Friday, May 31, 2013

Seven Quick Takes of Things that Annoy Me, but Also Why I'm Still Happy in Italics (Run-on Titles FTW!)

--- 1 ---
"They are the sweetest people!"
This sentence has been like nails on a chalkboard to me lately, and honestly, given that it is said with generosity and appreciation for the value of people who have Down syndrome, I couldn't understand why. Then I read something where the author underlined that sometimes this can dismiss the humanity of a person with Down syndrome. "They" can be difficult, grouchy, uncooperative and down right nasty sometimes. Just like all of us. It's all those dimensions, the bad and the good, that make us fully human. Reducing a group of people to "sweetness" is stereotyping, and stereotyping discounts the wonderful intricate differences in the individual. But it's meant kindly, and I pray to God that I can accept those words graciously, even when Mariana is being a pill and a half.
--- 2 ---
Yup, Princess is getting on my nerves this week. It's the teething, the uncooperative behavior, the fury at not getting a bottle any longer.  She's over me, you guys, and frankly, I'm over her. She also has been "picking" Scott over me when he gets home from work, which is not allowed. I get cranky, sweaty, ticked-off baby, and he gets cuddle-bug lover baby. But she can drink from that Cip-Kup and she is so very mobile and she's trying really hard to climb the steps. She's grown by leaps and bounds this week and I'm so happy to see this progress!
--- 3 ---
Therapy evaluations.
If you have a prenatal diagnosis, or just had a baby with Down syndrome, get a drink. Let's talk. Evaluations are like that dream that you show up for your SAT naked. The therapist starts asking you questions and you are all, "No. Wait, she kind of does this, but it's not really that, um, I don't know!" Also they ask completely ridiculous things like, "Does she use a spoon and fork?"  and you, being a rational person who doesn't want to change your child's clothes and mop the floor every thirty seconds, panic and begin to believe your child's delays are because you are too selfish to spend your days cleaning up between meals. This week Mariana's speech therapist asked a bunch of questions that I answered, "No." and my husband answered, "Yes." I mean, it's like we don't live under the same roof or something. We both answered that she doesn't feed us or share food, or display any caring rituals on another person, but she began doing just that two days ago. Again, it's like winning the mega millions, without all the cash and long-lost relatives.
--- 4 ---
The end of the school year. Okay, it doesn't help that Molly broke her arm, or that they do a "stepping up" ceremony for Kindergarten. This is a practice I abhor and object. These babies accomplished learning their letters and rudimentary math. They do not need to be celebrated while my four year old hangs upside down from the pew and my one year old chews on my hair and face. Also, are they drunk at school? A talent show the second-to-last day? That everyone makes regardless of talent? They should make the program say School "Talent" Show. And then put a footnote that "talent" can mean that this child's talent is that he/she has zero ability for self assessment. Except my kid. Her talent is overcoming a ridiculous amount of stage fright that her non-psychologist mother would deem a phobia. I couldn't be more proud of her for going up there if she could play Vivaldi's Four Seasons flawlessly. Instead she's playing a blues song on her guitar, which makes her the coolest child alive.
--- 5 ---
Molly's broken arm. Oh, yes, she broke her arm playing in the courtyard after mass. For two years we've been warning our children about running around there. For two years we've told them they would fall and crack their head open. Molly, however, fell and broke her arm. She was supposed to get an OT evaluation this week as well. I mean, really. She's been in a remarkable good humor about it, even though she just learned to ride a two-wheeler and can't do that with a cast. Also, she writes decently with her left hand.
--- 6 ---
Mosquitoes. Seriously, Florida wildlife is the worst. Oh sure, there are dolphins and great horned owls and bats that eat mosquitoes. The baby has had four bites on her face, Molly killed on in mass after it bit her several times, and my arms look as though I have chicken pox. I hate these blood suckers and do not know what they add to the environment other than being a food source for more important animals. I do not have anything nice to add at all. Stupid mosquitoes.
--- 7 ---
Movies. Ugh, most of them are terrible! (Note, I am not talking superhero or comic book movies, which are meant as mindless entertainment.)Why oh why is there such an influx of crap over decent art. Sorry friends, but Django Unchained was stupid, as was Cloud Atlas and Looper. And can we dispense with the zombie apocalypse stuff? My distaste for such things puts me squarely at odds with my peers, and I don't like it. Then again, Silver Linings Playbook.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Catch Up

Here is a list of things that have been going on in no particular order:

Mae and I went to the Flying Pig Marathon festivities in my hometown of Cincinnati. I only ran 6.8 miles instead of the half for the very good reason of the fact I had to carry the baby and a very overstuffed diaper bag through the airport, sit on a flight with my legs all cramped up for a couple hours and then be happy to see my kids at school pick up. So, I only ran the first leg of the relay. The hills though, man. The hills.

