Friday, October 20, 2017

Lost Underpants

This afternoon my best friend called me and said she and two of her girls were going to one of the indoor trampoline places and did I want to go with our children?  Of course we wanted to go, it’s a huge place with trampolines, an obstacle course, big swings that drop into foam pits and dodge ball courts.   We got dressed from our morning cold weather clothes into shorts and met at her house a half-hour later, ready to go.

My children both loved the time.   I spent a good bit with my daughter who needed a lot more management than my son.   The floor and surrounding areas were lower contrast than she can see, but she liked it all, especially the silk climbing ropes and the high-wire swing.   The swing she could hold on to with what looked like barely her fingertips far longer than people expected.   I had to explain about the hanging on our door frames and her having a huge amount of strength in her fingers as a result.   Fingers that are peeling from all the climbing in fact.

I taught my best friend some trampoline moves and helped my son with the same.   They both had a hard time with confidence jumping and falling back squarely on their backs, mostly landing on their bottoms instead.   My daughter tried very hard to do the same thing but she wasn’t able to follow me visually so I tried to show her physically what I was doing.   She has more skill, but wasn’t able to put my words and demonstrations on her to the best of use.

No one really wanted to leave when our hour was up as the lights flashed and the announcement was made, but we had to get to dinner.   My daughter was cross because I didn’t get to help her with one last swing, that being because I’d lost my cell phone in the foam pit after doing a complicated Cirque move with the silks one of the children had shown me.   My watch pinged the phone and I was able to locate it quickly in the pit but time was still up.

As we were walking across the edge of the trampoline field to the exit I looked down and noticed a pair of lace underwear on the floor.   Folks, if you know me, you know I’m not shy.   So I held them up with people all around me and said aloud, “someone lost their underwear, would you look at that”.   As I walked over to two young men who worked there I held them up more prominently and said, “I think someone lost their underwear, I’m not sure how you lose underwear on a trampoline, but I would have liked to see it.”   The two guys looked at each other and were trying not to laugh.  

They took the underwear to the front desk and all the staff there didn’t know what to do with them, saying they’d never had lost underwear before and didn’t know what to do with them.   During this entire time my daughter asked me again and again if the underwear were mine.   I kept telling her I wasn’t wearing underwear on account of the pants being exercise pants that didn’t require underwear.   She wasn’t getting it so I kept explaining how I couldn’t have lost underwear because I didn’t have any.    This got to be fairly funny as it went on, even after we’d gathered our things and gotten our shoes on.

I don’t know who’s lace underwear they were, but I don’t know if the person would have claimed them after all the comments being made about them from everyone around us.

The Big Boy Update:  My son was working diligently on writing out the credits for our sitter, Morgan’s film so she could add them, in his handwriting, to the production.   His sister was complaining because she wanted to be involved and saying something about it not being fair.   She was bothering him so much that she got sent to her room.   As my husband took her upstairs my son kept writing and without looking up said aloud, “this is so much better without Reese.”

The Tiny Girl Chronicles:  My daughter got some cotton candy at the fair the other day.   She  was busy making a sticky mess of both herself and the bag but not caring because she was having such a good time eating it when she told me, “every time I eat it it’s magic”.   I didn’t understand what she meant until she explained that it just disappeared when she put it in her mouth.   I told her that was one of the most magical parts about cotton candy.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Baby Deers and Bandaids

We went to the fair again today with my neighbor and her two children.  My son and daughter were both excited to spend some time with their close friends going on rides and eating fair food.   We arrived early and beat a lot of the crowds.   The children went on the big slide gliding down on a burlap sack many times before we convinced them to move to something else.

It was a sunny day and the temperature, while initially chilly, had warmed up and the weather was quiet clement.   I was thinking about how lovely the sunny day had turned out when suddenly I realized I hadn’t put sunscreen on my head scar.   The one where I bashed my head open with a glass during our annual trip to New Jersey.  

Crap.   Drat.   This isn’t good.    The fresh scar was about the same color as my skin, in part because I’d been keeping the sun’s rays blocked from hitting it.   A fresh scar will turn red with sun exposure. I’d been diligent in protecting the scar but this morning I’d forgotten sun screen.

I asked our friend if she had any sunscreen in her backpack or even a bandaid but she had nothing.   So I went on a hunt for help.   The information booth was close to us and the man there pointed to a second booth, saying they could help me there with any medical needs.

The second booth wasn’t really set up to be a true first aid I could tell because there was an older man dressed in what looked like a highway patrol uniform who greeted from the small, round booth.   Did he have a bandaid, I asked?   He looked at me slowly and pulled something out of his breast pocket, looked at it and then pulled out a second thing.  

