Monday, July 9, 2012

New Girl

Summer school is so suffocating.


That sentence contains the most letter s's I have ever typed.


S's looks like the first syllable in a stupid Star Wars name.


Anyways.


It is suffocating because all the staff around here for the summer are new, at least to me.


I have to restrain myself and I do not like it.


No random dancing, no loud singing, no freestyle 'rappin while dishing up refried beans.


No walking around, jutting out my belly and pretending I am pregnant.


A man's job is his castle, and when he cannot play 3rd Trimester in his own castle, than his kingdom has deteriorated into one of those dumb republics where everyone gets to have an opinion and men cannot hide around corners and shake their buns behind the backs of other staff.


"Why are you all laughing?!?!" the frustrated staff asks.


The kids all point to the empty air, where only a moment before I was miming that the teacher has a big butt and look at me limbo under my own arm.


In short, the eagle of my own amusement has had his wings clipped, leaving me on the ground and drooling over the field mice that now take great delight in mocking me.

Which also means that  since I cannot entertain myself, this job has been reduced to being a job again.


When I see this job as a job and a job alone, the genuine terribleness of it shines through.


However.


Fresh faces among the students can sometimes make things a little more interesting.


This is Ellen:




She has Down Syndrome, which is one of the few socially acceptable forms of developmental disability.


Perhaps because it is recognizable.


You walk into Whole Foods with a normal looking kid who all of a sudden starts barking like a dog and taking his pants off, and people clutch their apple crusted tilapia and get the heck out.


They figure some serious shit is about to go down.


Make that kid Down Syndrome, though, and people smile knowingly as the rays of Downsness warms their heart.


"He must be too hot, " someone says.


"His bark sounds just like my lapdog!" observes a nice old lady, as she slurps her barley green soda that is a little bit of heaven for her colon.


By the time he is naked and smearing feces, people are cheering and offering to buy prints of his artwork.



It is societal fallout from the Corky effect; he made it OK to have Down Syndrome; just not the other stuff.


Ellen is very short, and I keep finding her places, watching me with a sly expression.




"AHH! Oh, it's you...you startled me."


She winks and rubs her hands together.


It makes me feel like I am food to be eaten.







Ever the eyes upon me, to a creepy enough extent that I had to investigate a little deeper.

I dug up Ellen's IEP.



I fear that Ellen is in love with me.

Sometimes, there really is no flattery in discovering someone is attracted to you.

Sometimes it marches right in step with all the other bitter disappointments in your life.

She sits across the table from me, sighs, and leans dreamily on her hands.

 I stick my belly out as far as I can and announce, "I'm fatter than any-bodee heah."

A look of shaken conviction crosses her face, and she says "What the heck?" in a gravelly little mumble.

Ellen is one of those students who has more going on upstairs then she wants people to know, I see.

She is content to play helpless and let her well-meaning parents coddle her for the rest of her life.




Some parents of special needs kids have clung so desperately to the idea that their children are helpless and vulnerable that they have kept them in a state of suspended infancy.

Or they do not seperate syndrome from behavior, and feel that everything their child does is under the umbrella of their diagnosis; it is society that has the problem, and it should bend itself to accomodate the individual, no matter how purposefully rude or disruptive that individual is choosing to be.

To be fair, though, I cannot imagine being the parent of a child with special needs.

The difficulty, the heartache. The reconfiguration of love that must take place in order to accept them as they are, regardless of how you had hoped they would be.

Maybe the strain of it is why so many of our parents come off as crazy.

Knowing myself, the marshmallowy nougat I hide beneath my Teflon exterior, I could quite likely fall into the same kinds of traps.



40 comments:

  1. I didn't even read this yet - I just wanna be first!

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  2. Okay. Done. Moment I peed myself: the Mork & Mindy reference. PERFECT.

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    1. Thanks Marianne-I suppose I am dating myself with references like that

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    2. Mork & Mindy. I don't even know what that is, but I am not sure it mattered. I laughed the whole way through.

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  3. Having written IEPs before, I am quite amused by the text of Ellen's.

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    1. Thanks Jrose-don't those things suck?!?! They are the product of a bunch of edutional weiners sitting around and "big head'in" shit

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  4. I loved Ellen's IEP too. When you initiate meaningful defecation, you really know you've gotten through to a kid.

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  5. I want to do a meaningful defecation!

    Mine just like Fashion and Britain's Got Talent.

    Nothing worse than shallow poo.

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  6. "In short, the eagle of my own amusement has had his wings clipped, leaving me on the ground and drooling over the field mice that now take great delight in mocking me." That, my friend, is sheer poetry in motion!

    I'm not sure about all the references here to meaningful defecation. I'm thinking any defecation must have meaning. Does that make me an absolutist, a realist, or just someone who doesn't like constipation?

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    1. It makes you a person who does not poop lightly

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  7. One of my dearest friends has a few challenges, but we have been close friends with since about age 4, so right at twenty years, and she is this wonderful, now distant geographicaLLy, but as close as a daughter to me. I am just glad that long distance telephone caLLs are now eXtremely cheap!

