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Addressing the Special Needs of Gifted Children, #6 - Page 3

post #41 of 776
Originally Posted by ChristaN
BTW, do you know at what grade level the third grader that they put in your fourth grade class is reading?
I will find out tomorrow, when I have a meeting with the girl's third grade teacher and our principal. I know that this decision was based on a combination of her parents' persistence and the fact that she had the highest OLSAT score in the second grade last year. I don't know her scores, but the highest I had in my class (I used to teach second) was 137, so hers is more. I am really excited my school is trying this out, and I am determined to make it a positive experience for all involved because I know there's a real need to tailor instruction for those who are gifted...and I hope my son has access to similar practices in the school he'll be attending. (We live in a much "better" district than the one in which I teach, but well see if it's good for him.)
post #42 of 776
Thread Starter 
Leftfield, those drawings are terrific! I am really impressed. The clown and the "taken apart" picture are particularly cool. I hope your son continues to draw.

Jenn, you know I am a big fan of Sam's stuff. His work looks so alive. It seems to jump right off the page. Love the dolphin!

Some of Nan's old art is here: http://www.ghosts.org/annika/2002/arty.html I have to update with some more of her newer stuff.

Speaking of Nan, she tried gymnastics at a new place today (we had a bad experience at the Y earlier this summer) and it went really well. She took to it like a fish to water and had a great time. What a difference pleasant teachers and real gym equipment make. Shameless mom brag time: after only half a class (1/2 hour) she's already 2nd best in her class. Despite--or maybe because of--being a head shorter than even the 6 year olds. :LOL

I spent most of the weekend cobbling together a chemistry "course" for Hollis. I found a couple awesome websites with lots of free worksheets and labs and suggested curricula and stuff. We have the Usborne Dictionary of Chemistry, a Smithsonian chemistry set, and one of the moms here on MDC is sending us her old college chem texts. So Hollis is a happy camper right now seeing all this come together.

Britishmum, 9 months and only saying two words? You better get that kid into speech therapy ASAP! :LOL Still, a baby beats a golden lab any day.

post #43 of 776
I'm having computer problems again. Right now, I'm on the ILs old computer, which moves like molasses in January because they had a high speed connection with absolutely no virus protection for about five years. I talked them into buying some for the new computer, but nothing will rescue this one except for a complete wipe of the hard drive, which I can't do because I can't find a Windows 98 disc to reinstall it.

Anyway, my point is, I can't look at the pictures because the page is taking a year and a half to load. I also can't scan in any BeanBean art because my printer isn't installed on this computer. I've been really despondent about my Macintosh lately. Why did I have to ruin it before I even got to enjoy it?!

BeanBean told me this morning that there is no milk in my nursies, and this evening instead of asking to nurse he asked for a bottle of Pediasure. I've got mixed feelings on it. When I told Mike, he said that it made perfect sense to him, because for the past few days BooBah has been trying to nurse on him whenever he's not wearing a shirt. He knew that my supply was diminishing as soon as she tried (she never had before). Poor BooBah! She won't give up nursing, though she does ask for something to drink afterwards. I was hoping that tandem nursing would keep my supply up longer, but something has gone awry and the milk is already gone (I'm 6w 4d today). Interestingly enough, I also feel like my morning sickness is going. That's a real puzzler, eh? One pregnancy symptom leaving and a new one taking it's place, all about 10 weeks ahead of schedule for me.

BeanBean is really enjoying reading, and is looking forward to September because he'll be able to wear his new shoes. When I bought them, I told him that they were "for the fall, when it starts to get cold." He asked me when that was, and I told him it was September, which led to getting the calendar down and showing him July, August, and September. He realized this morning that "it's almost September, and I'll get to wear my new Nikes!" :LOL He expects me to take the box down on the first, and since I did say that "fall" was "September"... well, that's that! :LOL

Today BeanBean put me on time out "for singing about BooBahs and BeanBeans." I pouted and he gave me a hug and said, "I love you, but you're on time out and you can't click that mouse." Later he came and took my face in his hands and said, "Your time is up. I love you very much, but don't sing that song again!" I don't like the idea of time out very much, but BeanBean is seriously attached to it. He really does need the time to get control of himself and relax, and I think that he enjoys the extra loveloves that go with it, but it still rubs me entirely the wrong way.

