Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Thoughts on how my life events have made me more human

I used to think there was a right way and a wrong way to do things. Do A, then B, then C and all is right with the world. There is a natural order and a way things are supposed to happen and if you do it in that order then life unfolds....uncomplicatedly (yes, that is a word, I don't care what Google says).

Until it doesn't.

You do A, B, and C and then Y happens. And you start to ask Why? Why? Why? You start to question everything you know is true. Things just don't happen this way. You go through the motions of life. You wonder what the heck is going on. How your life was swapped with some life meant for someone else. You fight against it. You are in denial.

People come out of the woodwork and tell you about a friend, relative, cartoon character that had XYZ and then they got help and everything was fine. And you think to yourself on alternate days: Yes, we will get the help we need and everything will be fine. This will be a blip and we will be telling the stories that all is fine and we have no idea why we ever worried.

On the other days you think to yourself: We are getting help. But things will never be fine. Life will be be forever changed and fine is not a word that will ever describe your life. (Later, maybe much later, you will realize that fabulous is a much better word to describe your life - even though some days you would still classify it as frustrating)

And people with kids with different abilities tell you how having a child with different abilities is really a blessing.  And you just think they are nuts. Why are they telling you this? You can't imagine the day that you will think what they are telling you is spot on.

Other people tell you about the poem Welcome to Holland and you say nope. Not at all. We are NOT in Holland (author note: I've been to Holland more than once in real life so I can say this definitively).  And you think then as you do now, F&*K Welcome to Holland. It's a great poem written by a (I'm sure) lovely Mother but it has nothing to do with me. So please, for the love of all things holy PLEASE STOP directing me to that poem. I find no solace in it.

You muddle through life like it's a dream and one day you will wake from it. You get no sleep and somehow have to function day in and day out day after day after day. You are numb.

You and your spouse may/may not be on the same page. And that can be hard. It can cause marriages to break up. It can cause other marriages to be stronger. Some days you think you are a mixture of both.

Most days you just think you need more sleep. Because everything seems better after a good night of sleep. But sleep is an elusive thing and you still manage to muddle through somehow.

And one day you stop fighting against your reality. You accept it because it's steamrolled you over and you just don't have enough energy to pick yourself back up. Because, yeah, there is the lack of sleep.

And you realize - WOW!


Once you stop fighting it you think maybe, just maybe, this is a blessing. Maybe those people knew what they were talking about. Maybe the road less travelled is really quite beautiful.

And like many roads, part of the road is beautiful. And part of the road has some pot holes.

And I am thankful that there is wine on the road.  Because, well, I like wine.

And I like my friends.  And I am thankful that I have a lot of friends to help me navigate this road.  And I'm thankful that those friends like wine, too. You know who you are - I can't imagine what life would be like without your support.

And then you know.  The road less travelled has made you more human. You can relate to people more. You see people clearly. You find joy in the small things in life. Your life is more fulfilling and happy than you ever expected. You are a changed person and you can never, ever go back to the person you were before Y happened.

And then you know with 100% clarity that YOU DON'T WANT to. You don't want to go back to that person. And you no longer ask Why, but instead ask how did I get so lucky?

I thank God every day for the life that I am blessed to live. I thank God for the village that He has surrounded me with.

Here's to our human village. Here's to our family and friends and taking the road less travelled. Here's to being human.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Martin Luther King, Jr. Lessons

Emma is a Girl Scout this year - well, technically she is a Brownie. It's her first year of scouting and so far it is a huge hit with her! She loves going to the meetings 2x/month. The meetings take place at her school and there are about 20 girls from her grade in her troop. Chris or I always join Emma for the meeting so that we can help her fully participate but often her fellow scouts take over and include Emma without needing (or wanting) our help.

I wasn't sure how scouting would go for Emma. It's at night after a long day at school and she is usually exhausted at night. I wasn't sure how she would participate in the circle time, crafts and activities with her troop but knew we could modify things on the fly. Since she expressed a strong interest to join we decided to give it a go and I'm so glad we did!

Our last meeting's topics of discussion were the upcoming Girl Scout Cookie Sale (if you need a hook up with cookies or want to donate money to send cookies to our deployed troops, let us know!) and Martin Luther King, Jr. When the leader asked the girls what they knew about Martin Luther King, Jr. it was great to hear that they knew so much about him and others involved in the Civil Rights Movement. Our activity that night was to draw on one sheet of paper Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream and then on another sheet of paper the girls were to draw their dream. During the activity a snack of Pirate Booty was served.

