Sunday, August 31, 2008

Long Weekend

Not much going on here, really, which is a good thing, I happen to think.

Playette's PT has been on vacation (the good one, the real one) so we didn't have an appointment this week. The ST's office is giving us the run-around, so we got a welcome break from them over the past 7 days as well. The other PT came to the daycare on Friday and I chose not to join in as I usually do.

Since I started working outside of the home again, I've been coming into the office late on Thursdays so that I could participate in the PT/OT sessions, but as of the last IFSP review, the therapists are changing their schedules around. I've decided not to beat myself up about not being omnipresent and just go ahead and pick one day a week like I was doing before. I'm choosing the OT, the least objectionable of the two and I think she's choosing Wednesdays, which means that I'll only have two sessions to attend at daycare per month instead of four, as I was doing previously. I'd also like to take Playette to a "Mommy and Me" type group on Wednesday mornings, so this might work out well. I've still got some figuring to do.

The figuring has to do with the work situation that is better (*whew*), but still evolving. I did talk to my boss about what my issues are and she may have actually been listening, but regardless, the support I've received from you good folks and some others has allowed me to take a personal stand and adjust the few things I have complete control over: my attitude, my reactions, and my priorities.

And you know what? I feel better. I still have my résumé out and I'm still scanning the possibilities as they make themselves known (4 referrals to hiring managers in the last week!), but I'll address the options if/when they come. The reality is that I like what I do outside of the sometimes ridiculous conditions and the type of flexibility I have in my current schedule is not something that comes along every day. If I were given a choice between an alternate work schedule that allowed me to come in at noon every Wednesday and $20K more annually? Well, it wouldn't be as easy of a decision as it may sound to some. If I can get those Wednesday mornings with my Littlest where I am? Well, I would be one happy mama.

It's all about balance.

And then there's also that whole thing about the devil you know.

What else...

- BD and I went to the movies on Friday night. After, I had a tasty blue martini. Again, our sitter rocks.

- I went to the library and out to lunch with a friend to a Thai restaurant that I like. Why don't I do that kind of thing more often?

- I started reading one book I checked out [Side Note: How sweet is it that all you have to do is request a book at the library and then 2 weeks later they send you an email saying that they purchased it and have it on hold for you? Is our library special or have I been missing out on this kind of perk forever?!]...

- ...and then made Pumpkin Bran Muffins from a recipe in the second book I got. I'm feeling pretty proud of myself today!

- My last Saturday session of Bootcamp was yesterday. I think I will be in pain until next Saturday. At least. I can barely sit and BD had to carry the Littlest down the stairs for me.

- And speaking of "stairs" check out what my girl discovered was a good peek-a-boo tool:

A broader view of her play area, which I love due to the fact that none of the crap that builds up there is viewable until you're right up on it. Plus, I could think of no better way to make use of that space:

Spying the paparazzi:

Hope you're having a great weekend!

Oh, and could someone find a way to stop me from eating 2 dozen muffins, please? Thanks.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I had a rough day today (I know, I know...again?!) and I read this on Michelle's blog and it sounded like fun, so here are the guidelines:

Think back on the last 15 years of your life. What would you tell someone that you hadn’t seen or talked to for 15 years? How would you sum up your life? You get 10 bullet points. A list of 10 things to summarize about you.

This time 15 years ago was 1993 and I was 17 years old, just about to finish up my summer as a lifeguard and enter the 12th grade.

1. Yes, I still talk to J & T, as well as several other friends from back in the day. Sometimes our conversations are very different than they were in high school and sometimes? They're very much the same, which I love. (even though y'all let me wear those black glasses for way too long)

2. I don't wear glasses anymore and my hair is all one length. (Yes, on both sides!) Oh, and I've since discovered the importance of getting my eyebrows done, thankyouverymuch.

3. I got married to my F(uture)BD in Vegas in 2006. I did not wear purple or polka-dots in the ceremony.

4. I had a baby girl in 2007. So I still go to the mall and take photos, but now it's JC Penny and I have a coupon...instead of Marlow Photo or the booth at the movie theater.

