Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Day I Lost My Mind

I am embarrassed to even write this, but I promised I would. . .
You see. It all starts with this bridge. There's an extremely long bridge, The Causeway, that connects where I live to New Orleans. By long, I mean 23 miles. At minimum, I cross this bridge twice week and often it is much, much more than that. You see, Charlie's Feldenkrais therapy is in on the other side, as is my brother, my parents, and most of the good restaurants. On my side we've got better public schools and lower flood insurance, which is why we live here instead of there.

Anyway, anyone who knows anything about anything knows that you DO NOT speed on the Causeway. You can go four miles over the speed limit and that is the absolute maximum. After that, well, expect to get pulled over.

Every time I get on the bridge, I set my cruise and cross the bridge with no problems. I pass multiple police officers without breaking a sweat. I'm a rule-follower when it comes to the Causeway. This is mostly because everyone knows that the Causeway has more money than things to do, so you best not become the object of their wrath.

At the end of the bridge, the speed limit drops rapidly from 65 mph to 35 mph and this is one of the places they love to pull people over. I know this.

Well, today I was a little distracted. I'd had an especially stressful morning, one in which I'd found out that I may have to cancel our February trip to Plano because I'm having trouble finding a companion, and while I like to play rock solid here on the ole bloggy, blog, it does take a village to raise a Charlie and some days are harder than others.

So! Distracted! Exiting the Bridge! Suddenly I realize that I am, in fact, exiting and begin breaking rapidly. Well, too little too late I found out. A few yards after the bridge, police officer steps out into the road. She points at my car and makes some hand gestures. Then, she points at the car next to me and makes some hand gestures. I think, "Whew!" I guess I slowed down in time and then continue on my way. I thought she'd been waving us on.

Not so much. Actually, the cop thought I was a fugitive from justice. She RAN to her car like the bionic woman and caught up with me three yard away where I was stopped at a red light. She gets on the loud speaker, "OWNER OF THE FORD TAURUS--PULL INTO THE U-HAUL PARKING LOT." Not good, right? Well, I pull in there, and then she makes me back out of a parking spot and continue driving through the parking lot and then on some more until she finds an abandoned parking lot in which to properly cite me.

I'm already not happy with the situation. I prefer to be pulled over in public location with plenty of public scrutiny. That's just how I roll.

She gets on her megaphone--I mean, really?--and tells me to get out my license, proof of insurance, and registration. I'm getting annoyed. It's taken five minutes just to pull me over, and I've got a Feldenkrais appointment that I have to pay for, whether we attend it or not.

The good girl in me is still ashamed for speeding and ready to take my punishment as quickly as possible. I'm not one to argue or try to get out of a ticket--if I've done something wrong, then I'm prepared to take the punishment.

So, she comes to my window and I hand her my license and insurance card, and say brightly, "I've got so many insurance cards, it's hard to figure out which one's current. Let me get my registration!"

And then she replies, "Why did you ignore me when I told you to pull over?"

I'm still trying to be nice at this point and say, "I thought you were waving me on. "

And she says, "NO. I did this."

And then she proceeds to do more of that crazy hand waving business and at that point I lost my ever-loving mind. I mean really. Do the police actually think that ANYONE knows what those crazy signals mean? More than once I've been at an intersection wondering if I should go. . . or not. . . and it's one thing to use it, and another thing entirely to assume that every blooming person on the planet has undergone police training.

And you know? She didn't have to be rude about it. I worked with surly adolescents for years and rudeness never got me anywhere. A simple explanation of the different signals would have made me a more competent driver--instead, she decided to power trip on me and for whatever reason, I snapped.

So I say "Sorry. I don't have a degree in hand signals. You don't have to get an attitude."


I'm lucky she didn't haul me out of the car and taze me just for fun.

So when I finally get my ticket, it's not only for speeding, but I have to appear in court for, you guessed it, failure to obey police orders. When she asked me to sign it I refused. I obeyed her orders! That's how I ended up in an abandoned parking lot! She told me that signing was not an admission of guilt--just an admission that I'd received the ticket and that if I didn't sign it, she could arrest me. It said right there on the form, "Not an admission of guilt," so I did sign it, but I tell you what, I was gettin' hot and indignant. I was stickin' up for the little guy! I was a freedom fighter! Ok, I was none of those things, but in the moment, I was feelin' it.

