My name is Nikki and I am living in India and serving at Sarah's Covenant Homes, an orphanage for abandoned children with physical and developmental disabilities. I am a foster mama to 11 sweet children with special needs and they light up my life!

If you feel led, please go HERE and donate to help cover my expenses and keep me here in India with my babies!

*blog names (not their real names) are used online for the kids to protect their privacy

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Lily, An Overdue Update

I was looking in my blog archives recently and I realized that it has been awhile since I posted an update on Lily, which surprised me. For some reason, in my head, I thought I had done a good job of documenting all that she is learning and all the things we are working towards. As it turns out, I have not! So, for the Lily fan club (which is quite large) and for Lily's future mama and daddy (she's not matched for adoption yet, but I have to believe it's coming soon and they will one day be reading these archives looking for any and every little detail on their daughter)- this post is for you!

It's been about a year since I posted "School With Lily" where I was so excited that she was able to type "ABCDE" and recognize her letters from 3 choices. Wow, how far she has come since then! She knows all her uppercase letters without ever making a mistake, and most of her lowercase letters only occasionally getting them mixed up. Now, she is working on reading!

There are 3 early readers books that she is now able to read completely on her own, and now we are working on number 4. We start by going through the books and saying each word and having her copy, then sounding out the word slowly. Next we choose the key words in the books, the words that are repeated on every page, and as we read through the books, we take turns and I will read the non-repeated words, and she will read the words that are repeated on each page. Finally we get to the point where she reads every word as I point to the word on the page. Because of her speech delay, if you don't know her you may not understand that she's reading. When we originally go through the book, we also pay attention to how she says each word. For example, "strawberry" (in the video below) doesn't sound exactly like "strawberry", but I know that is how she says it from the beginning stages of reading this book when I would say the word and she would repeat. Along with that, we have her sign some of the words to be clear that she understands the meaning.

Here is a video of her reading "What Is Red?"



We are working on teaching her how to sound out the words. With her speech delays this is a bit tricky, but it's coming! We started with flash cards, where we would put 3 cards down in front of her where each word started with a different letter. We would say one of the words, get her to repeat it, and then find it among the 3 options. She began getting this right with a fairly high accuracy. We know that she wasn't reading the whole word though. She was listening to the sound that the word starts with and then scanning the first letters of each word to find the correct starting sound. So now we have moved on to do 3 options that all start with the same letter, so that she has to look at the full word. Lily is funny. With our other kids, we really have to make things like this fun and interesting, or they get bored fast. But Lily loves being tested, and although we do try to mix things up and keep it interesting, she is okay with this style of school, where as our other kids would be bored to tears!

Her speech has improved drastically lately. I started with feelings. For probably 2 months we went over different feelings (sad, sick, angry, happy, tired, hungry) in English. We role played over and over again so she could say and sign them clearly and use them in correct context. I am so happy that now Lily is able to use these words correctly! Prior, whenever she was upset and we asked her why, she would just hold her stomach. Now, she is able to say "sick" or "sad", and more often than not it is "sad", and we realized that holding her stomach was her only way of communicating a negative feeling. Then, a few months ago Tori and I taught her how to say "I want _______." She picked up on that well and for the first time she began using full sentences to make requests; I want help, I want iPad, I want pillow, etc. Now we are working on "I like _____" and "I don't like ______". I started using the Bitsboard app on the iPad, showing her pictures of different foods. I would pretend to feed it to her, and she would either say "mmm!" or "yuck!" If she said "mmm" we would practice saying "I like bananas!" (or whatever the food was). If she said "yuck", we would practice saying "I don't like broccoli!". We use sign in addition to her speech so it is clear. The sign is a little tricky for her, so I adapted the "I don't like" to include a head shake to make it clearly different from the "I like". Now we are working on transitioning this into using it in every day conversation, not just in the controlled environment of school. We still need to practice it a lot, as it's not nearly as clear as her "I want", but it's coming! Here is a video of her learning the phrases!



