Landlubber Beanie

So, it’s been 15 days since we drove away from Moonraker, still in Grand Haven. I’ve told you about the challenges I have had with re-entry (and, surprisingly, it hasn’t gotten any easier!), but today I would like to talk about the Bean.

A number of our friends have wondered how Beanie did on the boat. And the truth is that, while she did get stir crazy when we were underway, life on Moonraker really agreed with her. When we got home, she was excited to see all of her toys, but she got bored after the first day. She kept opening the door and saying “playground,” expecting a park full of kids to be right outside our house. She had more difficulty sleeping than she has had in a long time, probably from the lack of vestibular input. She did a lot better when we went up north for Labor Day weekend, and she was able to play on the beach and visit the nearby playground full of kids. But, at home, she didn’t get a good night’s sleep until school (which she loves, but really tires her out) started.

In therapy, she made huge gains all across the board, while living on Moonraker. She has improved her jumping ability, her ability to follow multiple-step directions, and her ability to answer questions and make requests. She used to look a lot like a kid with autism, playing in her own world and making sound effects more than talking, but now she seems much more “present.” We stopped at a busy playground when we went grocery shopping (a 40 minute drive from our house!), and Beanie actually talked to the other kids. She used her favorite phrases, but in a way that made sense. She now enjoys riding her tricycle down the street.

Beanie was very excited about going back to school. Her teachers were impressed with her improved play skills (her pretend play has become much more sophisticated) and her direction-following ability.

Over the summer, the Bean began recruiting our attention while she plays. She will now bring up “Hi-Ho Cherry-O” and ask us to play it with her. As a result, I have to plan on blogging and completing paperwork while she is busy doing other things (or asleep!).

Beanie loves her pirate book and CD that we bought her in Pentwater. She will dance to the song and always asks us to play it. At the end of the book, she can identify the “moonraker,” “mast,” “crow’s nest,” “rudder,” and “wheel” of the pirate ship.

We found her a large dry erase board, and she loves to draw seascapes. She starts with a sailboat (complete with dinghy in tow!), adds waves (large ones–she must be thinking of the trip to Manitou…), then draws any number of sea creatures underneath. The whole while we were on the boat, she was convinced that there was an octopus in Lake Huron and a shark in Michigan. She will then add the hill and “letters” from Grand Haven. And, of course, the sun is always shining in the sky.

So, we’re all adapting. It’s a change, and it’s been an adjustment. And, I have to tell you, I’m glad that it has affected Beanie, and that life on board has been something that she’s enjoyed so much.

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