Of course, now I just feel like a hot-head.

So there ya go. The ugly side of Bird on the Street.

Finished Work

A while back I told you all about a piece of art I was creating for a young man who lives in a residential facility. I don't want to over-step, but I think it's accurate to say that he has had some issues in cerebral development, so while he is old in age, he is young at heart.

I really stepped out on a limb with this piece--it's larger than I usually do and it's also very different in terms of colors and materials. I went with BRIGHT colors because I wanted it to appeal to all ages. I didn't want it to be too cartoonish, though, so I did have to get rid of a Moose I'd painted that my Hubby said looked like Bullwinkle. (It didn't look like Bullwinkle other than the fact that they are both Mooses--Meece? What's the plural of Moose?)

His mom also told me that he loved to run his hands along things to see how they feel. This made me determined to add texture to the painting. You can feel the waves, and the blueberries and lobster have been made three-dimensional with paper mache.

Like I said, very different than my usual stuff, but good for stretching me and also good for my heart--making this piece for a young man in special circumstances.

Tomorrow I promise to tell you all about how I almost got arrested. . .

Monday, January 25, 2010

Happiness 101

Well, Cristin over at Tiptoeing Through the Tulips nominated me for a Happiness 101 award. Normally I'm terrible at awards. In fact, I had a dream the other night that someone nominated me for a Lemonade Award and I couldn't remember who. Note to self: get off the computer--you're dreaming about the dang thing now.

So! This one is easy and totally in-keeping with my year-long quest to celebrate. I'm supposed to name ten things that make me happy.

1. At the top of the list has got to be the Saint's victory over the Viking last night. Some dummy said the New Orleans needed this win to recover. I'd like to call BS on that one. We didn't need this, but man on man are we enjoying it. One woman I follow on Twitter brought her grandmother's ashes to the game. Seriously.

2. Whenever you walk past Charlie, he sticks his hand out to you like, "pick me up!" So cute.

3. Hours of work on Charlie's shoulders has finally paid off and when I go to put the tray on his high chair, both arms come up in the air as opposed to lefty coming all the way up and righty lagging behind

4. Shoe shopping. Blissdom has become the ultimate shopping excuse. I've already bought more pairs than there are days of the conference. Don't tell Hubby, OK?

5. My good friend has returned from a four month stay in Iraq all in one piece.

6. Another friend is having a baby in 2010!

7. My brother is getting married! Next month. He and his fiance have been dating for almost nine years. If you ask my brother why it took them so long, he'd say, "we don't want to rush things." Um, mission accomplished.

8. Jack Bauer--I'm on season five of 24 and I'm Lo-ving it!

9. How I Met Your Mother--even Hubby likes the show and I'm already quoting it.

10. My art. Good things are happening: Group shows, maybe some other things. I'd share more, but right now I'm a little gun-shy after my last experience. I'll keep you posted.

Ten Blogs that Make me Happy (I'm naming some non-special needs peeps as a horizon-broadening exercise):

Nadine @ Velvet Tush

Erin @Mo Mommy

Tess @Truish Story

Ashley @Weehawken Kitchen

Sarah @ Semi-Desperate Housewife

Melissa @ What. Today. Looks. Like

Shelly @ The Decayed Gentlewoman

Toni @ Toni is Crazy

Jennie @ She Like Purple

Swistle @ Swistle

Whoo! That's a lotta linkin'!

***** I wanted to edit this and add that no one should feel, ya know, obligated just because I linked them. I often get all tense at the idea of writing to a promp, so NO PRESSURE!****

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Jennie over at She Like Purple has a little soapbox that she pulls out from time to time and it's one that I'm especially fond of. Paraphrasing poorly, she says that everybody parents differently. She goes on to say that you can't let yourself get distracted by other people's opinions or methods, but rather you just need to focus on your child and what works for you.

Jennie's child is typical and she's mostly focused on issues like breast-feeding and daycare, but I think the same is true in Special Needs Land (like Candy Land! With fancier equipment!)

In my, still-figuring-this-thing-out opinion, the only thing you can do is follow your gut. Read, learn, study, ask lots of questions, and then see where it takes you. It might be stem cells in China, nutritional formulas from India, or manual compression in Canada. It might traditional therapy. Some parents take the money that other parents spend on therapy and they take their kids on vacation. Some parents thank the Lord when they finally consent to a G-tube. Ours was a complete nightmare and I don't miss it one bit.

