Jack’s teacher emailed me a short video she shot of Jack riding an adaptive bike at school. She has been telling me in our daily correspondence about how much he loves it and how good he is at riding it. When I told her I would love to see a picture, I never imagined that she would just go ahead and film a short clip of him cruising peacefully around the school’s multi-purpose room and send it to me. I love technology, and I sure do love Miss Heidi.
Seeing Jack happily and proficiently riding a bike around his school makes me wonder what else he can do in the right environment and with the right equipment. I am always asking myself what other opportunities for learning to cope with the world we ought to offer Jack. I had a dream a couple of years ago that I was paddling a canoe through a bayou with Jack at the bow. It was a really peaceful dream. In it, Jack was very calm and content–not at all the way I would envision him behaving in a boat. When I thought about it later, I had a hard time reconciling the pervasive quiet and calm I felt paddling Jack through the still waters of the dream with the daily turbulence that we generally experience during our waking hours.
If I had to describe the maritime conditions of my life right now, I would say that we are sailing on chopping seas. The winds are blowing and the swells are consistently forthcoming. It’s not a typhoon, but it’s not quiet and still either. It’s busy. Sometimes it’s nauseating. At other times, I feel that we are figuratively in the trough of such giant waves that it’s impossible to see beyond the walls of moving water around us.
But hey, we’re still afloat. We may be bailing water at times, or focusing more on not capsizing than we are on drinking fauxjitos poolside, but whoever said that life was a luxury cruise through perfectly peaceful waters, right?
Before I abandon this nautical metaphor, let me add that Jeff and I have a phrase for a certain mood of a certain little pudgy baby at our house. He generally epitomizes sweetness–a placid and smiling little pudge, but sometimes he is in a state we refer to as “all hands on deck.” He’s chubby, he’s hungry, he’s curious, and he wants to be toted on a comprehensive tour of the house and personally witness all happenings therein. It’s okay, we’re all needy at times.
Jack does love water. As long as it’s a bearable temperature, water play is a positive sensory experience which brings out Happy Jack. He likes to drag the hose around the backyard in the summertime and liberally water the trees and shrubs. He would take six exuberant baths a day if we let him. Give him a fully-loaded spray bottle and the world is his oyster. Recently, Jack has been going to the pool at the rec center with one of his therapists. It’s been awhile since he was a regular there. Happy days are here again.
Within the past few weeks Jack has started saying “purple,” “bubble,” “papa,” “poop,” and “hot.” This spike in communication has been accompanied by a general sense of unadulterated happiness. He is giggly and smiley and silly and affectionate. He is curious and energetic, without being destructively frenetic.
It’s a really lovely phase he’s in (save the pooping in the bedroom part) and hopefully he will just keep cruising. Maybe that peaceful dream isn’t too far from where we are right now. I may need to borrow a canoe and locate a quiet bayou to test it out.