Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Nate Way

"SNEAK WHAT!". This is the phrase Nate always asks me to shout when Nathaniel wants me to hide and give Annie a jump scare. Nate can’t hide behind corners and jump out and scare us so he’ll tell me or Annie to hide while the other is out of the room. When we jump out he wants us to shout Sneak What. His other favorite prank is to ask me to get him a glass of water. He then "whispers" to Annie (I can hear everything) and tells her to throw a plush toy on the floor for me to trip over. I of course, pretend to trip on my way back with the water, spilling it all over myself and Nate literally falls over laughing. 

Nate does things in his own way, he has to. Over the years Nate has adapted and learned to do things however he can. That doesn’t mean he’s figured out a way to everything, not by a long shot, but he finds a way to do many things.  One of the things he’s been figuring out the last few months is how to obey the rules of movement that most children start learning as soon as they start walking, something Nathaniel never did.

Nathaniel getting ready to make some candy cane cookies with his cousins. Although, by the look on his face, I think he may have more nefarious plans. 

This picture exists solely because sometimes I think Nate may be the most handsome 6 year old ever. I could be biased but I took an informal poll and Nate came out on top. However, the poll shows clear signs of Russian hacking so who knows. 

As I’ve mentioned in the past, Nathaniel has been taking his power wheel chair to school every day this year. He’s always used it here and there but now he uses it almost exclusively. He suddenly has a freedom of movement he’s never really experienced and it’s come with a steep learning curve. It’s made even steeper by the fact that he can do some serious damage if not paying attention.

It took Nate a little while to learn, for example, that it’s not cool to “sneak” out to the school parking lot for a quick drive around while his nurse is getting the bathroom ready for him. Or for him to leave class whenever he gets bored. Every kid has these urges but by the time they are 6 they’ve mostly learned the rules of the game. You don’t get up and walk out of class whenever you want. Nate’s never learned these rules since he’s never operated independently of an adult. It's all new to him. 

In many cases Nate does understand, but like all kids his age, they don't always pay attention to where they are going. Kids at this age suffer from a brain that isn't always connecting to their body. While this is normal, the consequences for Nate are much worse than just tripping or walking into another kid. It's a lot responsibility for a 6 year old.

The Lego exhibit we visit every Christmas season. It's small but fun. Also, we like to play the game, how many children can we avoid crushing under Nate's chair as we navigate through 3 foot wide corridors packed with 1,000 kids. If the number is more than zero, you lose. 

Thankfully, Nate’s up for the task and has really stepped up and gotten things under control. Although there have been a few speed bumps; like the time he ran into a pole so hard he broke his foot pedal and loosened the seat screws in his chair, or when forgot to speed down while going through a door and, I kid you not, broke the door.

He also has a strong mischievous streak. It makes it near impossible for him to NOT pretend he can’t hear his nurse calling for him to come back as he continues to drive away. For some kids, this may be them trying to get away with something. For Nate, it's all just a hilarious prank as he continues driving with a giant grin on his face. 

This is Nate thinking it's HILARIOUS that I tried to change his pants while he was in his wheelchair. Long story....well not really but it highlights my failings as a parent so I'm not going to tell you. That leaves the near perfect image you all have of me firmly in tact. 

It's been years since we've had to tie a Christmas Tree to the top of a car. Thank you van!