5. I went to a service academy for college and struggled to get a degree in engineering that I can't even say I use anymore.

6. My mom passed away in 1995. Yeah, I know. She was cool. I miss her a lot.

7. I moved to California in 2007...and I'm still standing, sorta. No, there's no GoGo here. But I can see the Pacific Ocean from my bedroom window. Cool, huh?

8. The Navy (not AFJROTC) owns me: I work for it, I married into it, and I serve in the USNR.

9. I was a certified Tae Bo instructor for 2 years. Yes, I met Billy Blanks. Yes, I think I can beat you up. Yes, even if I were wearing L.A. Gears like 2/3 of us were in this picture.

10. I'm an internet and reality TV junkie. Yeah, I know neither existed in 1993 - and yet we still had a ball. Imagine that.

See? Fun stuff! I hope you smiled...or spit out whatever you were eating all over the monitor.

* Photos courtesy of My Life: 1989-1994

Monday, August 25, 2008

5 Minutes

If you've come here to read, you've got the time.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sundae Evening

I've got ice cream on the brain today. Actually, I've been obsessing about it for a while now. Thankfully, when we went to Costco earlier, they were giving out all kinds of good stuff (steak, turkey sandwiches, organic juices, etc) and amongst it all was a nice display of brownies and vanilla ice cream. Mmmmm, brownie sundaes. When I was a kid, my mother used to buy us those once in a while. I remember leaving Safeway with a box of four (they were the size and shape of Klondike bars) and being lucky if they all made it to our freezer. It was only a 5 minute ride, but still. And the worst part was that, at that that time, there were 3 of us living in the house. 3 people, 4 brownie sundaes. Yeah, it got ugly sometimes. But it makes for an entertaining memory. It's amazing what sticks with you for 20 years.

You know, I've looked for those things in the frozen food section for YEARS and I've never seen them again. I wonder if they just didn't sell. Preposterous!

Hey! Anyone else seen those Sonic commercials with the fried ice cream milkshake thingee? Man, I want one. On Friday night, I tried to organize a caravan when I found out that the closest location was a mere 83 miles away, but it didn't work out. Tell me if you've had one...are they as good as they look? I've said this before and I'll say it again: TPTB at Sonic should be ashamed of themselves for showing commercials nationwide when like 90% of us don't live anywhere near one.

How pitiful is this track my mind is set on? And I wonder why after getting up at the crack of dawn for 7 weeks and getting my butt kicked that my body is still exactly the same as when I started. But is thinking (and writing) about crap food really enough to widen my waistline? Nah. We all know I love the snacks. I guess I just have to try harder in that area. I probably won't do Bootcamp again, but I've got a new plan up my sleeve. Something has to change because our family's schedule/budget just can't sustain another session.

I keep giving my child crackers and she keeps dropping them on the floor and grabbing receipts out of my "to be filed" pile and putting them in her mouth. I can't win. Then again, maybe she's helping. I really don't need grocery store receipts from June, so forcing me to throw this crap away because it's all drooly isn't such a bad thing.

Why, yes, those are brownie and carrot juice stains on her new outfit. Nice catch!

Ok, now she's swooshing the pile all around. Not my beautiful pile! Hmph. Now it's messy. Before it was a nice pile and I could fool myself into thinking it was in some sort of order. She's exposing me, y'all.

Kinda like this blog.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Ok, what about "Chromosome Extra-vaganza"?

No? Hm.

Goofy names aside, I have an idea. I know of a fellow military family moving not too far from us (just double the amount of time it took us to get to the IMAX, that's all ;-) and I'd love to have them over to welcome them. They have a pretty little girl with Ds. And then not far from where they'll be living, there's another mom I've met online of a beautiful new daughter, also with Ds. Wouldn't it be great if they met? And what about the folks I had lunch with last Sunday in San Francisco? Their 2 month old cutie also has Ds. Don't you think we all should get together? Add in the twin boys (chromosomally enhanced) I watched play last Saturday...Shouldn't they, and their little brother, come too? So could the little girl we met who is two days older than Playette and the family that likes to come to our area to visit the aquarium and let Dad scuba dive. Plus, there are two families that live in the neighborhood where Playette goes to daycare that have kids with designer genes and we have yet to all get together. I'm sure they have lots of good info to share with me.