We are at a bit of a standstill with her physiotherapy. Thankfully, in January an American PT is moving here and will be volunteering with SCH, and we have already planned that she will be working with Lily. A friend of mine donated a gait trainer for her, and I would love to see Lily learn how to use it. I am still able to carry her, but our ayahs really struggle in carrying her as she gets heavier. We have a stroller that we use, and we may eventually need to get her a wheelchair although India is so inaccessible which is why we haven't gotten her one yet. She gets around the house easily by crawling.

Lily attends Sparsh Special Education school and while they are very sweet and do their best, I really would love to see her become mainstreamed. Nolan and Louise's school, Kangaroo Kids, has expanded to offer grades 1 and 2 and I am praying that they will accept her in May when the new school year starts. They do a great job with Nolan, and Lily is far more academically advanced than he is, but she is also older. She is so much more interested in being with adults that I think this school would be good for her peer relationships and play skills, and they would also do a way better job of teaching her than her current school. This school is so encouraging and inclusive, and I know it would help Lily's confidence too. Please pray with me that God would open this door for her!

Molly continues to be her best friend, and they have a sweet sister relationship. She is fiercely protective of Mol, she never gets jealous of her, and she always tells us to include her in everything we do. Lily is a bit of an old soul. She will play with the other kids, but she prefers the company of adults. If we tell her to go play, she will frequently go get a book and sit and quietly look through it by herself. The other day she came racing into my bedroom, begging me to fill up a bowl of soapy water and "allow" her to scrub the walls and floor! One night a few weeks ago it was bedtime and she was lying beside me, and I was kissing her cheeks and saying "Lily, I love you! Lily, I love you!" She finally looked up at me full of sass and signed to me, "shh, I'm sleeping!" and then waved me away! This girl makes me laugh!

Lily is one of kind. She is one of the most special children I have ever met, and everyone who meets her sees that. She is kind and loving and resilient. She is only 10 and yet she takes care of the other children and imitates what she sees Tori and I and the ayahs doing, which is why we call her the "little mother". She is filled with Light and Love and it is such a joy and an indescribable blessing to be Lily's mom. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Louise's CI Three Months Post-Activation

It has been three months since Louise's cochlear implant was activated. The progress was slow at first as the volume was so quiet, but now we are really starting to notice that she is hearing.

She is making a lot of new sounds, especially the "mmm" sound which she does all the time and which we never heard her make before her CI. She is doing the "ooo" sound really well now (and sounds so cute when she does it!) and tries so hard to make the "shh" sound, and it's adorably not quite right! I admit, I sometimes do the "shh" sound more than others in activities just so I can hear her try! If she is in the mood, she uses her voice all the time. If she isn't, it can be really difficult to prompt any sound out of her.

She has mastered the ling sounds activity, which tests if she is hearing all frequencies of sound. This is a common way for audiologists to see whether the implant is working well. There are lots of ways to do it, but what we do (as suggested by Lyndsey, from the UK whom we skype with to get advice) is we fill up a bowl of water and hand her coins. She holds the coin and looks down, and we will make one of the ling sounds (ex. aaaaah) and when she hears it, she drops the penny into the bowl of water. She gets this perfect nearly every time now, so we know she is hearing all frequencies of sound, which is great! We are now trying to get her to make all of these sounds, so after she drops the coin into the bowl, she has to make the sound that we said (without being able to rely on looking at us/reading lips- completely on hearing).



We are working on her associating sounds with different actions. For example, "mmm" to eat, "aah" to drink, and "shhh" to go to sleep. She is not yet at the stage where she can understand speech, so we are starting with this. We are also repeating a lot of phrases that we want her to understand the meanings of, including "high five", "no, no, no", "uh oh!", and "give me a kiss!". So far she isn't understanding the meanings of these phrases, but I think it will come soon and we are really making it a priority to say these to her a lot.

