Saturday, April 25, 2015

Children Are Dying - A Guest Post by Mark Storck*

Raegan and Deb at Disneyland, 2012


CHILDREN ARE DYING

Children are dying. I cannot put it any more succinctly than that. Their suffering goes on endlessly. The racking pain from repeated, uncontrollable seizures, the destruction of grey matter from an electrical cyclone in the head, is robbing them of any sort of ‘normal’ future.

As a parent of a child with a debilitating seizure disorder, I can attest to this fact, first hand. It is useless to my child, and millions of others afflicted with seizure disorder, to argue whether it is anecdotal or not…IT IS A FACT…one that very well may, one day, permanently take my child from my arms. It is also a fact, full-spectrum cannabis therapy not only subdues and eliminates some seizures entirely, but also helps to repair the damage caused by repeated seizures. When all other pharmacological efforts have been exhausted, and the side effects of those drugs are literally killing your child before your very eyes, please don’t tell me we can’t use a known, working remedy. I ask you to listen to these “real life” facts, based on thousands of parents now using this amazing and natural medicine and assist us in taking the necessary steps to save my child’s life.

Quoting negative ‘anecdotal’ stories and political propaganda, which have been passed down since the 1930’s, will not give my child relief. I’m not looking to get myself, or my child, high. I am looking to give my child medicine. Every day, I live with the very real fear that this particular seizure could be the one that takes my child’s life. Do you realize the emotional havoc that wreaks on a family? Do you care?

It is an appalling travesty of epic proportions, you require us to publically plead with you for the opportunity and inalienable RIGHT, to save our child’s life. We have been socially castigated, arrested, beaten and humiliated, merely for the sake of a plant that has been used for thousands of years to relieve human suffering. Of which, not one person has EVER died from an overdose. The facts are crystal clear: this is NOT a dangerous drug, it is a plant-based, homeopathic remedy used for untold millennia, bringing the human condition healing and relief. The influence and power of “Big Pharma” would rather we not have access to this natural healing agent, without their control. This should not be about long-term profits and boardroom tactics. This is a quality of life issue.

What I WILL tell you is: I won’t stop. Neither will the other parents who are now successfully treating their child’s disorder. This movement is gaining steam and whether you want to admit it or not, it IS saving lives!

Thank you.


© Mark D. Storck 2015




* As a rule, I don't post guest posts, but when I read Mark's impassioned words on Facebook, I thought they needed wider coverage. I hope you'll share them.




Saturday Morning West Coast Re-Post

I got nothing. I clicked on one of those LinkWithin thingees at the bottom of my posts yesterday, though, and pulled this up. It made me laugh, and lord knows, I need those.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Extreme Parenting and Teeth Brushing




After my shower this morning, and while I brushed my teeth, I started thinking about parenting. My father sent me and my sisters the article about how French parents are better parents, and I read it with a sigh and then deleted it. I saw it pop up on Facebook and then on blogs and now it's a book or something and everyone is talking about it and it's making a million dollars while legions of American parents, mainly mothers, are debating again whether they're doing it right or doing it wrong. I'm going out on a limb this morning to say that these debates bore me to no end, in the same way that I'm bored by the agonizing over breast-feeding or Tiger mother parenting or working mothers versus non-working mothers and all the rest of it. I'll admit to possessing one of the ultimate trump cards (parenting a disabled child which makes nearly every other kind of parenting sort of a walk in the park, as they say), but I'll also admit that my parenting Sophie is a walk in the parkcompared to the parenting of the Sophies of Bangladesh, perhaps, or the myriad children all over this country and the world that are far sicker or more involved, and while I know it's all relevant, in some ways it's not. There's perspective for one, and my belief that it's my responsibility to have some. Do I begrudge the writing of another blockbuster book about the parenting tribulations of the upper classes? Am I jealous? These are the things I thought about as I paid special attention to my back molars, dreading the visit to the dentist on Monday and the tut-tutting of the hygienist when she asks whether I've flossed since my last visit. I started thinking about the self-esteem wars -- important for our children to have it or not important? -- and that led to the giving out of trophies for nearly everything and how that sends some parents into a parenting tizzy. What are the repercussions of a child receiving a trophy when he's an abysmal athlete?  That thought segued into my own son Oliver's collection of trophies, half of which are not his, but which he acquired at a yard sale down the street when an unfortunate married couple went through a terrible divorce and divested themselves of nearly everything they owned. You can read about that here. I have one of those electric toothbrushes that buzzes and changes subtly every thirty seconds and while I usually only brush for 23 or so seconds, today with all this heavy thought, I got to the two minute mark and was awarded with an extended vibration and a smiley face on the panel. I thought about that, too, and how here in America, the U, S of A, we're given pats on the back for brushing our teeth for two minutes.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Dispatch from the Armenian Centennial March in Los Angeles on the Corner of My Street