We can pick each other's brains, support one another, enjoy the view, walk to the beach (I've heard Summer shows up here soon - bring it!), let the kids play, have some snacks...basically, I guess I wanna have a support party.

You've all heard me gripe about living in a small town and what comes along with it. I do attend a monthly Parent Support Group that includes families with children with varying diagnoses, but even we've been talking about getting together in a more social setting. So let's do it. Ds or no.

Plus, my dentist gave me a discount the other day and my friend helped me see that paying it forward is the best way to go with that. I'd love to be able to send him a thank you note with a group photo inside.

We have an air mattress and maybe I can sponsor a couple of rooms at the nearby Navy Lodge ($73/night) for anyone that wants to make a weekend out of it. Military folks can stay on base in really nice rooms for even cheaper than that.

I'm thinking Labor Day Sunday, maybe? What do you think?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Gold Star

Wow, this week is busy.

For example...

Monday: Honestly, I can't even remember right now. I know I went to Bootcamp at 6am. Everything after that is a blur. Oh, wait! I actually left work on time, came home, changed clothes, folded the Littlest One's laundry, and cooked dinner. That was an "easy" one.

Tuesday: Playette's interim IFSP review at 8 am, PT at 4 pm, Developmental Specialist from 6-8 pm (at least she came to us...I was yawning the whole time even though it was very worthwhile)

Today: Playette had OT at daycare at 8 am but I couldn't be there due to my 9 am dentist appointment, 2:30 appointment with my doctor to go over the results of last week's CT scan (inconclusive - seriously? ugh!), 5 pm personal appointment for me, returned books to the library (I think I can actually find my way directly there now), came home and traded places with BD so he could go study, did the whole night routine with the Littlest and now that she's asleep, I need to clean up after the whirlwind.

Tomorrow: Gotta work late to make up for the minimal time I was there today.

Friday: Had a hair appointment, but I canceled it because I'm already looking forward to going to bed early that night.

This weekend there's a street festival in our 'hood. The town we live in is actually made up of two shopping centers (give it up for Targé and Home Dee-pot, everybody) and about 300 residents. That doesn't stop us from having a Mayor, and a police station, and parties though! I just looked at the web site. There's gonna be music, dance, street performances, local restaurateurs and food producers. Sounds good. Hopefully, I don't sleep through it all.

Maybe we can charge folks $5 to park in our driveway....kidding...well, maybe.

Babytalk magazine, the only one of its ilk to ever feature a child with Ds on its cover (twice even!) is asking for photos to post on their site in honor of National Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October. Here's what I submitted, taken last weekend in San Francisco (sleeves, jacket close by) and San Jose (sleeveless, woohoo!).

Ok, so why the gold star? Well, today was the first time I really told someone in person that their use of the "r" word was offensive to me. I said it kindly and I couldn't have asked for a better reception. I almost didn't say anything, but I knew I would feel bad later if I didn't. Felt good. Gold star for me.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Turn, Turn, Turn

First, thank you to all who read my last post and have chosen to stick around for more. That really means a lot to me.

Next up, I need help.

I've been at my job for 6 months and I believe that I'm good at what I do. I actually would enjoy it if it weren't for the working conditions. The staff is small and the workload is lopsided, with a nice big extra chunk landing in my lap. I wouldn't leave if I was being treated well.

I was reminded yesterday that I'm in a pretty decent position here despite the stress, long hours, and tears (yeah, more tears). See, I know how to do things no one else does. Without me, things would go from bad (because I'm only one person, not the 3 that are needed to do this well) to "WTF!"

Note: There is zero promotion potential in this job and I am in a position well below what my skills dictate.

