Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Today Taylor was nearing the end of her yogurt and she looked at me and said "help" as plain as day!

Yesterday she went to the kitchen and said, "wa wa."

We are getting past the sensory blocks day by day with the trampoline and tunnel and bean bag and brushing and on and on. She is learning incidentally after I repeatedly say the same word in the same context day after day!!!

Yep----we are gonna be okay eventually. Okay is good. It's gonna click.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Impressive progress

Thought I'd fill in ya in on Taylor's progress. I know there are quite a few friends and family reading this blog these days.

Our "typical" week here consists of 4 therapists and constant sensory and ABA therapy pretty much done by me. Under the direction of our ABA therapist who comes once a week and does updates/therapy we have implemented an ABA program that seems to be really working for Taylor. I have an entire notebook full of data. I do ABA therapy with Taylor spontaneously throughout the day and in actual sit-down sessions. We are acquiring more and more skills so we not only do new things but we also have to map out time for review. It's an all-day affair which is fine with me because the more she sits and works the less time there is for shadow play. Early Intervention therapists also come to the house and I find ways to incorporate things they are doing into our day. The trick is finding the way to present it. Taylor learns in different ways. All it takes is finding what clicks. It can be tricky or it can just occur incidentally. I notice more and more incidental learning which is huge!

I have taught her to imitate. Our ABA gal says if a kid can imitate they can learn anything. Maybe it will take us a bit more time but it'll come.

I truly believe that we caught her early enough to turn this whole thing around in a couple years or so. I know it won't be easy and we'll still have to teach things in different ways. We live, breathe and eat therapy but that's what it takes. I will not be a parent who sits back and just lets it be--not judging others - we have fortunate circumstances working in our favor here. It won't always be this tough but we just have to suck it up for now. Forcing your 2 year old to do things isn't easy but she'll thank me later. If we would have just "waited to see" what happened we would be in BAD shape right now. These kids have to be caught early. Catching it early gives time to remap the brain.

WEll---our appointment with Children's Hospital is 2 weeks away now. I have no idea what they will say. I am taking a different child to that appointment now. She has changed so much. We still have tons to work on (especially unfamiliar people and places) but she has changed for the better with all this therapy. All the therapists are a little in awe at what we are accomplishing in this house with ABA. I think we've made believers out of a couple of people who weren't so much in favor of the process. I have no idea what the professionals will say because I'm sure most people go into that appointment without ABA therapy behind them. We have been working extremely hard for 2 months. We just got lucky and was sent the right person at the right time. Funny how that works.

WEll, off to review my "lesson plan" while Taylor is napping. I map out a lesson plan each night for the next day. It works. It is my job now and that's totally cool. I'm armed with the knowledge and tools to save my little girl and that's EXACTLY what I'm gonna do. :)


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

age 2

This is Taylor on her second birthday. Cute as always.

I reflect back to this time and I realize how far we've progressed in 2.5 months. At this point all we were doing was stacking blocks, reading books and watching TV. She is doing so many different things now. There's great hope for her future.

Materials used--mostly Daisy Ds except for the flowers which are Heidi Swapp. Don't ya just love that pink paper? It's part of their fall line I think---odd but if you'd see the entire pack of paper it just fits.

Happy Wednesday!

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Made it into the latest issue of RSM. Look at that cover. How do those cover artists come up with this stuff? That's all stamping!
That story at the end of the article takes me back a few years to a different way of life. My childhood was a little different than most. We were by today's standards considered to be low income/poor. My parents had me young. My Mom was the ripe old age of 19. They started a life with nothing and a colicky kid to raise. We may not have had an excess of money but I wouldn't trade it for the world. We raised all our own vegetables. My Dad worked a difficult manual labor job all day and came home to spend the evening tending to a garden and mowing grass. We never spent an evening indoors in the summer. We socialized with the neighbors each and every night because we were all outside. We had 2 TV stations. I think this is why I can read so fast. Books replaced TV. lol. We lived in trailer which my Mom kept so clean you could've literally ate off the floor at any time. We took our laundry to "town" once a week to the laundry mat. Santa coming was a huge deal because toys weren't casually purchased weekly as it goes today (incidentally-- I was sick every Christmas. I swear it was due to excitement). We ate dinner as a family EVERY night. We appreciated everything more. Kinda sad the direction society is going in these days. Such hustle and bustle and inattention to what is really important.
Ohhh, gotta tell ya about the laundry mat---well, that was my first brush with the Hare Krishna community. The Krishnas were big in our area back then. The temple was being built and they had visitors from all over. They were in full swing. They would come to the laundry mat in their vans in full garb. White sheets, bald head, pony tail--the works. Now you can imagine as a kid whose highlight of the laundry trip was Welch's grape soda and corn chips this scene was quite fascinating. My Mom would tell me not to stare. Come on---how could I not??? Was nothing to see them chanting outside the Kroger store. They were also always at the tail end of the Christmas parade. I remember them parading their elephant past our junior high school and throwing candy at the windows to the kids. Recruiting I guess. I wonder what it's like up there now. You don't hear much about them anymore. Not judging a different way of life or anything--how people live is their personal business--- but they sure did stick out in good old Marshall county where different is not always tolerated.
Enough about the ole days. Life sure has changed. I'm just not so sure it's changed for the better. Do you eat dinner with your family each night and actually TALK to one another?

