Wednesday, February 29, 2012

First day of preschool

This is Esme's first day at the special preschool, it is one day a week. I think the hardest thing is going to be explaining to her she has to leave - and that she can't go back until next week (not tomorrow).

We just got back from dropping her off at her first day of preschool. We were slightly early - but they took her in and there were other full-day kids there. She went right to playing. In the car on the way over she said she was ready - and she would have a table (Desk) and a chair and play with the kids. She did not see us leave - but I think she will be okay. The only other time we ever have left her except with Grandma was at a daycare for one day when she was two - to see how she would do, and she was fine there. I was trying not to hover - although I know they expect it...

She was playing with her backpack last night - it arrived just in time. I chose it but knew she would like it. She has three DVD discs of Hello Kitty that she has nearly memorized but still needs to watch nearly daily. She picked out two books to put in and I put her name in them and on the backpack. If this backpack survives a few years she could take it to kindergarten - as it is a good size for that.

In other bits - she looks so tall in these pictures, like she has grown nearly a foot in the past year... She is 42 inches tall, and I could see it when she went in among the other kids. I don't know if half of them are younger than four - but she is showing her genetics from two 'tall' parents ;)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New and old garden plots

The road down to the lake
Mark did a lot of work on this last year

playing in the sand

good tractor...

The new garden plot

Plowed ground and 'earth rocks' as Esme called it


Esme volunteering to be the scarecrow ;)
This is her imitation of one from the cartoon she likes right now

The old garden spot, clear of fence and t-posts

All the 'structure' pulled out of the old garden

We are out in the garden

innocent, really!

blurry, but too cute not to share

We are out in the garden today, there might be some other pictures later. But, these are Esme and Loula posing. They have been running around playing and having a grand time chasing sticks etc etc... Daddy is plowing with the tractor, I am clearing out brush, wire and old structures before tilling the ground up. We had a quick trip to town as a bolt broke on the tractor and we had to replace it. We had some good sandwiches at the deli place as well - Esme got a thick slice of bologna and some cheetos.. she enjoyed that.

All of the immunization shot information is caught up - and Esme had no reaction whatsoever to the shots she did receive. She is set to go to school tomorrow and is happy about it!

Friday, February 24, 2012

bits with pictures

It has been a tough few days.. I feel like I've been running an obstacle course to get this school paperwork done, and am getting in the homestretch. Esme's shots are done except for the second MMR - and I have a couple of roads to try to keep her from that one again. The nurse agreed my reasoning was sound for not wanting her to receive a SECOND dose of the only thing she has ever reacted badly to. But, it still requires my doctor (who does not see her for such things anyway so he is reluctant) to create and sign a form for something he does not know. She never went to the hospital with that fever - but it lasted all night and it made me very worried at the time. I might just have to tell them I refuse do it - and provide that in writing myself if he will not.

She did not run a fever with any of the four shots she received yesterday. She is in a wonderful good mood, although she had some dreams about mama not keeping the monsters away from her she told me about - and then she pointed to her arms and asked me to stay home from work and protect her. That was a little heartwrenching - but it did not last long. She got over it after a little bit, and is now leaning against my back watching Muppet Show and has forgotten about it mostly. She saw the backpack we are ordering for her that should be here next week - she is happy about that. We have all the other paperwork done and her folder and gluesticks. I have to repair a few more pieces of clothing.... Loula put a hole in the sleeve of the new pink dress already. *sigh*

snowflake lights

Letting the dogs out...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

preschool shots and a walk in the woods

Esme and Loula come for a walk...
It was a little like wild kingdom with Esme carrying sticks and
the puppy 'helping' along.

Esme went for her preschool shots this morning - she did very well. We told her she would be 'strong' after this - so she could go to school. She likes that idea very much. She got them early this morning and is just a little cranky - but has eaten well and run around like crazy all day - just like usual.

We went for a walk out in the woods and around the garden. It is so different with most of the tree cover gone in the valley. We looked at the burn piles from last year and cleaned up debris and a can the loggers had left behind. We went down to the lake and played a bit at the edge of the water. Loula puppy was very happy to run alongside with us and bounce and play with Esme.

