fodder for their therapist

and here’s why mainstreaming is ruining your kid’s education

… that’s great that your mentally retarded (yes I used that phrase, and I’ll tell you why in just a minute, so rehinge your jaw) kid is in a regular classroom. Now get my kid out.

That’s right, I used the phrase mentally retarded and not “learning disabled”, and I stand by it. Fiercely. But it’s so offensive! So not PC! So cruel! Doesn’t she realize how demeaning that label is? Listen up people, because I’m only going to go over this like maybe 6 or 7 times. In REALITY, and I’m talking about real reality, not this idiotic world we’re stuck in at the moment where money has no real value, the idea of work ethic is a completely foreign concept to most of America, ethics and morality are also pretty much non-existent because parents don’t really parent, and no one takes personal responsibility for, well, anything anymore. In REALITY, the term mentally retarded is actually much less demeaning than “learning disabled”. And here’s why:

Mentally, a form of the word mental, of course, would indicate brain processes.

Retarded,  by definition, and not the inane slang definition it’s been given over the years, I’m talking Miriam Webster here, means slowed.

THEREFORE mentally retardedwould refer to slowed processes of the brain.

Now, “learning disabled” on the other hand, is pretty specific. Let’s quickly define learning as the ability to obtain, assimilate, and utilize information. Does that work for everyone? And feel free to slam me on that one, I can take it, I’m a big girl. The word we’re really concerned with here is “disabled”.

First, the prefix dis- : According to Webster’s New World Disctionary (World Publishing Company, 1964), when used with an adjective, the prefix renders the original word as it’s opposite. It even uses the word “disable” as the example. As for defining the full word “disabled”? Are you ready for this?

“… unable or unfit…” (p. 415).

Do I really need to put that all together for you? If it were my kid? I’d choose mentally retarded over learning disabled every fucking time. Please refer to my child as one who is slower to process things rather that one who is unable or unfit to learn. Mentally slower, not broken in the head. Now do you get it?

But back to the issue at hand… all day mainstreaming of the “learning disabled” child into the regular classroom and why you should be outraged even if your child is the one who is the being mainstreamed.

Plain and simple? IT’S FUCKING UP EVERYONE’S EDUCATION. Not one single child in a fully mainstreamed classroom is getting the education they deserve. (If you want me to throw in some numbers here from some research studies, forget it. I spent enough time staring down EBSCO Host in Psych searches for graduate research papers. I’m not going back to that soul sucking vortex for my freaking blog. You can do one of three things here… you can: 1. Take my word for it (this is the easiest, and most painless option); 2. go to your local library, put on some waders, and jump into the gooey love that is EBSCO in hopes of finding research to either prove me right or wrong (depending on your druthers); 3. use your goddamn powers of logic. If they have been exhausted from the earlier exercise, please see option (1.).)

I remember when I was in kindergarten and a rather patronizing bitch woman came into my classroom and informed us that there would be some new students coming to our school, and that these students were not like us-they were special. Now, of course she was referring to a group of mentally retarded students (yes, I AM going to keep using that phrase. Deal with it. Refer back to my statements regarding WHY, and DEAL with it). My response as a 5 year old? Why am I NOT special? I mean, I totally got that they were different and all that, but the way that that woman explained it to us (as though WE were the retarded ones), it made it sound as though we were now second class citizens and these new special kids were so much more important than we were, that they were to be given every consideration possible, including the pencils from our hands and the blocks from our building stash. Now, this was not mainstreaming into classrooms yet, just the introduction into the regular school. This was way back in the 1980’s before everything went to hell. We were getting ready to step into the handbasket, but it hadn’t been completely woven yet.

But these days, there are a lot of fully mainstreamed classrooms. Like (you guessed it!) The Girl’s. Two kids in her class are functioning at a 3 1/2-year-old level. So guess what? That’s the level THE ENTIRE CLASS is geared toward. No, I am not making this up, this is not hyperbole, this is information straight out of the teacher’s mouth. And it’s not her fault, she’s frustrated and screwed by the whole deal worse than anyone. Poor woman’s teaching preschool. It’s absurd. The mainstreamed kids aren’t getting the attention they need and deserve, and the other kids aren’t getting an education. And yes, I know my kid is ridiculously advanced. But you tell me what 5 year old can’t count past 10? Doesn’t know the alphabet? Can’t tell the difference between a square and a triangle or groups of crackers versus groups of pennies. Because these are the thing The Girl’s class has been working on. In fact, they’re only working on counting to 5 at the moment. And did you know that the letter “C” only makes the hard sound as in “cut”? Apparently letters in todays alphabet are no longer multi-tasking. At least, that’s what The Girl learned in the Alphabet Sounds Song the other day.

