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Saturday, May 12, 2012


Today was a good family day. The kind I used to only be able to dream about because our lives were so crazy.

We hung around this morning, in our pj's, playing and crafting together. The kids got out all sorts of glitter, glue, sparkles, puff balls, and markers, and made sweet little gifts for me for Mother's Day. Alex came home from his dentist appointment this morning and we all gathered around the table and talked as we did our art. It was really a fun family time, with no arguments or insults! 

We went out for lunch to celebrate our family weekend, and the kids were all so good at the restaurant. They were engaging and charming and interesting. I had brought my Mary Poppins bag of activities for Ella, including something her OT just recommended yesterday to strengthen her fine motor skills. I took an empty spice jar and filled it with small fun things like colored paper clips, beads, sparkles. She had to dump them all out and then stick them back into the jar, one at a time, through the tiny top. She loved it and it kept her busy for a long time. 

Jonah, king of marshmallows
After lunch we went to the "big park", where the boys all rode their scooters on the skateboarding ramps while Ella made new friends and played in the sand. It's so cool to watch her make friends and be social. She learns new things every time she plays with a new friend- how to get her body to sit in a new position, how to slide down a slide on her tummy, how to climb up a ladder. 

I love going to the park to watch people. I think it's so interesting how different people parent, and the park brings out a different side of moms and dads. I watched a father pushing his son on a swing. His son was about 4 years old and the dad was pushing him as high as he could on the swing. The boy was screaming his head off, partly in fear and partly in excitement. I was struck with how different our four kids are from children like that boy. Whenever our kids get on a swing, we carefully ask them how high they want to go and gently push them until they say 'stop!' Since they all have such strong sensory issues, we respect them when they say they are high enough on the swing, or that we should stop tickling them, or that they don't want to go upside down at gymnastics class, or that they want Mommy to flush a toilet while they exit the bathroom so they don't have to hear the loud noise. I think if we didn't understand our kids' issues, we could easily just think they were being difficult, obstinate, stubborn. But since we have spent so much time and energy trying to understand what is going on with our children's brains, nervous systems, sensory systems, etc, we know that the kids have limits and we always strive to gently push them to grow while accepting who they are. 

After dinner tonight, we went out to our backyard and Alex started a fire in our little fire pit. I had bought jumbo marshmallows and new roasting forks for our summer adventures, so we thought we should take them for a trial run.

We roasted, told funny stories about the kids, and laughed until we were hoarse. Jonah spread sticky marshmallow all over his face while Ella headed to the sandbox because she had had enough of the marshmallow festivities. Aidan snuggled up with Daddy under a blanket. For our last hurrah of the night, we took a big jump on the trampoline and then stuck the kids in the tub and shower to rinse off the smoke from the fire and all the marshmallow goo. We put the kids to bed, smelling of snuggles and bubble bath. This was a good day. I used to long for just one day like this once in a while, where no one was having rages and I didn't have to be on guard the entire day. I relish the fact that these kind of days happen more regularly now. We are happy today.

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