BooBah has been a most excellent and amazing BooBah! She's excellently cuddly and loveable, has been talking a blue streak and will climb anything that holds still long enough for her to get a grip. In fact, if there's nothing to climb, she will make something to climb out of available materials (she prefers laundry hampers and books, but anything will do!) and proceed to climb it with alarming speed. These days I'm glad that she's not in a crib, because she would have broken her neck climbing out of it by now. She's also beginning to demonstrate an almost scary degree of receptive language. Last week, for example, I was giving BeanBean some of his daily loveloves. He was on the bed getting hugs and kisses while I asked, "Who loves you?" He would answer with a person, "Daddy loves me!" and I'd ask again, with more kisses and tickles. In the middle of this, BooBah ran up and kissed him on the cheek! She was all drooly and happy and said, "I love Eli!" It was such a melty moment! :LOL What a sugar bun! Anyway, she's been doing little things like that which demonstrate understanding. She's also taken to dancing in the middle of the living room for no apparent reason and to no audible music. She spins in a circle, claps her hands, laughs and wiggles... It's so cute! I love her little stomp-steps, she's got a rhythm all her own.

BeanBean has also been extra sweet and lovey lately, and very helpful with BooBah. He knows that we're going to have a baby, and when I told him that my milk will come back when the baby comes out he said, "Well, let's go to the doctor and get that baby out!!" :LOL I told him that it has to grow more before it can come out and he was so disappointed. He will discuss airplanes and helicopters with anyone who will sit still long enough for him to talk to them, and at my LLL meeting last week he insisted on going to the bathroom by himself. He went to the door and announced, "I have to pee. You're not going to help me!" and then he *ran* to the bathroom. I followed him, but he did all of the important things by himself. It seems to me that he's more willing to use the bathroom while he's wearing clothing if he's not at home. I dunno. Today he was naked, so he used the bathroom all day. I've got to get him to do the same thing wearing underpants.

Tomorrow evening, Mike and I are taking the kids to an orchard. We won't be doing an apple pick (though it does sound like fun!) but we'll get lots of different kinds of apples and I'll make a vat of applesauce later in the week. My MIL asked me to make apple butter again, but when I made it last year it was a complete accident and I have no idea how it happened. It was absolutely delicious, and it made the yummiest half-moon pies, but I'm not sure that I could replicate the experiment. I've still got a few jars of last year's applesauce, one of which we opened and inhaled last week (). We'll have to eat them or find something else to do with them. This year I'm going to be peeling my apples; I don't usually, but BooBah has no molars and the peels are really difficult for her. I'd like for her to be able to eat her fill without worrying about her choking on the peels, so they're out this year. In fact, those peels and cores may be my incentive to start a compost pile... Hmmm...

Lisa-- I'm so jealous!! I love chemistry! :LOL I hope BeanBean develops an interest in chemistry when he's a bit older.
post #44 of 776
May I break into this thread?

I have a gifted 3.5 year old, as well as a special needs (severe delays) 2 year old. They are complete polar opposites. I have been lurking in the gifted threads, but haven't posted until now.

My son was an early talker (sentences by 12 months), and was very articulate , with a vocabulary of over 1,000 words (I lost count) by 18 months, he was also able to recognize all of his letters, numbers (through 10), count in English and Spanish, recognize shapes, and colors (English and Spanish), and was potty trained at that point. He figured out the pattern to count to 100 around his 2nd birthday, and did well with counting objects (beyond rote counting), and could recognize some written words at that point.

He's now interested in sounding words out, drawing, doing puzzles, painting, telling elaborate stories, having in depth discussions with imaginary friends, and taking things apart (much to the chagrin of mommy). He is literally a little sponge. I have picked up some wonderful educational ideas from these threads.

Sometimes I feel like he is neglected (mental stimulation), because we focus quite a bit on his sister, who is in therapy 4 days a week. Now, he also has to contend with his new baby brother. Zach (my three year old), is also a very high needs child. So, it's quite difficult to keep up with him.