As is typical, Emma's friends sat by her side and offered to help her draw but Emma wasn't so interested. When I asked her if she had a dream she said yes. When I asked her if it had to do with school, she said no. Did it have to do with play? No. Etc, etc. Finally I asked her did it have to do with food? Yes. Her dream was to have me feed her more Pirate Booty. So funny - so Emma. Obviously, her dream was easy to make come true and it happened immediately.

While we were at our tables I shared with the girls how thankful I am for Martin Luther King, Jr. not only because I love that it ended segregation, but also that the Civil Rights Movement paved the way for the disability rights movement. Many of the protections passed as part of the Americans with Disabilities Act used the Civil Rights Laws as a framework. Until the ADA was passed on July 26, 1990 public accommodations for those with disabilities was not required. I can't imagine how our life would be impacted if we didn't have access to ramps or handicapped bathrooms at public places. Just 25 years ago these things were not commonplace. Today, we do encounter our fair share of challenges navigating our environment with wheels and that is after the ADA has been around for 25 years.

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream matters. His dream helped shape the America that we live in today and for that I will forever be grateful.

If I was drawing my dream on the Girl Scout sheets last week, it would be that people with physical disabilities would be able to go anywhere - including places not mandated by the ADA - without worrying that they might not have "wheeled" access. That our worries would no longer be that there might not be a ramp, parking or a large enough handicapped bathroom (no, they are not all created equal in size!), but that our biggest worries would be that we might not have packed enough sunscreen or snacks.

Julia is on roller skates pushing Emma, who is also on roller skates and standing in her KidWalk gait trainer, around the roller skating rink at Emma's birthday party.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Welcome 2016

It's been a while since I've posted here. We've been busy. And not so busy. I work hard to try and find the balance between busy time and down time. Time to spend as a family and time for each of us to engage in our own activities.

Julia continues to enjoy her Irish dancing and playing her violin. She moved up a level in dancing and is now competing at the Novice level. This means her awards are more trophies and less medals. She is happy about adding to her trophy stash that includes the Softball Championship trophy her team won in 2015. As for her violin, she sounds really good! I'm blown away with how good she is considering she has only played for about a year. She would like to add some private violin lessons to her schedule, and we are considering it, but in the meantime we plan on attending more of the children's Irish fiddle lessons that are given the 2nd Sunday of the month. She really had a lot of fun at the one we attended in December and hopes to make many of them in 2016. Her interest in running continues and she has participated in several 5K runs - mostly with her only training being playing tag on the playground. Oh to be young! This year she wants to put more of a focus on her running and she is just waiting for nicer weather to train with Chris. It seems Julia and I are kindred spirits in our fair weathered running bend.

Emma continues to ride her horse every week and loves her time at the farm. She rides after school at a time when she is normally exhausted (school gives her a huge workout and she likes to lay stretched out and relaxed for a bit after her full day) and has been holding herself up nice and straight showing us that her stamina is really improving. She played Challenger league baseball again in 2015 and is already signed up for this year. We've taken a break from therapies outside of school and we all are enjoying the break. This year she is participating in CCD class and makes her First Reconciliation this month and will make her First Holy Communion in April. This is a big year for our girl and it's so good our church was able to work out a class option this year that is wheelchair accessible so Emma can participate in class with some peers. Last year we homeschooled for CCD and it wasn't as much fun for her.

Chris completed another marathon in the Fall and was pleased with his time. He has been training hard and was able to shave off a significant amount of time from his past marathon results. He also participated in a lot of 5Ks around our community and he did many of them pushing Emma in her jogging stroller. Emma LOVES to run and has huge smiles for the fans cheering them on. She loves to run fast so is happy that Chris has mostly taken over running with her since I run much slower. He also coached the school Cross Country team in the Fall. He enjoyed coaching the kids to reach new personal best times during the season and is hoping to be able to coach again this year.