I plan on talking to my boss about this today. BD says I should give her the chance (again, some more) to make things better. I almost quit yesterday, but she wasn't in her office. Good thing, cause it was an emotional moment. I want to handle all this with a clear head and not just be reacting to the sound of my back breaking under the final straw (again, some more).

I called a point of contact yesterday that I had made in my initial job search when we moved here and she asked me what I do now. I told her and she said that she was impressed with my knowledge of the program and I certainly had her interest peaked.

It's stuff like that that makes me want to stay. Like I said, I like what I do. I just don't like being treated like crap and thrown under the proverbial bus by my boss and spending more time trying to fix the errors of others than I do with my husband and daughter, amongst other things.

Any suggestion? Please.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

In My Own Words

When I think of why all this hurts me, why I was in tears today, why something so small as a word can shatter my heart into the smallest of pieces, my mind doesn't feel like it knows how to put it all into words. I'll do my best.

I'm afraid. I know that in my little cocoon, where people love my daughter, where all I see is a cute little baby, carving out her place in the world, all is well.

What scares me is when I go outside my own private little world. The reason I even started this blog was to help me to start being less afraid to confront the realities in life. It honestly is working. I'm much more open, more honest, and it's like, "So what about Ds, let's have a snack," more often than not. But deep down I'm still scared. I'm scared about when she gets older. And I'm not even talking that much older. I'm talking like, next month. I mean when strangers start to notice that my toddler isn't toddling...that she looks and seems a good 4-6 months younger than she really is. And that's when the comments will start...and I'm afraid of how I'm going to (not) react. I'm afraid that I'm not going to know what to say and how to say it so that I'm educating and not alienating. I want other parents not to feel pity, but to say, "Wow, she's my friend and that's her baby, just like this is my baby, so I'm going to make it my goal to teach my children to treat people that are differently-abled in a way that I would want anyone to treat them." It's a simple lesson really, but one that, obviously, many people truly don't know. Or at least they don't live like they do.

You know what else? You know what else scares me? There are statistics out there that say that 85-90% of women who find out their unborn child has Ds choose to terminate. I find myself looking around rooms and wondering how many people, when faced with a diagnosis, opted out. It's a crappy thing to wonder, but I know that most people in the world don't want to be where I am.

I feel like I'm rambling and I probably am. I'm just so frustrated.

The bottom line is that I know several things. I know what it's like to be Black. I know what it's like to be a woman. Because of these two things, along with other circumstances, I've face adversity, prejudices, etc. But I wasn't a Black woman with Down syndrome. Not only will my daughter be faced with n*gger and b*tch, but also r*tard(ed)? That's a lot for me to swallow.

I know there are many, many people in the world who don't "get" why calling someone or something "r*tarded" is a problem. For them, I want to break it down from my perspective. This is coming from a friend, a sister, a daughter...a person with a sense of humor and a knack for one-liners...a person that is well-read and has seen the world...a person who is educated and has spent time running the streets...I think I'm pretty well-rounded. If you know me, you probably do too, so keep that in mind as I explain.

I grew up in a place where "r*tarded" is slang. As a matter of fact, just a couple of weeks ago, at that work conference I had, a young lady from DC was telling me about how her school handles graduation ceremonies and said, "My school is so r*tarded." (I bristled but said nothing.)

Let's examine what she meant by that.
Any of these would easily fit that sentence.

The difference between what young woman said (the word that cuts me to my core, that which I now know as "the R word") and the term "mental retardation" is that the latter is based on a medical diagnosis, a medical diagnosis that my daughter will have attached to her for the rest of her life. When physicians, therapists, and other specialized professionals use "MR" in the proper context, I can accept it. I don't have to like it, but I will accept it.

Still, I can't help but hear that when people use "r*tarded" or "r*tard" as an insult or a swipe at something, that they are also calling my daughter, and those with that same diagnosis stupid, ridiculous, backwards, and idiotic.

