There goes the neighborhood…

We are always trying to find the solution to Little Miss’s language delay/receptive and expressive language issues, and tonight we launched ourselves into one that might work. It might even work before we all go mad, too.

This year, she’s taken a deep liking, dare we say LOVE, to two things: singing and the show Glee. She relates to the kids being in school, but most importantly, she loves the singing. She sings every song, or tries to. Mostly tries to. She’s got pretty good pitch, but she struggles greatly with the words.

The Cabana Boy, in a moment of brilliance, came home tonight with this:

Karaoke– the music to sing with and WORDS. Words right there on the screen, with emphasis and rhythm and everything you need to score points. And she loves to score points.

She couldn’t wait to get the thing open and into the game player. She waited, bouncing up and down with the microphone in her hand while her dad hooked up all the details and set the sound levels. And reset them. And reset them, because she likes the microphone CLOSE.

But before too long, she was belting out the tunes of her Glee heroine Rachel, filling the room with music–and words. Granted, it’s an artificial structure. Life doesn’t come with a soundtrack or captions, but every bit of practice moves her a little closer to that snap-snap delivery of other girls her age. And she just looks so damn cute doing it.

So I’ll leave you with a song from Glee, and Rachel, and enough inspiration for all of us who don’t stop believing:

You should know this! First aid for seizures

At a support hearing the other day, I represented a client who couldn’t work because she had seizures. We talked about the situation for half an hour or so, her journey to be certified unable to work or drive or do many things because of the seizures, which tended to come on under stress.

Then she had one. Right there. Just melted down off her chair onto the floor in a heap, twitching and banging her forehead on the floor.

Four adults in the room with her, me included, and we all stared for several seconds, stunned.  I’d had first aid training in college, some 25 years ago, and couldn’t remember anything, faced with the crisis.  Something about swallowing a tongue.  But then I thought I remembered they’d decided that was a bad idea.

The soon to be ex-husband was a jackass, starting with the cracks about how he always thought she was faking it, etc. He totally failed to help any of us. backing out the door and watching, with a huge smirk on his face. I came close to smacking him upside the head.

I finally turned her on her side, holding her steady so she didn’t hurt herself, and someone from the office brought a pillow from the break room so she didn’t hurt her head. She kept seizing, and the staff called 911. Within five minutes an experienced team was there and took her off to the hospital. But I didn’t forget that helpless feeling–and I didn’t like it.

SO. In the event you see someone experience a seizure, here’s what you should do, from the Foundation for Better Health Care:

  1. Roll the person on his or her side to prevent choking on any fluids or vomit.
  2. Cushion the person’s head.
  3. Loosen any tight clothing around the neck.
  4. Keep the person’s airway open. If necessary, grip the person’s jaw gently and tilt his or her head back.
  5. Do NOT restrict the person from moving unless he or she is in danger.
  6. Do NOT put anything into the person’s mouth, not even medicine or liquid. These can cause choking or damage to the person’s jaw, tongue, or teeth. Contrary to widespread belief, people cannot swallow their tongues during a seizure or any other time.
  7. Remove any sharp or solid objects that the person might hit during the seizure.
  8. Note how long the seizure lasts and what symptoms occurred so you can tell a doctor or emergency personnel if necessary.
  9. Stay with the person until the seizure ends.

Call 911 if:

  • The person is pregnant or has diabetes.
  • The seizure happened in water.
  • The seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes.
  • The person does not begin breathing again and return to consciousness after the seizure stops.
  • Another seizure starts before the person regains consciousness.
  • The person injures himself or herself during the seizure.
  • This is a first seizure or you think it might be. If in doubt, check to see if the person has a medical identification card or jewelry stating that they have epilepsy or a seizure disorder.

After the seizure ends, the person will probably be groggy and tired. He or she also may have a headache and be confused or embarrassed. Be patient with the person and try to help him or her find a place to rest if he or she is tired or doesn’t feel well. If necessary, offer to call a taxi, a friend, or a relative to help the person get home safely.

Now you know. Hopefully, you won’t have to confront this situation. But there’s nothing that feels as bad as seeing someone in the throes of this and being helpless.

The cost of free speech; don’t forget it!

Scary-looking scene, isn’t it? Tear gas flying, protesters running in fear? Soon after this would come the shooting that killed innocent bystanders. But this didn’t happen in some crazy dictator-run country abroad. This happened in a small town in Ohio, on the campus of a state university.

Forty-one years later, we find the world is still full of unrest, people wanting to express themselves over the acts of their government…still being shot for their demonstration.

May 4, 1970 is a day that has a special meaning to those of us who attended Kent State University, even if we weren’t there on that day, as my stepmother was. The picture above is from the May 4 Archive of J. Gregory Payne, who has collected video and other information about the events of that time. Take a moment on his site and familiarize yourselves with the history of a turbulent time in American culture when young people felt empowered to speak out about a government that was not serving their needs.

 Then look at today’s news of countries around the world where young people are feeling brave enough to express themselves and demonstrate against their governments. Keep them in your prayers.

Then look at the young men and women who are serving in our armed forces to help not only Americans, but people everywhere, to be able to hope for democratic movement in their lands. Keep them in your prayers, too.

We should all be able to safely speak our own truths and work toward a free government. Pray that it will be so.

Why grandkids rule

We got to visit this week with M and her three kids from Pensacola, as well as S and her batch from Tennessee, and we were lucky enough to hook up with some free time with D, my daughter in town and her family too, for a wonderful BBQ chicken dinner in the neighbor’s garage (thanks, neighbors!).

Even though M’s plans changed and I ended up missing part of the time she was here with court events, we got some real good time in. I felt like we had some conversations that were really meaningful–adult, woman to woman conversations about life and how we did things in our households and with our kids. She’s just graduated (finally! yay!) with her BA in education, particularly special ed–so she has some valid input for my three kids with special issues, and I appreciated what she had to say. As an experienced mom, I had some things to share with her about potential health issues her kids were having. It was all good.

But for grandkids, you can bend the rules and miss a bit of work–I took off two days, one to go to the Grove City outlet mall to satisfy Miss Chloe’s penchant for fashionable clothes at Justice, once Little Miss had shared a 40% coupon with her cousins. Interesting to have them here, while outside the store it was 40 degrees and raining, but buying clothing to wear in Florida where it was 90 degrees! Another factor that played in was their move to the Seattle area later this year–a real switch in weather, for sure.

The other day, we drove up to the Tom Ridge Environmental Center where we experienced the wind off Lake Erie (holy cow, it was cold!) as we climbed the tower to check out the roller coasters from nearby Waldameer. My sister works with the Pennsylvania Sea Grant in the building, so we got a VIP tour behind the scenes, where the kids fed earthworms to the fish in the experimental tanks and got to check out whole racks of dead things in jars and boxes. (Okay, okay, the praying mantises were cool…) Above is the new dinosaur exhibit, and the expressions on their faces, well, they define how we lasted the day.

The TREC has a great little kids’ space, with puppets and puzzles, and the little ones got a big kick out of them, especially the owl puppets whose heads turned around like that girl in The Exorcist.

  Altogether a lovely day, despite the cold temperatures. Perhaps a heads-up for M, who’s lived in Florida and Guam and all sorts of warm places, but is on her way to Washington state. A little adjustment,  but she’ll handle it like she handles everything: efficiently and minimalist. So what if we eat off paper plates for awhile? Clean-up is easy, huh?

Especially after the April we had, it was nice to reaffirm life once again with an onslaught of children and growing things. Thanks for coming, guys. It was a wonderful early gift for Mother’s Day.