If Only…

My computer has a little document tracking tool that is useful for revising legal briefs and contracts. It keeps track of every change as you go along. Sometimes at the end all that’s left are pages of red corrections and one or two original words. But then you get to click a button called “accept all changes” and – presto! – it makes everything magically perfect without a single minute of stress.

So now I’m thinking: wouldn’t it be great if life came with an “accept all changes” button?

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What Kind Of Evil Genius Came Up With This?

On the one hand, it’s most likely terrible judgment to let your 18-year-old daughter share a dorm room with a guy. On the other hand, it’s probably the best birth control you could ever buy. Have you ever SEEN how college boys keep their dorm rooms or smelled the disturbing funk of their laundry? You would need homeland security to make that place habitable. When I think back to the boys I knew in college, I’m pretty sure living with them would have been a one-way ticket to a convent. And I’m not even Catholic.

Is This Bad?

This afternoon, in a fit of nervousness about becoming a mother for the first time, I sat down to make a list. One, because list-making gives me a false sense of control and two, because I intended the list to summarize all the wonderful things I already know about parenting, things that will surely make me a good mother. This is all I came up with:

1) Nothing in life is as fun as feeding whipped cream to a baby.

Do you think this will be a problem?

Sibling Rivals We Are Not.

This morning, after posting about the quirkier aspects of life with my brother Dustin, I worried: Had I offended him? Might the post come across as insensitive or derogatory? Then, I remembered that it was my sweet and brilliant sister who as a little girl nicknamed him “Tony” after hearing adults discuss his spastic tone. And it was Dustin himself who wrote the following for a 1st grade rhyming assignment:

I am a quad; unable to nod. My little mind is squished; in a dappled dish.

I can only imagine what his teacher thought; knowing Dustin as I do I know he anticipated that. So thank you siblings, for making it okay to laugh in the face of challenges!!!

My Brother Has CP; I’m Almost Kind Of Normal.

I think having a disabled brother has screwed me up. No, not in the way my parents were stupidly warned that it would turn me into an angry delinquent. Things are fine in that department. What the naysayers failed to predict was that after 25-plus years with Dustin I am completely disoriented as to what, exactly, is “normal.” Luckily we in the family find this hilarious.

I’ve actually heard myself chatting away that “when my brother was a baby he was told he wouldn’t make it but he turned out to be a super genius that writes poetry, you know, but uses a wheelchair to get around and communicates through Morse code translated by a laptop,” stopping only after my audience began looking at me like I was Nell. Other times I’ve horrified people by cheerfully describing my dad’s vintage motorcycle with the sidecar that’s “so perfect for Dustin because this way they can just pull right up to the bar and the bikers can come out to greet him without ever having to load a wheelchair.” (As it turns out, if your listeners are freaked out by the idea of a quadriplegic man knocking back beers at a biker bar it doesn’t help to remind them that he won’t be driving.) There’s also the whole world of medical issues; I often totally forget that other people may find it icky. Read the rest of this entry »

This Is A Person.

For the moment, I’m not debating whether abortion should ever be a choice. And I hope you will never hear me condemn a woman who has already made it hers. For the moment, all I want to say is that a prognosis of disability does not make an abortion better or more legitimate. Since I’ve announced my pregnancy, I’ve been amazed by the number of folks who have casually asked me, “If the amnio is bad will you terminate?”

It’s sad when the word “terminate” is a euphemism; it’s so ominous in itself. But in this case it’s a gentler phrase for what they really mean. What they really mean, standing in the Starbucks line or on the light rail or over my cell phone, is “You’ll probably kill this child if he is disabled, right?” Asked by a co-worker in a more casual tone than I recently heard her discuss euthanizing her dog. Asked by a friend, who knows my brother is disabled, as if asking what color the nursery will be in the event I don’t decide to play God. Asked by any number of good, decent, nice people who you wouldn’t expect to pass a death sentence just because someone is disabled. Even asked by legislators charged with promoting justice and doctors whose “care” should include a reminder that panic is not a basis for decision-making.

This question and its tone, its prevalence, unearth the roots of discrimination against disabled people: that truthfully, those asking would be okay with it if such people weren’t allowed to live at all. For the sake of everyone’s comfort I won’t get hysterical and make genocide comparisons. But please, don’t assume this question won’t offend me. For it very much does.

This Thursday Is Blog Against Disablism Day.

Check it: May 1, 2008 is Blog Against Disablism Day.  A whole mess of blogs will be discussing discrimination against disabled folks, from political, social, moral, personal and any other perspectives people want.  Count me in!! 

A Little Like Moses At The Red Sea.

There are many things I’m not proud of, like my love of Jimmy Buffet and the fact that I’m a teeny bit interested in Sex And The City. Among that list you could also find a category of behaviors labeled “I’m sometimes not above using challenges to my advantage.” Even other people’s challenges; I’ve used my disabled brother’s handicapped placard for a better parking spot in the summer heat (but only when he was present, of course!). Last night, this particular vice came out in a new way. My after-work bus was completely full. Weighted down with a heavy bag, my spare sneakers, and a book, suffering not-so-sensible pumps and a growing 4.5 months pregnant body, I tried something new.

I leaned back, made a face like it was Ellis Island circa 1905, rubbed my stomach and slightly waddled. And BAM!! Just like that 3, yes 3, men got out of their seats and offered them to me. One even walked from the back of the bus to tell me he had done so. I’ve never had the kind of sex appeal that could make this happen, so it was awesome in every way. And yes, I took a seat. Thanks fellas!!

You’re Once, Twice, Three Times A Brawler.

I think I forgot to send one or two thank-you notes after our wedding five years ago, but now I don’t feel like we were such bad newlyweds afterall.  Excerpts from FoxNews.com after the jump: Read the rest of this entry »

Parenting Lesson Numero Uno

Friday Baby Daddy and I splurged on a pizza. A very large pizza. The rationale being there would be leftovers the next day, when Baby Daddy would be painting the nursery and would surely deserve some pizza. However, it appears Bambino had a different idea. For as soon as I started in on my first slice, I began to feel the most dramatic baby movements I’ve felt to date. “The baby must love pizza!!!” I concluded, reaching for a second slice. “That’s my child,” my Italian-American hubby gleefully noted. Caught up in the excitement, I ate half the pizza.

Moments later I began to question that decision. By then, the wonderful baby movements had been replaced by the worst heartburn I have ever experienced, and a very real fear that we would soon revisit the pizza in a significantly less appetizing form. And so was learned a valuable lesson: baby shouldn’t get everything baby wants. Overall, I’d say that was worth it. Otherwise 16 years from now the heartburn could be a lot worse!!!

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