I have moved over to WhittereronAutism.com. Please follow the link to find me there. Hope to see you after the jump! :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

May the force be with you too

In the salon I hand over the gift voucher with glee. An hour of frivolous indulgence should never be squandered. I leave with two parts of my scraggy anatomy spruced up to meet American standards of womanliness. I anticipate that the manicure should remain immaculate for the next twenty minutes during the drive home.

As I drive I calculate which mode to adopt on arrival? Guilty of the crime of ‘absent without leave,’ I shall be soundly punished one way or another. Maybe the sulky, silent treatment? Maybe mountainous meltdowns? It’s the price to be paid for such selfish skullduggery at the weekend. Whilst many a parent returns home to be welcomed with open arms, other parents need to be a bit more savvy.

On previous occasions I made the mistake of bringing home treats, due to a combination of gratitude for the time off and a hefty dose of guilt for being so grateful in the first place. For some reason, I had temporarily forgotten that most treats are in fact torture, but I learned from my error. Whilst it’s tempting to try for a hug, that too is subject to negotiation. There’s nothing like unexpected physical contact to really ruin someone’s day. I decide to play it by ear.

As I step through the door my ears are assaulted by a loud combination of someone playing the recorder, another one making rooster noises in protest, a third is buried head down in cushions and an aerated father has an air of exasperation.

“Oh good! You’re home! How did you get on?” We ignore our children, exchange glances. I permit him to note my sparkly finger nails.
“Ooo very………clean.”
Whilst it wasn’t the adjective I was looking for, it was a good try under the noisy circumstances. The rooster ceases to crow and gasps instead, open mouthed, a picture of awe struck, “you are be touch?”
“Pardon dear?”
“You are be touch me wiv your magic fingers!” I swear he's as sharp eyed as an eagle.





















Now there’s an offer I can’t refuse.

Bye for now

We’re off on our annual pilgrimage to "England," a green and pleasant land so they say, but not without it's "hazards."
There again, we have the opportunity to relish "family support" for a few weeks and take time to bask in those tiny huge "triumphs."
I suspect we shall spend less time in the "car" with the petrol prices and exchange rate being as they are. It's probably time to kick back, "relax" and let the "campaigns" slide.

1. "Chat, chat, chat - breaking news"
2. "Zero sum and the division of labour"
3. "I do not like green eggs or otherwise"
4."The Humane Society"
5. "Slap on the head for the handmaiden"
6. "Puppy dogs tails indeed"
7. "The Seven Deadly Sins"
8. "I hear Thunder"
9. "Truthful Tuesday, the sin of Pride"
10. "To be or not to be, that is probably the answer"
11. "Look to the Future."
12. "Occupational Therapy - no Flying!"
13. "A Labyrinth of Liars"
14. "Personal Learning Curves"



So here are a few bits and bobs in the interim.
Cheers dears

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Everyone is unique



























Junk food

I am a woman of strong convictions, so I waste no time, take out my pen and write to the local school district about their disgraceful policy on school lunches.

Not a mung bean in sight, nor in storage. How can young minds learn anything when they are starved of good, nutritionally well balanced meals. Where is the tofu may I ask? Whole-wheat is a good start but wheat-free options should be a priority. Fresh fruit and yoghourt is all very well but what about the lactose intolerant. Haven’t you people heard of soy? Don’t you know there’s more to a salad bar than lettuce and tomatoes? Whilst the new recyclable lunch container policy is commendable, shouldn’t there be a complete ban on paper towels too? We parents have high standards that are inviolate.

I pause as I hear the garage door open.

Children tumble into the house.

Spouse brings up the rear mounded high with sacks of groceries.
“You’ll never guess what?”
“What?”
“Tell her. Hey! Tell your mum what we bought.”
“Um……”
“Come on! Tell her! No words? O.k. just show her then. He chose it himself, just like that!”



























If that’s the 18th food then I’m a beansprout.

I toss the letter in the bin.

Traitor.

Alex Barton's Lesson






















All parents are teachers but many of us are mere amateurs.