Question, do any of your little ones have issues with constant nightmares?
post #45 of 776
post #46 of 776
Originally Posted by Britishmum

Dd#1, who has far more social development challenges than #2, did so well I'm stunned. What wonderful teachers we have! One in particular just seems to 'get it'. She took dd under her wing, gave her jobs to do looking after the animals, chatted to her about our pets, and generally just gave dd chance to weigh her up and decide she trusted her. Dd was even talking to her, very quietly and with her back to her - but talking - by the end of the morning. (this is a huge deal - she does not talk to new people, and can take years to warm up to someone. She sometimes never does warm up, and simply cringes if certain people even look at her). She didnt cope with circle time but nobody acted like they noticed or cared.
I am so happy for you and dd that it went well. I know just what it can be like, since our kiddos are so similar. I'm dreading tomorrow, because ds gets to meet his new kindergarten teacher and classmates for the first time. School begins on Tuesday, and tomorrow is the "meet and greet," which is luckily just 30 minutes. My mom will be bringing him, as I'll be with my own students who had their 1st day today!

Amazingly, no nightmares here, though we have serious daily waking fears all the time!
post #47 of 776
Thank you for looking at ds1's artwork.

Jenn, I love that boat and dolphin picture. I love the detail in it. I know this sounds weird, but the water kind of looks like it's moving. It's a great picture!

Lisa, I love the use of color in Nan's paintings. I think that, "Chocolate flypaper" has to be my favorite. What a cool idea!

Welcome, Jen. I don't have exp with nightmares, but I hope that you get some good support and advice. {{hugs}}

Britishmum, I'm glad that school is going well for your daughter.

Teachma, Good luck at the meet and greet tomorrow!

Rynna, I hope you are able to sort out your computer problems. Your kids sound so sweet and cuddly, btw; I love the way you describe them.

Originally Posted by lckrause
Leftfield, those drawings are terrific! I am really impressed. The clown and the "taken apart" picture are particularly cool. I hope your son continues to draw.
Thank you. He still hasn't drawn yet, but we haven't been back home a week yet, so maybe he's still dealing with jet-lag and general readjustment. It's just unlike him to go more than a day without drawing.

Like Rynna, I am also jealous of your chemistry set-up. I hope that it's something that appeals to the kids one day. It sounds like so much fun.

Total random stuff about us...
My kids act so differently around other people. We were with my ILs for over two weeks and while the kids were both obsessed with my dh's childhood "tiny Legos" , they otherwise appeared so ordinary. It's good, I suppose. But you'd never know that anything was different about ds1. He's so good at blending or maybe it's hiding. My MIL was incredibly impressed that he was able to count 5 dots on something that she asked him about. She said, "You can tell that he actually understands there are five and he's not just reciting." Five?? Sometimes, I wonder if people think I'm making stuff up or at least exaggerating, maybe prepping??

Ds2 has been naming some planets, but never the right ones. He hardly has any choice, since our house is inundated with space stuff and ds1 has been "reading" space books to him for a while. Today, after listening to me read the Magic School Bus space book to ds1, ds2 brought me a picture book of planets from the shelf. He was saying, "Joopter? joopter?". He says, "moon", Mars" and "Saturn" (sa-sur), but never for the right planets. Sometimes, he really insists that Saturn is Mars. Poor kid has little choice in seeing planet stuff. :LOL

We're still dealing with jet-lag, as mentioned. Everyone's kind of grouchy around here.
post #48 of 776
Thread Starter 
Leftfield, that story about the planets is funny. :LOL Hollis used to always try to teach Nan her letters when she was a baby. Probably why she learned them soooo long before she learned how to read. There's a pic here: http://www.ghosts.org/annika/ahletter.jpg I bet your son is just readjusting to the time difference and stuff and will draw again soon.

Teachma, I hope your son has a great time at kindergarten!

Rynna, I hope your computer troubles get resolved soon. Is it selfish to say it's beacause I miss you on the thread? Boobah sounds just adorable! I am sure she and Beanbean will forgive you for the milk trauma. Gosh, 6 weeks is really early to lose your milk, though.

Britishmum, I'm so glad to hear that the preschool went well. I was wondering what would happen with that. I don't watch any soap operas so this thread is the closest I've got. Next installment: Teachma's son's kinder capers! :LOL

Jen, welcome to the thread. You sound like a great mom. My kids don't have a lot of nightmares but neither did I as a kid. I guess it runs in the family.

Isisjade, I don't remember Hollis going through a "why" phase, although Nan definitely did. I'd say a "how" stage has been going on since birth though.