Truthfully, I don't think WHAT you do matters as much as HOW you feel about it. Make no apologies.

Do I think I'm doing the right things with Charlie? Hell yeah, but that's the only way I'm gonna sleep at night. Everybody has to find their Ambien.

There are plenty of parents who started ABR with us in October of 2008, but who decided it wasn't a good fit for them. There are parents who pursue therapies that I have dismissed as not for us. Do I questions myself? Yes, but I always come to the same conclusion--this is the therapy for us. This feels right.

I strenuously question the motives of anyone who tries to bully or coerce you into thinking one way or another. If you e-mail me about ABR, then be prepared to get an earful. I LOVE this therapy. It's gentle, it's easy, I do it in my own home with my child in my lap. It's the thing that makes sense to me, for our family. I hate that more families don't have access to it.

I would never push it on anyone, though. I know full-well the path of doubt and confusion that a parent faces when their child is given a life-altering diagnosis. It's a hard. Really hard. It hurts you places you didn't know existed. And that, I feel, is enough pain for one person. Parents shouldn't have to feel even worse for making an informed, loving decision--whatever that decision may be.

I realize this is a bit of a ramble, but it's on my mind. We can only do what feels best. Really. And the rest. . . is for everyone else to sort out.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Imposter Syndrome

In two weeks I'll be packing up my stuff and heading to Nashville, TN to attend Blissdom '10. I don't think I even left a link last time, but for those of you who don't know, Blissdom is a blogging conference. You can learn about improving your writing, finding readers, putting ads on your blog, and a whole bunch of other things that are v-e-r-y interesting to a gal like me. You know, one of those people who spends too much time on the computer.

I started blogging in November of 2005. A link at the top of my hotmail led me to my very first blog and I thought, "I could do that." So I did. At that point it really was a sort-of online journal--no one was reading it! I wrote about something I saw on TV, a book I was reading, or my New Year's resolutions. A few months later, my husband deployed to the Middle East and I found myself on the computer a LOT. People started leaving me comments, I was commenting on their spaces and before I knew it, I was hooked. Hubby came home to a real-life Blog Addict.

I've seen a lot of blogs in that time. Most people lose interest after a while. Others promote the hell out themselves, put up a banner, buy a domain name, and really take the 'net by storm.

I've always been in between.

I've kept at it.

I don't have my own domain. I don't have a fancy banner. I'm choosy about who I tell about Bird on The Street.

And so I'm a little nervous to be going to a conference full of Women Who Blog.

I guess I'll just have to go and see. Find out about this crazy world that I've been skirting for all these years. I may find out I want to do more or I may decide I'm right where I want to be. At the very least I'll get seven hours in the car and I won't have to compromise with ANYONE about what's playing on the radio. Look out!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Best Medicine

Our dear, wonderful Arkansas friends came to visit over the long weekend. They are some fabulous people who took me under their wing when my husband was deployed for four months, and who kept us afloat when Charlie was born so very sick. They are balm for my soul and it is so nice to have them around.

They have two little girls that I'd like to call fabulous, but I seem to have used up all my adjectives in the first paragraph. They're good kids--polite, cute, kind. They're not greedy/grabby, they listen to their parents, and you can actually go places with them and not wish you were dead, which can be rare with young children.

They are especially great with Charlie. They ask questions about what he likes, they try hard to make him smile; they get down on the ground and play with him like it's the most natural thing in the world.

I love to see how Charlie responds to them as well. The whole non-verbal thing makes it hard to tell what he's thinking. But he cried when they'd run off and leave him behind, so I took that as a good sign. He also allowed one entire hour of Wonder Pets to be played on the DVD player, which is nothing short of a miracle. "If it ain't Miss Rachel, it ain't worth watchin'" is generally his motto. He seems mild-mannered, but that's just because you haven't messed with his Signing Time.

Today I noticed that he was playing with toys that he used to ignore--but that the girls liked.

He also kicked some serious booty in speech today. He made purposeful choices, answered yes, and did this for the entire one-hour session. This is a kid who hated Speech so much I'd have to put him in time out half-way through a session just to get him to calm down.

I can't help but wonder is the girl's visit didn't have some effect on him.

