Saturday, August 1, 2009

Quintessential Summer Day

Wow - we had a lively day around here today!

Firstly, two of our boys - J and C - rode horses in the REINS "Fun Day" Horse Show. REINS is where people with disabilities are able to ride horses in a supportive environment. I've written a lot here on One Dad's Opinion about REINS, as it represents one of the gravitational centers of our family's community involvement and deserves much mention.
This was J's fourth time riding in the "Fun Day" contest and C's first. It's called "Fun Day", but the annual event that precedes REINS' monthly summer break in August groups the students together by skill level and judges their riding performance against each other. Its all in good fun, and creates a tremendous sense of pride amongst the students (ranging from the youngest - Baby C, at 2 years old - up to riders in their elderly years). See this post for a look at their oldest rider, Millie. She is 93 years old. Wow.

Of our boys, C was the first rider of the day. He acquitted himself marvellously well, and brightened his own day and the rest of our days as well with his bright smiles and obvious
affection for his horse and instructor.

He was particularly impressive when completing the "Round the World" move that he always looks forward to. (Spare me the "Horse's *ss" jokes please...)

C won the pink 5th place ribbon - we couldn't be more proud of him!.

After C dismounted and we gathered around him to share the moment, J pointed to the ribbon pinned on C's chest and gave C a little nudge and said, "Congratulations". Both Kaitlyn (the wonderful instructor for both our boys) and me overheard this and commented to Jason how nice it was for him to say that. He very matter-of-factly replied "I was reading his ribbon actually." All-righty.

One could almost imagine C riding off into the sunset like John Wayne...

So after a while waiting in the heat and dust, it was finally J's turn to ride with his group of 6. This was a particularly exciting competition for J, since it would be the first time he would ride independently, without Kaitlyn holding the horse's lead. He mounted up on trusty old Betsy, who he has been riding since day 1, and prepared for his turn.

In a word: Success!
J completed the entire dressage routine without any assistance from Kaitlyn.

Note in this picture the separation between J/Betsy and Kaitlyn - this is an independent performance. Oh, and that look on J's face? Nervous self-satisfaction.

J's excitement-meter was running very low today, so it is difficult to know how he felt upon completing his routine. But when the ribbons were presented, all that changed. J won first place and received a BLUE ribbon! This is dually awesome as blue is J's favorite color - a preference that borders on obsession and influences a large array of J's decisions in life. Blue rules J, and so you can imagine his elation at receiving the Blue Ribbon.
One Dad even got to share the moment with him and Betsy. What a great moment.

After 3 hours of tramping around in the dusty, hot environs at REINS, what better way to cool down than a swim in the pool?

NOT SO FAST! Today, our pool had in interloper that had to be addressed before we could go in. I bet you didn't know this post would include - Tarantula pictures!

I realize it is difficult to grasp scale in a small internet picture, but this spider's body was about 3.5 inches long, with a full leg-span of around 6 inches. Here he is walking along the edg
e of the pool-skimmer I used to retrieve him from the water.

Once we moved our hairy friend to a more spider-friendly neighborhood - ya know, somewhere other than our freakin' pool - we dove in to escape the summer heat. One Mom and I are pleasantly surprised by C's progress in branching out his experiential tolerances. But remember - autism consists of developmental delay, not developmental stasis - so it should be no surprise that C is jumping in the pool now all by himself and generally having a rip-roaring time trying to keep up with his older brothers.

That includes being thrown into the pool.
Hey, give me a big sloppy dog and a smilin' 2-year old "chunky monkey" and I'm One Happy Dad.

I hope you are all having a great summer like we are - and that you are not finding Tarantulas in your pool or anywhere else.
Next week ... Surf Camp!!!


Niksmom said...

What an awesome post! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the pictures of you and the boys. :-) Um, ok, I could've done without the tarantula picture, though...I may be traumatized for life by the mere *idea* of one in the pool! *shudder*

This one sentence will stay with me for a really long time, though:

But remember - autism consists of developmental delay, not developmental stasis...

Such an important distinction which gets lost on so many people.

bullet said...

What a lovely time you all had :D.
Tom went riding for one term at school with the Riding for the Disabled and loved it. This is him on the last day:

bullet said...

Sorry, think the link didn't work. This should be it:

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