Monday, August 31, 2009

Magic Marker Monday: A splash of color

Little Bitty brought these paintings home from school. My favorite is the first one - which was titled "Flowers." :)

For more Magic Marker Monday, visit 5 Minutes for Special Needs.

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Sunday, August 30, 2009


A few weeks ago (the week that Bitty did great in church), his class learned about forgiveness. At the end of the lesson, his teacher had each of the children practice saying the word to help them remember what they had learned about.

She broke it down since it's kind of a big word:



The next week, I wondered if he still remembered so I asked him what he learned last week. He needed a little prompting but then he repeated back:


"Good job!" I told him.

Then, with a smile, he continued on:

"Fie-gibness... sih-gibness... sebuh-gibness..."



I couldn't help but laugh, he was counting. I guess it makes sense, if you're thinking the "for" at the beginning is actually a "four," lol. I wonder if he's expecting a follow-up lesson on "twelve-giveness"?

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

I tried, I really did...

Have you ever made a mistake, a miscalculation that you didn't realize until it was too late? It's a little embarrassing to admit it, but this happened to me last week at the fishing event. Dh and I split up, with him taking Bitty to rest and wind down for a bit in the shade while I took Bearhug to fish. Cuddlebug was nearby in the bouncy house.

As Bearhug and I approached the fishing area, I saw the cooler filled with bait next to the fishing rods and realized my mistake.

Someone was going to have to bait Bearhug's hook.

That's dh's job, I don't do worms. Ick.

But dh was too far away now to swap. I pondered the best way to handle things as we took our rod and bait over to find a spot to fish.

I know... I'll talk Bearhug through it. ;) He tried, but couldn't quite get one of the wiggly worms out to attempt hooking it. Thankfully, there was another dad nearby who offered to help him. (yay, thank you!)

Whew! Dodged a wimpy-mom bullet that time. We didn't catch anything, so there was no need to hook a second worm.

A while later, it was Cuddlebug's turn. Only this time, there was no one else nearby to help. Again, I tried to talk Cuddlebug through it.

Due to his sensory issues, he didn't really want to touch the dirt. He tried digging for a worm using a piece of dried grass that he found nearby. Unfortunately, dried grass is pretty flimsy so it wasn't working so well.

I took a deep breath and offered to help him. After all, I'm a mom of three boys, I should be able to handle a few little worms, right? (For the record, I have no problem seeing worms, and could probably touch one for a microsecond w/ no problem, but the idea of holding onto a wiggly worm just freaks me out).

I gave myself a mental pep talk, running through a list of "tough" things I have done in my life. I gave birth to three children, for one thing, two in one day even (hehe)! I climbed up and walked on the ropes in the trees with my fellow MBA students (darn skippy I did! heights always look so harmless until you get up there...). I held my friend's boa constrictor in middle school and I wasn't even afraid of him (then again, snakes aren't actually slimy)! You get the idea... surely I could handle a measly little worm, barely the size of my finger. Right?

I steeled myself and plunged my finger into the dirt, wanting to get this overwith as quickly as possible. And I happened to pick the Bruce Willis of worms (yippee-ki-yay!). I'm serious, he came flying out of there (causing both Cuddlebug and me to jump) and landed next to the little tub of dirt, doing a fierce "you-wanna-pieca-me? FREEEEDOM!!!!" worm dance.

Now, I'd like to think that had that worm just flopped calmly I could have handled touching him long enough to hook him. But what self-respecting worm would go down without a fight?

Cuddlebug and I were crouched on the ground, staring at the worm. I was about to try poking it with the hook without actually touching it, when a kind grandfatherly man appeared behind us and asked if we needed help.

