Friday, October 25, 2013

Quick Takes

This is where I live now. Metaphorically speaking, of course.
This week was parent/teacher conferences. I am hit with the irony of my insistence that Mariana be treated just like anyone else, and yet my inclination to outline for each teacher that my kid in her class is a preshus snowflake of uniqueness. Living with the paradox of, "We're more alike than different." and "Everyone has special needs!" is fun and hilarious.
Mae is trying so hard to be a walker. She walks first, and crawls only after several plops. And does she ever plop--right down on her rump. She always looks at me and says, "Ooooo." after. So cute! I really don't appreciate this part of development in any of my kids. I don't know how to answer the question, "Is she walking?" Paul took his first steps at 9 months and was walking by 10.5, but all that in between was confusing. Mae took her first steps months ago, and now she's finally trying to walk, but isn't great at it yet. So, yes, she's walking, but it ain't pretty.
A lady bought my coffee on Tuesday because Mariana was charming. After that I read a post about a woman walking by someone holding her two-year-old daughter with Down syndrome and blurting out, "That baby shouldn't exist!" When the mother said, "Excuse me?" The woman replied that the mother's life would be better if her daughter hadn't been born.

I just cannot imagine this happening to us ever. Sure, the check out lady might ask me if Mae needed surgery, and sure, I really feel strange explaining Mariana's personal health while paying for my groceries, but this kind of stuff is just stunning. I mean, if this happens to us now I know exactly what I would say, but if it was a sneak attack, I'd probably just sputter and maybe scream, "JERKFACE!" or some other mature and helpful statement.

If you do ever witness this kind of garbage, feel free to speak up and tell that particular person that the world would be better off if he/she just stays silent. In a perfect instance it would be an opportunity to educate and perhaps build a little bridge of empathy. People who say such things come from a place of pain. But if there is only one second to respond, remind that lovely person of the old adage about not having anything nice to say.
Lemme circle back to conferences. The kids are pretty set academically. Molly's in that weird 1st grade reading limbo between being technically able to read and actually being fluent enough for chapter books. Luckily, this is my third time being the parent of a first grader, so I'm not anxious.

What is lovely is having teachers who value the most important things about your children, and who pull the best out of them and nurture it. Paul is becoming helpful. Molly is still super cute and charming. Charlotte's bubbly joy is surfacing, and while she'll never win a behavior award, her teacher appreciates that Charlotte is always laughing. Kate is diligent and, when pressed, will stand up for what is right. When the 4th grade boys were using the words, "retard" and "retardation" to make fun of one another, Kate asked her teacher to address it with the class.

Academically I am considering homeschooling Kate. She's got some very specific interests and challenges that I think would be well served in a homeschool setting. But the community at my kids' school is phenomenal, and I can not imagine not being a part of it. Kids are kids and are going to be jerks, be irresponsible and make big and little mistakes. To have a community of teachers that understand kids and invest in their moral formation is so uplifting that I waffle day-to-day on what we will decide for next year.

Last week was terrible. We had a huge communication SNAFU with the geneticists office and didn't get Mae's test results until yesterday when Scott went to the office unannounced. Our doctor is amazing and helpful and in general a great doctor, but because of some wickedly awful communication from the call center he employs, we spent the weekend thinking we were going to be told Mae had leukemia.

Times like this make me wonder how atheists get through. I've heard atheists claim that belief is just a crutch for the weak, but I can't help but wonder why that is such a problem? Jennifer Fulwiler did a webisode on the Explore God campaign where she compared having faith being a crutch the way gravity is a crutch.  This weekend I needed to be in constant communication with God. I needed constant spiritual reassurance that, come what may, we'd be able to get through it. And I needed help to keep me from being a nasty grouch toward my husband and children while my mind was so actively trying to convince me that the worst was coming. Even now, when the tension has been released, I want to retreat and be left alone to recover from all that stress. Scott's at work and there is no school today. So I have to ask again for the grace to not get annoyed that my children want my attention and need my help. I have to push past my desire for quiet and contemplation and lean toward the beautiful life I have here and now. I need help from God to do that. If that makes me weaker than an atheist, so be it.

Mae's thyroid is a tiny bit wonky. It did this last spring, but we focused on nutrition and it righted itself. I hope this will be the case again, but if it isn't I thank God we live in a time and place that gives us medication to help her. In general I tend to shake my fist at the current way of practicing medicine. There are so many doctors who just prescribe medications to cover symptoms rather than finding a cause and then treating accordingly. Many doctors don't even care about educating their patients on wellness and proper care for oneself. I don't often take the time to be grateful that there are medications for those who truly need them. Even if the system is frustrating, we do live in a wonderful time for getting good and proper care.
Don't forget about the Buddy Walk and The mAe Team! Every dollar counts and every walker is welcome!! Join The mAe Team now!
I pity the fool that don't join The mAe Team!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!
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  1. Anonymous9:27 PM EDT

    I hope Blogger lets me comment because my heart always skips when I find another parent of a genetically "enhanced" little girl. :) We also are blessed to have our daughter primarily in a regular classroom. They are such a witness to the other kids! I am just waiting for the day when someone says something horrible like what you described in #3 to me. We've been so lucky never to have experienced that. Except online, of course. :/

  2. I have never understood comments about a crutch, as if that were a negative thing. When I was a teenager, I had terribly weak ankles and could roll or sprain one just stepping off a curb wrong. My crutches were used regularly, and often were the only way I could keep going. They took some of the pressure off so I could heal, and they held me up when I couldn't stand or walk on my own.

    It does sound a little like faith on those days when things are tough, but they never made me feel weak for using them.

    I love the stories of your family adventures, and your attitude always lifts me up. Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your life!

    1. I don't understand them either since humans have and always will be inter-dependent. None of us can become fully ourselves with zero dependence. Needing friendship and community is no different than needing God.