Looking north toward the Hollywood hills, I had never seen it quieter in the seventeen years I've lived in Los Angeles.



It was positively deserted and definitely eerie looking south.



People were trickling in, probably from Glendale, the second largest city behind Los Angeles of people claiming to be of Armenian descent. The Greater Los Angeles area claims over 40% of the nearly 400,000 Americans of Armenian descent. They form the largest community in the Armenian diaspora after Armenians in Russia.





















I'm not Armenian, and today I am grateful perhaps not to be Turkish, and other than a brief spat with a group of men throwing their cigarette butts onto the sidewalk (I told them to knock it off and respect the neighborhood, they told me that someone would pick it up and that they were bringing money to the neighborhood),  I enjoyed the spectacle today. There's really not much more exhilarating than a massive peaceful protest march.

Finding a Still Space in a Mad, Mad World



I had an interesting discussion with the doctor who helps us dose cannabis and monitor Sophie's progress on the oil. We spoke a bit about the obduracy of Certain Neurologists. She agrees that it's a real and maddening, frustrating puzzle and also believes that the deeply wired ethic of the field demands a sort of ego superiority over the patient and definitely over the parent of the patient. When I try to look back in an unbiased way at the many encounters I've had over the years with neurologists from all over the country, I am really struck by the negative similarities that go way beyond what we might have once called bad bedside manner. I've agonized over my biases -- am I too angry? too stubborn? too opinionated? too too? I wonder whether the neurology field attracts a certain kind of personality or whether the personality is affected by the field -- a kind of chicken or egg coming first conundrum. We all grew up hearing the expression It isn't brain surgery, after all! to describe even the most herculean task in comparison to what is perceived as the most difficult branch of medicine. Yet, there's this arrogance that reveals itself in the cannabis revolution as a cover for what might just be a nearly primitive fear or shame, a tail-between-the-legs kind of running away when the dog isn't chained to a post, lunging and barking. This morning as I contemplated the universe, I nearly laughed aloud at an article in the paper describing the creation of an atomic clock so precise that it won't lose or gain a single second in 15 billion years -- roughly the age of our universe. Get me one of those.

Yesterday, Sophie didn't have a single seizure -- not even a small one.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Greatest Healthcare System on Earth, Part 5,346,789,340

a scene from Brazil, the 1985 Terry Gilliam flick whose brilliant scenes prefigured my life by 3 decades


I opened an Explanation of Benefits online this afternoon and noticed that the cost of the bloodwork (ordered by Sophie's doctor to check whether or not she had an anemia  or something worse problem) was not covered by Assurant, our new insurer. I had specifically looked up and found an In Network Lab, which, according to my insurance company acumen, means there would be no charge.  On the Explanation of Benefits page, under the Remarks column, were the numbers

1001, *0204

I followed the little asterisks down the screen to the explanation for these groupings and read:

0204: This service/equipment/drug is not covered under the patient's current benefit plan.
1001: This type of service is not covered under the plan. Please refer to the certificate.

Oy vey, ya'll. You know what that means, right?

I called Assurance, was put on hold and then finally spoke at length to one of their people. She was patient -- I'd say robotically so -- and kept putting me on hold to research your problem. She came back to say that there were several problems involving erroneous coding from The Provider that neccessitate my calling The Provider, asking her to change the coding on the original prescription, then calling the lab to authorize said changes, then have the lab issue a corrected claim to the insurance company, and then for me to mainline some heroin. 

The Assurant agent also told me this:

We do not cover venipuncture.

I said, But you do cover bloodwork?

The Assurant Agent said, Yes, but we do not cover the venipuncture service.

In other words, I pay private insurance so that Sophie's blood may be analyzed in a lab for possible horrible diseases, but that private insurance will not pay for the means to remove the blood.