YES!! Thankyouthankyouthankyou! is what I was thinking. What I actually said was a little more nonchalant, "Sure, I'm kind of new to this..." Ya think? :)

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Fishing Fun Day

Each year a local organization hosts a fishing day for children with autism and their families. We always have a lot of fun (and last year Cuddlebug even caught his first fish!). This year they also had a pony ride, which Cuddlebug LOVED :). Here are some pictures:

Bitty fishing

Bearhug found a feather :)

Bearhug fishing

Cuddlebug on the pony

Cuddlebug at the end of his pony ride

Bearhug & Cuddlebug fishing

Cuddlebug fishing

Watching for fish :)

Mr. Bitty

More pictures are posted here.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

"Molly was sad"

I recently found myself sitting with Bitty next to a little baby, who was sitting on his grandmother’s lap. Bitty surprised me by taking a mild interest in the baby – typically he doesn’t show much (if any) interest in other children (other than his brothers). At one point, the baby started to fuss a little. Bitty took notice, and looked back and forth from the baby, to his grandmother, to me, with a curious expression.

He looked at me with a mock-sad face and said, “Mah-ee wa’ sad.”

Translation, “Molly was sad,” a line quoted from one of the Thomas stories. Then he imitated the sound of the baby’s fussing (he likes to imitate both words and sounds), looking at me.

I was a little worried that the grandmother might be offended by Bitty imitating her grandchild, but if she noticed she didn’t seem to mind. Maybe she didn’t realize that’s what he was doing, more likely she was too busy taking care of the baby to even notice. :)

For my part, I was impressed that Bitty was showing an interest in other children and that he noticed and correctly interpreted the baby’s fussing. Yay, Bitty!

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Scouts tonight


Cuddlebug and Bearhug attended their first Cub Scout meeting tonight, and it went pretty well :). Cuddlebug was less-than-enthused yesterday when we brought it up, but today he was excited to go. He was really into it and even volunteered to participate in the flag ceremony (carrying the US flag) :).

On the flip side, Bearhug was excited yesterday but a little antsy about the whole thing today. He ended up being overstimulated and having to leave the room for a while, I took him for a short walk outside until it was game time, then coaxed him back into the room.

The parents went into a separate room for a quick orientation / info session, and I was nervous the whole time wondering if Bearhug was doing ok, but when we got back, both he and Cuddlebug were having a blast! They didn't want to leave, and they're excited to go back next week :).

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Full of surprises!

So Sunday we had a rough day at church. Without going into all the gory details, it involved one major meltdown, a couple of smaller ones, a lot of over-stimulation, and a certain little boy almost getting stepped on a couple of times while rolling on the floor.

We also learned that while the seat-belt clip does in fact keep Bitty from unhooking his seat belt while driving, it does nothing to prevent him from squirming his way out of the seat belt altogether. Sigh. We had to pull over so I could jump into the back to keep him in his seat. Oh, and I'm really, really, thankful for child safety locks on car doors.

Anyway, on a brighter note, we had a few minutes at the beginning of primary where Bitty was actually sitting in his chair and semi-paying attention. Every week they have one of the kids read a scripture and then everyone repeats it along with them.

Well, Bitty heard everyone saying the words together so he tried to join in, only I noticed he wasn’t saying the same words. I listened closely and heard "Ameh-ca... un nay-shuh... iddizibul..."

I thought to myself, is that what I think it is?

I listened some more... "justih fo’ aww"

Sure enough, he was saying the Pledge of Allegiance. :) I don’t think anyone else caught it, but I was beaming – he was doing his best to participate and wow, he actually knows the entire Pledge of Allegiance!

I got him to say it again at home for dh and I took a video. He pronounces things in his own way, but I think he's got some pretty good approximations for some of those big words, no? Here it is:

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Magic Marker Monday: Summer

Bearhug brought this home from school last week, just wanted to share because I love the things he thinks of, and that he is not shy about his talents :).

(Click to enlarge)

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Random notes from the week

Bitty is learning to spell! And more than just Thomas character names ;). He's figured out that letters make up words, and he's become very interested in learning the letters for his favorite words. Here's a few:

O-R-E-O (that one took all of 1 minute to learn, he was motivated!)
N-E-S-Q-U-I-K (on the chocolate milk container)
T-A-R (one of his trains is a tar car, I found that one spelled out on the fridge too)

We're working on "water" now. He knows the first letter :).


I decided to hold off taking the boys to Scouts until this coming week, because last week's meeting was going to be combined with another Scout pack. I was concerned about the large group and overstimulation, and figured we had better odds of having a good first experience with it if we waited until it was just the smaller group. So, the boys will start Scouts this Wednesday.