The second thing turned out to be a very, very tiny first aid kit.   Without a word he extracted and handed me a bandaid.   Then he asked me if I was okay.   So I had to explain about the scar and the sunscreen.   I told him all about the baby deer I had saved from the barbed wire, only to be kicked in the face by a hoof.    Then I said, “do you have some scissors?”

I wasn’t particularly hopeful because this little booth didn’t look all that well-equipped.   The main first aid station is significant and extensive, but it was a quarter mile away and I didn’t feel like walking that far.  

But this man with his slow manner reached into his pocket and pulled out a pocket knife.   While he did this I told him that baby deer story was complete fiction and the real truth was completely due to my clumsiness.   Now that he understood that I wanted a small section of the sticky part of the bandaid to cover the scar to block the sun’s rays, he had a plan with the bandaid and his pocket knife.

I was to hold the bandaid on either side and he was going to slice down and cut me off a small section.   I held and he cut.   And then I put the small bit onto my scar with him making sure I had it positioned right.   He took the rest of the bandaid and put it back into his tiny first aid kit and I thanked him.   He didn’t have a lot to say but his booth had everything I needed.

The Big Boy Update:  My son rode on a ride that spun around today at the fair.   When he got off I asked him if the ride was fun.   He told me, “I’m fine but a little bit of fainting”

The Tiny Girl Chronicles:  As we were leaving the fair today my daughter saw several new cars being showcased from local dealerships.   I have no idea what prompted it but she told me, “it would be nice if we could win a new car for Nana for Christmas.”   I told her that would definitely be nice.   As we got home, literally one hour later, we got a text from Papa showing Nana standing beside a new car—a car we didn’t even know she was planning on getting.    I guess my daughter will have to come up with another Christmas present for Nana now.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

I Can’t Find It

Most of the time I don’t get overly bothered by what my daughter has to do to go through her life unsighted.   Sometimes things get to me though.   Let me preface this story by saying first that this particular incident wasn’t an isolated situation involving only her and her lack of vision.  Her brother had a hand in the matter, that being mostly one of irritation and aggravation.

I missed what started it but it was probably the two of them hurrying to get dressed to get downstairs for breakfast.   This is interesting in and of itself because most days we’re trying to get them to hurry up and come down and they’re busy dawdling or delaying.   Whatever happened caused my son though to arrive downstairs first, leaving my daughter to find her clothes and make it down second.

She’s typically down before him, climbing the door frames and waking us up.   Yesterday she was not only second, she was last by a long shot.   I don’t know what happened because I was one flight below, getting ready in the bathroom.  What I did hear though, over and over, was her crying and saying, “I can’t find it.   I can’t find it.”

I never found out what “it” was.   It might have been a piece of clothing or more likely one of her stuffed animals.   But it bothered me.   She couldn’t find it and she was trying—only she couldn't see to locate it.   We’ve been told the best thing based on her temperament is to let her work things like this out for herself.   I also know a lot of this particular situation was more insult or anger rather than frustration or despair.  

But it still bothered me to hear her so upset.

The Big Boy Update:  My son was asked to help out a friend of our sitter, Morgan, with her video project by doing the voice work for a young boy talking to his grandpa (whom he looks up to) about why he drinks coffee in the morning.   My son was very excited to do the voiceover work.  He knows  that his sister had done the voice acting for Morgan’s film this semester already.   I got the script today and we say down to record tonight.   My son took the job very seriously, and even read through the lines himself, practicing his reading.   He’s looking forward to seeing the finished film and listening to his voice animated as a little boy named Greg.

The Tiny Girl Chronicles:  My daughter knows we have unlock codes on our phones and iPads.  Her brother asked for a code for his iPad a while back.   At first I wasn’t sure she could see the outline of the numbers on the black background but she can get them in relation to each other.   When I came home from class tonight she proudly told me dad had set up a code she picked.   She told me what the code was and how it was smilier, but different than mine.   She even brought her iPad out to give me a demonstration of how she can unlock it now.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A Solid Ten

We went to the fair yesterday with the children, Uncle Jonathan and Richard, one of my closest childhood friends, who was in town visiting while his mother had knee replacement surgery.   Richard hadn’t been to the fair since he was a child and mostly had memories of looking at antiques with his parents.

With that as his only memory of the fair we swore not to look at a single antique—and we met that challenge.   There was a side challenge of who could eat the most or at least most varied food and I think we all won on that front because we tried bites of everyone else’s choices.

The children were all about the rides and the cotton candy and we had both.   The rides were upgraded in simplicity this year with an armband that let you ride for the full day at one price.   We met and exceeded the price point easily with the low-traffic night and the exuberance of the children. I met and exceeded my calorie count for the day with the food, but that was my plan all along.

