Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Le Fabuleux Destin de Zelda Nicolette...



...cue the circus calliope-like music:

La petite Zelda is 3 1/2, adorable, feisty and fearless. She awakes each morning, sometimes in our bed and sometimes in her own. No matter, as she is always happily sporting a tangled mess of blond hair, closed eyes and a huge grin. She's always silly and chatty in the mornings - eager for Cheerios and a specific choice of music. She spends each day at Ecole, has 5 therapies a week: speech, pre-Braille and O & M. She can count in French up to 20, likes to take walks, and loves her music.

As of now, we don't know what Zelda can see...since she was born, the question has remained unanswered. She has had at least 8 eye surgeries (I've lost count) - all in California. She has had a lensectomy, a few vitrectomys and several retinal reattachments. Sometimes the drs say she may have light perception in her "good" eye, the right one which is smaller. They say there is most likely no sight in her left. She rarely opens her eyes but she does understand what to do when I ask her to do so. When she does open them, they are a piercing blue and each goes in a different direction off to the sides. I guess I figure that if she was seeing anything she would want to keep her eyes open all of the time. Luckily, Zelda has excellent "mapping" and traveling skills. She obviously knows our little bungalow inside and out but then there's the neighborhood: "I want to go outside", she says. And from there, she'll take her long white cane, head onto the porch, down the concrete steps (no helping please!) and off into the direction she has chosen. Down the driveway, down the hill to my shop, up the sidewalk, over to the gate and down the steps, off to Jo's for coffee...she'll tell you. She uses sound, echolocation, feels for curbs with her cane, often bends over to touch the terrain with her hands.

Yes, la petite Z is amazing and a joy but this is not to say that life is always peachy here on Nellie Street. Zelda can be pissy and determined and an absolute tyrant at times. She has learned to scream, throw things, refuse to speak or apologize, and manipulate others. If Creed leaves the tricycle in her path and she trips on it, she becomes the angriest 3 year old you'll ever encounter. There's no pacifying her. She's pissed. She has a way of charming you and driving you crazy at the same time. She'll repeat the word "Mommy" incessantly until I want to pull my non-hair out of my stubbly head. Somedays she'll only want to eat O's and drink tea...other days, she'll throw her lunch tray and get sent home from Ecole. Yet, she's silly and giggly and smart as a whip.

Zelda's new games include opening the refrigerator door and standing there with it ajar while she takes one bottle out at a time and places it on the kitchen counter. With each bottle she'll ask Daddy, "What's that?" "Maple Syrup" "What's that?" "Ketchup" "What's that?" "Soy sauce." Then, one at a time, she'll carefully return each bottle to the approproprite shelf, while naming the product. And repeat. Our energy bills are soaring. now it's time for me to start labeling the groceries in Braille. She also likes to go into the pantry and look for specific items: O's, cookies, Pirate Booty, veggie chips, etc. - note to self: also need to Braille those items. Zelda is way into loading her CD player with her music of choice - need to Braille those, too - and she tortures us while experimenting with the volume control.

People that meet her say that she's magical, others like her lips, or marvel at her agility. Mostly they're curious. It's funny though, as a parent, you want your kids to feel loved, feel happy and feel special - but not too special. Some of us just want them to know that they're just like any other little kid...

Now it's time to go and start brailling everything in the house...

1 comment:

Kristen Elliott, LM said...

I sure miss those kids. Taking care of those babies are some of my favorite recent memories. Give them a kiss for me : )