A delightful visit that leaves my child full of new interests and skills? I'm calling that a win-win.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Next Phase

It takes a long time to get over the fact that your child has been given a life-altering diagnosis. Really, I think "get over" is the wrong word. It takes a long time to make peace with it. And of course, you have those moments that crop up from time to time--where you compare your child to one the same age. Or when you see pictures of your friend's children.

For the most part, however, I feel peace about where we are. I work several hours a day to give Charlie my version of the best life possible and when my head hits the pillow, I'm usually content with the way things are going.

I'm finding that there are things after the grief stage.

These days I find my mind wandering towards making changes. I see things that are wrong and I want them fixed.

I have no idea where this will lead me, but that is fine. Having Charlie as my child has meant throwing out the rule book and seeing where life takes me--I can only assume that this is the next stage in the journey.

Friday, January 15, 2010


Today I took charlie to feed some nearby ducks. We've been reading about ducks and ponds, so this was a logical field trip. I tried to show him how to feed the ducks, but he was more interested in eating the bread himself. He perked up a little when a territorial goose got close and started braying what I could only assume was a warning. I snapped a few photos and then we retreated to sit in the grass for a bit, feel the spray on our faces, and head home. I often find myself doing things with Charlie and not really knowing how much he enjoyed it, but feeling satisfied that I've fulfilled some common childhood experience. Fed ducks--check! Normal childhood in progress.

In spite of the photographs, I'm not sure if this day will be etched in my memory forever. I've recorded it for posterity, but it was just another day in grand scheme of things.

When you look back, searching for those perfect moments, it's often the littlest things that stick out in your mind.

There was the time I drove two girls I hardly knew home from a camp out and bonded over a mutual love of Madonna's Immaculate Collection and boy talk. We're still friends today.

There was the time I'd gotten my driver's license, but I didn't have insurance yet, so a friend and I drove up the street and then back down it in my mom's LeBaron, listening to B97, and plotting the day when we'd finally be able to go to Taco Bell by ourselves. The freedom.

Fifteen years later, there's no evidence these times ever happened.

There are no pictures from the time a friend and I drove around until we found a good patch of sun and then laid out in the bed of her pickup. There are no pictures of sitting up late on the dock of a lake in Mississippi and talking about things that felt profoundly important at the time. There are no pictures of late-night plotting sessions that took place in the stairwells of the dorm.

But they are there, in my memory, forever. Some of the best moments are the ones you don't see coming--a few fleeting minutes that you will never forget for one reason or another.

Most mornings, my husband and Charlie get up at the same time and leave me lying in my bed, eyes clenched tight, firmly refusing to accept that dawn has broken. I give all new meaning to the term "not a morning person," and pretty much anyone who has ever known me, knows to just avoid the situation. So, I lie there, and Charlie and Dad have a delicious breakfast of eggs, oatmeal, and coffee for Dad. They listen to the news, and Mom gets a few more precious moments of sleep.

I usually get up and stumble into the room eventually, but this morning I was still fast asleep when it was time for Hubby to head off to the money-making place. He brought Charlie into our room, laid him down next to me, and gave him a toy to play with. After a few minutes, I started to regain consciousness and there was Charlie, happily making some classical song play, kicking his legs now and then, content. I reached over and squeezed his toy for him, making a new, different song play and he turned and smiled and then happily went back to the serious business of playing.

I knew as I lay there in bed, with sleep in my eyes, and the breath of a dragon, that this was one of those moments. Not one caught on film, with styled hair and uncomfortable clothes, but the kind of moment that I'll store in my mind and take out when he's too old for this sort of thing. A few stolen moments, before the day began, before whining, to-do lists, and caffeine withdrawal, where we could just lie there and be.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Whining 101

I'm usually loathe to complain in any way about Charlie or raising him. I live in mortal fear that some parent will Google "brain damage," end up here, read my ravings, and then begin an immediate spiral of despair.

Like I ever had that much power.

I suspect, however, that what we're dealing with is more of a two year old thing and less of a disability thing although my knowledge of typical two year olds is limited to blogs and my friends' random Facebook postings.

You see, Charlie's developed a case of whiney woos. That's a technical term, but whiney woos are easy for even a layman to spot. Just look for the whining. Charlie whines if I leave the room, if I eat and don't give him any, if I run water and don't give him a bath, if a therapist shows up, if I take too long making his meal, if he wakes up and isn't immediately greeted, or if he doesn't like the current video selection.

