Friday, January 27, 2012


Bella.... Oh, Bella. She is, if you'll pardon my vernacular, a mess. One minute Brittany and I are falling out of our chairs laughing at something she's said or done, and the next minute Britt is pretending to strangle herself with her scarf because Bella won't listen.

A little information: Bella is six years old and repeating kindergarten this year; she's skinny because all she eats is peanut butter, cheese puffs, vanilla wafers, goldfish, and gummies, and her gait is more of a skip than a walk, so she burns TONS of energy. She loves to sing and dance, and she likes to make up her own lyrics to tunes she is familiar with. She is obsessed with fairies, particularly Tinkerbell, and she loves Barbie. Every day, usually multiple times, she stops her bouncing long enough to ask, "What color are your eyes?" We answer her every day and usually let her get close enough to see, but still she asks--and I discovered today that she also asks her own dad the same question all the time. Recently she's also had a preoccupation with angels and daisies. When she is focused on one of these things, it's incredibly difficult to get her motivated to do schoolwork; however, she conveniently enough NEVER gets focused on schoolwork.

It can take this little stinker upwards of an hour to sort 35 bears into 5 plastic cups based on color--and this lengthy time frame has NOTHING whatsoever to do with her low vision. She's just that stubborn. She sees colors very well and she's pretty smart; she has an incredible vocabulary, which is unsurprising considering so much of her information is probably based on sound.

Since Bella is completely blind in one eye and has very low vision in her other eye, it has been determined that it will be in her best interest to learn Braille and cane skills, so that if her vision fails completely she will already be much more adaptable. Since I am with Bella for about 30+ hours a week, I get to learn these things too. We had our first big breakthrough in Braille practice today--Bella wrote her name in Braille all by herself with no more than motivational support!

This is a HUGE DEAL. She hasn't been working on this for very long, and just yesterday it took her about 15 minutes to just write her name once--today she did it THREE TIMES in LESS THAN TEN MINUTES. Note: When I say she's learning Braille, it isn't the way you picture it. As she is so young and still working on dexterity, she uses tennis balls in a muffin tin to represent the six dots that form the basis for the language. We read books aloud to her and let her run her hands along the dots on the page, but she doesn't comprehend those at all yet. It's a long process, and she has a hard time sitting still for even five minutes.

But we're learning.

Eventually I'll post more information on Braille and sighted guide (when a seeing person leads a blind person), but for now, I'll leave you with this little scene from today....

Me (to Britt): Did you know Bella can speak with a British accent?
Britt: NO WAY. Are you serious?!
Me: Bella, do you know how English people talk?
Bella: No.
Britt: Do you know what language we speak in America?
Bella: I speak....BONJOUR!

And then we died laughing.

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