Julia and I are having a very quiet weekend. Because of cancelations and a short month, we are short therapy hours -- we are required to do 80 hours of therapy a months which is not an easy amount to get in when the child goes to school full time -- and are using this weekend and next to catch up. With therapy scheduled from 9 to 4 with an hour’s break for lunch and church at 4:30 on Saturday, supper, a bit of tv or a game, bath and reading is all that is left to a day. Sound boring and stifling, I know. After two and a half years of intensive therapy, I almost can’t remember what a truly free weekend is like. The only time we get them is when we travel. I don’t mean to complain at all, but well, just a bit from time to time.
I spent the time going through boxes -- a bit more than two yesterday. That box of Cheshire’s early art was a killer. I know what happened. I remember distinctly. When we lived in Brooklyn, and that would be 1987 to 1988, we had a long, long hall that ran the length of the apartment -- typical brownstone second floor. Along that wall I hung whatever Cheshire brought home from the sitter and later from summer “camp” and preschool. Had I culled her work on a daily basis at that time, I wouldn’t have save much at all, but she insisted and I was more than delighted to allow everything on the hall walls. And then, we packed to leave for Indiana and the adventures in law school. We had help packing. Books and art was very easy to pack and to assign to others. I also knew that there would be little room for books and art in our first Bloomington apartment, so I assumed that we would go through those boxes at some later date. Jim Jones packed Cheshire’s art. He did not cull at all. He simply took it down, removed all tap, made neat piles according to size and fit it all in a moderately sized box. The box was relatively light and marked clearly with Cheshire’s name. I opened it and added to it in Bloomington. And it was again sealed and taken to Indianapolis, and of course, to Madison with never a peek inside.
Where it might be easy -- at least to some degree -- to discard kid art on a day to day basis, and I don’t have that much trouble with Julia’s drawings, especially those that I don’t consider her best work, it is almost impossible to discard the work of a long-gone sprite who is now so grown up that she would never scribble on orange paper with green crayons. Funny thing was that Julia did not want me to get rid of any of it either. Somehow I think she sees the dismantling of the collection of Cheshire’s complete early work as a threat to her continued work. Happy to report that at least two thirds was discarded and the rest put in the growing chrono files. I expect that as I go through the years when I am finally finished with the present phase, more will go.
It is remembrance, nostalgia, regret, and then coming into the present.
And I found the living room pillows that I knew I had packed before the summer packing up, but have not been able to find since. It was a big box that had sunk to the bottom of a pile. I was wondering if somehow I had thrown them out.
It was my turn to be parent volunteer at RE -- religious education -- on Saturday. The lesson on Bibleodeon was about the biblical kings and the construction of the temple of Solomon. Part of the time was spent with the class building a model of the temple. The teachers listed the parts that needed to be built and different kids volunteered to make and paint columns, an altar, the holy of holies, etc. But when it came to the 12 oxen to put the bronze basin on top of, I knew Julia had a job. She very quickly made five play dough oxen or more accurately, cows. Quickly and incredibly efficiently, she fashioned the little animals which were all about the same size and looked remarkably like cows -- ears, horns, and tails all very lifelike. She was especially careful with the legs which “had to be strong” for the cows to stand up. She didn’t need a picture or a reference of any kind. She didn’t need help. She knew what they looked like. There were other kids who were making playdough animals for sacrifice and people. Those figures were no where near what Julia made. Living with Julia and watching her draw and color and make things, and even at times, demanding that she re-do certain drawings when she is not doing her best, I forget how intense her talent is. The only reason that she did not make all 12 oxen was that she ran out of playdough. The temple building continues next week. I wonder if I should send in more playdough to insure the creation of the last 7 oxen.
Also, watching the other kids around the room -- about a dozen in all -- I was struck that Julia’s behavior falls closer and closer into the realm of the normal. Yes, she still has an aid for all classes at FUS, but for the most part she seems to listen as closely as many of the other kids -- her class is predominately boys and I am not sure that I would be seeing the same of girls -- and responds almost as frequently. Sometimes her responses are not completely in sync with the questions asked, but then that happens with other kids as well. She doesn’t have the insight of the most mature kids, not by a long shot, but I almost glimpsed the possibility of keeping up with the kids who were immature or slower or not responsive. Again, I am happy that I’ve decided to keep her in fourth grade for another year.
Julia plays on her leapster in the car as we drive around and gets in a few minutes while waiting for therapists. She has gotten better with stopping when she is asked as she has become more sure that she will be allowed to go back to it later. Many of the cartridge programs that she has -- which were gifted from an Indy friend with older kids -- have some touch with education and I used to encourage those. I don’t really have to any more, although at times, I have to ask her to stop play with the batman program that is more violent that I like. What ever she has been playing with for the past week, has been drilling spelling and rhyming words into her head. Yesterday, it clicked and suddenly she was all about rhyming. “Mom, Mom, cot and pot rhyme?” “Yes.” “And pot and rot?” “Yes.” “And rot and zot?” “Zot? I don’t think that’s a word.” “Yes, it is. In dr. Suess.” And of course, she is right. It is from One Fish, Two Fish. This went on most of the day with different sounds and words. And she was right on correct most of the time. Finally, at the very end of the day, Julia asked if “introduction” and “meditation” rhyme.
By jove, I think she’s got it.