Thursday, May 30, 2013

Life With Sydney: Never a Dull Moment

Never a dull moment probably should be my motto. A house full of kids kept me busy for a lot of years. Providing educational and social activities for Tate as he is growing up with autism has kept me busy, especially when he was receiving early intervention. Sydney is what keeps me the busiest now and I’m not sure anything else I have done or seen has compared to her activity level and the demands she (and her disability) place on me sometimes. I’m not complaining, just stating a fact. 

Every day is an adventure to Sydney and every activity has the potential to be very memorable. I suppose it is a combination of her ADHD and her Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and her personality. She is a go-getter, always ready to move and move quickly. She wakes in the morning and within seconds is up and running. I’ve watched kids wake many times over the years. They usually stretch, yawn, rub their eyes, roll over and occasionally go back to sleep. Sometimes they wake grumpy and sometimes they wake happy. With Sydney it is the same every morning. She wakes, HOLLERS for me, and jumps out of bed, to race out of her room. 

Sydney's kite
A couple of days ago, about the time I should have been starting dinner, Sydney came in from playing outside and noted how windy it was. She suggested we fly a kite. I have had a kite on a shelf in my closet for years and it has seldom been flown. She pestered me and begged me and nagged me off and on for an hour. I’d given her several excuses because I really didn’t want to run around a field in the wind. When I had run out of excuses and she had worn me down, I got the kite. We went outside and got that kite right into the air. It wouldn’t stay up long and kept nose-diving to the ground. I remembered from my childhood that a kite sometimes needs a heavier tail so I sent her in for an old bandanna. That was just what that kite needed. It flew really well and stayed up for long periods of time. Listening to Sydney laugh was contagious. She couldn’t stop. I didn’t mind anymore that dinner was going to be way later than usual. She was having the time of her life! Sydney was going to have a memory of flying a kite with her mama and I so enjoy hearing my kids laugh hard when they are having fun. One of my older kids once asked me why I liked going to the amusement park with them since I didn’t like to ride the rides anymore. I don’t know if it is the same for all parents; but for me, watching my kids have fun is one of the “funnest” things there is to do.    

Shawn got home about the time Sydney and I were winding up the kite string to head back inside. Sydney told Shawn all about the kite and showed him a few pictures I had taken on my phone. When Sydney has a really cool experience, Shawn often says to me quietly, “I’ll bet none of those other kids from that orphanage in Russia did that today.” It makes us so happy for Sydney but so sad for all the ones that didn’t go home with anyone. Can you imagine how their days are spent? I suppose, not knowing what they are missing, might mean they aren’t sad about not having it. I don’t know. I do know I am so thankful my God answered our prayers for Sydney, and that she is in our home. She teaches me constantly.

Sydney and Grandpa at the Sale Barn
Sydney sees so many ordinary things as extraordinary. Revolving doors, escalators, and automatic car washes, are as good as any amusement park ride. She loves it when we drive under an overpass because she says she feels like we are in a tunnel. Sydney sees beauty where few others would. Sydney loves animals; and a cow is, by far, her favorite animal. We are planning another trip to the sale barn soon so she can watch cows on the auction block again all afternoon. She would rather do that than anything else we could think of to do. We never pass a field of cows that she doesn’t call out to them. She says things like, “You are beautiful! Eat that grass and stay healthy! I love your color!” Then she exclaims to me over and over about how sweet cows are.  

Sydney thinks her grandparents’ home is a wonderland. There is a cat that will play with Sydney’s hair if she lays on the floor, a tire swing, and her grandma’s walker to push around. A ride out to the pasture to see grandpa’s cows is the high point of any day. Tuesday, Sydney saw chicks at the feed store in town. She was absolutely giddy. Yesterday, we went to Kansas City for her quarterly doctor appointment. As we drove off an exit ramp, she hollered, “Red!  I love red!” She was referring to the van in front of us. She just had to holler about the color red. The doctor allowed Sydney to pick a toy out of a box of prizes. She chose a plastic wolf and played with it all day like it was a very expensive prize.   

Today, we went to Kansas City again to take my dad to a doctor appointment. We had to park in a parking garage and Sydney was absolutely enthralled. She kept exclaiming, “COOL!” She got a huge kick out of the paper towel dispenser in the ladies’ room because it was motion sensitive and kept giving her towels without her having to touch anything. She’s seen all these kinds of things before. We don’t keep her from technology. It’s just that, Sydney doesn’t take things for granted like so many of us do. When we got home from that doctor appointment it sprinkled on us a little. She asked for an umbrella and went outside and marched around in the rain for quite some time.  

Sydney's Herd
Her favorite foods are vegetables and when we order from a menu at a restaurant, she always wants me to ask the waitress if she can just order a plate of vegetables. Her favorite toys are very simple. She loves workbooks, hula-hoops, baby dolls, plastic farm animals, and her remote-control car. I bought a 99 cent spray bottle this week to spray my plants with. She has latched on to that like it is an expensive toy. Watering the plants and squeezing that spray trigger has become a new favorite pastime. It reminded me of something I used to keep her busy with. Her tea party dishes have always been a favorite, but letting her pull a chair up to the sink and WASH those dishes with a few bubbles gave her more pleasure than most of us would find in a day at the zoo or another favorite activity. Sydney loves water and if she doesn’t get to take a bath at the end of the day, she feels like she is being punished. It just doesn't take much to make this kid happy.

I know you might be saying, “all kids like escalators, revolving doors, umbrellas, and car washes,” and maybe they do. All mine have; but it is different with Sydney. She seems to experience things with an intensity that my others did not. Maybe it’s the ADHD. Maybe it’s the FAS. Maybe it is from the neglect she had the first year of her life. Maybe it is just Sydney. Whatever it is, its amazing.  

If you liked this post then you might also enjoy this one: It's a mad mad world.

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