Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Well, lots has been going on--but isn't that always the case? The text here won't be lengthy, for fear I won't get to the pics/videos.

In no particular order:

West City Soccer is going GREAT! I can't say enough great things about this. We've been doing some little 5-minute scrimmages near the end of the sessions, and E can get into the mix a little. She uses two crutches to be faster, but when doing so, she doesn't handle the ball as well with her feet and uses her crutch tips as "extra feet" (I keep telling her that's EXTRA HANDS!). She has recently tried using one crutch, and her footwork is better that way--but sometimes she's really uncomfortable and uncertain in her movements. We keep mixing up the zero-one-two crutch use, and it's been great.

Snow Day (again!)! Dad ended up driving off with E's crutches in the car, so there was lots of hand-holding in this thick, wet, heavy snow. E did try to make it up the neighbor's hill, but after about 6 (good) steps, she was tired. I loved the fact that we saw some of our older neighbors--I haven't seen these girls in a long while, and they sure have grown up! The main focus was on making a snowman--in this case, with some Hawaiian Flair!

The kids went to a Pig Reading--With Daisy the Reading Pig!

Elena earned her Firefly award for teaching her Daisy troop something--she chose Chess!

And at the following meeting, she chose to NOT use her crutches to get in the building. I'm guessing this little hill is a ~30 degree grade--and she did it both TO and FROM (downhill) the meeting, and never fell. Good job E! (She also went up a curb, without crutches, when walking to a birthday party a few weeks ago).

Ballet Mentor Recaps: my pictures were SO DARK, b/c I didn't figure out how to use the light switch until the end. So, text will have to do. Ms. C and Elena worked on a few moves after warm-up. Warm-up usually consists of talking, running around, and then some sitting and stretching while working on turn-out while sitting in long-sit. Long-sit (sitting up straight with your legs out straight) is hard for Elena, I think b/c of her tone AND contractures. She tends to long-sit with her hands behind her, so she can lean back (try it; when you can lean back, it doesn't stretch your hamstrings as much). When E tries to touch her toes, her back rounds (again, hamstring tightness is one reason she doesn't have a straight back). I'll be interested to see improvement here.

After warm-up, Ms. C tries to get E interested in a new move(s). Maybe a story, maybe a video, and then she tries to get E to work on 1-2 moves. Today we tried (together) different foot positions (standing on a yoga mat, while holding the back of a chair as an improvised barre). E tries hard to "put her heels together and get her feet in a V" for first position, and I am seeing improvement here, and with foot turnout and knee turnout. I can see it is uncomfortable for her, but she is trying, and seems to enjoy the challenge.

Our second move was tondus. Ms. C had very good success while using this in a "step"--really, just trying to get E to walk barefooted with strike-through (where her back leg passes her other leg as she goes forward). The best success was when she put her finger in front of E's feet (way in front) and asked her to try to step on her painted fingernail. Some of those steps WERE REALLY GREAT.

Our ballet mentor meetings are about an hour; I think in this hour, I'm lucky if E gets 20 minutes of good movement. At this point, I don't really care about that--I just want it to be fun, and I want Elena to like her mentor enough to WANT to go see her, so that she's interested in learning something along the way. Personally, I think the sessions could deal with some more imagery to help E with her movements ("paint a rainbow with your hand", etc. etc.) but so far E seems to like it. I might bring some little balls next time (maybe she can try to move them/kick them with her leg/toes) b/c she really seems to like kicking/throwing/moving balls right now. Or get some gigantic paper and some chalk, and actually get her to try to stretch and write on the paper (if doing sitting stretches, for instance). Or try to get her to put her feet on painted footprints on said paper. Any ideas, send 'em along!

Watching Baryshnikov do some tondus in his dancing

Arms Wide, standing tall pose (the feet are nice and flat!), pom-poms keep it fun

I asked Viv's ballet teacher if she had thoughts of a group class where E wouldn't slow down the group too much; she thinks E would fare well in her class with two novice, shy 4-5 year olds. We'll give it a shot!

E always wants to help at home. This used to mean that everything took a billion times longer when the kids try to help me. Well, E can now be EXTRA helpful in the kitchen--here she is helping me cook dinner, by peeling the parsnips and carrots (while getting a knee immobilizer stretch).

Bonus Vivian! Her new thing is that she had decided when dressed as such, we will refer to her as Puss in Boots, complete with maraca "sword" (in a glasses-case sheath). Points for originality here.


Anonymous said...

Can't wait to see the Ballet pics!!!

Just the Tip said...

yayy! so exciting!

Anonymous said...



Amy said...

Wow! That going up hill with no crutches was fantastic! That Elena is certainly a determined girl. She is so bright and inspiring. I am super impressed that she taught the Daisy Scouts about chess. I never really learned that game very well.

Vivian is simply precious in that Puss in Boots attire! She looks totally huggable. What creativity!

You are certainly blessed with wonderful little girls!

Anonymous said...

Imagery is very important in the work I do with Gregg Mozgala. Since E is quite young I think it would be even more important for her. Find something she likes and find a way to connect what she likes to a movement. Have her imitate a TV character she likes that does a similar movement or do like you did with the teachers fingernail. Gregg and I imagine spirals going around our legs to get our turnout engaged. images like this are very helpful.