Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Spring Break

Dallin's spring break was at the end of March. It doesn't change our schedule much since he only has preschool for 3 hours on 4 days of the week, but it's a good time to schedule some of his doctor appointments in Indianapolis. This way, we don't have to go drive down super early in the morning to make it back in time for afternoon preschool.

We grabbed a wagon (provided for use by the Children's Hospital) and went back and forth to three different appointments in 3 hours. Its funny that this picture shows Connor sitting in the wagon, because he spent 90% of the time pulling the wagon by himself, insistent on no help from me. Good thing they schedule lots of buffer time in between appointments so we had time for Connor to slowly pull Dallin around. 

Dallin was a trooper through his two ultrasounds and blood draw. He got to choose a coloring book (seen in the wagon above) as a prize for getting his blood drawn. That poor kid has been through so much and so many blood draws (at least 30 in his 5 short years). He cries at the sight of the chair. The Children's hospital has a pretty great phlebotomist though and we lucky to get her this time. It only took 30 seconds!

After all the doctor stuff, we ate our sack lunch in the cafeteria.

With it being spring break, I wanted to do something fun with the kids. So we stayed in Indianapolis for a bit instead of driving straight home. We went to the Children's Museum. It's been a few years since we've been there and Connor was only a baby then, so there was a lot for them to see.
They liked digging for dinosaur bones.

Connor popped his head up to tell me, "I'm digging dinosaurs!"

We got to play with some clay and make shapes. Dallin asked for a snowman so I sculpted the pieces and he put them together.

Then Dallin made his own person. He made this completely by himself with no help or prompting of any kind from me.
I was amazed because he's never made anything like this before. I've read studies about how children with Williams syndrome have difficulty with visuospatial construction. For example, a child with WS can draw a bicycle with all the correct parts present (seat, wheels, handles), but not in the correct locations.

That's why I love this person he sculpted, complete with arms, legs, torso, head and a very large nose. (In his defense, we had just made a snowman so I think he was trying to make a carrot nose for his guy too.) Maybe it has something to do with constructing a 3D model vs. drawing on flat paper. His drawings of people are scribbles. It's also possible that Dallin doesn't struggle as much with the visuospatial problems that many others with WS have. I've heard how difficult it is for even adults with WS to complete a simple 6 piece puzzle, yet Dallin is amazing with puzzles and can handle 30 pieces on his own.

Enough bragging about Dallin...

 Dallin asked me to make Darth Vader for him too.
I made the head and body, and while I worked out making the cape, Dallin reached over and stuck arms and a lightsaber on Darth Vader. I love this kid.

We played in the little kid area for a bit.
Dallin and Connor both loved climbing up and down these leaves.

 I thought they'd be nervous to climb so high, but they both climbed all the way up to the boat on top of the structure.

We all had a really great time. I'm glad we managed to have some fun during the cold, rainy spring break.

Monday, April 7, 2014

General Conference

We watched general conference on TV this past weekend. Dallin and Connor are still pretty young, but getting old enough to understand some things and they're picking up on gospel principles. So we came up with some activities they could do to keep themselves semi-engaged during the 8 total hours.

As each speaker came up, we had the boys find the matching picture for that person on the general authority page (found in every conference issue of the Ensign magazine).
Then they got to put a sticker on the person's face. They needed a little help sometimes with matching the faces (gray hair and glasses aren't much of a clue among this group of speakers), but they did surprisingly well at identifying each speaker. Found on a different page in the Ensign are the women and other presidency members who are potential speakers. We stickered them too.

 Then we told the boys to listen for specific words that we would hear in the talks. We chose our words based on what our boys have been learning about and what we had a picture for.
Our words to listen for were prayer, Joseph Smith, Jesus, baptism/baptized, sacrament, temple, and scriptures (or related words like Bible, Book of Mormon). When they heard one of our words from a speaker, they got to put a sticker on the corresponding picture.

I was amazed at how well Dallin and Connor listened for the words. They certainly did their fair share of coloring and playing with playdoh and toys during the two days of conference, but they really listened and were so excited every time they heard one of the words. At one point, Dallin heard the words and exclaimed, "Brass plates! He said brass plates", and then he went to put a sticker on the "scriptures" picture. He's learning a lot.

Not surprisingly, "Jesus Christ" was the picture with the most stickers. Every talk had his name at least once at the end.

On Sunday morning, I decided to switch things up and make waffles instead of  my weekly pancakes. Dallin seemed a little disappointed when I told the boys of the breakfast plan early that morning, but Connor lifted his sleepy head and with a huge smile, said, "I LIKE waffles!"
The waffles won Dallin over. He ate a good amount. But the best part was the next morning, when I went to get Dallin's usual frozen pancake out to cook, and he asked for a waffle instead.  ....GASP... He proceeded to eat one and a half plate-size waffles! I don't think he plans to stop eating pancakes, but it's nice to have an alternative breakfast food that he'll eat.