Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Simon In 1 Million Words Or Less

We got a homework assignment on Simon's first day of school. The assignment was called "Describe Your Child In A Million Words Or Less". The purpose of the assignment was to let the teacher get to know your child. I wrote it, and Faith finally read it today, and thought that I should post it here. So here it its.

Simon was born at 10:02 p.m. on January 9th, 2004. Due to the time zones, his grandmother in Ohio still believes he was born on January 10th, because it was 1:30 a.m. on January 10th in Ohio when she received the news. To this day, she still calls on January 10th to wish him a happy birthday.
Simon was born in Redmond, Oregon, and then taken home to Sisters, Oregon. He lived in a house on at a Forest Service ranger station, where his mom worked. His dad worked for the Forest Service in Bend, Oregon at the time. His family had a dog named Oscar and two cats, Miko and Cassidy. There was a dog door that led to the back yard, which was right against the forest. The cat Miko loved her family, and was constantly bringing proof of her love through the dog door. One night when Simon was around 3 months old, his parents were awoken by Simon screaming in a way they had never heard him scream before. They rushed into his room to discover that Miko had tried to show her love for Simon by placing a mouse in his crib with him. Unfortunately, the mouse was still alive, very scared, and had very sharp teeth. Simon was bit on his upper lip just below his nose. His very scared mom called his pediatrician in the middle of night, and was told that mice can’t communicate diseases through their bite, and as long as he didn’t need stitches, there was no reason to bring him to the hospital. Simon still has a small scar under his nose, and still claims to remember being bit by the mouse.
Life progressed normally for Simon after that. He took a vacation to Hawaii with his parents in February and March of 2005. While he claims to remember being bit by a mouse when he was 3 months old, he claims no memory of his trip to Hawaii. The Forest Service is a family friendly business, and Simon went to work with his mom for the first year of his life. This made him very comfortable around other people, as he was constantly being held and played with by people that would rather play with a baby than work. Simon’s dad’s sister is a speech pathologist and convinced Simon’s parents to teach him sign language, starting when he was about 8 month old. Communication with Simon became possible much earlier than he could talk, though he stopped using it as his ability to speak progressed. In November of 2005 Simon was blessed with a younger brother, Dylan. Remembering the problems his grandmother had with Simon’s birthday, his parents chose to call his grandmother in the middle of the day, and tell her explicitly what day Dylan was born. Simon was very enamored with his new brother, and tried to help do everything to take care of him. The cats had to go live at new homes after Dylan was born. They were very confused by the new baby, and started marking territory inside the house, something they had never done when Simon was a baby. The cats were replaced by a new dog, Moses. Simon instantly declared Moses his dog, and accepted the responsibility to feed him when he was about two years old. It took him some time to learn that feeding the dog did not mean giving him his unwanted food from meals, but he took to his new responsibilities very easily. He still claims that feeding the dogs is his job, and can get quite upset when somebody else does it.
Simon’s parents decided they did not want him raised by a day care, so Simon’s mom quit her job shortly after Dylan was born. This gave Simon even more exposure to other people, as his mother was constantly taking him to play with other children in the area. He developed a very outgoing personality, and is not scared to talk to whoever he sees, despite his parents’ warnings about strangers. He makes friends effortlessly, and has a new best friend every time he goes to the park.
In 2006 Simon’s dad took a job at a remote guard station in South Eastern Oregon. This meant his dad was gone for two weeks at a time, then home for one or two days, and then gone for two weeks again. Simon is very close to his dad, and this was a very hard time for him. His dad came home for good at the end of the summer, but had to leave the very next day on a wild land fire assignment. Simon was very distraught, and developed a minor case of alopecia. His pediatrician said it was probably due to stress of some form. While he grew all of his hair back, for the next year he would still start to lose his hair when his dad left on fire assignments. This has cleared up in the past two years, as he is able to better understand why his dad has to leave, though he still gets very upset when his dad leaves.
Simon’s dad accepted a new job in Republic, Washington in 2007, and the family moved in August of that year. They lived in a hotel for two months until they found a home to move into. Living in a hotel with two kids and two dogs that were near 100 pounds in size each was very difficult. The dogs went to stay with an old family friend in Curlew until they could find a house to live in. Todd, the family friend, told Simon’s dad one day that he had never seen a dog scale an eight foot tall fence before. Moses was a very good escape artist. Unfortunately he escaped one day and was hit by a car and killed. Simon’s parents explained to Simon about his dog, and he accepted Moses’ death as a natural part of life. Against his parents’ better judgment, they got a new dog a few months later, and named him Arlo. Simon started pre-school in 2007. Due to the fact he was living in a hotel at the time he started pre-school, this apparently classified him as homeless, and he was placed into the ECAP program. Simon did very well in pre-school, making even more friends. He stayed in pre-school for two years because of his age, and was very excited to start kindergarten and spend the whole day at school.
Simon is very close to his extended family, and is constantly trying to convince his parents to drive to Idaho “for just a little while” so he can see his grandparents that live in South Eastern Idaho. He loves playing outside, whether just playing outside at home, or going out to the woods to splash in a creek. He started playing golf with his dad in 2009, and gets very excited whenever they can go play. He is a self styled vegetarian, and his parents are still trying to figure out where he heard the word and how he figured out that it applied to him, though he uses it correctly, and very rarely eats meat. Simon may be the only boy in the world that is told he needs to eat something other than salad and vegetables at dinner time. His favorite color is yellow, and his favorite movies are the Star Wars series. He has a very active imagination, and is constantly playing some sort of make-believe with his brother Dylan. Simon is very close to Dylan, and tends to mope when Dylan is taking a nap and can’t play with him. Simon will talk incessantly given the opportunity, and answer any question posed to him. He is very analytical, and a very good problem solver. Teaching him sign language at a young age helped his communication skills greatly, and he is usually able to use his words to communicate his feelings, but he still gets frustrated at times and stops using words to communicate, and starts using actions which may not be appropriate for the situation. He accepts responsibility for his actions easily, though, and is very quick to calm down and start using words again. He loves jokes, and fancies himself quite the comedian, making up jokes almost daily at home. He loves to laugh, and his laughter is very infectious.

