C is for Choice

obstacle

I asked my husband to creat me an image from his website TheSeedProject.net for my, “C is for Choice,” blog, and this is the image he emailed me.  At first, I thought, “Wow I love the words, but a few leaves don’t look like much of an obstacle.”  I asked him why didn’t he choose something more, “Obstacle or Opportunity,”ish like a trail or a mountain.  That’s when I discovered that I was only seeing the leaves, and not where they were coming from.

This was a photo from our trip to the California Redwood Forest last summer.  A Giant Redwood had fallen on it’s side, cut at a straight horizontal angle, and it’s face had been completely charred during a fire.  From this fallen, chopped, and charred tree spring life in the form of these little fern leaves.

Merriam Webster defines, “Choice,” as

the act of choosing : the act of picking or deciding between two or more possibilities

the opportunity or power to choose between two or more possibilities : the opportunity or power to make a decision

a range of things that can be chosen

As a parent, I often feel like my choice is worth more now than ever.  Every single decision I choose not only effects me, it also effects my children.  Whether we realize it or not, those choices big or small might possibly be the defining moments that shape your child or stick with them into adulthood.

It has been almost exactly a year since Marley was diagnosed with Optic Nerve Atrophy.  I wrote all about it in my, “Marley and Me Musical Chairs,” post.  Once upon a time not to long ago, I felt angry, guilt, grief, and fear.  I was so incredibly afraid of the challenges my daughter would face in life.  I was afraid that, like her mommy, she would be bullied by the mean kids in school, afraid that she would be ashamed of who she was, afraid that she would fall through the cracks in the educational system, and worst of all I was afraid that she would blame me for her blindness.

What does being afraid get you?

Nothing.  Fear only brings more fear.

I chose to shift my fear into a fierce passion for a future full of endless opportunities.

Last November, I and a few other parents, organized the Nevada Organization of Parents of Blind Children. My vision for this organization is to reach every single parent of a blind or visually impaired child in Nevada.  As human beings we thrive when we connect with other human beings.  Blindness can be a scary thing.  Blindness can be a life changer.  However, blindness can also be empowering and powerful.

If we as parents choose to fear blindness, than our children will too fear blindness.  Instead of fearing blindness, I choose to embrace it.  When I hold my long white cane, I feel confident.  I feel as if nothing can stop me if I have my can with me.

Marley has even begun to acknowledge her feelings.  The other night while cuddling in bed after we’d read a few pages from her Braille copy of , “Amelia Bedelia,” she whispered that she felt nervous about using her cane, especially if I wasn’t there with her using mine.  This was after a long four day weekend where both my husband and I had been busy in classes and my mother in law was flown in to stay with the kids.  She didn’t want to look different or want to have people look at her.  I told her it was ok to feel nervous, but we needed to figure out a way to turn that nervous feeling  into a powerful feeling.  We talked about all of the fun times we’ve had while using her cane like on our hikes, our camping trips, and decorating it and taking it trick-or-treating on Halloween.  We also talked about the times she tripped and fell because she didn’t have her cane with her.  So instead of feeling nervous about anymore, she chooses to feel happy, safe, and powerful when she has it.

Two days later, a classmate shared the following video on Facebook and I knew it would be the perfect end cap to this blog.  It’s taken me almost a week to finally dedicate a few uninterrupted moments in posting, “C is for Choice.”

Until I write again, let’s all choose to make it a powerful week!

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Word of the Week – Authentic

I sat down to write this blog Monday morning as the light bulb lit up for more creative ideas on reaching my goal of 75 blogs in 75 days.  I’m a little behind, so in my attempts on catching up and staying, “Authentic,” I’ve decided to start each week off with a vocabulary word.

A is for Authentic.

Merriam Webster defines, “Authentic,” as being exactly as appears or as claimed.

Synonyms; bona fide, certiviable, certified, dinkum, acht, genuine, honest, pukka, real, right, sure enough, and true.

Antonyms; bogus, counterfeit, fake, false, phony, pseudo, sham, spurious, suppositious, supposititious, unauthentic, and unreal.

I define, “Authentic,” as staying true, true to oneself, true to the cause, true to the experience, true to the emotion, and true to others.

I feel as if I am more authentic to myself and to others when I have my long white cane with me.  The cane is not an identifier to the world that I am blind, however it shows the truth that I used to hide for so many years.  I am proud of my blindness, proud of my cane, proud to have a daughter who is learning that blindness isn’t what defines us, but merely one of our super powers that we can choose to tap into to succeed and shine.

