Monday, August 6, 2012


Today we returned home from our weekend in Birmingham.

After we arrived home Kimmie sat at the table with paper and crayons. She wrote on the paper with a crayon, picked up the paper, carried it over to where I was sitting and held it up with a big smile on her face. On the paper she had written, "Today is Monday home." There might have been something more written on the paper, but those were the words that I could read. They were enough to understand what she was telling me.

She was glad to be home, her favorite place.


Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Carousel

Today we took Kimmie to the Birmingham Zoo. It was hot. It was humid. Even at 9:30 in the morning.

We saw the flamingos. We saw the elephants. We saw the giraffes and zebras. We saw the lion and tiger and other cats. Then we headed back to the giraffes to watch them be fed. Kimmie did not want to feed them; she just wanted to watch.

We have this issue with many of the places we try to take Kimmie, and that is that when she is sitting in her wheelchair she cannot see into the exhibits. Either they are placed at eye level for a standing adult, or there is a fence or rail that is right at her eye level which blocks her view. It is very frustrating.

On the zoo's website I had seen where they have camel rides. I had asked Kimmie if she would like to do this. She nodded, "Yes." The very first scene in the Aladdin movie is of a man riding a camel. When the camel stops it puts its head down and the man slides off down the camel's neck and over its head. Kimmie thinks this is very funny. We had visions of her wanting to dismount the camel this way.

Unfortunately the camel rides stopped on July 31, and the camels were packed up and taken to the Michigan State Fair! Kimmie was a little disappointed that she wasn't able to ride a camel. We told her that the zoo has a carousel and she was happier. When she wanted to ride the carousel, we headed for the children's museum area. She rode the carousel five times before saying she was ready to eat lunch.

After lunch we saw some other areas of the zoo. Then she wanted to ride the train. Daddy took her on the train.

By this time we were worn out from the heat and humidity, but Kimmie did not want to leave without riding the carousel again. Back to the carousel we went. She rode the carousel five more times. By this time she appeared to be in a trance from going around and around so much.

I think that unlimited ride ticket was worth the money! Ten times on the carousel and once on the train.

She was in such a trance when we left that she didn't even think about wanting to go in the gift store!


Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Little Bribery

The other Saturday Kimmie wanted to go shopping. This is not new. She wants to go shopping almost every day. I told her that maybe we would go to the store on Tuesday. This did not make her happy! Tuesday seemed too far away.

Then I had an idea.

I told her that if she was a really good girl at church the next day we would go shopping.

She smiled and shook her hand "yes".

I told her that she needed to be happy in Sunday School, that she needed to color and put puzzles together and be happy.

She smiled and shook her hand "yes".

I told her that everything needed to stay on the table and nothing should be thrown on the floor.

She smiled and shook her hand "yes".

She is not very good with consequences, so I wasn't sure if she could follow through with this, but it was worth a try.

On Sunday morning we talked again about her being a good girl. No crying. No screaming. No throwing things on the floor. Happy girl.

We went to early church. Kimmie was happy. Bethany was there sitting next to her on one side with Mommy on the other.

Early church ended and Bethany left to go to her class. Kimmie started fussing. I asked, "Do you want to go shopping today?"

"Yes!" Big smile. The fussing disappeared.

We walked to the elevator and took it to the third floor. When we stepped off the elevator, Kimmie looked down the youth wing hallway for Bethany. Not seeing Bethany she started to fuss. I said, "Do you want to go shopping today?"

"Yes!" Big smile. No fussing.

I walked her down the hallway and told the folks in her class, "If she starts to fuss, ask her if she wants to go shopping today."

All through Sunday School I listened for Kimmie. Like I said she's not very good at understanding consequences. I did not hear her.

When it was time to pick her up I found her sitting quietly, rocking back and forth, and waiting for me. When she looked up at me, a big smile spread across her face.

She had a great day in Sunday School! It worked! We went shopping at two stores that afternoon!

Bethany advised me later that I have started something. Oh, well!