So, basically all the time.

It's a L-OT of whining.

I guess it could be worse--there could be tantrums, but this business is getting so old it's starting to collect Social Security.


In other, completely un-related news, I'm thinking about having my ears surgically removed. Any thoughts?

Pictures of practice eating with a fork. He's got the motion right, but his stabbing still needs work.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Good Things

Today I'm celebrating the small things. . .

  1. Nose picking! Look how well he gets that pointer finger out. Also, he'll kill me one day for posting this.

  2. Hats that are too small! I don't know if you've heard, but CP kids are infamous for being diagnosed with microcephaly a.k.a small head. The insinuation is that your child's brain isn't growing properly. Whether I believe that or not is a completely different story, but still. . . head growth, yay!

  1. Last week's episode of Desperate Housewives. A special needs storyline where they really got it right. Also, raising a special kid felt good in the end, which is such a change from the usual pity party. I will confess to some crying, but is that really surprising?
  2. Meeting another epilepsy mom. We're having lunch this week. Funny thing, I say something about epilepsy and people will say, "does Charlie have epilepsy?" Ummmm, yeah, and he's had it for quite a while. Epilepsy just means that he's had seizures, which they know, but for some reason that word makes them anxious.

  3. Blissdom '10. I'm going . The wrangling involved was enormous (babysitters! for two separate work days!), but I'm getting three days of fun and hopefully I'll have all sorts of good things to share when I get back.

Seriously, life is good!

**Note: Erin pointed out that it looks like Charlie is eating his boogers--he's not! These pictures were taken on different days and even at different houses**

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Katy to the Rescue

Most Saturdays my husband gets up and goes through the usual routine with Charlie and I sleep in. I'm aware that this is an incredibly great deal and I take full advantage, staying up late Friday nights working on my art, updating my blog, etc.

You can imagine my dismay when my husband came in five minutes after getting up to tell me that our pipes had frozen in the night.

We have a raised house, so our pipes are exposed. Every other night this week, we'd diligently run water to prevent freezing, but last night we were exhausted and forgot. We had covered them with insulation, but apparently it wasn't enough.

I don't want to do anything in the morning and if you told me the house was on fire, I'd ask you to come back and get me in five minutes. I told my husband to go get Chick-fil-a for everyone when he got back we'd figure something out.

My husband, ever the engineer, was not at all impressed with my idea. He stomped around the house; he started complaining about not being able to brush his teeth. He went outside and stared at our pipes, testing the outdoor spigots. He wasn't actually doing anything though--just sort of pouting and getting really upset.

Well, he's a planner and I'm a doer. With a V-E-R-Y dramatic sigh, I got out of bed and just started putting on all kinds of clothes. This is as cold as it gets here in Louisiana and I figured if I was going to be outside all day messing with the pipes, then I should wear layers. So, dressed in my pajamas plus a turtleneck, plus faux snow boots, plus a huge winter coat, I told my husband to hook up an extension cord and I went and got my hair dryer.

You see, last week, Tiffany had told us on Facebook that her father had used a blow torch to unfreeze their pipes. I don't own a blow torch, but I do have a 1400 watt hair dryer and I'm not afraid to use it.

So out I went, Hubby still looking totally dejected, and I kid you not, I had the water running in five minutes.

It seems that it was only frozen right at the point where it comes out of the ground. Once I warmed that up, the water was flowing again.

I thought Hubby was gonna cry he was so happy.

And then I got Chick-fil-a.

It was a good morning.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Everyday Stuff

Twice a day, every day, I take a little time to dig the dirt out from underneath Charlie's left thumbnail. No matter how closely I trim that nail, it becomes a cavern of peanut-buttery funk that makes me cringe.

Charlie, like his father before him, is not so much a fan of the manicure.

He writhes and wriggles, jerking his hand away fiercely. Sometimes I have to practically pin him down to clean that nail.

I was in the middle of this wrestling match the other day when I said to my husband, "I've never seen a person fight so hard about something so unimportant."

With a smirk he responded, "Who you talking about? You or him?"

Point taken.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Right Now

I woke up this morning in panic.

Charlie is two years and seven months old. He'll be three in five months and he'll be in school two months after that.

I have no idea where the time has gone. None.

With a special needs child, I think that birthdays, half-birthdays, hell, Mondays, can remind you that time is moving swiftly while your child is taking their sweet time meeting milestones. You can get a little panicky thinking about the one-kajillion things they still have to learn.

