It’s Spring! Finally! With the advent of warm weather, things have been mega-busy at Casa de Phouka, and I’ve admittedly fallen behind with this blog. I don’t have a specific item or locale to review for this week, so, instead, I’m going to tell you about some of the fun things we’ve been doing to occupy our time.
About once a month, I pack up Peanut and Sprout and head to Topeka to spend the weekend with my parents. One of our favorite things to do while we’re there is to go fishing with Peanut’s Godmother, T., and her sons. Usually, Sprout sits it out at home with Grandma while Grandfather, Peanut, T., her sons and I head out to Lake Shawnee Junior.
Peanut loves fishing. We’re not particularly good at it yet, but he enjoys getting to spend the time outdoors, learning to cast, spending time with his family, running around with the boys, and sometimes, getting to pet and listen to a fish. Did you know that catfish croak? If you hold them right and get very close, they make a sound very like a frog. It makes an interesting sensory experience!
For those who may be curious, Peanut is not the only fisherman out there with a visual impairment:
- “Blind Fishing” from Ability magazine, http://abilitymagazine.com/Blind-fishing.html
- There are also a number of “VIP” (B/VI) fishing tournaments out there. Here’s a link to one hosted by the NC Lions: http://www.ncvipfishing.org/
- Dan Bigley, famous for being blinded by a bear and living to tell the tale, is, as best as I can tell, as active of a fisherman now as he was before the attack. Check him out at http://danbigley.com/
Suffice to say, if you’ve an interest in fishing, don’t let your eyesight or lack thereof hold you back.
Just because Peanut has a vision impairment doesn’t mean that I’m not a soccer mom. This is the second year that he’s played in Sporting Tykes through the YMCA here in Kansas City, KS. He’s not in Challenger sports; for the time being, Peanut’s in the same class as the “regular” kids.
Sporting Tykes soccer lasts three weeks; there are three practices and three “games.” All of the kids are from 3-5 years old. This year’s worked better for us than last year because the soccer balls are white (last year’s were gold, red and black multi-colored–very pretty, but harder to see). With the bright white ball against the deep green grass, Peanut’s actually pretty good! He’s learning to track the ball across the field and to follow directions and getting to be part of a team. Go Golden Eagles!
We’ve also been working on things around the house. Today, Peanut got to do some at-home O&M as we put table legs on a table. The legs can only go on the table top one way, and each table leg is tapered so that the tip is rounder and narrower than the top. Peanut tried handling this task using his sight but kept trying to put the leg on backwards (the tip rather than the top to the joint shown at right). I got him to feel the leg I’d put on, and he was able to use that tactile experience to figure out how to get the leg on.
It’s hard finding ways to get Peanut to use his tactile skills: he has some eyesight, and he wants to use it. This hands-on task worked out really well. Like most kids his age, he really wants to help, so he had motivation to do it. The table itself is pretty monochrome brown, so there wasn’t anything high enough contrast for him to really clue into with his vision. I’d put one leg on first, so there was a sample for him to feel and, once I was able to guide him how to use his fingers to get the information he needed, he figured it out pretty quickly. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for other honey-dos that Peanut can help with in this manner!