Mark took hold of the camera and got some pretty abstract shots.

A pretty plant
and the monkey sticker the nurse gave her

Some ash mixed with baked clay

// She played outside for a good while, and got Grandma to come down and fly a kite with us. There was lots of sun and wind. Then she came inside and calmed down playing Minecraft on my computer. At about 5:30 she fell asleep in my desk chair, before supper! She is still asleep over there - no fever, seems good.

I am going to have to put more pants on the sewing agenda - she has ripped two pairs in as many days... but both of them were actually made last fall. Loula has been being rougher with her and likewise.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Treehaus blocks
bought on clearance at BBB last month

The 'ladder' to the top she built

Esme has become fond of Mickey and the Beanstalk, and asks to watch it nearly every day. It shows up in all of her imagination, as well. She has finally learned to have confidence that she can open and close the front door to the house by herself. She could do it for a long time, but always said she was too little and needed help. She has been doing it by herself to let dogs and cats in and out for days now. I hear a lot more about 'school' in her pretend, as well - even though I haven't told her about the proposed one day a week that we are working on.

Her play with Minecraft has become intense. Yesterday she abandoned my computer screen because I did not have the materials to make a nether gate - and Daddy did - so she begged him to make one. She is making a ladder out of her blocks right now to reach the top of a hill - balancing them against the side like Minecraft.

The story is that the two little figures are 'with Mickey Mouse' and they are climbing the ladder to the giant's house. The alien is on top of the 'school' and is the daddy of the alien kids in the bus that are coming to school.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Pink dress by request

The other morning before I went to work Esme tried to convince me to stay home and 'play dress.' She picked out a wide pink satin ribbon and said she wanted it with this fabric, which I had been saving for a long time (since Mother's Day, actually).. She wanted a dress just like the one she was wearing (dragon front brown dress) but in that pink fabric. So, I told her I would - but not that day. She was pretty upset with me at first - I told her not to cop an attitude, to which she gave me a great HUH? look... I washed the fabric last night and had it ready to cut out and sew tonight. The sleeves are a tad long, but she will grow into them quickly - if history tells anything over the last few years! Ha. She likes it a lot! Pattern is McCalls 8001 again, with skirt front alterations and the dress sleeve laid over the coat sleeve and cut out.

bits going into and out of the weekend...

It is raining out, but at least *cross fingers* not snowing. Esme has asked me to make a specific fabric on my desk into a pink dress for her, with long pink ribbon ties. She wanted me to make that yesterday before I went to work - but I didn't have time and probably will not until at least tonight. She took me to my table and told me to sit down and make the dress 'play dress' and we would have a nice day and I wouldn't have to go to work. *sigh* She was a bit upset - she thought that would work nicely! The fabric is ready now, at least. She learned to imitate a walrus last night. It is hilarious. Grandma has to see it now, it made Daddy laugh so loud. There is some turmoil at work - I dreamt my department had sprung a leak in a pipe sticking out of the cement floor and no one could find out how to replace the gaskets or change the union because the thread system was unique. Strangeness. That shows how I feel on the situation. They broke it and now we will have to do a LOT of work to get it back into working order. Early morning today going to work.... back later.

Friday, February 17, 2012

speech test results

I was able to speak to the teacher about Esme's evaluation today. Overall, the results were good. The hearing test was normal. The receptive language test (how well they can identify things when asked to point to the pictures) was 100%. The teacher stopped that test at 'age 9' when Esme was still getting every question correctly. She had the vocabulary to identify all of the pictures they presented when the word was said for her. Then, they did the expressive langauge test - where they show her pictures and ask her to produce words - to describe what is in them - or some aspect about the picture. She scored '2 years 11 months' on that test, although most of her answers were 'on topic' they were not hitting the points the test required to continue. It was mostly a difference of opinion - she said a starfish was an octopus, and could not identify category words to describe what things shared in common (clothes for a page of clothes pictures, animals for page of animals etc.). They did a test of over/under/behind/front/by/near/far etc and she did not get many of those correct, mostly opposite of expected.