But I wanted this year to be about celebrating rather than worrying. I've done enough worrying for several small children and it's time to work on using my energy elsewhere.

So, instead, I'm working on my celebrating.

I'm celebrating that Charlie took seven step in his gait trainer. True, all seven were with the right foot, but lefty will figure it out eventually.

I'm celebrating that he used Tina the Talker for 45 minutes yesterday--even telling us yes and no in a purposeful way.

And I'm celebrating that he said "uck" when we were singing about ducks in Old McDonald.

This way is better, I'm sure of it.

I think this fortune cookie might be code for "you've got no money in your wallet."

Monday, January 4, 2010

Insert Post Here

So. . . . I guess maybe putting a post right here would be a good idea. Right now, though, as I stare at this white space, I wonder what it is I talk about here. Anyone remember?

There has been so much going on around here that I am literally unable to construct any meaningful thought. I have dreams a night about failed relationships that are interrupted by Jack Bauer and if we don't get out of there soon we'll miss PT.

You get the picture.

Tomorrow will be me and Hubby's eight year wedding anniversary. We dated for three and a half years before that, so we've been a team for what feels like a good long while now. Not forever or anything, but we're definitely past the "he's so dreamy" phase.

There's been a lot of divorce around us lately and it really got me wondering about what it takes to go the distance. I mean, Lord knows it isn't always perfect around here. Also, you always hear about how couples with special needs children are even more likely to split and that just makes you even jumpier.

I've come to only one conclusion on this topic and you can ignore me if you like because we all know that eight years does not a marriage expert make.

In my opinion, the couples who make it work are the ones where both parties are just really committed to the idea of marriage. You have to work on it. You have to talk about it. You have to stay up late some nights hashing out ways to make it work when it feels broken. You have to be committed to the idea of forever. And you have to do these things over and over again.

Hubby and I have our rough patches, but in the end we want to be with each other. I don't think long-lasting marriages are about perfect partners, but rather about dedicated ones. It's not like we're flawless beings, but instead just two people who accept the other and are glad to have them in our lives.

Besides, if it didn't work out I'd have to try dating again and that, my friends, is a deal breaker.

Pictures of Hubby sealing up a piece of architectural salvage I want to hang in our house.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Putting it Aside

When I first started teaching kids with dyslexia, I really wanted to help them learn to love reading. Reading has always been one of my great joys. I was that nerdy girl who always had a book with her--even reading on the playground if things got especially good.

After things got going, however, I started realizing that this was stupid goal. If you are someone who doesn't read intuitively, reading is one long, uphill battle. Every unfamiliar word must be sounded out and again, if it doesn't come intuitively, you have to recognize letter combinations and endings, and run through possibilities until you come up with the correct pronunciation.

So after a while I changed my focus. I started working on helping my kids get through their reading assignments from other teachers--we did read-alouds, audio books, and practiced skimming. We were also working on the endless steps for decoding text, but I wanted to give them life tools as well.

I was trying to get a picture of the two of us together, but clearly I haven't figured it out yet.

I have to do the same thing with Charlie all the time, and it can be really hard sometimes.

I firmly believe that Charlie can do anything he wants. His determination is astounding.

I also have to realize that what he wants might not be the same as what every other toddler wants.

There's a really wonderful website for teaching your toddlers--it's called No Time For Flashcards. Just reading the name of that site makes me hate myself a little . I mean, I show Charlie flashcards ALL THE TIME. All the time.

What I have to realize, though, is that what makes Charlie happy and fulfilled isn't the same as other toddlers. Arts and crafts is completely meaningless to him. It's a lot of holding your head up and looking at the same time and that itsn't his idea of a good time.

I've had to accept that the only way he'll let me read is a story is with both of us flat on our back, looking up at the book, and even then he might crawl away after the second page.

He loves those flashcards, though--especially new ones. He smiles and kicks and most of the time I don't have to remind him to look.

So I have to accept a middle ground. I have to put aside my expectations of what his toddler days should be. While I believe firmly in learning by doing, I also know that sometimes the effort involved in doing makes the experience unenjoyable. This doesn't mean that I have to give up on active learning or doing crafts, but I also don't have to kick myself if our learning style is different.

I'm slow with these lessons, but I swear I'm learning them.