Friday, February 26, 2010

Go go goggle

And the word of the day from Hannah is Goggle! Yesterday she said "more" and "baby" and rode on a ride on tractor toy at the Children's Museum. Today she squiggled until I put her down near the playground equipment Claire was on at the day care, and then she made me walk her over where she grabbed on and pushed my hand away. She cruised to the stairs and showed every inclination to climb on up. She's just like a regular baby! Mostly what I wanted to say was "who are you and what have you done with Hannah?" and mostly today what she wanted to say was "gogogoggle."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Is there a humungous fungus in Salt Lake City?

Such was the question Claire posed over breakfast. I hardly knew what to say. Still don't actually. This is yet more proof that anything I say can and will be used against me later. Who on earth said such a think to my daughter? I bet this came from listening to her dad's talk radio drivel in his car, right? How did I come to have children with a man who listens to talk radio? How? Well, they are appealing children, anyhow.

After I read a book to Claire she often likes to "read" it back to me. This is Claire's version of Beauty and the Beast (board book edition).

Once upon a time there was a kind and beautiful girl named Belle.

There was a prince and his dungeon cast a spell on him and made him a beast.

That's Belle and her dress is yellow.

And then they had soup.

And she is not a teapot anymore, and he is not a cup anymore, and she is not a candle anymore. And he is not a beast anymore. And when Belle wears the yellow dress, she gets babies.

Now I know how I got those girls. I am getting rid of my yellow dresses ASAP.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Haiku Friday: the brown smear slalom during dinner event

A tired old leaf
rests quietly on our floor
from last summer's pears

What is that, that glob?
Smeared across the kitchen floor?
And behind the chair?

Oh dear, a turdlet
A dingleberry dropped off
the furry beast's bum

Oh horrors, here's more.
Some dollops and a big smudge
strewn hither and yon

What the hell happened?
Lord Honey says "check her paws!"
When you examine

the last paw you check
behold, you find she
stepped in her own crap.

The brown smear slalom
requires hopping, mopping,
cleaning profanely.

We nailed the dismount
had to skip the day's fine meal
but we still medaled.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

One O'Douls and a spleef of Spice, please

I heard this week that a criminal defendant was pulled over and about to be arrested for DUI when the arresting officer found him driving amidst a cloud of pot smoke. Later I learned from his probation officer that he was not charged with a drug offense when it was determined that he was not indeed smoking pot, but instead smoking Spice, a weedlike substance that is, in fact, not weed. It looks like weed, smells just like pot, and is available at local headshops for purchase. I had to ask the probation officer I had been speaking to "Wait - this here weed is for those who aren't cool enough to smoke pot but want others to believe they are cool enough? Who wants to be thought to be that cool, but really isn't cool enough to smoke pot? Who??" I spent some time pondering what the purpose might be - not wanting to fail a drug test at work but not wanting to lose face with homies? Is it like a pregnant woman who misses beer and gets an O'Douls out of sentimentality? I pictured a woman who has fake breasts, fake nails, dyed hair, and an O'Douls out on the lawn at a summer concert, sending a Spice joint down the row, smiling and saying "pass it on!" Um, I laughed. A lot. Because I am too cool to smoke fake pot in order to be thought cooler than I am.

It all got a bit less funny when we realized it is actually a drug which is impairing and which contains some variant of cannabinoids but is different from dope on a molecular level and is therefore dopey but not dopey enough to be illegal. Yet. So it is way less funny and one more thing for parents to be concerned about, as it now gives a basis for those wacky younguns to insist a water pipe really is for smoking something legal. Twenty five years ago I might have saved up my babysitting money to buy Spice, so put that in your pipe and smoke it.

My kitchen clock is meant to look Victorian, with scrolly letters and an aged look, which is demonstrated by its representation of fake mold. Yes, fake mold. I realized this some time after I hung it on my wall. I decided I had to keep it until it wore out but I vowed then not to ever buy anything that represented fake decay. Real decay maybe, but no more fake decay.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The little red headed girl gets fancy

She calls this her Belle dress because it makes her feel like Belle from Beauty and the Beast. At other moments it is her Bo-Peep dress, and when she puts it on I have to get on my hands and knees and say Baa-Baaaaaa and eat 'maginary grass. Or get back in the barn.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Hannah tricks

In lieu of navel gazing and identity questioning and general moanery writ large, here is a view of Hannah's recent accomplishments in learning to use her right hand.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Whoops upside the head

I just found out about some growing up I need to do.

