Last week was quite a week for Philip (and Mommy and Daddy). It began with blood tests and Grandparents’ Day, continued with a field trip and the discovery of the lead poisoning. There was a trip to the hospital for x-rays (no foreign bodies present-hurray!) and a visit from the county health department. To cap the week off on Saturday morning, I had to take him back to the doctor for a second round of antibiotics since his sinus infection wasn’t completely defeated by the first round. Did I mention that Philip hates taking the new medicine?
Honestly, until we were told about the elevated lead levels in Philip’s system, we never suspected any problems. We knew he had been sick from a virus, but he has otherwise been in good spirits. Our return trip to the pediatrician wasn’t prompted because Philip was miserable, but only because I recognized that our bundle of energy was sniffling more than he should and I wanted to prevent a complete relapse.
That’s why it was nice to attend the PTO’s Fall Family Fun Night on Saturday. Seeing Philip have fun, plus observing his obvious progress from last year was just what we needed.
Grandpa and Grandma drove Philip and me to the preschool on Saturday evening. After entering, we signed it at the table manned by the preschool director. We had our choice of groups to start in. I was going to sign us up for group 3, but that turned out to be the food group. As soon as I heard the phrase “bounce house” I knew we should start there. Yup. I know. I used to dread bounce houses. No one said that I’m not allowed to grow and change, too.
I knew the bounce house would be a great start for the evening. All of that proprioceptive input would get Philip focused for the rest of the evening. After fifteen minutes of bouncing (once he got the nerve to climb inside), he was ready to sit down for two different craft projects.
The first was a candy corn chain. Even though I knew it wouldn’t look perfect, I decided to let Philip do as much of the work as he could. Sure, when he traced a circle of yellow in the center is was a bit crooked. But when he drew the orange circle, he got better. Sure, he used the dabbers in the center that was supposed to remain white. But he enjoyed himself. His oranges and yellows overlapped, but he was practicing. When it came time to cut our paper plate, our pieces were far from even. However, I let Philip do the cutting since he needs the practice and it kept him engaged. Since the wide-handled hole punch was too difficult for him to use, he did “hand over hand” with my hand under his. I was hoping he would string the pieces on the yarn, but the end of the yarn was a bit frayed so he gave up after he didn’t go through the first time. However, he managed just fine when writing his name on the back.
While waiting for our next station, there were coloring pages. Philip was first concerned with writing his name on the paper. Then he just wanted to roll the crayons on the table. Fortunately, before I had to pick up too many crayons from the floor, it was time for some shaving cream art.
Mrs. P, Philip’s classroom teacher, was leading this craft. They started with cafeteria trays upon which she sprayed shaving cream. While she did this, Philip was given a marker to write his name on a white piece of construction paper. Next she added a few drops of green food coloring and then a few drops of brown food coloring. Then she demonstrated how to take a Popsicle stick to blend the coloring into the cream.
I think we were all a bit surprised when Philip opted to use the stick instead of his fingers to mix the colors in. He was quite careful and precise. When the colors were blended enough, Mrs. P moved the tray out of Philip’s reach and placed the blank side of the construction paper on top of the cream. She showed Philip how to press the paper down in the cream, and then she used the stick to flatten the paper firmly on the tray. When removed, the paper had a nice pattern of color.
Most of the kids cleaned up and went to eat, but we let Philip stay and play in the shaving cream. He now used his fingers and hands to write letters and draw smiley faces into the cream. By the time he was up to his elbows in cream, I said, “All done,” Mrs. P sang the clean-up song, and then we went to wash our hands for pizza.
I was glad that pizza was served. Philip took the pepperoni off all by himself, and even ate some bits of cheese. We had all finished eating when it was time to move to our fifth and final station.
It worked quite well to end with story time. The teacher leading this session started with a couple of songs before reading The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything. I’m fairly certain I read that book at least a hundred times back in the days when I was teaching, so I knew the story quite well.
The children were to sit on the floor, and I had to sit with Philip to keep him from running over to touch the pumpkin the teacher was using as a prop. I guided Philip through the motions as she read the story. He had only taken a short nap, and was started to get drowsy. I think he was trying to curl up in my lap to go to sleep. He gave a big yawn when doing so.
After the story was over, we went home. I was glad that my parents had joined us. It’s always nice to have the extra hands. I thanked them, telling them I knew that there hadn’t been much for them to do. My mom remarked that she enjoys seeing Philip have a great time.
She’s right. It’s hard to be bored when I see him having so much fun.