We incorporate her hearing when we do school activities. For a long time we were working on matching numbers 1-3. For some reason she really struggled with picking this up, but now she has it! I put down 3 big pieces of paper on the ground, a big "1", and "2", and a "3". Then I use other smaller objects I have with the numbers written on them. I will hand her a small "2" (for example) and she has to put it down on the "2" on the floor- matching the numbers. We incorporate sign as we do this, and hold up the number of fingers for the number we give her, and also incorporate hearing. We say the number many times and try to get her to say the number. Just this week we have added "4" and "5", now that she completely understands 1-3.

We signed Louise and Theo up for Gymboree classes and I was so impressed when I sat in and watched her first class. Because of their teaching style, the Gymboree class is better auditory therapy than the therapy we send her to at the hospital!! The teacher talks through everything she does, and uses songs to teach the kids. For example, as they are playing with playdough, each kid will be cutting the playdough and the teacher says "cut cut cut cut cut cut cut" in a singsong voice. Then they will roll and the teacher sings "roll roll roll roll roll roll roll". It is going to be great in helping Louise acquire new words, as well as giving her exposure to new activities and the opportunity to meet and play with kids!

I had a parent teacher meeting at Louise's school recently, and her teacher was very supportive! It sounds like Louise is the social butterfly of the class and is well-liked by her peers. Her teacher agrees that she is grasping the 1-3 concept, and they are working on A-E. Her teacher says that Louise uses her voice in a long "aaaaa" with lots of pauses and ups and downs as if she is trying to talk when she feels strongly about something, which is great!

Read more about Louise's cochlear implant:
CI Activation
Louise's CI One Month Post-Activation 

In other news, Louise celebrated her 3rd birthday on November 25th. The day before, Tori and I took her to the salon to get her very first mehndi. It was her first time on an outing with the 2 of us all to herself, and I think she felt really special. We each held one of her hands as we walked to the auto, then we raced to the elevator to press the button. She felt very grown up and important as she sat in the big comfy couch getting pampered.

On her actual birthday we sent Nolan off on the school bus and kept Louise home so she could be fashionably late, in grand Louise style. Tori, Ramana, and I took her to school all dolled up in her new bangles and dress, and she handed out chocolates to all the kids and teachers. Everyone loves her there. Her teacher said she is so smart for her age! I don't know if Louise totally understood what was happening, but she sure did seem to like the extra attention!

After school, we changed her into her Indian outfit and had a party at the house with all the other kids from other foster homes and the volunteers.After singing Happy Birthday and eating some cake, we changed her into yet another new dress and headed to GVK 1 Mall for her first experience eating at a restaurant, Hard Rock Cafe. It was also her first time in a mall, her first time eating a hot dog and french fries, her first time riding the escalator, and her first time drinking pop (she downed an entire big cup of Orange Fanta). Her face was hilarious when we first entered the mall and she looked around- I wish I had it on video! She was in awe, and she wanted to stop and look at all the fancy watches on display. She loved all the attention she got at the restaurant and I loved giving it to her. I really enjoyed her. That sounds so simple but it's the best way to put it. She is just a joy to be around and it was so nice to have that much time with her where my attention was undivided. She made us laugh all evening long!



Louise is a little fashionista. She likes having little ponytails in her hair with cute bows. She loves touching the adults' long hair and earrings. She is interested in jewelry. We pierced her ears on her birthday. She screamed LOUD during the piercing, but then enjoyed looking at her face in the mirror making the super sign! She is smart, quirky, and funny. This week, for the first time, Louise is going out to school, auditory therapy, and Gymboree wearing underwear instead of a diaper- big girl!! She is using sign language to tell us when she needs to use the bathroom, and then runs to the kitchen when she is finished to get her treat!

We are starting to see her become more attached to us. It is going to be a long road. She doesn't typically seek out affection and is so independent, which I know isn't a good thing. She cries when anyone, even strangers, leave the room. We are working through it. Once at bedtime she came up and rested her head on Tori's knee and we realized that it was the first time that she sought out genuine affection in that way all on her own. Sometimes she will ask for kisses and asked to be picked up, but it's more in a playful way. This was different. We are both trying to make an effort to spend time every day just cuddling her and hugging her.