We got our chemistry books in the mail the other day. They are college-level and much more comprehensive than the middle/high school level book (not a textbook) we already have. Hollis was pawing through it last night looking at stuff. It's scary to realize that he can actually read understand a college textbook. BTW, Rynna and Leftfield, I think you guys are nuts getting that excited about chemistry. :LOL Do you want me to assign you some mole problems just for fun?
post #49 of 776
BeanBean had nightmares when he was tiny, and all that Mike and I could think of was that he was having nightmares about the NICU, because nothing else that was remotely scary had happened to him. Every other nightmare has been directly related to a scary idea, usually from a movie or his cousins. He had three nights of bad dreams after he saw Beauty and the Beast. BooBah "wakes" in the middle of the night and screams for no reason. I'm pretty sure that she's got night terrors, but at her age noone would diagnose the problem that way. Mike's sister had horrible night terrors as a child, though, and and she was exactly the same way as an infant. It's kind of funny, because when she's awake she's a very mellow little person (totally unlike Mike's sister, who, in the present age, would never have gotten out of elementary school without a ritalin prescription), but when she's asleep, all hell can break loose. She's been sleeping for longer stretches, but whenever she has an exciting day or something unfamiliar happens, she "wakes" all night long, screaming bloody murder and pulling my hair and shaking me around with her eyes shut. It sucks.

Isis-- BeanBean is the same age as your son, and while he does ask "why?" he answers himself as often as not. "Why is BooBah crying? She's unhappy because she wants a nursie." He has entire conversations with himself. :LOL He also asks rhetorical "why" questions-- "Why did you go out? Don't ever leave me, and you must never leave BooBah!"-- to which he expects no answer. Most of his questions are "What does this say? Mommy, read this to me!" and "Do you see that? It's a____!" :LOL

Britishmum-- So glad to hear that preschool went well! BeanBean actually told someone that he was homeschooling last week. I was so proud!

Leftfield-- That's so cool about the planets! BeanBean did the same thing, only he knew them all fairly early. He's totally obsessed. BooBah knows Saturn (it's very distinctive) but she gets confused when you start talking about Saturn cars. :LOL The rest of them, she tries to say their names but she can't match the names to the pictures. I may make BeanBean a styrofoam solar system in the near future, if I can find a way to make it impervious to BooBah's teeth.

Lisa-- Chemistry rocks, it's one of my "things." :LOL Nobody else in my family is remotely interested in chemistry; my older brother's father is a chemist so he used to feign interest, but after failing a whole semester of chemistry in college he decided to be honest with himself and his father and changed his major to journalism. :LOL I just can't get enough chemistry, I'm so excited about teaching BeanBean and BooBah and the new Bug! I'm content to wait, though. It's plenty of fun watching BeanBean learn how to read! He's so excited by it all. :LOL It's all good-- no molarity problems just now, thank you. I did get to explain the concept of molarity to Mike a few months ago, though, and that was really nice. :LOL

I taught my brother his letters. I actually taught him how to read before he was five. :LOL I still remember my mother finding out that he could read and asking me about it. "Did you know that your brother can read?" "Of course he can, I taught him." "You did?" "Yeah. Why do you ask?" "Um, no reason...." Later she told me that she had read that it's almost impossible for a child to teach another child how to read, it's supposedly the hardest way to do it and the child learning usually gives up before he gets anywhere. Nobody bothered to tell us, so we didn't care. :LOL

My niece with Asperger's started school this week. She went to the kindergarten orientation and met her new teacher, who was absolutely stunned by her. "Um, she can read," he said. "Yes," said my mother, "But she really doesn't understand most of it. You do realize that, right? She hasn't got a clue about what she's reading, it's hyperlexia." "Yes, but she can read." He just didn't know what to make of her. My sister held up a dinosaur for her and asked her what it was and she said, "That's a tyrannosaurus rex, and this is a triceratops." Mom said that the teacher's head was literally spinning. :LOL That's all well and good, but there was only one stranger in the room (the new teacher). How fascinating will she be when she's spinning and flapping and screaming and there are 20 other children in the room?

ChibiChibi is going back to school this year, too, as far as I know. When asked why she wanted to go back to public school, she answered, "It's a lot less work than homeschooling!" :LOL Poor kid, she wants everyone to believe that she's an idiot again and it's just not going to happen. Well, in my mother's house it might, but I'm going to behave myself and not go there.
post #50 of 776

Funny things

**I'd kind of like to start a thread about the funny things that kids say sometimes, because BeanBean has been a riot lately! The trouble is, I'm not sure that it's reasonable to start this thread in Toddlers, or The Childhood Years. What do you think?

