Earbuds

Today Katja discovered buds. In the past she has resisted anything on her head, on her ears or her eyes.

But today I was about to go for a bike ride and I took advantage of the fact that she likes to music, to show her that music can come out of earbuds because she was concerned with the things in my ears. It took a bit, but she started to hear the music by Coldplay. Within 3 minutes she understood how they worked and wanted the earbuds in her ears! It is fun to watch her learn. 

Sing me to sleep

September 20th was our first day back. That night was our first night in our own bed in at least 53 nights. Katja didn’t sleep very soundly or very long.  She was in her own room in her crib. Finally at about 5 am (8 am east coast time) we took her to sleep in between us in our bed. She usually falls a sleep and will sleep about two more hours. This morning was different because I felt she asked me to sing to her.  Now, how can that be? A child with production capability of about 3.5 words asking me to sing to her to fall asleep. Well, when I would sing she would lay her head down. And when I would stop she would questionly look at me or start talking to me.  And when I would coo/hum at her she would lay down with her head on her pillow. So I sang some made up song on the spot.  More like sonorous German, than a song but nonetheless singing. After a short while she fell asleep. I felt that she wanted me to sing. While I do thing that she has quite a few homophones and really only very few words I think she understands many more words. 

A few posts ago I was able to write about the mental concepts she had. Now there are way too many to list. She acquires more everyday. This week she started pointing to her own head when asked: “where is your head?” We promptly started asking her where her nose was.  Now she knows her head, eyes, nose, and (my) beard. We were walking in Jerry’s hardware store and I told her to put her hand in mine and she did (with a bit of repetition), so I think she also knows what hand is. 

Kajta has also taken to reading on our long road trip (120 hours of driving over the last 53 days). When I get to read she points to objects which are the same. Today she even pointed to a picture of a spoon and then smacked her lips (which is currently one of her communicative actions). It makes me think that she actually is “reading” or at least understanding g son of the imagery in her books. 

While reading she will sometimes babel to herself.

While reading she will sometimes babel to herself.

Where is your head?

Where is your head?

I must admit that it is more fun than I imagined to watch her read.

I must admit that it is more fun than I imagined to watch her read.

Almost run over…

I stopped at the historic courthouse in Hanover, Virginia. I was taking some pictures and then I walk down the path to the walkway crossing the road to the eatery and in across the street. When I got to the crosswalk I was surprised because as I entered the crosswalk, one of the local sheriff cars (presumably driven by a deputy) saw me in the crosswalk but didn’t stop to let me cross. I found it interesting from a “safety first” perspective. But perhaps “practicing safety” and “law enforcemeant” are not exactly the same thing.

Geriatrics

Walking into an assisted living facility (where elderly couples can live together) with Katja brought a lot of joy to some elderly people tonight. I'm glad that we were able to be the material source of these happy moments.

For me though there is some mixed feelings. I mean why aren't these people living with their families? Where are their grandchildren? Are we living in a broken society that ships grandma and grandpa off to an independent living facility without a second thought? I understand that sometimes there are a lot, or complex medical issues. For instance my grandpa had Alzheimer's and he was a bit much for my full-time-working-aunt to care for towards the very end of his life (she had worked with him for several years prior). I understand that tough decisions have to be made all the time. I just wonder if the lack of age integration in the United States society (family) leads to stunted or detrimnetal development in the family structure and relationships. If our stratal age based society in some way robs our children of proper development and experience with aging. Just tonight I can see that it seems to rob the elderly of proper joy from interactions with the young.

It makes me think about my future, not where do I want to live, but how do want to live. I don't want to live in an assisted living facility. It might rather die young.

But we weren't just walking into any living facility. We were going to see Betsy and Eddy, the people who spent a significant amount of time raising Becky when she was little. I met them before they moved to the assisted care facility. So there was a bit more context for me. It's also a bit hard for me to watch Becky as she processes their aging. Eddy has always been "old" to both Becky and me - he served in the second world war. It does not make the task any easier when we have a little 11 month old who likes to run and get into things - everything. It sometimes seems as if we are a nuisance, but I know that the visits mean something to everyone. There just has to be a way to make this kind of social function amenable to little kids... if someone has something that has worked for them, please comment below.

For me visiting these places reminds me of visiting my dad's elderly relatives in New York City. I understand that they meant something to him. I mean he had more relational context than I did for those relatives. As a child I remember sitting for what seemed like hours not being able to do anything interesting and not being engaged with the adults in any way. Sometimes it was in a hospital, sometimes a long term care facility, sometimes it was an over crowded apartment. As a young child it was boring - as an adult it is not much better. I think it was appropriate for my dad to visit his relatives. I even think it was appropriate for me to be there. But I wonder if there's a more appropriate way to integrate children into the lives of the elderly who are not elderly care givers to the children.

Wall of honor: a picture gallery of people who live here and have served in the military

Wall of honor: a picture gallery of people who live here and have served in the military. Are we honoring them with the joy of children?