No finger painting for the tactile defensive child

Hosted by “Tracy” at “Mother May I,” but the photo-picture below will whizz you right there with one click.

Just call me snap happy.

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If you are with a child that abhors tools such as painting brushes and crayons, someone who MUST remain clean or the OCD will kick in then this is an ideal activity for their suppressed creativity.

All you need is a high sided tray or old cardboard box. Tape a clean sheet of paper to the bottom. Provide shallow dishes of preferred colour paint. Guide the child to plop a marble in the paint, swirl it around gently and then transfer the marble to the paper lined box. If you don’t have the right sized / easily manipulable tweezers or tongs to transfer the soggy marble, help out with a teaspoon. The transfer is the challenge for us but once that marble hits the paper then the fun takes over.

This is also a good exercise for eye tracking, balance, challenging the mid-line or it won’t roll and all that other good stuff.

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Join in and don’t forget to visit other participants.


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Unexpected Fallout

5 Minutes for Special Needs
This is what you can expect if you ever happen to finish your laundry.

An once in a lifetime empty laundry shute provides new opportunities.

If you enjoy caption competitions and photographs, you may wish to nip along to“DJ Kirkby” over at “Chez Aspie” and test your brain power.


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Lessons about blue dogs

5 Minutes for Special Needs

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In Summary form:-

Bless the powers that be for visual learners.

If you enjoy caption competitions and photographs, you may wish to nip along to“DJ Kirkby” over at “Chez Aspie” and test your brain power.


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Tackle it Tuesday – Teeny tiny

We're pretty busy around here so today's tackle is a tiny one that should bring big rewards, especially for me. The trouble with having so many bodies around is that any semblance of organization and tidying is pretty much destroyed with the passage of the next 24 hours. Here is a slightly longer term solution.

Choose the drawer in your kitchen with the highest traffic, the one that everyone needs to use frequently.

First weed the drawer of all non essentials. Try and put like with like.

Have a trial run to see what you can fit in one drawer easily and discard the rest for another time. Take a large sheet of coloured paper and draw around each item with a black marker pen. Alternatively photograph each item but this can be problematical due to scale. [and expensive!] Laminate the paper cut-outs so that it will last longer and be easier to clean.

Line the drawer with 'grip liner' to reduce clanking.

Clean all items and replace in the correct position in the drawer.

Finally label the drawer with something relevant.

Some families may benefit from a few additional steps.

Sometimes numbering the empty spaces also helps, as can the name of the item written on the relevant cut out. Many children can read either words or numbers. For example, they may not know what a tin opener is, but if it is matched to a number and shaped cut-out, it is far easier to identify.

On completion photograph the contents of the drawer and enlarge to A4 size if possible. Laminate and mount on card and place on the wall of the counter behind the corresponding drawer. If this offends your 'perfect kitchen' image, you can always stick it on the inside of the door below, which can also be useful for smaller children who are better matched in height to this visual aid.

Alternatively, place the 'cheat sheet' in the drawer itself over the contents where it can be removed and held as a ready reference guide. Often physically holding the card, something tangible, in one hand aids eye tracking and referencing back.

This is also handy if you have additional spare bodies floating around your house such as therapists, baby sitters and miscellaneous experts.

There are any number of adaptations to suit the individual needs of your little helpers. For instance, part of the reason for covering the paper icons with sticky back plastic is not only to keep it clean but also because the texture of paper is abhorrent to some people.

Other children may find the reflective nature of the laminate equally as offensive. Some children respond positively to certain colour preferences e.g. pink becomes a magical co-operative hue but black means that no-one will dare go within shooting distance.

There are many fringe benefits to this approach other than tidiness and cleanliness.

Additionally, children learn competency, which boosts their self esteem. They learn that they are contributing to the household in a useful and helpful manner which also adds to their feelings of belonging to a unit.

Many of these kitchen items are words that they have no interest in learning. Even though they are still unlikely to 'want' to learn them, quite often they learn them incidentally by doing, if not accidentally, or what is often termed 'kinesthetic' learning.

They can tell that they have completed a task without help [or not very much help] perfectly and gain the satisfaction of a job well done, and task completion can often be a huge hurdle.

What I like about this task is that it is cheap, easy and relatively quick but with many long term benefits for everyone.

So now that we're finished! Could you open the fridge, pass me a beer and number 17 please!

Cheers dears

Get the code:-
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Review – a Laborious Day

Please scroll down for Magic Marker Monday

I reflect the morning's events to determine what, if anything, I have learned.

As I think, I scrub the wall on my knees beneath the window sill.

I have learned that the new phrase was a mistake. Running around the garden shouting “no knickers, no food” did not have the desired effect. In the 93 degree heat, I learn that my voice carries one block with an easterly breeze and that no-one is allergic to 'outside' anymore.

My neighbour advises me that 'drawers' or 'pants' is more socially appropriate for public broadcasts.

I discover that my son will consume Ritz crackers as a substitute for Goldfish crackers but that eating them without suitable attire is a dangerous pastime.

I learn that our home is not entirely burglar proof, that it is possible to gain entry through a window and that a bug screen is no deterrent.

