Yes parenting a special needs child is different and in lots of ways more difficult than parenting a typical able bodied child but I believe that when you make the decision to become a parent you accept the possibility that things might not go exactly as you hoped. Murder is never the answer and being born with a disability isn’t a crime If you’re feeling overwhelmed talk to somebody call CPS anything is better than harming a child or adult who had no control over the fact they were born disabled.
Though I have never taught in a public, private, or charter school I consider myself a teacher. I teach a tiny piece of Biology every time in a retail store or a restaurant asks me, “what’s wrong with you?” My answer varies slightly depending on the age of the child but is usually something to the effect of “my brain and my legs don’t communicate well and, it’s like talking to someone who has a funny accent, they don’t always understand each other so sometimes my links do what I ask and sometimes they don’t.” I sometimes end up gently criticizing the parent for discouraging the child from asking me that question, if they don’t ask how will they ever know?
I have taught people how to bow and curtsy and in the process imparted a little History. I started teaching English As a Second Language almost by accident when a Turkish friend of mine asked me to help him improve his English and I have even though I still don’t think it is nearly as bad as he thinks it is. I have taught children to weave and adults to dye. I helped my math note taker with her Business Law class. I have raised my voice when others would prefer I kept silent. I have spoken up rather than allow myself to be condescended to. I swear when others would whisper and whisper when others might swear. If you see me do either do not assume I am inarticulate. I call it like I see it no matter who you are, school board official, telemarketer, police officer or random neighborhood resident it doesn’t matter. You have been warned, ignorance is not a viable excuse.
You ask me what I take a cure for this condition, I have, the answer is not a simple yes or no. Yes, assuming I could afford any treatment that comes along I would take it but not for the sake of being “normal”. Normal is a societal construct and therefore its meaning is fluid. Any treatments would be divine to lesson the physical stress of my loved ones. I have also been asked if I regret being born the way I am. I am sad that I have never ran to hug any member of my family or been able to jump into the arms of a significant other. It means that I will probably not be the one to teach my children to ride a bike. It will not be the me who teaches them to drive a car or write in cursive..
I will teach them; double Dutch jump rope, at least have to turn the ropes without tangling with them. I will teach them the military phonetic alphabet and the languages I know. If they are inclined to learn cooking I will teach them drop biscuits, twice baked potato casserole and chocolate chip cookies. I will introduce them to Play-Doh and sidewalk chalk and checkers. I will show them how to blow soap bubbles.
You ask me if I regret being born this way. I regret it a little less every day because even though I have no academic degree in education I have been, am and will be a teacher and my disability gives me a unique perspective. It is annoying to knock things over and spill things, I really wish my handwriting was legible all the time and personal hygiene would be a lot easier to manage. That being said if I had the opportunity to go back and be born as an able-bodied child I wouldn’t take it. For all of its frustrations and annoyances I believe I am a better person for my past and my unique experiences.
I don’t have children yet but since I now plan on it some day I have started to pay attention to parent bloggers and how they write about their kids. The cyberspace revolution didn’t even start until I was mime or ten so I did not grow up with my baby pictures uploaded to Facebook as a matter of course or the milestones of my childhood recorded in a blog. My girlfriend wrote to her firstborn in a blog during her pregnancy and I liked the idea so much I plan on writing an individual for any children I am blessed with. I also know that the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry but I will try anyway. I will do my best not to post stories about them on my personal blog which might them cringe in embarrassment when they old enough to realize that Mommy or Stepmom as the case maybe has a blog and they are mentioned it.
I promise to always ask permission of a child’s parent(s) (both whenever possible( before I write about them or post a picture I may have them on the net. Yes,the world is a lot safer than it used to be and I am not one to jump at shadows but as parenting blogs continue to evolve we as the adults should remember that we are responsible for their safety as well as the outside world’s perception of them and that is a fragile trust indeed. To my partners and the parents of their children: thank for allowing me to share in the blessing that is you child(ren’s) lives and know that I will love and protect them like my own.
Children in adult spaces, most people have an opinion on the subject if you ask them,, even if they’ve never voiced it before and people on both sides of the question can be VERY adamant in defense of their position. Here is my take on it, based solely on my opinions and my experience when growing up. Should you take a child to a nice restaurant? In this case the definition of “nice restaurant”would be one with cloth table coverings, cloth napkins and the option of ordering from a selection of wine to be served with the meal. The answer in my opinion depends on the age and maturity level of the child. I would not take most toddlers to a play unless it was specifically a children’s theater production,. If I was going to introduce a grade school child to the symphony or ballet it would probably be through Mozart’s Magic flute or the Nutcracker Suite. Relatively recently some orchestras have played the music for The Rabbit of Seville and other Bugs Bunny cartoons where classical pieces are used I would definitely take a child to those if they were interested in going.
