Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Bear Cub's Birthday

The bear cub got an early birthday present of 300 ball pit balls from my sister R. So you can guess what I have been doing non stop the last 24 hours.

My husband and I are debating over actually buying them a ball pit.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Part 3

What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. Friedrich Nietzsche. Facing challenges and adversity makes us stronger and makes our lives more interesting. This is true on a smaller scale and a larger scale. On a smaller scale even doing various types of crossword and mind puzzles increases our memory and brain function. Bigger challenges make us stronger and more resilient throughout our lives.

I didn't actually see it, but there is supposedly an Oprah episode where a depressed woman jumped in front of a train and had her legs severed. Once she recovered, she was no longer depressed and feels she lives a happy fulfilled life. When I first heard this, I was surprised, but I've heard similar stories since and am less surprised ever time I come across them. It seems adversity can also make us happier.

There is a study where researchers found that the period of time prior to a vacation makes people happier than the actual vacation does ( I can't find an online article about it, but there was also a study a while back in a psychology magazine about people being happier working on a hard, arduous project than they were upon its completion and reward. I think both of these things point to attitude and positive thinking. It's easier to have a positive attitude when you know something good is coming up and so almost everyone is likely to do it and be happier. It is harder, but just as or more important, to have that positive attitude when adversity strikes.

I think that overcoming difficult situations is important to our happiness. Even in watching movies, we often feel a sense of exhilaration only when the hero or heroine overcomes something dreadful. The worse the awful situation the happier we are at the end of the movie and movie makers sometimes do a great job by capitalizing on this. I know how hard it is to believe this and if someone tried pointing this out when I was driving to move back in with my mom when my first husband and I were going to get a divorce I would likely have not had anything kind to say to that person. I do, however, strongly believe that without that divorce, I would likely still be pretty miserable and my current marriage wouldn't be as blissfully happy as it is.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Why Me? Part 2

One of the places that I've seen the question "Why me?" is in the blogs of new mothers of babies with Down syndrome. Apparently only a few of us feel like we were meant to have a baby with Ds and I will admit that I didn't start thinking that until my bear cub was about 6 weeks old. It's a pretty common thing to question what singled a particular mother and father out and wonder if you did anything to cause it even when doctors and scientists and other parents assure you that it is random.

It seems that everyone that asks this question gets the answer of "Why not you?". At first it seems kind of cold, or at least it does to me, but that question is just as valid, not just in this case, but whenever the question "Why me?" is asked. What makes someone think that they are more or less deserving than anyone else of bad things happening to them.

I had a friend that was reading a book about driving that said that everyone thinks that they are a good driver. I don't think that that's true for everyone. I don't feel like I'm a particularly good driver. I didn't even want to learn to drive and didn't get my license until I was in my 20s because of this and even then it was reluctantly. I think that like driving most people like to think that they are good people, too. I imagine that even the psychopaths and sociopaths of this world think that they are no worse than anyone else. It seems natural that you deserve to have a better life if you live your life right and I even agree with this, but I don't think that it will make you immune to have anything bad happen to you. (For the record, I don't think having a child with Ds is a bad thing. I just used it as the example because it is one of the places I've been seeing the question.)

If a particular adversity didn't happen to you, who would you transfer it to? I don't think that I could give any of my challenges to anyone else in an attempt to protect myself from them, even someone I didn't like. I certainly don't think that any of us have the divine wisdom, infinite knowledge, and perfect moral compass required to be able to make these choices. I am glad that I have my faith to believe that there is another that is making these decisions for the best results, but I believe that even those with no faith accomplish nothing by dwelling on the bad things that happen in their life.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Why Me? Part 1

I've been hearing and reading this question a lot lately and I have a lot of thoughts on it. My first thought is that I never ask this question unless it is something good, not so much 'why me' but 'how did I get to be so lucky'? I think it has a lot to do with expectations and my childhood primed me to expect only negative things. When something happens if it isn't good I accept it and move on. I wonder if the people that ask this were overly blessed when they were younger to only expect to have good things happen.

I truly believe that everything happens toward a purpose. My dad being who he was shaped me into the person I am (for the better in most ways). My having a horrible boss that I could not work for any longer is the reason that I quit and I believe that it was necessary for P and I to get pregnant. It also resulted in other people leaving that company and ending up in better positions in their jobs and home lives. I had an awful roommate in college that would do vengeful things like turn off my alarm clock and lock me out of our dorm room. This resulted in my getting another roommate that turned out to be one of my best friends that is still close to me two decades later. If I look back at anything good that happened in my life, I think I can find something bad that contributed to the good thing that happened. I often cannot see the good resulting at the time and I'm sure that there are many positive things that result that I do not even know about, but I also think it is important to believe (in my case, know) that there is a reason for everything. Hearing this from someone else doesn't necessarily help when you are faced with a challenge, but I believe it is true nonetheless.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What if...

