Monday, May 31, 2010

Brooklyn Children's Museum

Ok...Ok... I have to promise myself only one museum per weekend...I am sooooo tired....
Now that has been said.... Today, we visited the Brooklyn Children's Museum. This museum is a child size version of Brooklyn. The exhibits reflected the different cultures and habitats of Brooklyn. It has areas like a West African Import Store, Pizzeria, swamp land and Caribbean Travel Agency. Almost all the stations had a coloring crafty activity. Coloring and drawing are Big Bea and Little Al's favorite.
There was one down fall about this museum. There is a Totally Tots exhibit meant for children 5 & under and their parents. Any child 6 & over are not allowing in this area......O_o What?
Yep, only Big and Little Al are allowed to enter this area. There is a window showing all the fun. :-( I could have been a terrible mother and left Big Bea out in the cold... but I didn't ... we all missed out on the fun... I understand wanting an area for early childhood activities but what about families where not all the children are in early childhood. What about the children in early adolescence? Thumbs down to this area.
This museum is sensory friendly. The tunnel with a very long water fall is very relaxing. Loud noise were at a minium. Transition were very easy to handle. Family bathrooms made life easier with Mr.Potty Training.
We discovered a great toy while at the gift shop. The company that make them is called Sprig Toys. These toys are the ultimate eco-friendly toys. They are made from bits of recycled plastic and reclaimed sawdust. The have no paint, no BPA and battery free. It's powered by imagination. Big Al got the Dolphin Explorer Boat set. Perfect for bath time for kids in early childhood and early adolescence.
PS... I only have 20 school days until summer vacation... I can't wait!!!!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Children's Museum of Manhattan

Cool Culture strikes again!.... In the words of my Bestie, Roxy....I am a Cool Culture Warrior! Today we visited the Children's Museum of Manhattan. CMOM museum is awesome. CMOM museum focuses on activities for early childhood. Alex had the time of his life. Big Bea enjoyed all the things that weren't baby-ish.
The Greek exhibit was awesome. Big Bea loved it! I loved the Trojan horse in the corner that the kids could climb into. Big Al fav was the Dora & Diego exhibit. He didn't want to leave that floor. My fav was the Toys: The Inside Story exhibit.
Finger paint, sand play, indoor playground and much much more. Big Al and Big Bea jumped from one thing to the next.... it was very hard for me to keep up.When we left, we were extremely tired. I am tired right now as I type. There were kids everywhere, but it wasn't crazy... There was a few special needs children there and they were enjoying more then the "normal" kids. Big Al was very hyper from all the excitement.

Little Al didn't join us on this adventures. She stood home with Daddy. It was a good thing to. MTA (The NYC transit system) was horrible this weekend. They were doing major track work....they were replacing the tracks on the elevated portions of the 2 & 5 line. This caused a lot of confusion. Big Al had a sensory overload moment on the shuttle bus.....Shoot, I almost had one too. Good thing I have transit GPS... we took another way home.

This museum can be sensory depends on the volume of children. Big Al was able to handle the third floor that had the most children but others may not be able to handle so many kids.
The MTA is not sensory friendly. Loud bus engine at the rear of the buses drive him crazy. The station closures and shuttle buses disrupt transitions. To help with sensory integration, we try to sit or stand in the center of the bus. We are far enough of the bus engine and the front entrance. He is also able to look through the window and tune out conversations and other noises.
CMOM has a free admission day on the first Friday of every month from 5pm to 8pm, sponsored by Target.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Happy End to Bronx Week 2010

I heart The Bronx... Here is a list of why I love it so...

1- I gave birth to my beautiful children here. All at the same hospital.
2- I don't care what the scores say....I got an excellent education here. I attended Bronx public schools from K to 12 and I enjoyed every second.... (middle school not so much)

3- I've lived here since I was 5 years old.... enough said

4- I am a human GPS when it comes to the Bronx and its public transportation. I know bus routes that most people don't know.

5- I met my Bestie, Roxanne, here. She is more then a friend, she is my sister.

6- I created a Girl Scout Troop in an area that hasn't seen a troop in 15 years.

