Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Welcome to Holland. Yeah, right!

I'm Italian. Well, a great many of us Americans like to say that. Truth be told, I'm half Italian. The rest is 25% Swedish and 25% German; but I don't know a lick of either language. I've been to Italy twice, so I call myself "Italian." Now I'm Canadian, as well as Italian and American etc. To bring it all to glorious fruition, I have a son who is Canadian AND who has cerebral palsy. Since 2000, I've been a bit of a crazed knucklehead about this Hungarian stuff called conductive education; and my Mexican spouse has been incredibly tolerant and supportive of my craziness. Thus, Holland beats the cleats off Italy on the pitch the other day ago, now I don't know where I am.
Now to be honest, Emily Perl Kingsley doesn't sound like an Italian name. I honestly doubt she's ever been to Italy, but I have no doubt whatever that she understands what it is to be a parent of a child with a disability. I have read her essay "Welcome to Holland," and it rings true in many ways; but I can't help myself tonight. I just have to say it. Those Dutch uniforms, the orange ones, are a bit brazen.
I think those classical Italians look just that little bit better in their blue. Gli azzuri? No? Aren't they glorious as they run around LOSING the game? (I can almost hear them begging for the ball.)
In all their classical incompetence, they remind me that it doesn't matter where one ends up: Holland, Venice, Vancouver, Saint Paul. The pitch awaits; and cerebral palsy or not, there's a game to play and someone on your side is eagerly waiting for a pass. A whole crew of teammates are ready to burst into cheers when you score, and if you miss the net altogether; they will still run up and give you a smile and a pat on the back because you gave that ball a good kick.
That's all that matters in the end, really. Kick it. Kick it hard.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Oops! He did it again!

Wow, a somewhat, (although usual) exhausting weekend; trying to make sure my blond-eyed-blue-haired number one son had plenty of opportunity to stretch, stand on, step with, and just plain USE his legs. It was a lot of clumsy attempts at trying to do what the conductor suggested; assist him in walking from the front. Easier said than done, I've always said. Nonetheless, half-sideways and sometimes in front, somehow we did manage to get some of this follow me thing going on instead of the usual "I'll push forward, you push back!"
It was all generously laced with deliberate, watchful attempts to slow down, get control, and put that left foot down; followed by the ol' "Good! Now stand on it!"
Tentatively, then purposefully, he did it; loading his non-bulk of 52 pounds onto that foot as we moved on to "shift, and step." Over and over, though I know it's really not much time. It's the quality of the practice that matters equally with the quantity. When he feels the weight shift, and he hears the word shift, and he knows he's not going to topple over; something goes click in his brain. I didn't hear it, but I saw the results.
It's truly another Carlyle moment, coming at just the right end of what seemed to be a redundant circle pattern of wet hair, lather, rinse, repeat.
Then, kapowie, last minute on his way to his other world he goes plunk plunk plunk, plunkitty plunk plunk; and we have a sequence of 20 or so measured, even, alternating steps. You can't tell me practice doesn't help. Fortune favours the brave, baby. Go for it.