Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Louder Than Words (The night my non-verbal daughter told me what's up)

Clara's bedtime routine goes down the exact same way, every single night. This is important as kids like Clara learn differently and it takes years of repetition and exactness for something to stick and become, well, routine.

Even down to the words we use. Simple, one or two word/step instructions.

Clara's bedtime routine looks like this . . . (She needs assistance with all of it, but we do make her "help" with each step.)

Brandon sits Clara on potty. ("Go potty." "Flush." "Wash.")

Brandon brushes her teeth. ("Open." "Top." "Bottom." Open." etc)

Clara turns off the water. ("Water off.")

Clara turns off the bathroom light. ("Light off.")

Turning off the bathroom light is Clara's que that it's time for bed. While Brandon has been handling the hygiene, I've been preparing her room for sleep (sound machine on, toys out, lights out, etc).

It only takes me a few seconds and typically I'm waiting in her room to rock her. She only prefers me to rock, and I'm not complaining one bit. If she gets to her room after turning off the light and I'm not there, she will whine and wait. Really, it's the sweetest time. To cradle your 5.5 year old "baby" in your arms while she drifts off to sleep is just, well, priceless. She doesn't fall asleep every night, but many nights she's so tired from the long school day that her eyes close within minutes.

One particular night I was rocking Clara and Camille asked if we could read her bedtime story in Clara's room instead of her room.

Brandon began to read to Camille, both lying on Clara's bed, while I rock Clara on the other side of the room.

Three or four pages in Clara shot up, walked straight over to the bed, and attempted to grab the book from Brandon's hands.

Initially, we attempted to redirect her. "No, Clara, it's time to rock. You can't just grab the book from someone's hands." etc. This went on for about a minute and then it hit me.

"Wait. She might be telling us something. Let's give her the book and see what she does."

So we did.

Brandon released the book. Clara held it tightly and walked back to me in the rocking chair. She very deliberately handed me the book and turned around to climb back in my lap.

"Clara! You want to read, too? You want to read tonight??"

She signed please.

I about lost my mind.

So Camille crawled in my lap, too, and the three of us girls enjoyed one of the sweetest moments I can remember.

I love Clara's smile in this one . . .

It's as if her smile is saying, "Thank you, mommy, for listening to me."

This incident was such a good reminder for me to listen well, to be slow to assume, and to read between the lines, because things are not always as they appear.

Clara was not trying to disrupt the bedtime reading.

She was trying to be included in the bedtime reading.

Sometimes, actions really are louder than words.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Great Houston Snow Of 2017

As you have probably heard by now, it snowed last week in Houston.

What in the world?

It was an early Christmas miracle indeed.

In order to preserve this precious memory, a few pictures . . .

We attempted to wake Camille up Thursday around 11:00pm, but she was not. having. it. We drug her outside but her head was bobbing like a rag doll and she barely even opened her eyes.

To our surprise, the snow stuck overnight. Such a fun sight to wake up to!

We woke Camille up at 5:30am Friday and unlike the night before, she was totally on board to hop out of bed and needless to say, her mind was blown. She joined Brandon right away to finish the snowman in the backyard and start one in the front.*

If a snow day isn't a good enough excuse for donuts, I don't know what is!

Houston snow of 2017, you were a fabulous surprise! Definately a morning we won't forget!

*No, we didn't attempt to wake Clara Thursday night or Friday am,  for various reasons. We did show her the snow before we left for school Friday morning and she wasn't impressed. Ha! We think she was too cold and thus, annoyed and agitated. :)
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