Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Midnight Sky and Silent Stars

Sixteen years ago, Steven Levy wrote a book entitled Starting from Scratch: One Classroom Builds Its Own Curriculum.  His insights into the classroom are outstanding.

But also outstanding was his dedication of the book to "the unknown teachers across our land who go to work every day, hardly noticed, rarely appreciated, dedicating their lives to our children, our future."

One day while visiting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Levy imagined a similar monument dedicated to the unknown teacher and inscribed with the words of Frederick Douglass to Harriet Tubman (with the word children substituted for bondmen and women).
You ask for what you do not need when you call on me for a word of commendation.  I need such words from you far more than you can need them from me...Most that I have done and suffered in the service of our cause has been in public, and I have received much encouragement every step of the way.  You, on the other hand have labored in a private way.  I have wrought in the day, you in the night.  I have had the applause of the crowd and the satisfaction of being approved by the multitude, while the most that you have done has been witnessed by a few trembling [children], whose heartfelt "God bless you" has been your only reward.  The midnight sky and the silent stars have been the witnesses of your devotion and your heroism.
So, Levy said, he dedicated his book to the "unknown teachers who guide and inspire children on their way toward freedom.  Let it give witnessing eyes to the midnight sky and applauding hands to the silent stars."

What more beautiful words could there be to honor those who labor behind the scenes--teachers, therapists, all those who have patiently joined us the last six years on the road to learning what we need to know.  You have gone above and beyond your job requirements to see Wade and us as more than a label, more than a chromosomal deviation.

For this, and more, we thank you.  God bless you, every one.







   Ms. Motley







Ms. Harper

Ms Lovett


Ms. Godbee

We are humbled by your gifts to our lives!

Friday, November 09, 2012

Surprise Ending

"And Racoon snapped a picture," the story said.

Quickly, quickly, Wade reached out a thumb and forefinger...

...and he, too, snapped a picture.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Second to the Right and Straight on Till Morning

"All children, except one, grow up."

Supper was over and he kissed me on the cheek.  Then he stopped to examine my face closely.  He went over to the sink, got the dishrag, and carefully wiped off the stickiness.  Then he gave me a new kiss, fresh and clean.

And I wish I could somehow preserve the sweetness of the moment.

Perhaps it is the universal paradox of parenting that the same milestones we celebrate are also the markers of  time that we mourn.  It is, after all, our job as responsible adults to teach our children independence.  And yet, as they graduate in increments from our effective schooling, we perversely go off to lament in private.

It is a concept difficult to understand before childbirth.

For example, I never could fathom why mothers cried at weddings.  Why would you want to weep at a party?!!!

And so Nevin and I got married in North Dakota, flew to Atlanta a few hours later, tanned on the beaches of Florida, and never thought of calling home until we had finished cavorting on the sands of the Bahamas.  And then we wondered why our parents had been worried.

It wasn't until we brought Randall home from the hospital and I was rocking him, entranced with his newborn sweetness that I suddenly thought, "I know why mothers cry at weddings."

And so I called my mother to tell her, and she said dryly, "My, you've grown up in two weeks!"

But now I know and cannot escape this terrible grown-up truth that the ticking crocodile chases, not just Captain Hook, but us all!  And we who cannot stay in Neverland are doomed to catch the precious moments only in pictures and words woefully inadequate even in their sophistication.

Sometimes though, in the last six years, I look at Wade and think that somehow the extra chromosome has tricked the ticking monster into slowing his pace.  The clock chimes more slowly and the sweet hours stretch longer, and I can see that the differences between him and our other boys allow us to preserve the childhood moments a little longer, like twinkling fireflies captured in a jar.

It isn't that he's an angel; it isn't that he's perfect.  He's as capable as any other child of yelling at his brothers, keeping the toys for himself, and going limp as a noodle to avoid being carried off anywhere he doesn't wish to go.

In fact, at times, he's quite as selfish as Peter Pan.

But then he also carries with him the artful innocence of childhood.  And he keeps the delight of Every Day without the urbanity of boredom.