I have long been an admirer of the teaching profession, their vocation and dedication, all of them. We entrust our children into their care, in loco parentis, secure in the knowledge that they will do their part in guiding them along the treacherous path to adulthood.

I was therefore a little alarmed to read that a young Kindergartener, "Alex Barton," had been voted out of his class, a bit like one of those popular reality shows on the telly. This wasn’t a case like "Lord of the Flies," where the children had run amuck without adult supervision, but rather, his ousting was instigated by his teacher.

It made "me" wonder. It made lots of "people" wonder. It made his mum take "action."

I wondered why a teacher might do such a thing? Five years old, seems a little young to be teaching Darwin’s theory of "survival of the fittest," but I’m obviously not up to date on the State curriculum.

How else might this have come about? Maybe this was merely a role playing exercise, helping the children learn "kinesthetically," where we learn by doing. An early introduction to the power of the vote, elections and democracy?

Then there’s public speaking or the debating aspect. There are any number of valuable lessons to be learned, to say nothing of voicing opinions and sharing.

Perhaps this was a carefully orchestrated plan, to teach inclusion by demonstrating exclusion, lesson one, with a follow up next week?

It could be that this was a litmus test to check the class’ moral fibre, a bench mark and launch pad for a new campaign of social awareness.

Alternatively the teacher decided that her students were in need of a demonstration of the "bystander effect." The bystander effect is when an incident occurs that requires action from the onlookers but few are able step up to the plate. Alex found that two of his classmates were able to act, but who would choose to test five year olds?

I expect it was something to do with the harsh lessons of reality, that life can be a "popularity contest." When is the right time, developmentally and chronologically to learn that lesson?

I wonder what her plan was? I’m just curious. It seems a curious lesson plan to amateurs. I wonder if the rest of her profession concurs? I somehow doubt it. I suspect she is in the minority, singled out with a unique perspective. I wonder if she is a good sharer? I’d love to know her perspective? I’m sure we’d all like to understand.

My own behaviour as a parent would not hold up well under public scrutiny.


I’m sure there are some saintly types around who never lose their cool. Sadly, I’m not one of them. All to often, every day in fact, I’m pushed to the point of "exasperation." I lack the patience and temperament for "teaching," and more importantly, a vocation. My retaliation is usually in the form of sarcasm. Luckily no-one around here understands sarcasm. Unluckily my tone makes the underlying message unmistakable = Mum is mad. I make many mistakes and more than a few hideous blunders. I’ve learned to forgive myself the errors and vow to do a better job tomorrow, every day, but that’s the nature of human frailty.

Fortunately, no-one’s going to call me to account for my misdeeds.

I get away Scott free.

It’s only all the "children" that will pay.

Monday, June 09, 2008

A one size fits all





















As the time for the play date approaches I have a growing sense of dread. I have my own mother’s words circulating through my skull, variations on ‘don’t be such a wimp.’

It’s one thing to discipline my own children in my own home, but it’s quite another to tackle someone else’s child. It would be so easy to do irreparable harm, however unwittingly. I just don’t know the child well enough.

In theory, I have decided on my approach, the one that I generally use. I practice in my head and anticipate reactions, but it’s all just theory. The practice rarely turns out as planned.