Help me Rhonda.


When the Moment, Much Less the Day is Everything



I watched Sonjay Gupta's third segment of Weed the other night on CNN and was struck in particular by what the wife of a soldier being treated for PTSD said about the possible long-term risks of using medical marijuana. I'm paraphrasing here, but I remember her saying she had her husband back. She said that he had his life back. She mentioned that 22 soldiers commit suicide each day in this country. She stated that even if they were to find something negative about the use in five or ten years, they would have had life NOW. 

This living in the present moment thing is part of our popular culture, expressed in mindfulness meditation and in most conventional religions. We are urged to seize the moment, take each day as it comes, one day at a time and so forth. For those of us with children with special needs, particularly older ones who are and will remain utterly dependent upon us for the rest of their or our lives, this is something piercing and gets to the root of just how we cope. It's also an imperative when your child is at risk of sudden death or even an inevitable early death. Sophie, as you know, had been seizing hundreds of times a day for most of her nineteen years when we began using cannabis oil. She is nonverbal, needs assistance walking, is fed like a baby, wears diapers, has either her father or me sleep with her every night and has to have a padded bedroom so she doesn't hurt herself. When the seizures slowed down and then stopped for the most part, our family's life was so radically changed that we really didn't talk about it for a very long time. We still don't, really. I've thought about "long term effects" of using cannabis oil, and these thoughts are really no different than the ones I've had about the 22 pharmaceuticals she's been on as well. My fallback coping skill is a grim and dogged sense of humor, and there have been moments -- and minutes and hours and days and weeks and now one and a half years -- when I've wondered if Sophie was going to grow a Bob Marley-esque tumor in her brain. Please humor me and don't gasp too loudly. Like the wife of the soldier with PTSD, though, I believe that these largely seizure-free days and weeks and months and maybe even years, when Sophie is alert and sleeping well, when she doesn't do a face plant into her dinner every night or smash her head into the floor or the dresser in her room, are worth it.

That's what living in the moment is for someone like me.

My Italian grandmother, whom I've written of here quite often, was a deeply religious woman and also deeply suspicious. I don't know the expression but think there is one for someone who doesn't like to speak of anything positive because of the chance to jinx it. We're fiddling around with Sophie's cannabis oil, trying something new, and this morning for the first time in a very long time, she didn't have a seizure when she woke up. Rather than perpetuate superstition, I'm going to seize this moment and this day and exult in it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions* and Some Observations**


Questions


1.
(The well-meaning stranger)

What's wrong with your daughter?

She has a rare form of epilepsy.

Can't they give her something for that?

What a great idea! I'm going to call the doctor first thing!




2.
(The man popping peanuts at a cocktail party)

Does your daughter feel love?

No, but she does feel hate, and you'd better move out of the way because she's a really good shot.



3.
(The social worker doing a conservator interview)

Does Mom let Sophie make her own decisions regarding her sexuality and marriage?

No!  I've already arranged for her to be married to my oldest gay friend so that she can get some decent health insurance benefits!



4.
(The Neurologist standing in hallway of hospital)

Have you thought about the drug choices I gave you as the next treatment for Sophie?

Yes, and I think I'm going for the one that can cause aplastic anemia instead of the one that causes blindness, and I'm not sure whether the other one is right for a six month old. Doesn't it have pretty bad long-term cognitive side effects?

Well, what's a few points drop in IQ really matter?

Probably not much in her case since she's already told me how to construct a bomb and blow up your office!


Observations

1.

We live in a country that likes to drop bombs, both literal and figurative, and then clean things up and rebuild afterward. This observation pertains to wars (Iraq), vaccination "science," cancer treatment, pharmaceutical companies, the medical-industrial complex, the tobacco industry, fast food companies, anti-obesity efforts, etc.

2.

When you engage with A Neurologist, you have to do a certain amount of suspending your belief that these are people with advanced degrees and therefore able to make intelligent inferences that don't involve their egos or ties with certain pharmaceutical companies.


3.
(in response to SB277 passing through committee)

I'm interested to know if the California government plans on chasing down those families who choose to delay or decline vaccinations for their children and themselves. Will they carry syringes as they run after us? Will all public places be verboten for those of us who refuse to get a mandatory flu shot? Will herd immunity be strengthened? I saw a pig fly the other day.

4.