Who am I to say what words someone can use? I'm not out to censor my friends, family, and the general public. But what kind of friend, sister, daughter would I be if I allowed people who care about me to continue to do something that unknowingly hurts me so much? As much as I wish it were, it's not an overnight process to change your speech patterns and I know that. It takes effort and practice, but most of all it takes a mindset change to realize that what you're saying hurts people in a way that no other word can. Why isn't that enough to commit to making a change? To maybe have it stop with you and not tolerate it from your children, friends, or your children's friends. It's not about being politically correct. It's about taking the smallest of efforts to keep from causing unnecessary pain.

I cried today for the little girl I read about who got beat up by her peers just because she has an intellectual disability. I cried today for the child who was told to pick up another child's trash because that's all he was good for. I cried because I'm scared my precious baby is going to be treated like that one day. I cried because one day when she's old enough to understand, she's going to hear that word, and it may even be lofted in her direction, and then she will cry, knowing that she's done nothing to deserve it.

So, yeah, I know it's only a word, but I hate it. Please stop.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Why I Cried Today

I read a lot on this one blog today:





There's so much I want to say and so many people say it better than I think I ever could. What's posted here is just an example of what's all over the web - even more so with the controversy over a certain movie being released on Wednesday.

I have no idea who reads this blog. I know that I do, my husband does, and maybe a sprinkling of friends and family along with a couple of folks I have yet to meet. I hope you're out there right now. Or at least one person is who is going to read something they never knew before...just one.

Even though I don't feel like I'm eloquent enough, I want to tell those of you that do read this blog why I cried today. And I will. Just give me a little more time.

Just the Two of Us

BD went to school tonight to study for a test, leaving Playette and I to our own devices. I give you, "Self-Portrait Attempts"; "Lil Stinker"; "Hi!"; and "Leave Me Alone, I Just Woke Up. Dang.".

I did something funky with the camera, so only orange is really showing up here. Oops.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Recovering, Coupons, and Coolness

Recovering: My ears and eyes are still doing this after last night's BIGGER THAN LIFE viewing of Batman. I love IMAX, really, but there's a distinct difference between watching dolphins frolic while someone performs a soothing voice over and viewing a high-budget blockbuster with multiple booms and shakes and in-your-faceness. I'm proud of myself for not sleeping during the 1.5 hour rides each way and the 2.5 hours in the actual theater. Go, me!

Oh, get this! The pizza I ordered from the snack bar wasn't ready so they gave me one of those things they give you when you wait for a table at a restaurant and actually delivered my little personal pizza to me in the theater. Maybe if I still lived in the big city, I wouldn't be as excited. For all I know, this is typical now. But for me? Woohoo!

I guess I could put my promised muscle soreness under "recoveromg", but I'm not 100% sure that I am. I want to go back to bed.

Coupons: Our budget appreciates having moved out of this phase, but if you're still buying formula and happen to use Enfamil Lipil, please let me know and I'll mail you the two $5 coupons I just got in the mail (well, yesterday's mail, but at least we got it in the house before Monday). They expire on 10/31.

Coolness: In the, well, yesterday's mail, Playette and I received the cutest post card with this photo by Conny Wenk on the front, courtesy of fellow blogger (May I link to you? Personally, I love your blog, but I don't want to violate any blog etiquette or something). It's going right up on Playette's wall of fame. That's where all the photos of, and letters from, her friends go. Thanks, T & G! You're in my thoughts today.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Date Night

In my 8 months of experience as a (remote part of) California resident, I can say that I'm still not impressed with the services available for Playette and other children that stand to benefit from Early Intervention. As a matter of fact, earlier today, BD looked at a piece of paper I had brought home from Thursday morning's OT session and said, "Oh, that's nice. We've only been doing that for months already." Yeah, we pretty much teach the (free) therapists around these parts. Yes, yes, I know. You get what you pay for.

Funny how in VA, you got a lot more.

Anyway. I didn't start this post to bash CA (grr - maybe another day), but to say that they do have one thing I like. Respite Care. For us that means babysitting. We get a certain number of hours we can use each month to have someone come over and take care of the Littlest One while we either take care of things around the house or do like we're going tonight, go on a date.

