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pig bubbles — be discreet!

March 23, 2010

Last week I wrote about my sister’s eye-gaze computer, but I want to say a bit about my last visit to Connecticut, to put the way that the assistive technology works (or doesn’t) in better perspective.

After 4 weeks of being thwarted by a cold (can’t bring a cold there), then a snowstorm, then a cold (see previous parenthetical), then a snowstorm, we left last Tuesday and returned last Wednesday. As always, the visit was crazy and hard and nice and too short.

When we arrived, Beth’s computer was offline and she wanted me to check to see whether it was the modem or the wireless or the computer.

I was experimenting with no luck while halfway relying on Amelia (Beth’s daughter, Henry’s cousin) to watch Henry. I forget sometimes that she is only four. They are deeply in love. Cousin love.

Amelia adores babies but as always, Henry was torn between his devotion to his favorite humans and his zeal for consumer electronics, so he trucks on over to see what I’m doing and how he can get in on the action. Then he starts banging the keyboard I’m using with the flat of his meaty little hand.

I’m trying to get him to stop doing this, and to stop gnawing bits off of a rubber ball, and to stop speedcrawling towards the stairs, when I realize that he’s actually managed to call up the Barnes and Noble website. Due to one small act of violence on his part, we’re online again. But by this time, it’s time for Beth to get a massage.

During the massage we needed to leave the room and find some other entertainment, so I decided to give Amelia and Henry a bath together. This is a total blast, despite the peeing.

Then Kathy, the massage therapist, comes in, and she says “Pig bubbles. Be discreet. That’s what Beth’s screen says. It says ‘Pig bubbles. Be discreet.'”

Hmm. Many of Beth’s notes are cryptic, either because of their necessary brevity (since one eye working all the time gets tired), or because the computer is not correctly calibrated, or because it’s hard to type what you want when there is a predictive technology trying to finish thoughts for you.

Eventually we puzzle out that Beth wants me to get PICS of the kids in the bath together, and that for maximum effect it should be a bubble bath, and perhaps that it should also be a bubble bath for maximum discretion, since everyone in the tub is naked, as is customary during baths in the United States of America.

“Beth is the queen of cameras,” one of Beth’s helpers commented the other day. No, I corrected, Beth is the dictator of cameras.

I have never eaten a hot meal in her presence, because once you are together, it is an occasion. So once a meal is cooked and on the table, you have to make it look just a bit nicer, then get the camera, then pass the camera around so that everyone is in the photo, in different versions. Actually! We need more than one camera! One for prints and one for right now.

See, dictator.

But since she can’t leave her bed, it allows her to see the kids together in the tub. And thanks to her, things have been documented in a way that they would not normally be.

We eventually did start with fresh water and make the bath a bubble bath, but that was too overwhelming for the baby.

I mean the bubbles, not the idea of a urine-free tub, though I guess you never know.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. marie permalink
    March 28, 2010 6:57 pm

    i love this story for many reasons…one of which it perfectly illustrates how ridiculous (eye-typos?) yet wonderful (EYE-TYPOS! as in, they are better than not being ABLE TO MAKE a typo!) it is that beth communicates with the eye-gaze computer. it also just makes me super sad to think she can only see the kiddies in the tub with the camera. i just gave my girls a bath tonight and bree refused to sit while elle took up the whole tub so that there was no chance of me getting bree to sit–which made me rather crabby. but i should just have been happy i was watching their insanity in person. hope that makes sense.

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