue....

Social Stories,...are simple narratives for children explaining to them what to expect in new situations or to reinforce their daily routine. If you'd like to learn more, Google: 'social stories' for lots of great websites that offer 'how-to-write-a-personalized-social-story for your child.

These type stories are helpful for ALL children,...I used to use a version of 'social stories' with my older guys when they were little,...explaining that we were going shopping and what to expect and how they were expected to behave in a store or what to expect at the doctor's office,...ect.

Isaac being a preschooler I made a simple book with pictures that I took last Friday.

I used card stock weight paper, digital photos, our Mac and ink jet printer, lamination paper (from my office supply stash, is tons cheaper to purchase in bulk, by the way), glue stick, hole punches and clip rings.

After printing out the pages, I glued them together and then laminated them with an ordinary clothes iron set on low.

Hardest part was keeping all the pages aligned properly....I just kept lining them up to check that they were correct,...not that a two year old would notice or care,...but 'whatever you do, at it with all your heart as if working for the LORD not man' - Colossians 3:23.

Of course the real question,..."Will this 'social story' book really rescue Isaac from daily preschool tears?"

I am frankly not sure.

Isaac is NOT a bookish type child,...he doesn't like sitting still long enough to listen to a story or to look at a book,...and he wasn't too crazy about this one either,...until he started noticing the pictures,....I saw the comprehension on his little face, "Hey that's me!"

All we can do is try,...and the plan is to 'read' this story to Isaac as much as we can,...especially on school days,...and I'll be sure to report,...'success' or 'now all we have is a nifty photo album of Isaac's first week of preschool!'

It's difficult not knowing exactly 'what will work' with your child,...but Mr. Isaac is worth the effort and I'd gladly stand at the ironing board laminating pages from sunrise to sunset if I will help him with his challenges,...and if this book IS a success,...I just might find myself with an iron permanently attached to my hand!

Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Meet Isaac

Here's our Isaac,...

Check out that smile,...doesn't he look like he's about to burst out laughing? Our Isaac certainly loves to laugh especially at his big brothers Teddy and Michael. 

 Here's my three guys together,....

Yes,...that is quite an age difference between my three sons,...respectively their ages are: Teddy 23 yrs, Michael 21 yrs, and Isaac 27 months! 

Teddy's the one with the beard, he's a graduate student completing his master's degree in Education and our technical guru-extraordinaire, Michael is a lifeguard and broadcasting major completing his junior year at the university,....while our Isaac is a pre-preschooler just starting classes at a local early intervention center.

My husband Lynn and I have been blessed with 28 years of marriage,....he's a great guy and a great father to our three blessings.

The star of this blog is our Isaac,...he is in the process of being diagnosed for his special needs. His speech delay is quite obvious,....he only has about eleven words he can say and they are rarely used. We're about six weeks in from his first evaluation,...and he's made rapid progress his therapy sessions in learning sign language: eat, drink, more, again, please, ball.

No one will pin down Isaac's other needs,...he apparently is toeing the fine line of apraxia and autism, with some red flags,...not not enough definite proof to offer a clear diagnosis.  

But he's cute,...and his nonverbal communication skills are off the chart,...because he has no difficulty in getting his message across,...whether happy or otherwise!

We're just looking to the future,...because we know his cuteness is not going to be a safeguard foil for his furthered communications with the greater and wider world. 

So that's just a quick peek into this blog,....more later,...but now it's time to get Isaac ready for his third day of class,....this is his first week, say the first day didn't go very well would be putting it mildly,...but his teachers assure me a bumpy start is VERY typical, we will just take this process one step at a time.....

Until I post again,....may God bless and keep you!