Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fashion and Frugality

So, in a moment of insane brilliance, one of Samantha's teachers decided to drop a bombshell on me.  Not the typical sort of bombshell where someone gives you some incredibly good or incredibly bad news, not the kind of bombshell that makes you think, "Good for/too bad for them..."  It was just an idea, one that slipped right out of her mouth and made the already-overworked cogs in my mind pick up some doublespeed. 

"You should write a blog about creating great children's fashion looks on a dime." 

My mantra.  My love.  My passion.  Fashion and frugality.  Hey, I hear a blog title in the works already...

Yep, I love to dress my daughter.  And yep, I'm super-cheap frugal.  I mean, after 20-something years in retail, I learned that everything goes on sale eventually.  And if you are patient and don't need this year's fashions this year, you can wait until the end of the season for even better sale prices. 

I could go on and on about what I've learned, what I do, how I do it.  But the key word was BLOG.  Dare I even consider it?  Too crazy for words?  Hmmmm...tempting...  Actually, beyond tempting.  I could hear Blogger calling, started to formulate posts in my mind, readying my mental image of the fun it would be!   Another blog.

I guess I should strike while the iron is hot, so to speak.  While Samantha still couldn't care less what I dress her in.

I'll just do the please-gimme-more-hours-in-the-day dance to the gods of time and voila!  No problemo. 

What are your thoughts on this?  Would you read it?  Would you share it?  Would you think I'm totally off my rocker?  I understand that fashion is certainly a very subjective thing, and what floats one's boat won't necessarily float another's.  But I'm determined that kids should dress like kids, and that's my inspiration.

Stay tuned...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Worst Mother In The World

How many times has this title been seen on a mommy blog?  I know I've seen it at least a dozen.  And for good reason.  Mommy guilt is alive and well the world over, one of those truths that just exists, regardless of religion, socio-economic background, or ethnicity.  The only thing that's a constant among the population is gender. 

You'd think I'd learn.  After all these "lessons" and all this time, you'd think I'd have gotten a clue, been more alert, been more prepared.  And hence, my guilt of the week.

We all know Samantha has auditory sensitivity.  And, over the last 4 years we've been learning (over and over again, mind you...) what the triggers are, when they are likely to occur, what kind of catastrophic reaction would ensue.  And after The Great Circus Disaster of 2012, after making a desperate next-day purchase of sound-muffling headphones to help stave off just such a repeat situation, you'd really think I'd have learned that those headphones could be a serious life-saver.  And, as the Boy Scouts have taught time and time again, Be Prepared

Easy, right?

Apparently not. 

Samantha and I had a birthday party to go to on Saturday.  It was at someone's house.  Shouldn't be a problem, as opposed to all of those crazy parties at the Little Gyms and Torture Zones of the world...  And it especially shouldn't be a problem if I brought along her headphones, just in case.  I thought about it and planned for it, and was totally ready to do. just. that. 

Until it came time to leave.  Then I chucked all common sense and preparation right out the window, grabbed Sammi's new library books for her to read in the car, grabbed the birthday present for her friend, and grabbed my purse, completely leaving the headphones behind.  I have enough forethought to leave them in her backpack for school (PE is a particularly LOUD activity 3x per week, and they've been wholly effective for her there).  And in her backpack they stayed.

So, you can imagine what happened next.  Multiple meltdowns (interspersed with joyous playtime, thankfully).  Ugh.  Horrible mommy that I am, I had to apologize to Sammi for forgetting the headphones.  She, being the sweet and forgiving sort, hugged me and said "That's okay, Mommy."  And if watching her be tortured through whistles, horns and an enthusiastic round of "Happy Birthday To You" wasn't punishment enough, I'd have been crushed if she hadn't forgiven me.


