Friday, February 25, 2011


Ok, so I've had several requests to provide my perspective on last night's Private Practice episode.

First, let me say that, much like when I watch Army Wives, I wish they would have had a(n) (more influential?) advisor. I can't help but wonder if the actors that have Ds ever venture to say, "But I don't only play with stuffed animals and/or want to read nursery rhymes. I'm an adult!"

And it may be very wrong of me to to even have that thought. I mean, how long did Black actors accept roles that may have been considered demeaning (see: first version of Imitation of Life) just so they could practice their craft, do what they love?

So, yeah, I get that some people with Ds in entertainment is better than no people with Ds in entertainment. There are people that work very hard to help provide opportunities for our peeps to be included in movies, television, and even things like Target ads. I would be remiss if I didn't say how much I appreciate being able to see people that look like my child in the media.

I also realize that I'm the parent of a three-year-old. I have one child and she happens to have Ds. I don't know much in the grand scheme of things. I know what I want and what I don't want for my daughter based on what I know TODAY, at this point in her life. And that's all. I also recognize that all of my expectations aren't necessarily fair to her. I can't expect her to be something she's not and I fear that I do project my desires for her future self on her preschool self. That's sorta related and a whole 'nother ball of wax, all at the same time.

Alright, I know the people that asked what I thought about Private Practice weren't asking for all of that, but it needed to be said. I can't fully elaborate the full picture of what goes on in my brain, but I felt a preface was necessary in the hopes that knowing something of where I'm coming from will help anyone who reads about where this episode took me.

Plus, this is way awkward because I'm totally putting myself out there on a controversial topic and I know not everyone will agree.

It just happened that I woke up an hour early this morning so I decided to watch before Playette woke up, so it's nice and fresh on my mind.


So the premise was that a mother brought her teenage daughter in to see the doctor because she feared she might be pregnant. Her daughter would usually play in her room, talking to her stuffed animals, but this one time the mother found the noises to actually be due to the daughter having sex with her boyfriend. The daughter has Down syndrome and the boyfriend (played by a Not Currently Diagnosed actor) has different learning disabilities. The daughter has been complaining of stomach pain recently so they check her out via ultrasound. She's pregnant. 11 weeks. The doctors and the mom all look stricken. The daughter doesn't know what's going on.

Now comes the discussions about options. The female doctor is said to be "very Catholic" and seems to be wishing to sway the mother into taking the chance on having the "child she never had." The mom is all, "I had to give up my entire life to care for my child and I don't want to take the chance of that happening again" and, well, my eyes rolled because that's not my life. I haven't given up my life in the slightest. But, as I told a friend yesterday, maybe I'm just selfish parent.

So, unfair eyeroll? Perhaps.

The female doctors is all, "It might not be that way this time! Hold out hope for a "perfect" child! 50% chance of no Ds!"

See, this is what I mean. I have a very cynical outlook. Noted.

The male doctor, the female doctor's ex-husband (or maybe they're still married? I really don't know. He's dating her best friend, so they're not together), is all, "You need to back off and stop trying to push your 'keep the baby' stance because it's not like when our teenage daughter had a baby (I didn't catch if the couple were supposed to be teens or not) because these parents would need help all the time. Besides, what happens when the mom dies?"

The mom, by the way, is said to have Power of Attorney so if she decides that her daughter will have an abortion, it shall be done.

I'm no lawyer, but really? Is that how it works? I mean, I've seen people under 18 have babies and their parents are their legal guardians and all, but they still can't legally force their children to have abortions. Why would this be so different? Does the person with Ds no longer have a legal right to what happens to their own body? Hm. Please, someone tell me that this was just some ridiculous level of creative license.

I appreciated the fact that they seemed to explore the different sides. They talked about how the couple felt (when told at the CVS appointment, after it was done, what it was for - they were excited and wanted the baby), the mother's reaction (she was scared of what this would all mean for everyone involved and agreed to the CVS so that they could know if the baby had Ds or not)...