Friday, October 19, 2007

pumpkin patch 2007

Nothing screams fall like a trip to the pumpkin patch. I love this time of year. The changing of each season is pretty cool but fall is just full of the most beautiful colors. Mark's work sponsors this little trip each year to Simmon's Farm. I think that's pretty cool too. I'm a week late posting this but better late than never.
To some this is a simple fun day at the pumpkin patch. To us - well - it was a great success. There are several sensory issues presented at the patch. Walking on uneven ground, the shaky hayride, the corn all the kids were playing in to name a few. Taylor did fantastic. The corn the kids were playing in was just plain gross and dirty so I don't blame her for not wanting in that mess. The ride out to the patch was just fine--held her close and she did okay. The ride back she cried but I found it a bit rough and fast myself. She walked on the uneven ground in the corn maze holding Daddy's hand and was just a champ! We also had the advantage of our ABA therapist friend going with us. She is just at the top of my list of favorite people right now. Without her I would have no idea how to help my child. I just love her and her son. Great people I tell ya.
We came home and Taylor was ready for a nap. I was rocking her and I stared straight into those gorgeous brown eyes and told her how proud I was of her and what a great job she did that morning. I was presented with a huge toothy grin. Without a doubt she knew exactly what I said that afternoon. Priceless.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Crusade No. 13- Get Gothic

The theme for Michelle Ward's Green Pepper Press Street Team crusade this month is Get Gothic. Share your Halloween creations/decor etc. I really had a good time creating Halloween cards this year. Usually I just send them to the kids but I had some cool stamps to work with this year.

On this first card I used a danger sticker from the new Martha Stewart line. I don't care for most of her craft stuff but her Halloween line was very cool. Swirl stamps from Green Pepper Press, skull baby from Stamp Francisco I think, bat from Stamps by Judith, and skull from Inkadinkado.

This next creation I submitted to RubberStampMadness but it didn't make the cut. Oh well. All the cirque people are from The Tattered Circus, circles from Purple Onion Designs, and the bars they are sitting on are Paperbag Studios.
The card below uses a sticker for the focal point. Warning sticker is Martha Stewart and the other stickers are Daisy Ds and Making Memories. The funky laced type border stamp at the top is Stampers Anonymous, circle stamp is Moon Rose, spider is Savvy Stamps I think either that or Amuse, added bling with Stickles glitter glue.

The next uses another Martha sticker and a sticker for the focal point. Cat was cut from DaisyDs patterned paper, Daisy Ds black cat rubon, bat is Stamps by Judith, houndstooth border is BLine Designs.

The next creation uses almost all Marth stuff. Haunted stickers are DaisyDs and the background paper is from the latest issue of Somerset Studio. Rest is Martha.

Last--- a simple creation on a dollar spot card from Target. Spooky word is Purple Onion Designs, Frankenstein is Amuse I believe, moon is a section of the Moon Rose stamp used above on the Pumpkin Patch card.

That's it folks!!!! Have a Happy Halloween season.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Tough phase

We've entered a difficult phase in the Infantino household. Taylor has figured out we will not allow her to play in her reflection all day instead of learning. She is most unhappy about this fact. She takes off and tries to sneak. She sees me coming and quickly stops and gives me an "ehh" in a most annoyed tone. That simple "ehh" was how it started a couple days ago and now we are at full fledge tantrums, hitting, etc.

I think the need to "see" herself comes from the fact that she sometimes doesn't "feel" her body. The trick is to find an "acceptable" way for her to feel grounded - an "acceptable" way to meet that need. Easier said than done. For example---instead of her running back and forth and back and forth in front of her reflection for an extended period of time perhaps we could read books in her worm tunnel. The tunnel touches her on all sides therefore grounding her and she learns by reading at the same time. Problem is this will satisfy the need for a few minutes and then ya gotta think of something else. Makes for a very long difficult day. This sensory stuff is a whole new ballgame for me. I'm so tired I sleep all night and during her naps. I dream all this wild stuff too-- my mind is overloaded.

So today I saw a lot of trying to replace that need to see her reflection----rubbing her face all over me, rubbing her hair all over her face, crashing into the couch pillows all day, rubbing her chest against mine, staring at her arms and hands, etc. Once again you gotta keep this kid busy ALL DAY. We are doing better with that since we now know how to use more toys. It's very difficult when you first begin because if a child doesn't know how to play with toys then what the heck are you gonna replace all this behavior with?! It's step by step by step and it's difficult.

Some of you reading this may think that playing in your reflection is a normal thing----well, not all day. It then prohibits learning and becomes the primary focus of the day. Unacceptable.