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My Girl

My girl has taken being a Mommy's girl to new heights this past year. It has been like having a 20-year-old toddler. Over the past year she has taken to crying when I leave her.

She has cried at school when I have been there and left her.

She has cried when the school bus pulls away from the house.

She has cried at church when I have left her.

And, sometimes, she even cries at home when I leave her.

It is like toddlers often do; however, a toddler can be picked up and comforted, not always successfully, but comforted none the less. A 20-year-old . . . not so much.

One Sunday as I sat in my Bible study class two rooms down from hers I heard her fussing. As I listened it stopped. I waited. Then I heard her fussing again, but it stopped. I waited. I thought the folks in her class must be handling her ok that day. I heard her again. Finally I decided to go see if they were ok or needed help.

Our little "smarty pants" was fussing and then watching the door to see if I would come. She would wait, if I didn't come, she would fuss some more and watch. When I peeked in the door, she saw me and started giggling. Such a little rascal!


Friday, June 1, 2012


Kimmie is a bit confused. Since she is not quite sure about all this graduation stuff, she is also not quite sure what the gifts are all about.

She has decided it must be her birthday. She looks at us and signs, "Kimmie's happy birthday. Number is 21."

We tell her that her birthday is not until July 23 and today is June 1. This does not make her happy.

She wants to blow out her birthday candles.


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Cap and Gown

Today was graduation day.

From the time she brought them home, Kimmie didn't really want to have anything to do with her cap and gown.

As I took her to line up, I carried them, planning to put them on her when we arrived. I thought that seeing her classmates in theirs would make her want to wear hers. Well, that wasn't the case. I put it on her and zipped it up. She unzipped it. I zipped it. She unzipped it. Then they appeared with the stoll(?). (The collar thing they wear with the school crest.) We popped that over her head. Off it came followed by unzipping the gown. After several attempts we were finally able to distract her with the gown zipped and the stoll on.

The hat was another story. I guess they are one size fits all except Kimmie. It was so big there was no way it would stay on even if she wanted it to.

Kimmie did wonderful during the ceremony, but as soon as they paraded out she wanted everything off. The stoll, the gown . . . and, by the way, where is Bethany! Bethany was there to watch her, but Kimmie is still mad at Bethany.

When we found her after the ceremony, Kimmie was mad, but once we arrived she decided to be a little fashion queen. She wanted the gown back on and sort of cooperated for some pictures.

She must have decided that she should wear that gown to make sure everyone knew she graduated. She wore it to lunch. She wore it to Bethany's graduation, and she didn't take it off until we were back home again. I guess she wanted to make sure everyone at Bethany's graduation knew that she graduated, too.

We were just fine with that cause she sure was cute. And she was good through Bethany's whole ceremony. No one had to take her out and miss anything.

Great day!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Watching Kimmie

People often comment that they like to sit where they can see Kimmie. Usually this is at church. People often find her fascinating to watch as she signs, rocks and fiddles with her shoestrings.

When we take Kimmie places I am the one who sits with her assisting and keeping her occupied. The other day I had the opportunity to switch places.

We went to Kimmie's high school senior class awards program, and I was able to hand her off to a classroom assistant who helped her through the program. She was sitting on the front row where we had a good view of her.

It was nice to be on the other side and be the one watching Kimmie.

And best of all she was really good through the entire program. I only saw her sign "Bethany gone" once, and it was right before her name was called to receive an award. Great way to distract her from Bethany!


(She received three awards.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mad at Bethany

Kimmie is mad at Bethany. And has been for several days.

Kimmie is mad that Bethany has a job.

Kimmie is mad that Bethany goes places with friends.

Kimmie is mad that Bethany participated in Youth Sunday at church.

Kimmie is mad that Bethany went to prom.

Kimmie is mad at Bethany.

It is a complicated situation.

Some of it is jealousy.

Kimmie doesn't want to do these things,
but she doesn't want Bethany to do them either.

Seeing Bethany doing these things is a reminder of what she cannot do,
but yet some of this she could do but chooses not to.