I'm still working on my photography skills and am happy to say that I now see a definite different in the quality of photos I'm taking lately. I joined the local camera club and have been attending meetings and going on some of the meet-ups for shooting and it's been a lot of fun. Our computer lived a long life but retired itself in the summer. I was without a computer for a little bit and am now happily running on a new iMac that is able to run some more powerful programs for photography processing. I've taken the plunge into Lightroom for organizing and editing my photos and it's a steep but fun learning curve. I continue to run at a slow pace - faster than those that are sitting on the couch, though! - and visit the gym for the classes a few times a week to make sure that I'm fit to keep up with Emma's growth!

2015 was the year we became smitten with Zoe (Julia's cat), fell in love with all things Harry Potter, achieved many goals we set for ourselves, and focused on having fun together outdoors.

2016 is sure to bring some major changes to our life! There are quite a few things in the works that have us excited already. I'm hoping to share more of our adventures this year than I did in 2015. I needed some time away but find that I miss capturing the highlights of our year and am looking forward to getting back into blogging again.

Let the adventures begin!

Friday, February 6, 2015

A communication journey - lengthy update on AAC progress to date!


Emma has many physical challenges and she doesn't let them dampen her positive, happy spirit and so we don't let them dampen ours. 

But.......as her Mommy, the one thing I have the hardest time with accepting is the limited communication Emma has because of her body

I know that her mind is sharp and she has so much she wants to say but her mouth muscles can't easily form words.  Her arms don't work well making it almost impossible for her to do even the most basic American Sign Language (ASL) signs.  She cannot get up and walk across a room and pick up what she wants and show you.  She cannot go over to the fridge and pull out food or drink to let you know she is hungry or thirsty.

Emma can use her smiles and cries to help you figure out what she is thinking.  She can use gross body movement to indicate her level of excitement or protest.  She can use her eyes to focus on something and try and use the Jedi mind trick to bring the item to her. 

I often imagine what it must be like to be trapped in a body with a fully functioning mind without a robust expressive means of communication.  It's scary just to even imagine it.  If you are the parent of a child that is living like that, it's the thing that will keep you up for countless hours at night scouring the internet for ways to give your child an expressive means of communicating.  It will have you seek out people that believe in your child the way you do and are willing to trial lots of options and equipment to see what will be the best communication fit for Emma. 

At the most basic level of communication you want to give your child a Yes and No option.  At the very least you desire to use it as a way to figure out why she is crying. 

  • Are you hurt? Yes or No  Is it your leg?  No  Your arm?  No  Your foot? Yes
  • Do you want to go outside?  
  • Are you hungry?  Do you want a yogurt?  Do you want a pudding? 
It's really quite amazing how much active communication you can have with just a Yes and No option. 
But.......we want more.  A Yes and No option does not allow my child to initiate a conversation.  To tell me that she wants to go to the store, that she knows her ABCs, knows simple addition, subtraction, and all the 3D shapes.  That she loves to read books and her favorite colors at the moment are pink and purple.  It doesn't allow her to say Hi to her friends, to tell them she went to the movies over the weekend and saw Paddington Bear, that her sister got a cat for her birthday and she loves when the cat jumps up on her lap so she can pet her fur.  To tell us that she wants the first Valentine's Day card she makes to go to Connor and she wants to sign it XX, not XO.  Definitely NOT xo!  That she wants to go swimming with her friend Helena or wants her friend Sammy to come over. 

These are all things that Emma wanted to tell us, that she can tell us.  That we now know because she is getting more proficient at her Eco2 with Eyepoint (the Augmentative and Alternative Communication device she has been learning for the last 2 years). 

It's slow.  S...L...O...W going on getting her up and using her device.  There are days when I wonder if we are wasting our time.  If she will ever want to use it freely without a lot of urging from those around her to use it.  It is hard.  She uses her eyes to navigate and it takes a lot of stamina and determination.  I've tried it and it's HARD work to use your eyes to talk. 

At first Emma chooses to use her device at home and only to tell us she wants to "Go Outside". Always outside. Then she starts to tell us she wants to eat or drink. She brings her device to school every day and chooses not to use it. It's hard. She is young. Everyone keeps encouraging her to use it and she sometimes says the weather is Sunny when asked and her teacher points to the Sunny icon for Emma to look at.  Her speech therapist calls to tell me she needs to let the district know that Emma isn't participating in her sessions and is unlikely to meet her speech IEP goals for Q1 and Q2 reports. I worry about what this means. I remind myself that she is young and we are in this for the long haul. We have time to help her figure this out.