So, until next time, when I'm sure to be the Worst Mother In The World yet again (not including yesterday morning when I accidentally whacked her in the head then proceeded to step on her blanket-covered hand), all is once again well, Chez Sammi.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Reaching Out in the Facebook World: Stadium vs. House Party

This morning, before running out the door for school

Sometimes I forget just how many Facebook "friends" I have.  Each person's experience with Facebook can be tailored to exactly how they want it to be, and for me, it's like being in a huge stadium packed full of people, all walking and talking at the same time, a din, a cacophany of sound all around you.  As you drift past individuals, you can hear brief snippets of conversation and can either move through the sea catching bits of others as you go, or stop for an oh-so-brief moment to offer a nod of agreement, a hug of sympathy, or a few words of support, all the while surrounded by the white noise of the passing throngs. 

And then you move on. 

Sometimes I need to remember what that experience may be like for others.  For some, it may be more like a garden-variety house party, where you'll find plenty of noise and music, but you manage to visit and talk with each person in the room.  Where you'll feel pretty confident that you are now mostly caught up with the goings-on in the lives of all of your friends, whether you've actively participated in their conversations or not.

And sometimes I need to remember that for most of my non-Ds-family IRL (in-real-life) friends, the likelihood is that their experience is far more house party than football stadium, and that my own TMI/Advocacy/Incessant ramblings are heard loud and clear, being shouted across the room, unable to be missed (and certainly causing more than one to don ear plugs...).  I have certainly offended some with my views on right-to-life, have bored others with details of things that mean absolutely nothing to them, and, surprisingly, have touched others. 

I go through my life clueless, unaware of how my former classmates, former workmates, parents of Samantha's schoolmates, family members and long-time friends view our lives, unaware that they even had that wide-open-window view in.  Well duh, it is Facebook, after all... 

And every once in a while one of those non-DS-family, IRL friends, especially the more distant ones that I've had little direct contact with in a very long time, sends me a note to tell me how much they've enjoyed reading my blog, seeing Sammi's photos, following along with our lives, and it shakes me.  It really does.  It is so gratifying to know that in some way I've affected others outside the fold, who have learned something new, had their eyes opened to the worlds of disability and Down syndrome, have attained a new view of what it all means...

I'll continue on my merry way on Facebook, blissfully (semi) unaware of how my afforementioned incessant ramblings may affect others, reaching out to change more minds, ever grateful when they, in turn reach out to tell me they've been listening. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Blue Skies and National Parks - A Perfect Match

One of the best things about living so close to our nation's Capitol is all the free and available pristine, green, open space.  It's full of National parks, just begging to be used.  East Potomac Park, out on a peninsula jutting into the Potomac River, with stunning views of the City, the water and the runway at Reagan National Airport, is just such a park.  The playground there sits on a huge swath of grass-covered space, filled with shady, ancient, towering oak trees and surrounded by a low, chain-link fence for the protection and safety of the children playing within.  There are picnic tables and even a rest room, not the porta-john I was expecting to see.  The park, while immensely popular, is tucked away, like a lost secret, far enough from the City to forget it exists, yet close enough that you could pop over to the museums on the National Mall within a 5 minute drive. 

Saturday, my parents, Samantha and I braved the terrible, awful, disappointing 80-degree, dry, breezy, sunny, not-a-cloud-in-the-sky weather (awful, I know - I accept your pity) to picnic at the playground at East Potomac Park. 

Some proof that PT really works - Samantha has gotten so much braver this year with trying out different aspects of playground climbers.  This one was a little tricky, but she worked it out.  


"S" is for Sammi.  Or Sandwich... 

Gramma packed ice cream for dessert, 4 different flavors to choose from.  Samantha, being a vanilla/chocolate purist, snatched Gramma's vanilla and claimed it as her own. 

I'm not sure, but I suspect my mother has sold her soul (sorry, Mom...).  How is it that she can look about 30 years younger than she is?  Honestly, she doesn't look much older than she did when she had me at a tender, young age.  Craziness. 


Monday, September 17, 2012

Let This Be a Lesson...

To all of you parents of children with disabilities, you, who have felt the sharp stab of anxiety and apprehension in your child's IEP meetings, who have felt that a battle is all you're going to be faced with...  To all of you who worry that your children won't be embraced or accepted, nurtured and helped to grow to their full potential in the fully-included public school classroom, who think that the teachers don't want our children in their rooms, that added burden to bear as they try to balance the rest of their students that need their guidance...

