Part of Vista’s nature is her need to control her environment.
That means constantly asking me “Who we going to see today?”. Over and over. All. Day. Long.
It doesn’t matter if I give her the same answer over and over, all day long. She still needs to ask the question.
The other question I hear all day long is “Who was that?” after every single phone call.
Now, I wouldn’t be the mother I am, if I didn’t take these opportunities entertain myself at her expense. Because, really, that’s what parents are for, right?
So by the eleventy billionth time I’ve been asked ‘Who we going to see today’, rather than giving her the same answer I’ve been giving all day long, I’m more likely to tell her that we’re going to see the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and after that the Ghostbusters might make an appearance. Heh.
But I don’t only use these opportunities to educate my daughter on the finer points of ’80’s comedies. It’s also the perfect time to discuss religion.
*I hang up after talking to Bil*
Vista: “Who was that?”
Vista: “Who is your God?”
Me: “Excellent question. Daddy is.”
Vista: “Daddy is your God? Bil is my daddy God.”
That’s right. We’re teaching her to worship us as deities.
Hey, it worked for the Egyptians.
There are times when watching your kids is waaaaay funnier than any sitcom on the television.
Vista is a constant source of hilarity in our lives (when she’s not acting like demon hell spawn, of course).
We had a good laugh the other night after Bil introduced her to an iPad game that has a cat that you can interact with. The best part is, it picks up your voice on the microphone, runs it through a filter, and then plays back whatever you say in this squeeky cat voice. So to a 3yr old it’s like the cat is talking to you, which V was immediately fascinated with.
Until… she said my name. Which of course the cat repeated. And then the argument started. But basically, she was arguing with herself, because all this stupid cat is doing is repeating what she says. And, OMG, we just about died laughing.
Really, there’s no better way to explain this than to show you
Me: “Vista, what do you want for breakfast?”
V: “Uhhhhh…..Fishy crackers!”
Me: “Hrmmm, yeah, no. That’s not a breakfast food. How about some Multi-grain Cheerios instead?”
V: “OK muddy-gain-chee-yos.”
Me: “No. Mul-tee-gr-… Oh never mind…”
*hands her a bowl of Cheerios*
V: “Mmmmmm….deeeeelicious! Fresh from the garden!”
Me: “Ummmmm…. *sigh* … Yup mommy picked them special for you”
There are some explanations I can’t get into with her before my morning cup of coffee. The fact that ‘chee-yos’ don’t grow on trees would be one of those.
Sometimes I look at Vista and there’s this sense of awe and amazement that this little child is mine.
But as each day passes, she’s less ‘mine’ and more her own person.
Sometimes I have to remind myself to step back and remember that the way she reacts to things isn’t necessarily going to be the same way I react to things.
She has her own way of doing things. And is definite about how her world is structured.
As time goes on, we realize more and more, that she’s not fitting into our world but molding us into what she needs her world to be.
And that’s not without it’s challenges sometimes.
One of our biggest frustrations has been around asking her to do simple things. Every day tasks. Using words she knows. And yet there seems to be no comprehension.
We assumed it was her three year old self being, well, a three year old. Defiant. Willful. All the things a child that age can tend towards.
Until we did one of a speech and language assessment with her a few weeks ago.
Her verbal scores came back as expected. She’s progressing wonderfully in her talking and ability to communicate.
Her receptive scores, those that indicate her ability to take in and process what we’re saying, were a surprise.
Despite the fact she knows the words, the meaning doesn’t always translate when you speak with her.
So when we we’re frustrated over her seeming lack of comprehension, it’s because… yeah… she really doesn’t understand.
Complete *headdesk* moment.
A neuropathway issue. Apparently it’s not all together uncommon in kids with her types of brain malformations.
But now we know. And that means we can start focusing on trying to rewire those pathways. Because a childs brain is an amazing, changing, thing.
She may not understand us, but we’re slowly learning to understand her better. And changing the way we do things to help her be who we know she can be.
We’ve started adding back in some signing, to see if visual cues help with the comprehension. But beyond that, we don’t have a lot to go on.
So I’m turning to my brilliant blogging / twitter friends.
Suggestions on what you would do? What you’ve seen work? What you think we could try?