Funny things that BeanBean has said over the past few days:

Me: BeanBean, what's on your fingernails?

BeanBean: What? (looking at nails) Oh! Yes, I am wearing nail polish. I decided to put some on. (Showing me his nails) It's purple. ( : )

(pointing to the smilie): "This one looks just like me, he never shuts up!"

Me: Where do you live?
BeanBean: Right here in my house. (This is hilarious-- when I pressed him he gave me his full address; all I wanted was the city.)


BeanBean (Rubbing his belly button): I've got a baby in me.

Me: You can't have a baby in you, you're a boy. Only Mammas can have babies in them.

BeanBean: Yes I can! I can have a period and I can have a baby.

Me: Honey, only women can have periods. Girls can have them when they get older, but little boys can never have periods and they can never have babies.

BeanBean: Can ChibiChibi have a period?

Me: Yes, when she gets older.

BeanBean: Does your sister have a period?

Me: Yes.

BeanBean: And when BooBah gets older, she'll have a period and then she can have a baby inside, too?

Me: Yes, that's right.

BeanBean: Well, I want to get a period so I can have a baby.

Me: I'm sorry, but little boys can't get periods.

BeanBean: Well that's not very nice!

I managed to keep a straight face the whole time-- I totally think I deserve some kind of parenting award for that! : What inspired this conversation? Well, my 8 year old niece asked me what a period was last week, and I told her that it means that your body is ready to make a baby, but you can still be a little punk and not be ready to raise one. I guess BeanBean was paying more attention than I thought (he was busy crashing a toy Volkswagen at the time). :
post #51 of 776
Bwa haha! "That's not very nice." Thanks for giving me a laugh today, Rynna.

veiledexpressions, welcome. Your description of your son at 18 months reminds me a lot of where my daughter is right now (she's 19 months). It's fun to envision the future.

DD does have what I would call "night terrors" of a sort. She cries suddenly for literally like 10-30 seconds, but in a loud, I AM FREAKING kind of way. By the time we get in there, her eyes are closed and she appears asleep. ??? She has been doing this occasionally since about 11 months. I don't like it, but I don't really have a clue what to do about it.

We write down all kinds of funny things DD says. It particularly cracks me up the way she uses adult expressions. Let's see...today I heard:

"The canopy fell down. It's really TOO BAD." (My husband just constructed this elaborate sunshade canopy for the large windows on the side of our house. This of course fell down during the first good rainstorm. Didn't reinforce the grommets enough.) I had never heard her use that one before. Hee. It IS too bad, let me tell you.

OH! And the other day I got exasperated with her for taking an incredibly short nap and being totally unruly and screamy-wild during a diaper change, and spoke to her very shortly. A few minutes later I felt bad, and apologized, saying something like "I'm sorry I got mad, honey. Mama was a little upset."

She looked at me very wisely and said, "Mama have tantrum."

LOL. We just used the word with her for the first time the other day (I was explaining--yes, I overexplain--that I was not giving the broom back to her JUST because she had a tantrum, but because there's no rule against having the broom...she was just getting frustrated, so... .)

Today she counted to 49 with me (that is, I say "one" she says "two," etc) with only one mistake. (She always skips 16, because she just really loves 17.) Pretty cool. She likes to count, and randomly asks us to do it from time to time. She's very fixated on Chicka Chicka 123 right now, especially the big spread with all the numbers from 1-100 in the back. Have I mentioned that I hate math and am intimidated by people who are good at it?
post #52 of 776
Hi, I've enjoyed reading your descriptions of your kids.

My dd has recently started first grade. She was having a hard time for the first couple of weeks, and is just now doing better. Her teacher said academically she is fine, but not emotionally. Her teacher also said she was reading a level 12 book and they only go up to level 18 in first grade. I don't really understand what the levels mean, though she did say that most of the kids start at about a level 3. If she finishes reading level 18 books soon, what then? Will she be able to keep going on to second grade books? My MIL said that my BIL didn't start reading until first grade, but read all the first, second and third grade level books during first grade. I'll have to speak with her teacher to see what she'll do for dd.
post #53 of 776
post #54 of 776
post #55 of 776
Just bumping us a bit.