Louise is a hilarious handful and a joy to parent. I'm really excited to see what's next with her speech and hearing, because I feel like soon it is going to just take off. I'm also excited just to watch this little lady grow and learn and continue to have new, fun experiences!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Charlotte: 20 Months Old

We call Charlotte the Most Photographed Baby In The World, because sometimes it seems that way! She sits in her high chair like it's a throne, and she is definitely the princess of the house. I barely remember the days when Charlotte wasn't a part of our home, and am so glad that she joined us.

Charlotte has tried some new foods in the past month. We learned she has a sweet tooth and she likes popsicles and cake! I have been working on hand over hand feeding with her in her high chair during snack time. She loves bananas so I started with that, but bananas are so slippery that she had a hard time grasping it. We then started with vanilla loaves, and that has been going better but they crumble a lot. She tried pizza (not a fan) and cheese (also not a fan). Meals used to be tricky when she first moved in as she refused to eat, and we ended up giving her lots of bananas...but she eats well now and the only time she fusses is if the cook makes the curry too spicy. She eats Indian meals three times a day and then usually has fruit or fruit juice as a snack in the afternoon. She also gets Pediasure with her breakfast.

Miss Charlotte is now walking with support. This is huge, as when she moved in she couldn't bear weight at all. This video was taken almost a month ago, and she has gotten a lot stronger since then, but it gives you an idea of how she is walking! We are now walking with her holding only 1 of my hands.



We took Charlotte to Kidihou, the children's museum, at the end of November. We had previously taken her once when she first joined our family, and she screamed the entire time and refused to take part. This time, I was in awe watching her in the sensory bin. Where previously, she wouldn't even let her hands touch the small seeds (she would allow us to touch her feet to it for brief moments), today she sat by herself playing for ten minutes at a time; rubbing her hands in it, throwing it, trying to catch it as I dropped the seeds on her arms and legs. I was so happy to see such a difference in the way she played and enjoyed herself! Also at Gymboree, she is making a lot of progress. She is playing so nicely with almost any toy we give her! I have a feeling she may just skip the crawling step, but I really want to teach her as I think it will help her learn to explore her environment. She is so timid that she has no desire to even try. I found this article on Wonder Baby really helpful regarding how to teach Charlotte to move around, and I have started doing some of those activities with her. I was making no progress with her crawling, but Ramana has really been doing a good job with her and is such a blessing. Every morning Ramana spends usually an hour and a half 1:1 with Charlotte doing sensory integration and PT, and she pours her heart into it and does an incredible job. I couldn't get Charlotte to crawl at all, but Ramana now has her at the point where she moves Charlotte's arms and leads, and Charlotte will follow along and move her legs in the proper crawling pattern!

Recently, Charlotte also experienced her first holiday- American Thanksgiving of all things! Sean and Paige, who run ICM's CCH program, threw a dinner at their house. Their daughter Jaya is the same age as Charlotte, and also attends her Gymboree class, so I brought her along. Charlotte tried her first American food; ham, (no turkey in India to be found!), green beans, mashed potatoes, deviled eggs, stuffing, and apple pie. She loved the mashed potatoes and deviled eggs, and liked the stuffing at first but then had enough of it. She refused the ham, green beans, and apple pie! Charlotte doesn't really play with other kids or interact much with them. The video below of her and Lily was the first time she ever really reciprocated like that with one of the kids. Molly ADORES Charlotte, so we often lie Charlotte on Mol's chest at bed time and let them cuddle, but for the most part she hasn't seemed to notice the other kids. It was cute at Thanksgiving when I sat with Charlotte and Jaya and helped them roll a ball back and forth between themselves, and Jaya gave Charlotte lots of big kisses!

