Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Toddlers have their own agendum

Well, my Zoé certainly does have her own agenda. It is so hard to contain her energy, enthusiasm, perseverance, independence, and elation for new activities or therapy sessions.
Kitty manages to keep her focused and Zoé still amazes me everyday.
Her favorite word right now is : NO, classic!
Her favorite past-time: pretending to give herself a time out, or going on a little trip:" Je fais un petit voyage."
We got back from Yosemite on Sunday night quite late, and it went beautifully. Zoé thoroughly enjoyed it, though it was hard at times to contain her in the stroller, she wanted to walk everywhere.
The sights and sounds of Yosemite are awe-inspiring. David and I got to escape for a moonlight tour of the valley, though overcast, we enjoyed imagining the granite monoliths towering over our heads.
Zoé is continuing to make strides, shows great gain and makes me proud of her.
The routine is draining though, and I am in need a some downtime from therapies, support group meetings and constant aggravating calls with insurance companies.
My new task at hand is to find a preschool for Zoé. Various options are to be considered: home-based, center-based, Montessori-style or co-ops, though I am not sure that would be a good fit for Zoé.
Speech-wise, I am afraid Zoé's English is taking over so I am constantly translating songs, books and feel somewhat bad when I speak French to her in front of people who cannot understand, but I want her to be bilingual so I have no choice. She'll thank me later on. But in a world where EVERYTHING is in ENGLISH, it is hard to get my way. I feel like the French cartoon character Asterix (the series follows the exploits of a village of ancient Gauls as they resist Roman occupation). I am trying to resist the omnipresence of English. A difficult task at hand considering we live in the USA!
Today Maud left us and so here I post a big THANK YOU for her amazing help and wish her well on her future endeavors.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Life must go on...

It is so strange to deal with pain. Struggling to find a meaning to it. It is so much easier to close your eyes to it, to put on your armor, to hide from it, making your way through all these different emotions, and then putting your life on hold. I think that is what I am trying to do right now. It will be one-month tomorrow that dad left us, and it seems like it was yesterday. I guess the hourglass has no meaning, only time itself will make things fall into place. The time that one cannot measure, the time to cry, the time to ponder and reflect, the time to laugh and rejoice, the time to deal with everything when your life has become a kaleidoscope of memories.

Zoé still talks about Papy Moustache and Grandpa Larry; we light a candle for them every night at dinner time.
It has become our little ritual. It is the flickering light that shimmers in our living room and reminds us of their presence, in our lives, in our hearts.

It hurts.

As the title of this post mentions, life must go on and so we have decided that after a "rotten" summer we would try to take a 2-day vacation to Yosemite. We leave in a few hours, and it helps me to know that I am going to a place where I have no memories of Dad. I want to go to a place where we didn't go together, it is too painful to go back to spots we shared together like Ano Nuevo, Napa, Santa Cruz, etc.

Zoé's schedule is as busy as ever, we've been doing so much: Discovery Bay Museum, Fairyland, Habitot, you name it. Now it is time for the great outdoor, the pristine landscapes, the fresh air, the views, the trees.

We will fill you in on our next Californian adventure once we get back, on Sunday evening.
Till then we send you much love and wish you a fun-filled weekend.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

One Last Goodbye

"The ocean belonged to you, you now belong to the ocean", by Paul Tapponier, Dad'd dear friend.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

So much to write about...

Where to start, what to write? There are so many things to share. Should I start with the Summer from Hell, or should I skip that part and simply go back to Zoé's daily life and routine? I think the latter seems rather better. I do need to let you know that Zoé lost both grandfathers, her Papy Moustache in France on July 21st and her Grandpa Larry in NYC on August 5th, two weeks apart. As Grammy Gina says, they "will both meet up in Heaven".

I grieve for our respective families, I did not lose just one but two fathers, as Zoé lost her two grandfathers. It is hard to know what to say to a two-and-a-half year old girl. I did tell Zoé that they left on a long journey, and that when we see a ladybug or a rainbow, that is them saying hello from above.

There are 7 stages in the grieving process, I guess I'll weave my way through denial, anger, pain, reflection, depression, guilt, loneliness and hope. The process will be a long and arduous one. I need to let time take its course. The biggest helper in this situation is my Zoé, who has the wisdom to know that after bumping her head on a table, she must go on.
I know that is what my father would want me to do anyway. It is just too hard and too soon, and no words can alleviate the pain right now. Also having an amazing family, 4 loving brothers, a strong mother, a circle of close friends and a support system will help me along the way.

So I will fill you in on my Zoé. She has been a trooper through it all. I was gone one month in the course of two and the last two weeks were the hardest. She knew I was on a "petit voyage", but nevertheless it came to be a bit too much. Thank godness we had Maud at home, who did a tremendous job, looking after Zoé, David, the household and holding up the fort.
I came back last Tuesday and didn't even see David as he flew to NYC.

Before leaving for France Zoé had started a new set of therapy across the Bay, on the Peninsula, at a place called Starfish Therapies ( ASTONISHING! AWESOME! Stacy, Zoé's new PT is truly amazing, like all the PTs that have cared for Zoé so far, but she is also one of a kind.

She uses a special piece of equipment called the Universal Exercise Unit (UEU).It is a pulley and weight system that allows to isolate muscle groups that need specific strengthening. It also combines a suspension system, which allows for functional movement and balance training. It works on the vestibular system or inner balance . For children like Zoé who have a hard time adjusting to their environment because of muscle imbalance, this piece of equipment really helps. Zoé has abnormal muscle tone and always needs to compensate, unfortunately, she often wipes out. She has a good defense mechanism in place though, for she always knows to protect herself by placing her hands down first to lessen the severity of the fall.

I do believe we can help Zoé gain strength. I am willing to drive an hour and half round trip for her to improve. I was told by two surgeons that kids like Zoé don't need physical therapy, but I refute such talk. If I hadn't taken action as soon as I did (Zoé was 4 months old when we started early intervention) I know she wouldn't be where she is today. I don't want to credit myself too much, for Zoé is an amazing inspirational little girl who has immense drive and resilience. But I have played a part and still am in her progress. I have to admit some days, I wish I could just sit down and read a book and not think about our next appointment, what to pack for the trip, as well as our ETA in order to avoid traffic on the way back. But this is my life, our life and I am proud of how much we've accomplished so far. From the early days of excruciating tummy time to now when Zoé runs down the hallway to my room to give me a hug!

Other than that, we spent a few days at the beach so far, Zoé and I both went swimming. She loves the water. We've been going to the pool at the YMCA as well. While she had the cast on, we couldn't play with the water table so it became the rice table. A diversion from water and good means of developing sensory input. I believe I have become an Occupational Therapist and need to do my coming out!
Voila for now dear friends. Till our next post we send you love. Also a big thank you to all of you who have shown support and loving during these trying times.

Friday, August 6, 2010

In Memoriam 1943-2010

You can shed tears that he is gone
Or you can smile because he has lived
you can close your eyes and pray that he will come back
or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left
your heart can be empty because you can't see him
or you can be full of the love that you shared
you can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday
you can remember him and only that he is gone
or you can cherish his memory and let it live on
you can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
or you can do what he would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

By DavidHaskins