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    1. That's cool, esb! I hope you keep her in line

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  8. Sooooo funny! I tried to decide what my favourite part was and I simply could not, because of the shear brilliance of it all

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    1. Oh Renee, oh you poor dear....I am so sorry that you have a moustache....it breaks my heart to see you all, all hairy up there and stuff

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  9. This is glorious.
    I'm adding you to my frequented links. :)

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    1. Thanks pantherqueen! your name is scary to me

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  10. I was quickly scrolling down to comment and saw the two pictures of Ellen in her bedroom. Looking at one right after the other at that high speed and its like she comes to life. Creepy Ellen.

    *checks quickly under bed*

    Whew! Safe.

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    1. You could fit three Ellens under a single bed, she's that small

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  11. Hehehehe, great post Gweenbrick. So nice to have an admirer...
    Have you ever seen the 70's movie 'A day in the Life of Joe Egg'? It's a must - a terrible yet incredibly fascinating film about parents grappling with care of their downs syndrome daughter. There's an amazing clip at...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAiZSxprOPk
    I really enjoyed this film in an uncomfortable sort of way. Fantastic performances by all in it.

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    1. I'll have to check it out...never heard of it, but movies with impaired people sometimes put me off-like Leonardo in Gilbert Grape

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  12. Look at me! 2 comments in a month-Woo! Your crush there reminded me of a moment this weekend, at work. I was on shift with a guy who I hadn't worked with in quite some time. We played catch up, which means you sit there and talk about the clients because on the outside you have absolutely nothing in common and it's all you have to talk about. This is fine really. But anyways, the subject of this one particular client came up and how he often tells me that he loves me. He also informs me when his is going to masturbate or if he did the night before.
    My co-worker said it is because I am the "Marilyn Monroe" of the program.
    It was one of those moments where I wanted to curl up in the corner or start dressing like the girl in "Boys Don't Cry"
    The really sad part is he's probably right and it's what happens when you are one of the younger women working in group homes of men.
    You should see me at the agency dances. If only I was as popular in high school

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    1. Oh awesome! Don't you just love being objectified? The last time I went to the special ed prom, my buns were being passed around like...um..complimentary bread....before a meal, that is served to hungry...er...developmentally disabled men and women who...uh..like dancing..agh can't stop....must make meaning

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    2. It's Ok-I understand completely

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  13. "Some parents of special needs kids have clung so desperately to the idea that their children are helpless and vulnerable that they have kept them in a state of suspended infancy.

    Or they do not seperate syndrome from behavior, and feel that everything their child does is under the umbrella of their diagnosis; it is society that has the problem, and it should bend itself to accomodate the individual, no matter how purposefully rude or disruptive that individual is choosing to be."

    *applause*

    Moving right along, I spent years working very closely and one on one with a child with severe autism. His parents and I finally decided that he would simply never independantly go to the bathroom by himself, dress himself, etc.

    He was placed in a group home last year and suhprize, suhprize... within the first month he was fully potty trained and dressing himself.

    Imagine my shock in finding out that for 6 long years, I'd been had.

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    1. Hey Dani! Don't you just love being conned by those initially seen as impaired? it happens to me all the time....it makes me feel stupid

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  14. This made me laugh out loud so many bloody times!! Love that you walk around like a pregnant person! Aww ellen's crush on you is sweet! As long as it's harmless, I suppose. You don't want her sneaking into the trunk of your car and taking her home with you unknowingly!! (always check your trunk from now on.....)

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    1. Good advice! She could probably fit in my work bag, but she would have to jostle for space with all the thrift store crap in it. I can just see my wife's reaction as she empties the bag: "Oh you brought home a talking condiment dispenser, a sock with googly eyes taped to it, and a little Down Syndrome girl. Having a party, are we??"

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    2. Uh...that comment was not meant to sound creepy....

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    3. It was so creepy, but so funny, so it cancels out any badness *thumbs up*

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  15. Aawww. I want you to put my socks on for me and give me a bottle too!

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    1. How much will you pay me? Because the ratio of my moral standards to need for money is quite wonky at the moment

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  16. This is hilarious! I just ran across your blog! Looking forward to future installments :)) You have a unique, snarky voice. Snarky is good. I love snarkiness, btw. hehe

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    1. Thanks Alejandra...glad you came by!

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  17. I love this post, dude. I wrote something about my time in Best Buddies, but I don't know if I am brave enough to post it on my blog.

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    1. Hey, you should-Best Buddies is a great program, but I am guessing something awkward happened to you... please post for my enjoyment

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    2. No, actually something tragic :(

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  18. This: "No walking around, jutting out my belly and pretending I am pregnant."

    ...may very well be the funniest line I've read all week.

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  19. Holy shit, I haven't laughed this hard at something on the internet in a long, looooong time. My son has ADHD and acts like a nutcase sometimes (he actually does bark, but only when he's excited or sad), and I've worked in special ed. It's true! People treat children differently when they can't pinpoint what's "wrong" with them.

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