There ARE good teachers out there.  And the teachers don't necessarily reflect the IEP team (although in our case, our IEP team is amazing...).  And there are teachers to care deeply about all of their students, disability or none.  And there are teachers who are amazing communicators, wanting to keep us parents in the loop, feeling positive about our childrens' futures, excited for the next steps in their development, who want the parents to feel confident that their needs are being met.

We were so lucky to have had an incredibly positive Kindergarten experience with just such a teacher.  To think that the lightning bolt of good fortune could strike twice and carry over into 1st grade (the BIG time!), was too much to wish for, but again, we struck gold

Sammi had a fairly rough week last week, as I blogged the other day.  Possibly a combination of it just being week 3 of full-time school and antibiotics for having been sick, she'd had strong mornings but then completely flagged in her full-on, stubborn (willful?) glory, refusing to get up off the floor/table/whatever, refusing to do her work, etc.  We were feeling pretty disappointed about it, hoping that it would pass, hoping that she hadn't disrupted the class too much. 

Friday night I received the most amazing e-mail, one that made our spirits soar with positive energy, bright futures and affirmation.

An e-mail from her teacher

I won't dance around it.  This is what she wrote (with her permission, of course...):

Hi! I wanted to to highlight Sammi's positive accomplishments in the first three weeks:

-coming in and making her lunch choice
-taking out her red folder, hanging up her back pack
-working on morning work
-coming to the carpet for read aloud
-making a center choice when asked
-SAMMI SANG AND PARTICIPATED IN OUR BRAIN AND BODY BREAK- chanting "Hi, my name is Joe" and "Ringo Rango"! :-) 
(btw, I discovered on my own that Ringo Rango is a song that they sing to learn how to count by 5s or 10s...)
-Being at school ALL DAY
-Working with new teachers and assistants
-Meeting new classmates
-Playing with news friends on the playground
-Working through a stomach bug and being on an antibiotic
-Completing writing assignments
-Going to Art, Music, PE, Library, recess on the BIG playground, and lunch in the FULL, LOUD cafeteria

WOW! I am so proud of Sammi's wonderful transition. Let's celebrate what is going well and continue to build stamina and have a positive outlook for more growth.

I love having Sammi in my class. Thank you for sharing her with me. Please let me know how I can help support a fabulous year for Sammi in first grade.

:-) Have a great weekend,

"Mrs. R"

So let that be a lesson to you, as parents facing the daunting experience of seeing their children off to school for the first time, or transitioning from one grade to another...school is a wonderful thing.  Educators love their jobs.  Our children do learn and grow in the right environments. 

Thank you, Mrs. R., and the rest of Samantha's team!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Rough Days

The last few days have been rough. 

Samantha, ever full of sweetness and light, has shown her dark side at school.  The mornings have been great, but, adding to the exhaustion of a full day of transitioning from one activity/location to the next is the fact that Sammi's been on antibiotics since Saturday and is soldiering through some constipation as a result.  Yeah, yeah, I know, probiotics.  I totally didn't think of them this time, likely because Sammi barely ate on Saturday or Sunday after her stomach bug.  I don't even think she should have been on antibiotics, but when you test positive for strep, it's better safe than sorry.  In a few months, after she's gotten over the nasty shock of a cotton-swab-covered instrument of extreme torture being shoved down her throat and scraped across her tonsils while having her mouth pried open by two strangers, we'll subject her to it again to see if she's a carrier, meaning the virus lives in her tonsils.  I'm not sure what the outcome of that result would be, but I suspect tonsillectomy.  Hoping, hoping, hoping that's not the case...but which would be the more desirable outcome?  Hmmm...gotta mull that over...