Obduracy and control go hand in hand.


5.

On Friday I will be attending my 17th Individualized Education Plan for Sophie, and other than expressing my gratitude to her teacher and aide, I don't give a shit what happens in it. I plan on bringing donuts and, perhaps, a flask of bourbon. I will, as usual, wear a leotard and do my customary tightrope walk routine.***

















*All questions are factual. Answers were inside my tiny little mother mind.™

**All observations are from my tiny little mother mind™ and should only be construed as opinion, except for the first part of Number 5 about gratitude and not giving a shit. Those are facts.

*** More observations on what happens at this meeting are forthcoming.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Queen of the Palms




Refusing heaven.

That awful rowing toward 
about the stars and broke in days and years.



Hurt? the doctor asked as she plunged the needle into the soft flesh between Iris’ thumb and index finger. Tears leaked out of Iris’ eyes, and the doctor patted her, moved on to another spot. Good hurt. Hurt good, she said. Music on? she asked and pushed the button of the cassette player, walked out the door. Iris closed her eyes to the tinny Chinese restaurant bells. In the dark booth, the sweat had dried on their skin, and Iris forgot how she had gotten there. In his apartment, the blinds had been drawn, the sun was only merciless in slivers of light across the bed. Here, he sat across from her, his hair long down his back and when he lifted his head up to the waiter to order, it fell over one eye, her own blurred. Sinead O’Connor sang of a fancy restaurant, cause nothing compares to you, and it was dark enough to hide what they had done. When the food came, it steamed --  dark spinach, tiny cubes of Indian cheese redolent of spice from somewhere else, and he spooned it into her mouth.

Monday, April 20, 2015

On the Road with Disability Education




Many of you contacted me about a follow-up after I posted about a presentation that Oliver and I did for a group of fifth graders at a very exclusive private school here in Los Angeles. Last night, I saw my friend who had arranged the whole thing, and she told me that she and the other teachers were very moved by our presentation. She suggested that Oliver and I go on the road to do our thing, and I have to admit that the idea appeals to me. Oliver, of course, is gung ho, so maybe we'll make it into a homeschool community service project. I am still so utterly grateful for this opportunity as it turned into one of the most moving experiences that I've ever had, particularly as I did it with Oliver.

In a nutshell, we faced about fifty-five young boys and girls and four of their teachers, as well as the director of the elementary school. Looking out over the sea of little faces, a diverse group that belied their probable very well-to-do backgrounds (and celebrity parents), I basically launched into a discussion about what it's like to have a daughter who is disabled from seizures and how our culture makes her an other. Oliver sat next to me in a matching rocking chair and easily added in his own observations and experiences. We talked a lot about social injustice, and I emphasized my belief that persons with cognitive disabilities are at the bottom of the totem pole, still, in a world that sometimes very inadequately strives to afford dignity to every person regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, race and religion. We talked about the word retarded, how difficult it is to combat its use. I told them that I still have friends who use it, and how every time they do, I wince and feel defensive about saying something. Oliver told them to stand up and stay cool when they hear the word, that they can tell their friends to knock it off and use a different word.

I told them, too, about my #dontstarepaparazzi movement, and I even showed them one of my shots that I'd taken. We told them that pain doesn't come always from the person with disabilities but rather the culture and the people within it that exclude, fear and pity them. I shared stories of walking with Oliver when he was younger, how he noticed people staring and how angry it made him, that he'd tell me he wanted to kick those people in the legs, Mommy! This part of the discussion garnered a lot of laughs, but I think it also had the biggest impact on them. I welcomed questions, even as I spoke, and I was almost immediately peppered with them. One girl asked what they should do when they see someone with disabilities, and Oliver said smiling and saying hello always works. Then we joked again about Oliver asking me one day, after enduring the stares of a group of kids who were way too old to be doing so, whether he could have PTP. You might remember what this stands for, and the kids in this class laughed out loud when I told them.

One little girl got to the edge of deep emotion when she told me that after a recent outing to an accessible playground where the kids were buddied up with children with disabilities, she felt uncomfortable and sad and couldn't stop crying. I gently told her that being emotional and uncomfortable is normal, that our fears of difference can be overcome. Oliver pointed out that when he first visited Sophie's high school special education classroom he, too, was uncomfortable, but that when he accepted the kids and grew to know them, he realized that there was nothing to fear. We also pointed out that both Henry and Oliver don't feel sorry for Sophie or think she's scary or strange. She's a part of our family and not other. I said that we hated the seizures and felt terrible for her when she had them, but they weren't what made her a human being and that she wasn't to be pitied but, rather, celebrated. 