And, as I go about my parental duties of training my children to leave me,  I look at Wade and then up to God and thank Him, once again, for this:  the Gift of our Imperfection.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Theories of Relativity

Uncle's son
First cousin

Randall's Theory:  If your uncle's son is your first cousin, and your cousin's son is your first-and-a-half cousin, then is your uncle your half cousin?

Christopher's Theory:  The Internet says that yellow jackets are relatives of hornets.  Are they aunts or uncles?

Dad and Mom's Theory:  If three brothers investigate the relativity of Germ-X and fire, will we wish they hadn't?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Signs of a Good Time

When it's Monday and you find yourself wearing your socks on your hands

... and your spoon on your nose

and when you find yourself falling asleep wherever you land...

...you just might have had 


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Changing the Face of Beauty

Perfection.  We seem possessed by the pursuit of it.  Few of us are untouched by the perfection obsession, either exhausting ourselves in obtaining it or depressing ourselves in losing it.

In defense of this tendency, I do think that the desire for perfection is God-given.  He created us for a perfect world in the first place.  And we still long for that world.

But sometimes we have strange ways of trying to recreate it.  In our desperate hunger to go back to the Paradise that was once the Garden of Eden, we have developed a sadly distorted vision of what perfection really looks like.

That's why I love the campaign being launched called "Changing the Face of Beauty".  Its mission is "to integrate individuals with disabilities into general advertising".

Now you could dismiss that as being only another part of the political correctness of our time.  I'll admit with great shame, that I may have entertained that thought myself a few years back.

But because of Wade, I see the deeper meaning in this campaign.  I see value of causing us to stop and think about the way we view beauty.  I see the photographs and know that in the course of ordinary events they will catch the eye of an audience who will think new thoughts and ask new questions, even if just for a moment.

I know that we all will learn, eventually, the futility of this world's perfection.  And I pray that we can together also learn the hope of these powerful images that are "capturing grace one face at a time".

Now that's true beauty.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Wrong Answer

Some days he just likes to tease.

Friday, October 26, 2012

That Kind of a Day

"Not conversing," said Eeyore.  "Not first one and then the other.  You said 'Hallo' and Flashed Past.  I saw your tail in the distance as I was meditating my reply.  I had thought of saying 'What?' ---but, of course, it was then too late."
"Well, I was in a hurry." 
"No Give and Take," Eeyore went on.  "No Exchange of Thought:  'Hallo---What'----I mean, it gets you nowhere, particularly if the other person's tail is only just in sight for the second half of the conversation." 

Yes, today was a nice, bizy day and thus our Exchange of Thought will be limited.  Sorry, Eeyore. Wade was bizy too.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Signs of (Boy) Life

"No more sticky fingers!"


                         "Hey, I just burped a do, re, mi!"


                         "In some ways, I don't like this book, and in some ways I like it.
                         I don't like the point of view, but I sure like the way it talks about food
                         on every page!"


                         "Why does Mom's hair look like that?  I didn't land my helicoptor in it."


                   Chris:  "Wade just spit a carrot back into the carrot dish!"

                   Randall (admiringly):  "Wow!  He must have good aim!"


"Oh bother!  Now I seem to have sticky glasses."

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

More Adapted Learning

Sometimes if the page is too busy with information, I cover the rest of the page with a white paper in order to cut down on distractions and help Wade focus only on one thing at a time.  He is getting much better at this, and usually now I only have to fold the book back so just one whole page is showing.

Marking his hands L and R help him follow the directions for right and left.

The Numicon math manipulatives are wonderful for visual learners.  And the Smart Start writing paper has greatly help him understand how to fit the letters and numbers in between the lines.  We say that capital letters start at the sky and go down to the grass, and the small letters start at the fence (the middle line).  The pictures of the sun and flower and the different colored lines are a tremendous help for him.

One task is to completely cover the 100 square pegboard with a variety of shapes.  
He learned to do this more quickly than I would have guessed.

Another fun project is using the cuisenaire rods to make patterns and pictures.

Sometimes being Superman helps the work go better.

And, of course, if all else fails, wearing a bag marked Oxford on your head will help with the process of osmosis.