All of this put her at the threshold for what they would recommend 30 minutes of instruction per week to help her develop those skills. The further reccommendation was one day a week 'half-time' in their preschool, with the 30 minutes of speech therapy being included on that day. Very mild - the only thing we have to worry about is transporting her there and back. She will have to have a backpack with a change of clothes and a folder to put any take-home information in. The teacher did note that Esme participated a lot more on those tests than most children do, especially to do all four tests in one hour. She was very cooperative and attentive, and she could tell there was 'a lot to Esme' beyond the surface level. We did an 'individual education plan' or IEP to mark that she was doing some reading and writing, a 'visual learner' and the proposed language development skills.

Monday, February 13, 2012

cold bits

It has been freezing cold outside, very cold inside as well. It snowed some today and they are predicting more. Esme has had a bad cough and nasal junk for several days. I have been giving her eucalyptus vapor baths at least once (sometimes twice) a day and am very glad she seems to be improving. I haven't done any other sewing since the last pair of pants - I've barely been able to keep the laundry up this week. The cold just saps it all out of me, as well as worrying about how to make her cold better. We have been watching the Big Bang Theory and getting a good kick out of that. It is nice to watch something with geek humor in it - and to get the occasional thing I need to look up just because it won't let me sleep without knowing if it is what I thought it was etc etc....

A few pictures I snapped the other day and never posted... Esme stacking her wooden trucks and dripping watercolor paint down the side to see how it flowed. As long as she keeps it (mostly) on the paper I don't mind so much. She lined up all of her playmobil onto chairs and put blocks in front of them and said they were 'on machines playing blocks' - Minecraft!

She has been playing Minecraft and Sims 2 on my computer a lot when I am at work - and sometimes on Daddy's computer as well. He was watching her build 'houses' today with windows and doors - but he had to make the doors on the crafting table as she still hasn't got that part. She did build the walls and did a very good job. She still gets very upset when her character gets too far underwater before she starts to swim, and dies... today she respawned after the character died and wiped her brow saying 'Whew, that was a close one!' She still doesn't really 'get' it... but she knows something terrible is happening when the hearts (life) start getting less and less and the 'ow' noises start. She also was having a tame wolf follow her and was saying 'here doggie, here doggie, GOOD BOY doggie'. Yesterday she saw a non-tame wolf in the forest and climbed a tree (by placing blocks to make a staircase) and said she was 'hiding from the wolfses.' Sometimes, we just have to wonder what is going on in that mind... besides making waterfalls, hiding from wolves and throwing snowballs through the air to watch them arc she thinks that throwing items out onto the ice (discard item key) is great fun. She took an entire stack of dirt (64 blocks) and threw them out one by one to watch them 'slippery when wet' skid across the ice.

I've been hearing other very good words lately - that have perked my ears. 'That is perfect now.' is a sentence I have heard often as she adjusts toys into their places and makes things just 'so'. Tonight she said she didn't want to get out of the bathtub and 'didn't want to go upstairs either.' Either? I was impressed. 'I'm just kidding, I'm joking' is said OFTEN now.

She has been growling at me more about doing things she doesn't like though - like getting out of the bath, or going to bed. She is also emulating Curious George and pretending she is a monkey that does not need to talk, and Mama should pretend along with her and treat her like a monkey. That gets tiresome! I tell her to use her words and tell me what she means, instead of growling or oo-oo-ing like a monkey. Sometimes, that works. I've told her with the growling/refusing to cooperate that I want my 'better Esme' back because she insists she is 'the Esme Esme' instead of an 'Esme girl' or a 'better Esme'. I said the growling Esme wasn't a very good one and I wanted the better one we had before.

She told me also she wants to 'go to the BIG house in the BIG town and see the toys and the Mickey Mouse and the house again.' I don't know which place that is - Daddy or Grandma will have to tell me.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


old times
on the couch
note the middle picture is me at about four...

I saw a picture my brother's wife posted and it reminded me of these old times from my photo collection... way back when we (my brother, sister, cousin and I) were kids.

Esme's cousin Elizabeth, one month younger
my brother's daughter

Esme with her Gertie doll

What a resemblance, huh? Perhaps just being four and happy is enough to see the connection :)

little notes: I laughed this morning as Esme and I both huddled under our 'blankets' on the way downstairs to the bathtub. I always wear one around my shoulders to keep warmer in the morning. Esme wore one of my sweater coats because the blankets were too big for her to walk in. We looked like two little old ladies hunched over keeping blankets around our shoulders.

