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From a child's point of view....

Zac attending "Tool Kit TM" presentation in
the "nest" he created for himself. April 1, 2000.

I always end up hitting people if they stand too close to me. I’m a disaster area! I can’t see them so I don’t know they’re there. I might put my elbow up and out to the side by my ear, maybe I’m scratching or I might hit them in the chin when I’m stretching.

The last time this happened, the teacher in room 11 stood at the back of my chair. I guess she was watching for mistakes or something. I didn’t have a clue she was there (hey, maybe she was spying on me. She’d made a good spy if the enemy was sitting in a chair working on a social studies paper.) Anyway, I lifted by head up to rest and PHISH– I hit her, somewhere near the stomach, a soft hit. She said "Say excuse me! but I said "Sorry". I think you should say "sorry" when you hit someone. Excuse me is just a nice way of saying "MOVE OUT OF THE WAY NOW!!" But I’m sorry is the short way of saying "I didn’t mean to hit you" and stuff like that.

In general, I’m very clumsy. I hate being clumsy– it’s annoying. Sometimes I accidently hit people I like. Or I fall on them. Sometimes I drop plates – Oh my GOSH is that every embarrassing!!" Once, when I was borrowing my dad’s sleeping bag for a camping trip at my summer camp, I was walking around in it pretending to be a big blue slug while I made trench toast with my mom. I had batter in my hands one minute – you know that batter is made out of eggs – and then I dropped it, bowl and all. The bowl broke. Batter went all over me! I dripped all over my knees and feet and splashed up my stomach. The real problem was I had Dad’s sleeping bag on my feet and knees and stomach!! I needed to leave for the camping trip in 1 hour. There wasn’t time to wash the sleeping bag so we had to run out and buy a new sleeping bag at Target, the only store that was opened that early on a Sunday.

The morale of the story is – while they say three feet is a good space to keep between normal people, five feet is more like it for us clumsy kids. You’d think people would remember I’d done all those clumsy things and stay back but they don’t. Maybe I’ll wear a shirt that says "Go away! I’m gonna blow and I don’t mean in anger I mean in energy! My body will fly all over the place and eventually hit someone and that someone could be YOU!" or maybe, instead of "E=MC2" I could write on my shirts, "E-ME2 – so WATCH OUT!"

It gets pretty funny at my house. One night my mom was putting me to bed and she said "Goodnight" and bent down to give me a goodnight kiss.

I stuck my hand up to hug her back but I accidentally punched her in the head. I reached out to say I was sorry and I poked her in the eye. We were laughing so hard and would you believe it that I head butted her in the nose! We laughed really hard then. I sometimes think there should be an announcer that follows me around saying "Embarrassing Funny Moments will be Right Back After a word from our Sponsors."

Following the April California Tool Kit workshop, Zac's mother Rondalyn Whitney, president of SHARE a non profit organization for NLD wrote:

"... We have re-done our office spaces to model the nest etc. It is so much cooler now. We have the clinic with a "womb space" or nest (blue pillows, terrifically comfy rug sectioned in the corner) and the other smaller room we've decorated as the Brain Power area and the Mother space. Mother space has a draped periwinkle curtain and two inflatable chairs (more stuff to come) but it's very cool. Zac said 'This place looks authentic now'."

Another time I dropped a bowl of berries all over the kitchen floor within minutes of my mom finishing mopping it. If you look in our family’s photo album, you’ll see me standing there looking at a floor covered with berries and berry juice. I’m standing in the pictures with my hands on my head, my mouth dropped open properly screaming and looking down at the mess. I have the look on my face like food aliens have invaded my house. I know that at some people’s houses the mom screams "GO TO YOUR ROOM YOU LITTLE BRAT" but in my house the mom goes and gets the camera – just taking a record of my childhood.

Three pages before my pictures of the Berry Alien Invasion are some pictures of my dad, my dad who had put a little bit too much of the wrong kind of soap into the dishwasher and OOPS! it bubbled like heck. I wish we had made a video of it. I wouldn’t mind duplicating that and recording it this time and having our very own showing of "World’s Funniest Videos" in our living room. The bubbles were coming out of the dishwasher and down all the cabinets. Dad was standing in the bubbles, looking up innocently as if saying, "Oh Yeah? Nothing happened, don’t worry about a thing." He’s holding a sponge mop in the pictures but it won’t do him any good because the bubbles keep coming and there’s already a lot of them on the floor. He’s got a small sponge.

Usually, being a disaster isn’t always funny. At the time, it’s actually very embarrassing. But later, when I think about it, it’s hilarious and I can laugh. Hee hee hee hee Heh heh heh.

Zac Whitney is a 4th grader in California. He was diagnosed with NLD (None Verbal Learning Disabilities) when he was in kindergarten. He loves to write creative stores. To learn more about NLD go to www.nld.com.

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