All that and a bag of chips

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I discovered it’s prom season by the recent now viral video posted by Shaedon Wedel, imgresa senior at Newton High School in Newton, Kansas, who asked Carlie Wittman, 15, to be his prom date. Two things are not incidental to his story: Carlie has Down syndrome, Shaedon does not. Shaedon is holding a big bag of Doritios, Carlie’s favorite chips, as he asks her to the prom. If the product placement isn’t clear enough he is also wearing a t-shirt with the Doritos logo on it. This is a orchestrated scene likely videotaped by one of the parents involved. If you must watch it you will have to look elsewhere. It’s as easy to find as mold spores.

Some people insist on seeing this as a “feel good” video at a time when we really, really, really need to feel good. Sea World is for people like this. See the big fish splash! See the girl with Down syndrome get asked out on a prom date!

I got into a bit of an argument on a Facebook page about the video. I’m going to write that sentence a 100 times on a chalkboard later to make sure I never do it again. I stated I would love the video if the girl with Down syndrome was in on IT. I would consider that inclusion. I get kids and even adults wanting to be a part of a viral video. Think of The Balloon Boy.

A girl being asked out for prom is not a news story no matter her chromosomal count or her proclivity for Doritos. And– I’m not going to feel differently about this after I get over being angry as a person suggested on the aforementioned Facebook page. I expect more for Thorin than hoping someday a typically developing peer will concoct a potentially viral video scenario that lauds their contrived unselfish act and makes people say: Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

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#notyourprop

For more like this:

News Flash! Hotty Has a Down Syndrome Friend!

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Hard Ass

Watch Immediately! WDSD2017 #NOTSPECIALNEEDS Just Human Needs

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If you do one thing for World Down Syndrome Day 2017 watch this now:

And if you loved it — which you totally did– click here to learn more about the campaign. And then you must click here to learn even more (wtf!) about the amazing team who made this possible. Happy World Down Syndrome Day!

 

Not Always Happy @The London Book Fair

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The charming Patrick Hughes and the lovely Eliza Tutellier of Central Recovery Press took ‘Not Always Happy: An Unusual Parenting Journey’ * written by yours truly to The London Book Fair last week! Publication date — May 16th!

Amazing cover art by Marisa Jackson.

*I see the pre-order price on Amazon — so helpfully linked for you in the book title seems very reasonable. insert-smiley-face-here

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My Post-Christmas Thoughts on: Toys for Boys and Division of Labor

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Yes –you do have to go to The Good Men Project for my thoughts on these very interesting, topical subjects: My Post-Christmas Thoughts on: Toys for Boys and Division of Labor Comment and share from their site only if inclined.

But, before you go a slideshow of Ward building the Monster High dollhouse on Christmas Eve!

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Bound to Be Pious

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Thorin had an excellent lesson in civics earlier this month. I wrote about it on The Good Men Project: Bound to Be Pious: An American Making History.

Finding Caleb

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Almost a year ago Thorin told me: “Boyfriend, please.” He wanted a friend who was a Dude. This will please Bubba, gone now almost 6 months– I prayed for Thorin to find a boy who could be a friend.

In January, 2016 I was waiting for Thorin’s theater class to end at The Children’s Museum and Theater of Maine (the most amazing place in the universe by-the-way). I saw a young, very young woman, standing next to a boy who looked to have Down syndrome. I broke all the rules I find annoying:

“Hi! Say, does he have Down syndrome?”

“Yes, he does.”

“Awesome! Are you his mother or something?” (It is clear she would have had him at 10 if that were true.)

“No his friend, his aide.”

“My son looks about his age–9? He has Down syndrome.”

“Yes, 9.”

“Do you think…um…we could get together for a play date?”

“I think so. Let me ask his mother.”

“Of course!”

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February 2016

For the next almost year Thorin and I have gotten together almost every week with Caleb and Hannah.

He and Caleb have a secret language. They bust each other’s balls. They talk about farts. They are boy friends.

 

 

 

 

Close Encounters of the Third Kind –

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This post is four years old but still relevant today. Oct. 3, 2016, Kwp

When we are in a hurry to pick something up at the grocery store Ward will wait outside with car running and he is apt to instruct me:

“Just go to the _______ aisle, grab the __________ and go to the check out.

When I get back in our car and immediately point to some older gentleman loading his groceries in his car and say something like:

“That poor guy lost his wife and his son lives in Ohio and doesn’t call him.”

Ward asks me “How could you possibly know that?”

“Which part?”

“The whole thing. How do you know any of that?”

“Well, this lady and I were talking to him and…”

“Lady? What lady? You talked to more than one person in there?”

“The lady who just had a hernia surgery and has a daughter who could care less. Her daughter lives…”

“Stop, I don’t care where the daughter lives. Is it possible for you to go in a store and not strike up a random conversation?”

“Probably not.”

Sometimes these encounters go beyond a fleeting conversation and sometimes they don’t. This week I found myself in an intimate conversation with a woman I met on the beach about our son’s strengths – hers with autism and mine with Ds. I gave her my email.

Ward can’t fathom these chance encounters of mine and I can’t understand this thing he calls ‘gardening’.

When we first moved in together we lived in what could only be described as a hovel – for Hobbits. Everything was slightly built – rooms, doors and windows. About a hundred years before, it had been a stable where I imagine freakishly small and likely disgruntled horses lived.

The yard wasn’t more than a patch of dirt. Over the course of several months Ward built a curious arrangement from the dirt. The process began with weeks of sifting the dirt, which he accomplished by setting an old window screen on the discarded cast iron legs of a sewing machine. For hours at a time alone in the yard he moved dirt across that screen.

Prior to this, I had never heard much less seen dirt sifting. I didn’t delve too much because we were newly living together and there seemed to be bigger things about Ward I was trying to decipher that sifting dirt became low on the list. Plus as my mom and I watched him from the porch one morning she said, “He seems content. I would focus on that.”

Overtime the sifted dirt joined rocks and plants becoming an organized pile in the center of the yard not unlike the structures Richard Dreyfuss created in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Dirt sifting and combing the neighborhood for rocks and bricks has mutated through the years ending up in more recognizable things to me such as re-built patios and lovingly made garden supports.

Ward will never understand how I end up in personal conversations with complete strangers and I will never understand his gardening.

Thorin has embraced both of our endeavors as valid and normal. He engages with people in the check out line, kids on the beach and he likes to work alone outside moving rocks and dirt from randomness to meaning.