I am uncertain if I have a pack of lemmings or a co-ordinated team? I already know that I am an excellent cleaner as I remove the last few footprints size 13, 1 and 3, from the wall.

Replacing the bug screen will be a challenge. Teaching them not to retreat, go into reverse and climb back outside the window, is more of a headache.

I think that lots of “us” have issues with “containment.”
A timely reminder to check our insurance coverage and renew my union dues.

Please pop over to my new blog “Sandwiched Genes” for further complications.


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Half truths and grey lies

We leave the very small house. I wave as the front door shuts and take a lungful of air. I suspect it would be the same if it were a very large house, a mansion or a barn. “Oh mom, she is sooooo luckeeeeeeee,” squeals my daughter, enthused to bursting. Has she lost all sense after two weeks at camp?
“So …. she is.” I hope I sound genuine.
“Why can't we have 19 cats too?”
“Um…..” I wonder if we could fit in an extra girl? But then children are always happiest with their own families. I know she is loved. I know she is happy and I am judgmental old numbskull. I opt for truthful, “well we do have two cats, that's more than a lot of people have, don't you think?”
“Yeah, I “spose.”

[click on the link above, it’s worth it!]

What senses would I trade for just a smidge of that innocence?


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Real Gents

Please scroll down for Photo Hunters / Scavengers

Ironically, the health food campaign comes a cropper. Suddenly I am a jailor on death row with my life set to 24 hour egg watcher, anything to stop him from grabbing the salt cellar and emptying it down his gullet. Maybe it's the shapeliness, or the pastel colours, but something has revived his need for sodium chloride. Inevitably my back is turned on one or other whilst I use my best extraction services.

I spend an inordinate amount of time chasing him all over the house. As he runs he chants his new mantra, 'you've got mail, you've got mail, you've got mail,' with more animation and expression than I could ever have imagined. When I pin him down to pry open his grinning jaws and sniff for evidence, he responds with his alternative mantra, “greased lightning!” and a chortle. It occurs to me that I have a missed career opportunity as a tracker dog. I also regret refilling the container, twice. I'm tempted to empty it down the sink to refill with castor sugar but I believe that would constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

When I find the empty 16 ounce carton of raisins I realize that what with “one thing” and “several others,” that my supervisory skills are overwhelmed. I examine the potential candidates for tell tale signs. Which one is the guilty party? I have far too much choice. I consider the effect of 16 ounces of dried fruit upon the average digestive system but I have no hard data to rely upon.

Several hours later.

Post play dates, I have one child to collect. I work backwards to allow us to arrive on time with an allowance for the unexpected. We prepare to depart an hour in advance. Two boys.

I hear a small bleat from the bathroom.

From this particular child, it is the kind of bleat that doesn't really register, since volume control is generally off the scales. It is hard to find a suitable comparison. It's the kind of 'tsk' noise one might make on finding a piece of fluff on clothing. A quick flick and it's gone, of no consequence.

The bleat does not match the scene of devastation. I inadvertently squeak which brings his brother running in to observe, “what happen?” he asks unnecessarily as his eyes pop out on stalks. It is still a very small bathroom with very little room for manovres. It is difficult to know where to begin, so I make a start.

Once again I have cause to doubt my purchasing powers. Why did I buy the four pack of 16 oz raisins for $10 but shun the bargain of 32 oz bottle of liquid soap for $5.00?

My brain calculates other calculations. Is it safe to assume that this is the result of a raisin overdose or is that too many assumptions. Which is worse? Ask the play date host parent to return your child, even thought that wasn't the original plan or take a child with an unstable digestive system into the car to their home to collect your other child? Is it o.k. if the wobbly child remains in the car at a safe distance? Is this o.k. if I can guarantee no contact and keep the windows wound up? Is any of the later acceptable assuming that the said child can be sanitized and dressed prior to departure? Is it possible to sanitize and dress the child prior to departure, and myself? Where is Miss Manners when I need her?

I contemplate the play date host, a man with shared custody and a complicated life. There are many families with complicated lives. I suspect that there are also a few families without any complications, somewhere? The common feature of most families, is their share of happiness, complicated or otherwise. I hear the front door slam to announce the arrival of the cavalry, my eldest daughter. I explain. “No probs, you go, I'll be on bum watch.”

Horray! One less mind numbing decision to make.

I drive with careful speed to pull into their driveway where I meet 4 happy girls and a happy father with culinary skills, a blue tooth and a foreign accent.

But I would never be one to summarize a single dad in brief.
It seems to me that there are “dads” all over the “place,” both “chaps” and “chapesses” that ‘get it.’

Maybe I should add a poll? What would be the correct thing to do in such circumstances if the cavalry hadn't arrived? You never know, you might be next, on one end or the other of the toilet plunger?


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Saturday Photo Hunters – Beautiful

This is where beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. That beholder is me. What I behold is a child who has spent the majority of his life with his “head and shoulders” completely off limits…………..

……but apparently “no longer!”