When the first demand is bellowed I ignore it, or rather I pretend to ignore it. After a couple of repeated demands she comes to seek me out in the kitchen, “hey! I said I want a snack. Didn’t ya hear me?” She turns on her heel and stomps back into the family room to continue playing. I swallow hard and ignore the yellow stripe down my back. Am I the only one afraid of ten year olds? I tiptoe into the family room to survey a relatively calm scene of play. I am cautious of the firecracker child. She glances up at me, or rather my empty hands, bristling. Her mouth drops open, presumably with outrage or disbelief, as I sit down next to her on the carpet. “You know “Rebecca,” in our house we try and use our indoor voices.”
“What?”
“We try and use quiet voices so that we don’t hurt our ears.” She looks at me as if I am a thing from another planet, which I probably am. Will she spontaneously combust?
“O.k. so can I have my snack now? Is that what ya want?”
“That is sooo much better, much easier to listen to.” She looks at me again. Is she checking for sarcasm?
“Snack?”
“I’m going to get everyone a snack.”
“When?”
“I’m going to start now and I should be ready in about five minutes. Here. Do you see this timer. The red bit shows five minutes. It would be great if you could wait those five minutes because there’s six of you and only one of me.”
She looks at me. She looks at the timer.
“Is that o.k. with you?”
“Sure.”
“Shall I tell you something else about our house?”
“Sure.”
“When people say please and thank you, I work sooo much faster.” I attempt a smile to the unknowable child, the stun gun in the arsenal of sophisticated pre-teen population.
Please.”

Save me from the typical types.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Hand luggage and Teflon

























It takes up a disproportionate amount of time in my working memory:- how to minimize luggage but maximize options?

It’s quite selfish really.

I have three sets of clothes that I wear all the time, the on, the off and the in the wash. It’s perfect. It’s perfect until we set off for our annual holiday to England.

Wear one and pack the other two in a suitcase?

No.

Wear one and pack the other two in the hand luggage. My suitcase in the hold will be full of other essential items, none of which will be clothes, least of all my own clothes.

This is o.k. because I will need all three sets of clothes for the journey. I shall be up and dressed in set number one at about 5 in the morning. I shall then remain immaculate throughout the day until we fly at 7 in the evening. It is essential that I remain in set number one come what may. During the first hour of the flight, my eldest son will have a technicolour accident, a combination of fear of flying and air sickness. At this point, I shall abandon set number one, wrap them in several bags and shove them at the bottom of the backpack.

Once I have donned set two, I shall remain inviolate during the remaining 9 hours of the flight, apart from other little accidents. Those lap tray tables are so tricky to manage. During the 9 hours I shall be speckled with three meals from several people, and possibly my own. I shall be sprinkled, doused and drenched in every available beverage. I shall reluctantly shun the offer of a free glass of wine. Befuddlement in confined spaces is a mistake.

As we move forwards through the night, we shall arrive yesterday. As we hit the ground in England, de-plane, charm customs, salute passport checkers, locate buses, hire a car and pile ourselves into it, I shall then have been in set number two for 12 hours, together with enough foodstuffs to make a severe dent in the world food shortage.

I shall resist the urge to change into set number three.

We will drive to our rental, de-car, relocate ourselves and our baggage into the flat. I shall make up four beds in the hope that someone will sleep sometime soon. Only when sleep is imminent shall I remove set two, leaving set three available, ready for the next shift, although not necessarily the next day. Otherwise, waking time will arrive and I shall be threadbare and threadless.

This annual problem weighs heavily upon my mind.

Whilst the English are more open to nud.ity, the weather tends to be inclement.

I need an alternative solution.

And here it is.




























There again, I may just have to grit my teeth and go shopping for an entirely new outfit altogether.




Don’t do that. What?

Sometimes I just yearn for a scientific mind.

You see it most commonly in toddlers and those under the age of 5 when social awareness has yet to eradicate it. It always strikes me as being half way between a yawn and a stretch. It’s a gesture that intrigues me as I watch a three year old girl twist and pull her skirt up towards her face, to reveal a pair of pink leggings. It does not appear purposeful, more like the shudder of cat coming awake. It’s the same as another child that appears to half pull off his T-shirt. They remained clothed and decent, as they don’t complete the motion. Somehow it is not the same as someone undressing. It’s more like slow motion followed by a pause.

It should have a name. Where should I start in the dictionary?

It appears that most children grow out of this phase but others do not. I suspect that whatever prompts the behaviour is outstripped by the stronger motivation to fit in with the social mores. Some others are both stuck in this phase and usually manage to complete the motion unless prompted to do otherwise. Because it is slow and lazy there’s enough time to step in. If I could figure out the why, then I might be able to tackle the habit more effectively. It’s all well and good to say ‘no,’ to be watchful and intervene, but it would be so much better to determine the cause.