This respite thing isn't completely easy though. Of course, you have to find someone you like. If you're a local, you have the option to have the Regional Center pay someone you know, which I think would be great if it were an option for us. But, since it's not, we had the trial and error approach. Luckily, we only had one error. She was a nice enough lady, I guess, but I couldn't get past the feeling that things were "not exactly where I left them" after she had been around. Plus, she didn't provide any feedback on how things had been while we were away - she'd just grab her stuff and high-tail it out the door. I didn't think that was too big of a expectation to want to know how the night went. Hmph. So, yeah, she was not requested again. She did fold baby clothes though. I liked that.[/something nice]

Come to think of it, she was our third pick. The first one was a no-show to our meet-and-greet and the second person quit the agency, I think.

It's all for the best though because now we have Ms. J (no, not that one). I really like her. She might be our age, but I haven't asked. Playette is always clean and fed and happy when we come home and I haven't noticed anything missing yet, not that I expect to. She takes care of our precious cargo and I hope she feels that we treat her accordingly. I'd love for her to stick around as long as we do here.

So, tonight we're traveling um, a little out of our way, to see Batman on IMAX. BD has seen it already, not that that means anything. I have to see it too (I guess). And, apparently, I have to see it BIG. You know, so I don't miss anything. I heard they serve good food at the theater so you know I'll survive.

And, oh yeah, my child eats paper. Like, loves the stuff. Like, I have to pry it from her fingers after she's crossed the room to get to it and then do a mouth sweep while she cries. How it's better than food, I'll never know. Maybe that's how Playette is maintaining her trim physique and I should take notes. Our directions to tonight's destination were her most recent snack.

As a final note, at this morning's strength training session, the Bootcamp instructor suggested to the class that we keep some Advil handy because we may be in that much pain tomorrow. If that sounds like fun to you, let me know...we're allowed to bring guests over the next few weeks.

Wanna Get to Know Me?

The GoogleMeBebe version of the long-standing internet forward.

The Rules: For each question, look up the answer in a Google image search. Then choose your favorite from the first page of results only.

My age
(I swear a played fair!)

A Place I'd Like To Travel To

My Favorite Place

My Favorite Object

My Favorite Food

My Favorite Animal

My Favorite Color

The Town Where I Was Born

The Town Where I Grew Up

Where I Currently Live

A Past Pet

A Past Love

My Blog's Name
(Think: Hit Me Baby...I know. Groan.)

My First Name

My Middle Name
(My middle name is unique enough that only photos of people pop I picked a photo of the woman I was actually named after, even though the only reason she came up is because someone spelled her name wrong - we differ by a letter.)

My Nickname

One Of My Bad Habits

My First Job

My Grandmother's Name

What I Am Doing Right Now

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bellies and Butts

Things Malea's been doing for a long time:

1. Sitting on her butt.
2. Crawling on her belly.
3. Flopping from her butt to her belly.

Thing that has happened over the last couple of weeks:

1. We put Malea down on her back or her belly, turn our backs for a second and then she's sitting on her butt. (I think the Seals call this a "Stealth Transition".)

Thing that she's letting everyone in on today and is doing like a champ:


Can you tell I'm pleased? :-)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Looking Back

In case you didn't know already, I've been going to Bootcamp fitness classes. I've got 5 weeks down, 4 to go, in this session. I'm not getting skinny or anything, so keep your expectations in check. But I am getting up at 0530 3 days a week and that's something pretty spectacular for this chick. We run and jump and lunge and get gritty on the beach...and we crunch and lift and sweat and complain...well, maybe that last one is just me.

One thing I realized yesterday that just smacked me upside the head was that I'm the biggest lady in the class. Yup, me. I don't know what that says about the other participants *cough*skinny heffas*cough*, but I know how that makes me feel and "not good" is a pretty concise description. I'm the one they look at and say to themselves, "Well if she's lifting 15, I should be lifting at least 25."