Her cough is a bit better today, and the fever from last night went down. I am hoping she is on the recovery side. I bought more eucalyptus bath for her as that does seem to be working quite well.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

notes and language exercises for Esme

Grandpa is in the hospital again. Grandma, Daddy and Esme will go see him again in the big city today. I have to work. I hope they can get his flu and etc. under moderation.

I have been working some the past month with Esme - it seems to be working for several reasons. 1.) she was already in a spurt (big one) 2.) she is in an 'acceptable' mood and will take direction and corrections lately without too much frustration ie: she is listening and understanding. I am asking her to describe pictures she sees and also talking a lot more about what we are doing and asking her to repeat it from her point of view. I am hearing much more complete sentences and the big thing - she is slowing down to think a sentence through instead of just charging along. She does still sometimes charge along - I heard 'I not the Esme's nose does not hurting.' today, but it is balanced with things like 'I having your hands full with soup and milk and I carry the juice.' That is closer, and takes a lot of think for a little one! She also made a funny comment about a blister I had on my foot. Mom - you have a cat scratch there. A cat scratched you? I told her it was from using my foot a lot at work - walking for a long time. She said 'It is bad your foot is hurt from walking, but good - because you were walking carrying food in the WalMart, at work!' Uh huh.. we had a discussion again that Mama works at the house building place and that makes the money they give me - so that we can go buy the food in the WalMart and carry it home. She thought for a few minutes, and then agreed. Yesterday we had a discussion about why she could not 'I ride and you drive and we take food for lunch and I sit and you work.' etc.. I told her she could not come to work with me, even if she was good and sat still, because I could not watch her there. Someone could come and take her, or she could get hurt while I worked on the computer or moved tubs and toilets etc.. Finally she reluctantly agreed that it was a better idea to stay at home with Daddy, who could watch her and make sure she was alright, then to go with Mama while she was busy at work.

Oh the things I explain lately... but she is taking it in.

We also were both amazed last night watching her play Minecraft. She was building waterfalls with buckets of water placed in complex patterns all around a pool. Then she was building a staircase out of blocks she had mined - to make a high place to jump into the water from. Without any help, she was planning all of this and getting it done quite well. Mark and I sat back and watched her mind at work - and giggled at each other. He said we have switched places a bit - I have been worried about her development and 'knew there was something up' for a long time, while he has told me to just sit back and watch. Now, I am certain and 'grooving' with it and he is the one worried about just where we will be in a few years, what she will be doing etc. I told him to expect her to start taking pictures and posting to the blog in about two years or less. He said if she gets a cell phone (Which she won't) it would be sooner. Plus I still don't want her to handle the camera yet, it is heavy. ;)

off to work.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Rolling out the yards....

Sewing mode has started. I've been collecting a few yards of this and that over the past two weeks in preparation for this weekend. I have plans for: Robot shirt, planetary pants, hello kitty pants, not sure what to do with the brown flower fabric... sheep shirt and plaid jumper are still on the list but I want to make sure those end up well constructed, not rushing them... Fabric is in the washer, soon to be in the dryer... start cutting out pattern pieces and most likely sew up the pairs of pants immediately.

several items to be patched, green size five dress could be saved if I replace the entire skirt.... torn severely! There are several dresses that need to be put in the 'almost trash' drawer - stained and starting to become a little small, but still a good emergency item if she gets everything else ruined.

Esme is sitting upside-down on my bed with her feet in the air, watching Tarzan. She was good in town. She just drained a pez dispenser of all of it's candy and had two chicken legs. She has been good but demanding all day... hopefully she will let me sew without one hundred interruptions? Maybe fifteen... I have a tentative playdate set for her for tomorrow... we will see if it comes around.