I haven’t posted anything about our resident ghost lately because he really hasn’t been around.
After the last round of ‘The Unexplained‘, Sam left and stayed gone until recently. When we asked Vista where he was, her answer was always the same:
Sam’s at work. Like Daddy works. But Sam works with people.
I would smile and nod and on we would go with our lives. After all, this isn’t the first prolonged absence by Sam. I figured soon or later he would show up.
I just didn’t think it would be at 2am Friday morning.
Vista started calling for me, so I stumbled out of bed and into her room. It crossed my mind that it was odd that she was awake, because she’d actually been sleeping through the night quite well since we put her on her anti-seizure meds.
I fixed her covers for her while I explained that it was still night time and she needed to go back to sleep. Then I leaned down and gave her a kiss and told her “Mommy loves you”.
She looked at me, still wide awake, and said “OK Mommy. I loves you too.”
Then she looked over my shoulder and said…
I raised an eyebrow at her. “Was Sam here?”
“I see. Do you know why he was here?”
I could see Vista pause “He…. popped…in…to…say…Hi”
*another Mommy sigh*
“Of course he did. Well, Sam needs to learn how to tell time because 2am is not appropriate visiting hours. Tell him to come back in the morning”
I finished tucking her in, gave her another kiss, and headed back to bed cursing ghosts who don’t own watches.
The Friday and Saturday passed uneventfully.
I woke to hear my Belgian Shepherd woofing in the downstairs bedroom. The last time he did this was the last time Sam was around. I could here him vocalizing at something. Not growls and barks but more…talking.
In the 6 years I’ve owned this dog, I’ve know him to do this a handful of times. All of them since Sam arrived in our lives and always in the downstairs bedroom. I’m not sure why that room is special.
Rather than let him continue and risk waking Vista, I called him upstairs and put him and our border collie out in the back yard.
We eventually all got out of bed and Vista headed off with her respite worker for a day of fun.
Bil and I decided to take the opportunity to shampoo the carpets and catch up on some cleaning.
We cleared most of the furniture out of the living room, leaving the fish tank, book shelves, and my grandfather clock.
This clock is something very special to me. It was handcrafted by my Grandad (my dad’s father), and left to me when he passed away. Before he died, he also made each of my aunts a grandfather clock.
On the day he died all three clocks stopped at the same time. *cue spooky music*
The clock was carefully padded and packed up to make the 14hr drive to my house.
But once we set it up in our here we discovered something had shifted in the mechanisms inside. It no longer kept time properly and wouldn’t chime at all. We tried a few times to get it to work, but realized that we would need to find a clocksmith to come out and make the necessary adjustments.
But we’ve just never found anyone I would trust with my beloved clock. So it’s sat still in the corner of our living room for the past 5 years. No longer ticking but still a cherished time piece.
After we finished pulling the furniture out of the living room, we sat on the floor to have a quick lunch before starting the cleaning. As we finished our lunch, Bil stood up and I saw a look of shock go across his face.
“Jenn… look at the clock…”
I turned and looked at my grandfather clock.
The pendulum was slowly rocking back and forth and back and forth. Keeping. Perfect. Time.
I looked at the clock on the DVD player. A 4hr 15 minute time difference between the grandfather clock and the correct time.
And judging from the amount the counter weights in the clock had dropped it had just started today.
I knew the time on the clock had been stopped at 2:45.
Bil did a bit of mind math… “7am. It would have started at 7am this morning”
I looked at him.
“Are you sure?”
“Because that’s what time the dog woke me up this morning woofing at whatever was downstairs”
I could feel the hair on the back of my neck standing up.
We left it running as we worked around the house. Glancing at it every time we walked past.
Then tonight at 5:45 (1:00 grandfather clock time), it chimed for the first time in this house.
I’ve got an email in to one of my aunts to see if she remembers what time the clocks stopped at when my grandfather passes.
I’m hoping it wasn’t 1:00, otherwise Bil may move out of the house.
I guess maybe Sam took my order to ‘learn how to tell time’ seriously.
We have these wonderful things out here called a Chinook.
