Although not in a meteorological or astronomical sense, summer has arrived here. School is out for summer break, and the temperatures are currently in the upper 80s to the mid 90s (Fahrenheit ... that's 35 Celsius). Since school is out, now comes the parental challenge to find things to keep the kids occupied and entertained. Plus, the challenge to mix things up every once in a while so they don't get bored with any one particular activity.
Ryan, at 4 1/2 years old, loves going to school. The highlight of his day is riding the school bus. He just finished up another year of preschool, where they are working on his speech delay. We can't wait to unlock his speech. We know how smart and bright he is. Ryan is very mechanically inclined. Last November, we bought a new meat grinder. He had never seen a meat grinder ever before. Laura had washed it up, and had the pieces sitting on the kitchen counter to dry before packing it away. Ryan came up, briefly looked it over, and reassembled all the pieces in less than a minute. The only thing he assembled incorrectly was that he put the blade in backwards. Sit the child down in front of a kid's 36 piece jigsaw puzzle, and he'll have it assembled in under 10 minutes.
As a parent, it is painful to see the frustration on his face because he cannot communicate his thoughts and feelings. We finally, after waiting on two different waiting lists, are able to get him the extra help he needs to overcome his speech delay. First, we waited over three months to get the initial evaluation. Once they determined that they were able to help him (emphasising language, but also working on speech), we had to wait another two months just to get into the program at a large pediatric healthcare facility in Kansas City. By the time you read this, Ryan will have had his first of two dozen one-on-one sessions with a speech and language specialist. We are excited, because so many of our peers have told us stories about how much improvement they've seen in other children who also went through the same program. It's worth noting that our "peers" are other healthcare workers, since we both work in healthcare.
We've already seen a ton of improvement from Ryan attending the special class at preschool. The look of frustration on his face has become a rarer occurrence, as he is now able to express himself in sentences and to string words together to make a complete thought -- at least enough to make himself understood.
Now Lexi ... she is my little magpie. She talks constantly -- or at least tries to. She'll turn 22 months old on June 12. She's already trying to tell stories. She also loves to sing. The Beatles "Hey Jude" is her favorite, followed closely by "Let It Be" and "Yellow Submarine." She calls "Hey Jude" and "Let It Be" by their proper names, and calls "Yellow Submarine" "We All, We All" (for "We all live in a yellow submarine").
It's amazing how similar and, at the same time how different, each of them are. Lexi loves bread, while Ryan couldn't care less. Ryan loves meat, and Lexi could take it or leave it. They both love cake. But most importantly, they really, really love one another. It's not that they don't have their squabbles, as most siblings do. But you can tell that they really love one another. When Lexi wakes up, either from a nap or in the morning, one of the first things she asks is "Ry-Ry?," which is what she calls her big brother. Ryan looks out for his sister and tries to keep her safe, much to Lexi's chagrin. When Ryan comes home from school and gets off the school bus, one of the first things he does is go over and give his sister a kiss on the head.
We -- their mother and I -- hope that their mutual love of one another and that closeness they have now continues throughout their lifetimes. We will do everything we can to nurture and encourage that bond. Both my wife and I each have siblings who wouldn't know that bond if it bit them, despite everything we've done to accommodate and foster a closer relationship. We know, first hand, how difficult it can be on families, and the toll it exacts.
This month's cover celebrates the 53rd anniversary of Ed White's first spacewalk by an American astronaut aboard Gemini 4, June 3, 1965. White became the second man to perform a spacewalk, following Alexei Leonov's inaugural spacewalk on March 18, 1965. White would tragically lose his life a year and a half later in the Apollo 1 fire on the launchpad at Cape Canaveral. Even though Linux wasn't even a twinkle at the time of White's spacewalk -- Linus Torvalds wouldn't even be born for another 4 1/2 years, and the first version of Linux wouldn't even be available for another 26 years -- we thought it would be fun to put a reflection of Linux mascot Tux in White's visor. The cover image is from NASA, and was "enhanced" by Meemaw. Afterall, Debian Linux replaced Windows on the ISS back in May 2013 to run key features aboard the space station. So, we're sure that if it had been available, Linux would have had a prominent place in the space program of that era.
Until next month, I bid you peace, happiness, serenity and prosperity.