A. What if an individual with Down syndrome was bitten by a vampire?

B. What if someone with Ds was turned into a werewolf?

C. What if Hitler had a sibling with Ds?

D. What if someone with Ds got an ability like from Heroes?

E. What if someone with Ds was Aes Sedai?

F. What if someone with Ds was a major character in your favorite fictional work (book/tv show/movie)?

My answers:

A. Anyone that has a child with Ds knows that their veins collapse and that it is practically impossible to get blood out of them. I think that individuals with Ds are likely to be mostly immune to vampire bites the way that they are mostly immune to all types of cancer (other than AML).

B. I think that if an individual with Ds were turned into a werewolf that it would depend on the individual as to the specific differences, but that in general they would likely experience a lot more domestic/dog-like traits than the general population. I imagine you would find a lot of them trying to cuddle instead of attack during the full moon.

C. If Hitler had had a sibling with Ds, he would have been much more likely to have learned compassion, empathy, love and respect for himself and others and would not have been able to have been a part of the atrocities that occurred. However, Germany was primed for what happened and I think likely a different leader would have arisen to cause a similar or the same thing to happen.

D. Again, I think the abilities of the person would depend on the individual. I imagine that my bear cub would have some sort of artistic ability since she likes to scribble so much. If not the prophecy painting ability, something like the ability to paint with her fingers or to create holographic 3-D paintings in the air.

E. Aes Sedai are so long lived that individuals with Ds would have plenty of time to learn the skills they need for whichever Ajah they chose. I imagine that you would find the most people with Ds in the Grey Ajah as sisters of the Grey Ajah are mediators, seeking harmony and consensus. As for my bear cub, I think she would choose the Blue Ajah because the Blue Sisters involve themselves with causes and justice and she is P's and my daughter.

F. For this one I'm going to choose my mom's favorite work since I have such a hard time choosing and put someone with Ds in Janet Evanovich's (JE) Stephanie Plum series. If JE wrote the person as a one time character, I imagine that that person was the key to Stephanie solving the mystery and saving Stephanie from almost death, due to the villains completely underestimating what someone with Ds is capable of. If JE wrote her in as a recurring character, the person would be as zany and fun as Grandma Mazur or Lula and could work at the donut shop or funeral parlor, maybe originally showing up in the series as a skip.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Girl fun and another bottle slumped

First here is a picture of the nerdlet and the bear cub playing in a big box. I wish I could capture the duo of happy giggles I hear right now. It makes most of the tired go away.

And now my latest glass slumping attempt. I didn't want to slump this beautiful bottle, but my mom's friend wanted me to and it was her bottle. I loved the lines and color. I don't know what was originally in the bottle.

It actually went through four firings to get it flat. The first one barely slumped it at all and only took off the color. The second firing didn't touch it at all. The third firing made it look cartoonish in its bend and the fourth firing finally made it lay mostly flat. I don't want to fire it again because it still has some of the lines and I'm sure they would be lost in a fifth firing.

Next I think I'm going to try a Kalua bottle.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

End the R-word

March 3rd is End the R-Word Day. The R-word is retard(ed). The idea is that the words we use are the basis for how we think of others.

A lot of people use it and probably think nothing of its use. Here is what a particular mother hears when you use it. When the words are "That is so retarded." I hear "That is just as stupid as your daughter, you know, the one with the intellectual disability." Here is what the bear cub will hear, "I hate that as much as all those kids that teased you and called you retard hate you. You don't deserve to be here and neither does that."

It isn't about political correctness. It is about respect, the basic respect that every person on the planet deserves to receive. The word originates from hate groups that don't believe that people with disabilities deserve to live. When the word is used the people that join Facebook communities against those with disabilities and make calls to action to murder those with Down syndrome are given the belief that they are in the right. They are given the strength to post abortion pictures next to pictures of our children with sayings like, "It's not too late."

I know that a lot of the words we use to refer to things that are less than intelligent were originally used to refer to those with a cognitive disability: moron, imbecile, idiot, dimwit... I also know that the r-word will be replaced by another derogatory word used to refer to those that have intellectual challenges, but until there is a new word, people with compassion will avoid the use of this one.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Skunk Tale

Sunday, my sister R and I took the nerdlet, and my nieces Little Miss (age 7), and Drama Princess (age 4) to Six Flags. On our way we passed an area where clearly someone hit a skunk. R started asking the girls if one of them farted and then asking them individually who had made that smell. Drama Princess said nobody farted. So R asked her then what was that smell. Drama Princess thought a few seconds and then said, "Mine body lotion."

A picture of the four girls in their matching kimono-style tops, from left to right, Drama Princess, Bear Cub, Nerdlet, and Little Miss:

I took a bunch of pictures and this, unfortunately was one of the better ones, and we had to use M&Ms to get Nerdlet to cooperate at all, hence the fingers in her mouth.