Before anybody cringes in horror let me assure you that the child would be made well aware of the standards of behavior expected of him or her and the consequences of misbehavior. Most importantly in my opinion a trip to a nice restaurant, the symphony, or ballet would have to be something they had expressed interest in themselves before I would even consider taking them. I believe that a significant percentage of misbehavior by children in adult oriented settings stems from not wanting to be there in the first place..
I would also like to address those people who show at Walmart after midnight with their screaming infant and/or preschool-aged child. What are you thinking? Of course they are cranky and crying, it is way past their bedtime and any nightmare I have within the next week will probably include echoes of your child.
This opinion piece has been brought to you by The Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge. That’s my two cents on the subject what’s yours?
I want children, very much. I love my almost stepchildren dearly and will be very happy when the time comes that they have siblings. However there is a segment of women who consciously choose never to have children of their own. Society seems to either dismiss their choice as something they will grow out of, or else becomes downright hostile towards the woman in question.I believe this attitude towards a person who chooses not to become a parent is wrong. Parenting is not easy and the society that punishes those who admit to feeling unprepared and ill-suited for the role in a backward society in my opinion. My sister and I were lucky in the fact that our parents have never pushed to become parents ourselves just for the sake of grandchildren. In a world which currently holds upwards of 6 billion people I think human society as a whole would be much better off if they would cease to diminish a child free adult for there choice.Read the post that inspired this one here.
I was in college when I got my first cell phone. I haven’t personally had a cell for several years because of this screwed up economy but when I did I paid my own bill. My younger sister only got a cell phone when she got a job so she could pay for it herself. We were never given one. Today I’ve seen second graders with them.I admit there is a logic to”latch key” children having them as a safety measure that makes sense. What will never make any sense is a child who isn’t even in kindergarten but has a cell phone . I’m not talking about a plastic toy they insist on carrying to be just like mom and dad. I mean a real, pay the bill every month, cell phone. I personally know a three year old who has one. Three, really?! If people think my generation has entitlement issues they have no idea what’s coming. If this recession has no lasting positive effect other than to break this trend I will consider the hardship worthwhile
On May 20, 1985 I came into the world for better, worse, or somewhere in between I don’t think the Universe has decided yet. I read something today that struck a chord. In the past I have been known to edit myself in my writing afraid that people I knew would see it and feel like they had earned the right to critique what I said. I’m not saying you aren’t allowed to have an opinion but remember your opinion is YOUR opinion only. I will listen but your opinion may or may not effect how I make the decisions I make in my life. A lot of things have happened between 1985 and now. One of the better things is tlot more confidant in myself. If other people’s belief in me is slow catching up it’s not my issue.
Recently I have discovered that there is something of a debate about whether businesses have the right to set a minimum age for children within their establishment. I believe I should first say that I’m 26 and have no children of my own nor do I plan on having them in the extremely near future at least.In spite of that I do like children very much I am the last person you will find making purposefully discriminatory statements. However I believe that adults with and without children are entitled to “child free” areas. I have heard from several parents of young children in my acquaintance that there are times when a completely adult conversation is paramount to their continued sanity. Completely adult in this instance encompasses a time frame in which the eyes that seem to attach themselves to the back of your head at the onset of parenthood can sleep, and your superhero cape can be left at home underneath your socks in the bottom drawer of your dresser. I applaud parents for their sometimes superhuman efforts in raising their children but to all the parent bloggers out there who are muttering about “child discrimination” don’t you think you deserve a small increment of time in which to remember that you were a person long before your children came around? I think sometimes parents have the tendency to forget that they were functioning beings before their infant/toddler/preschooler was here. My suggestion: get a babysitter for the night and at least once a month enjoy a conversation which is comprised wholly of words and not punctuated with high-pitched emotional sound half the time. If your favorite restaurant happens to have a minimum age and you foresee giving up your absolute favorite dish forever take heart, it’s not forever. Personally I might consider letting my child believe that the nice restaurant dinner on their sixth or seventh birthday was my present to them when actually it would be a present to myself. Now a note to anyone who has a mind to or is currently following this blog about the next few weeks: I have just updated my speech recognition software and until we get used to each other there might be some really bizarre phrases that accidentally get put in print. I beg your indulgence for about the next month.