Wait. No one was concerned about the run-of-the-mill, not described learning disabilities of the father? They seemed very focused on Ds and that bothered me. I know I'm sensitive (and jaded), but it just seemed to perpetuate the idea that if your baby doesn't have Ds, that everything is right with the world.

*sigh and eye roll*

I know by this point that I may be missing something that I wanted to be sure not to forget.

And I know it's just TV and, really, I'm not all riled up and wanting to boycott the show. Not at all. I'm just sharing and in a typing it all out mood, I guess.

Ok, back to the different sides...

There was the male doctor who wanted to keep it all professional and emotion-free. Whatever the mom said is what went. And then the female doctor, whose opinion I've already noted.

I remember at one point the male doctor saying to the female doctor, regarding the CVS, that if the baby does have Ds and there's an abortion that she'll be unhappy because of eugenics and if the baby doesn't have Ds and there's an abortion that she'll be unhappy because she's Catholic.

I'm glad they mentioned eugenics.

So, anyway, the results come back and HOORAY! THE BABY DOESN'T HAVE DS!! OMGZ! PARTY TIME!

(I'm telling this out of order, but still...)

I think my eyes rolled out of my head and across the room at that point.

Female doctor tries and tries to reach the mom to no avail. She then asks the male doctor to come with her to deliver the news in person. He obliges.

But, the mom had already determined that it didn't matter anyway. Her daughter would not be having that baby. They had been unreachable because she had taken her daughter to have an abortion that morning. It was not 100% clear to me, but I'm pretty sure the daughter was sedated and, also, didn't know what was going on.


Oh, this makes me sooo emotional. Sad? Angry? Defeated? Irritated? All of that?

Like I said earlier, I am not in that mom's position. I've got a ways to go before I even have to begin fighting the battle of hormones and dealing with tough topics. But, damn. It hit me. Right. There.

So this is my life, huh?


It's not today.

And I can't borrow trouble.

(Right, Dub?)

Jack's Big Music Show is on.

I'll go watch that with my baby.


One of Playette's newest obsessions is this ragtag group of hooligans.

Ok, so maybe they are squeaky clean.

And I could probably really let them off the hook because they're all daggone near 30 years old.


For the last few weeks, Playette has been enjoying the show immensely. It's funny because I swore off High School Musical and I'm guessing this is pretty darn similar.

And I like it.

Don't judge me.

Playette picked the following up from them and it cracks me up.

It also makes getting ready for school very time consuming since every few seconds we have to "Pease!"

Also, check out how my daughter knows way more ASL than I do and I can barely follow what she's trying to tell me sometimes. She goes on these long signing tangents and I get all noddy and "Oh, really?"

Poor, forgetful mama.

Yeah, we're still working on toileting. The plastic pants are the hotness, aren't they?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Private Practice

It's not a show that usually makes it to my extensive Thursday night TV lineup (not because it's not good; I just have to draw the line somewhere), but tonight I'll be DVRing Private Practice on ABC. The episode will feature M.E. Powell, an actress with Ds.

I'm a sucker for all things Ds on television/in books, as y'all should know.

I especially love seeing peeops as actors. And models. *swoon*

Check it out if you can!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Peacock? Poppycock!

Yeesh. Neglected blog much?

Ok, so what excuse can I use this time? Family bonding after deployment was a good one. I can't really top that.

Also used: cross-country move and illness. Wait. I think I did manage to post mid-illness.

I guess the deal is that we've just been living...and reflecting on living. So many things need to be done when you get to a new place. Some fun, some not so fun. For example, Playette and I have doctors now that aren't way far away and through a tunnel, so that's good. That only took 3 weeks to get accomplished. I guess I can feel just a tad productive regarding that effort.

We've had family visit and then last week I just wasn't much up to posting after the sudden loss of an amazing friend from college. Everything I thought to write just didn't seem...right.

But, in general, we're making friends and irritating influencing people here, as we are wont to do. Playette is even enrolled in two classes at the recreation center. One way or another, I'm gonna wear that girl out, I promise.

