To be nobody-but-yourself -- in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else -- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
~ e. e. cummings
I am bursting right now. With pride, not chocolate (though the bunny that remains pristine, whole and untouched in Kiddo's Easter basket has been calling to me quite loudly today). You see, today, for the first time ever, Kiddo did this:
Yep, she rode her bike without the training wheels.
I know you're thinking "What's the big, flippin' deal? Isn't she almost 7?! Of course she's riding her bike without training wheels!" Yes, she will be seven at the end of May. I know that most kids are riding without their training wheels way earlier than practically-seven-years-old. But for Kiddo, bike riding came with extra challenges.
Due to her SPD, Kiddo has always had issues with two of her senses in particular. Which two? The vestibular and proprioceptive senses. "Whaaaa?" I hear you ask, "Those aren't senses..." But yes, they are. They have to do with balance, where one's body parts are in relation to each other and in relation to everything around the body, and how much pressure/effort is needed by the muscles to achieve a certain task. This has always been a problematic area for Kiddo. When she was younger, before she was diagnosed, we just chalked it up to her being extraordinarily clumsy. Seriously, not a day would go by without her walking into a doorjamb or table or wall or trip on a stair or curb - something she was paying attention to and looking straight at as she was moving, yet still, KABOOM. Once she was diagnosed, it was an "a-ha!" moment as we finally had an explanation for the extraordinary levels of clumsiness, and I'm happy to say that in some areas, (like, for example, the walking into doorways) Kiddo has improved greatly with a few years of OT under her belt.
Still, bike riding just wasn't coming to her. Even with training wheels, she wobbled a lot and often crashed and fell. Her SPD was really making it difficult and frustrating for her, to the point that she eventually refused to even try to ride her bike. She preferred "scootering" - on a three-wheeled scooter from which she still has falls and crashes regularly thanks to the same issues that were preventing her from riding a bike - and it seemed like the day would never come that she would master bike riding. It isn't that Hubby and I haven't tried to get her going without the training wheels, mind you. We tried every trick suggested by well-meaning friends and relatives whose own, younger children were merrily pedaling rings around Kiddo. None of them worked for her, because her sensory system was unable to help her brain figure out how to balance on two wheels. Knowing how frustrated she was broke our hearts.
Here, in our new neighborhood, she has friends from school. Friends who ride their bikes past our house, who race their bikes up and down the streets, who invite her to join them. Motivation anew for her, but still, she was nervous and hesitant to try. Hubby did some research on the internet (actually, he was looking for a different program that Kiddo's PT and OT had mentioned in passing when I asked them for suggestions on how to help Kiddo master a two-wheeler) and found a system that seemed worth a try, so he decided to give it a go. He had Kiddo watch the explanatory video yesterday and she was super-excited to try this method out with Daddy after school today.
This system is called Pedal Magic and all I can say is that within 10 minutes of Hubby and Kiddo starting to use the system in the parking lot up the road, she was doing this:
I was at home, busily stripping wallpaper, when the phone rang. It was Kiddo, giddy and breathless with excitement, asking me to come up to the parking lot and watch. So I did, and I'm telling you, I could've started crying, I was so happy. Sometimes it's the little things, you know. When we got home, she was bubbling over and couldn't wait to call her grandparents to share the news. She was busily planning outings on her bike with friends as I tucked her into bed tonight. Of course, she's going to need more practice at things like turning and stopping, but just the fact that she can maintain her balance on a bicycle unaided? That's huge.
Now I just wish the Bike Fairy would come and leave Hubby and me each a bike in our garage so we could go on family bike rides this summer. Sadly, every last cent of income that is above and beyond normal living expenses is slotted towards the neverending home renovations, so there will be no bikes for us this summer unless I can find a great deal on Craigslist or at a garage sale. I've been keeping my eyes peeled... You see, when I was a kid, we would go on family bike rides all the time in the good weather months. We'd spend entire afternoons riding our bikes, exploring our neighborhood or some other scenic spot. I have such fond memories of those outings, which started when we were too young to ride our own bikes. Dad built a "bicycle seat for two" child carrier for the back of his bike (I recall plywood and shag carpet remnants being primary components) so my sister and I could sit side-by-side on his bike, while our youngest sister rode in a more standard child carrier on Mom's bike. Eventually, we were all biking under our own steam, and we'd ride for miles, us kids zooming off ahead, then waiting for Mom and Dad to catch up. Good times, very good times. Now, the idea of doing that with Kiddo is so much closer to being a reality, despite the stumbling blocks her SPD threw in front of her bike tires. And this is why I am bragging about my kid riding without her training wheels. I hope you will indulge this proud mama! Yay, Kiddo!!!
The object: to master our newly attained wallpaper steamer to strip this -
(Isn't it hideous?!? It was the pattern on the living room, foyer, stairway and hallway walls!)