That reminds me, I still need to sew the pack # patches on their shirts...


"Go-go-bums" (Bitty's pronunciation of "Golden Grahams") has evolved to "go-gree-brams." Getting closer!


Cuddlebug & Bearhug told me they know all 493 Pokemon - in order - from studying their Pokemon handbook. I can ask them any Pokemon and they can tell me who comes directly before and after that one in the book. They can also tell me all about each Pokemon's stats - weight, gender, best moves, which other Pokemon they will be weak to or able to defeat in battle, etc.

I am amazed but not surprised... they have always had such impressive memories. Now if only I could learn them all so I could hold my own in conversation :).


I have noticed Bitty reciting entire scenes from Thomas videos lately. I can't quite make out everything he says, but enough to tell what he's doing. The parts I can understand are word-for-word and I suspect the rest is too. Complete with sound effects :). He's gotten pretty good at imitating sounds.

The other night we were watching the news and he let out a little shriek, imitating a woman screaming on tv (it was one of those home security system commercials). He clearly didn't understand the "scary" nature of the commercial, because he giggled about it. My older boys didn't quite seem to get it either, because Cuddlebug asked curiously, "shouldn't she close the door first?" when she bolted up the stairs to answer the ringing phone (the security guy calls as the would-be intruder runs off).


After getting in trouble for being disrespectful last night, I gave Bearhug one last chance (he was about to lose his game privileges):

"You can say sorry and keep your game time, or you can go straight to bed. You choose." It seemed like a pretty obvious choice to me, but apparently he wanted door #3.

"Can I be sucked up into the vacuum cleaner?" he asked with an exasperated tone.

?!? "Uh, no. No, you can't be sucked up into the vacuum cleaner."

"Yeah, 'Bearhug,' because you're too big!" Cuddlebug chimed in. (so helpful, huh?)

It kind of went downhill from there. He did eventually come downstairs and apologize though.


Part of Bearhug's crankiness was over-stimulation from the fishing event we went to yesterday. We all had fun, but we paid a price for it because two out of three boys were ornery all weekend from over-stimulation (Bitty and Bearhug).

More on that later, along with pictures (yay!)...

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SOOC Saturday: Crashed


Friday night we had a huge thunderstorm with lots of thunder, lightning, and pounding rain. Bearhug and Cuddlebug were upstairs playing their Pokemon games, but came downstairs because all the commotion outside scared them. Bitty was already asleep on the couch. Cuddlebug asked me for a blanket and the next thing I knew, he was out. And it wasn't long after that, I noticed Bearhug had gotten quiet and sure enough he was asleep too, with his game still going...

For more SOOC Saturday (straight-out-of-camera, no editing!), visit Slurping Life.

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Photo Flashback

I found a great new blog not too long ago - More Than Words, and noticed on a recent visit that she hosts Friday Photo Flashback every Friday. How fun! So I found an old picture to play along this week :).

"Why Twin Toddlers and External Water Dispensers Don't Mix"

Not sure how well you can tell in the picture, but they were both completely dripping wet and their clothes were SOAKED!! (click to enlarge and see the water all in their hair).

We were visiting relatives who had an external water dispenser in their fridge and it didn't take long for the boys to find it and figure out how it worked. They were 18 months old and just barely tall enough to reach... they started pushing the little lever over and over (and over), squirting themselves with freezing cold water and laughing hysterically about it. They made quite the mess, but they had a great time :).

Oh, and that's Cuddlebug looking up at me while Bearhug is still busy with the water.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad!

Today is my parents' wedding anniversary, so I thought I'd share a video that I made for them last year (but didn't post at the time so it's new here). The music is "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond, their "song" going back to when they were dating :).

To Mom & Dad - I love ya'll and wish you many, many more happy anniversaries!

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Bitty and me, and some updates


Bitty loves to be carried (in fact, he insists on it by jumping in front of me with his arms up so I can't walk). He's getting so big, but I can still carry him for a little while at least so I prompt him to ask, "up pweez" and then I carry him until my back needs a break.

