Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Just like normal

Victor unrolled his first roll of toilet paper last night and even tasted it a bit.  He also discovered kitchen drawers and explored the contents of the lower drawers, almost pinching his fingers in the pushing and pulling. Sound like normal childhood behavior? You bet. And I may or may not have let him do all of the above while an arm's reach away, watching, just because it was that - normal. I love to see him being "normal" even when it's Trouble with a capital T. Sometimes I think his biggest problem is not that he's blind but that he's normal.

I know you're not supposed to use the word normal. But let's be real, we're all thinking it. When I'm asked what Victor is doing, we all know it means in comparison to a non-blind child of his age (read: normal).

And so I give you an update on the normal and not-so-normal things that Victor is up to these days.

He is definitely toddling around. He amazes us with how he can walk around the house without walking into anything. But then other times he will walk right into a cabinet. Items on the floor will always trip him up, but they can also be invitations for trouble, if they are boxes to be opened and explored or shoes to be eaten. One thing he enjoys doing is walking toward the front storm door when the inside door is open. It is a full window storm door and we believe it is the light that draws him there. If he is seeing light and dark it would also help to explain how he can walk down the hallway without hitting the side walls, or why he can walk through doorways without bumping into the doorframe. he does seem to have some trouble balancing and still falls frequently but we have no doubt that he'll learn to compensate for the lack of sight. His physical therapist says he is doing so well that she is probably only going to come for one more session and then her time with Victor is finished. That will be a bittersweet goody-bye.

His speech and communication are beginning to develop also. He is starting to make more sounds and to try to say words like dada, mama, down and door. They don't sound exactly like what they are supposed to be, but he is trying. He does say "uh oh" very clearly, especially when he falls down or drops a toy. He knows how to growl like a lion and makes a panting noise for the dog (who he likes to follow around and terrorize). He does try to copy a lot of the sounds we make. He also uses some sign language but hasn't been as quick to pick it up as our other children, presumably because he can't see what we're doing; he can only feel the motion we do with his hands. He was evaluated by a speech therapist who does think that he could use some help to catch up so she's going to start seeing him once a month. You don't realize how much of speech is connected to what you can see. He's also going to begin to see an occupational therapist every other week.

Victor is such a fighter and has frequent temper tantrums. I believe it is a combination of normal toddler behavior with the added frustration of not being able to see. When I become discouraged with yet another tantrum, or embarrassed by his actions in front of others, I remind myself that it is that same fighting spirit that kept him alive during his first moments and months of life. And then the next minute he is so loving. He gives hugs and makes a kissing noise. he likes to rock in the rocking chair and if we stop for too long he makes a sound like, ahhhhh, which means that we are supposed to keep rocking. He does the same thing when he wants us to sing his night-time song.

He loves music (whew!). His favorite songs are If You're Happy and You Know It and Head and Shoulders. If he wants us to sing the first one, he just starts clapping or stomping his feet and we know which verse we are to sing. If he wants us to sing the second he points to his head. He also knows several other body parts like his belly and his ears (because Isaac taught him to cover his ears when he hears a loud noise). He points to himself when we ask, "Where's Victor?"

Mostly he's loved like any other baby of the family. Just like normal.


  1. Thanks for the update! I love reading all the silly "normal" kid things he's doing and it brings a smile to my face. He's a sweet little boy! :)

  2. Thanks for the update. We should make plans to go to PA soon.

    Debbie F