Thursday, January 28, 2010

Answer to My Prayers

When I was pregnant with the nerdlet, I prayed for two things that I make it through the pregnancy without losing her and that she be healthy.

With the bear cub, I had a longer list. I still prayed for making it through the pregnancy and having a healthy baby, but my list had expanded. I prayed that P and I would be good parents to both our girls. I prayed for help in taking things as they came and to understand our girls talents and inclinations and to be able to help them achieve what they could and accepting of their long term goals. I prayed for help in not becoming one of those parents that is constantly comparing her child to other children and their accomplishments. I prayed that my girls would have compassion (this was important because both P and I have family members that are really lacking in compassion). I prayed that my girls would have appreciation for the things they received in life and an acceptance of what those things were. I prayed that P and I would not start taking each other for granted as so many couples do when they become parents especially to multiple children.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about how my bear cub is the perfect answer to all those prayers. My bear cub has Down syndrome and because of this, many of these prayers have been answered or are almost guaranteed to be so. My daughter is healthy and thriving and the little things definitely make her happy. I find it much easier because of her diagnosis to take things as they come. P and I are not only not taking each other for granted, we are helping each other in parenting even more than we did when we just had the nerdlet. I find that I constantly have more reasons to appreciate him and his loving and caring towards both my girls. I know that both girls already have and will have compassion. The nerdlet has always had a temper and been low on patience and I have already seen her pause and wait while the bear cub is being taken care of. Both of the girls will wait patiently if the other one is upset and being tended to. The bear cub was a very specific answer to each of my prayers and the answer was a resounding yes. I'm so grateful for both my girls and I love them wholeheartedly.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Social Skills

I have a confession to make. I'm somewhat of a social misfit. I've always been a social misfit. While others were striving to be different, I was trying to figure out why I was different and how to be the same, and no one was trying to be different in any way like I was. I've been told by teachers all my life that I probably have ____ (you fill in the blank with whatever: ADD, Aspergers, dyslexia, OCD, etc.) I'm fairly sure that if there was a test to tell if children were like me in the womb, that there would be a 90% abortion rate on Kimberlys, too.

Anyway, as I've mentioned before, I'm continually trying to work on these skills and it gets harder as I improve more to identify the ways I'm screwing up as the differences get subtler and subtler. I've never had anyone to help me in this manner. My parents usually just punished me for doing something rude or socially wrong. My sisters, who are extremely adept with their social skills, would tell me how to do things but it didn't help me improve so much as just let me know the specific action in a specific setting.

Luckily for me I have my husband. One of the many great things he does for me is very gently pointing these differences out. Fairly recently, he pointed out very gently that my suggestions don't sound like suggestions but commands. If I see a better way to do something, I'm apt to tell you to do it that way and not say that it might be a better way to do it or say that if you do it this way it would be better and give the reason why.

So if I have offended you by commanding you to do something a certain way, I apologize. I don't intend to insist that you use my methods to parent your child or put colors together in your quilt or sanitize your kitchen and bath but am just trying to give suggestions for other ways that you might like to do things that I have learned from my reading or research or experience on a particular subject. I promise to try not to be so pushy in the future.

Thank you P for pointing this out and for having such good suggestions to help me. It is one of the many reasons that I will love you forever.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Lottery - the review

The premise is intriguing - a young man with an intellectual disability wins the state lottery. I wouldn't call the writing impressive and there are a lot of similarities to Forrest Gump. It was however a quick enjoyable read that I recommended for people to read.

It's a heartwarming story and although the characters are not deep, they are lovable. I would like to think that people reading this story would end with the knowledge that having a lesser intellect does not make you worth less than anyone else. I would also like to think that it would give the reader an appreciation of how to treat an individual with an intellectual or other disability (or at least how not to treat them). These pieces are in the book, but the simplicity of the novel and the way it is written may easily allow readers to overlook the need to carry this further than to the protagonist.

The first thing that I did when I checked out this book was to read the negative reviews. It is something that I often do, but there weren't many for this one. Most of the negatives point to the fact that characters are one-dimensional and the story seemed ready made for television. I really don't feel that this is a fair representation of the book. It is written in the first person by the main character. I think it highly likely that the world might appear to be more black and white to this character than to other individuals. The author has extensively studied people with various disabilities and I don't think that this effect was so much a result of poor writing but an intentional view of the character.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was a quick read and easy to put down and pick up where you left off, which is important when you have two babies. I would recommend this book especially to younger people still in public school and hope it has the intended effect on the audience. I would recommend it to the rest of you, too.

Earlier in this blog I wrote that I intend to write a book about a hero with Ds. If my story even comes close to the way this one came out I would be pleased with it.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Kimono style top

I found a tutorial for a kimono style top for little ones ( and have been wanting to try it for a while, but I haven't been able to allow myself to waste the time doing so. I finally did so. The pattern leaves a lot to be desired but it is functional enough for a quick little top.

I have this butterfly fabric that I love that I hadn't seen in a while. I found it at a Wal-mart in Austin and bought the rest of the bolt. I decided to use it for the top. I made on for the nerdlet and have one cut out for the bear cub waiting for assembly.