He reminds me of Cuddlebug when he was younger (hence the nickname...), he was a cuddly little koala bear too. As you can see I'm not so good at trying to take pictures in the mirror, couldn't quite get the right angle but this was the best one. Well, this was the only one where you can actually see us...

Some quick updates:

Bitty did pretty good at church yesterday. He didn't participate much this time, but he did go to his class after some protest. He stayed on my lap with his sippy most of the time. He was pretty tired this weekend, all of the boys were. They are still adjusting to being back in school.

Cuddlebug was asked to give a talk in primary yesterday, and Bearhug was asked to read the scripture. They both did great, despite a fair amount of grumbling beforehand. They were so excited about it last week (because the kids get their assignments in the form of "mail" and they were excited to get mail) but not so thrilled yesterday.

All in all it was a good day.

There was some crankiness this morning about going back to school from Bearhug and Bitty... but dh said they were both fine by the time they got to school.

Tomorrow, Cuddlebug and Bearhug have their first Cub Scout meeting. Bearhug is excited, and Cuddlebug is worried it will cut into his Pokemon time (sigh). He would stay home and play Pokemon 24/7 if we let him. We told him we won't force him to keep going if he doesn't like it but he does have to give it at least a few weeks (they only meet once a week) before he decides he doesn't like it. We also reminded him that it won't affect his Pokemon time because he and Bearhug are already limited to 1 hour of game time per day on school days - assuming they have that much time after any homework is done. Fridays are the exception, they get "DS night" and can stay up late playing games.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

HE DID IT!!!!! (Autism at church, part 3)

Sometimes progress comes in baby steps, sometimes it comes with as many steps backward as forward, sometimes it pauses for a long plateau.

And every now and then...

...progress comes in giant leaps! Or, maybe it would be more accurate to say a culmination of baby steps that come together all of a sudden in a way that feels like a giant leap!

But however you word it, we had just such a moment last Sunday. And it was nothing short of a miracle as far as I'm concerned.

For sharing time, we went back to sitting in the back of the room. My head was pounding and I wasn't up for the chasing and wrestling that I knew would happen if we tried to sit with his class. He did pretty good sitting with me in the back. When it came time to go to his class, I didn't think he'd go. He was already protesting, "No fih-teee" (his classroom is room #15). I shrugged and figured, let's try anyway.

I was pleasantly surprised when he grudgingly joined the other kids in room #15. He sat on my lap with his sippy cup, not really paying attention or engaged in what was going on, but that was the first time we'd made it that far in a long time so I was happy :). Little did I know what else he had in store!

When his teacher pulled out some pictures to look at, I gently nudged him, "Hey, Bitty, can you see the picture? What is that?" I fully expected his usual non-response, but he surprised me again when he actually looked up at the picture.

His teacher recognized his effort and started asking him questions. He answered. He went back to his sippy as the other kids answered questions about the picture. But when the next picture came out, and the next, he slowly got up from my lap and sat in a chair next to the other children. He was paying attention, and he continued to answer questions.

He went on like that through the rest of the lesson - he was engaged, he was calm and well-behaved. He listened and he participated. I could see that his teacher was really excited with this development too.

By the end of class, I was fighting back tears. Countless months of struggle, and then BAM, just like that! Something clicked and he was no longer isolated in the hallways or even just in the room. Not once did he go for the light switch, or the door; not once did he have a fit. He was part of the class, he learned something, and he was happy! I just can't even describe how exciting this was and still is!

Of course I had to call my parents right away after church to share the exciting news, but I had lost it and was bawling by the time my mom picked up so it took a minute to actually get the words out.

"HE DID IT!!!!!"

Once she realized what I was saying, I think she was crying too. Bitty was totally nonchalant about the whole thing, but it was a huge deal to me.

It almost didn't happen. That morning, I had considered staying home with Bitty while dh took Cuddlebug and Bearhug to church (he teaches a class so he wouldn't be able to sit with Bitty if he took him). I'd had a headache that lasted through the night before and I wasn't sure I was up to a 3-hr "workout" with Bitty. But you know how you just get those feelings sometimes, and that morning it was telling me that Bitty and I needed to be at church. I'm glad I listened.

