-- In His Strength: March 2007 www.superfluousbanter.org

In His Strength

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength --- Philippians 4:13

Friday, March 30, 2007

Adventures in Preschool II

This, already my third week being a Fort Courage Employee, was a great week. I would have to say that Wednesday was by far my best day ever.

As is always the case, whenever I go outside for recess with our preschoolers, the two-year-olds come crowd around me, arguing about who's turn it is to push my wheelchair around the playground. I think I'm their favorite toy. Drew and Madison are so darn cute!

One little boy, TJ, in our preschool classroom is especially fond of me. The first day I was there, he hung around me I'm sure because of Alehe. But even now that I don't have her with me, he still hangs around me more than his daycare friends. This week he and another little boy , Seth, are having fun with me. Indoors they tie any sort of string in the spokes of my chair (Seth: I'm going to tangle you with my tangly tangles!", and the other day had three of their other friends helping them by building a block structure around my wheelchair so I couldn't go anywhere. And if I succeeded in trying to get away...they would drag my wheelchair back to where we were playing. If I got one of his toys that he stuck in the spokes of my wheels and held it up really high it was"Hey, Buster!" Now I am "Buster" to TJ whenever I do the opposite of what he wants. The entire class took a walk around the entire block and got to play in the field near the Center. TJ stuck by me the entire way up until they got to run. On the way back he was beside me once again.

I started doing more in the classroom the past few days. Unfortunately, since I am just an aide, I don't get to teach any lessons, or circle times, bummer :(. Maybe someday. Although lately I have been wondering if I will ever get to a point of being able to teach my own class, seeings how ,because of my spina bifida, my stamina isn't quite what it used to be.

Today I was setting up and cleaning up before and after snacktime and lunchtime, putting finished art projects in their cubbies, straightening mats preschoolers sit on at circle and story times, as well as the usual playing with/supervising children.

It's crazy, in the mornings when I wake up at 6:15 to get ready for work, I want to sleep more. But when it comes time to end my shift at the daycare center, I don't want to go home yet.

Time flies when you're having fun.


Monday, March 19, 2007

Adventures in Preschool

Alehe seems to be doing well with this new arrangement. She is more excitable lately when I do take her places. When I arrived home on the bus, I saw her head poking out from behind the livingroom curtain. And as I wheeled up the ramp in the garage, she started barking excitedly.
Two things crossed my mind in the last few days since working at Fort Courage. One day last week I had prayed that God would give me another "Joseph" experience. Joseph ws a little boy from my preschool internship on campus who really became attatched to me, and I to him. Well, now there is a little boy named TJ who is apparen tly attatched to my hip. He and I had a blast today, chasing eachother aroudn the playground;he on his tricycle and me in my chair. Then he got another little boy, Beckett, to join in on his game. The two of them tried to drag me off to "jail". I never could get them to tell me my offense. If I sleep through Chi Alpha tonight, you'll know why.
Another prayer of mine this past weeks was regardign my leaving Alehe at home. I knew my first day of work the children would be crowding round Alehe and I because I had the dog. Well, now that I have to leave her at home, I wasn't sure I would get the same attention. This was where God challenged me. Today, coming home from work, (I still get excited when I say that!) God showed me on the way home that with or without the dog, I was still a bit hit. YEAH! :D
I had a few children say things to me that made me laugh, but phooey if I can't remember one thing that was said.:(


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Beau Garcon (6/1994 - 3/13/2007)

