Every year, we try to hit the local Revolutionary War Encampment that happens the last weekend in February. One year, Pamela made a corn-husk doll. Last year, Steve joined us and we had a blast. As always, we met some wonderful people and learned a lot. Last year, I checked out the evening lantern walk and determined that Pamela would love it. We didn't go this year because the weather was so awful. The daytime encampment has twenty different stations, and every year we focus on something new.
Swinging is good for Pamela's vestibular system and makes her feel calm and happy. Before we headed over, Pamela put herself into a great mood. When she was young, stimulating the vestibular system in the inner ear kept her regulated.
One thing we did differently was the book of centuries. Pamela recorded two things that impressed her: the firing of the blunderbuss and the stocks. She refused to get into the stocks herself, even after I volunteered myself for it.
Pamela enjoyed trying out the butter churn, and she definitely had visions of Mary and Laura Ingalls churning butter in one of her favorite books of all time, Little House in the Big Woods. The butter churn was at a station guided by Peggy, who had a soft, deliberate, gentle way of speaking. She caught on right away to talk even more slowly and limit her language with Pamela. At first, Pamela wanted to flit from one thing to another: the churn, a table set with food, pewter, and wooden plates, naturally-dyed yarn, jars of ingredients to make the dye, and dyed material left to hang and dry. Pamela wanted to sit, so I gave her some cotton to hold, reminding her of the slavery books we are reading right now.
After Pamela stood up, Peggy slowly talked to her about the beautiful indigo scarf. She bought the silk scarf at a thrift store and dyed it with indigo. She asked Pamela if she would like to wear it and Pamela agreed. Before we left, Pamela gave Peggy a hug and I'm not sure Peggy realized how rarely Pamela hugs a total stranger.
Pamela always stops at this trading post. She loves feeling the animal fur and exploring the trinkets and junk. This year, the claws left on some of the fur caught her eye!
Sometimes all that is needed is a little bit of patience. We found a huge crowd at the quilter's tent, so Pamela sat on a chair and waited for her turn. After that group cleared out, Pamela had the guide, Pat, all to herself. Pat knows how to adapt to lefties, so she stood in front of Pamela rather than to her side to demonstrate how to weave the needle around the edge of a circle in a series of double humps.
I applied the same technique with Pamela that I use to teach her knitting. I held the material with my right hand, while she learned to work the needle with her lefthand. She and I muddled through making the yo-yo pinned to her shirt. A plastic template is an even easier way to make yo-yo's if we ever get serious about making a coverlet or decorative touches. After we got home, I was watching the video demo from the PBS show Nancy's Notions and Pamela asked, "Is it Nancy?" As a connoisseur of PBS, Pamela is already familiar with the show.
Occasionally, we meet people who don't get our "slow is better" and "less is more" approach. I'm not going to tell you which person it was because I appreciate the time everyone devotes to helping us learn about the Revolutionary War. One guide realized early into the rapid-fire spiel that Pamela wasn't following. I came alongside and tried gently guiding the guide by example. It didn't work. Unlike Peggy, this guide didn't follow my lead at all. In fact, when I slowed down and we explored things together, I would ask Pamela wondering questions (a la Steve Burns in Blues Clues). If Pamela didn't answer quickly enough, the guide would say the answer for her. Sigh. The person didn't seem to understand that sometimes it is better to wonder and enjoy the guessing game than it is to get it right the first time. Maybe, we'll have better luck with the impatient one next year.
A Yo-Yo Block
Talking about Quilt Blocks
Directions for Making a Yo-Yo
Guiding Making a Yo-Yo