This weekend I saw my stepson butt scooting along the floor in the manner Hannah uses. He would slap his hands down and drag his bottom with one leg up and one down, just as Hannah does. More annoying was the "I'm a blithering idiot" look on his face, sort of a open mouthed maniacal grin. He stopped in his tracks when he saw the look of "thunder hear my cry" cross my face and got up without saying a word after we made eye contact. I cooled off for all of about one minute until I came back around past where he sat and I pointed and used my quiet voice and said "don't ever let me catch you mocking your sister." He proceeded to tell us he wasn't mocking and that he didn't know what mocking was. Lord Honey spent some time using the dictionary explaining mocking and I was fuming because this boy often plays less informed than he is, and even if he didn't know the definition of "mock" he absolutely knew he should not act in this way, as evidenced by his wordless cessation of activity when he found himself observed. I was angry at anyone who would ever think Hannah's way of moving worthy of anything other than praise and acceptance. I can envision that I might be filled with rage at many such possible incidents in the future.

On Monday night I read a post on To The Max, wherein Ellen, mother of Max, reacted strongly when seeing someone stare at her son who has cerebral palsy. Wisely, sagely, humanely, she evaluated her response and wrote about it, saying "I vowed that the next time we were around kids or adults who were staring at Max, I would start the conversation. For Max's benefit. For other people's benefit. For my benefit." Readers' comments ranged from confessing to reacting harshly to engaging in a wide variety of thought provoking responses, intended to help people learn about those with disabilities.

What?!? No violence? No scathing sarcasm? Is nothing sacred? Is there no small place of normalcy where I can let my true reaction show if this happens to my baby? How will I get to this place of acceptance? And one of teaching others? I didn't want to be the brave little toaster and I don't want Hannah to get up on the alter of self sacrifice for others' educational benefits. We don't want to be teachers. We want to live our lives.

My reaction to my son's behavior surprised me, and opened my mind up to the possibility that many such reactions may be in my future. And even more disturbingly, the possibility that I don't yet have my own moral compass in this regard. Have I always been appropriate when I react to others who have "differences"? Have I followed the directions of the billboard public relations campaigns saying "Don't Dis-Ability"? Was part of my reaction to my son inclusive of my response to the way his jaw and mouth are sometimes askew, leaving him not quite slack jawed but often mushy mouthed in speech? Am I unfair judging even him with a minor lack of normal speech structure? Have I treated him as he would want to be treated (not to include being left alone, as shy pre-teen boys seem to want)? How many times in my youth did I say "I'm so retarded!" when I was clumsy or goofy with my hands. Were my stares or sidelong glances beyond acceptable limits when I crossed paths with a person using an assisting device? Do I have the right level of smile, eye contact with acknowledgement of our common cause, but not too much attention when I cross paths with other parents at Shriners' Hospital? Who am I, when it comes to protecting my child from hurt? Can I do it without lashing out? Can I help people learn without punishing them for their ignorance?

What do I want for Hannah? I want Hannah to be able to suck the marrow from the bones of life, to have every good opportunity available to her at every stage of life, to be happy. I want her advancement socially and in school to be based on recognition of her brilliance and her grin and her jolly personality, and the way she is prone to laughing at any reason and feeling joy at every turn. I wish I could see her health conditions as some sort of blessing, but really, I don't. I see that most people get handed something hard, either for themselves or a loved one, and then you make the best of what you get and try to find all the joy you can while keeping balance with needs that must be met. But I don't feel blessed to have the bonus obstacles, I am only blessed to have the blessed baby herself, and the obstacles are part of the package.

I don't know how apparent her CP will be to others. Right now, we can "pass" because it is not out of the ordinary that she be carried in a public place at her age and her jacket hides her braces. Perhaps she will eventually walk without dragging her foot, or hold her arm in the way we see as normal, and not bent with her hand fisted tightly. I don't know. I do know I want her to look and feel as normal as she is able. But why do I want to have my kids be normal? I have to rethink everything about normal. I want my kids to have an easy life, not too easy, because the learning is in the meeting of challenges, but I don't want it to be too hard. I want my stepson to speak clearly, because if he doesn't, people will treat him as if he is stupid, and when he fulfils those expectations he may end up being less than he could be. I want Hannah to move like other kids, I think because I want the world to treat her well. I may know that her physical abilities don't equate to her worth, but will the rest of the world know that? Does trying to make her "normal" through therapy mean I don't just love her for who she is? Some folks have seemed surprised by all the efforts I put into physical and occupational therapy for her, as if means I don't accept her as she is. I don't think that is what it means, but will I be able to communicate that to her while pushing her to change? I think I have some thinking to do. And some learning how not to punch people.