Day Five: Fourth Day of Training

Today we perfected yesterday’s technique on Charlie. He was out like a light in no time and that made it really easy. We got in almost an hour of work on him. Then, we learned our third technique, which involves pressing near their ears. Tomorrow we will perfect it on Charlie and then we’ll get our going home instructions. I am really excited to get to work on all the things we’ve learned. I feel more optomistic about this than I have about anything in a long while.

Did mention that Charlie’s trainer called him smart today? And the office manager, Patricia? Yeah, that’s my baby. They probably say that to all the moms, but I couldn’t care less!
After our training we went to eat at Schwartz’s, which supposedly has the best sandwiches in Montreal. You wait in a line outside just to get in. There’s only about five things on the menu, but everyone says that you just get the sandwich. The sandwich consists of a smoked meat that reminds me of corned beef, two little slices of bread, and mustard. Everything else is a la carte: pickes, peppers, cole slaw, or fries. The sandwich was good, but a little too meaty for my tastes. The fries were excellent.

After that we headed out to the Montreal Botanical Gardens. They have a Chinese garden with an illumination display. It was pretty cool, but WAY to bumpy for a stroller. Then we went inside to see the pumpkin display, which was out of this world. It featured about a million pumpkins that had been decorated by people from ages 3-103. It was insane what a person can do with a pumpkin.

I wanted to add a couple of thoughts about my journey since tomorrow will be a big travel day and so will Saturday. I don’t know if I’ll get to a computer again before my brain empties.

I spent most of my life thinking that people with motor defecits were also deficient mentally. The deeper I get into the world of being a “special momma,” the more I realize that not only is this not always the case, but I wouldn’t even say that it’s the norm. You absolutely have to work harder to keep these kids up to speed with their peers. They can’t explore the kitchen cabinets, so you might have to get down on the floor with them and show them. The world is still their classroom–they just don’t have as much access to it as a regular kid. I used to see people pushing their disabled childred around places like the zoo and I’d think, “How sweet. . .treating them just like a normal kid.” You know what? I’m an asshole. There’s no reason to think that they wouldn’t like the zoo or the aquarium or any of the other things that typical kids like. I’ve worked with kids who are clinically retarded. THEY look just like everybody else. You can’t spot low IQ points from across the room. Despite some fairly in-depth experience in this area, it took having Charlie to make this clear.

And finally, a word about the fashions in Montreal. The jeans are overwhelmingly skinny here. I know all the pear-shaped women of the world are lamenting this, so let me just tell you–the skinny jeans are here. Boots, in Montreal, are pulled over the jeans. Leggings are also abundant. There are less high-heeled boots and more of those flat ones. There are lots of slouchy boots. The women here love glasses with decoration on the sides. The colors are subdued and I’ve seen a bunch of those floppy, knitted, beret-style hats. I might have to get myself one of those.

See you on the flip side!

Omigosh. . . spellcheck not working! Please forgive me–I know not what I do!
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  1. Great job this week, momma! I've been reading along with your updates. What you said about the motor deficit not meaning cognitive deficit struck me. I spent 2 years as a live-in home health aid to a young boy with CP while in college. He was 4-6 years old at the time, and was definitely (in my very limited experience) ONLY motor impaired. He knew letters & numbers and could put together ideas about what he wanted to eat (he LOVED vanilla yogurt mixed with peanut butter… came up with it HIMSELF), and overcame daily communication difficulties amazingly.

    ANYWAY. You made me think of him.

    Also! My husband frequents Montreal for work, and he has told me about The Sandwich. Ha! Canucks (sp?) are funny.

  2. therextras says:

    Woohoo! 2/3-prayers answered. But I’m not taking your return home for granted. Look forward to your next report from home.

    You share some profound thoughts, Bird, tonight. I really appreciate you and your blog. Barbara

  3. blairspage says:

    Yeah for all the things you have learned! I’m so proud of you for going! That is awesome that they have a program like this!

    I bet you are ready to get home, but it’s nice that you have gotten out to explore a bit! Girl… I sell the UGG Boots that you are talking about! :) Just let me know if you need a pair!

    I’m excited about the possibility of getting more in-depth care for Blair Bottoms! She is very special to me and I only want the very best for her. You are SO right… ACH is awesome, but maybe just not in the area that we are needing!

    Big Hugs – Tiffany

    PS – Be careful traveling!

  4. Wow, I didn’t know that this was all gonna be so much work for you! Sounds like you’re doing great and I can’t wait to hear how it all does for Charlie once you get back home!!

  5. Small Town Girl says:

    I’m so glad it’s been such a great experience for you! I can’t wait to hear how it goes once you get home.

  6. Nadine Hightower says:

    I knew this would be a learning experience for you also….I just wanted to hear you say it.

    You’re not an asshole.

    And the slouchy boots…snow is a way of life. No flip flops at Christmas for them.


  7. White Hot Magik says:

    I am catching up. Sounds like your trip has been great and totally worth it. Hopefully you can sell some of the winter clothes you don’t need on ebay or give them to a good cause.

    You words about the mental capabilities really hit home. Just because I am subbing in special ed Monday, and quite frankly a little apprehensive. Thinking about them in terms of being someone elses Charlie will certainly be more meaningful.

  8. You’re doing so well. Keep it up!

  9. Thanks for writing about your ABR experience with such great detail.

    I am one who really would love to get involved with abr if and when I can find the $$ to do so. Reading your account of the experience is very interesting and helpful for me. Thanks!

    Also, 13 years ago I visited Montreal and ate THE Schwartz Sandwich 3 days in a row at the insistence of my Canadian hosts. Once was great, but I definitely don’t recommend a repeat performance like that ;-). In fact, I think that those three sandwiches were enough to satisfy my need for smoked meat until now 😉

  10. I just want to say that your blog itself has really helped me to better understand…I can’t say that I’m all the way there because I haven’t personally experienced it myself, but I like to think I’m not a total asshole anymore because of reading about you and your SMART little boy–:) Toni