Marley, me, and our canes at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park on her birthday adventure hike

How do you define, “Authentic?”

 

 

Playing Catch Up

On November 28th, I published my 75th blog post.  I ended the post with a challenge to myself to post 75 blogs in the next 75 days.  If you follow me, and read my blog regularly, than you have noticed that I haven’t been around these last few days.  Fear not!  This doesn’t mean I will not meet my goal of publishing 75 blogs in 75 days.  This merely means there will be a few days I will be publishing more than one blog.  Starting with today,  I might just publish one, some days I might publish two, and if I’m really ambitious, I might even crank out three.

Where have I been and why did I miss Saturday, Sunday, and Monday?

I spent the weekend at the annual state convention of the National Federation of the Blind of Nevada.   As I play the game of Musical Chairs, I have decided it was time for me to get back in the game and change negative misconceptions and low expectations about blindness.  Stakes have been raised and rules have changed now that my daughter has been thrown into the court.  You can bet your britches that this mom is NOT going to stand on the sidelines.  I will be the loudest, the most competitive, and the strongest advocate to fight on behalf of my daughter’s rights and the rights of all blind children.

During the convention, I met other parents and we are organizing the Nevada Organization of Parents of Blind Children.  It is my hope for this organization to bring together parents, provide resources, connect blind shildren with positive blind role models, and creat and implement programs for blind children in our state.

I fully intended on blogging via my WordPress ap on my iPhone, but the ap insisted it would rather crash on me.  After the fourth attempt, I took it as a sign that I needed to turn off my phone, take a break, and take a nap.

Sunday on Monday were spent catching up with housework, cuddles with the kiddos, and a lovely afternoon meandering through the Venetian playing catch up with one of my oldest and dearest friends.

And here I am now, back in front of the computer with the kids tucked away in their beds.  I will finish this delicious cup of tea, possibly start a second blog for the night, and start on the glass of wine that’s calling out my name.  I’ve enjoyed catching up.  I hope you have too.

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Marley followed this girl around thinking she was a princess. Suddenly out of nowhere, she worked up the courage and ran up and gave her princess a great big hug.

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Jackson didn’t know what to think of this statue guy. He got more and more frustrated as he tried to give him a dollar.

 

 

E is for Educate, F is for Farm

Marley, Jackson, and I under the McKee Ranch sign

Every day is a day to educate the world about blindness.  I especially love when I am given the opportunity to tell a child about my cane.  You see, I am not totally blind.  I have some vision, but not enough to read print, and prefer to use a cane if I want my steps to be confident instead of uncertain.  Not all blind people are totally blind.  Some may prefer to use the term visually impaired or having low vision.  Visual acuity measured at 20/200 is what is considered legally blind.  Not every blind person uses the same terminology, just like they may not use the same tools.   A person may choose to read Braille, while another person may choose to use magnification devices.  A person may choose to use a cane, while another person chooses to use a guide dog.

I walked around without a cane for 22 years of my life before being introduced to the National Federation of the Blind and attended the Louisiana Center for the Blind, what is commonly referred to as the Bootcamp for the Blind.  This was when I received my very first long white cane, where I learned how to read Braille, and was introduced to the NFB’s philosophy that whether blind or sighted, if a person is given the opportunity, and the training, they too can compete equally with their sighted peers.  This also,  was where I gained confidence to travel independently.  So, when a child asks me what that stick is, and the parents tell them to shush.  I jump at the opportunity togive a lesson about the cane and the common misconceptions about blindness.

E is for Educate.

A cane is a tool for independence.  The metal tip reverberates sound and vibrations of texture to allow the user to use echo location to gather information.  The fact that this cane, the long white cane, does not fold, means very little information is lost from the tip to the handle.  A simple tap can let you know if the building is in front of you or slightly to the left.  While walking through a parking lot, echo location from the metal tip informs you upon coming up to a parked car or even a shopping cart.

“What about those canes with the red handles?”

Those canes with the red handles are shorter, heavier, have a plastic or rolling tip, and since they fold into something that can be tucked into a desk drawer, backpack, or purse, are not what I’d prefer to choose for a mode for independent travel.

The long white cane allows me to travel with speed, accuracy, and confidence without the aid or assistance of a sighted person.

