04 September 2011

Last night, Julia read That Cat in the Hat. By herself and with the book in her hands. She knows all of the words and can read some of the shorter passages with a good deal of expression. (Some of the expression is borrowed from my readings. I giggle at her interpretation.) We haven't read that in months, maybe in a year, and she told me she missed the story. She loves Thing One and Thing Two, and she was very concerned that they came and went in a box. With a latch. She told me that people should not go places in boxes. She said it so seriously.

It is an easy book for her but what was amazing was that she read the entire book without ever using her finger to point to the words and follow the lines. This is a development so recent that it takes my breath away. It was only last month, maybe a few weeks ago that she could not track words on a page and needed my finger moving along a line. How did this new skill develop? How many times do I have to learn that she will learn in her time, not mine? I’ve been worrying so much about her lack of math skills, and her inability to grasp firmly ideas that I been drilling into her all summer long.

This morning, we slept late, nearly to 8:30 which is pretty incredible in my book. I heard her wake up and pick up a book and read to Lizzy and Luky, her two favorite dinosaurs. I know this is young behavior, but it is behavior that Julia has not done before. She was really reading, although she skipped a few words she did not know. She read with animation and then asked questions. I could not hear what Lizzy and Luky said. Her mother’s daughter?

We went to church, late Sunday service that we favor in the summer time. I am on the schedule now and again to do the welcome and announcements at the beginning of the service, and due to a mix up or cancellation, I did it at today’s late Sunday service. When I’ve done this over the past year, I usually got Julia settled down in our usually places in the back left of the auditorium. She is very comfortable in this row and these seats that we’ve sat in since we started going to the Unitarian church three years ago. We sat in those seats with David and sat in those seats alone. In fact, on the day of David’s memorial, Julia insisted on sitting in this same place even though Cheshire and I sat far away and in front and center of the church as befits the grieving family. Julia insisted on her usual seat, got out her coloring books and crayons and would not move. My friend, Cathy and her lovely girls joined Julia, and I was relieved and knew that Julia would be well taken care of. The value of comfort in the ordinary and repetitious is not lost on Julia.

And so, we sit in the same place virtually every time we go to church, and even when we go to the Saturday service which held in the Landmark Auditorium (the one that F.L. Wright designed), we sit in an equivalent place. A bit too set in our ways?

And so, when I do the welcome and announcements, I settle Julia into our regular seats, and I go to the front, where I perch on a front seat until it is time for the service to begin. I do my bit, which may or may not include lighting the chalice candle and then go back to sit with Julia. Today, however, I asked her whether she wanted to sit up front with me. I was surprised when she agreed and we settled ourselves in very different seats. I asked if she wanted to go up with me and sound the great gong that begins our services and she was game. I told her that we would go up together (just three steps), she could sound the gong, and then she would have to return to her seat alone while I went to the pulpit.

And she did it. And then sat down again, in the front row, and took out her coloring book and crayon and seemed happy as a clam. Today, was also the last day of summer activities for the kids at church and the group of kids assembled for an ice cream party. Oy! I thought. Julia hyped up on sugar for afternoon therapy that she would have right after church. I was glad that I had given her a good hardy breakfast. I was thinking it would line her stomach. But Julia was not hungry and said no thank you to ice cream.

Gosh, I wish I could get a transfusion of her eat-only-when-hungry attitude. I know that a big part of it is the drugs she takes for her ADHD, but in truth, Julia is not a big fan of ice cream, candy, or sweets in general. She likes ice cream when we go to a special place, but a very small vanilla cone is plenty for her. I’ve had ice cream in the freezer until it iced over at times in the past year. She has, however, developed a liking for cupcakes in her lunch. I bake the little cakes as healthy as I can and then put that junky store bought in a tub icing. And Julia eats it with gusto.

The day has been cloudy and cool with lovely breezes. I took time to continue my garden clean up. I am getting some ideas about moving a few plants which I’ll get to in another week or so. I am most excited about the space behind the garage that is rather tucked away in the yard. Previously, I’ve had my big compost there and have let a forsythia bush overrun itself and shield the compost piles from view. The compost pile has been reduced in size and relocated to a place where it is more accessible and in a bed that has been a problem to grow much of anything that I like. And now, this sort of more private space is begging for some use. And I’ve just come to the notion that this space would make a very nice space for a bench and small table. A retreat space that is not as public as the rest of my gardens and even my porch on the front of the house. I have a good deal of cleaning to do before I set it up, but ideas of churning. The garden is speaking.

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