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... 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.

Monday, October 22, 2012

You Said It!

Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life.  I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have --- life itself.          
--Walter Anderson  

Clair's sister says, 
"He has basically lost the use of all body parts.
  He can still feed himself, but barely,  
He cannot even turn over in bed by himself. 
 But he always has a smile for everyone."

"Sometimes it is the very things we despise about our lives
 and try to 'wish away'
that God is using to show Himself strong."

"There are two ways to live your life.
  One is as though nothing is a miracle.
  The other is as though everything is a miracle."

"Love is that condition in which
 the happiness of another person
 is essential to your own."

"Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; 
they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."

"I've got nothing to do today but smile."

"Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness
 and just be happy."

"Being happy isn't about having everything in your life perfect. 
 Maybe it's about stringing together all the little things."

"Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple."

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, 
but I think I have ended up where I needed to be."

Buddy Walk pictures courtesy of S&A Photography

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Wade:  Randall, let's play hide 'n seek.

Randall:  No, I want to read now.

Wade:  Play hide 'n seek!  I hide!

Randall:  Okay, you go hide and then find yourself.

Wade:  Yes!  I will find me!  (happily goes off in search of himself)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Collection of Oddities

Everyone in the world is quite mad, except for me and thee.  
And sometimes I have my doubts about thee.

Computer science has become a culinary art.

We hold these truths to be self-evident...that a father who would bake a laptop,

would have children who will blend Superman, Mardi Gras, and Lei Day...

 clear the table with a one-horse team...

 and bring in the clothes by donning gay apparel when it's not the season to be jolly.

Fa, la, la, la, la!

That's what I think...

"I don't see much sense in that," said Rabbit.
"No," said Pooh humbly, "there isn't.  But there was going to be when I began it.  It's just that something happened to it along the way."

Friday, October 19, 2012

Practice Makes...Better

I like the discipline that piano lessons teach Wade.  Many processes are going on simultaneously when he is reading notes and translating that information into isolating the proper fingers on the right keys, while, at the same time, trying to count the rhythm.

Here are two videos taken about a week apart.  It's encouraging to see progress in his ability to focus on a difficult task with only minimal prompting.

He loves music and the piano, but sometimes he tries to shut down if a new concept seems to be too hard.  It takes some perseverance to help him learn and then to sit beside him daily making him focus until the end of the song.  But it really doesn't take long each day to do and learning new skills gives him the confidence that will be the springboard to perfecting further skills, both musically and otherwise.  There is, after all, something to be said for the (significantly modified) Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.

And this week for the first time, he chose to sit down at the piano during his free time, and he played all four of his newest songs completely by himself without taking a break.

In the first video he is counting aloud:  ta for the quarter notes, ta-ah for the half notes, ta-ah-ah-ah for the whole notes, shuh for the quarter rests, shuh-uh for half rests, shuh-uh-uh-uh for the whole rests.

In the second one he is trying to sing the words while keeping the rhythm.  It isn't perfect, but it is one step in that direction!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ha Pe Thursday

Enough laughing.  Back to work.