F is for Farm

Our most recent lesson on blindness was given to a family on a hay ride during a visit to our local neighborhood farm.

hay ride

You read that right.

hello Mr. GoatWe’ve got a fully functioning farm complete with all sorts of barnyard animals to pet and feed only two miles from our front door.

hello Mr. Horse

We visit McKee Ranch every October when it is transformed into a pumpkin patch.

hello Mr. chicken

We can’t forget about the old fashioned merry-go-round.

Jackson on the merry-go-round

The highlight this year were Marley and Jackson’s first time riding a pony.

Marley on the pony

Jackson on the pony

And Marley even got to meet Farmer McKee himself.

Marley and Farmer McKee

All in all, I’d say it was a great day!

Oh Miss Marley on the farm

Oh Miss Marley on the farm

E I E I O

And on the farm we had our canes

E I E I O

With a tap tap here

With a tap tap there

Here a tap

There a tap

Everywhere a tap tap

Oh Miss Marley on the farm

E I E I O

 

An Update on Marley Jane and Mrs. Cane

Could you, would you, ever imagine a child going to school in a wheelchair and being told that she couldn’t use her wheelchair in the classroom because it wasn’t a school district issued wheelchair?

Could you, would you, ever imagine a child taking his inhaler to school and being told he wasn’t allowed to use it because he hadn’t yet been approved by a certified school employee?

Could you, would you, ever imagine  a blind child being denied access to her cane in her classroom?

That was exactly what happened in our case.   Just a few weeks ago, I wrote about how Marley was excited to bring her cane to school in the blog post, “Marley Jane and Mrs. Cane.”  She’d named her cane on a recent hike, and asked if she could bring Mrs. Cane to school.  What other answer could I give her but an enthusiastic, “Yes, of course you can!”   We made sure to go over all our cane rules with Marley before heading to the classroom.  We explained to her teacher that we want to encourage her to use the cane, and went over our rules about the cane with them as well.  After school that day, Marley excitedly told us all about how she told the other kids that it wasn’t a stick, it was her cane which she uses to help her find things by tapping in front of her.

That was on a Monday.

Just two days later, on Wednesday, my husband and I met with her teacher to go over Marley’s IEP and progress in the classroom.  I left the meeting knowing that even though things might be moving slowing with getting Braille integrated and implemented via her IEP, due to legal logistics and bureaucratic school district red tape in the form of assessments, parent signatures, more assessments, and more parent signatures, we would get Braille sooner than later as long as we kept pushing for it.  In the mean time, I will be personally putting Braille in Marley’s classroom while we wait.

That day, a few specialists from the CCSD Vision Services came to observe Marley in her class, toss the ball around with her to test her motor skills, and make the decision that Marley was not allowed to use her cane at school.   Upon receiving this news from her preschool teacher when picking Marley up at the end of the day, i thanked her for the message, and told her I’d take care of the issue.

How did I feel about that?

Frustrated, furious, and fuming would be putting nicely how I felt that evening.

What did I do?

First, I posted the situation on Facebook for support and advice from my friends, especially those who were professionals in the field of Teaching Blind Children, Orientation and Mobility, and advocacy.   I was right to be upset.  This was completely against ADA law, and against the National White Cane Law.  This was exactly like the airlines telling us we can’t have our canes.  Denying a blind person access to tools of independence is denying them the right to participate in society, and in life.

Second, after calming down a few degrees, I called Marley’s TVI (teacher of the visually impaired) the next morning to find out what had actually been said and why.  She explained she had not been there when the other school district employee had made the decision about Marley’s cane, would find out for me the details of the situation, and would give her supervisor a call.  I’ve never actually met Marley’s TVI in person.  Marley’s case had been transferred to her on the first week of school.  I am please to say that I get great vibes from her positivity and willingness to work with me for Marley’s best interest in mind.

That afternoon I received a call back from the supervisor of vision services per my request.  She explained the school district employee was concerned that Marley had not had proper training with the cane by a certified CCSD Orientation and Mobility (O&M) instructor.  She was afraid of Marley getting hurt or hurting others with her cane.  She wanted to wait until and O&M specialist could evaluate Marley with her cane.  I explained that Marley has indeed had great training on the cane, that she has also observed me with my cane her entire life, she has always wanted a cane of her own since before we were even aware of her eye condition, she understands and aknowledges that her cane helps her from tripping and running into obstacles, and most importantly that Marley is excited about using her cane.  Why would any adult want to take that from a blind child?