I emphasized that people with cognitive disabilities have much to offer the world and that while we might feel good when we do community service with them or interact in superficial ways, as we grow more intimate with people of difference, we realize that they are teaching us and have a far bigger impact on us than we might on them.That led to a discussion about what I called disability porn, the type messaging we see on Facebook and in the media and on the internet that masks exclusion and discrimination by somehow celebrating triumph over disability. I pointed out that we can admire and be moved by stories of people overcoming adversity, but that this type messaging sometimes excludes a vast number of people who might never overcome, might not ever talk, might always be very sick or deformed or even die from their disabilities and that they, too, should be honored and celebrated because they are alive and have dignity as full human beings. I read to them the story I had published in an anthology about visiting a very eminent doctor at UCLA, how he was teaching his students on the day we visited and how he gestured toward Sophie in her wheelchair and called her a disaster in front of all of his students, even as I and Sophie sat there in the office. When I looked up, the teachers and students had tears in their eyes, but we discussed for a good amount of time what makes us human and how we might advance inclusion and social justice for people with disabilities, even those that are invisible.

When we were finished, several of the children came up to us and asked the sweetest of questions, often beginning them with the words I have a connection to make. They would then tell me of a cousin with autism or an aunt in a wheelchair or a brother also named Henry, and there was a moment when I wanted to gather up all of these privileged children in my very soft and strong arms and just hug all the hope and promise into me, letting all bias go, including my own.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Talking with Boys, Part 759





Henry, your face looks wonderful! Your skin is all cleared up!






See, I told you Mom. Picking at it constantly works.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Books & Bakes Chechen Feast




That's what I looked like several hours before last night's Books & Bakes, mainly because Saint Mirtha wasn't there yet to help me and also because what the hell was I thinking when I decided to concoct a Chechen menu?  Here it is:



Moscow Stinger

Eggplant Walnut Dip with Lavash
Sliced Radishes with Yogurt
Dates and Almonds

Yogurt Cream Soup with Herbs

Vegan Stuffed Grape Leaves
Beef Manti
Chechen Peppers and Mushrooms

Halvah Ice Cream
Dark Chocolate Sauce
Salted Peanuts


It was actually not entirely Chechen, but I stuck pretty close to the cuisine of the Caucasus with some Russian and Armenian borrowings. The Moscow Stinger was a very bracing cocktail made of vodka and white creme de menthe, shaken and poured over ice. I ran around Los Angeles visiting several liquor/package stores to find the white creme de menthe. I am being perfectly honest when I say that I have never been to a liquor store in Los Angeles -- not because I'm chaste or a teetotaller, but  -- you know -- any liquor that I drink is usually already at my house and has been there for at least fifteen years or someone brings it to a party. I found a very dusty bottle of the stuff at a place on Melrose and Vine, and it cost $7.99. Frankly, it might have been mouthwash (and I imagine mouthwash costs a hell of a lot more), but the combination of the vodka and that was bracing and very refreshing. We all had a swig or two while eating the eggplant dip and admitted that prior to reading A Constellation of Vital Phenomenoa, none of us had the remotest knowledge of Chechnya beyond the vague wars fought there and the recent brothers who bombed the Boston Marathon. If you haven't read Anthony Marra's novel, you must. It's a novel in which you can get lost -- lots of tragedy and drama and horror -- but it's also a novel of hope and dark humor. You will learn about Chechnya. It does feel a bit odd to be celebrating the food of the region and exulting in Marra's writing, particularly as the events and story described are so brutal and so far removed in any real way from our own. We talked about that, about the presumption and pretension of it, about the relatively pampered lives we live here. There's no getting round that discomfort, I guess, and I don't have any wise words to do so. I am grateful, though, to love like I do the words of others, for my eyes to be opened to places and situations that are different, true, but that also shed light on what it means to be human. 

That's a whole lot of cliche and folderal, though. Here's the food:








Denise wrote a wonderful blog post about last night. Read it here.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Gulliver's Travels

Still Life with CWHO and Frida**



"Absolutely,"  Christie said. "I will crack down and not permit it."