7- I lived a block away from the Cross Bronx Expressway and did not develop Asthma. I am one of the lucky ones.

8- I, finally, watched MBD build a Pathmart in my neighborhood. I've must looked at that Pathmart coming soon sign for 15 years.

9- Who wouldn't love living between Little Italy and the Bronx Zoo. If you are up early enough you can hear the run away birds tweeting away.

10- I met my husband here. He was a Brooklyn man.

I lived through its Urban Decay and Revitalization... I can't wait to see what else is in store for the Bronx.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Bronx Museum of the Arts

To continue the celebration of Bronx Week, (which ends tomorrow) we visited The Bronx Museum of the Arts. For more info, go here. We attended the event Family Affair: Happy Together. Each child got a passport and travelled the "world" and did a craft from that part of the world. We made dream catchers, masks and dinner plates. We also went on a short guided tour of the Urban Archives: Happy Together. After the tour, we were able to look at the exhibitions. No photography is allowed in the museum.......I was sneaky.....I took a few shots of the After 1968 exhibit...hehehe....shhhh... don't tell. What interested me the most was the installation by Nadine Robinson, pictured below. The wall of speakers is very powerful sight. I picked a few books and a great poster at the very small gift shop. (I like need to buy more books) I picked up Sticker City: Paper Graffiti Art by Claudia Walde. (More on that here.) The art in the book got my inner artist excited.
I enjoyed this very small museum....So did the kiddies....except Chris, he kept asking my sister for a sandwich the entire time we were there. Kids say the darnest things.... Before we left Chris said, "I think this is Michael Jackson's's so clean."
PS: The Bronx Museum of the Arts is sensory-friendly... the event was not. The Museum itself was very quiet and dramatic lighting keeps Big Al very interested in the photos and installations. The event had al ot of children running around, which triggers Big Al's playground mode. It was very hard for him to focus on the task. However, he did win the heart of the gentleman in charge of the Bronx Dinner Party. Big Al was a champ at labelling colors.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

USMC Family Day, The New York Botanical Garden & Aly Walking

This weekend's weather was amazing! Why stay indoors?

Saturday was Armed Forces Day. This is day was created "in 1949 to honor Americans serving in the five U.S. military branches – the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard – following the consolidation of the military services in the Department of Defense."
We spent the day at Fort Hamilton with USMC 6th Communications Battalion. Fort Hamilton is location under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the perfect back drop to this event. There was an air slide, bounce house, cotton candy and much more. The kids had a great time. On the way back home, Little Al fall asleep before we got on the high way and Big Al fell asleep with a hot dog in his hand. The day was so exciting for him, when we got home he fell asleep on the sofa. He has done this three time in his life. Poor little guy. He was so tired he woke up this morning at 9:45am. He normally wake up time is 6:30- 7am on the weekends. My little man was beat.
Today was just as great as yesterday. As planned, we went to The New York Botanical Gardens. My sister and her kids joined in on the fun. We used our Cool Culture Family Passes. AWESOME! We visited Haupt Conservatory, Emily Dickinson's Garden: The Poetry of Flowers and Everett Children's Adventure Garden. We also saw a performance by ballerinas on the Conservatory Lawn.
Everything was breathe taking. I didn't feel like I was in the Bronx from the moment we walked into the gate. I can't wait to go back to see the Native Forest.
Big Al had lots of spontaneous speech while at the Botanical Gardens. His favorite part was the Rain forest in the Conservatory. He has been brainwashed by Diego....HA!

What made this weekend perfect was Little Al, finally, walking unassisted. She walked from the living room to the kitchen and back again. No coaching, no hands to grab, nothing. What a great sight to see.
PS: The New York Botanical Gardens is sensory friendly. The very peacful  environment is easy on the senses.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Listography: Strangest Things

If you are a follower, you know that I love list....I discovered the website Listography: Life in Lists. You can create lists on anything and share....God knows that I don't need to be apart of yet another online social network, so I am going to just continue posting my list on blogger.

The list that I picked to write about today is:

List the strangest things you've witnessed in public or seen on the streets.