Shortly after our phone call, I received this email which had been sent to all members of Marley’s educational team.

“I understand Marley Rupp is bringing a cane from home to school. One of our teachers expressed a concern about her bringing her cane to school because it wasn’t issued by CCSD. From my discussions with Ms. Huff, my understanding is Marley is using it in a safe manner. Marley’s mom expressed she would like Marley to have access to her cane during the school day. Also, she informed me Marley has had private instruction on how to use her cane. My recommendation is for Marley to have access to her cane during the school day as long as she is demonstrating safe use of it . Also, I am asking one of our orientation and mobility specialist to visit Wright ES on Monday and observe Marley’s use of her cane.  I do recommend completing an orientation and mobility referral and a CCF 555, so proper assessment can be administered.”

Though it might look like we’ve won this battle,  my heart breaks thinking of the damage which has already been done.  Immediately following, Marley expressed she no longer wanted to take her cane to school.  She was afraid she would get in trouble for having it, and she was afraid of someone taking it away from her.  She has also started having night terrors again, and talking in her sleep about her cane.  I find myself constantly telling her to keep the tip on the ground and in front of her.  Worst of all, I was forced to take it away from her before school because of her behavior and misuse of it.

What do we do now, and how to we heel his wound?

We bring the excitement back!  We get her wanting to use her cane again.  Even better,  we help her feel proud of her cane.

Marley, me, and our canes at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park on her birthday adventure hike

Marley is in the middle of track break until the first week of November.  During this time, we will have our cane with us everywhere we go.  We take every opportunity to educate anyone who might have questions about it.  We even spent last Saturday celebrating both Marley and her little brother’s birthdays with a picnic adventure hike where Marley got to show off her awesome purple cane to her friends.  All of her friends now want a purple cane just like Marley.   We will even be decorating our canes and using them as part of our Halloween costumes as our fairy wands.

Marley and Jackson's adventure birthdayMarley and her cane with her little brother and friends on their birthday adventure hike

Together, especially my little Marley and her Mrs. Cane will change what it means to be blind by redefining rules, mystifying misconceptions, and conquering our dreams one tap at a time.

Marley and Mrs. Cane, midstep, midtap

 

 

Literally Plant a Seed by Joining the Puzzle Campaign

How to I even begin this blog?  I am a 31 year old mom to two beautifully healthy amazing children.  Pregnancy came easy to me.  It almost seemed like all we had to do was think baby and there I was pregnant.  Unfortunately, the road to motherhood takes a little bit longer with a few extra twists and turns for some,  some women like my dear friend Deja.

Me, Marley in my belly, and my old roomy Deja

Me, Marley in my belly, and my old roomy Deja at the 2009 National Federation of the Blind Annual Convention.

This is not the first time I’ve written about infertility.  However, this time I’m writing for a cause.  I’m writing to spread awareness, asking for help, and sharing the dream that one day Deja can too, hold her new born baby in her arms like I did with my two children.

Baby Marley

Baby Marley

Baby Jackson

Baby Jackson

Deja and her husband started out the year with a different sort of New Year’s resolution.  Their resolution was to have a baby.  Along with writing about blindness and all things stylish on her blog. she shares her stories and battles with infertility.   However, infertility is expensive.  That’s why they’ve launched the Puzzle Campaign.  Learn more about this awesome couple, and the Puzzle Campaign by checking out Deja’s blog at Slate and Stylish I’m embarrassed to say that I have not yet contributed to the Pubble Campaign. Deja, here is ourpledge.  I pledge $40., $20 for each of our two children. We are also donating a canvas print from The Seed Project to their upcoming online auction. Please consider contributing to the Puzzle Campaign or participating in next month’s auction to make this couple’s dream of becoming parents come true.

Calling all Parents of Blind/visually Impaired Children in Nevada

Are you a parent of a blind/visually impaired child living in Nevada?  Do you know a parent of a blind/visually impaired child in Nevada?  Are you a teacher of a blind child, or a medical professional who works with blind children?  If  so, than I am looking for you.

Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Terri Rupp.  My almost 5 year old daughter and I both have Optic Nerve Atrophy.  I wrote about the discovery of our daughter’s diagnosis earlier this year in my blog, “Marley and Me Musical Chairs.”  I feel fortunate to have my own experiences of growing up as a blind child, the opportunity to attend the Louisiana Center for the Blind where I learned Braille and other blindness skills an where I was introduced to the positive blindness philosophy of the National Federation of the Blind.  The foundation has already been laid for my daughter through my own blindness for her to grow up knowing that blindness isn’t anything to be ashamed of.  It will NOT hold her back from a bright future, rather it will  give her strength to overcome any and all obstacles if given the proper training and opportunity.

My husband and I want to share our positive outlook on blindness with other parents.  In all honesty, we both went through our own grieving process upon the diagnosis.  However the self pity, anger, guilt, and tears quickly tried up, and we both realized that this is just another mountain for us to conquer as a family.  During our frequent visits to the pediatric ophthalmologist, we have observed countless distraught, lost, and grieving parents of whom we just want to shout at, “YOUR CHILD IS FINE!  YOUR CHILD IS NORMAL!  YOUR CHILD HAS A BEAUTIFUL FUTURE!”

My dream is to get this message to every single parent in Nevada.  You are NOT going through this alone.  There are so many us out there just like you.  We are dealing with understaffed and underfunded school systems.  We live in a state with very limited resources for equal opportunities for the blind.  We CAN change this!  With the resources and support of the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC) and the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), we can change what it means to be blind, and give your children the future they deserve.

Please join us in organizing the Nevada Organization of Parents of Blind Children.  You can reach me at terri.rupp@gmail.com or join our Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/653738258066532/.

Sincerely Yours,

Terri Rupp

Oh, and PS, did you know that October is National Meet the Blind month?

 

 

“WE ARE ALL HUMAN BEINGS”

As we continue on through our Marley and Me saga, I make it a point to make blindness and the word blind something Marley will relate to with proud and possitive feelings, not ugly or negative ones.

So often in the world blindness is accompanied with sadness, pity, shame, grief.  It is my goal to abolish any negative ties to blindness in my daughter’s world.

If the world could only view things through the eyes of an innocent child, it would be a much more beautiful place.

During one of our discussions about the word blind, I had explained to Marley how people who need to read Braille and use canes are called blind.  Marley’s response, “And we’re all human beings!”

One of my favorite photos from this summer.  Even with reaching around with both My cane and Marley's cane, we still barely manage to make it halfway around that giant redwood tree.

One of my favorite photos from this summer. Even with reaching around with both My cane and Marley’s cane, we still barely manage to make it halfway around that giant redwood tree.

 

Marley and Me Musical Chairs

Photo of Marley and me

I feel like I’m in a real life game of musical chairs.  First I was the blind child, then the blind student, then the blind parent, and now I’m sitting in the seat as the parent of a blind child.

This blog has been a draft in progress, and I’m finally ready to share it with you all.

About 2.5 years ago, we brought my daughter into see the pediatrician for a double ear infection.  This was when it was first brought to our attention that she had a nystagmus.  After a few trips to the eye doctor, we were given the diagnosis of Spasmus Nutans.  This is the combination of the Nystagmus, Amblyopia (lazy eye), and a head tilt in response to the other two symptoms.  We were told that this was common in eye development in toddlers and it should correct itself by school age.

Over the next 2 years it looked as if it was somewhat getting better, only showing when she was really tired or concentrating to see something at a distance.  But  as her fourth birthday came around, we noticed more and more signs that perhaps we were just looking for it to get better because the doctor said it would

I noticed that she was having difficulty seeing the letters in her books while we were working on reading and writing.  My husband noticed she was having difficulty tracking things at a distance.  Some of my close friends noticed that when she went to grab an object, it looked as if she wasn’t reaching directly for that object but more feeling for it.

I couldn’t believe I let two years go by since her last eye check up.  When I called to make an appointment in January, the first available appointment wasn’t until May.  This wasn’t acceptable, especially to a worried parent.  After asking around, I found another ophthalmologist who came very highly recommended in my network of moms.  I also decided to contact the school district to see if she would qualify to get into their preschool program, because if she would be needing any services I wanted to start the process sooner than later.

