September 27, 2014

Me and My Brilliant Ideas

Usually I will say such a phrase dripping with sarcasm.  But once in a while, in all seriousness, I am brilliant.

Does that sound self-inflated?  Well, I am. . .brilliant, that is. . .or at least was. . . those couple of times.

This special journey has sent me summoning every ounce of creativity I can muster from the deepest, dustiest parts of my brain.  I am constantly looking at every element of life for a therapeutic quality that I could bring into Bridger's world.  For quality of life for Bridger, as well as the rest of us, I am constantly viewing life through the lens of adapting and modifying which has become an everyday necessity. 

I chew on and stew over every twisted creative thought.  When I attempt to bring those thoughts into fruition, it often sends Alan crossing his eyes and slapping his palm to his forehead, wondering what he got himself into by marrying me.  Every once in a while, however, he looks at my creative genius and simply marvels at the brain patterns of his amazing wife.

My latest idea. . . a Dinosaur Dig.

We love Disney and experienced a little miracle there a few years ago.  At the time, Bridger could not sit.  Sand has a therapeutic quality that anchors the body as it surrounds it and causes the core (however little core there may be) to engage and allows children the ability to sit who otherwise can't.  BUT, sand also produces extreme sensory aversions so it is not an option for many kiddos - including Bridger, who would vomit quickly and profusely at the touch of sand.

That is where Disney World, once again, lives up to its label as "magical".  

At the Animal Kingdom park of Disney World there is a gigantic sand pit they call their Boneyard.  Buried fossils keep the kids dumping and digging for hours.  However, it is not sand that they are dumping and digging.  It is like sand, but slightly larger smooth granite pebbles the size of a pencil tip.  They roll right off your hands.  Children lay on their bellies and dig up to their armpits and stand up perfectly clean.  On our first experience there with Bridger several years ago we sat him into the sand-like granite pebbles and he proceeded to sit (SIT!!) on his own for over an hour (without falling over) perfectly anchored in his core.  He enjoyed playing around the other children and he looked and felt typical in every way.  When we returned home from Florida we showed the video of him sitting perfectly upright in the Boneyard to his physical therapist.  "You HAVE to get that material for Bridger," she said.

That launched me into a 3 year search.  I studied every website, called manufacturers and suppliers, read every thread of every discussion group and this material was not to be found anywhere.  I could find material slightly larger, but what made this sand pit so cool and inviting for play was how minuscule these little smooth pieces of grit were.  This summer I thought to email a friend who works for Disney on the political side here in DC. Within 24 hours he sent me a chain of forwarded emails with the final stop being the actual supplier of the material to Disney World.

Fast forward to a month later as we had 3 tons of Animal Kingdom Fossil Yard grit shipped up from Florida delivered to our driveway.  We hired some men to excavate a large and deep hole in our backyard.  We lined the hole with playground timbers on 3 sides and a zero-depth entry on the 4th.  Alan and I shoveled for hours carrying the material from our driveway to fill the hole.

752 shovels loads into the project, Alan still wasn't so sure of my idea.

We buried "fossils" and parked me an oversize Adirondack chair in front of it and set Bridger in.  No child could resist the Dinosaur Dig and Bridger was soon surrounded by siblings and friends where he played for HOURS!  Let me explain another miracle, Bridger doesn't engage in any activity longer than 15 minutes.  There are a LOT of 15 minute chunks in a day and that equals lots of activities for me to come up with that he can and will do to fill the day.  So to kill off 2 hours in our Dig during which time I sat and sipped lemonade and didn't break a sweat -- Holy Delightfulness!!

Alan saw the light.  This was worth all of the blood, sweat, tears and dollars (it unfortunately wasn't a cheap brilliant idea - I reserved sharing that information until Alan had seen the brilliance of the plan.)

Life with Bridger is a big guessing game.  We are learning as we go and 99 times out of every 100 I usually guess wrong.  The creation of the Great Larson Dinosaur Dig was that other 1.  It was like striking gold.

"Me and my brilliant ideas!" I say, as I now sit in the sun, sipping my refreshment and watch the delight of Bridger digging to his heart's content as he is secretly getting some physical therapy without realizing it.  Just look at that core!  Low tone as he may be, he has some muscles working in there somewhere!  

Ahh, what will I think of next?