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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Bringing Our Zoo to the Zoo.

Three adults. Eight children. I'm not sure the Phoenix Zoo will ever be the same.

We met up with two of my favorite parent-bloggers (Kelly & Dave) at the zoo yesterday, bright and early. And to tell you the truth? I can't even tell you which exhibits we saw. I think there was an elephant? Perhaps a toucan was involved? All I know is that I sweat a lot, ate a ham sandwich, and tap danced around a spastic snake on the path to the zoo's exit. It's possible that there may have been some squeals, tears, begging, and popcorn on the part of the children in between our entrance and exit--I don't even know. It was a complete circus. But the bottom line is that we got out of the house, it barely reached 90 degrees, and the kids all had a blast with each other.

Note the fancy clamp-on umbrellas that my twins are sporting--courtesy of Grandma and JC Penney.

Now off to figure out what indoor activities we can do in Phoenix, since it doesn't appear that we'll be seeing high temps below 90 degrees Fahrenheit for about 6 months now.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Project A.D.A.P.T.

Today, we were invited to the grand opening of a much-needed, long-awaited workshop for therapists to make custom adaptive equipment for kids with special needs.

Some background: Our fantastic therapists--all employed by Southwest Human Development--helped their company win an amazing grant from Humana last year. Their pitch included detailed plans about how Southwest would use the money to found an adaptive workshop as part of their Project A.D.AP.T. I spoke on their behalf to give testimony to how critical this workshop is, how the adaptations they have made for my home and for the twins have improved our daily lives (not to mention the kids comfort and skeletal health) immeasurably, and about how much more they could do for all these kids and families if they had the space and the right tools and supplies.

Six months later, the workshop has opened. It's not large, but they've used the space well and have used their grant money to wisely invest in some critical tools and supplies. Congrats, Southwest! And a huge thank you to Humana for your commitment to improving our community through such a grant, and for seeing the value in our therapists' efforts to help small children and their physical and emotional health and developmental progress. I already know that dozens/hundreds of kids will find huge benefit to Gayle's "Happy Chair" now that she can make them at will, and I can't wait to see what sort of custom foot rests she will concoct to work with the twins' high chairs.

Note: I am aware that my captions are not lined up correctly with my photos. I have no idea why this is, and after 20 minutes trying to fix it, I give up. Sorry, readers.

Thank you, Humana!

Lauren tried out one of several iPads purchased with the grant money--and on one of those nifty Gorillapod-type things. She firmly told me that she wants an iPad know. I firmly replied that she should ask Grandma.

A view of the main room of the workshop. Through the window in the background is a wheelchair/mobility seating evaluation room. Very cool. And check out that totally huge green band saw on the right! (I understand that it's impressive, if you know what a band saw is.)

Construction table, with foam and other supplies stored on the shelving beneath.

More shots of the work table, with examples of the types of adaptive seating that Gayle can make, now that she has the right tools. The white teddy bear is sitting in Kyle's Happy Chair. Gayle named it the "Happy Chair" because it was the only thing that made Kyle happy way back when. The name stuck, and now all her clients and coworkers call it by the same name.

The placard next to the Happy Chair.

In Kyle's left hand, you'll see a red button. It's attached via a black cord to a Winnie the Pooh automatic bubble blower. It's an adaptive switch that therapists commonly use for kid's toys and electronics to allow a child with limited strength/mobility to access the device. Kyle is obsessed with buttons. Lauren is obsessed with popping bubbles. It's like yin and yang, but in a good way.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I Shot this Video--a.k.a. My Ticket to Parent Hell

I have had this conversation three times today:

Me: You can have a Hershey's Kiss after you take your antibiotic.
Boy: I want a Shees Kiss now.
Me: You mean "Hershey's Kiss".
Boy: (crying) But I want a Shees Kiss, too!
Me: What are you talking about? You can have a Hershey's Kiss, but not 'til after you take your medicine.
Boy: Shees Kiss! I want one, too! ::sob::

Oh. So, this is their first exposure to a Hershey's Kiss, and he thinks it's a Her-shees Kiss. He's waiting for me to give him a His-shees Kiss, I guess.

So finally I was able to reproduce a variation of this conversation with my trusty Flip. He cries at the end. I knew he would and I pretty much egged him on. I am terrible.