Monday, August 21, 2006

Yesterday we were walking in the park, her in the pram. I had it down so she could lie back-- i dropped the hat down for her to play with-- she put it above her head, where it stayed, because the pram was flat. She smiled up at me-- I'm sure she was happy cause she'd "put her hat on".

She was delightful yesterday. We had a nice two hour walk in the park-- glorious day. We were looking for ducks. Round each bend of the river we looked, but still no ducks. We eventually found them on the grass just near the exit. But I thought of a children's book. I'll take nice pictures of the river, and each one will have something different in it:
  • people riding bicycles
  • children
  • playing ball
  • dogs
  • galahs/birds
  • trees
  • wattle
  • rocks
and will say what's there, then the facing page will say "and still no ducks!"

The ducks will appear on the last page. Course it could be a series, and you might have to wait for the ducks. I also thought it would be fun to insert some odd things
  • Alien spaceship -- and still no ducks
  • bull
  • eiffel tower
  • reindeer
as well as more regular things
  • kangaroo
  • emu
  • snake
They could be either photo-realistic or cartoony.

Today -- by holding the spoon just out of her reach, she was forced to grab it with her hands, rather than try and eat it by leaning forward with her mouth. She grabbed it and put the end into her mouth. So that's good. We did it a couple more times. But it's not spontaneous.

Monday, August 14, 2006

There's another little DS girl. Very cute, a few weeks younger than Ellie. She seems younger than that though, because she's developing more slowly. So I guess that's what retardation is, just slower development. But it doesn't make her any less lovely; I mean, you be with people where they are, not where you are. Most people seem retarded to me. It's boring.

So there's all these people, exhibiting all these behaviours which indicate their development is at different points on different scales. And some people are probably behind other people on all these scales. But so what?

Our attitudes are more about our society, than about Ellie. We value certain things, and don't value others. And we don't even really value some of the things we say we do-- logical/mathematical intelligence, linguistic intelligence-- we value our own, but we don't value higher levels in other people; eggheads, no common sense, intellectuals. So it's about fitting in, more than about personality traits. Normativity. Smart people get good at downplaying how much smarter they are than average. Probably really smart people don't think much about it at all; cause it's not that important. I'm not there yet.
I'm not yet in the habit of writing when I'm feeling like it, when lots of thoughts are tumbling around in my head in a way that writing helps to sort out.

Today was the DS coffee group. I always find it somewhat confronting-- lovely people, most of whom are ahead on the journey, who've dealt with all sorts of things, and lovely kids, but all obviously afflicted, the way Ellie will one day be.

Right now, it's not obvious, She's only 13 months old, and if she's delayed, we don't really know-- because we don't have any other children to compare her to. She's at about the same spot as other kids of the same age-- behind on walking and muscle stuff, and perhaps a bit ahead with language. And usually, she's a complete delight. So it's hard to be reminded that all is not hunky-dory, that there will be hard times ahead. I guess it's possible that Ellie is some bizarre aberration, that she's actually normal intellectually-- all curves need their top ends; and she has got good genetics, but, really, that's not very likely. And I don't know what the top end means anyway. So it's more likely that retardation shows itself over time; being slower to pick things up just accumulates, and she gets further and further behind her peers. So that will be hard. But it's not yet.

Afterwards, when we'd had our lunch and had played together a bit, I sat her beside me on the sofa. We'd been playing, and I was just zoning a bit. And seeing/feeling her sitting beside me, her own little person, right next to me on the sofa-- I felt an overwhelming joy and protectiveness. I imagined a little bubble around our two sofa cushions, the two of us, together. And she looked up at me and beamed, and reached up for a hug. So I think she can sense that togetherness feeling, that love. Socially gifted. I'm a retard at it myself; always second-guessing what I feel, and what the person I'm with is feeling. But I'm pretty sure that LG (little girl, one of our pet names) just knows. And this makes me believe in love as something *between* people, rather than an individual surge of hormones, or whatever.

She plays with us. Plays coy, pretends not to want to hug us, burying herself into my partners shoulder, with a cheeky little smile, then pops up and launches herself at me, and does the same to my wife. Back and forth, laughing.

Are all babies this wonderful?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Not having a great time.
She presents herself to me as a series of demands; feed me, change me, childproof the house, clean the floor where I'm crawling, clean the high chair, give me a bath, brush the hair out of my eyes, help me to sleep, entertain me. It's not her fault, of course, it's just my tendency to see the world as a series of demands, and be exhausted by the thought of them. It's not a virtue.

I sit here, typing away, cause I'm too lazy to get up and attend to all the demands I see. And when I'm playing with her, I'm often in the same, low energy, despairing sort of mood. Was thinking today that I should break up her play into smaller segments; 10 minutes at a time rather than 20 or 30. And encourage her to do some more independent play, but starting with a few minutes, then extending it. Build up her independent muscles. Attending to one task at a time is obviously better than seeing 100, and feeling overwhelmed by them all. At least there's no need to make a list-- the demands are visible just looking at the room around me. So that's one form of procrastination i don't need to worry about.

I'm spending too much time with her just vegging, watching, but not really that attentively. Because I would rather be doing something else? Perhaps this is a good chance to practise mindfulness, being here now, etc.

As usual, drastic life change is accompanied by realisation of the baggage I carry around in my life. Yet another thing to do-- get rid of useless mental baggage. Add that to the list of things to do, along with, "don't make overwhelming lists of things to do".