1-The crackhead sleepwalk. Living in the Bronx, I've seen this many times. This is when the a person on drugs is so high they are losing conciseness while in mid-walk. The funny thing about it, no matter how close their heads get to the ground they never fall over.

2- In a Bodega window, a great poster of President Obama and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. saying "Change has come" over another poster of "We take EBT." I wish I took a picture of that.
3- So I am in the supermarket and the customer a head of me proudly take out there EBT(food stamps card). Power to you if you qualify for that. After I am done with my purchase, I go to the parking lot to see Mr. EBT in his Expedition with custom everything. What is wrong with that picture?
I couldn't think of anymore.....

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Day in Mom's Shoes.....

Just once I wish that someone could fill my shoes so that I can have a break.... Being a stay at mom with be a dream for me. I would have this worries. I would have to wonder if a service providers made it to my sister's or if the things that needs to be address at home...are.

I want to take you along on a typical weekday in my world:

5:25am: Alarm goes off...I hit the snooze button
5:35am: Alarm goes off again... I try not to hit the snooze...I hit it anyway
5:45am: Alarm goes off again... I peel myself off the bed
6:03am: Begin making myself look fab and try to get my husband out of bed
6:20am: Wake up the kids, Bathroom and potty time, Get clothes, diapers and socks
6:30am: Get them kids dressed
6:45am: Get my lunch and other things that need to get to my sister's and work.
7:00am: Travel to my sister's.
7:30am: Get breakfast for myself and a morning snack for Big Al and wait for the school bus.
7:45am: School Bus comes
7:50am: Big Al finally gets on the bus
8:00am: Take D-man, Big Bea, Vicky and Chris to school and myself to work.
8:20am-3:30pm: WORK Mondays and Fridays I get out at 2:40am and those days I pick up D-man, Big Bea, Vicky and Chris from school and Big Al off the bus.
4:30pm: Finally Home
5:00pm: Begin cooking dinner
5:30pm: Little Al's OT, Karen, comes for services
6:00pm: Get everyone ready for dinner and eat
6:30pm: Yo Gabba Gabba break!
7:00pm: Baths begin and Big Bea starts homework
7:30pm: Big and Little Al's bedtime and story time
8:00pm: Big Bea's bedtime
8:30pm: Sit on the sofa and die a little.
9:00pm: Try to get my things together for the next day but that normally doesn't happen and I go on my computer and surf, blog or facebook
10:00pm: pass out on my bed.

I am sure I have left out a lot of things out but wow that's a lot of stuff.

I need to change some of this. By the time I have time for myself I am ready to pass out.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Example Letter for Evals

I would like to refer my child (INSERT YOUR CHILD'S NAME) to the Preschool Special Education Program. My child's birthdate is (INSERT YOUR CHILD'S BIRTHDATE)and, I am concerned that he/she may have some developmental problems. I understand that I will be contacted by someone from the CPSE. It is my further understanding that this person will explain the program to me and can help me choose an evaluator from a list that will be provided.
The best time to reach me is on (INSERT DATE AND TIME).

New York City Committee of Preschool Special Education

Most parents don't even know anything about Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE). I am one of a few parents that understand how it works. Every State and City has it's own type of CPSE. I live in NYC so I following the guidelines of this region.

So what is CPSE? Committee on Preschool Special Education is a multidisciplinary team established in accordance with the provisions of Section 4410 of the Education Law for children ages 3-5. More on Section 4410 later.

The multidisciplinary team include:

Special Education Instructors
Speech Pathologist
Occupational Therapy
Physical Therapy
and much more.

CPSE is center based and the better the school, the longer the waiting list.

The learn about the process go here.

I am currently undergoing the reevaluation process with Big Al. The reevaluation is done to determine the child's continued educational needs. It's important to share all information about all examinations done to determine if modifications need to be made to your child's Individualized Education Program (IEP).
Right now, I am worried that Big Als IEP will cover only 10 months. That means no summer school. That means two whole months of no services. This may happen because he has caught up on the cognitive level. So many things have changed in CPSE that many kids are being dropped from 12 months to 10 months do to budget cuts. I am going to make sure that he will not be dropped. The fleet of service providers at Easter Seals are not going to let that happen but I have to lead them to the battle.