Thursday, October 2, 2014

Two and Two

It's Down Syndrome Awareness Month, y'all!

And, I remembered my password to this blog!

Will wonders never cease?

I haven't been writing much since...well, 2012? Two kids was a huge adjustment that I'm still working through.

It hit me a couple of months ago that we have a nice little numerical phenomenom going on
Right now, it reminds me a lot of Chuck Woolery's iconic line from Love Connection: "We'll be back in two and two."

Unless something changes with Playette's schooling, her grade will match Dez's age. She's in 2nd and he's 2.

So for all of you wondering what I've been doing for the past 2.5 years, there you go.

This will be the first year in forever that I'm not going to commit to blogging daily. 31 for 21 is so far outside of my realistic capabilities, but while the kids are indulging in a little sick day PBSing, I figured I could at least manage an acknowlegement.

Hows about an update?

As I mentioned, Playette is in second grade. She loves it. It's challenging. She's fully included and tries so, so hard, but we are realizing that she needs more time, more attention, more lots of things. She can do some of the work, but she has areas where she struggles. I created a nightly schedule to try and manage how studying for spelling tests, working on reading (decoding and comprehension), math, daily worksheets, dance class, therapy, dinner, bath, and time to enjoy being a kid gets accomplished. It's a lot. I'm tired. I don't feel "special." I feel almost totally unequipped. We even hired a sitter to come three afternoons a week to get it done. She was great and acted more like a tutor. So of course she got a better job and yesterday was her last day. Yeah. What to do now?

And then there's Dez. Well. It's very different. He picks things up without difficulty. He's quick. Like, super quick. His speech and memory are amazing. He wants to do everything his sister does and some of it he can. When he surpasses her, I don't know whether to feel proud of my son or perturbed for my daughter. There's a balance that needs to be reached for sure. I'm learning every day.

But, as a whole, they're both great kids. Funny, smart, unique, and crazy cute. They argue and they play together, just like any other siblings. They love and they annoy, just like any other kids.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Making It Happen: Discover Community School

Do any of you watch Parenthood?

I do. Love it. If you don't, it's totally worth adding to your list of good TV options.

I used to cry at least a little during every episode. It's just that good.

Part of what really got to me is that one of the families depicted has a child with autism and the parts about the frustration and the joys and the waiting and the therapy and the...well, almost everything...just really hit home.

And the love and sincere connections they all have with one another? Yeesh. I'd like some more of that, please.

Over time, I went from wanting to be any Braverman to wanting to be Christina Braverman, specifically.

Why that character?

Well, because she's strong. She's been through a lot. And she doesn't compromise when it comes to her kids. If something doesn't exist, she creates it.

Which is exactly what my friend, Stephanie Willson, is doing by starting Discover Community School in Tampa, FL.

Discover is an independent private school for children with cognitive disabilities and their typical peers. Their purpose is to support every learner, to meet children at their ability and offer project based learning by differentiating curriculum, playing to students strengths and providing a home school like environment.

While Steph has the knowledge and the drive, she, unfortunately, does not independently possess all of the funding required to complete such a huge undertaking. She's a wife, mother, friend, and a fantastic photographer (remember these?) with a huge heart, but that only goes so far when you need a commercial lease.

For that reason, Discover has an indiegogo campaign going on right now. Click here for more info.

I know there are a lot of really good causes out there and most of us can't give to everything. But if you can, please do.

Or maybe you know someone (or know someone who knows someone) who could benefit from attending this kind of school? Tell them about it. Tweet it. Put it on Facebook. Every little bit helps.

Thanks for reading, y'all.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Stranger

Something happens to you when you lose a parent. I'm not anywhere near an expert, so I can't speak as to what everyone feels, or even what most people feel, but I can't talk about how it has made me feel.

I was 18 when my mother died. I had just returned back to college after Christmas break. We had had a falling out, but had made up by phone a few days before. She was planning to visit me soon. I remember her being upset about me wanting to go out for New Year's Eve to a club with my friends. She told me that it may be her last and I accused her of being overly dramatic. 

I went. 

She died on January 12, 1995. I wasn't there. I was notified in the middle of the night and driven home shortly thereafter. I have not been the same since then, obviously.

I read a book recently, about how the author dealt with the death of her parents. I found myself feeling so much empathy. I thought about how hard that must have been, and still be, for her, even though our situations were so very different.

The reason I even bring it up today is because I came across a book yesterday. The Stranger by Albert Camus. The memories came flooding back. I remember having to read this before the start of my senior year in high school. I remember sitting at our glass dining room table at the large desktop computer, typing out the report that was due very soon. I remember tapping into the most creative part of myself as I developed a diary for the main character, based on his actions in the book. I remember being very proud of what I did and I remember being extremely excited that my teacher recognized it, too. It's sparked something in me, getting that "A". I felt like I was finally good at something. It made me want to become an English professor.

The thing about losing my mother is that I have in my possession so many things, both sentimental and random. There is no family home to return to. We lived in an apartment in 1995 and before I returned to school, everything had to be removed. My address became my mailbox number. Many things were thrown away, somethings were stolen, the rest went to storage.

I have all of the old family pictures. I have pieces of furniture. I have books from high school. I have my mother's notes from college and her greeting card collection. I have school pictures of people I haven't seen in almost 30 years. I even have that report on The Stranger in a box somewhere, I'm sure of it. 

We move these things from place to place every two to three years. 

I never became an English professor, as is probably obvious by my grammar and sentence structure. 

My mother convinced me to pursue engineering.

I wonder if she would be proud of who I am today. I no longer consider myself an engineer (I've long since forgotten so much of what I learned), but it was a great experience. I saw the world like she wanted me to. I finished what I started.

I know that mother-daughter relationships aren't always perfect. I don't tell myself that if she were here everything would be great. But I do miss the opportunity to call her, to have a lap in which to rest my head when the days get so, so hard and I just need to cry and have my head stroked. I want more than anything for my children to have a grandmother in their lives. I think that my mother would have been a grandmother much like her mother was to me and that would be a wonderful thing to have. 

It's amazing what finding an old paperback in a  box can bring to mind. 

No wonder I can't declutter. All! These! Emotions! 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


I was just about to put Dez down for nap and stopped to change his diaper. Playette sat on the floor near my feet and was quiet for a moment. Then, she started saying some letters. I quickly realized that she was reading something off of one of the items I was using.


"Great job!" I said, taking every advantage to encourage her. "What does that spell?"

With every ounce of confidence and pride she possesses in her little body, she replied, matter-of-factly...