More questions from kids

April 23, 2015 • Posted in blindness, Dora, questions kids ask, Seeing Eye dogs, Uncategorized, visiting schools by

My sister Bev’s grandson is a kindergartner in Caledonia, Michigan, and when we were visiting there this week, young Bryce was kind enough to share his Great Aunt Beth and Whitney with his fellow kindergartners and first-graders at Paris Ridge Elementary School.

Bryce's class was full of questions.

Bryce’s class was full of questions.

Teachers read Safe & Sound to all the kids before we arrived, so they were all set with questions when we got there. Some examples?

  • How do you go to bed?
  • Does your dog drive?
  • Can you take a taxi with your dog?
  • How can you see if you’re blind?
  • What if the taxi driver has allergies?
  • Does your dog like getting a bath?

That last question gave me a chance to explain that Seeing Eye trainers encourage us to brush our dogs every day. “I lift her ear flaps to check her ears when I’m brushing her, too,” I said. “If they smell bad, that lets me know she might have an ear infection,” I said. When I brush her, I feel her coat, too, so I’ll know if she has any lumps or bumps that the veterinarian needs to check out.”

Back to that question about baths. Seeing Eye dogs are almost always on leash, so they don’t get into mud puddles and stuff like that. “And if we brush them every day, they never really need a bath.”

The question made me remember the one and only time one of my Seeing Eye dogs did need a bath, and for some reason I decided to tell the kids how that happened. “I was on a city bus with my first dog, Pandora, and someone a few rows ahead of us threw up,” I said. After pausing for a chorus of Eeeeeeooooooos from the audience, I continued. ”The puke seeped under the seat from the front of the bus to the back, and it got all over my dog. She really needed a bath that time!” I heard a chorus of “uh-huhs and “she sure dids” that time. The questions went on from there.

  • Does Bryce ever get to pet your dog?
  • When is it okay for your dog to disobey you?
  • I just want to say, I have a dog who is blind.
  • I think I saw you when I was in Chicago. Was that you?

And finally, my favorite of the day :

  • So, you know, when your dog had to take a bath that time, what color was the throw up?
bigdebby On April 23, 2015 at 1:05 pm

My husband spoke to my middle school class…and one of my students kept waving his hand in front of him to test his blindness . Quite inappropriate yet quite funny. About 25 years ago. ?

bethfinke On April 23, 2015 at 6:13 pm

25 years ago, and you still remember. That’s saying something!

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Bev On April 23, 2015 at 2:20 pm

Bryce was quite proud to have his Great Aunt Beth and Whitney come to his school. He and his classmates thought both Aunt Beth and Whitney were funny. Not sure that’s what you wanted them to get out of the presentation but hey, you left wanting more.

bethfinke On April 23, 2015 at 6:17 pm

Oh, yes! Love that we’ve left Bryce and his schoolmates thinking we’re funny. It wouldn’t be right for them to think we’re serious or sad. We’re always happy when we get to talk with thoughtful, curious kids like the ones at Paris Ridge School.

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Nancy B On April 23, 2015 at 8:20 pm

OK, I laughed out loud at last question. Nothing like a kid using “throw up” as a noun.

bethfinke On April 24, 2015 at 9:34 am

…and I guess it didn’t dawn on her that I couldn’t *see* to know what color it was!

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bigdebby On April 23, 2015 at 8:33 pm

I can share funny stories with kids growing up with a blind parent. So funny, so special…and so loving. This may not be the appropriate venue for such a post….yikes, there is no such venue!, I apologize .

bethfinke On April 24, 2015 at 9:38 am

I’ve said it before, and will say it again: you need to start your own blog, bigdebby. Or, write a book! I do know of one children’s book written by a mom who is blind. Sally Alexander wrote it in her daughter Leslie’s point-of-view, and it’s called “Mom Can’t See Me.” Ryan Nighton (sp.?), a writer in Canada, also got attention for writing a couple books/essays about being blind and razing his daughter. Check ’em out!

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Pam Berman On April 24, 2015 at 8:47 am

I laughed out loud when I read this. OMG! I have a 3 year old niece who loves poop stories & I just forwarded your post to her mom, grandma & my partner Mary. I love kids and they do have the darndest things to say. (smile) I think you & I have a very similar sense of humor; I still laugh when I hear you mention your children’s book “Long Time No Pee”….what a great title…lol

bethfinke On April 24, 2015 at 9:39 am

Gee, and I don’t think that title has been used by anyone else yet. I’d better get writing.

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bigdebby On April 24, 2015 at 4:59 pm

A funny story…. When our kids were 3/4 ish.; they kept showing Daddy their artwork, and I regularly reminded them that they had to tell Daddy about the picture. They didn’t seem to “get it” yet their little friends did seem to understand. David and I talked about it. I was out one evening and upon my return, Dacid was washing dishes and Becky, our older daughter was sitting right in front of him and had just polished off a bag of marshmallows! My response….” David, she gets it!!!”

bethfinke On April 24, 2015 at 5:15 pm

Marshmellows= no sound. She was a genius.

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ojdoherty On April 25, 2015 at 3:27 am

So so funny! This made me laugh a lot.

bethfinke On April 25, 2015 at 11:34 pm

Oh, Jen, that means a lot to me. Especially knowing all the funny –and thoughtful –questions you’ve received from kids you and OJ have visited in Northern Ireland over the years. Thanks for the comment.

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Mel Theobald On April 27, 2015 at 10:30 am

All these comments are so hilarious, I can’t tell which one made me smile the most…the color of throw up, the silent marshmallow eater or “tell Daddy about the picture.” Beth, I’m always fascinated when you talk about art. It is kind of like John Gage’s “The sound of silence.” It is so profound to me as an artist to read your thoughts on that subject. BUT, returning to the classroom, how did you answer the question, “Does your dog (Whitney) drive?” That was one of my favorites.

bethfinke On April 27, 2015 at 10:47 am

Always love your comments, Mel. As for Whitney driving, I never, ever laugh at a question a child asks. When kids ask how I’m able to drive, or, this time, does my dog drive, I use it as an opportunity to explain why it is Mike and I chose to live in our particular neighborhood in Chicago. I describe how close we live to bus stops, el stops and the commuter train stations and that if all else fails, cabs regularly drive down our street (hence the questions about cab drivers). In the end, I acknowledged that Whitney can’t drive, but a lot of people who live in our neighborhood can see, and they are able to drive, but they don’t use cars, either. “It’s expensive to park, and it’s pretty easy to get around without driving a car.”

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Deborah Darsie On May 25, 2015 at 6:59 pm

Fabulous glimpse at yet another group of kids and their inquiring minds.
So many earnest questions and some very unique takes on some of the ‘routine’ ones.

I always read the responses to the posts I comment on, some quite thought provoking as well.

bethfinke On May 25, 2015 at 8:14 pm

Glad to hear someone reads the thread of comments — I find them interesting, too. Your reward? I plan on publishing a post this week about a school Whitney and I visited Friday –every kid there was the child of parents who immigrated to the US.

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