I continue to co-sleep with Charlotte and really enjoy doing so. She is a night-owl and so I love getting that fun, quality time in with her each evening, and knowing that she feels loved before she falls asleep. She sleeps through the night all the time. Once in awhile I will wake up and she will be sitting up stimming (poking her neck or rubbing her head on the ground), but I pull her back into bed with me and she quickly falls back asleep. She is her chattiest at bedtime, and is making so many new noises. Apparantly in India, it is good luck for a baby's first words to be "nana" (dad) or "atta" (aunt- father's sister). Back in Canada, we always seem to encourage babies to say "mama" first, so the ayahs and I had a long joke going where they tried to get her to say "atta" (auntie) and I tried to get her to say "mama". I think the "atta" sound came first, although "mama" quickly followed! She doesn't use it in context yet, but will babble it all the time when I ask her to! I have begun reading textured books to her every day, and am using that to try to encourage her using her voice. Ramana and I also joke fight about who is her mummy. We both love Charlotte and the 2 of us take the primary caring role for her. We will ask Charlotte who she likes best, her foreign mummy or her Indian mummy, and pretend to make her select one of us. How wonderful that she has so many people who love her! One day Ramana told me "first, I like her. But now, so much love is coming!". Our other ayah Prameela asked me to bring another baby into our house with the same face as Charlotte, so she can her daughter!

I have lots of things I want to start focusing on with Charlotte. I read this article and this article on teaching your blind baby sign language, and I am brainstorming how I can work on this with Charlotte. It says to start with items that are highly preferred, but the problem is that Charlotte doesn't yet have an item that is highly preferred! I am trying to think of what sign(s) we should start with. I have just started reading to her every day. I sit and read textured books to her. We have all the typical textured books, and I also really like this Let's Count To 10 book. When I am working with the other kids, I put her headphone on and play worship music, classical music, and have now just started playing kids' audio books through Storyline Online. She is doing so well at home now. When we go out to new places or try new things, she still gets really nervous and fussy, but she knows her family and she knows her home, and she is happy and content with us!

Here is the video of Charlotte and Lily:



I wrote earlier that Charlotte was slow for me to get to know. I feel so past that stage with her.

I know her every cry.
I know her every sound.
I know what to do to put her in a good mood and how to calm her down she's upset.
I know how to get her to stop stimming and how to rock her to sleep.

She's my baby.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Discovering Jasmine

As I have shared before, Tori and I split the kids up when it comes to therapy. Every day, I work 1:1 with Lily, Nolan, Dinah, Charlotte, Louise, and Jasmine. By far, the most challenging of my kids for me is Jasmine.

It isn't because of who she is... rather, it's because of who I am. I have no experience with children who are blind, and I try to educate myself, but I don't really know a whole lot about autism. Working with my children who have cerebral palsy comes easily to me. I could work with them all day long, I pour over blogs and books about CP, and worked with many children with cerebral palsy back in Canada before I moved to India.

But autism... PLUS blindness, no speech, and developmental delay?! I can't seem to find any resources for teaching children like Jasmine. Tori and I have talked about this many times, as she feels similarly, and we don't know why God keeps sending us blind and autistic children, but He does! And we sure do love them, so we need to step up and learn how to teach them!

Up until about March or April, I was so focused on her walking that I didn't even think much further than that. But now, she walks well and I have passed that off to our physiotherapist who comes every day. Now it is time to focus on her communication and her life skills and her attention span and play skills... and I have no clue where to begin.

I know she is a smart girl. I feel like there is so much that goes on in her head. I love her so, so much and want to help her connect with other people and be able to communicate to us what she wants and needs.

Jasmine is feisty. She lets us know when she is happy and she lets us know when she is angry. She is quirky. She loves riding her trike and splashing in water. She loves swinging in the hammock. She knows what she wants. If she hears one of the other kids playing on the trike or listening to music on headphones, she will cross the room to find them and snatch it from them for herself! She has learned to walk and feed herself in the past year. She went from a very unhappy little girl to someone who is joyful and just delights everyone who meets her.