So, back to Sammi's dark side.  We're not talking a Damien or Darth Vader kind of dark side, just the slightly more innocuous one that comes with a tired child who doesn't like to transition, who doesn't care much for art or music or math or anything else that occurs after readingandwritingandlunch, whose extra chromosome has given her an extra boost of stubborn

Oh, yeah, I hear ya, you naysayers who think that "stubborn" is an unfortunate stereotype associated with Down syndrome.  I hear ya, and I'm not listening.  Pipe down!  I FIRMLY believe that stubbornness, or willfulness, if you prefer, is a genetically-ingrained trait associated with the extra 21st.  If you think it's a negative stereotype and you have younger children with Ds, just you wait.  I can wait with you.  Just waiting for you to realize that genetic enhancement comes along with that pesky stubborn gene.  You'll see...

I've already said Sammi's mornings have been great, but for the last 3 days, her afternoons have become a bit of a whirling dervish of just-wait-until-the-aide's-back-is-turned-so-I-can-do-whatever-I-want-to-do.  To the point where she had to be removed from the situation on at least one occasion and taken to the office to regroup.  Yep, she's starting her career as a student in just the right direction...the principal's office.  sigh 

I'm hoping it's still the Week-3-Adjustment coupled with meds.  Her last dose was yesterday, so if we can just make it through today, perhaps she'll begin to climb back towards model-studentship.  Uh, yeah, right.  Seriously, I'll take what I can get.  Mommy and Daddy have been having some pretty stern talks with Princess lately, explaining that her behavior is not acceptable, and will now begin to have consequences, such as no TV when she gets home from school.  Shock!  Horror!  Well, we're a major TV-watching family, and in my opinion, Sammi has learned SO much from TV, and continues to learn from it.  Next we'll start having to take away her books for periods of time.  Now that would be the worst punishment imaginable for her.  Funny, I know there are plenty of households that wish that would be an effective punishment.  How many kids, aside from geeks like myself, would be mortified at the thought of not being able to read their books?  I think the opposite might be the more common practice - behave, or you'll have to go to your room and read books.  LOL

And so, I have sent her on her way today, hoping for good behavior and fear of consequences.  The crazy thing is, she knows what the consequences are while she's doing the bad behaviors.  She hates the idea of the consequences, and never, ever wants to disappoint us.  But she can't help herself.  Compulsion rules her at that point.  I am pretty sure she'll get over it, sooner than later.  But this time in between is definitely rough. 

Fingers crossed...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


We all have a story.  We all have moments in our lives where we remember just where we were, just what we were doing, exactly what we were thinking.  Those moments that have ingrained themselves so permanently in our memories and in the entirety of our selves.  There are feelings that, at the time, we think will stay with us forever, and in some way, they do.  Some of those moments are happy ones with exciting news, surprise visits or long-awaited dreams coming to realization.  Some of those moments are of pure panic, fear riding in on waves of uncertainty, anxiety building up, up, up until it threatens to explode from that central core within you that had, until that very time, been tenuously contained, safely tucked away. 

For the first time, today is remarkably, eerily, similar to its predecessor 11 not-so-long years ago.  Cloudless, crystal-blue skies, crisp chill in the air, so much like a first day of fall in the District of Columbia, in whose heart I resided at the time. 

I don't need to tell my story.  We all have one of our own.  And there will never be need to embellish over time, as happens to so many stories throughout our lives.  This one was vivid enough, needs no extras.

Today I will remember.  Remember those that lost their lives, remember those that were forever impacted by the events that unfolded over those tragic, catastrophic hours, remember how our lives and the world around us have changed as the unfortunate but necessary result, remember those who have fought and are still fighting for our freedom.


Monday, September 10, 2012

With Experience Comes...Acceptance

Today I wave the white flag.  I toss in the towel.  I concede, I come to the final realization that I need to accept a certain truth, at least as it currently stands.  I know I said last week that I really didn't have too much to blog about, no issues to discuss, etc., but yesterday I realized that I need to revisit a topic I've brought up several times before.

Audio sensitivity.

Ooooh, scaaaaary...

Haha, actually, I didn't mean to make it sound like such a huge deal, because in the grand scheme of things, it really isn't.  I just think that it's now time to stop thinking that having an aide, like noise-muffling headphones for Samantha, is not perpetuating a behavior, that if she's exposed to situations enough she'll get over it.  I just can't put her through it anymore. 