So, in the hopes that you'll forgive this little bout of absentia, I wanted to share something that may make you smile from the sheer ridiculousness of it all.

This is real life in the Smith-Smith house, y'all. I know you want to come visit.

Preface: A friend asked what everyone knew about peacocks on Facebook and I opened my big mouth and said that I was a veritable peacock expert (they roamed free around the campus where I last worked) and also did a mean impression. She called me on it, so I ponied up with a video.

It's not so much about my mad peacock calling skillz (which, hello? WICKED AWESOME) as it is about my daughter, who will never allow my head to get too big. Enjoy.

And, uh, beware of the volume.

No, really.

Peacocks are loud, yo.

Oh, and did you peep the part where I totally forgot the word "peacock"?

My brain is so fried. I'm glad I did all my book learnin' when I was younger.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Interested in a $10 iPad?

Yeah, me too.

And I'm not selling one out of the trunk of my car, if you can believe that.

I just wanted to take a moment to tell you about a fundraiser that's going on right now. An entry into this multi-prize event costs $10. One of the prizes is an iPad. Hence the title of this post.

There are also some other pretty great prizes. Check it out.

What's even better about this particular giveaway is that it is to raise money for the adoption fund of a child. His name is Peter.

There are many people who would love to adopt (there are waiting lists in the US for children with Ds) and they just can't afford the fees. If Peter's fund is filled, he has a much better chance of finding a family.

I've talked about Reece's Rainbow here before and also mentioned friends who have brought children home from Eastern Europe. I've even had the pleasure of sharing welcome home snuggles with both Sofia and Lilya.

These girls were given the gift of a family. Their families were given the gift of these beautiful girls that enhance the lives of everyone around them. The same could happen with Peter.

If you've got $10, I'm just saying.

It's easy.

Clicky Clicky on the yellow button.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Just Thinking

Something hit me tonight. Not hard, but more like a nudge. I wonder about my sensitivity to terminology. I wrote this yet-to-be-published-and-I'm-not-sure-why post last week about usage of the r word and how I react differently to its usage now than I did even six months ago.

I still don't think it's ok, but it doesn't hit me in the same way as it did before. To clarify, still don't like, but won't cry over it. I totally have cried over it in the past.

So, seemingly non-related, over the weekend, I watched a movie. It was released in 1934. Imitation of Life. If you've seen it, you know how big a role race plays in the film.

I've loved Imitation of Life for years and years, but not this version. I always watched the one from 1959. But, since BD opted in on a Netflix trial recently, I thought I'd finally give the original a try.

Lemme tell you something: HUGE DIFFERENCE.

I was like "whoa" and cringed quite a few times at the portrayals and the verbiage used in the 1934 version. I'm not naive. I know that was a very different time, but still. Whoa. I found it hard to watch.

At one point, two girls are playing and one begins to cry because the other called her "black." Except, to me, today, she was black. Then, that was an insult. The mother of the little girl who said it told her to apologize immediately for saying such a cruel thing to her friend.

What does this have to do with the r word? Well, nothing really, but it's the terminology that struck me.

Tonight, while in the car, I was listening to Dr. Berman's show for a minute. I came in just as a lady who had called in for some advice was talking about her daughter. Apparently, she wanted Dr. Berman's help with her dating methods. She felt like she was, in her words, "a very good catch" but she had concerns related to her "special needs daughter." She actually said, "She's special needs. She's Down syndrome."

I cringed. Just like I did while watching the movie.

I mean, there's nothing inherently wrong or evil about what the caller said. It's just not what folks in my generation typically say when describing their child. These days, people I know are all about People First Language. I would never (ever ever ever ever ever) say that Playette is Down syndrome. Ever.

I don't really know my point about all of this. I don't have a conclusion, really. I just felt like sharing.

I don't know how not to cringe and I'm not sure if that will ever change.

But maybe it will.

There are just no absolutes. That I do know.