Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Swept away...

Children learn visually. They say that over 90% of what kids learn in the early years is by imitation. Toddlers want to use a fork to copy Daddy. They want to feed their dolls because they see other grown-ups feeding babies. They want to sit on the potty to be like their classmates at preschool. Except for blind kids...they don't have the powers of visual imitation. Zelda doesn't like to use a fork as it's easier to eat pasta with her fingers - makes sense, doesn't it? She doesn't play with her babies instead she listens to music. She's starting to use the potty because we talk about it a lot and I have her sit on my lap as I use the toilet...

BUT, Zelda is really into asking "What are you doing?" The other day, I was sweeping the floor. "I want to sweep," she said. So, I handed her the broom. As she explored every aspect of the broom, from the long handle all the way down to the plastic rim covering the bristles, I described every detail and she repeated the words. She then squatted and dropped the broom on the floor, turned it upside down and sideways, put it near her face, and stood back up. She grasped the broom in her two tiny hands and I helped her position them, one above the other to control the handle. I stood over her like I was teaching her to swing a golf club and we practiced sweeping. We would say "sweeep" in a sing-song voice and she would giggle with delight.

Next came the dirt, we knelt on the floor and felt crumbs and abandoned spaghetti - I told her how we wanted to make a pile of these things and we could "sweep" them together. This was the hard part as I wondered how would she know without feeling on her hands and knees where the dirt would be on her dorm room floor in college? Anyway, we swept the dirt into a pile and knelt down again to feel it - always with the broom at her side. In the pile of dirt was a piece of old popcorn - she put it towards her mouth: "No!", I said and explained that it had fallen onto the dirty floor...

I brought out the dustpan, Zelda banged it, dropped it, felt every edge and nook and cranny, every ridge and indentation of the metal tool. We squatted and felt the dirt, put the dust pan into position, kept one little foot on the dustpan and proceeded to sweep the dust into it. Well, we kind of succeeded - at least she was thrilled! She walked with the dustpan in her hands over to dump the dirt into the poubelle...a half hour later and with focused concentration, Zelda grasped the concept of sweeping.

Later on, Creed went down to my shop and he saw Brittnie cleaning the counters with glass and towels. "I want to do that," he said. Within 30 seconds, he had picked up the 2 appropriate tools and cleaned every surface in the store....

Sigh...

P.S. My cancer treatment update: surgery for port removal on Friday, meeting with radiation oncologist on Monday...being swept away...

8 comments:

deborah d. lattimore said...

i have so much admiration for you, ma chere amie! it's all i can do to take care of myself during cancer treatments--i am in such awe of what you do with and for your children AND taking care of yourself. you're truly amazing. glad you're having the port removal so soon! and radiation, here we come. :)

Bookhart said...

Long-time lurker, first-time (in a long while, at least) commenter. Just wanted to let you know that I'm inspired and humbled by the grace and strength you have shown throughout your diagnosis and treatment. I've never known exactly the right thing to say, but do know that you've been in my thoughts and whatever passes for my prayers these days.

Sara Aikman said...

What a beautifully written post, Gail. Thank you for bringing us into your world, and that of your very special Zelda. You DO inspire! (as does she.)

Diane LeBleu said...

Just read your story in the Statesman this morning (May 17) - I am a Austin mother of 4 (ages 10, 8, 4, 3) and have just completed chemo for my own breast cancer diagnosed in December. My twin was diagnosed with breast cancer 6 years ago and my aunt died 2 years ago from the same. My best wishes to you and your beautiful family. You are an inspiration. Family, attitude, humor, is what one needs in this difficult journey - you seem to have all of the above. AND a great career. Thanks for sharing yoru story!

Diane
diane@writingmamasaustin.com
www.writingmamasaustin.com

http://www.mamabirddiaries.com/contributing-mamas/hair-today-gone-tomorrow/

La Turista said...

Great article this morning - love the pictures!

As for sweeping, that and vacuuming are my Zen when it comes to housecleaning. So yay for Z!

Robert LaGow said...

Gail,
Richard sent me the article from the Statesman. I want you to know that the East Coast LaGow's are still thinking about you and wishing you the best. This damn cancer-thing has been cropping up a great deal lately. Keep kicking it's ass.

Mama Badger said...

You are an inspiration. Your attitude towards your treatment is awesome. (i've been reading backwards, and I think the black bracelet idea is great! lightening your load as the weeks go by.)

For your question about how blind people sweep? I had a roommate who would sweep barefoot. She said she could feel by the grit on the floor where she had swept and where she hadn't (she followed a pattern around the room). She did a much better job than I did, only using the visual cue of "seeing" the dirt. Miss Z will find her own way of doing it, I'm sure.

V_38_Illusions said...

la p'tite Zelda nous tend tous une clef de grande valeur, une qui remet de la lumière sur ce qui nous était tout à fait naturel dans la jeunesse, à savoir, le fait de prendre en main une chose et l'explorer en détail, passant dessus les doigts de l'esprit pour en apprendre le plus possible ...

de même, aujourd'hui, nous les "grands" ferions bien d'embrasser chaque nouvelle situation, chaque encontre, d'une façon semblable, trouvant ainsi de l'espoir et de la direction pour ce qui sera la manière la plus positive de nous y prendre.

bisous pour votre petite prof qui nous offre de telles leçons! bravo Zelda! bravo!