I'd have run those hills.

All in all it was awesome and fun and wonderful and the rest of the month has been going on just the same. I returned home on a Monday afternoon. We had Charlotte's First Holy communion on Saturday morning, so the cleaning commenced. When it comes to sacraments I do try to be a good example and I found a parish with Reconciliation on Thursday night. It was an hour away, but I was glad I went, with Kate in tow, because the priest was amazing. First, he complimented me for bringing Kate. (I didn't tell him that I didn't bring the FIRST COMMUNICANT because I had made the mistake of assuming the Catholic school she attends would, you know, have the kids receive Reconciliation before they received the body, blood, soul and divinity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. (Rant over.)) Anyway, this lovely priest asked me if I wanted any council regarding my confession, which I was all, "Uh, yeah? I think? Can I have a preview of what you might recommend, because I am a very busy woman and I can NOT add much more to my do-to list..." Just kidding. I just said yes and he just gave me some advice on how to look at certain situations, and then he handed me a booklet on different Divine Mercy prayers, which was just perfect and made me all mushy for the Holy Spirit.

My parents came, as did Scott's mom and his sister's family, including my gorgeous godson who is 11 months old and took his first steps at our house. He's the most gorgeous cherubic baby in the universe all thanks to his blond curls. Charlotte looked gorgeous, of course, in her dress and mantilla. She was so nervous, which was very sweet to know she took the whole thing so seriously.

Mother's Day was nice, though Scott's mom had to leave before I even got up. My mom and dad hung out until that Wednesday and even gave me Tuesday off, which, honestly was the best thing ever. I kept getting little twinges of guilt for leaving the house so unceremoniously, but then I realized I was the only person who cared, and I was 15 minutes from home, so get a grip.

Now Mariana has had some major things going on in her young life. For one, she's crawling, or moving on her hands, one knee and one foot. She stops and takes lots of breaks because what she does requires quite a bit of upper body strength, which isn't her greatest asset. She's weird, you guys. She can crawl when I am behind her and put something (usually a mirror because she's her own greatest motivation) in front of her and I just put my hands on her thighs to remind her not to swing that leg out. Crawling is easier, but whatever, she's a honey badger and honey badger don't care.

We had another PT evaluation and her gross motor skills have taken off in a month's time. The PT last month thought she would need an hour a week, but changed it to an hour every-other week and a half hour every other week. Now cutting down just one hour doesn't seem like much, but she really thinks Mariana has come a long way in just one month. Also she'll be getting speech therapy every-other week for a half hour. This will all be at the same place in the same time slot and all of the "bigs" can come with us. There will be bribery for good behavior and I'm not ashamed.

Miss will also be adding OT, but this lovely person will come to our house. PRAISE THE LORD! She will continue with Mrs. J twice a week. And I realize it seems like our whole summer is therapy-ridden, but y'all we live less than a mile from the pool and 25 minutes from the beach. Also, for Christmas, my sister Kate sent the kids one of those blow up water slides that people rent for parties. They'll be fine.

We are at the place where Mae's peers start pulling away from her on the milestone chart. For a few weeks I was having a hard time with it. I wasn't jealous or angry or grieving for something Mae is missing. I just felt a sense of sadness, and it took me a while to pinpoint what I was sad about. Simply put, I'm going to miss our 'normal' baby. In many ways she's just been a normal baby. Sure, we've been doing intervention since she was 8 months old, but really, our kids still don't even understand what Down syndrome means. We haven't spent any time with other kids like Mae because we've been so busy, and so Mae is Down syndrome to our kids. So far they just see a baby who likes to do things a little differently, but is pretty much like all babies in her cuddly, content way. I think the fact that she's been a baby for so much longer than most makes me feel nostalgic. She's not walking, but she's a toddler. She says "No-no", she's mobile, she's dangerous, she licks the dog-on purpose. The baby is going away.

Today she sat on my bathroom counter as I fixed her hair. She likes to talk to the baby in the mirror. Just like always, I picked her up and stood their and said, "Say, 'Bye-bye Baby.' This time she did. I turned out the light as I walked out to the refrain, "Bahbah! Bahbah bee!" Only one of us was happy about that.
Bye-bye, baby. I am now a dog.