Britishmum, it's lovely to hear gifted kid school success stories.

We had another rite of passage the other day. DH (unwisely, IMO) told his mother that DD can recognize a bunch (I don't know how many, but more than 20) of sight words now. She told us this was "impossible." :LOL Well, you know us--always making things up out of thin air! Not.

DD is really obsessed with counting right now. I blame Chicka, Chicka 123.
post #56 of 776
Originally Posted by loraxc
We had another rite of passage the other day. DH (unwisely, IMO) told his mother that DD can recognize a bunch (I don't know how many, but more than 20) of sight words now. She told us this was "impossible." :LOL Well, you know us--always making things up out of thin air! Not.
[rant]You know, this really gets on my nerves, and I should totally be immune to it now. It really pisses me off when people say "That's impossible" about something that a real person I've actually met/been has done. Maybe I'm just too sensitive, but it drives me up a freaking wall!! They can't say "that's unlikely" or "I've never heard of a child doing that," they just eliminate it because it's out of their realm of experience. I can't stand it! [/rant]

I haven't been feeling well over the past few days. I think I've got a stomach virus. It totally *sucks*.
post #57 of 776
Rynna, I hope you feel better soon!

Ds' kindergarten experience thus far, in a nutshell:
He was extremely apprehensive and cried while boarding the bus the first day. No tears since! He loves the teacher, the classroom, and most of all, the SCHEDULE! He asked if I could call his teacher to get a copy of the daily schedule to hang in his bedroom. That is so not surprising, if you know my son. I said no, he should let it be a surprise! His teacher also called and left a message the first day, saying that he built a wonderful structure in the block area with some friends. While I know it was a routine teacher phone call (I make them myself during the first week of school) it meant a lot to us because she mentioned he'd been playing WITH FRIENDS! So her message reinforced our goal of behaving socially. He has met on boy in another class with whom he enjoys playing at recess. i think they mostly play "chase" games, but as long as the other guy is a willing participant, I'm happy. It's much better than ds chasing kids who'd rather be left alone.

We have decided to go ahead with the testing at the end of October. We have figured that ds will inevitable encounter some rough patches, behaviour-wise and socially, and having some test scores to "back him up" might help in some way. So it will be 2 Sundays from 10:00-12:00. The psychologist said, after she listened to me speak about ds, "Well, at this time, I wouldn't say it's an absolute must, but it could be fun because it might generate some very interesting results." That, combined with my concerns for his well-beeing at school, as enough to make it a go.

Nothing else new with us- just trying to keep my head above water now that ds and I are both back at school. It's realllly hard!
post #58 of 776

My turn to show off!

Okay while we are sharing artwork, I can't resist sharing some of Abi's! I don't know if this is "advanced" or not (well some of it is, at least the math concepts) but I'm really, really enjoying her drawings because it is a window into her mind.

A butterfly riding a roller coaster , complete with seat and seatbelt.

Math lesson This is one that dh started to draw and then got interrupted by a phone call. Abi finished it. It's "Decimal Street" which she spelled "Desiml Street." It has houses of hundred's, ten's and one's. The Hundred's Castle has flags on it and it's daydreaming about doing math. (Nitara added a "sun" at the top of the picture.)

Magnetic board This is not art, but she was playing around with her magnetic board and made "sentences": Pet jig yes, Frog on log, Pam bac (bake) ham, wet cat.

A ballerina horse dancing on stage in the spotlight.

Ballerina cat wearing a tutu and sticking its tongue out.

Superman pulling Abi out of a pit of mud with a rope. There is also a giant anthill and giant ants, and a dark cloudly sky with tornado to the right. I asked what were on their heads and she said, "umbrella hats!" :LOL

Fish tank

Charlotte's Web after hearing the book on CD. Big red barn with the web in one corner, spider hanging down. Wilber in his pen, a horse in another pen with a hay bale next to the pen. A smiling tornado to the right.
post #59 of 776
post #60 of 776
Hey USamma, where did you get that magnetic board and letters? I think my DD might like something like that sometime relatively soon. She is interested in making words with her Leapfrog Fridge Phonics thing, but it only has one of each letter.

I love the butterfly riding the rollercoaster!

eilonwy, I think perhaps we all need to take the Red Queen's motto from Alice in Wonderland: "Why, sometimes I've done six impossible things before breakfast!"
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