Stuffsoup – a little blog with a lot of "stuff"

First iPad post

Posted in Down syndrome,parenting by stuffsoup on January 31, 2011


Wow. So I just now saw this (3 days after originally posting). I worried that it had actually posted when I was playing with it and apparently I was right to worry. I quickly forgot about the whole post as I left the speech therapist’s office though and hadn’t given it another thought. You see, the only place during my regular week that I have access to wifi is at my daughter’s speech therapist’s office. So, everything written here after the gibberish was written from my home computer.

I think I am getting ahead of myself though. This post, originally, was going to be the story of how I got an iPad as I feel like I have been telling this story, to varying degrees, quite a bit. So, here’s (basically) how it happened…

I had seen many posts, and particularly this one, about how great the iPad is for kids (particularly with special needs). The video from the article with the boy drawing letters was really the clincher for me… I really, really, really wanted one of these things for my daughter. It almost haunted me. She was working on writing letters. Working really hard. I didn’t want that work to get stale. I wanted her to keep working. I was sure the iPad could help keep it fun. Plus, how many other learning games could there be. So much to learn AND she could really use more computer time (I was told that in confidence by someone that works with her). It all seemed very important. Apart from all of that for her, how fun might it be for me — I have not been what one might call an early adapter for technology. This could be kind of exciting even if not really very early.

But, alas, the spending freeze was on (still). No work, no money, no iPad.

I admit, I did buy a raffle ticket in the fall like the woman in the article, but I didn’t win. I was kind of shocked actually as I fancy myself quite lucky. 😉 Anyway, when my mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I joked that I wanted an iPad for my daughter. When my mom asked what I might want for Christmas, I again joked that I wanted an iPad for my daughter. I also mentioned other little things that would be good for the kids like a mini muffin pan to make them mini muffins. My mom asked if there wasn’t anything that I wanted for ME. The question gave me pause. The answer too. No, there wasn’t really anything that I wanted just for me, not really.

On Christmas day (I’m glad my family has been flexible on this), we were at my parents’ house opening presents and I was helping the kids (who had piles and piles :)). I eventually got to a nice sized box from my parents (bigger than a bread box) for me at just about the time my brother got to a “much bigger than a bread box” package. My brother guessed his (and was right). I opened mine and it was filled with lovely little things including the mini muffin pan and I was feeling quite warm and fuzzy and then I got to the bottom of the box where there was another wrapped gift. I didn’t think much of it and started unwrapping. I don’t know how far into the unwrapping process I got when I saw it. The logo. The letters. An iPad!

I guess I did what any person who has been holding their breath about something that felt so off limits yet so important. I burst into tears. Really. A lot of tears. I think I actually started to freak my family out. I just couldn’t believe it. I had an iPad. And, an amazing amount of gratitude to my mom, my parents, for “hearing” how important this was to me even though I tried to keep it light. I cried again the next day for anyone who doesn’t have their parents around anymore to have these amazing moments. (Note: Go hug your parents if you can!)

I touched the iPad’s smooth, cool surface and was entranced. I couldn’t wait to do something with it. It was more than 2 weeks before I could really do anything though. My poor dh had to update everything on my main machine… operating system, iTunes, what-have-you. Then, I had to wait to find wifi which thankfully I can access at my daughter’s speech therapist’s office at least. So, while she is in doing oral-motor exercises, I am searching for free apps like Talking Tom and iWrite, that can help her in any way (along with two (so far) that are fun for me too).

The gibberish at the top of this post is because as I was trying to write on the iPad, the cursor would move, but you couldn’t see any of the letters. When I’d preview the post, the type would be there and apparently, when you post… the type is also there. So, at least for now, the iPad really is more for my daughter (and son who adores it as well) and I love watching them navigate it and the games and draw letters and spell and play matching games and learn. Technology will always be there for them and I am glad they are learning what they can. I am also humbled to have such generous parents. Thanks again, mom.


Sometimes the sibs have it

Posted in Down syndrome,parenting by stuffsoup on January 24, 2011

I have been asked what I think it might be like to be the sibling of a child with special needs. There are not only groups for the parents of children with special needs, there are also groups for siblings of children with special needs; so, it must be somehow different, right?