The children didn’t flag in energy and didn’t complain once.   My son did cartwheels and spins for at least a third of the time and my daughter found something we didn’t expect—a green inflatable monkey.   The very same monkey from two years ago at Myrtle Beach.  She held on to that monkey and talked to it and had it squeak to us and was so happy to have “Monkey Version 2.0” in her life.

We had fun with Richard and I hope he had a fun time with us.   It’s hard not to have a good time at the fair.   As I was driving home I heard my son rating Richard in the back of the car, saying he’d give him, “a solid seven”.   Richard got in on the game and for the remainder of the ride home people and things were given a “solid” something or other.   Richard had us all laughing.

This morning our children were not having this whole bit about Richard having to leave.  He is expected to return both soon and regularly with my children telling him they’d see him at Halloween, my daughter’s birthday, thanksgiving, my son’s birthday and Christmas.  

Pretty much no one wanted Richard to leave.   To our family, he’s a solid ten.

The Big Boy Update:  My son is getting better at reading and sight words.   We’re catching him up from being behind due to multiple things last year, several of them not his fault.   I think he’s enjoying being able to read a whole book.

The Tiny Girl Chronicles:  My daughter told us tonight, “back in the old days when I couldn’t climb, you had to walk through the doorways and it was boring. I wanted to make it so you could go under my tunnels“

Monday, October 16, 2017

But What About FaceTime

My daughter loves to call people on the Amazon Alexa.   This morning she had her headphones on.   Sometimes I hear her talk to her iPad saying, “Siri, how many days until November 11th?”  November 11th is her birthday, a day she’s looking forward to as she’ll be the same age as her brother—six.

She asks Siri all sorts of little things like what the weather is going to be like and what time it is.   Today she asked Siri to call her father.   I told her she couldn’t make phone calls on her iPad, that she needed to do so on Alexa.   And then she said, “but what about FaceTime?

We don’t FaceTime much and I think my daughter has only done so on a few occasions, but she was correct, she could FaceTime anyone with an Apple device so I took her iPad and enabled it.   Then we took some time adding in people she might want to FaceTime, starting with her father and me.   Next she wanted to call Papa and spent a bit of time talking to both Nana and Papa.   She wanted to call Mimi and we’ve planned to do so later today or tomorrow.

When she was on the phone with my husband she was looking at his face, merely inches from her nose as she kept the iPad close to her.   She said, “why are you blinking your eyes?”   Then she said, “why are you opening your mouth?”   Next she decided to play with his face, saying she was tickling his nose and ears.   She was seeing something.   I don’t know with what clarity, but she knows where the parts of the face are located and she could see them moving.  

She can find icons on her iPad but she has to work hard to hit them in the right place to open the app, so I know she doesn’t have clear vision, but it’s something.   And now she has the ability to call people visually on the iPad as well as verbally on the Amazon Alexa.   So watch out folks, you might be getting a call soon from her.

The Big Boy Update:  This morning in the car a song came on about free fall.   I asked my son if he knew what free fall was and he told me he didn’t.   I explained what it meant to go into orbit and that the astronauts were in free fall in the space station around our planet.   We talked about how hard it was to get into orbit because of gravity.   I told him, “gravity is one of the strongest forces in our universe” to which he said, “no mom, gravity is one of the weak forces”.    My son just owned me on the subject of the fundamental forces of the universe.   I had to agree with him that gravity was considered one of the weak forces—and yet, look at how strong it is.  Could he imagine jumping into orbit?   He agreed with me and said he wanted to see some YouTube videos of astronauts free falling when he got home from school.

The Tiny Girl Chronicles:   My daughter climbs the door frames with such frequency now that she causes her fingers to bleed.   She’ll come over and ask if they’re bleeding when she feels the skin getting weak.   It’s hard to stop her from climbing because she doesn’t even realize she’s suppose to be stopping when she’s got compromised fingers.   Today she’s already been banned from more climbing and has asked more than once if her fingers have healed enough for her to climb again and wouldn’t bandaids help?

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Basket Beer

We had guests tonight.   My mother’s best friend, JoAnn, and one of our long-time friends came to town because JoAnn is having knee replacement surgery tomorrow.   JoAnn offered to get Chinese food for us so we could have dinner at home and do some catching up.

She and Carolyn arrived shortly before their son, one of my childhood best friends, made it to town so he could be with his mother for the surgery.   Dinner arrived via delivery and we all sat down to a cacophony of conversation that can only happen when friends get together and children are added into the mix.