This is so often the case with so many of their habits. If someone is not aware that they’re doing something, it seems pointless to ban it outright without further investigation. If the social awareness and peer pressure element is missing, or not a priority, it is still wise to prompt and guide, but it’s not ideal. If the tactile defensiveness component is eliminated, what else is left?

It is not the same as undressing. Undressing is purposeful and fast, over in the blink of an eye. This gesture is a distracted movement, common in youngsters that I never see with adults. If they are both kinesthetic learners, learn by their bodies going through the motions, I wonder if once they start the gesture, their bodies just follow through, as the ‘pause’ at the apex of the movement for most people, is over-ridden?

It is these kinds of thoughts that make life so unproductive.

Where are all the boffins when you need one?

Come along villagers, out of the lab, it's time for some fieldwork.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

How was your day?
























It’s the same exchange that parents have all over the world, when it’s dark and the kids are asleep.

Ours takes place in the wee small hours of the night, morning really, when he comes home from work. Together, we put the nocturnal child back into his bed, again, tuck him in and put the door to, ajar.

“Well at least he’s really cheerful.”
“I’m glad someone is.”
“So how did it go?”
“He pulled down the shower curtain. I nearly brained myself trying to get it back up on the wall.”
“You should have left it. It helps if you’re taller.”
“Couldn’t. He was trampling all over it to get to the top shelf.”
“Ah the soap collection.”
“Indeed. He’s going to break his neck clambouring up that wall. He uses the soap dish as a foot hold.”
“Well that’s a positive thing.”
“Is it? Which bit? The climbing or the collection.”
“Er…..well…..both. I admit I wouldn’t have expected a soap fetish from the filthiest child on the planet but that’s all to the good surely?”
“I’ll remind you of that the next time you want to wash your hands.”
“Hmm….....maybe it’s a cunning plan to foil the hand washing campaign?”
"?"
"Well........?"
“He’s not that devious.”
“Are you sure? I certainly wouldn’t bank on it.”
“So.....if he’s graduated to ‘devious’ do we chastise or celebrate?”
"Passed with flying colours!"



Friday, June 06, 2008

Bi-lingual, it’s no excuse

The trouble with being a foreigner is that so much of what we say is incomprehensible.


Because the life of a foreigner is normal to the foreigner, the foreigner forgets that other people live different lives.

Take these two fairly ordinary statements, excuses in this particular instance.

For some reason everyone understands the first one but the second one causes no end of confusion. They are of equal weight around here. Both are common enough experiences in the great scheme of things. The statements are simple enough, but they convey a whole panoply of commonly shared human experience.

Sometimes.


1. Sorry I’m late but she broke her finger.
2. Sorry I’m late but he’s gone all nocturnal.

And sometimes not!

In the interests of scientific impartiality, I shall have to try them out again in England, when we nip home for a holiday. A good scientist never predicts outcomes prior to the test.

Verily, I shall be a foreigner on either shore.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Mexican Hat dance























I bimble around the garden muttering to myself as my youngest son sits in the shade in his underpants and a Mario baseball cap. He is busily occupied pushing playdough through the mesh table top, to form piles of neon spaghetti on the ground beneath. It's a tough work out for feeble little fingers, but the texture is no longer torture.

He is a study in concentration, oblivious to my presence. It is a rare sight indeed to see him sitting. I suspect that the same mesh pattern may be imprinted elsewhere upon his person, testament to his increasing powers of endurance. “It is so hot! We really shouldn’t be out in the sun you know.”
“I am not…..in dah sun,” he remarks, checking the dappled light through the foliage of the pergola.
“Hmm. I think I need a hat or something?”
“Big hat. Little cloves.”
It’s a valid point but I am way beyond the age where a bikini can be a realistic option.
“I swear it must be 100 degree out here!”
“No swear! Bad to be swear.”
“Oh that’s not swearing as such.”
“It is be dah figure of speech?”

