Sunday, November 21, 2010

More adventures with the wheelchair

I haven't posted in forever, and found this in my draft folder!  So here 'tis and more coming, I promise! :D  I'm doing a post a day in December as a record of our advent calendar adventures, and will post a bit next week while Lolly and I are on holiday!

Here are some more snapshots of our lives with the wheelchair.
Lolly says "it's my chair!"

Two cool sister wheelies.

Snail is funded by the government for trips to and from our place to her special school, so we get a special taxi which is like her school bus.  She shares her trip with four or five other kids, including another boy in a chair (the cab takes two chairs).  Here she is getting loaded up!  The bus comes round 8am and gets her home just after 3pm.  I can't tell you how wonderful it is to have this transport to and from school, it was a sanity saver when Lolly was first born!  It also saves us a lot of lifting and carrying.

Yikes, lost the photo!  Will edit back in tomorrow :D

Snail does have some independent mobility when not in the chair, she has a super huge walking frame that we keep at school, and at home she gets around by bum-sliding.  Here she is on the floor having a dance! 

Interestingly, Lolly never crawled, she only got around by bumsliding, too!  I think she learned it from her sister!  Here they are when Lolly is little, bum-shuffling up the corridor to get into mischief!

I love this photo, it's me on the mower and Snail looks like she's racing me :p

One thing about a wheelchair, is that it needs a good clean!  Here is the underneath the seat part after we'd taken it apart for a clean.  Complicated!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A question...

So, when you're 2 and a half year old is flouncing around the dining room table looking extremely pleased with herself, brandishing a toy mop and shouting "Shucking Hell!!  Shucking Hell, Mummy!!" - for fun, not being insulting or anything - do you try to stop laughing long enough to correct her pronunciation?

Who, me?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I fell off the Blogtoberfest wagon!

So, as you might have noticed, I fell of said wagon a few days ago.  I've been swamped, tired, and suffering from a lack of things to say.  We're off to Snail's school concert tonight, so hopefully I'll have some nice photos to share tomorrow.  I'm going to post out the rest of the month, even though I've missed a few :D

Here are some amusing and interesting links in lieu of my own personal genius.

What NOT to do in email - @ the Oatmeal.  Click through to read them all, tis made of funny.

Cool Star Wars stuff I wantz real bad - here at zazzle

On keeping a calendar (I sent this one to DinnerDad) - from Off the Hoof.

Meetings may be toxic, but calendars are the superfund sites that allow that toxicity to thrive. All calendars suck. And they all suck in the same way. Calendars are a record of interruptions. And quite often they’re a battlefield over who owns whose time.
In my experience, most people don’t schedule their work. They schedule the interruptions that prevent their work from happening. In the case of a business like ours, what clients pay us to make and do happens in the cracks between meetings, or worse, after business hours.  [...] 
“I’m adding a meeting” should really be “I’m subtracting an hour from your life.”
 And finally, the hilarious Hyperbole and a Half - the God of Cake.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

More photos of cute

I'm still not back to my posting best, so here are some shots of Lolly at the last few days of the festival.

Here she is wearing the awesome dino-roar tail, and doing her latest cute thing, bowing and saying "your majesty!".

Found a seed pod at the Botanic Gardens!

Looking at Mummy - just beautiful!

Playing ball with Didda.

 The cute!!  It burns!!!!11!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Oh no! Blogtoberfest!

And I was doing so well, too :D

I helped to organise a festival for a community group I'm involved in, the fabulous Joyous Birth, and was flat out all weekend, and with friends staying until this morning, blogging didn't get a look in, I'm afraid!  Wow, what an amazing time we all had, I'm still just buzzing.

Here's a shot of Lolly and her new dinosaur tail :D

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Possum update!

You might remember we turfed some possum friends out of our roof recently.  Well, the younger possum has taken up fairly permanent residence under our patio!  Here she (?) is nibbling on some apple.

Lolly's favourite thing is to feed the possum apples and strawberries.  Just too cute!  So now we have to add the possum to our pet feeding routine - cat, dog, fish and turtle, possum!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

This week's shelves

The shelves have been sadly neglected for a couple of weeks.  But I managed some work on them the other night, and this is how I have them set up for this week:

We have sparkly pom pom sorting at the top, and her hammering toy (with the pieces in a little pot); on the second shelf, her number puzzle, a space where the flower acitivity goes, and her bead threading; along the bottom, a bowl with her matching cards in, her matching box, a basket of blocks, and our library books.