Not like we are in those kinds of environments all that often, but knowing that we won't have issues would be comforting, for all of us.  Especially Samantha, of course.  Sheesh, even in public restrooms with loud flushers and jet-engine hand dryers! 

Better safe than sorry.

So here's the deal.  Friday night and through to Saturday morning, Samantha was sick with a stomach virus of some sort.  (She tested positive for strep on Saturday morning, but that's nothing new.  I suspect she's a carrier, so we may need to address that at some point in the not-too-distant future.)  Sadly, we had to scuttle our plans of spending the weekend with my parents, which was a real disappointment - we were both looking forward to it.  Sunday she was feeling back to her old self again, so on the spur of the moment, I ordered tickets to the circus, which happened to be on its last day in a location less than a mile from our house.  Wow!  How much more convenient could it have possibly been?  I was actually really excited at the thought of having something so fun and random for Samantha to do, knowing she'd love it.  She'd been to the circus before, when she was 3, and enjoyed parts of it before falling asleep in my arms. 

True to our usual situation, we had a couple of things going against us - Sammi was getting over being sick, and she had been super cranky and whiny all morning.  HELLOOOOOO, MOMMY...RED FLAGS!!!!!!! 

When we walked onto the property, I saw that they were giving elephant rides, something I've never done, but thought might be an opportunity too good to pass up.  I mean, when, ever, would we likely get that chance again?  I asked her if she wanted to do it, and she surprised me by saying yes.  Then I tried to talk her out of it, worried that she'd balk at the last second and we'd be out $16.  But no, she was insistent.  And she surprised me even more by hopping up on the elephant's back, uncomplaining.  The mother of the children sitting in front of us kindly texted me the photo below, taken from her phone.  Can someone please remind me what we did before camera phones and text messaging?

Sammi was a little bit nonplus about it afterwards, but hey, she did it, right?  And the awkward, uncomfortable 3 minute ride was well-worth the money, for sure!
After that, and the purchase of two hot dogs for us for lunch (both of which I, regretfully, ended up eating myself), we went into the tent.  I won't go on about the cheap seats we were in, but I will say an upgrade would have been worth it, unless you actually like sitting behind everything.  Looking out at all the empty seats in front of the action.  And cheap seats, when you add all the online purchase fees, are still not very cheap.  And considering we were only there for half an hour, I'm glad I didn't upgrade.  Thankfully, children were free.  :-)
Yes, I said half an hour.  And yes, Samantha screamed and cried pretty much the whole time, terrified of the noise from the amplified voice of the Ringmaster over the loudspeakers.  I had even had the presence of mind to grab my winter earmuffs as we ran out the door earlier, and with those on her ears, and her hands insistently pressing my hands over her earmuffs, over her ears, the sound was still too intense.  She quieted down during the tiger act, but her peace was short-lived. 
Then we left, and went to the library.
I felt horrible for her, horrible that I had not yet gotten noise-muffling headphones, as others had recommended on occasions too numerous to recount.  She gave me a long hug outside, and said she was sorry she was scared.  Once again, it broke my heart as I insisted that she had absolutely no reason to apologize, that it was I that was sorry she was so scared.  I promised her we'd get her some headphones to make things quiet, and that made her happy.  But I wasn't emotionally wrecked this time as I was on the occasion I posted about a while back (here and here), I was more prepared, more reflective, more accepting, more ready to do something about it
I understand from many other parents of older children that our kids will usually outgrow this.  My fingers are crossed...I'm counting on you guys to be right about it!! 
But I feel that I needed to have this experience with her.  This wake-up call.  I don't think she has any other sensory issues, other than this auditory sensitivity, and for that I am grateful.  This is an easy one to get around.  I've lost the link to the headphones that someone had sent to me a while back.  I know a quick Google search should turn it up easily, but if any of you have ones that you've seen or that you use and like, can you please include the link in your comment? 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