Didn't I used to inspire people to do better in other ways? Kinda sorta? Hmph.

Anyway, so earlier today I went back to this site I used to go to when I had a few lbs to lose since I thought that maybe tracking my caloric intake would be a good thing to do. Check out what I found:

Monday, October 30, 2006

What Day Is This Again?

I felt nauseated all day today. And hungry. No, make that HONGRY!

I didn't want to be at work and when I finally made it through the day, I came home and crawled in the bed.

I did get up and go to class though. Good thing I've got consistency on my side. The workout did make me feel better and so did a good dinner.

Problem is...I'm still hungry. This sucks.

That made me laugh. Poor Crittle. Fighting to lose weight and all I could do was think about food and sleep and feel guilty for not going to work out more often. If only that me knew that she was like 5 weeks pregnant. Maybe I wouldn't have been beating myself up so much.

Before you start thinking crazy, I'm totally not preggo. Yeah, so nothing but my greed and slowing metabolism to blame this on. I guess I'm just thinking that sometimes I (we?) need to lighten up and give myself (ourselves?) a break. Sometimes the circumstances do make a difference. And, like pregnancy, they won't last forever.

I guess putting down the Entenmann's wouldn't hurt either.

Entenmann's can be literal or figurative. I've got Entenmann's on all sides it seems. I'm going actually try to take my head out of the sand and face these demons head on. This could get interesting.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

People First

I have yet to catch up on my rest, but I still can't get myself to just get in the bed already, so here's a nice compromise...

It's a post, on a very important topic, but I didn't write it. Please still read it though. Please, please, please. It matters.

Thoughtful Language Can Put People First!

The correct name of this diagnosis is Down syndrome. There is no apostrophe (Down). The "s" is syndrome is not capitalized (syndrome).

An individual with Down syndrome is an individual first and foremost. The emphasis should be on the person, not the disability. A person with Down syndrome has many other qualities and attributes that can be used to describe them.

Encourage people to use people first language. "The person with Down syndrome", not "the Down syndrome person.," A person with Down syndrome is not "a Downs".

Words can create barriers. Recognize that a child is "a child with Down syndrome," or that an adult is "an adult with Down syndrome." Children with Down syndrome grow into adults with Down syndrome; they do not remain eternal children. Adults enjoy activities and companionship with other adults.

It is important to use the correct terminology. A person "has" Down syndrome, rather than "suffers from," " is a victim of," "is diseased with" or "afflicted by."

Each person has his/her own unique strengths capabilities and talents. Try not to use the cliches that are so common when describing an individual with Down syndrome. To assume all people have the same characteristics or abilities is demeaning. Also, it reinforces the stereotype that "all people with Down syndrome are the same."

Here are some basic guidelines for using People First Language:

1. Put people first, not their disability. A "person with a disability", not a "disabled person". A "child with autism", not an "autistic child"

2. Use emotionally neutral expression. A person "with" cerebral palsy, not "afflicted with" cerebral palsy. An individual who had a stroke, not a stroke "victim".

3. Emphasize abilities, not limitations. A person "uses a wheelchair", not "wheelchair bound". A child "receives special education services", not "in special ed".

4. Adopt preferred language. A "cognitive disability" or "intellectual disability" is preferred over "mentally retarded". "Typically developing" or "typical" is preferred over normal. "Accessible" parking space or hotel room is preferred over "handicapped".

And just to make it more interesting (and maybe even confusing, but we can talk about it if that's the case), here's some more good info I read on a fellow Mama's blog.

Here's my point for posting this: It's not all about the words you use, though they can hurt when used incorrectly and maliciously. For me, it takes both (though, I admit, I do cringe every time I hear the "r" word, regardless of who says it). If there's no motive to hurt, all that's needed is education. It's not about separation into those that know the "rules" and those that don't. That's not the point. The point is not to hurt people that have done nothing to deserve disdain. The point is to just give a damn, whether it's about the individual that is differently-abled or the family that loves and supports them or the friends that enjoy their company.

I'll have more to say about this later, but this is a good start.