I have some new activities out - a "flower" building activity with pipe cleaners and big buttons, some sparklies for sorting with an easter egg chocolate tray, and some lizards for sorting and playing!

This is a lovely idea I got off a blog in my travels (wish I could recall which one!), to put pipe cleaners in one of these chocolate shakers (I got this at Woolies for only a few dollars).  Then you can make little flowers by using buttons.  I got these lovely colourful large buttons from Spotlight, they were pricey at around $10, but worth it I think, as I can use them for sorting as well.  I wanted something too large to be a choking risk for littler kids we have to visit.  Putting the pipe cleaners in the holes is a great fine motor activity, as is the button threading!  Lolly really enjoys this and it has been out every day so far!

The sorting is popular, too, but mostly for throwing the sparklies in the air then picking them up again.  I got these sweet sparkly pom poms from Spotlight for a couple of dollars.  Lolly likes to put each colour in a separate egg shape, as well, when she's not throwing them round the lounge!

This is the lizard sorting I put out, from a set I got for a couple of dollars at Crazy Clarks.

She doesn't really "sort" these, more just likes to put them in the containers.  The set turned out not to be great for matching, either, too many different colours.  But she likes them, and I have them out on her table by the window. 

I was linkied!

I forgot to linky that I was linkied!  So that will have to serve for today's blog :D

 The Montessori Goldmine: Thursday Round

This is a fabulous blog for those interested in Montessori and great kids activities.

And my wheelchair post was on Offbeat Mama - hurray! 

And if I post before going to sleep on Monday, that counts for Blogtoberfest!  :p

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Montessorium apps for iPad/Pod

Lolly loves the Montessorium apps.  I'm aware of the controversy of attempting to 'translate' Montessori to this kind of technology.  To some extent, I agree with the critique.  But, I thought I'd try out the Montessorium numbers app with Lolly and was really impressed.  Lolly particularly likes the number tracing, and this is the application's strength, in my opinion.

Montessorium - Intro to Math:  This is a beautifully presented application, with several Montessori-based games.  I agree that "red rods" on the application lose too much in not being a three dimensional object that a child can feel and move around.  Lolly hasn't done the red rods at Nido, she's probably a tad young anyway, but I do think if a child had done the rods successfully in "reality" then they'd enjoy the application version.  Same with the counter activity.

So, I agree with the critics of these applications that there are aspects than need to be experienced viscerally by the child.  However, Lolly has definitely engaged with the application, and frequently chooses it.  Is it "wrong" to give a child an online version of a Montessori based activity?  I don't think so.  So long as they are supported to continue to interact in three dimensional physical ways with these (and other) activities as well. Ideas on how to do this are included on the Montessorium blog - try this post.

That said, the "sandpaper" numbers in the app are very similar to the "real" thing.  Lolly loves doing this activity!

Here's the Intro to Letters version of tracing -

While, admittedly, the child can't feel the texture, the sound and lines that appear when the app letters are touched provide a very real interface, and from what I can see with Lolly, seems just as "real" to her.  She has only recently begun tracing activities on the iPad/Pod, but chooses them repeatedly at the moment, so is obviously interested and engaged by it.  I purchased the letters version of the Montessorium app and she is really enjoying tracing the letters, too.  It seems to me that the action of tracing with her finger is pretty identical to tracing a sandpaper letter with her finger, so in that sense I think this activity is closer to the "real life" physical version of it.  So, it's more successful for her at the moment.

The apps are both beautifully presented, a little pricey at $4.99 each, and as yet there is no combined version of the two apps, but I can see that as Lolly grows and is exposed to more of these activities at Nido and school, that we'll get long term use out of both applications.  I'd definitely recommend them to all parents, especially those interested in Montessori, who have an open mind about it all!

Would you use a Montessori application for your young child?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Great iPod/iPad apps for kids!

You might have noticed we got Lolly an iPod touch recently.  Dave and I also got iPads (yay!), so we've all been shopping madly in the app store and trying out applications.  I've read some decent reviews of kids apps, and thought I'd add my voice to the mix.

Here are our favourites for a 2 and a half year old (I know, we're THOSE parents).

Puzzles, puzzles, puzzles!  It's all about the puzzles!  Lolly loves real puzzles, and not suprisingly loves the puzzle apps on her iPod.  If you're looking for puzzles, you can't go past tozzle - which is just great. 

