Saturday, June 20, 2009

What Matt learnt in KZN...

In our previous post we started sharing about our holiday to KZN. Matt seemed to really enjoy the new environment. Here are some of the fun discoveries that he made.

Discovery #1 - Farm animals are FUN!

We've been to petting zoos before but Matt has not shown as much interest in the animals as he did on this holiday. We visited 2 animal farms. It was fun to show Matt the real life animals as we showed him the signs.. We know the signs for bird, pig, horse, goat, rabbit, duck and sheep. Matt already knows "bird" and he loved telling us everytime he saw one. He was intrigued by the horses but that sign is a bit tricky for him, although he did try to do it.

Matt liked the rabbits and finds it funny when mom makes that sign for rabbit.

These were the friendliest (and non-biting) goats we have encountered. They loved eating mealies (corn) from people's hands! Once Matt got used to it he found it quite entertaining. The mealies were given to us in recycled tins and Matt had to stick his hand right in to get them - great sensory experience for him.

These white hens went 'crazy' when we threw the mealies in the cage - a real feeding frenzy which Matt found fascinating. At first he found it hard to throw the mealies and let go - he would make the throwing action but keep his fingers closed. But with a bit of practise and help from some enthusiastic hens he got quite good at it. Mom and dad had to work hard to help him understand that, although the animals seemed to think the mealies are the tastiest things ever, they arenot good for Matt to eat!

Discovery #2 - Swings are FUN
Matt used to feel very uncomfortable with the movement of swings. That has all changed and swings are now his all-time favourite activity. He likes it when we start off slowly and, once he gets confidents, likes to be pushed quite fast (which amazes me considering how much he used to hate it). You can tell by his face how much he now likes it!

Discovery # 3 - The beach is not that terrible
During our 3 days on the coast Matt learnt that the beach is not the worst place in the world, and sand is not some extreme form of punishment. I think it was good for Matt to see his 2 little friends - Angus and Dana - playing in the sand and laughing in the water. Matt's standard response to a beach visit has been to cling onto Mom with all his might and use every once of energy to ensure that he does not touch sand. He would only relax once we were headed back to the car, so needless to say our beach visits have been relatively short. Here you can see some photos of Matt on the 3rd day of our beach stay: He is sitting on his own- granted he is on a towell and not making much contact with the sand - but he is not attached to his mother like a limpet shell to a rock. A big achievement! And he is playing with the sand - voluntarily. Another big achievement! So I although I can't say Matt finds the beach FUN or that he now loves sand, I can say he doesn't hate it that much anymore.

Discovery #4 - Shapes are FUN
Matt was given a "shape game" from his cousins. We have one at home where the shapes are a lot smaller and there is more variety - stars, ovals, hexagons as well as the basics. Matt has understood what needs to be done, but his fine motor skills have limited his enjoyment of the game. However this new "shape game" has BIG pieces and only has triangles, circles and squares. We love watching the joy ooze all over Matt's face as he gets the shapes into their correct holes.

Discovery # 5: We can sign what we see in books
As part of Matt's in-flight entertainment we bought him a new book which has animals hidden under various sliding-pieces. Besides thinking the sliding bits were marvellous (Matt can now play hide-and-seek with the animals); Matt started showing us the signs for the animals that he saw in the book.

Here Matt is making his version of the sign for "cat".

It would seem that our little Matt not only enjoyed his time away but learnt lots of cool stuff too. Visit our blog tomorrow for installment #3 of our trip - we show you a profitable way to spend your waiting time at the airport.


Cindy said...

How wonderfully he is blossoming! I'm so excited that he is signing so much, and that he's getting used to sensory experiences that he didn't like before. He's growing up!

Christine said...

Great news Jacqui, Matt is doing very well and his signing seems very advanced. How wxciting that he can connect signs with the pictures in the book. I look forward to that day... Right now I'm just trying to get Nathan interested in books but he can never sit long enough to get through a book
So proud of you Matt!

Kelly said...

What an adventure for all of you!

Kelly W.

Sawyer said...

Looks like he had a lot of fun, he is adorable on the swings too.

Stanzi said...

SO proud of the little MAN who is just shooting up in so many ways. You guys are amazing. We love you lots.