(The Boring) Leftovers

Before I get to a few leftover vacation pictures of Samantha from last month, I just wanted to warn you that this post is boring.  Like, really boring.  No wit, no profound realizations or epiphanies, there are no big behavior or health issues to tell about, we haven't done anything too terribly exciting lately, and Down syndrome is barely thought of.  I've realized that I don't have massive quantities of things to say these days.  To be perfectly honest (and not painting any kind of rainbows and unicorns), our lives really are pretty darn ordinary.  For those of you with younger children who may not believe me, this actually can be a reality!  I think this may be the point when a lot of people put their blogs on haitus, popping back in from time to time with a brief update.  I'm not really interested in doing that, and want to keep things moving as usual, but think I may become a bit more attentive to following blog prompts or hops to spark a discussion, something I didn't have much time to do this summer.  I'd like to not lose my readers to ennui, if at all possible... (I think I can feel my husband rolling his eyes at my use of that word...sorry!)   

By way of brief (and thoroughly boring) update, though, we're nearing the end of the second week of 1st Grade.  A daily chart comes home, color coded blue for a good-behavior day, yellow for issues.  The children (all of them) in the class get to choose a prize from a treasure chest if they can get blue days for a certain period of time (monthly?).  Samantha had been doing well until yesterday, when she got her first yellow for not listening, not getting up when it was time to transition (including a fire drill...yikes...), not participating, etc.  Both Steve and I have had discussions with her about this since then, and she has told us that she knows she needs to have a "blue" day and needs to listen to the teachers.  Usually drilling it in like that, getting her to repeat it back and fill in the blanks as we tell it to her (Sammi, today you have to remember to...  listen!) ensures compliance, at least for a few days, and it instills an astronomical amount of pride in her accomplishments as she nearly bursts at the seams to tell us at the end of the day that she listened to her teachers.  Praise is quite the motivator. 

Other than school, daily life is pretty ordinary and boring weekends have been spent traveling and staying busy, the kittens have made themselves completely at home, following us around the house like lost puppy dogs and sleeping on the beds at night, and I've been struggling with pulling together the 2013 DSANV calendar.  I find myself having more and more difficulty keeping it together and organized and on time each year, and think it's time for a break.  If any local people are reading this now and are interested in picking it up going forward into the 2014 edition, please let me know and I'd be happy to pass the torch for a while, or, perhaps, permanently.  I love the project, but after 5 years I'd like to be able to not think about it for a while.

Okay, now for a few photos left over from St. Simons Island.

A vintage clothing store was just the place to entertain Samantha while we looked around.  Hooray for mirrors!

Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance

Don't let the gray photo fool you into thinking it was cold.  My lens was fogged up from the humidity and it was still only about 9:30am.  The water was surprisingly warm.

Can someone please tell me why Dairy Queen on SSI doesn't have chocolate ice cream?????  We've asked about it both times we've been there, and they say that the chocolate isn't as popular.  I don't know about you, but that seems mighty strange to me.  Samantha, fortunately, was flexible enough to have plain vanilla instead of her usual vanilla-chocolate swirl.

I took this photo just to show how loooooong her legs are!  I couldn't believe that she was nearly touching the floor!  We had her well-child visit last week and she's 44 1/2" (20th percentile on the typical chart) and 54 lbs. (uh, about 80th percentile on the typical chart, LOL).  Wow, 44 1/2" - that's a mere 3 1/2" away from 4' tall!!  Growing like a weed, she is...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pronoun Problems

We've been waging a battle with Samantha for the last 4 or so years.  The Battle of the Pronouns.  Or, more precisely, the battle for correct pronoun usage.  To most of us, pronouns come naturally.  I am me, you are you, she is her, and he is him (I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together...I am the eggman, I am the eggman, I am the walrus...). But, when you really break the concept of teaching the concept down into its most basic, fundamental parts, the literal parts, it's confusing as all-get-out.  Really confusing. 

Me:  Me (*pointing to me*).  You (*pointing to Samantha*).

Samantha:  Me (*pointing to me*).  You (*pointing to herself*).