Tozzle is a series of puzzles, including letters and numbers.  Lolly loves it, though my main critique is that they do need to release some new puzzles as upgrades, she's done all of them now, and doesn't choose this one as much as she's become familiar with them all.  More puzzles, please!  That said, there are 33 puzzles on there, all with sound effects and animations. All for only $2.49 (prices in Australian dollars), which is great value.

More puzzle goodness - Anything by Alexandre Minard is great - Here are My First Puzzles and My First Tantagrams.

Just gorgeous, and really engaging.  Though like all the puzzle games, they could do with releasing more puzzles rather than making new apps (yeah right :p).   These are cheap, only $2.49 a pop.

redfish is the iPad version of poissonrouge, the great kids website.

This app is amazing.  Just so creative and intuitive.  Lolly loves it, and I can see it would engage kids much older than her as well.  It's relatively pricey for the whole package, $12 from memory, but worth it!  You get a lot of games for that within the package.  There's heaps in this version, and if you do an app search for redfish there are a few to try for free as well.

Monkey Preschool Lunchbox - this application is just adorable, and when we first got it for her, Lolly spent AGES playing it.  It still gets in regular rotation here, too, so it has staying power, which a lot of these apps don't really have.  It's a mix-em-up game, with counting, sorting, matching, puzzles, letters and colours.  Well worth it.  It's a little praisey, but hey, most of them are (sigh).

Lolly is also really enjoying this Interactive Alphabet game - it has little animations for each letter.  She seems to really like it.

Some others worth checking out - Tickle Tap apps - these are really sweet!

The toddler pack has five games and has been worth it.  They have a second collection, toddler pack 2, coming soon which I will probably buy for Lolly.

The is the biggest problem with kids apps all round, is that there are a limited palette of options inside the game, and kids gets to know them and get tired of them fast.  It's not a product of the technology, at least not in my experience, Lolly has the same thing with "real" wooden puzzles, for example.  She's engaged while it's a challenge, or if it becomes new and interesting.  Otherwise she moves on to the next challenge.

This is something game designers need to account for in updates, especially for kids games in this area.  When your app is limited to the alphabet letters, or to 12 puzzles, it's only going to engage a toddler for a certain amount of time.  Games for older kids have more choices, they are often playing  an actual game, rather than just interacting more simply with the device.  There needs to be more thought to these apps for kids in the 2-4 range.

I'm going to review the Montessorium apps separately soon!

Which apps does your toddler/young one enjoy!?

Friday, October 8, 2010

One of those days.

At one point this afternoon I was one the phone about a forum I'm involved in that was down, had an electrician here rewiring some lights the possums had knocked out, Lolly screaming for a boob, and Snail on the couch recovering from a major seizure.  I also tripped over the dog.

Oh yeah.

So here is a photo of Lolly conked on our couch at 6.30pm.  Aww... an early night, you think.  Oh no, this is just a NAP, she's still awake now!  ...slightly manic laugh trailing off into brittle silence...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Dora and a Backpack

Further to my post about television, I have to add that Lolly has gone crazy for Dora the Explorer and Go, Diego, Go!!  Seriously crazy.  She has been sick for a few days with a virus, and quite a bad fever and fever rash, so there's been lots of television round these parts since Sunday.  Dora is quite lovely, a little irritating for grown ups, but I can totally see the attraction for Lolly, it's almost perfectly at her developmental stage, she LOVES it!

She has a Backyardigan's backpack that we got from the Ekka this year, and it has undergone a revival as "Backpack!!".  She wears it round the house and puts things in it, just like Dora.  Too cute.  Here, she's showing DinnerDad some stuff from her backpack.

Here is the cute face that goes with the backpack! 

So Dora definately needs to go on the television list :D

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Getting Rid of it All...or at least Some...

We have been clearing and cleaning around here lately, in preparation for doing up our house.  Part of this big clear out involved taking everything out of our shed.  And it's a big shed.  It was stuffed with all of our stuff (okay, mostly my stuff) which has been there, virtually untouched, since we moved in here years ago.  A lot of it was rusty and mouldy and a lot of it was just old and not needed anymore. 

There were couches and clothes and chairs and the top of a bar, and bits and peices everywhere!  We filled an eight square metre skip with all this stuff!!!  I say we, but I mean DinnerDad and Smash.  The girls and I went down at the end of things to poke in the boxes and pick what to keep.  Apparently the spider population down in that shed was tres impressive.  I was somewhat relieved to miss it.  ;)

Here it is, full to the brim with our crap.  That's 8 square meters of crap!