Recently we set these goals for her:

1) Learn and use sign language to request drinking water
2) Put her diaper on by herself
3) Go 10 minutes straight of sitting up while focused and engaged in an activity (with the support of an adult facilitating the activity). No hand biting, bum spinning, screaming, or lying down.

I am making absolutely no progress with teaching her the sign for water. One thing Jasmine doesn't like is to be told what to do. Everything needs to be on her own terms. So taking her hand and manipulating the fingers into the sign, and moving it to her chin is just too much for her. She thrashes and screams and we both give up, frustrated. She knows how to undress herself (not on command, but randomly she will just strip everything off!) and she is making progress with putting her diaper on. She helps with the process, sticking her legs through on her own, and the only trouble we are facing is getting her to pull it up, but I think it will come.

Most of my time has gone towards her play therapy. Jasmine has a lot of stims and her attention span doesn't last very long. I am trying to find 6 activities that she enjoys where she can go 10 straight minutes engaged and having fun, without stimming. When volunteers come, Jasmine usually isn't the first child to get attention. It would be great if I could give a volunteer these 6 activities and she could get a full hour of 1:1 fun engagement. And then from there I could work on finding more activities that she is interested in and helping her to take part for longer periods of time. Usually people just don't know what to do with her, so this would help give some direction.

So far, the activities we are working on are: 1) listening to music with headphones and playing with musical instruments while she listens, 2) singing songs and doing actions (wheels on the bus, head and shoulders, etc), 3) rolling a ball back and forth and bouncing the ball up and down, 4) jumping on the therapy ball, 5) digging through a big bowl of uncooked rice to find crinkly wrappers, 6) stacking big legos. Other games I try to get her to do are the ring stacker, crawling through the tunnel, reading/feeling textured books, and going up and down the slide. Recently I did a hand over hand craft with her that involved cutting, gluing, and sticking down stickers, and I was surprised that she was so still and seemed really interested in what we were doing!

For most of these, her big stims are gone but she will still do figure 8's with her head and click her tongue. I am unsure whether I should focus on trying to eliminate that, or just let it go. As long as she is engaged and participating, does it matter if she is still stimming a little bit? Or is that important, and until she completely stops stimming she won't be able to fully engage? I just don't know, and really need to find someone, or a few resources, to help guide me.

She loves listening to music with the headphones and bouncing on the therapy ball. Those are the 2 activities where she doesn't stim at all. When she bounces on the therapy ball she giggles happily. When she listens to music, she is quiet and still.

Recently we have begun working with her guide cane. We got a guide cane for her from another volunteer several months ago, but only recently have I really started trying to teach her to use it. Every day I put it in her hand and we walk around and find things in the house. At first she would whine and toss it to the ground. Now she will keep it in her hand as she walks, although she isn't really using it purposefully yet to help her navigate the room.





Jasmine is a funny, beautiful, amazing child and I want to give her the support she needs. If you know of anyone who has experience with children who are blind, autistic, and have speech and developmental delay, please do connect me. They can email me at ncochrane3@hotmail.com Seeing as we have 5 children who are blind (and at least 3 but possibly more who fall within the autism spectrum) we definitely need some help! 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Gymboree

At the beginning of the month, Tori and I took Charlotte and Chloe to a free trial class at the local Gymboree which is a 10 minute drive from our house. I have never been to Gymboree before back in Canada, but the manager told us that the facility and curriculum is the exact same in every location world-wide. When we stepped inside the classroom, I was so impressed by what I saw.

For our trial class, we had our teacher to ourselves as she wanted to get to know our girls. With them both being blind, it was a great opportunity for her to learn more about them and see how they reacted to different activities.

Gymboree offers many classes including art, music, and sports, but it was clear to us that the play class would be the best fit. We are really focused on teaching the girls play skills right now and engaging them in stimulating activities to get them exploring and learning. At their ages, Charlotte (18 months) should go to the Level 4 class, and Chloe (turning 4 in January) should go to the Level 7 class. The staff were really open to us wanting to put them in the Level 2 class, which is more at their cognitive level. It is typically for babies aged 6-10 months and is all about cause and effect, strength building, and using noises, gestures, and facial expressions to show what they want.