I am feeling cautiously optimistic about church today. Hopefully Bitty will have another great day like last week. I'm sure we still have some ups and downs ahead of us, but hopefully we have turned a corner...


Autism at church: part 1
Autism at church part 2: Bitty wears. me. out.

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Autism at church part 2: Bitty wears. me. out.

You may recall I posted recently about some of the struggles we've had at church over the years. Just as things started to "click" for Cuddlebug and Bearhug at church, Little Bitty started to really struggle. At the time, he was still attending the nursery, for children 18 mos to 3. More often than not, he went into meltdown mode just at the sight of his classroom door, and even if I went in along with him it made no difference. It became rare for him to actually go in and rarer still for him to go in by himself (or allow me to leave without hysterics - here's just one example from last year). The two of us spent most of our Sundays roaming the hallways at church, making "rainbows" at the water fountain, counting trees in the parking lot, and generally trying to avoid light switches and doors (the objects of intense fascination for Bitty).

Every January, the children who turned 3 the prior year "graduate" from nursery to primary (children's Sunday School). The primary kids have about an hour of "sharing time" where they meet as a group to sing songs and have a short group activity. Then they break up into classes based on age for the last hour. I was dreading it. It took years for Bearhug and Cuddlebug to finally adapt to the whole primary routine without frequent breaks, attempts to escape, or general disruptiveness. I wasn't exactly looking forward to a repeat of that experience (granted, with one instead of two this time - gotta look at the bright side!).

Bitty did about as well as could be expected, considering he really didn't understand what was going on, doesn't like singing, and quickly became obsessed with the microphone at the front of the room. He was forever trying to run up and talk into the microphone, which of course is a pretty obvious disruption. When I took him to the back of the room, he found the light switches and had a ton of fun racing back and forth from one to the other trying to flip them before I could stop him. (Fun for him, not so fun for me). When I tried to take him out of the room he noticed the doors and that would spark a session of open-clooooose-open-cloooooose... you get the idea (the doors have those little hydraulic things so they close slowly and he loves to watch). Again, not quiet especially since he squealed - loudly - with delight with each open-clooooose. When I finally got him out of the room, he'd scream at the top of his lungs, then go running up and down the halls looking for things to climb or get into.

I hoped that he might do better in the small classroom for the last hour, but by then he was very overstimulated and just couldn't do it.

I tried all kinds of things to occupy him so we could at least stay in the primary room with the other kids, but nothing could compete with the microphone, lights, and doors. We soon settled back into our routine of spending 2 hours each Sunday in the hallways or outside. I considered the day a "success" if he stayed fairly close to me (not as much chasing) and didn't have a meltdown (or only had 1 or 2). We went on like that for months.

And then a few weeks ago, I decided to try again. Just baby steps. I took him into the primary room, but instead of sitting with his class, we stayed in the back of the room by ourselves. When I offered him his puzzles, he accepted and we were able to stay there the whole time without incident. I was *amazed,* and humbled when I told my mom about it and she said she had decided that week to stop praying for him to go to class and pray that he would just be able to go into the room. Her prayer had been answered.

Encouraged, I tried again the next week. After a few more weeks I worked up the nerve to try taking him up to the front of the room to sit with his class. That resulted in a set-back as he decided his little chair made a great toy. He was continually moving his chair, then sitting in it and making himself fall over on purpose, then getting up and knocking the chair over again... he returned to his microphone obsession and when his plans were thwarted he protested by stripping. Not all the way, thankfully, just his shirt, shoes, and socks. There was a brief moment he started to tug at his pants / underwear but I was actually able to stop him before he went down that road. (yay!)

We managed to go to his classroom once during that time, but it was such a disaster that I realized I'd pushed too hard and I backed off.

Which brings me to last Sunday, when I decided to give it another try...


Autism at church: part 1
HE DID IT!!!!! (Autism at church, part 3)

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

SOOC Saturday: Textures

A couple of weeks ago, I took the boys to a local park with a fountain to splash in. Cuddlebug and Bearhug jumped right in, but Little Bitty wasn't so sure he wanted to join them. Bearhug *really* wanted him to, and tried to talk him into it, but Bitty wasn't having it.