On Chinook days it will go from “Oh dear gawd I’m going to freeze my nipples off!” to “Hey, is it legal to go topless?” in a matter of a few hours. In terms of actual degrees, think 0C (32F) to 20C (68F). Yeah, radical.
While the sudden warm weather (minus the accompanying migraine ) is a nice change, there are some side effects… muddy, dirty, wet side effects.
Because sudden warm weather melts all that lovely snow that’s been sitting in my backyard. And melts it in a hurry.
Which means my quarter acre winter wonderland turns into a giant lake. A muddy, dirty, wet lake that two dogs and a toddler want to go play in. (and if you ever come over to my house you’ll understand why my floors are perpetually muddy in the spring).
With this latest thaw, and the fact the dogs have worn out the grass at the bottom of the deck, there’s a nice mud… well it’s not a puddle because there’s no water. It’s just a big mud pit.
When Vista wanted to go out this afternoon, I first had to get her over the “Oh no! Oh no, Mommy! Mud!!”. And then… well, it’s easier just to show you what happened next.
Needless to say, Bil is picking up some paving stones for that bottom area on his way home
Those of you that follow me on Twitter have probably heard about Sam.
Sam is Vista’s special friend. And we’re pretty sure he’s a ghost. Yeah, I’m living in a real life haunted house.
I can remember vividly the first time Sam showed up. We we all sitting in the living room and all of the sudden Vista started to talk to ‘Sam’. Sam was apparently standing right behind me as I sat on the couch *shudder*. Vista was happily chattering to him and trying to hand him things.
Bil and I just looked at each other. And decided she had an imaginary friend. How nice for her.
But on the off chance, I called my mom and asked her if the name ‘Sam’ rang any bells for her. As we ran through the family roster of the dead we came up blank.
I was still clinging tightly to the fact that this was an imaginary friend. Perhaps, I reasoned, she’s talking about Sam from the Wiggles. She loved watching the Wiggles at that point. Perhaps she had just picked that name. So, I put the Wiggles show on and when Sam showed up, I pointed to the TV and said “Look! Sam! Is that your Sam?”
I’m pretty sure Vista is going to be really good at that ‘OMG you are a complete moron’ look when she’s a teenager, because she threw that look at me and slowly explained to her idiot mother “Sam on TV,” pointing to the tele. “Not Sam,” pointing to the other end of the room.
Well, fine. Nix that idea. But, I still wasn’t giving up on the imaginary friend idea.
Until the morning I went to get Vista dressed. I conversationally asked her “Where’s Sam?”
She pointed to the floor next to her.
“Oh, he’s sitting next to you?” I said, very pleased with my deductive reasoning skills.
I got the ‘you’re an idiot’ look again and she patiently explained “No. In ground…. buried there.”
I have to tell you, hearing your two year old tell you about someone being buried in the ground (they certainly don’t teach that on Dora or Sesame Street) is kind of a conversation killer.
So I changed gears. Fine, Sam probably wasn’t just an imaginary friend if he’s buried in the ground. So we played 20 questions with a 2 year old with limited vocabulary.
Q: Is Sam a boy or a girl?
Q: Is Sam a little boy like [cousin] or is he old like Daddy?
A: Like Daddy
Q: Is he old like Grandpa or just old like Daddy?
A: Old like Daddy.
Alright, so we had a male ghost, somewhere in the 20 – 50 age range.
Q: Is he wearing a hat?
A: No. He… *at this point she started point to her forehead*
Q: Does he have an owie on his head? A bandaid?
A: No… *it took a few days, but we finally figured out that Vista was trying to tell us he was wearing a headband of some sort, after she started wearing insisting on wearing her hairbands around her forehead rather than to hold her hair back*
We continued playing these games. Showing pictures, asking questions, guessing answers. Near as we can tell, Sam is an adult male, Native American, ghost… who likes to swear.
Oh, did I forget that part?
Yeah, I came in one day to get Vista up from a nap and she was happily chattering to Sam. And they were talking about ‘sunny beaches’
I sent Vista out of the room to go play in the living room, and turned to (where I thought) Sam was. I gently explained to him ‘Listen here you son of a bitch. You teach my daughter to fucking swear and I will exorcise your ghosty ass. Are we clear?’