In other news, I went over to my friend Jay's house tonight. Jay is a retired Forest Service guy, he worked in fire supervising a helicopter and a helitack crew, then went into timber after he got sick and couldn't do fire anymore. Jay is a...I don't know, like a hobbyist woodworker that does professional quality work. The upshoot is that he builds guitars and banjos. So I went over to his place tonight and talked about building a banjo. We talked about what kind of wood to use, what kind of metal to use for the tone ring and support for the neck, and everything else I would need to build a banjo. Jay has four banjos that he has built, and one guitar, and another guitar that is almost done, and about 4 or 5 other banjos in various states of completion. I got a list of all the wood I'll need, and some metal I'll need to build other parts. I'm really excited about building a banjo. We'll start the "pot", the round part that the head of the banjo stretches over and produces the sound, as soon as I get the wood. We'll start the pot at Jay's house, then I'll bring it home with very explicit instructions on how to add the different layers of it. I'll take pictures and post them as the project progresses. Instead of a store bought head for the banjo we're going to use a real hide, which I thought produces a better sound after playing Jay's homemade banjos. After the pot is done, we'll make the neck, and I'll buy tuner pegs to put onto the head. Then we'll put a fingerboard on, that's the part with the frets on it. After that's on, we'll do an inlay. Jay has two different kinds of inlays that he knows how to do, one just round rings made out of tire stem valves with pearl inlayed into the center of them, and he also knows how to do an inlay of vines made out of veneer with flowers made out of pearl. We'll see how the cost is when we get to that point, but I'm thinking tire stem valves with pearl will probably be what I do. That's about it, hope everybody's doing well.

1 comment:

Quast Family said...

What a great story about Simon. Have you ever thought of writing books or short stories for publication? That will be fun to make your own banjo. Do you know how to play? I can't remember if you took guitar lessons. Anthony is having fun with his although he would like the lessons to move along quicker. He is ready to be playing songs he has picked out.