My children can be rambunctious but tonight they were on their best manners, raising their hands to have a turn to talk and not yelling, whining or quarreling.   Richard brought some fresh cherry tomatoes from their garden and a bowl of them was passed around with my daughter eating the lion’s share of them.

Ice cream sandwiches were had by the children and those that were children at heart and then Aunt Jo left to get some sleep before her surgery tomorrow.   My daughter and son very much like their adopted aunt and were sad to see her go.   They also love Richard.   My daughter gave him a nickname tonight because he brought a basket of tomatoes and drank beer with dinner.   She loves making up nicknames for people and insisted his name was, “Richard Basket Beer” as she prepared for bed and brushed her teeth.

I think Richard is checking on her in her bed because she didn’t want to go to sleep without saying goodnight.   We’re all hopeful for the best possible outcome with JoAnn’s surgery tomorrow.   She’s been in a lot of pain and the knee replacement surgery is coming none too soon.

The Big Boy Update:  My son wanted to know what would happen if the sun went away.   I talked to him about the earth’s rotation and how the sun would come back around.   No, that’s not what he meant, he told me; he meant if the sun completely went away.    He suggested batteries and flash lights and I explained how that wouldn’t last that long and it would get cold.   He suggested we turn up the heat and I said that we wouldn’t be able to keep the heat on without the sun’s energy to keep the earth warm on a daily basis.   There wasn’t a satisfactory ending to the conversation but I tried to help him understand; I remembered wondering the same thing when I was a child.

The Tiny Girl Chronicles:  My daughter was eating lunch and asked, “does this meat come from chickens or cows?”  My husband told her she was eating chicken.   She said, “but I thought chickens came from cows?”  My husband explained saying, “chickens come from chickens”.   She then asked, “does this mean I’m eating the body of a chicken?”  Yes, my husband told her.   “Yuck” she said, and then continued to eat.

Gigi’s Declaration:  My best friend’s daughter had a saying that made me laugh so much I had to write it down.   She’s two days younger than my daughter and has been potty trained for several years now.   But she isn’t completely trained she said as she told her mother after a particularly gassy day, “I’m potty trained, I’m not fart trained”.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

VI Dinner

My husband and I went to dinner tonight with one of my daughter’s visual impairment teachers.   We miss her, as she is no longer working with my daughter since kindergarten started.   Raffaella asked to have a lunch with my daughter over the summer and at that time we also met Raffaella’s daughter, Lauren, who is also visually impaired.

Lauren is a sophomore at one of the local universities.   She uses a cane and while she can read braille, she mostly uses technology to increase the size of the print and/or has things read to her with some VI software.   Lauren is a computer science major and she and I have a lot of things in common we’ve found out.    Tonight she sat for the children while her parents went out to dinner with us.

We had a lovely dinner getting to know Raffaella’s husband and catching up with her.   We ended up talking a lot about Lauren’s experiences as a child growing up blind and what we might have to expect in the years to come.    I don’t think it was any of our intentions to talk so much about blindness and the ramifications it has as a sensory impairment on a human being, but it was the thing we most had in common.  And as parents, we can’t help but talk about our children.  

My husband and I learned a lot.   While there will be challenges, there is also comfort in knowing the hurdles are surmountable.   It’s a comfort hearing about their daughter and the struggles she’s met and excelled beyond.   She’s a perfectionist and is unsatisfied with anything but an A grade in anything.   She’s in school but is also employed and does significant volunteer work on the side.   She also has a boyfriend now (something her mother is still getting used to while being happy for her daughter at the same time).

When we returned home we heard laughter from upstairs.   Lauren had fed them and cleaned up the dishes.   She’d shown my daughter her speed reader program and talked to her about how she could possibly do things more easily on her iPad with some additional tools.   My daughter didn’t want Lauren to leave, asking her if she could come back tomorrow.   Lauren said she’d get me her schedule for November and we’re definitely looking forward to having her back.

The Big Boy Update:  My son was drawing tonight and informed me, “I always put dynamite in my pictures.”   It’s true, he likes to put a small diagram of at least one bundle of dynamite in pretty much anything he draws.

The Tiny Girl Chronicles:  We got a light pad for my daughter to draw on.   It’s flat like an iPad but a bit bigger.  You take a piece of paper and place it on top and you can either trace things or draw on it. Tonight my daughter said she wanted to do some drawing.   I got out the pencils but she said she wanted a black sharpie—because she couldn’t see the pencil marks.    She drew better than she normally does this way, probably because she can see what she’s drawn and can draw other things without drawing back on top of her existing work.

Not As Far As Planned:  We ran 11.5 miles today.   We were hoping for longer but time ran short on us.   We’ll have to get in a 22 or 24 mile run soon because our marathon is less than a month away.