I’m assuming he got the message, because there’s been no more mention of sunny beaches or any beaches for that matter.
But then, a few months ago, Sam went away suddenly. Vista explained he had gone to the mountains for a while. I smiled and nodded like this made sense and figured maybe we were rid of our ghost for good. Not that I really minded him. I mean, he seemed to be friendly enough. And Vista certainly enjoyed talking to him. On days when he would chat with her as she woke up from a nap I could here fits of giggles. But still. A haunted house really doesn’t draw friends to want to come over for coffee.
Months went by, and no Sam. Until about a week ago.
Vista woke up and started talking about Sam again. I figured, not a big deal. So he’s back. Good for him.
But, something’s changed. Or rather he’s changed. He seems to want to be more helpful. Which is nice… but, dude, it’s creeping me the fuck out.
The first incident was the other day when Vista and I were in the living room. She was dancing around and I said “Should mommy put some music on so you can dance?”
As soon as I said that the DVD player turned on. Now, that, in and of itself, I could ignore. But we have one of those fancy players that also acts as a radio tuner and you can hook your ipod into it. We have never use the radio part (because the reception is crap and while I’m pretty sure there’s something we could do to fix that, we’ve never bothered and just don’t use it), and very rarely use the ipod dock, so it’s always set to play DVDs. Except when it turned on, it was set to a radio station playing music.
OK, I must have sat on the remote or something and accidentally turned it on.
Except when I stood up to look, I saw the remote sitting across the room from Vista and I.
I looked at V. “Where’s Sam?”
“He just went outside”
“Yeah I bet he did. Tell ghosty boy to quit touching Mommy’s technology”
I walked over and shut the DVD player off. I wasn’t in the mood for dancing anymore.
Then the other day, I went to put Vista down for a nap. She laid down in her crib and I was tucking her in asking her if she wanted me to put her white noise machine on for her… when her Winnie the Pooh music box turned on by itself. Neither Vista nor I were anywhere near it. And not only that, it’s not a little push button switch to turn on, that I could have hit accidentally this time. It’s a slider. And to put it on the song and setting that it was on the slider has to be slid down from it’s off position at the top, alllllll the way down to the bottom position.
I turned it off.
She pointed to the end of her crib.
“Could you tell him to stop doing stuff like that please. It’s creeping Mama out.”
I got a nod from her. I finished tucking her in and let her sleep.
Oh, but the best was yet to come.
This morning I woke up to hear Vista chattering through the baby monitor (Yes, she’s 2.5 and we still use a baby monitor. Don’t judge).
I looked at the clock. 7:00am. Bil would have gone to work a few hours ago. So it was time to get up and grab a quick shower before I went in to get her.
Until I heard a male voice respond to one of Vista’s chattering questions.
A voice that I didn’t recognize.
A voice that certainly wasn’t her father’s.
I went racing out of my room and threw open her door…. only to find her alone in her crib. With no one else in the room.
“Hi baby. Who were you talking to just now?”
“Sam….and my dollies”
Holy fuck. Had I just heard her ghost over the baby monitor??? Are you fucking kidding me??
I’ve come to the conclusion we have one of two things going on here.
- Vista has a friendly ghost who watches over her and likes to make sure she’s happy. And who now seems to be able to turn on things in the house and make himself heard…..or
- I’m loosing my ever living fucking mind
I’m kinda leaning towards number two.
Vista: “Ummmm… black?”
Me: “Actually this is green. It’s called olive. Can you say olive?”
Me: “No… allllll-live. Olive. The O is a ‘awe’ sound. You try. Olive.”
Me: “Are you trying to tell me something? You’re a little young to tell mommy how to dress considering you still can’t dress yourself.”
Me: “What are you doing, sweetie?”
Me: “You have wings?”
Me: “I see. And where did you get wings from?”
Me: “Uh-huh. The cats gave you wings.”
Me: “And how big are your wings?”
Me: “Oh, they’re yellow wings?”
Vista: “Yeah! And boo!”
Me: “Yellow and blue wings. Huh. And…uh…what are you going to do with these wings?”
I wonder if this is her way of telling me she’s going to be a Scene Kid?