Bataan Toddler Death March

I enrolled Sophia in a week-long, day camp especially for kids with developmental delays and their siblings. Last week was her week to go. The night before her first day, I tucked her into bed and told her about the camp she was going to go to, and all the things they might do at camp. I left out the part about her doing all these things with someone other than mom or dad. The day of, I spent the morning telling her about camp. That day was probably not a good day to start something new for Sophia. She was having one of those days, which I call a “mellow” day. It’s the sort of day where she spends most of her time curled up with “friend”. One of those days in which, if we’re out in public, I receive many comments like, “Oh she looks tired.” or, “Oh she must have just woken up.” Nope, that’s just the way my kid is sometimes. I know most people think, “You’re so lucky to have days like that.” What they don’t realize is that on those days I get more tantrums because those are the same days in which she refuses to talk or even sign. So those people can take their “calm kid” envy and shove it up their collective asses, and I mean that in the nicest way possible. Really.

Sophia and I went grocery shopping at our usual chain but a different location than normal, and she calmly sat in the cart with “friend” sucking her thumb. This is not the norm for her. Sitting in a regular cart calmly is not her bag these days and hasn’t been for quite some time now. With groceries in the trunk of the car, I took her to her first day of camp.

When Sophia saw her usual park, she was happy and wanted to go play. I told her I had to use the bathroom first so we went and I made sure she went too because I knew that she was not going to talk or sign the entire day at camp and would probably wind up having an accident. By the time we were done it was time to line up to sign her in so I got her bag and she grabbed “friend”. She hung onto us both for dear life realizing that we were lining up with the crowd. Sophia was swept away by her designated camp buddy. I finished the required paperwork and looked over to where her group was trying to cheer her up. This day was not going to go well at all.

I went home and put the groceries away then spent the next couple of hours looking at the clock every five minutes. Three hours after the toddler drop off; I arrived about fifteen minutes prior to pick up time. I watched from the car as the kids were marched into the building and spotted Sophia. If one only focused on the face of my child, the whole thing would look like a Bataan toddler death march. At precisely four in the afternoon, the parents were allowed to go in and pick up their kids. Sophia spotted me from across the room but aside from wanting to get to me her demeanor didn’t change. Once I reached her, she literally climbed up me. Her buddy said, “It was rough at first, but she had fun after a while.” Sure she did. I knew it going in that the first day would be bad. It always is with Sophia. It’s tough to watch her go through this, but she needs it…badly.

Every parent gets a note for each child about what he or she did and how the day went. It’s rather form like so that nothing is forgotten.

I made a…Pin wheel
I ate a…(this was left blank and Sophia hadn’t eaten since breakfast)
I liked…playing in the preschool room

My day was… (in this part of the form the buddy circles one of three choices: fabulous, good, ok) Sophia’s buddy circled fabulous. Really?

Under comments she wrote, “She had a great 1st day at camp! Monday’s always the toughest! We had a lot of fun in the pool watching others jump off diving board.”

I snapped a picture of Sophia immediately after getting her into the car. I think her look speaks volumes as to how she really felt about her day. Sophia didn’t say a word on the way home, neither a sound nor even a peep. When Kurt saw the picture he said, “She cried the whole time, didn’t she?” I’m guessing at least two hours of it, yes.

After her first day at camp

55 Flash non-Fiction Friday: Simply Attention to Detail

Watching a show on luxury yachts, they went over the details of the dining area of a yacht and I said, “two hundred thousand a week and they can’t hire someone to straighten the candle sticks?” Kurt looks at me and says, “Sounds like you’re ready to be rich. You’re a pain in the ass.”

luxury yacht dining

55 Flash Fiction Friday

The Giant Squid Head Upset

Last week (Wednesday August 4th to be precise) when we sat down to dinner, Kurt turned on the show, “The Big Bang Theory” to which his friend, my apparent mortal enemy, introduced him. Yes, the show is hilarious, but sometimes I’d rather escape from reality and not live through the painful parts over and over again. I swear the writers of the show have been following Kurt throughout his life. By my estimation, the show is really a spinoff of the movie, “The Truman Show”.

In general, Kurt loves the technical accuracy of the jokes, but the episode we watched on that particular evening made a huge flaw. Really, it was a tiny flaw, but because it upset Kurt, we can both agree that it was a huge flaw. We were watching the second season episode, “The Dead Hooker Juxtaposition”. In that episode, Sheldon observes that Penny is mimicking the new tenant. Sheldon says, “Oh, mimicry. I enjoy mimicry. I’ve been working on Admiral Ackbar from Return of the Jedi. “It’s a trap!” You have to imagine me with a giant squid head.” At this point Kurt’s eyes became huge.

This was the first time he had ever noticed a “gross error” in one of their geek references. As Kurt continued to fill his lungs with air, thereby removing most of the oxygen from the room, even Sophia noticed that a lecture was fast approaching. Before he had fully recovered from the shock of such a grave mistake enough to begin speaking Sophia shushed him. “Shshshshsssshhh,” she said with her finger to her lips. All I can say is at least I have a little ally.