The implements of destructiontools culprits who conspired to take me down -
(Actually, not the palm leaf. It was merely a witness to the atrocity. I just couldn't be bothered to move it out of the shot.) The height from which I fell, while holding the scraper thingy in my right hand and the steamer thingy (the white, rectangular bit attached to the hose) in my left -
The result -
(Also banged up: my left wrist, elbow and hip and my lower back which had already been sore from yard work done earlier in the week. Sadly, I don't have that many ice packs with cool, hands-free wraps.)
Ow. Hubby has now promised me he'll bring the stepladder inside for me when I try to tackle the wallpaper stripping in the living room again tomorrow.
Yes, I am the Queen of grace and dexterity. How could you tell?
Say you have an iPod Touch that your kind and thoughtful, wonderful husband gave you for your 15th wedding anniversary back in January. (Thanks again, honey!)
And say that a kind and thoughtful, wonderful friend who also owns an iPod Touch gave you a super-cool, hot pink, silicone skin for your Touch. (Thanks again, Kristin!)
And say that your six year old owns a little, red egg full of Silly Putty that she leaves on the end table in the family room right next to your favorite spot for curling up and watching TV at night.
Sure, go right ahead, play with that Silly Putty while you're watching TV. It's fun, after all, I mean, it's Silly Putty - go crazy, stretch it out, roll it up, flatten it on the table to make it all smooth...
Just don't. Do. This.
You will not wind up with a cool, funky, line-y print from the back of your iPod skin on your flattened blob of Silly Putty. You will wind up with some sort of chemical reaction that bonds the Silly Putty to the silicone skin with a vengeance and will not come off.
Oh, and if you do decide to stick the rolled out, flattened circle of Silly Putty onto your iPod Touch skin and then spend the next forty-five minutes scraping it off molecule by molecule? Don't decide to try to get the last blob off by resticking the Silly Putty to the spot because then you've just wasted forty-five minutes, you complete and utter idiot.
Oh yes, I am so smart. S-M-R-T.
I'm just glad I didn't try to, say, get a print of my eyeball with my contact lenses in or something equally clever.
UPDATE: I put the skin in the freezer overnight, then scraped off what I could with a butter knife and followed that up with some rubbing alcohol on a q-tip and a warm water bath with plenty of dish soap, and voila! Good as new! Or, at least as good as if it hadn't had Silly Putty stuck to its back, twice.....
(And in case you're wondering, no one yet has posted *anything* on the internet about "how to remove Silly Putty from a silicone iPod skin" - yes, I managed to stump Google! I used various methods recommended for other things to which folks have stuck Silly Putty in the past to come up with what I finally did. Now, I suppose, any future such Google searches will come to..............me! Hee!)
Kiddo has been way too excited about April Fools' Day's impending arrival this year. She's been talking to me about it for at least a week, several times a day. Clearly, it's been on her mind. Last night she was giddy with glee at the thought of today finally being the day.
I decided we'd have to do something to prank her. I've blogged before about how my own father loved a good April Fools' prank, so there is a family precedent. After tucking her in, I came downstairs and tried to brainstorm with Hubby. We were coming up mostly blank (I think Hubby might've been a bit less invested in the effort given that he had a 7am meeting on the schedule, so he wouldn't be around for any prank witnessing) so I turned to the trusty internet, and found in the fruits of my Googling the plan for today.
It involved a bit of prep work last night, so I set about getting stuff ready while snickering to myself around 11:00pm. This morning, I finished my set up before Kiddo came downstairs for breakfast. (Still snickering to myself, of course.)
See this perfectly ordinary bowl of cereal and mug of milk?
Not so ordinary, after all!
Thanks to an idea I read online, I'd filled both the bowl and mug last night with water (colored with a few drops of half-and-half) almost to the top and frozen them. This morning, I topped off the mug with milk and the bowl with cereal and milk, and voila.
Kiddo came galumphing down to the table, fired up her iPod (because everyone needs to hear this songandthis song at 6:43 in the morning, dontcha know) and picked up her spoon. I carefully acted nonchalant and she seemed to not be quite awake enough yet to recall the date. I had the camera at the ready, just out of her line of vision.
She thought it was hilarious and was so excited to have been pranked. I took the joke bowl of cereal away and told her to start drinking her milk while I got her real breakfast out.
APRIL FOOLS' AGAIN!!
Hee hee hee! Now I see why Dad was so into pranking on April Fools' - it's FUN!
Of course, Kiddo felt the need to retaliate. The best she could come up with off the cuff was "Hey Mom, your shoelaces are untied!" This, while I was standing there barefoot and still in my (new and ridiculously adorable, pink flamingo-and-palm tree) jammies. Well played, Kiddo. *snort* Especially when she tried it again ten minutes later, while I was still barefoot.
I texted Hubby to let him know the pranks were a hit. Oh yes, I am feeling pleased with myself right about now. Not the levels of excitement I felt a year ago today, but still.