The free trial class was amazing, and as soon as it finished we enrolled the girls for a month-long membership of 4 Thursday morning classes. We all go together and I really look forward to this time with them. It also allows us access to the facilities for free play in the afternoons, so we have gone weekly to 1 class and 1 free play.

The first time we went, I was shocked at how well Charlotte did. I didn't have high expectations, but I can't explain how happy I was that first class. Charlotte was interacting in ways I had never seen her do before! Since we began, I have learned that she loves the parachute. We have a big parachute at home and I never really thought to use it with her, because I didn't think she would hold it and move it up and down. But in class, we lie the babies on top and underneath as we shake the parachute, and she loves the feeling of both! During a class focused on texture exploration, she sat and explored many objects with her hands, including a feather, a paintbrush, and sandpaper. I always have a hard time getting her to use her hands to explore, and as she did this I just sat in awe watching her. The teacher told me that most kids in the class aged 6-10 months just throw the objects down, and that she was doing a much better job of feeling and exploring, which was great encouragement and gave me an idea of where she is at in comparison to typically developing babies. She is not yet crawling, but I take her arms and legs and support her in crawling through the equipment, which I think is a great step towards teaching her to crawl. She really hates this part and usually cries, but we push through. The equipment is great and is filled with different types of surfaces and levels, so I support her to crawl through it following the sound of an instrument until we reach the end. I really would love to see Charlotte learn to crawl, and it is hard to facilitate it at home on the hard marble floor, so I am excited about this opportunity! She giggles on the rocking horse. The teacher noted how well she listens whenever we sing songs- Charlotte loves music!

Chloe is just joyful in the class. She makes us all crack up because she just laughs and laughs and laughs and laughs some more! When Chloe doesn't like something, she makes that clear and cries loudly. If she likes it, she giggles and giggles! She loves when the teacher blows bubbles and sings the bubble song. She lies on her back and opens her mouth, trying to catch them and eat them! Like Charlotte, she loves the rocking horse and can get nervous crawling on the equipment. One time she was crawling on the balance beam and slipped. Of course, Tori was right there to catch her, but she cried for the rest of the class and became very fearful. However, we went back the next day and she did great, crawling through the entire obstacle course with only a little bit of prompting encouragement.

It is expensive, but it is so worth it to me to find new ways to help the girls engage with us and learn and explore. What a blessing it is to have resources like this to help us support our kids' healthy development. It makes me so happy to be able to take them here and see them light up! And if other kids who live with their Mom and Dad can have this opportunity, why shouldn't my kids? I don't ever want them to have less because of their history or because money is a barrier.


Our month-long membership ends soon. We have spoken with the Director of Gymboree and they have put together a discounted 3-month package for us for Chloe, Charlotte, Theo, and Louise, at 1500r per month per child. Although Theo and Louise attend school, they need so much more sensory integration and social interaction. Theo attends school with his ayah, Anjamma, and this class will be without her as at their age it is a drop off class. This will be the first time he has taken part in a social activity without an adult as his support, which will be great for his confidence. Louise is super social, but she struggles with some sensory challenges and we really want to expand her interests.

We would love to find people to cover the cost of 3 months of Gymboree classes. They are giving us a great discounted price. The following amount includes 1 weekly class, autos to that weekly class, and autos to a once weekly free play.

It will come to $115/child.

Would someone be able to donate $115 to send Chloe to 3 months of Gymboree classes?
Would someone be able to donate $115 to send Charlotte to 3 months of Gymboree classes?
Would someone be able to donate $115 to send Theo to 3 months of Gymboree classes?
Would someone be able to donate $115 to send Louise to 3 months of Gymboree classes?

Update: All 4 kids are sponsored. Thank you so much! 

Send me a message at ncochrane3@hotmail.com and I will let you know how to donate. Thank you so much!