//hello kitty pants finished. I used Simplicity 8943 pattern (vintage) size 5 and had to trim the back panels by more than an inch on each side to make my one yard work. But - it fits and is long enough. all the rest of the plans went by the wayside after the try on stage. Esme and Daddy were learning MineCraft again and I took a crash course. I was soon building a waterfall for Esme to use as a waterslide (she can walk and jump pretty well and wander around). A bit later Esme had crashed in her bed and Mama was still up building castles, mining for iron ore and smelting iron and glass in the furnace. I stayed at it until midnight. Mark says I need my own account now ;) Esme can't have her own account until she learns not to dig down into a hole and can't get out! Also, never shear a wolf with the sheep shears. It is bad news. That was me.

//Oh my word - where did this one come from? Every once in a while she still blows me entirely out of the water with a complete thought that makes too much sense.

Esme was dancing around making bubbles and humming downstairs. I was sitting there knitting.
I said 'it's like Esme and the Beast, huh?' about the song she was humming.
She says: 'No, I'm Esme. We're in the green house, on EARTH. The Belle and the Beast are on TV.'
I pressed: Well, if we're on earth, where are they? Where do things on TV live?
She says: 'They're on a ship, a spaceship, with the aliens and Hello Kitty.'

She has recently been watching the 3 disk set of Hello Kitty and has absorbed them. I think they are really good for her because they 'retell' other stories with the same characters. Some of the stories she knows from other forms - like 'Aladdin' and 'Peter Pan', and others she doesn't yet know are parodies - but she really does 'get' the idea that they are telling stories and "playing pretend". I hear a lot of 'it's (two-tend) pretend, like Hello Kitty/Catnip/penguin/My Melody etc...'

Friday, February 03, 2012

We have something more on the question front...

She stopped me after she had been looking at a bite mark/scratch on her arm that was now almost gone - from her playdate. I wanted her to get in the bathtub and she holds up her hand and says STOP. then proceeds very slowly : 'What is .....the lady with the animals animals?' (with raised voice and hands spread out at the end) She couldn't remember the name of the animals at the house - they were ferrets. She was happy she got the answer she wanted.

'What is that?' (asked her about different things five times, while she says NO THAT) Then what? Point to it. It looks like water. "NO - That. The window in the water all shiny - what is that?" That is a reflection, a reflection of the window in the water - like the reflection of Esme in the mirror. "OH. Yea. reflection, That."

We have something...

Wednesday, February 01, 2012


We are all back from Jackson and settled down for the night. It was a long busy day! Grandpa went to his doctor's appointment and Esme was not terribly awful for the trip, although she could have been in a better mood in general. She became a little better after her food kicked in, I think. We found a nice castle block set on clearance, and I bought some fabric to make Esme a special pillow for her bed. It is burgundy satin with tucks. She surprised me with that as I had expected her to gravitate to something pink or lime green -- or even purple. She kind of 'took in' the kids section and then went to an oriental looking set and patted it and said she liked that one. I do like seeing how much her tastes differ from what is 'expected' for young kids. I thought her choice was very pretty.

She was picking pillows out of the clearance bin at the bed/bath store, but the one she liked did not have a price on it - and I knew I could make it instead. She picked out some stars/planet and robot fabric at the craft store as well - probably destined to be part of a new lightweight blanket for her bed. I want to give her more personal choice in her room now that she is offering opinions on everything right and left! A burgundy satin pillow was really one of the furthest things from my mind, but after I had made it she laid her head down on it and said it was SO nice.

She really wanted a broken workbench toy display in the clearance section - which was the reason she became upset - Mama did not want to buy the expensive broken item for her and she didn't care if it worked or not, it looked cool. She soon after started dragging her feet along the floor and being a dead weight (even with the blocks which we were going to buy) but I deposited her in the car with Daddy and Grandpa and we 'moved along.' When we were waiting for Grandma and Grandpa to come out of the doctor's office she was quite good, playing blocks and talking with me in the van and opening windows saying 'It smells like fresh air! Ahhhhhh... deep breath. etc.'

She is working on her communication - subtle changes here and there. There is still a very noticeable amount of back-and-forth arguing of the type that doesn't make much sense, yes/no/no/yes crying and changing her mind/opinion five times in a minute etc... but once we get through that she returns to good sense again. She was asleep in the van on the way home for about ten minutes - then she went from fast asleep to full speed within the course of a minute.