That was the answer Governor Chris Christie gave to a conservative Iowa radio host when asked what he'd do about marijuana if he were to become POTUS. He was referring to the "flaunting of federal law" that is going on in Washington and Colorado. He said a whole bunch of other stuff, too, most of which is not even true.

Sigh.

This whole thing is confusing on so many levels, isn't it? On the one hand, you've got conservatives bemoaning marijuana as the evil weed, a "gateway drug" that leads to debauchery, addiction and moral decline, and on the other hand, you've got conservatives crying out about the evils of government over-reach and grand conspiracies against the people. Then there are conservatives who believe that marijuana is a gift from God thrown up against scientists who believe there isn't enough research. Thrown into all of this are families desperate to try cannabis for their children or themselves as they're suffering from not just epilepsy, but autism and multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's and lupus and cerebral palsy and cancer. You've got Rand Paul supporting the cause, a guy who believes in the supremacy of the individual at any cost, but there's Chris Christie hell-bent on stomping it out. You've got Obama waffling around about the issue, and then you've got -- well -- me. 

I stand for full legalization of marijuana for both recreational and medicinal use. Yeah, and I haven't smoked or ingested the stuff in about thirty years. I went through different gates, too, than the ones referred to by that poor Chris Christie, none of which involved drug or alcohol debauchery.

I was going to tell ya'll about the history of marijuana -- how it was used for thousands of years not only as medicine for a host of diseases, but also for textiles and military uniforms and navy ships. It was one of this country's earliest crops and was used for pain, as a sedative, as an anxiety medicine, as an anti-inflammatory, as an anti-epileptic and so forth right up until the 1930s when the Powers That Be conspired to put it under. Those powers were William Randolph Hearst, Andrew Mellon and Charles DuPont. Hearst owned all the timber in the land, as well as the newspapers that needed wood pulp that needed DuPont's bleach to make newsprint and paper. Mellon was not only the head of the biggest oil company in the land but also, conveniently, the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. Down in Mexico the people were brown and dirty and Less Than, held "up," or down (according to how you see it) as examples of what could go wrong with hemp/marijuana. Hearst's newspapers thus reported the evils of this drug, how it turned people into rapists, thieves, drunken louts, dirty Mexicans. In 1937, The Marihuana Tax Act was passed which destroyed the hemp industry. In 1938, the movie Reefer Madness exploited the image of marijuana as a drug that turned youth into crazy rampaging degenerates. And in 2015 we've got big ole Chris Christie spouting off about the moral dee-cay of our youth.


Well, I did just tell you a bit about the history of one of the world's oldest cultivated crops (12,000 years old, to be exact). 

These are almost Swiftian times, are they not? Gulliver comes to mind and the most clever satire one could imagine. 















Thursday, April 16, 2015

Safe Option for Seizures: Here's Something You All Can Do




A few minutes of your day can help to change things in this crazy old world. Here's what you need to do:


Watch the PSA

Recognize that it's a step forward in the ongoing medical marijuana conflict

Think about what Sophie would be doing if she didn't live in California.*

Think about what I'd be doing if Sophie didn't have CWHO.**

Think about the thousands of children and adults who need to have access to this oil and the right to try it.

Contact your federal representatives and tell them to support H.R. 1635.



Thank you very much.


Love,

Elizabeth and Her Tiny Little Mother Mind™

















ANSWER KEY

*   Most definitely seizing and drugged up with a higher risk of SUDEP
** Most definitely even more stressed out and ruined by enduring twenty years of watching seizures and giving 22 pharmaceuticals that don't work. Hopeless. I'd like to say that CWHO for Sophie has made me thinner and more beautiful, but that wouldn't be truthful. It has made me smarter, though, and more relaxed and hopeful.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

SOS



Oliver has learned Morse Code, downloaded an app to "do it" and walks around the house communicating with us. The only trouble is that each dot and each dash on the iPad makes the most godawful, annoying sound you can imagine. This afternoon, when Sophie came home from school, he insisted on showing it to her, and I gladly obliged. Yes, I said, go in her room and sit with her and demonstrate. I myself retreated to my own room, closed the door and drew sustenance from the McMansion drill sounds coming from out my back door.


Dot Dot Dot
Dash Dash Dash
Dot Dot Dot.

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