Ducky Diaries

Saturday, August 19, 2017

It is okay to say "Different".

 A few days ago I took the kids to their favorite place in the whole world.... McDonald's. I had promised them all week and finally the day had arrived.  As we were walking and rolling up to the doors, both kids shrieking in excitement about Happy Meals and guessing what toys they would get when I heard it.

This scenario that unfolds pretty much the same each and every time, the only variant is the adults answer. 

Child: "What is wrong with him, why is he in a wheel chair?" 
Parent: "He's special so (momentary scramble of thought) he gets to ride in a super special chair!" 

Me: ............................

Dear parents, I want you to know, in all sincerity that "Different" "Disability" or the phrase "They HAVE special needs" are all okay things to say in a pinch. It is also okay (within reason and attention to what the family may be doing at that moment) to allow your child to come up and ask.

 Allow your kid  to ask questions like: "Why do you use a wheelchair ?" ,"Why do you use a walker?", "Why do you have those things on your legs?", "Why do you talk with your hands?", "Why do you have those things on your ears?", "Why do you use that computer to talk?", "Why are you spinning around?", "Why are you flapping your hands?", "Why do you have that tube in your belly/throat?"  

It is okay. Let them learn. Let them broaden their world view. Let them include my child. They are curious. Don't take that away.

The problem with overly cautious superficial "special" talk and avoidance is that you are inadvertently teaching your child that my child is 1. abstract  2. fairy tale . 
Both of which carry the connotation that my child is strange, unusual, rare. And not someone he\ she will encounter at the Zoo, community swimming pool, grocery store, local adaptability play park, school. 

As parents we need to do better, allow curiosity to turn into knowledge and potentially friendship.

As we progress as a society and are no longer institutionalizing individuals with disability we are realizing through research and adaptable school testing that physical disability does not always equate to intellectual disability. In fact, much of the time it does not, not even a little bit. Most of the time the disability in question actually does not hinder the persons intellectual ability at all. 

Meaning- yes they are alllllll there and yes the reason they are looking at you in that puzzling manner is because they are asking themselves WTF is wrong with you. 

LOL KIDDING. Kind of.

Jokes aside,  by changing paths on how we teach our children about disability we are changing the way they view these members of the community. How they interact with them, how they learn with them. By leading them away from hearing "That child/person IS special (needs)" and instead replacing it with "That child/person HAS special needs or HAS a disability" we are giving them the ability to look past the disability. To look at the person. We are taking away the mystery.  

Our children are not broken toys, heroes, or anomalies, they are people. Little kids who hear what you say, just as yours is hearing you, so make it count. 

Come up, say hi. Allow us to say hi. Educate yourself. Be open with your children. There are literally millions of people on this earth with some form of a disability. That is not a small number.  

And if all else fails- type a few search words into Google. You're bound to come up with something.
  
-Ducky

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Sunday, July 23, 2017

10 life hacks for the exhausted mom:

1. Wear Tie dye and camo patterns. A lot. Basically all the time, own nothing else. Is that a booger on your sleeve? Jelly? Urine? No one knows, who can tell really. Bonus points if you're wearing camo- it's invisible!

2. Save time on dishes by buying paper plates, bowls, and plastic utensils. Or just never cook. Questionable take-out builds immunity.

3. If your kiddo uses that grown up word they heard from someone (not you, never you) correctly and in proper context, give yourself a pat on the back. Good grammar skills go far in life.

4. Don't clean anything with poop on it.  EVER. Just toss it. Even the baby (Thanks Brandie!). You don't need that kind of negativity in your life!

5. Teach your child/children that wine is sparkling water. This has a two-fold benefit.

You get to day drink and when your child blurts out "Is that your sparkling water momma?!", in public, you look sophisticated and hydrated!

6. Don't bother making beds ever again. No one has time for that. Buy puppy pads instead. They make great sheets. And if someone has a nighttime leak just toss the pad!

7. Tired of cleaning up toys and repeating yourself over and over again? Play the 'trash bag game'! This is especially fun when the wee sprites begin to cry (it's like your very own dramatic Broadway play!).

Basically you grab the nearest trash bag and scream maniacally "YOU BETTER HOPE YOU CAN PICK UP YOUR TOYS QUICKER THAN I CAN!". There are many variations to this game so feel free to let your creativity fly.

8. Trash bags also double as stylish clothing options. Ponchos, dresses, shirts, bag skirts, so skip the laundry! Very Boho chic.

9. Visit your friends! Take your kids! And then go to the bathroom and sneak out the window. Voila- enjoy that elusive "Me time" everyone is raving about.

And lastly-

10. Smeared toothpaste on bathroom counters doubles as cleaner and actually brings a shine to your fixtures.

There you have it! Solutions to all the problems you didn't even know you had!

Stay classy moms. 

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

"We're pissed!" A look at a moment with disability

It started innocently enough, we stopped by our neighbor's house. They were having a yard sale.

It just so happened that at this yard sale there were 3 plastic baseball bats and 2 plastic hockey sticks.

Anyone who knows my son knows his love/obsession of owning groups of things.... So he had to have them. And hold them immediately. All of them. All the sticks. All. Of. The. Sticks.

We stayed awhile to talk, because if you know me, you know that is what I do. Talk.

Out of nowhere Bear dropped the sticks. Everyone scrambled to pick them back up for him. I asked if I could hold some and he shook his head no.

He dropped them again. Still a firm no on me holding any.

Then he dropped them once more.

It's very difficult to balance 5 plastic sticks of various lengths on your lap while perched in a wheel chair.

He dropped them again.

And that's when it started. The tears. He covered his little face with his hands and lost it.

My neighbor, her daughter,  my daughter, and myself scurried across the street to my house. Me pushing a crying distraught Bear. Them carrying the offending bats and sticks and other treasures.

Once inside I closed the door and helped Bear out of his chair onto the living room floor where he flailed around screaming and crying. I took his new toys to his room hoping that that would help but it did not.

So I picked him up and carried him into his room where he climbed into my lap and clung to me screaming.

As I rocked him I thought "Why is he screaming?! Did he get stung by a bee?" I looked him over head to toe. There has to be a reason for this..... No sting , bite, scratch of any kind.

As I replayed the scene over in my head it hit me. If all I wanted to do was hold something and I kept dropping it without the ability to pick it back up myself- or hell, even the ability to NOT drop it, I would be pissed.  So as I sat there looking at my sweet angry child I began to cry.

Soon we were both laying on his bedroom floor crying, because this is what happens sometimes when navigating this life of ours.

 I looked at him and said "Bubby, I get it. If my body couldn't do what I told it to do or wanted it to do I would be pissed!"

He looked at me.

"I'm pissed for you! I'm sorry your body doesn't work the way mine does or your sister or friends. I'm sorry that you have to work so hard and nothing is easy. I'm so pissed for you!"

"Mommy's pissed off! "

His eyes widened.

"Is that how you feel bub? Are you pissed off right now?"

Big wide eyes.
He looked at me.
*Head nod*

"You know what- you can say it. You can say the grown up word, if that's how you feel you can say it right now and not get in trouble."

*Wet tear covered cheeks. *

"Sissed", out it came in the quietest sweetest voice.  And that was that.

I love this boy of mine. My heart shattered in that instant. This shattering happens quite often. It wasn't the first time and definitely won't be the last. He's 6 now and as he gets older things are becoming more complex. There are times when crying and saying the 'grown up' words are all we can do to get through a tough moment.

Living with a disabilty is hard. Sometimes you just want to hold a f#$@ing bat and not drop it.

The end.


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