I rip off the sweaty gardening gloves and step over to him. His minimalist approach to language and conversation is so often peppered with huge lumps of sophistication, if I were only paying attention.



Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Different Strokes for different folks























We survive the first 45 minutes of her being ill, but then she follows me around like a rash.

She reminds me that she is bored at 3 minute intervals. This is my ‘play with me, play with me, watch me, watch me,’ child, not that I’m assigning a role of predestination for any of my children.

Perish the thought!

Although brothers generally fall into the category of ‘pest,’ when they are at school, somehow their company is so much more appealing.

“But I’m real bored Mom.”
“I know dear, but I’m very busy. Why don’t you go and rest in your room.”
“But it’s not like you’re doin nothin.”
“Anything, dear, anything! As I said before, I have a great deal to do and the sooner I get it all done, the sooner I may have some free time. Why don’t you go and rest in your room and think of three things that you’d like to do when I’m finished.”
She sighs and deflates against the wall, “whatya doin then that’s more important than me an bein sick?” The tone of sarcasm isn’t lost on me, but I decide to ignore it. It would appear to be an abuse of power to out sarcasm a sarcastic 10 year old.
“Well right now I’m putting all the boys’ clothes back into the cupboard. I do it every day. It take about 20 minutes depending upon whether they accidentally tipped out the pyjamas too.”
“It sure is a big mess.”
“Hmmm.”

I fold, refold, stack shelves and re-hang T-shirts under her watchful eyes.

“If I did that you’d be real mad at me, right?”
“Well it would depend upon why you’d messed up your closet?”
“It’s not fair, they get to trash their closet every day and you just clean it all up!”
“Is that what you think?”
“It’s always the same, you treat em different.”
“You’re right, I do. Partly because you’re older and partly because there are some things that they find a lot more difficult than you do. Sometimes they need more help.”
“It stinks.”
“Now I have a question for you!”
“Really! What?”
“When you were really little, we had a closet just like this one. Half of it was toys and half of it was clothes. Every day I would try and put you to bed for your nap. Instead of taking a nap like every other toddler in the entire universe, you’d climb the closet shelves and chuck everything out. Then you’d strip your bed. Every day. Now why do you suppose you did that?”
“Geez, I have no idea! What did you do?”
“Every day after your non existent nap, I’d come up here and you’d be sitting in your devastated room with a mischevious grin on your face. I would be so cross with you. Daddy and I decided that we’d just leave mess and put you to bed at night without the bed clothes.”
“I don’t remember that either.”
“Well you wouldn’t, because some time during the evening, once Daddy was home, I’d zip up here and straighten it all out. It took ages but I just couldn’t put you to bed like that, it seemed too unkind.”
“Wow. How long did I do that for then?”
“Eternity.”
“What happened to stop it?”
“I gave up trying to get you to nap.”
“Why did I do that? It seems kinda weird.”
“Well, I think it’s because you didn’t have enough words to explain that you didn’t want to nap and probably more importantly, that you didn’t need a nap. You always were an energizer bunny.”

She slithers down the wall onto her hunkers, stares at the self portrait picture of her big sister. "Did she do weird stuff when she was little too?"
"Oh yes indeed. There's not a child on the planet that doesn't do "weird stuff" sometimes. The trick is to figure out the why? Once you know the 'why' it won't be weird any more."





















Post script:-

Take one Lilo and Stitch video

Extract Elvis

Add birthday present CD and "Mix"

Alternative "Junior production."

Cheers Debra!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

0 – 60 diddly squat


























Children thrive on routine or so they say.

We nay sayers decided to adopt a more modern approach to our children. None of those strictures for our little free spirits. We planned to copy our laid back, easy going Californians cousins. No mean feat for the average Brit, and we are terribly average.

Despite our best endeavours, it soon became apparent that laid back was more like flat out, or rather, flat out chaos and a great many horizontal meltdowns. We went over to the dark side, made schedules and schooled our children to follow them. Schedules and routine produced predictability, and a certain degree of calm, or maybe just less chaos. Before too long we slipped into the groove. Before too much later, we found that the walls of the groove had grown so high that we were scrabbling around in the hollow, unable to deviate right or left. The schedule became iron clad. There was no room for spontaneity as the timetable was rigidly enforced, indirectly, by the children themselves.