I think that some of the things these sib groups talk about is how sometimes it is hard to just be mad at your sibling without feeling guilty or how so much attention is diverted to the child that seems to need it most. Perhaps one day my son will have these dilemmas too, though I hope he knows it is ok to get mad at his sister and I hope he feels how much I love him too (and to be quite honest, he pulls his own attention quite often).

In the meantime, I can only opine about how I see the life of the sibling. I have to say that as his parent, I am amazed by him. Being the sibling of a child with special needs has actually seemed to bestow some additional awe upon him that he might otherwise not have received. As a parent of a child with special needs, you sometimes become hyper-aware of milestones and developmental stages and the bonus of that for a sibling is that the parent enjoys every, single, little step as they go whish-ing past them and on to the next thing. It is amazing to watch.

So, while I am truly amazed at my daughter as she tackles each next thing on the developmental checklist, I am also aware enough of those things to really be gobsmacked by my son as he keeps checking things off as well. So, at least for now, I’d say the sibling thing is really just great for both of them and I’m so glad they have each other and that I have them.

Hand in hand

Feel the burn

Posted in health/fitness by stuffsoup on January 16, 2011

I have sore muscles and I have a sneaking suspicion that more muscles will be sore tomorrow. It mostly started on Thursday. Yep, enough days ago not to be so sore any more. Thursday was team day at one of my classes (my current fav) at the gym (Lifetime) so between me and my two team mates, we did 1,000 jump ropes, 500 dead lifts, 300 deep weighted squats, and 100 burpees. We did extra jump ropes and one extra burpee just for good measure.

Now in case you don’t know what a burpee is, 100 is too many. Basically, stand at attention, put your hands on the ground beside or in front of your feet, jump your feet back so that you end up in a push-up position, go ahead and do a push up, jump your feet back up to your hands, then take your hands off the ground, throw your hands up  above your head, and jump up like a jumping jack… that’s one burpee.

The burpees were actually ok, it was the dead lift that really got me. That’s basically hauling a heavy weight from ankle height up to your hips. Really got my back. Then today, a friend of mine and I started a round of boxing classes at Opportunity Knocks in Edina.

So, to finish off my week, my arms got some pretty serious time on a heavy bag with the cool wraps and gloves and everything. It was fun and though the owner made a joke to my friend that she didn’t need to bring her own puke bucket because we could use one of theirs, I think I could have used one for the sweat instead.

Please don’t drop anything on the floor tomorrow. I may not be able to help you with it.

Superlative as a whistle

Posted in parenting by stuffsoup on January 8, 2011

It is fascinating to me to watch the minds of my children piece things together. My 3-year-old son seems to be working out how this whole superlative thing works by trying out -est on the end of things he knows are somehow different, but he is unsure in what way. For example, he was putting things in a line (as he is wont to do) and as he was counting out “first, second…”, he only paused a split second before he said “three-est”. And, since he is the three-est kid in the house, I thought that sounded pretty good. (Oh, and I did let him know about the word third and fourth, etc.)

In the same fashion as kids tend to put -ed on the end of the past tense of any verb (even go), he also thought he’d try -est on front and back. In this, he was correctly using his newfound (and new) words, frontest and backest. This got me thinking about the whole phrase “furthest to the front (or back)”. I mean, really, why can’t we just say frontest and backest. I think I like that construct better, seems cleaner, even if it at first sounds funny.

My 5-year-old daughter on the other hand is working on similes. Her most favorite (or favoritest, as my son will no doubt stumble upon very soon) started out when I told her about “clean as a whistle”. Well, now everything is anything “as a whistle”… skin that’s soft as a whistle, funny as a whistle, and even I love you as a whistle. I just had no idea how very versatile whistles were, apparently. Again, I promise, I am providing some correction to this (and boy, have I rediscovered how very many similes there are for very many things).

I must say though that I am also enjoying the errors for their humor value. I just think they are the funniest as a whistle.