Even though I didn’t care Kurt, as usual, explained in even greater detail than necessary what horrible atrocity had occurred. Apparently Admiral Ackbar is a member of the Mon Calamari race, a race evolved from salmon. The other race natives to planet Mon Calamari, the Quarren, evolved from squid.

mon calamari and quarren

It’s Not Zestfully Clean Unless it’s Crayola Clean

I was on a hunt for a suitable dress for Sophia’s upcoming birthday pictures when I passed by the bath time isle. The only toys I’ve ever given her for bath time were some foam letters and stacking cups which all fit neatly in a mesh bag that drains nicely and prevents mold. I never bought more than that because I didn’t want a bathroom bursting with bath crap and the majority of Sophia’s bathing is done in the showers at the swimming pool. For some odd reason I thought it was time to add a little more to the bath toy collection so I bought a Crayola set that includes paint, markers, and washable crayons with a case that looks like a crab.

On Sunday, she used them for the first time. I presented them to her and said that they were special crayons she could use on the wall. “On the wall?” she repeated with doubt. Ha! That’s my girl. “Yes, but only in the bathtub.” I told her. I used one of the paints to show her how they worked and then she went to town. Paint all over the shower walls and tub. After a while, she asked me for soap. I figured it was time for a picture after seeing the walls, but when I came back with the camera, I was too late. Sophia had soaped up her washcloth and was now wiping the walls clean. It’s disturbing how much she’s like me.

Super Morphin Mega Monkey

Last week when I told a friend that I was taking Sophia to the park for the day, she suggested I bring my camera because I hadn’t sent her pictures in a while, so I did. The only thing is I had a hard time taking any pictures of the daredevil that day. Going down the slide face first was the least crazy new thing she did.

Down the slide head firstRunning back to me to give me her cupSweeping her hair away from her face

That day she also decided to try going down the firefighter pole without me standing nearby. I saw her stand on the edge and lean out as she usually does to yell out to me, but then unlike her usual, she reached for the pole. “WAIT!” I shouted, “Let me help you.” I about had a heart attack. Thankfully the little power ranger that could is at least obedient and waited for her mother to waddle over to her. I helped her hang onto the pole and showed her how to wrap her legs around it. She had watched enough other kids do it that she had the basic idea, but I wanted to be there to make sure she didn’t bounce her head off the ground.

She slid down the pole about three times and each time I held on and guided her down a little less. The fourth time the super monkey just held the pole tightly, lingered at the top, and then came down slowly…hand under hand. Holy fucking shit she is a strong little monkey! She did that another couple of times just to show off.

Red Hot Phone Call

Last week, after playing in the sunny park for a few hours I suggested to Sophia that we go to the water park area. She agreed. I wasn’t sure that I would end up there or that she would want to go to the water park part so I didn’t bother bringing her swimsuit, besides she’s two. Underwear work just fine at that age.

The previous week we had gone to the Bite of Seattle with Kurt and he had taken Sophia to the fountain there. She loved it. I thought that she might run around on her own here, but no. I had to do the same as Kurt did there and pick her up to get her wet. Not getting me equally wet was a challenge.

It had been quite a long day at the park so I asked her if she was ready to go and surprisingly she was. But she didn’t want to get dressed again. Underwear girl walked through the entire park. After walking through all the grassed area we reached the part of the paved parking lot we would need to cross to reach our truck. “Let’s put your shoes on.” I told her.

She shook her head, “No”

“The pavement is going to be hot on your feet, let’s get your shoes on.”

Again, she shook her head, “No”

“Do you want me to carry you across?”

“No,” she signaled again.

Ok, fine, have it your way. We took about five steps and I saw a worried look come across her face. “Do you want me to carry you?”

“Yes, peh-weez” she said reaching up.

Once in the truck she piled all the toys she insisted on bringing with her, but I had insisted needed to stay in the vehicle, on top of her. I bucked her in, walked around the truck to the driver’s side, and climbed in. She had arranged all her toys, just so, and was talking on her old school Fisher Price chatter phone with the old rotary dial. As I backed out of the parking spot and headed out of the lot I hear her say into the little red handset, “Bo, Moose, n’fend-EE, n’phone”. She was listing all the items she had brought with her, Bear, Moose, her blanket ‘friend’, and the phone. Then she said, “momma dw-eye-vin, pay pah-wk, HOT FEETIES!”.

Word Interchange Exchange

Sophia has problems pronouncing her “L’s”, and “R’s” but she can hear the difference in the way we say words and the way she says them. A few weeks ago before our July heat wave, which never hits on the weekend of the 4th, we did have a few nice days scattered around June. On one of those weekend days Kurt wore shorts with his motorcycle T-shirt. Sophia, displaying her powers of toddler observation pointed at Kurt’s black shirt and said, “bak shoot”.

“Yes, I’m wearing a black shirt” Kurt replied.

“gween shoots” She said pointing to his shorts.

“Close, sh-OR-tz. This is a black sh-IRT, and these are green sh-OR-tz.”

Sophia cocked her head like any confused pup, thought for a moment, furrowed her brows, and finally said, “gween PANTS” with attitude.