The Importance of Video for our Children

We live in a state where technology surrounds us.  It is a part of all that we do. Quicker access to take pictures, and video, of our daily lives seem trivial to some.  But, as we are getting back into the swing of things, this state is not lost on me. In fact, I noticed something last night that made me pause. Something awesome.

In the middle of archiving a video that we shot a few weeks ago, I decided to watch it. Normally, I do not do this. I just drag it to the archive, wait for the prompt to finish and move on. But, I double clicked, and it played. Having some time, I decided to sit back and watch the video play.  I listened as my beloved narrated the scene, and watched as Zoey and David played.  Their laughter filled my ears.  I listened as Zoey ‘spoke’ with David about the tower they were building. Upon hearing this, I was startled. I sat up and rewound it. Playing it over and over again. With each repeat of Zoey’s ‘speech’ a smile broadened upon my face.
Zoey building a tower for the videoDavid getting ready for a video about building a tower

Why did Zoey’s ‘speech’ on the video cause me to pause?

I reference Zoey’s speech abilities with quotes here because, well. Let’s talk about that for a second. Due to the structural issues that Zoey was born with, due to her Craniosynostosis, things like eating and speech have never come easy to her. We have been thankful that David, since very early on, seems to be able to understand her, perhaps even better than we do.

But that is the thing. Kati and I can often understand what Zoey is trying to say. We live in this world where many around us look to us with a perplexed smile as they wait for us to decipher.  We roll with it. But, we often lose sight of the advancement she is making.  Watching this video, I realized that in just the last few weeks some astonishing advancements have been made.

It caused me to reflect to the other night.  After cleaning up the dishes from dinner, I handed Zoey a bowl of ice cream. As I stepped away from the table a sweet sound came from behind me.  My daughter saying, clear as day, “thank you daddy”.

Why the video we take is important to us?

The videos that we are capturing are not for vanity. They are to show us the steps that our children are taking. They are moments in time, forever captured, to show where they are.  Down the line, we can reflect at where they have been, and see the huge strides they have made along the way. These videos are the archive of our successes, and failures, as we teach our children how to…

Live big, love bigger, and be kind, always.

No More Monkeys


Swings, goldfish, and stories. Speech has become a big highlight for Z every week. How can you not like swings and goldfish? The chosen book: 5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. She learned a few more buttons on the device today too.

ALD Evaluation

Last Monday we took a family trip to a VCUHS satellite location that is dedicated to children’s therapy. This was the day before the eye surgery, and I mentally set it aside afterward to focus on the procedure. At the therapy center, Zoey was evaluated by an OT, a speech pathologist, and a training therapist for an assisted learning device. It’s essentially a tablet that is specifically designed to assist kids who have trouble with speech. It’s programmed with a system that provides spoken phrases using finger muscle memory in a series of keypads, much like typing on a keyboard. I was almost teary-eyed watching Zoey get so excited about her sudden, new-found vocabulary. As I worked on paperwork for the purchase order, she was eagerly searching for the words for all the zoo animals that were on the puzzle in front of her. Meanwhile, Cranio Dad was on David duty, and got his full workout as a jungle gym and tag partner. Unfortunately we won’t get a home device for ourselves for a long time. The full process of paperwork traveling from therapist to doctor to insurance to device provider, before the device is finally shipped to us, is estimated to take 3-4 months. Slightly longer than ideal, but I am so excited for Zoey to have some new encouragement in expressing herself. Personally, I can also only say the same word so many times anymore before my patience goes out the window. If Zoey can carry around a device that helps her develop her words more consistently while also communicating with others, score for all of us!

Toastmasters

One of my very good friends asked me a few months ago if I would be interested in joining Toastmasters. For those of you that do not know, Toastmasters is a group that focuses on helping people become leaders and work on their public presentations and speaking. I strongly advise ANY who read this to look into it…. or if you are interested ask me about it! I decided to join and I thoroughly enjoy going to the meetings.  I knew that I had to give my first speech at some point, but I was struggling to find a topic that I wanted to speak about.  The first speech is an icebreaker and the main goal was leaving the speech with the people in the room knowing more about me then before.   Anyway, after much internal debate I settled on speaking about this blog, the reason behind it, and how it got started. That is right everyone, the readers became the muse, and it went splendidly. I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to this community. Many of us often forget what an awesome thing that it is to be able to publicly speak our minds without restriction or censoring. Thank you to those that post, and to those that read. I cannot speak on behalf of everyone, but it is important to me to know that I have a place to get out the fears of my inadequacies pertaining to my pending fatherhood. Perhaps there are other dads out there that are finding some strength in the words here. Perhaps there are other guys out there willing to face the fear of putting it all out there that we, as men not as boys, ARE scared sometimes about being a dad… who knows? Giving this speech tonight reminded me of how good it feels to post my fears, my thoughts, and even my joys. In this week of playing catch up…. I think that giving this speech was just the spark I needed to help me get back on the rails of this crazy ride and keep going. That being said, I have to be at work way too early in the morning… I AM GOING TO BE A DAD, I am scared out of my mind, and I am still going to keep posting because the storm may get worse… but it is worth it.