After a series of assessments with the school nurse, psychologist, vision test, and hearing test, we sat down to our first IEP (Independent Education Plan) this last Tuesday.  It was determined that my daughter qualifies to start preschool under the fact that she would be a blind/low vision student.  Keep in mind that we hadn’t yet seen the new eye doctor.  There was much discussion about what accommodations and services she would be given  As I’d expected, there was much disagreement on the topic of Braille.  The low vision specialist claimed she felt my daughter has too much vision to learn Braille, that it would slow her down and confuse her.  Knowing the IEP process, and knowing that I was able to ammend it if I felt need be, I simply told them that if they didn’t want to teach her Braille in preschool, that was fine with me.  I am already teaching her Braille, and by the time the school district is ready to approve Braille instruction, she’ll already be fully reading uncontracted Braille, and far ahead of her peers.

A few days later, on this last Friday we visited her new eye doctor.  It turns out that she doesn’t just have the three sypmtons that make up Spasmus Nutans.  She’s got Optic Atrophy just like her mama.  It’s very possible it was a dormant gene that appeared in me, then I passed to her.  It could be that since we weighted two years without treating the Amblyopia, it caused the atrophy in the eye.  It could be a fluke coincidence.  However, all that matters is, she’s got the same eye condition as me.  The doctor also told us that her vision loss is severe enough that Braille would be best for her. Forcing her to read print would only strain and stress her eyes thus possibly making things worse.

I’ll be honest.  This weekend consisted of a whole lot of tears, a whole lot of guilt, a whole lot of grief, a whole lot of anger, but also a whole lot of of inpouring of love and support.  It also consisted of a whole lot of pride.  On sunday morning, I heard my daughter chatting away while she was eating her pancakes.  My mommy ears perked up when I heard her say, “X is 1 3 4 6.”  I then asked her to show it to me, which she did on the little wooden Braille block that we play with.  She then told me that X was her favorite letter in Braille.  I was overwhelmed by the comforting feeling that no matter what, everything will be fine.  She is a happy, healthy, beautiful, bright, and strong little girl that will succeed in whatever her heart desires.

With my own personal experiences, with the resources and support through the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children and the National Federation of the Blind, with the love of family and friends who will treat her like every other little girl out there and not like a child that needs to be tended to or coddled, I plan to surround her with nothing but positivity and make sure that she grows up to be a confident young lady doing whatever she wants to in life.

So…to my dear sweet Marley, this song is for you, because you’re amazing just the way you are.

“See With Your Fingers Mom!”

My two squirmy toddlers on our hammock

My two squirmy toddlers on our hammock

I have always wondered whether or not my children, as well as my dog, realize that mommy doesn’t see like everyone else.  Back when I used to take my dog to the dog park, he would tear off every which way if my husband was also there.  However, if it was just he and I, he never ran further than ten feet away from me.

Even now, with two toddlers, I am often asked how I manage to keep track of them at the park or indoor play gyms.  It’s really no effort at all.  My children are really great with checking in with me every few minutes.  I used to put my daughter in squeaky shoes when I took her to the park, but the shoes usually came off as soon as we got there.  I have heard of some moms putting bells in the laces of their kids shoes.  So with my son, I sometime put bells on his overalls, just because he can’t reply when I call him yet.  He’s also a sneaky little boo gar, that loves to get into everything.

Now that the kids are suffering from yet another cold in this endless cold and flu season, I am constantly wiping and sucking snot out of their noses.  This is quite tricky with squirmy toddlers.  Since I can’t see if there is a string of snot running down one of their faces, I just have to keep on top of it.  The tricky part is practically squishing the one year old to keep his hands in place with my belly and arms and doing a fast, yet very careful nose suck.  I keep one hand on the face both to keep his head still and also as a guide for the other hand that does the sucking.  My three year old is much better at understanding that Mommy needs to see with her fingers to make sure everything is clean.

Last night, we sat and watched the Lion King on the couch and I clipped 20 fingernails and 20 toenails.  I always amaze myself when I accomplish this task.  I can’t exactly describe my trick for managing not to cut any fingers or toes.  It just comes with lots and lots of practice and patience.

Tonight I just had to share what Marley said to me at dinner.  We usually keep the TV off during dinner, but tonight, we just turned the sound down and put some music on in the background.  It was the scary part of Coraline, and Marley kept asking me, “Mama what’s happening?”  I kept telling her that I didn’t know.  So after the tenth or so time of her asking, I said, “Marley, remember that Mommy can’t see like you do.  I can’t see what’s happening on the TV.”  So, to add to her adorable quotable Marley quotes, she replies, “See with your fingers Mom!”