We've been practicing our Four Questions for Passover. This evening, Ben set up an obstacle course for himself in the hallway, consisting of maracas, tambourines, a drum, and sundry other instruments. He then proceeded to run up and down the hall, darting in and around the instruments, and announcing, "All other nights we don't make an instrument course, but tonight we make an instrument course."
Well, mine can, anyway. Almost. As you know, Ben is Big On Music, which is putting it mildly. I think of distances around town in terms of how many CD tracks we can get through on the journey. It's a small town, so it's usually at most two. From daycare to home, it's about 1.5, depending on the CD. Yesterday when I picked Ben up, he was clearly in the mood for more than 1.5 tracks worth of John Denver, so I suggested a little drive in the country.
It was a gorgeous day -- deep blue sky, strong sunlight, the snow starting to recede in the fields. Still cold, but a beautiful early spring day. We were driving along, and there was Ben in the back seat, belting out John Denver songs at the top of his lungs -- and not just loudly, but joyfully, with over-the-top exuberance. Where he's still a little unsure about the lyrics, he fakes it pretty well. And we got to the part in Calypso where John Denver is more or less in yodel mode -- it's not quite Alpine pyrotechnics, but he changes from chest voice to head voice and dances around some pretty wide intervals. And yes, that was my (deaf) son in the backseat, yodeling right alongside. Not quite pitch perfect, but pretty darned close. I looked in the mirror and saw his eyes beaming with happiness as he yodeled away, watching the countryside fly by.
He couldn't see my face, and the fact that I had tears of joy and pride streaming down my cheeks.
When we got home, I turned off the ignition but left the key in long enough for the two of us to sing all the way to the end of Take Me Home, Country Roads. Then, still high on music, we went inside and had a snack. Pretty good day.
We've been talking about different ways to say hello. When Neil walked into Ben's room this morning to get him up, Ben greeted him with, "'Ssup?!? Ni hau ma?"
Here are two pictures from our trip to Hunter last week. The second one shows Ben entranced by a DVD of La Traviata, the Verdi opera. If you're familiar with the opera, you'll know that it has a little adult content here and there. Okay, so the heroine is a high-end prostitute, and the plot centers on her love affair with a baron who is cheating on his wife. But there's nothing graphic (it is opera, after all), so if you don't know Italian and can't read the subtitles, then it's pretty much smooth sailing, even for a three year old. In any case, Ben seems to be a convert.
This is a neat story about a high school football player (in Columbus, OH, family members!) who has a specially designed helmet to accommodate his CI. I'm a little iffy about a kid with a CI playing a heavy-duty contact sport, since a blow to the head carries all the usual risk plus the additional risk of damage to the device, but it's nice to know that it's an option.
In other sports news, Ben went skiing last week -- twice! I'm at the office right now, but I'll try to post a picture tonight. He doesn't yet have the musculature (or the incentive) to hold himself up very well, so Neil ended up with a sore back from supporting him all the way down the hill. But it was a very successful first exposure. By next winter, Ben will probably be ready to do more on his own. In any case, he had a blast!
Speaking of helmets, we'll have to figure something out for skiing. Lots of CI kids ski, and the helmet fits pretty well over the equipment, especially if you wear one of these underneath to keep the headpiece from shifting out of position. Since Ben was completely under Neil's physical control the entire time, we didn't bother with a helmet this year.
Oh, and it turns out that Ben's an opera fan. More on that another time.
Yesterday, upon walking into the ski lodge: "I've been to this restaurant before."
A few minutes later, when asked what he wanted for lunch: "I'd need to look at a menu."
Last night, we were playing "Down for the count," where we'd flop down on the bed, count to ten, and then announce that we were (surprise) down for the count. A few minutes ago, after getting up from Quiet Time, Ben flopped down on the bed and said, "Down for the count!" Then he pushed himself up and said, "Up for the spell!"
I'll go from minor to major. I have a cold -- had it for a few days. It was probably sitting around in my system all week, but it was properly launched by the two hours we spent at Chuck E. Cheese on Thursday evening for a birthday party. That is not an environment conducive to good health and clean living. Nuff said. Anyway, my sinuses are like blocks of cement, and I just want to crawl inside my cup of tea and drift off to sleep in the hot, steamy water. Tedious, but not life-threatening.
Connor's seizures are out of control again. They haven't really been under control for many months now, although they've waxed and waned. Right now they're waxing big time. I don't know if you're familiar with Connor's story, but his seizures are life-threatening. He's an amazing kid with a fragile body and an incredibly strong family to make up for it. If you have a moment, stop by Jess' blog and leave a word of support.
The news out of Japan just keeps getting worse and worse. Nuff said, because I don't know what else to say. Lives not only threatened, but thousands lost already.
Don't you hate it when your child is trying really hard to tell you something and you can't make out what it is? Ben's articulation is very good for his age, but he still makes all the usual consonant substitution errors, like /d/ for /th/ and /w/ for /l/ and /r/. He also has a tendency to mumble when he's self-conscious or unsure of himself -- something we all do to some extent.
Anyway, this morning while I was driving him to preschool, Ben made a long and solemn pronouncement. The engine was running, the heater was blasting, and of course I couldn't turn around to look at his lips, so I couldn't make head or tail of it. After many repetitions, I could tell that it was mostly a question, and it had the word "teach" in it. Was he asking about his teachers? No. Was he asking about what I'm going to teach today? No. I quizzed him left and right, and he kept repeating the sentence, to no avail. Something about "great teaching" and "forget". Finally he brightened and said, "I wemembuh -- it was Mrs. Weach."
Ahhhhhhh!!! This is what he had been saying: "Who was your fourth grade teacher? I forget." As soon as he answered his own question, it all made perfect sense to me.
A few days ago, we were talking about Ben's teachers, and for some reason I went off on naming all my elementary school teachers. Now, dear old Mrs. Leach was a sweet person, but she was hardly the best that the Rockbridge County Schools had to offer, and I did indicate, during our conversation a few days ago, then I did not look back on the two years I spent with her (4th and 6th grades) with great satisfaction. This obviously made quite an impression on Ben.