The gap between what Bethany can do and what Kimmie can do is exteme.

Some of it is simply personality differences, Kimmie being somewhat shy while Bethany is anything but shy.

It's complicated.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Life is changing fast at our house and for someone who doesn't deal with change or transition very well . . . . well, life is pretty tough right now.

Graduation. Does Kimmie even know what that means? I have been trying to put it in perspective by referring to her being finished with school. No more school. No more getting up at 6:00 am and climbing on a bus at 6:30. We thought she'd be happy to be finished, but school is what she knows. School is familiar, so maybe not.

And Beyond Graduation. Maybe she's worried about what happens next. We have tried to explain it to her. Two days a week at home with Mom, and three days a week at Apple Patch. She has gone to Apple Patch the last two summers. Home and Apple Patch are both familiar to her. We thought that would be an easy transition since she knows both.

And What About Sister. This appears to be the most distressing change. Bethany has a job now, so she is gone more. Bethany has a car now, so she comes and goes more freely (which also means she's gone more). Bethany will be going to college in the fall. I'm sure Kimmie has heard us talk about college, and I'm also sure she doesn't know what that means. In that uncertainty probably lies some anxiety, reflected in the constant worry about where Bethany is.

Attempting to comfort her, calm her, assure her and reassure her has become a daily event along with the heartache of seeing her in so much distress.

Hopefully when we get through the graduations, and days become more routine, some of the stress and distress will ease. Hopefully.


Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mystery Solved

For several weeks, maybe months, Kimmie has been telling us that she wants to go shopping for the "little girl green bat movie." Hmmm. Any guesses on what that might be? We were clueless! We weren't even sure it existed.

We took her to the Mall to the FYE store. She looked and looked and looked. This is where she always wants to go shopping, but it is very stressful. She looks and looks. Sometimes she will pick a movie, but keep looking. Then she will put the movie back and keep looking. She will wring her hands. She will fuss because she cannot find exactly what she wants. She will pick a movie we already have. When we tell her we are not buying it because we already have it, she fusses. We do not like taking her here, but it is her favorite store.

We took her to FYE, she did not find the "little girl green bat movie." We took her to Target, no luck. We took her to Walmart, no luck. We took her to Meijer, no luck. We took her to Toys-R-Us, no luck. We gave up on finding this movie. We thought it might be something she created in her imaginary world.

At some point we came to the understanding that it was a Scooby Doo DVD.

Kimmie wanted to go to the Mall after church one Wednesday evening. She really wanted to go. I did not promise her that we would go, but during the Bible study, she would look at me with this furrowed forehead and sign "Go Mall." I would sign back to her, "Kimmie be a good girl, a happy girl." Her face would light up and she would sign, "Yes." We went through this several times during the study.

My Mom was sitting behind us, as soon as the Bible study was over she asked me what I promised Kimmie. I tried to explain that I did not really promise her anything, BUT . . .

As I'm sure you guessed, we ended up at the Mall at FYE. Since we thought it might be a Scooby Doo movie, I directed her to those and she started looking through them. She was flipping the boxes two and three at a time. I slowed her down and started flipping them one at a time for her. All of a sudden she grabbed one of the movies, her face lit up and she started pointing to one of the characters on the box. I asked her if that was the movie, she signed yes.

I hurried her to the register to pay for it, and then hurried her out of the store before she changed her mind. She was very happy. She watched it as soon as we arrived home. She has been carrying the box around pointing at the characters pictured.

When I sat down in the car with Kimmie, I texted Daddy and told him, "WE FOUND THE MOVIE." He responded with, "Ok." I told him "Ok" was not the correct response, he was suppose to be very impressed!

"Little girl green bat movie" = Scooby Doo and the Ghoul School.

As soon as Dad and Bethany arrived home from church, they both had to know what the movie was. And then their response was, "Oh, yeah, I get it now, 'little girl green bat movie'." I don't, but that's ok. She watches cartoons all the time and I mostly tune them out, but the other family members know all the cartoons.