Sunday, March 29, 2009

Law and Order: SVU

After Educating Peter, I checked out an episode of L&O:SVU.

I became a huge fan of this show while struggling to breastfeed Playette in her early months. Once I got to the point that I realized that she was not going to cooperate whether I used a nipple shield, tinctures, tea, a Supplemental Nursing System, finger feeding, syringes, or just about any other method you can think of (we tried them all), the pump became my friend. And then my enemy. But that's a whole 'nother story.

Anyway, so I pumped day in and day out. Hours a day. Always on schedule, whether it was an "every 3 hours" day or a "every 5 minutes marathon" kinda day. I was up a lot. A LOT. So, in turn, I watched a lot of L&O.

When you're not sleeping, characters are welcome.

It had been quite a while since I'd settled in for a good episode, so I was very interested in seeing what my good ole TiVo WishList had recorded for me.

Per Wikipedia, here's a description:

May 10, 2002

Rebecca Tolliver (played by Lois Smith) reports her twenty-two year-old daughter with Down Syndrome (played by Andrea Fay Friedman) is pregnant after being raped by her boyfriend (played by James Badge Dale). Detectives Benson and Stabler have to make sure it's not just her mother being overprotective and in denial of her daughter's sex life. They learn even more people could have used her innocence about sex to abuse her. ADA Cabot then has to interfere and take on her superior, in order to settle the mother-daughter dispute on whether the daughter should have an abortion or not.

It was a pretty decent episode. There was, of course, a twist or two, which kept things interesting. I liked how they handled things, overall. I don't recall cringing once at the dialogue and it felt like the show had done its research. It wasn't sloppily thrown together.

The subject matter was another story. I did cringe a little. I mean, when the topic came up recently of "Would you take it away?" I dangled some things out there, pretty unsupported and possibly unclear I might add, about what I even allow myself to think about when it comes to Playette's future.

Here's what I wrote:

"And we're not even getting into the future. I have done myself the favor of not thinking about that too much. (So, yeah, I do think about it a little.) School. Bad touches. Stranger Danger. Real friendships. The effects of constantly moving around as a military family..."

Bad touches. Stranger Danger.

Yeah, this show touched on that. Apparently, this girl's mom did her a huge disservice by not being up front with her about her body and sex in general. So much so that she was manipulated into thinking that sex was exercise and ended up pregnant.

So there's that. And then there was the follow-up part about whether or not this young woman was even competent enough to care for a baby.

To get back to what I was trying to say last week, I know that all kids are susceptible to being taken advantage of. That wasn't my point. My point was kinda more like "most 22-year-olds do not have that same problem." I fear for Playette not being able to tell the difference between right and wrong, no matter how much we teach her at home. I wonder if her general good nature can come with boundaries.

She is the absolute sweetest little girl right now. How/when do we stop her from being comfortable with just about anyone? Her social skills are amazing. She's a joy to watch with other kids and adults just love her. She is not your typical toddler. Not so much with the screaming or the tantrums or the separation anxiety. Sure, it happens, but she's pretty easy going a lot of the time.

How do we change that?

we change that?

How do we instill in her that everyone is not worthy of her hugs, while also providing her with the strength and resolve to say "no" and the ability to express herself in a way that gets people that love her to understand that she needs help?

I don't know yet.

We're not there.

So while we wait for that time to come, we'll enjoy our little girl's hugs and sloppy kisses and be glad that she enjoys other people so much.

The show got me thinking is all.


Shelley said...

Our children with Ds are boys, so it's a little different in some areas. But, the general idea of teaching them boundaries is the same. Everyone has different opinions on what to do, but for us, we have started an early age, to teach them the difference in family and friends and friends and strangers. We do not let our boys hug and give affection to people outside of our family. We have a very strict rule about this and I do tell other people when the situation warrants. One of my boys in particular is indescrimenant with his affection. He will hug anyone...will go to anyone to be picked up, etc. He has no sense of boundaries at all. We do not allow this and tell people not to hug him and not to pick him up(he's 5 but the size of a 2-3 year old and everyone wants to hold him!). Our rule is "hugs are for family, handshakes are for friends" and we have taught our boys how to shake hands(which is also VERY cute when our Grifyn walks up to someone and holds out his hand...just as cute as a hug!). Our philosophy is that if it won't be cute when he's 20, it's not cute now. We MUST be this way because children with Ds don't discriminate between appropriate and not appropriate sitautions, people, etc. And, if we allow them to hug and kiss on everyone now, we are creating a bad habit that will be much harder to break as they get older(when it's no longer cute).
I have found that our therapists, friends, etc work very well with us on this. They work with us to teach our kids personal space issues and appropriate behaviors. I really believe that we have to start now to ensure that when they are older, they fully grasp the boundaries of relationships.
But, that's just my opinion! I know lots of people who say "there's no harm in hugging" or whatever. This is just what works for us....we focus on the big, long term picture.

datri said...

That boundary thing is just so difficult. Since Kayla was so tiny when she started PreK, everyone is always hugging on her! And Kayla is always climbing on the teachers and aides to snuggle with them! When she starts Kindy next year I'm going to make sure teaching boundaries are part of her IEP.

sheree said...

so much to think about...

We're obviously not thinking about it much right now either, but I am glad you posted this because it definitely is something that needs to be addressed at some point.

I might have to go chack out that L&O episode now!

Michelle said...

okay, reason #412 why I want to play with you in real life someday?

Characters are welcome.

Cracked me up!!

I think it's going to take a lot of training as the girls get older, about holding back & not hugging everyone. It's going to be repetitive, but necessary.

I did a post on that once, long time ago; how if I did my job right & well neither of my girls would ever become mothers. Here's hoping I'm up to the challenge, and able to protect them.

I love Shelley's handshake idea - that's so cute and polite, yet within appropriate boundaries!