Editor’s Note: Honestly, I hate this post.  It’s fragmented and disorganized.  Unclear, pointless, wishy-washy, and uninteresting.  Sometimes this happens when I have too much to say and mish mash it all together.  In this case though – Oh, well.  I have a date with a vacuum.

One of the big jobs today is throwing out some old sofa cushions, mats, and foam that we’ve been using as a gym mat for Carolyn.  I’ve wanted to buy a gymnastics mat for Carolyn for about six years.  I think of it every birthday and every Christmas, and every time we start a new school year.  I feel pathetic admitting it; why haven’t I just gone ahead and gotten one?

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Indecision?  Fear?  Some sort of complicated emotional entanglement?  I have no idea.    This is what I know:

1. I get the idea to buy a gymnastics mat for Carolyn to go underneath her swing/rope/ladder device.

2. I look at the types of mats – online or at the gym and consider the pros and cons of each.  I gather information.

3. I can’t decide.

4. I postpone the decision.

But finally, after six years, we – I? – somebody – have a gym mat on the way.  This week I’ve been working hard on a number of areas, but this one holds a special carrot.  Knowing that I’l be able to place that gym mat on a clean floor and say, “I did this.  I made a plan, I worked, and I did it.”  It’ll be easier to clean, look nicer, and be easier to walk around or past.  Although we did order red, which contrasts with our green-and-blue room. Does this sabotage the whole effort?  I have no idea.  It’s too depressing to think seriously about it.  At least I’m not getting the four-colored rainbow one.

Red.  “It is often the color worn by brides in the East while it is the color of mourning in South Africa. In Russia the Bolsheviks used a red flag when they overthrew the Tsar … Use red when you don’t want to sink into the background.”  Oh, dear.  Mistake?  Overthinking it?  Just grateful a freakin’ mat is arriving?

As I said, it’s too depressing to even think about it.  Just have to trust that somehow my life will turn out ok with a red mat, without me trying to control it.

It does not come easily for me, but I am learning.

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For no particular reason, Carolyn and I decided that this morning is the time to start our blog. We’ve been talking about it every now and then for a while. Our idea is that if we have to clean up the house, we could make it a little more fun (or something) by making a blog about it.

Carolyn told me just now that her reason for wanting to clean the house was so that she can make videos. Whenever she wants to make a video (which she loves to do), I groan and complain because I don’t want her showing any of the clutter in the house.

That got me started thinking about why I want to clean the house. My first answers were easy – so that I can have more space for people, so that I can find things, so that I can have space to do things, because it’s embarassing. It’s true, I want to have a clean table so I can make costumes, and I want to be able to walk around without feeling like I am navigating a maze.

But then Carolyn and I have an argument about whether we are going to start the blog this morning, and I realize the #1 reason I want to clean the house. I don’t want the house to keep getting in the way of my relationship wtih Carolyn. I want to be able to do reader’s theatre with her without realizing that we can’t find a space to do it. I want to be able to have our science supplies available and a clean, washable table so we can study things with her magnifying glass or make mixtures. Play games. Run simulations. Wrap ourselves up in scarves and pretend we are mitochondria – are those the ones with the little fibers? Play music and dance – at least on the days I can dance. Because I have issues with my back. Intense pain sometimes. I’m supposed to avoid hurting it, and sometimes it feels like that itself is going to kill me: having to be still and inactive, and feeling useless.

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Carolyn and I quit everything.  Vision Therapy, home visits, occupational therapy.  Everything. Back in February we sliced out quite a few things – chorus, the new reading program, gymnastics.  This week, we canned everything else.  Monday mornings we still have my chiropractor appointment.  The rest of the week is open.

I didn’t tell the vision therapist properly; I simply cancelled my appointments.  She called up to urge us to keep coming.  ‘Carolyn really needs this therapy,’ she said. Yes, I agree.  Carolyn really does need this therapy.  But, I told the vision therapist, we’ve got to put it on hold for a while. I let her know that we felt the therapy is very important and we intend to come back.  I assured her that I knew that Carolyn’s progress did not put us in the clear.  I tell her we plan to keep working on the homework we’ve already been given and doing eye exercises at home, as part of our regular curriculum.

‘It might only be a month,’ I tell her.  I am polite, but I’m not negotiating.

None of this seems to reassure her at all.  She keeps trying to persuade me until I mention, ‘It’s not just you, by the way.  We’re stopping everything.  The in-home person, the occupational therapy, all of it.’  Her attitude seems to change a little.  Not to understanding, but more as if she has realized the truth: she is dealing with a lunatic.  There is nothing she can do to change it.  She reiterates that she thinks I am making the wrong choice, but lets it go.

I tell one mom, ‘I started reading this book called, ‘Just Too Busy.’

‘That’s right,’ she responds.  ‘Simplify.  I’d love to do that.’

I tell another mom, ‘We need some time to do reading, writing, and math.’

‘Absolutely,’ she replies.  ‘And just be a kid.  Play outside.  I’m with you, 100%.’

‘I can’t believe it,’ says another mom.

The occupational therapist is agreeable.  ‘Sure, no problem.  You can always do it later.’

‘How do you feel about it?’ asks my mom, on the phone.

I feel ecstatic.  Delighted, relieved.  Confident, proud, hopeful.  Ready.

 

 

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Shirley’s Preschool

“Learning is not a linear process. It happens when it happens: in a moment of inspiration, while looking at a flower, digging in the garden, diverting a stream, humming to oneself, scrubbing a floor.”