Anyway, on to the pictures.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bouncy Fun

I used a number of gift cards I got for my birthday and Christmas to buy the bear cub the Fisher-Price Lil Laugh n' Learn Jumperoo. I made a few modifications but I may end up just sewing a completely new seat for her. She seems to really like it. I think it is going to help with her aversion to putting pressure on her feet because she loves to bounce so much. I'm likely going to only use it during the nerdlet's naps though.

The first modification I made was to sew the seat so that she could not just sit down, but had to be upright. I just sewed the extra part on the butt of the seat closed.

The second modification I made was to fold the area between the legs into thirds and sew that so that it would not spread her legs apart.

I also considered making the straps that adjust the height longer so that she could touch the floor, but I decided to use a box underneath her instead. If I make another seat, I am going to make it deeper because she is so long for her weight that the problem is really that she can't weigh the seat down enough to pull the jumper down enough for her to reach the ground.

Mailman problems

P and I have always had problems with our mail at this house. We get mail for the wrong addresses and people all the time. We have had mail butchered and returned to us opened and in pieces with a note from the post office saying they were sorry for the inconvenience but our mail was opened in process. I will write wrong address or wrong person or return to sender and it will be delivered back to me the same day. I've had to mark out the delivery address or the name so that it will be delivered to the correct recipient or sender sometimes. We also get mail really, really late. I got my car registration six months after ordering it online with the post mark that long before. I also have mail sometimes never show up. I have had contracts sent to me multiple times for various things before I actually got a copy. P and I do most of our stuff online anyway, so it usually isn't too big a deal, and we have started doing the rest in person if possible.

Our mailman is a nice man. Actually he is super nice and that is one of the reasons that we have never complained. He always waves to everyone and says hi. We have one of those communal mail boxes down block and around the corner that they do now. With both pregnancies, he would bring me any packages so that I wouldn't have to carry them from the mailbox and would occasionally even bring me the mail to the door if there was a lot (or I hadn't picked up in a while). P and I often joked about how the niceness balanced his incompetence and just explained the problem as necessary.

A few days ago I was leaving to run an errand and I saw a substitute mailman at a different mailbox delivery the mail while talking on the cell phone. On my way back I saw him at our set of mailboxes delivering our mail still on the cell phone. I've seen this guy a few times, but not often. I'm now wondering if he is the cause of all our problems with the mail. I wish I remembered the exact date I saw this so that I could write it in the letter that knowing me I will eventually send.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Quilting Guild and Ds

The San Antonio quilting guild is pretty large. They have hundreds of members and the meetings are really interesting. They have really good quilters and instructors come from all over to teach and the topics are fun. They do a lot of community service including presentations at schools and libraries and making quilts for the hospitals and soldiers. I keep saying 'they'. There is a reason for this.

I used to go regularly, even through my pregnancy with the nerdlet. I went after her birth and it was really the only time I would leave the nerdlet with her daddy alone. It was where most of my quilting customers would come from. I stopped going a few months before I got pregnant with the bear cub. All of a sudden it became inconvenient to make time in my schedule. It happened one Saturday when one of the members gave a little speech during the announcements.

She announced that her baby was born without Down syndrome and she cried telling us how happy she was and how grateful she was for the prayers and how awful her whole pregnancy was thinking that her son was going to have it. I went a few more times after this speech, but I never really felt comfortable around her again. This lady owns one of the quilt shops and I have never been and will never go to her shop. This was before my life was personally affected by having a child with Ds, but I could not seem to get over the fact that she would allow such a diagnosis to make her miserable.

I know that is a normal response to grieve when you have a child diagnosed with Ds. I understand that it is seeing all your dreams for certain things all disappear at once, as opposed to your other children where your dreams for them disappear one by one as they grow and change and show you that they are who they are and not who you dream them to be. I never went through this, but even before the nerdlet, P and I had many discussions about how if our children wanted to be hairdressers or poor struggling musicians or whatever that we would support them in who they were. Maybe that helped. Maybe it helped that it was so hard for P and I to conceive in the first place.

There is a facebook meme that parents of Ds are posting. "My wish for 2010 is that people will understand that DOWN SYNDROME is not a disease; people with DOWN SYNDROME are not looking for a cure but ACCEPTANCE." I do think it is important that people realize that it isn't a disease. People ask if parents would cure their child that has Ds if they could. Would you trade your child for another child if you could? I guess those that abort their children because they have Ds would. Isn't that what they are trying to do? I would certainly have cured the hole in the bear cub's heart, but now it is cured - through surgery. I would help her not have to struggle with learning certain things, when it comes to that. Would I cure the part that makes her smile all the way down to her toes? Would I cure the part that makes her greet everyone with that happy grin? Would I cure the sweetness that causes the ladies at the gym daycare to say she makes them want to have another baby? Would I cure what makes her the person that she fundamentally is? No, I would not exchange my daughter for a different one. I love her the way that she is.

