Friday, September 10, 2010

Parents as Teachers Playgroup

Brystol participated in her first Parents as Teachers playgroup today. Parents as Teachers is a national organization that promotes early childhood intervention and education. It's a free program typically offered through the special services division of the public school district. We found out about P.A.T. when we lived in Oklahoma, and with Bub and Gracie, we took advantage of both the home visits and the playgroup.

During the home visits, a developmental specialist comes to the house to teach and encourage age-appropriate developmental play. The home visit typically is very fun and very casual, but while the child is playing the newly introduced game or activity, the specialist can assess the child to see where they are developmentally, and to ensure they stay on track. If delays are noted over the months or years the specialist is working with your family, he or she can recommend services through the school district or through a child's pediatrician. The parent is also given a list of what things should have occurred or will be occurring developmentally during that child's stage of life. The parent can continue to encourage the developmental process and can report any delays noted over time. It's a partnership really, a very non-invasive process, and one we benefited greatly from in the past. As far as home visits for Brystol, we're on a waiting list. They're not necessary since Brystol is developing normally, but it's nice to have the one-on-one time with an expert and Brystol will enjoy the games and attention.

The playgroup is just that -- a playgroup -- only the P.A.T. playgroup also includes projects or activities to encourage development: arts and crafts to encourage fine motor skills, free playtime to encourage the imagination or social skills, songs and stories during circle time to encourage following directions by sitting and listening, rhythm and music skills, physical activity. The playgroup time is informal, but the developmental specialists are around to assist and educate. For example, at playgroup today, Brystol spent a good bit of time toddling around carrying a doll nearly as big as she is. The specialist spoke to Brystol a few times, commenting on her baby, but then shared with me about Brystol's action being a developmental milestone. She said that early walkers like Brystol begin carrying around very large items -- often large toys or laundry baskets -- and that helps develop their sense of balance. Very interesting!

Painting with Cars


Making Faces
(my favorite picture of the day!)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Itty Bitty Art: Scribbles

After lunch, but before a midday bath, when the floor's been swept, but not yet mopped -- that is the perfect time to do art projects with babies. Today's project: mixed media (washable marker, crayon and pencil) on manila paper. Check out her form -- this girl can manage a marker!

The Process

Ma Petite Artiste

The Final Product

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Brace Face

Gracie began the first phase of her prescribed orthodontic treatment today. She had "light braces" installed on her top permanent teeth. (The doctor will assess her need for phase one brackets on the bottom as teeth continue to fall out and come back in.) She goes back in two weeks to have an expander installed to widen her top jaw. That should correct her crossbite, make room for the rest of her upper permanent teeth, and reduce her need for extensive orthodontic treatment later.

She was super excited to have braces installed. As we pulled up to the office, she began to feel a bit nervous, but the excitement won over the nerves and she had really no problem marching in for installation. I hope the excitement drives her to take extra good care of her braces and not miss gum and sticky candy too much.

From a mommy's perspective, it's surprising how astounding a little metal can age a kid. The fact that she wants matching "braces" for her American Girl doll reminds me she's still my little girl.



Brystol's Baby Playgroup

This time last year there was a baby boom among a group of my friends. This year, some of us met for a baby playgroup with our new little one-year-olds -- Brenner, Jacob, Addison, Tate and Brystol made up this month's group. Brystol is very social, so she had a fantastic time playing and sharing snacks with her little friends, and I enjoyed visiting with all the mommies.

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