It infiltrates every second of our existence, the necessity to maintain sameness. I hear that this is quite common, indeed my good pal describes her life as a perpetually reliving the same day, day after day. Sometimes we get "bogged down" in the mire. It's hard to "escape" from the strictures of the schedule. There is no room for flexibility, merely crisis management.


Currently, our family experiences another peak in the "anxiety" roller coaster. It is exactly at such times, that it is imperative to maintain the routine.

Our routine is for me to arrive outside the boys’ classroom at least five minutes before the end of the school day. I wait. When they come out, we meet and greet, exchange pleasantries and wait for their sister to join us. It is important to remain in the same safe 10 yard area and wait. Sometimes we wait a long time, as she is usually the last to leave.

I have learned that it is unwise to be impatient, foolish to seek her out with the boys in tow. I cannot leave the boys behind to wait on their own because they cannot wait and they cannot wait on their own.

The seconds tick by as we wait. As they tick, so the anxiety increases, “where is she be?”
“She’ll be here any moment dear.”
“How many minutes? How many seconds. Is she be lost? Is she be selled?” He starts to suck his fingers and rock, small mewing noises get louder. I pull him onto my lap and he curls up small and tight. He slithers off and bolts. “We must be find her!” he yells as he charges off around the corner. I grab his brother and the backpacks as we scuttle off in hot pursuit.

It’s only 25 yards away but the court yard is crampt with a sea of bodies, parents and children and siblings and strollers. I spot him, dressed in red from head to foot outside her open class room door, blocking the way as he peers inside. Every face in the classroom is turned towards the little boy in the entrance way, crouched, mewling and swaying. Wounded in distress. I slip through the crowd to him and point out his sister, a long straight arm to guide vision with a rude finger at the end. He yelps with glee as I herd him away to a safe distance to join his brother. His brother is gone. “Agh! Where is he been?”

I spot him ambling away in the opposite direction. We gallop after him. I can already see the lure, a baby. We catch up just in time. He’s overtaken the mother, child and baby, to walk backwards in front of them whilst he asks questions to the mum but stares at the baby. I burble a torrent of compliments to the mum, child and baby. Yes, my nine year old is very fond of babies, all babies, and this is a particularly fine specimum of babydom, how could he resist?

Many parents have strong objections to large filthy children touching their purebred offspring, it’s quite natural. Luckily, we are in luck. The mum permits touching, cooing, smiles and pats, very tender gentle ones. I prompt goodbye greetings, as busy mums can only be hindered and detained for a short periods of time. It can never be long enough for my son to get his baby fix.

I turn around with a firm grasp on each boy as we stride back to the classroom. The class room is empty. “Oh no! Where is she be. We are be lost her! You and yur stoopid babies. It’s all yur fault.” The only reassurance that will work now is for him to see her, alive and well. Nothing else will placate him. The boys squabble as I haul them around the corner. They debate the merits of temporary relationships with strangers versus long term blood relations.

Animosity and anxiety vie for supremacy.

I see her waiting outside the boys’ classroom in a state of confusion. I yell as I see her heels disappear around the corner as she returns to her own classroom. My son hangs on my arm, a dead weight, the child that cannot be hurried. I dither. Double back and cut her off at the pass or follow her around again? I shoulder two backpacks, secure my grip on the snotty hand, hoik the nine year old onto my hip and galumph back.

We stagger and stumble our way amid bleats and rooster crows of the truly desperate. I glimpse her again, just as she begins to retrace her steps but I lack enough oxygen to yell. The snotty one spots her too, slips from my grasp and careens over screaming her name at 50 decibels. I watch her turn, pause, tune in, align sight, open arms just in time to catch him as he collapses into her. A swoon, worthy of a Southern Belle. As we bring up the rear he has gained enough composure to machine peck kiss her inner wrist. He pants like a puppy, exhausted, “you are be alive!” he puffs.