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Years Resolutions

I like to make New Years Resolutions, but I haven't really made any this year, or at least I haven't made any that coincided with the new year. I like resolutions in general. In junior high, I was told that Benjamin Franklin made a resolution to improve himself all the time working on one thing each week, and I took that to heart. I'm working on something to improve myself at all times. One of the things that you will find in common between most of my friends, who are so different in so many other ways, is that they are what I call strivers and that they too are not complacent in who they are. It is one of the many things that I love about my husband.

One of the things that I continually have to work on my entire life is my interpersonal skills (a word I have picked up from Nick Jr.). I have no instinct for social skills. I work on them all the time and as time progresses it is harder and harder for me to figure out what I'm doing wrong. Another nice thing about P is that he is good at helping me identify these gaps.

One of the things that I've been working on more recently is not being an intellectual bully. I have this propensity when I'm angry (especially when I'm feeling indignant) to speak faster and raise the level of my vocabulary, especially with my bosses. It's not an especially endearing trait and it isn't something that I do consciously. It is a remnant of growing up in a dis-functional family where my dad was abusive in almost every way and my only defense was my mouth.

If you look at me at any point in my life with an open eye, you will find that I am a different, and hopefully better, person that I was the year prior, and hopefully even six months prior. Everyone in my family, with the possible exception of my dad, benefited greatly from my parents getting a divorce. I feel that I benefited the most, and the benefit that I appreciate the most is that with the new family dynamic my mother and sisters look at me as differently than they did growing up. For the most part, they see me as closer to who I am than as the collection of who I was growing up. It seems to me that most people have their position in the family where they fit and have a really hard time removing themselves from that spot, if it is even possible. Although I am lucky that I'm not in the spot I was growing up, I do wish that they would see that I'm not the same person that made the same mistakes two decades ago, a decade ago, or even a year ago. I invite them and you to see the person I am today and the person I am tomorrow.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Lottery by Patrica Wood

Dave Hingsburger ( is an activist for people with disabilities (and other variations from completely average or less than 1σ). I've read through his entire blog and although I don't always agree with what he has to say, I do think that he is a wonderful advocate and I greatly appreciate having spent the time to read his words. I've actually linked to his blog in various places many times. He is having an online book club on January 25 with the book The Lottery by Patricia Wood. The basic premise of the book is that a young man with a mental disability wins 12 million in the lottery. I just finished reading it and I think that despite some minor flaws it was well worth reading. I'll post more on the 25th (assuming I remember).

More Happiness

10 more things that make me happy:

1.Dancing with P
2.The bear cub's smile
3.Bug's nervous laugh when she is really excited about something
4.When my dog's are clean
5.Misty Kitty likes my singing
6.The beauty of the written Japanese language
7.Watercolor paintings
9.spaghetti plumbago

Thursday, January 7, 2010


10 things that make me happy:
(not necessarily in order)

1. cuddling with my husband and/or girls
2. my sewing machine
3. creating of pretty much any sort
4. music that makes you want to dance
5. reading a really good book
6. the sounds of my daughters' voices
7. Signing Times
8. uninterrupted naps (I remember those)
9. chocolate, especially dark chocolate
10. relaxing in a hot tub

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Time Apart is Good for the Heart

P and I have an agreement that we will spend at least 2 days apart each month. The joke is that we do this so we don't turn into his parents. In reality, we do this because it is really good for our relationship to have time apart to miss each other. I think it keeps us appreciating each other and also ourselves as individuals. My younger sister R says that this wouldn't work for everyone because no one trusts their spouse as much as we do. I once asked P if he would cheat on me and he responded that he wouldn't because it would cut into his WoW time. So you can likely guess what he does when I'm away.

Saturday morning, P mentioned that we hadn't had time apart. I told him that he forgot that I was gone a whole week in December helping my sister move to Texas. He paused and then said that he needed time away from the responsibility of the girls. He didn't feel rested like he normally does when I leave because I take the nerdlet and the bear cub with me. So I packed the girls and went to visit my mom for the weekend.

I feel like I need to find some other options though in the future. I love my mom and sister and niece, but I feel like we're in the way now that there are two more people and a dog living there when I visit. I kept waking R up and interfered with Little Miss's tv watching. My older sister always feels the need to visit and stay for a long time when I come, and even when she clearly doesn't feel like being there, she sticks around. Maybe I'll send P up there to stay with my family next month.

I'm back at home and have so much to do. Apparently the weather forgot that this is San Antonio and keeps having freezes. This week we're expecting to hard freezes below 30 degrees (F) and we've already had a few this year. Usually we only have one or two if any. This means my foyer/studio is filled with plants and that I can't really feel like the house is clean until it warms up. It also means I have to work around the plants for any quilting which is a pain at best. Also my laundry room is filled with recyclables because our 90 gallon recycling bin has been full for the last couple of pickups and still we have a couple of huge boxes to break down and put in there.

Anyway, I have to get to cleaning or I will be even more embarassed than I already will when the nerdlet's speech therapist show up in a bit.