By January 2014, Emma is in the full swing of Kindergarten.  She chooses to use her device more (but not often enough for my peace of mind) during her one-on-one sessions with her speech therapist.  She rarely will use it with her friends.  She sees no need to take her eyes off her friends who are active and fun to look at so she can stare at her computer screen to talk. She doesn't want to say anything that badly that would make her want to take her eyes off her friends to talk to them. She participates in her lessons and coursework using mostly index cards or manipulatives. 

Emma is smart.  She is really smart!  Her entire team believes this and her reports often read that the results of her evaluations are likely understating Emma's abilities because she only participates in them when she chooses and often chooses not to answer.  It's hard to answer questions.  It's hard to aim your hands and arms that don't move so well to pick the right index card out of a field of three.  It's hard to keep your head up to answer questions with your eyegaze when it takes so much energy to hold your head up and you would rather save that energy for driving your powerchair around with your head or looking at the funny antics that your friends are doing.  Especially the boys - those boys are wild and funny and Emma can't get enough of watching them and laughing with them and the boys love her as an audience.  Emma is a very popular friend in Kindergarten and she sees no need to answer questions posed by adults. She is young.  Only six years old and she much prefers the company of her peers than adults.

A year goes by and by the time Emma is graduating from Kindergarten she is using her device a lot at home and sometimes at school.  She is making choices from low tech communication options - index cards, eye gaze board, dry erase board, etc.  and we know that she is learning a lot in Kindergarten.  She knows her letters, numbers, number sequence, can tell time, do basic addition and subtraction.  She will only do this for a few people, though.  She doesn't want everyone to know all that she can do.

Summer comes along and she attends summer camp at a special school where all her campmates use talker devices.  They talk A LOT.  I hope that Emma will learn by their example and learn to use her device better before she starts 1st grade.  They ask Emma questions and then ask the teachers why Emma won't answer their questions. Emma takes it all in but doesn't choose to use her device. Slowly...slowly, she starts to use her talker.  During lunch she tells them what she wants to eat - pudding, main meal, Nutella. She tells them she wants to drink. She doesn't often share her news from home but she does sometimes. She uses her device at home more effectively. She is navigating between menus quite a bit and finding the words she wants to say. Summer ends and Emma is slightly better at using her device but is not as good at it as I had hoped. 

We are thrilled at all that Emma can tell us and that she is no longer limited by a Yes and No and are hopeful that she will continue to make progress with her communication.  I remind myself:  She is young.  It will come.  We are in this for the long haul.

We go on vacation to Ireland and leave her device at home.  We have fun and Emma is not a bit bothered by the lack of her device.  We are all happy just to relax together without a time schedule, appointments or extra equipment to lug around. When we come home she giggles when we power up the Eco2 and she is ready and willing to use it.  The break did her good and renewed her enthusiasm for talking with her eyes. She starts to talk - a lot!  We now want to have it on at all times for her since she is pretty chatty with it.  She talks at home when it's just us and sometimes when we have people over. We have it up and on when we go to visit friends so Emma can talk to them but she doesn't often look at it. She would much rather look at all the activity and smile and answer questions with her Yes/No hand signals.

Emma is starting a new school for 1st grade.  New teachers, new aid, new therapists.  Her speech therapist will remain the same as Kindergarten, though, Praise God!  Emma does NOT do well with changing out people.  We visit the school again and Emma uses her talker to tell her teachers about her trip to Ireland.  It's the first time they've seen her use it as she has mostly ignored it during previous visits.  They are excited to work with Emma and we leave the device for a couple of hours so her speech therapist can train her team on how to use the device before Emma shows up at school for the first day of 1st grade.  I'm thrilled at how excited they are to work with Emma. 

There is a lot of positive energy in the room and Emma seems excited with her new school.  It's the local elementary school. She will be mainstreamed with her neighborhood kids and she will be in the pull out classroom for math and language arts. It will be the standard district curriculum but will go at a bit slower pace which will be good for Emma given that she needs some extra time to process what she is hearing (she hears with cochlear implants) and then get her motor plan together to respond. 

