Lucy May isn't a gal that shows joy for just any old toy. I don't mean that there aren't many things that she likes and enjoys, but I really want to make her face light up with something that she is really going to have fun with. She also can't just play with any old toy that comes her way since she can't use her hands on her own, so it's a very tricky process thinking up things that she will love, and be able to enjoy. I have read a lot of parents' posts on Facebook and in blogs expressing very sad feelings about choosing gifts for their daughters because of the trickiness, but I seldom feel sad about it. I know what Lucy loves, and I don't mind the challenge of figuring out how she can use things. So, I wanted to share her smiles over the past few weeks that are a direct result of Chad and I always thinking outside the box and figuring out what will make joy shine out of her eyes.
I had been planning gifts for quite some time when Chad realized one day that we had not actually asked Lu what she wanted as a Christmas gift! I was mortified with ourselves! We ask her dozens of things everyday, but we had not asked her this question which certainly is mega important to any five year old. The next day as we talked about what she might want, she said on her Tobii, after I started her out with the first three words:
Well, I said we wouldn't be doing any construction to build a fireplace, and Chad was adamant that we are currently done with fish, and she didn't want to elaborate on what she meant by "eye doctor", so I decided to work on the cat request. This was not a new request, and we had a sweetie of an outside cat who had mostly lived inside with us, but had spent the past couple of years outside, not for any reason other than she was afraid of one of our past dogs. But...she loves Finn and Finn loves her, so I just had to convince Chad. It took a few days, but he eventually relented. We got the kitty, Olive, all cleaned up at the groomer's, and she joined us inside:
This smile was from a race car track that just needs a push on a lever to make it go:
She had a lot of fun enjoying it with her cousins on New Year's Day. I would say that the race track produced the biggest smiles, besides the little "Digibirds" that you can see hanging on her Tobii stand. I showed them to her MeeMee and Poppa after seeing them in the store, and they got her two and she loves them. I am going to make a button on her Tobii that will whistle when she activates it, and then she can make the birds sing on her own. This is how she felt when she first saw them:
She just smiled a lot in general over the weeks of hustle and bustle, and visiting, and eating, and I am glad she enjoyed herself so much. In preparation for the holiday, Lu used these fabulous, amazing new hand grippies her OT bought for her to try out to bake some chocolate cinnamon bread that we gave away as gifts:
They are called "EaZyhold" and can be bought on their website. They can be used to hold so many, many different things! Like a spoon for stirring:
Look at that concentration!
Or holding different sized markers to color! Lu colored this which I then shrunk and made copies of to put on the front of our homemade cards, that I am still trying to get in the mail!
I think people make the holidays as stressful or not stressful as they want them to be. Each year I wrack my brain making a plan for how to eliminate more and more stress from all of the festivities. But with all of the going places we are always worrying about accessibility, and times things are happening in relation to Lucy's rigid daily schedule. Plus, just sometimes places and activities can be too much for her and she gets overwhelmed which can present itself in different ways.
But, we do our best to pick and choose what is worth the effort, and what just isn't. This year one thing that I knew would be absolutely worth the effort was going to see Lucy's buddies, Miles, Chase, and Isaac in their Christmas show at their school. And I was right, she smiled the whole time, even though we were past her lunch time. After the show we had lunch at Burger King with Erin, the boys' mom and my old friend, and Lu enthusiastically ate almost an entire [pureed] cheeseburger. It was a great day. Full of smiles, and while it was exhausting, it was so totally worth it!
So anyway, I hope everyone had a very happy holiday season, whatever holiday you may celebrate. I've already started planning ways to continue my goal of simplifying the holidays for next year: minimal stress, maximum smiles on Lucy's face, that's my goal! I hope everyone also has a healthy and happy New Year!