Right?  Take it literally and you get some pretty backwards results. 

Her, him, she, he, yours, mine, *the* (as in "we're going in *the* car, as opposed to *my* car)...

Sammi has gotten so much better with this, but something that I thought would work itself out with time continues to resurface time and time again. 

After reading her a story at night and tucking her in and turning off her light, she always asks me to lie down with her.  

Samantha:  Lie down with you?

Me (correcting):  Lie down with *me.*

Samantha (making the correction):  Lie down with me?

Me:  Sure, baby.

When reading or watching TV, she'll come over to me, saying, "I sit on my lap?"  instead of "your" lap...

You get the picture. 

But how to teach the correct picture?  Repetition, repetition, repetition.  Again, it's gotten much, much better, but we have to frequently correct her.  She mirrors the correct phrase every time, so I know she's hearing it.  She'll get there, I'm certain.  But I do find the mechanics of speech and comprehension pretty fascinating, seeing all the little moving parts that make up the English language as it comes out of our mouths. 

I remember when she was just under 2 years old, worrying about how she'd be able to make associations, like a drawing of a cat vs. a photo of a cat.  A cartoon cat vs. a real-looking cat.  Making the mental jump that regardless of form, they're all still cats.  I'd read somewhere that this can be more difficult for our kids sometimes when they're babies.  But she got it every time.  She pointed to a cartoon cat and said "do do" (her word for cat at the time).  She'd point to a photo of a cat and say "do do."  So that fear of teaching the more conceptual lessons was, well, lessened. I feel like this pronoun issue is kind of the same sort of thing - it's making the mental jump that something can be the same as another in a different form (as in me vs. you, depending on who's saying it).  I suspect that teaching the concept of the earth and our place on a globe will be much the same, as well.  How do you make that mental jump from round, hard plastic ball with some colored shapes and bumpy bits on it to where we live, where we're standing right now, where we've visited.  Likewise, how do we make that jump to teaching our place in the universe by standing outside at night, viewing the infinite expanse of the stars in the sky?  I've put these last two lessons off for another time. 

Or another teacher.  So, so glad for school and the people so much better-equipped than I to teach.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Butterfly Girl

Some friendships can easily withstand the tests of time and distance.  Those, at least in my life, have been the best friendships I've ever had.  During my 11th grade year, after returning from a year out of the country, I reconnected with my two best childhood friends and met several new ones that formed a group of 6.  We always did so much together, passing notes in the halls, going to concerts, joining the same clubs, hanging out at each other's houses, and even traveling to England together for a school trip.  We dubbed ourselves The England 6. 

Of course, after high school, time and distance got in the way of gatherings.  Contact became sparse.  But the friendships endured, and whenever those connections get made again after time, it's like picking up where we left off.  Well, with lots of fun stories to tell in-between.  One of our friends moved out of the country, and has been there for the better part of the last 20 years.  She returns home periodically, but I've always had difficulty getting up to see her at those times.  Fortunately, this past weekend, I packed Sammi into the car and we drove up to her parents' house, where all six of us were able to get together on Saturday, for the first time in about 26 years.  Being only 1/2 hour from my own parents' house, I left at one point to take Sammi there for dinner and bed, and return back to the party for a few more hours to talk. 

One friend, as a hobby and side-business, has a butterfly tent that she brings to fairs, children's events, etc., and she was so, so nice to bring it with her on Saturday.  Samantha had been talking about the butterflies for days leading up to it, but she shut down in exhaustion when finally faced with the opportunity.  With the promise that we would leave to go back to my father's house directly afterwards, she finally consented to go into the tent, and provided me one near butterfly casualty (tired little girls think you can grab them), and a stellar photo op. 

Yes, the wings are on upside-down.  My bad...

Two butterflies!  They're sucking Gatorade from a cotton swab.  Samantha kept trying to blow them off the stick, like a bubble wand.


Sammi's new butterfly clip.

The perfect hair accessory.

Sadly, this little guy didn't make it through the day.  Who knew that different types of butterflies had different feeding habits?