In the process, DinnerDad and Smash cleaned out the garage - wow, it's tidy in there!  Notice the awesome motorbike :D

The giant shed, now a gardener's dream!

In order to get the stuff from the shed to the skip, DinnerDad and Smash spend a good while tidying up the "road" part of the garden that goes round the back, from our driveway.  It was seriously overgrown, wish I had a before pic!  Actually, this shot of Mr Possum Catcher letting the possum go was of the very spot I was standing to take the After shot below, but before the tidy up, which gives you an idea of how bad it had gotten. 

Here's our dog speeding down the newly tidy "road".   In case you're interested, our house is up one level to the right, and to the left is a very overgrown second level of "road" and bush down a gully.  

That is a LOT of crap we threw out! I am feeling very environmentally irresponsible, having just that sheer amount of stuff to throw out!  That is just so much consumption, most of it gone to waste.  I suppose I used it at one point in life...

I've kept some things - some boxes of books to sell, and my comic collection, which I'm also getting up for sale at some stage.  And my diaries, stuff from school days, memory stuff that I need to sort and file.   We do feel lighter!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Little visitors

Last week we had some excitement round casa Selene...we finally booked a possum catcher to come and nab our roof-dwelling possums and fix the hole in our roof!  He came and set three traps, and the next day, excitment!

Lolly holding up one of her building blocks to "catch possums in the roof"!

She's actually facing the wrong way, which is even more adorable!

Lolly checks the bubba out carefully.

Too cute!
 Because the only issue was some missing tiles that we fixed, and the regulations about releasing possums as a protected species, we let them go in our yard (we have a big yard lol).

Mr Possum letting them go.
Mumma possum went for a quiet hidey hole, but teenaged possum went right up a tree!

We heard them that night trying to bust back in, but they can't now, so they've probably set up somewhere nearby in the bushland in our yard.  It was very excitement and Lolly enjoyed herself greatly!

Monday, October 4, 2010


Lolly and I are sick, she is very low with a fever, poor love, so just a couple of photos of our garden digging yesterday (when she was sick, but much more herself).

Lovely girl.

Digging with Dadda.

One of our roses!

Short today, remind me to write more on my research of the usefulness (or otherwise) of treating children's fever with drugs in a future post, I found some interesting stuff in my web travels this morning! 

Still, at least I posted something :D

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Handy things for the kid in the chair :D

Over the years we've come across a few things that help us out with the realities of Snail's disability, so here are some of them!

These plates - OMG I can't tell you how great they are.  The bowl is pretty awesome, too.  Under the plate is a fitting for the large suction cup that sticks to the table.  The suction cup and curved edge mean she can much more easily feed herself, though she does grump about this a LOT :D  They also go through the dishwasher.  We have two, and use them every meal, they've lasted really well.

These bendable spoons, though we did notice that going through the dishwasher wasn't a good idea, as water got down the handle :(  Still, she did handle the spoon well and it's a great idea.  We have a fork as well, but don't use it much as it's very large, a bit big for her mouth.

Brolly sheets.  These rock!

These are funky and not just white :D  I have two, which I find is plenty for normal washing.  They are really effective, and save heaps of washing as they protect the sheets underneath.  We also have these chair pads, which we use in the car (since we upgraded the seat of the wheelchair to a waterproof fabric, we don't need em in the chair anymore - thank the gods!)

And the waterproof doona cover, which saves constantly having to wash the doona itself!

I found these at a local baby shop - they fit round the popper juice box, which Snail can never hold herself due to her hands of crushing :D  They stop the squeeze of death.

And these are our sippy cup of choice, the Sistema Dinkee cup.  We sneakily swap the cup with handles to match with the top with a straw at the shop, lol.  Don't tell anyone :D

My final tip is for carrying medication with you when you have a toddler too.  Snail has Midazolam for seizures, and we take one vial with us when we go out.  I worry heaps about Lolly getting into it, but so far this has worked.  We wrap it in alfoil, then put it inside a sealable plastic bag, then put that inside a zip up sunglasses case!  It's portable, easy to find, and I feel that it would take Lolly long enough to get inside it for me to find her and stop her!  I'm on the lookout for a better solution now Lolly is getting older, something that can lock, but that I can still open relatively easily if I need to use it.