Emma is thrilled with her new school.  First grade is the BEST!  There are so many new friends and everyone at school knows Emma.  When we are out in our community many, many people say Hi, Emma! and I have no idea who they are.  Emma knows so many people and her community has embraced her fully.  This is what we wanted.  She is very social and is doing well with all the social parts of school.  She has convinced her teacher that she doesn't know what a number is and has no idea what these letter things are she keeps referring to.  Sight words??  She pretends she doesn't know them.  She refuses to look at her talker.  She smiles and is engaging and everyone really loves being around her.  She continues to do well with her talker with her speech therapist who knows how clever she is and knows how Emma can navigate her talker but decided to keep mum about her knowledge to everyone else. 

I read the reports of her day in communication notebook.  There were pages written but the gist is usually:  Emma was smiley today, enjoyed watching the boys, didn't want to answer any questions. Her teacher consulted Emma's previous teachers and sought out new reading programs. She celebrated every attempt that Emma made to participate and hoped it would encourage her to participate more. Emma had some really good days where she would pay attention but most days she just did what she wanted and chose not to participate.  One day Emma even refused to open her eyes to read the fun book her teacher was reading.  Everyone continued to think Emma was taking the information in but they had no concrete evidence from Emma about what she knew. 

At home, Emma uses her talker to tell us more than ever.  She was learning things at school - taking it all in - and telling us some of what she knew at home.  I told her teacher she was doing a good job and to keep at it - it's going in and I know that because she is telling me at home and she will eventually let them in on it at school.  She uses her talker a little bit when friends are over. She is getting chatty and we like that she can use her talker to express her wants/needs, communicate socially and participate in academics.  We see progress on all these fronts at home - Slow and Steady progress.  We wish it was faster but will take what we can get.  After all, our child who is deaf and cannot talk is now able to tell us quite a bit of what is going on in her mind.  She is REALLY, REALLY good at talking when she wants.  She doesn't particularly care to chat with me if I want to talk and she isn't into it.  I learn to be OK with that. 

Christmas break happens and we are busy. We put on Emma's talker at certain times of the day  meals, art activities. We aren't great at having it available at all times. One day Emma is unhappy and whining a lot. We pull out her talker and she tells us all kinds of things and is all smiles.  We need to be good about having her talker available at all times.  She is so much better at using it. We have to figure out ways to have it at just the right height and distance from Emma in all different areas of the house.  The main drawback of her device is it has to be positioned JUST SO in order for it to read her eyegaze correctly. We are still working on this but are getting better at it. It's a journey and we are all learning new things daily.

School starts back up after the break.  Emma takes off!  I get reports daily about all that Emma is doing in school. She is paying attention to the lessons. She is answering questions. She is telling the class her news from home. It is her turn to do the weather and she uses her talker to tell everyone that it is snowy. She spontaneously says Hi to some people. She says her classmates names and participates in reading comprehension questions. She does math and answers using her device even when she is given the option of answering with index cards. They work on sight words and Emma uses her talker to say them. Some words I don't know where they are on the talker but Emma does. Al the free time of exploration we have given her with her talker seems to be teaching her where words are.

She has her FIRST REAL CONVERSATION with a friend.  She say "Hi" and the child says Hi. Emma says "How are you?" and the child says Great, how are you.  Emma says "I am good".  I consider doing cartwheels around the house when I read that!!!!

Each day the note coming home is better and better.  The words WOW! regularly show up.  I am thrilled.  I am worried.  Will Emma stop doing this tomorrow? Will she go back to her old ways? I am cautiously optimistic.

Emma continues to use her talker at home. She strings several words together to form sentences. She uses it incessantly to say "Come" to Zoe our cat.  Zoe ignores her then walks out of the room. Emma uses her device to say "Turn" so we will turn her chair around so she can see Zoe. I add the word Zoe to her names section of her talker.  Emma says "Come" "Zoe". Zoe still ignores her.  Emma says Zoe Zoe Zoe Zoe....I laugh.

I picked Emma up from school on Wednesday to take her to her horseback riding lesson.  Everyone is all smiles.  Her team is bubbling over with excitement and want to tell me how well Emma is doing. Emma is using her talker so much. She had a conversation that day with her art teacher and was telling her all about visiting her MomMom and things she did on the weekend. At the end of art class Emma didn't want to leave - she wanted to keep chatting. They had an assembly that day.  There was a magician and everyone had to be quiet. Emma wanted to use her talker and they unthinkingly shushed Emma. Oh....my....gosh!  Just - I have no words.  They said after they did it they were like Oh My Gosh!  What??  Did we just think to shush Emma? The child we are desperate to talk to us for ages?