Occupational therapy offically began this week. Taylor did well for her first visit. She was able to put her hands and feet all through a container filled with beans. She was also able to tolerate pulling objects out of therapy puddy. Therapy puddy is stiffer than playdoh. It's a step toward playdoh. I think Taylor would rather eat liver than play with playdoh at this point. She runs from me if I get the playdoh out. This explains a little why Taylor is such a neat eater. We do not like stuff on our hands or face. Think about your hands being sticky from syrup and multiply that by a thousand--that's how Taylor feels when her hands are messy. We will begin brush therapy next visit. It is done every 2 hours for 2 weeks and then I think the frequency tapers off. You brush their arms, legs, hands, feet and back and then apply pressure to the joints. She explained the whole process better. Think about how great you feel when you've had a massage. That's a good comparison. You feel grounded, relaxed and more in tune with your body. That's what brush therapy should eventually do for Taylor. I can tell you it she won't like it much at first but she'll eventually desensitize to the whole process just like everything else.

Taylor has a lot of sensory issues that affect daily life. She despises vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, loud toilets in public restrooms, hand dryers, etc. They are annoying to the average person but very amplified for her. She is terrifed of them and they hurt her ears BAD. She also does not like the feeling of being in an elevator. She shakes a lot and screams when in elevators.
She also does not like to swing but we are working on that. Our ABA therapist says the therapeutic effects of swinging can last for days. She won't touch the balance beam at the Little Gym. Just think of anything that would make the average person just a little uneasy and multiply that by a thousand and you might be able to imagine how if would affect my little gal.
Once again---some of these things are normal for a kid Taylor's age but it's the DEGREE of how it affects her. These things cause great panic for her.

She is quite the mix---hypersensitive to some things (vacuum) and hyposensitive to others (feeling her body---that need to "crash" into the couch). It's all so complex and difficult to explain. I know her so well. I know pretty much how she'll react even before the situation arises. Her and I ---well, we understand one another much better these days.

Speech comes tomorrow. To leave this entry on a positive note---Taylor is beginning to imitate more of our words. They aren't initiated on her own yet or a request for something but she can make the sounds! She can imitate words in books and everyday conversation. You have to really listen sometimes and figure out what she is saying but she is trying so hard. She is so smart. If we didn't have all this sensory stuff to work through I firmly believe we'd be fine. It just affects everything. The way I understand it is if you don't feel comfortable within yourself you don't learn receptive and expressive language. We'll be fine anyway---we just work a lot harder around here.

There are days I wake up and think "dear Lord another day of this?" and there are days I wake up and think "bring it on." I am noticing more "bring it on" days---a lot more. If I have to die trying we will overcome this. There's no other acceptable path. There just isn't. I won't allow it. We are talking about my daughter here. She doesn't need to be perfect. I just want her to be happy and independent. HAPPY AND INDEPENDENT.

We will achieve both of those things. WE WILL. I promise her that daily.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Taylor thoughts

I love you.

Perfection is highly overrated and utterly ridiculous.

Thank you for trying to understand me.

Thank you for not denying that I need help.

I need fun.

I am so smart.

Daddy is loads of fun.

My mood is a reflection of yours.

I don't like sticky hands.

Lots of kids are too unpredictable for me for now. I like one on one and quiet. Maybe that will change or not.

I can't stand loudness and chaos. It makes me frantic inside.

I will conquer the swings. I mastered the sliding board, didn't I?

I am so cute.

I will continue to surprise you daily.

I don't feel comfortable in my body yet but I will and then I will talk to you A LOT. I have to feel comfortable first and then I will learn more.

I love ice cream - just like Daddy.

I prefer soda over water. Could you adjust that please??

I like your hair.

Thanks for turning off the TV so I can learn more. I would watch it all day.

I am like the other kids but I'm much more special.

I don't like crayons. I like ink pens.

Thanks for working with me all day. I would prefer to play in my reflection but I'll take you.

I will give you kisses any time you ask. This is your reward. Cherish it.

Now you know your priorities- without a doubt.

Hug me close when I feel uneasy in public.

I love my dog. She's funny and I love giggling when she runs around the kitchen.

Sleep at any time possible. I have lots of energy-more than most.

I am very persistent, just like you.

I teach you much more than you teach me.

I will want a drink of anything you drink.

Home is my sanctuary.

I have a hard time feeling my feet in strange places so slow down.

I love crashing into pillows.

Thank you for teaching me to play with my toys.

I am stubborn, just like you.

I love music.

Quit analyzing my behavior and just be with me.

Help me and I will help you.

Unfamiliar places are too much. Take me back a little at a time or I will show you my displeasure.

Life is just that--life. It is imperfect.

Sometimes you just gotta get through the day and call it a night.

You are much more grounded because of me.

There are days I will bring you to your knees.

My accomplishments are huge. HUGE.

We play by an adjusted set of rules. :)

Once again----I will teach you much more than you teach me.

Love and Peace

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Ink blot Halloween characters

Thought I would share the last of my ink blot characters. The second isn't really my style but it's for the kiddos so I didn't want to get too scary. lol.
We are doing okay around here. Taylor has a little cold. Other than that just normal therapy stuff and everyday life. I have quite a few Halloween creations to share and a few Taylor layouts so be sure to check back soon.