Only just dearies, only just.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Interior Design 101 and EMT’s


























We are fortunate indeed to live in the current era of casual living. Californians of course, do ‘casual’ so much better than any other people. As a general rule, Brits do not do 'casual' well. Whilst we excel at stiff and stuffy, casual is usually more of a character challenge.

An example may clarify the great divide. Let’s take the phenomenon of ‘the throw.’ For those less 'with it' than me, I can tell you that a ‘throw’ is a blanket, but more fashionable than a mere blanket. A blanket belongs on a bed, whereas a throw is draped casually over furniture in any room. It’s presence adds an air of casual.

Twenty years ago in England, there was no such thing as a throw. If you were exceptionally lucky there might have been an old car rug, tartan with a fringe. It remained folded neatly. It remained neatly folded unless you were unlucky enough to be ill and then be wrapped up in it’s itchy, scratchy fibres, swaddled to contain your contamination.























Hence today, we find that modern Californian homes usually house at least one throw. Our Californian home has several, four to be exact. They are neatly folded on the corner of the couch. These four replace the previous four, which were used so frequently as to become bald. Now I know that you may have a couple of criticisms to throw at me here, that the ‘folded’ disqualifies me from the casual. It may just be that you have never worn out a throw and have difficulty understanding how they could be threadbare in less than a year?

Well, although my throws are indeed throws, they also fall into a much more important category, namely ‘objet de d├ęguisement.’ They help unqualified Californians blend in with their surroundings. How? I’m glad you asked that. Say someone comes to call and our home is in it’s usual state of filth and chaos. All I have to do is whip off the throws and drape them decorously over the spills and stains that adorn every room. Obviously, actively soggy patches have priority.

Additionally, and more importantly, they serve as EMT’s.







EMT’s?


The trouble is that we all have so much to learn and teach. Whilst we appear to have mastered gloves and sunglasses for the tactile defensive amongst us, other skills evade us. For instance, we are still actively working on ‘sitting.’ When we’re concentrating on such tasks other skills fall by the wayside. It's not easy to juggle gloves, sunglasses and sitting all at the same time.


But what about the EMT’s?







Emergency Modesty Throws my friend.
































Some small people do ‘casual’ even better than Californians?

Sunday, June 01, 2008

And other small miracles















Our family lives in suburbia, or rather 5 sixths of us do.

California can be a deceptive State. People are familiar with the glories of San Francisco and the glitter of L.A. but the vastness is often missed. The greater part of the State is referred to as ‘wilderness.’ The ‘wild’ part of wilderness seems far more threatening than English countryside, tame, safe and comforting. This is where our ‘sixth’ spends the majority of her time, now that she is an adult and has choice. What else could I have expected from this 'save a whale,' 'hug a tree,' 'stroke a banana slug' kind of offspring? Although she is out in the wilds, modern technology keeps us connected through the telephone, although I would prefer her mobile to be nearer a cellular base station, or maybe just closer.

We talk late in the evening whilst small people slumber. We watch the same sunset, several hundreds of miles apart. She talks, I listen. I can hear the wind rush about her as she charges down a brush filled hill, rough terrain without a trail. She forges her own path as she talks and walks and weeps, the trials of youth, no longer trivial.















I learned that tears were a sign of weakness. I chose to teach a different lesson. Shed a tear, skip a gall stone.



Minutes tick by as the sun sets and darkness settles outside and in.

I remember my own tears on rare occasions. Dump the baggage, lighten the load.

My tears are rare because I know that they incapacitate me. They reduce me to an immobile soggy heap. This is the kind of multitasking that I cannot envisage.

To weep is to cease to function.

Weeping and talking, make a poor combination, too much gulping.

Weeping and walking! It’s out of the question.

Weeping, walking and talking?

In the dark?

She’s the closest thing to "Wonderwoman" that I’ve come across in this lifetime.


 
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