Instead, he plopped himself down in the sand / gravel next to the sidewalk and started digging his hands in the sand. Next he started piling sand on top of his legs... it's a sensory thing and he was enjoying himself but I wasn't too sure about how sanitary it was, and this particular little patch was a little too close to the road for my comfort.

He refused all my attempts to get him to either go play in the fountain or at least come with me to the other side, where it was just grass and no gravelly sand or road. (I know, I'm a party-pooper). Finally I gave up with logic and just piled his trains (which were on a nearby bench where he'd been playing with them) into Cuddlebug's hat and headed out through the fountain to the other side.

Predictably enough, Bitty freaked out that I was taking off with his trains and followed me into the fountain. He flirted with the water on and off, frequently returning to the bench (the new one on the grassy side) to play with his trains. But he didn't try to go all the way back to the little gravel patch. (score one for Mama!)

For more SOOC Saturday, visit Slurping Life.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

SEW & WW: Back to school

Well, I didn't manage to get pictures of the boys before leaving the house on the first day of school, but I took my camera and got some pictures while we waited in the carpool line and just after the boys got out of the car.

As you can see, Bearhug didn't feel like going along with the wear-something-nice-on-the-first-day gameplan (which we encouraged but weren't going to force anyway). He was really nervous about his first day so we didn't make a big deal out of it.

Cuddlebug did, which kind of surprised me because usually he is pretty strict on only wearing shirts with collars at church.

The biggest surprise was Little Bitty. Based on his behavior last week (not to mention every other time he has returned to school after a break), we were prepared for some major resistance - of the kicking, screaming, grabbing onto the doorframe of the house and car variety. However, ever since his open house he has seemed excited about going to school, and sure enough on the first day he was really cooperative and happy to be going.

Blew. us. away!!

And not only that, we figured just for fun we'd see if he'd let us put on a non-Thomas shirt, and he actually did! Well, the distraction of the Oreo might have helped. ;)

Click here for more Special Exposure Wednesday. For more Wordless Wednesday, click here and here.

Trying out MckLinky...

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Now on Alltop!

Everyday Adventures is now featured on the Autism page at Alltop:

(scroll down to the bottom to find us) :)

Alltop is an "online magazine rack" with collections of sites and blogs on topic-specific pages. They have pages for just about any topic you could think of.

Alltop. I don't know how I got there either.

Too bad they don't make a badge that says, "How coo' mie?" lol :)

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Magic Marker Monday: Spike-a-saurus

Bearhug and Cuddlebug were invited to a birthday party on Saturday for a friend from school (whose mom also happens to be one of Bitty's former therapists - small world!). It was an art party where everyone got to paint their own dinosaur. I loved how the instructor asked everyone what colors dinosaurs are, and of course the kids (being much smarter than I am) answered correctly - we don't know! Makes sense, of course we don't know since all we have are bones, no actual pictures of what they looked like, I just never really thought about it before. Anyway, so then she turned the kids loose to use whatever colors their imaginations desired for their dinosaurs :).

I enjoyed watching as Cuddlebug and Bearhug worked on their paintings:

They worked independently, but also seemed to seamlessly pull ideas from what the other was working on and they ended up with coordinating dinosaurs.

Let me introduce you to the two forms of Spike-a-saurus (so named for its many spikes):

Original form
height: 400 ft, 3 inches
weight: 5200 pounds
description: it traps its prey with its wings then it pulls in the spikes which contain poison

Nightmare form
wt: 5001
ht: 984
how many: 100
I'm told it can give you nightmares for 100 years (so let's hope we never encounter one in real life)

You might wonder how to defeat such powerful-looking dinosaurs covered in spikes. As both of the boys noted, both forms of Spike-a-saurus have one weakness - their tails, which have spikes at the end but are otherwise unprotected by spikes. Good to know...

For more Magic Marker Monday, visit 5 Minutes for Special Needs.

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I'm a mom of three boys on the autism spectrum, 11-yr-old identical twins and a 7-yr-old. My husband is a SAHD.


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