Her teacher stopped me to say that when she did the 3D shapes with Emma and Emma correctly identifed all 6 of them with her talker - I think they are cube, sphere, pyramid, etc. - she kept thinking Oh my gosh what else does this child know?  What else does she know?  So she did some spelling words with her.  She gave her one word and had her pick the letters from index cards from a field of 2.  Pretty easy for a field of 2 but it was a new task and she wanted to start small.  Emma spelled both words correctly.  By the time they were on the third word Emma was done and wouldn't participate anymore.  That's ok.  We know.  Now her team knows that what they are teaching Emma is soaking up like a sponge.  And it's energizing all of us.  Including Emma.

Emma has had a couple of off days recently.  I'm chalking it up to a cold and her not feeling so fantastic to participate.  It could be that Emma has gone off of participating but I don't think so. I know she'll have good days and bad days. 

We are all truly excited.

Excited that Emma is becoming a more active participant of her school community.

Excited that Emma is energized by the increasingly challenging academics.

And excited to see what the rest of her 1st grade year will bring.

Bring it on!

Notes:  Emma uses an Eco2 with Ecopoint device.  She also uses a Yes/No hand signal.  You can click on this link to read previous posts on our AAC adventures.  You can click on this link to read about our Yes/No hand signal. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

On parenting

I love being a Mom.  Actually, I love, love, LOVE it.  It's the most wonderful and hardest job I've ever had.  Among my goals as a Mom is to raise girls that have good self-esteem, are curious about the world around them, and leave the world a better place than they found it. 

Lots of times I don't really know if I'm doing this Mom job right or not, so my approach to motherhood is that I just go with my gut on hard situations and decisions.  I find my gut has never let me down even if it tells me to do something I think is a bit curious.

This week Julia had her school book fair.  She has become a voracious reader the past 18 months and I've been borrowing most of the books from the library.  However, there are certain books she likes to read over and over again and she wants her very own copy for her bookshelf so it's there whenever she wants to read it.  I completely understand this since I love little more than having my nose planted in a good book.  We talked about her class visit to the book fair and decided she would take some money from her piggy bank and buy her books.  This isn't because we didn't want to buy her books, it's more because we are teaching her about the value of money.  We put the money in an envelope and sealed it up.  There were several bills and a lot of change. 

Judy Blume is her current favorite author.  I loved Judy Blume as a child and find it enjoyable to revisit her books.  As expected, Julia came home from school the day of the book fair full of energy and talking a mile a minute.  She showed me the Judy Blume books she purchased and told me she also bought a book for Emma.  A book for Emma!  That she purchased with her own money. She made sure to tell me and Emma that it wasn't a Christmas present because she already bought and wrapped that at the school holiday fair.  No, this was just a book she wanted to buy Emma because she thought she would like it.  And Emma grinned from ear to ear when she showed it to her.  It's an early reader book and is about a girl that rides a horse and Julia just knew she had to get it for Emma.  She didn't bat an eyelash about spending her own money she took from her own piggy bank on the book.  For her sister.  Instead of buying the two books by Judy Blume that she wanted.

There was a bit of a wrinkle, though.  Julia was a few cents short for the two books mostly because she decided to bring coins instead of a bill for the last dollar and didn't bring quite enough coins to add up to a dollar.  So she put the books on hold and asked Chris at the end of the day if he could go with her to purchase the books and lend her the extra 10 cents or whatever it was and of course he did.  While there he decided he wanted to buy her a book and so she was able to get the second Judy Blume book.  It's not unusual for Chris to buy a book for the girls at the book fair but I don't think Julia thought of that because she was genuinely thrilled about it. 

My heart feels full in these moments.  The moments when I realize my little girl cares so very much about her sister that she decided on her own to buy her a book from the book fair just because she thought she would like it.  When she wasn't selfishly thinking of how many books she could get only for her and how she realized in the moment how much fuller life is if we share.  It's moments like these when I say a prayer of thanks to God for bringing my two special little girls into my life.  And it's these little moments that make me feel like Chris and I are doing a pretty decent job at this parenting gig.