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Delegation, art or fiction? – Tackle it Tuesday

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

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Several years ago, the freezer decided to live an independent existence from the integrated fridge above. It froze itself shut, never to allow the light of day to penetrate. At that time I had a number of more pressing concerns. Since we had more money than sense, we purchased a small freezer from Home Depot, parked in the garage and admitted defeat.

Now several years later I commence a great number of new campaigns. The first campaign is to defrost the freezer in the garage. It's all a matter of priorities. The second campaign shall be to conquer the freezer in the kitchen, because it's always best to start the wrong way around.

With the contents already loaded trash sacks, I should have an hours grace to defrost, clean and refill, to avoid the threat of food poisoning. I rush around with the dust buster in one hand and my electronic toothbrush in the other. These are my last two chores before commencement of the main event. I take care not to muddle my tools.

I am ready.

I leave Nonna watching Yogi Bear in the family room at full volume. I pause. Does this constitute elder abuse? I listen to Boo Boo chat to Yogi. I'm tempted to join her on the sofa. As the Park Ranger arrives I take this as my cue. I leave my children, their father, the train set and the i-phone in the garden which should entertain and engage the majority, one way or another. I dash into the garage with a cleaver, a wooden spoon and a bowl of boiling water. I begin to hack away at the ice. For once, I am responsible for the increase in noise production.
“What?” I turn from my position on the concrete floor to the speaker. Nonna.
“I'm defrosting the freezer.”
She steps closer, gingerly due to the lumps of ice and water. “Dat's bad.”
“I know.”
“Ow often do you do dat?”
“First time ever.”
“Ooo dats not good.”

I smell something odd, even though my nose is frozen. Something vaguely reminiscent of nail polish remover, which is peculiar since we generally avoid acetone.

I hear the doorbell, drop everything and dash to welcome our guest for the afternoon on the very last day of the Summer Holidays. I am surprised to see her mum dressed in attire to challenge Vogue but clearly I am ill equipped to advice on the appropriate dress code for a ball game, especially since I am uncertain which type of game the ball belongs to.

I meet and greet with frozen blue finger tips. I make mental notes in case the future requires me to attend a sporting function. I know that white is banned after Labour Day but we're not quite there yet. I only wish I could have been that well turned out for my own wedding. It seems strange to me that such a diminutive slip of a woman should wish to emblazon 'Giant' on her chest but maybe it's just wishful thinking. “My! your home looks so….”
“Messy. Yes I know, it's o.k. to say it out loud.”
“Oh no I didn't mean…..”
“That's quite o.k. It's not a dirty word.”
“Did you have a party here?”
“I suppose you could say that. Six people at home for six weeks, plus additional people here and there, now and then.”
She looks at me in silence because I am whittering.

We say our farewells and the girls flee in glee to their own recluse. I check the garden party, fine. I check Nonna, who has moved on to the comic book Baby Blues and then rush to the garage and the drips. I hurl bucket loads of ice out onto the flower bed together with silent prayers that the tomato plants don't get frostbite in August.

I hear agonized screams from the interior of the house and dash back to find who has been wounded with what? My youngest son hobbles on his heels with a bead of blood on one big toe. I grab towels and a damp cloth as Band Aides are banned for this child. Nonna appears with a handful of ice and a handful of tomatoes, my shadow. “Ere what I do with deez?” but it's hard to hear over the screams. Ice drips as does tomato pulp. He latches on to a ditty, considerably quieter, “talk about a space cadet, talk about a space cadet, talk about a space cadet.”
“What he is saying?”
“Nothing, don't worry about it,” I bellow.
“What is wrong with im?”
“TOE!” Nonna peers to see the microdot of blood.
“Ere put dis ice on it,” she offers and reaches as he jumps to his feet and scarpers at the speed of light. “So …….ees alright den…….”
“He doesn't do ice.”
“So I see.”
“Right. I must get on.”
“Oh…..I got im to elp you.”
“Who? Help with what?”
“Dey were too eavy for me, but I got him to take out all dah rubbish to dah trash can.”

Well I suppose that’s one way of crossing something off your list of ‘things to do.’

Excuse me, I'm off to IceLand, not to shop but to climb into a chest freezer and pull the door closed.

Nip over for a “nibble” if you haven’t already and make sure you leave your URL.


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Well I never!

Sometimes we should just take a step back and listen to ourselves, as other people hear us:-

He holds one each hand, when I catch him near the washing up bowl.

“Don't put your balls in the water dear they'll rust!”
“But dey are be dirty.”
“We can wipe them clean, just don't dunk them in the sink.”
“Rust! Rust? What is it be 'rust'?”
“Oxidization…..um…..rusty….orangey red coloured, because they're made with metal, er steel.”
“No……my balls are be made of plastic.”
“They have a steel hinge. That's what allows you to open them and snap them shut again.”
“Dis fing here?”
“That's right. One side has the button, the other side has a hinge.”
“Oh dat is bad for balls.”
“It is indeed. If you get them wet they'll seize shut and you'll never be able to open them again. Then where would we be?”

Now wouldn't that be a tragedy. Save us from ourselves!

This is why children need emancipation.

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