Monday, July 18, 2011

Tide Pooling with Little Margo, more than just a slippery step.

We are walking over the tide pool areas, we have been carefully stepping over the rocks, and through the seaweed and looking into puddles of water for the past 40 minutes or so.  Margo has already tumbled once, and is now holding my hand with every step.  Aria, her friend is gliding from place to place, "Margo look over here, a blue banded crab", and then she moves to another spot, Margo is barely able to catch up to the last spot.  Finally the words come out, "I don't want to be a land marine biologist, I want to be the diving kind."  And then she trudges on, trying to manage the rocky, slippery footsteps, and take a moment to look at the wonder of the living sea creatures hiding in each little pool.  We are at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve at Moss Beach

I am glad she is enjoying herself despite the difficult journey to get from one place to the next.  We see all kinds of wonder...the bat star fish, the big purple starfish, both alive, both clinging to the rocks, or relaxed in the pools of the ocean water.  Margo is bending over and touching every see anenimi she passes by, and there are lots of them.  We walk closer to the edge of the platform, where the rocks meet the incoming tide...and now we find little eels, and limpets, and even sea grass, and little crabs that live in the grass.  These two little creatures are holding on, until the tide returns and covers them.  They will need to wait a few more hours for sure.  About 15 more minutes have passed, and now Margo was ready to return to the car, asking us to walk back to the sandy beach, where she can manage the gravity.  Aria and her brother are still engaged in the adventure and study of the little sea creatures...Margo has had it with unsteady walking and slipping and holding onto me, her mom, with every step she takes.  What do I do????

I see the rangers talking, not too far from where we are standing, so I separate myself from my daughter and go to speak with the rangers.  I think I look a little desperate...I really am desperate because I want Margo to enjoy the tide pools and the treasures they hold, but I do not anticipate all the extra energy she needs to just walk around without tripping.  I never remember it being that difficult...but then again I did not struggle with balance either when I was young.  So I approach the rangers and quickly explain "My daughter has a developmental motor planning and balance disability which makes it extremely difficult for her to step through the tide pool area.  I am not as sure footed as I would like to be while helping her, and well, she is not enjoying the beauty out here.  In fact her dream is to become a Marine Biologist, but right now she is about to give up on the whole adventure.  Can you come alongside and help her get re-engaged into the beauty of this place?"  Neither hesitate to offer help, in fact one of them says, "Oh I remember her, she is the one who needed help crossing the stepping stones to the beach, sure I can help out."  Thank God for Ranger Laura, she comes right up to Margo and starts to show her some of the little animals to see, and the next thing you know, Ranger Laura takes Margo by the hand and they begin to walk, watch and talk.  Margo relaxes, she is walking with someone more sure footed than her mother, and someone who teaches her about the sea and its environment.

Margo wants to go to the sea caves she observes, and Ranger Laura thinks that is a great idea, and off they go.  Soon the other little kids who had started this journey with us, come to Margo and Ranger Laura, to discover along side them.  Margo is relaxing and talking about the ocean, and the shells, and the little blue banded crabs.  And Ranger Laura stops, bends down and points out the interesting tide pool animals they can see.  It continues on like that for almost an hour, and at last Ranger Laura and Margo are walking back on the sandy beach.  There Ranger Laura explains why the harbor seals need space for safety...and then she pulls out her binoculars for Aria and Margo to get a look.  It is fun....they watch the young harbor seals jump into the cove and swim, and play with each other. 

Soon Ranger Laura is called to check on some other area of the tide pools and we walk back to cross over to the other side of the creek.  My boot is soaked in the creek, as I slipped off the rock...Margo is clamoring on a fallen tree.  At first she wants me to help her across the fallen tree, but no I say, you can do this, just keep crawling to the other side.  After a few minutes, she starts making progress, and before you know it she is safe on the other side.  Land oh Land, Margo is on solid land, and happily reflects upon a wonderful day.

It is a great day, Margo keeps going, yeah she complains, because she is tired, and anxious about falling on the hard rocks of the tide pools.  The best part came because I was at the end of my rope, and asked for help... there was Ranger Laura!  I love the ocean, and the tide pools, and I am so glad I can share this adventure with my little Margo.  Thank you Gia for the ride, and thank you Ranger Laura for Margo's personal tour and your gentle hand holding while you both walk across the slippery rocks.

I am going to trust that there will be other Ranger Lauras in Margo's life to help her, as she stumbles across a rocky path from time to time...

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