Merriman's Beau Garcon (aka, beau), French for "handsome boy". A handsome boy he was. For a silver Toy Poodle though he was around 15 pounds, but 15 pounds of good solid muscle.
He came home from a backyard breeder with mom and I, riding in my lap on the way to his new home with us at just a few weeks of age. Shortly thereafter, we moved to Montana where he rode almost the entire way in either mom's lap or mine. From then on whenever he went for a car ride, his spot was on someones lap in the front seat. Silly dog would sometimes rest his head on the steering wheel. At one time it still had the knob from when I learned to drive and as mom turned the wheel...BONK! He was hit in the head with the knob. Yet he kept resting his head there, you think he'd learn!
Beau grew up around big dogs. Dad had a rottweiler, and I had a servicedog that was a lab. He loved to run with the big dogs. WAe think he considered himsel;f to ber one o fthem. We said that Beau suffered from "Big Dog " syndrome. He'd go chasing the horses, or barking at the cattle. He would get under their feet and get hurt, but that hardly deterred him from coming back for more. He'd chaseand bark at other dogs and people too. He sounded vicious, but we all knew otherwise.
One day mom and I decided to see if the dogs could swim. We had a small pond for irrigation purposes, and were worried what would happen to the poodles if they fell in. Mom hadn't even had Brandi in teh water yet before she started moving her legs in a swimming motion. She plopped beau in and, poor dog, he went belly up and she had to save him.
Although we often bathed our dogs at home, Beau (and later Tina,who died as a result of we think trouble giving birth. We came home from church to her having a seizure) and Brandi would spend a few hours at a groomers, getting a bath and his hair cut. One day my dad thought it would be funny by telling the groomer to give Beau a flat-top. He brought them home that day...let's just say mom was not at all amused.
We got Tina, an apricot Toy Poodle, because we had the idea of wanting to breed. Then Tina died from her seizure. Along comes Brandi (short for Merriman's Apricot Brandy). She was able to have one litter of pups, one apricot such as herself and two silvers. My aunt has the apricot and we sold the others. We decided not to do it again as mom had to help Brandi with the birthing of her pups.
You're probably wondering how we ever ended up with Toy Poodles anyway. Years ago I had started the process of getting my first servicedog. The waiting list at that time was supposed to be eighteen months, and turned into three years. One year i was in a bodycast from waist down after hip surgery. Mom and dad thought it a good idea to get a small dog that could sit with me during the 6 weeks or so it took to recouperate since I didn't have the CCI dog yet.
This dog's name was Sammy. Sammy came at Christmastime. We already knew that I would go in for surgery soon. When I finally ame home , in a bodycast from waist down, Sammy was right beside me. Whether on my back or propped onto my side, he would lay beside me. That made me nervous when on my side. If my pillows shifted, I was afraid I'd squish him. Did he think he was doing me a favor by propping me up? Two years later, our horses got out of their pen when mom and dad were on vacation. My grandma and I were home just the two of us. Sammy got out somehow and tried to herd them back to their pens. My dad's horse doesn't like dogs. Sammy was kicked in the head by dad's horse and died a short time later. Mom and dad came home from their vacation early.
Beau died in the afternoon on Tuesday the 13th of March. Mom waited to tell me until Friday afternoon, as she didnt want to spoil my first week of working at Fort Courage. He came into the bathrooom where she was and whined a bit, before laying down. Two hours later, he was gone.
He is now buried on mom and dad's porperty, next to where they buried Glenda when she had to be put down. Weird thing is, I didn't cry much. I guess it's harder when you put a dog to sleep as to when he/she dies on their own. I miss him already. I was looking forward to the next time I go home, seeing him and the way he wouild jump into my lap the first tiem he waw me home to visit. My poor legs.
I hear a lot of peole talk abnotu animals and seeing them again in Heaven. Then I get to think of the many animals I will have had come the time for my life here on Earth to be done. Wouldn't the number of animals outnumber the people? Another ponderable I guess.


Friday, March 16, 2007

Fort Courage - Finished my first week

So I called Alehe's trainer at CCI and talked to her about what to do. One of the options was to put Alehe in another room, however, there wasnt a room available for that. It was up to me if I wanted to leave her at home or not. I seriously thought CCI would frown upon my leaving her, since it meant she wouldnt be doing much for me. I feel bad the she doesn't do much now that I am done with school, and I was excited about taking her to work with me. But her trainer was fuill of ideas to keep Alehe entertained while I was gone. I decided to give it a try.
The morning of my first day of work, I gathered together a few of Alehe's toys that I could find. One of the ideas her trainer gave was to fill her kong with peanut butter, this way she would be busy for quite some time. My aide even suggested a toy that spills out treats but that Alehe would have to work at to get to them.
For the time being, I just left various toys scatterd throughout the house for her to easily find. This seemed to be okay. My aide came to get me from work that afternoon and low and behold, Alehe was in the van. I got in the van and was smothered with dog kisses. My aide said that after I left she stayed and played with Alehe a few minutes to get her mind off off my being away. Alehe did great.
The rest of the evening I was home, Alehe was extremely clingy.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Fort Courage Childcare - The Begginning

Tuesday the sixth of March, I signed all the paperwork to officially become a Fort Courage employee. My first day on the job - exactly one week later. I thought the week would never come to an end!

The day was rather interesting. I felt a majority of the four hours I worked was spent outside. When I arrived, children were in free play. I made sure the children weren't rough-housing with the play equipment as to hurt themselves or destroy the toys. I then watched as they did learning centers (they had a different name for it, but I can't remember). At the table I sat near, the children had the letter y cut out of construction paper and glued different colors of yarn. Wow children use a lot of glue!

Then it was outside time for an hour at least. One child, TJ, was hanging with me the entire four hours I was there. He kept trying to tickle me. Cute, but annoying after a while. But he was great. Every time I turned around...there was TJ.

I wheeled around the perimeter of the playground (kept having to dodge children and their trikes). And then sometimes gave up and wheeled on the grass. Not too hard, until I became stuck at one point trying to get from the grass back to the pavement, and had to be rescued by my boss...how embarrassing.

When we came back inside, children had lunch. then it was back outside for another hour! Good grief I need a nap! Children had fun when co-workers blew bubbles, and the children all chased after them.

Inside once again, it was time for a story. But first, my boss called me into his office...scary, the whole time I'm thinking, "Oh no, what'd I do!" It was then that he mentioned the co-worker going home because of allergies. Around that same time I was looking for my ride, that never bothered to show. I think I might have had some confusion with that. I don't know. So I called for backup, who wasn't very happy but did it anyway. Then I received a call, my voice lesson was cancelled.

My day didn't end very well.

So the majority of this afternoon and evening I have been a bit emotional. I just got a job I really enjoyed, fell in liove with teh HUGE faciltiy...adn now I dont know what to do. Mass confusion whether to leave Alehe at home or what. I called her trainer and have yet to hear back.

Dear Lord, Help Me NOW!

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