So… what have we learned today class? I hope we’ve learned that reality is out there somewhere, just waiting for us to acknowledge it again and get back to work, that it’s better to be retarded than disabled, that no kid is any more special than any other no matter how different they may be (although Mozart, Beethoven, Einstein, Monet, Picasso, people like that do stand apart… but the word “rare” would substitute nicely for special-don’t you think?), and that perhaps completely  mainstreaming our kids is NOT the best idea… for anyone… no matter how much you want your kid to be just like everyone else, he’s different… just like everyone else. Love him for it. Celebrate it. Be an advocate for what he NEEDS, not for what you WANT him to have.

And one more thing… before you get completely irate and fire off some comment slamming me for insensitivity and elitism, take a really deep breath, let it out, repeat twice more, and go back and re-read what I’ve written. Slowly. Thoughtfully. Apply logic. If you still think I’m hanging out on the crazy box drinking the kool-aid of superiority, then go ahead and write that email… I love a good competitive discussion…

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we all screw our kids up in our own special way

… that toothfairy is one stingy bitch. 

NB22

So, having the army be one of the higher powers that rules your life tends to fuck up a lot of holidays. We can generally count on at least half of our family’s celebrations being crashed by Uncle Sam every year. It’s usually at least 3 out of 4 birthdays, almost always the wedding anniversary (5 out of 6 years so far), occasionally Christmas & New Years, and very often valentines day. Easter and Thanksgiving are about the only holidays that we haven’t missed having together most every year. (I’ll think about the significance of that later… or not…) The point being, the actual DAY of the holiday has pretty much ceased to be important. It’s the event — the celebration — that is the important part.

Take birthdays for example. I can’t remember the last time anybody in our house actually celebrated their birth on the actual DAY of their birth. My birthday was last month, and the actual DAY was just another Tuesday; kids fighting, mom yelling, dad yelling louder, somebody made dinner, everybody ignored the dishes and tried not to get sucked into the vortex of the laundry monster in the hallway. Just another Tuesday. Later that week, however, I went out for an actual date with my husband. And just like that, Birth celebrated. It’s not the DAY that’s special, it’s the fact the YOU were BORN that’s special. My kids are sure that you can’t have a birthday without balloons, so they’re still not sure that I’m a year older, which is pretty much okay with me, as I’d like to stay this side of 35 as long as possible.

These last couple of weeks have been pretty monumental for our little household. Not only did I fall into and eventually conquer the sucking vortex of laundry monster (I can see my hallway again!!!!!), but the cupboards are full of clean dishes (we won’t mention the gnarly allergic reaction to the dishsoap — I told you, husband, NOW will you wash them?), but The Girl has become a Toothless Wonder.

I was beginning the think that she was dentally challenged. Her cousin, a mere 5 months older, has lost like, 7 teeth already, and here’s my kid hanging on to her baby teeth like nobody’s business. So one night as I was helping her floss (yes, we do actually floss their teeth. I can hardly believe it either) and I noticed that 1.) she had a loose bottom tooth and 2.) this was a good goddamn thing since there was nearly 3 mm of new tooth peeking out directly behind it. My poor child is mutating into a sharkgirl! But no, the dentist reassured me that this was perfectly normal. Which was a great relief when I noticed that there was yet another adult tooth vying for space right next to that one, and still not a baby tooth had exited.

Thinking that we might expedite things and avoid having teeth pulled,  we told The Girl that the toothfairy paid way less for teeth when the dentist had to pull them. This was, apparently, a mistake for two reasons. One, she had not yet heard about the whole money-for-teeth black market exchange. Oops. But really, how long could we have kept that one from her? The first day she shows up at school with a tooth missing, some “friend” asks her how much she got for it, and the jig is up. It’s not like we can tell her the toothfairy didn’t come because mom pissed her off — that’s why the Easter Bunny didn’t come this year. (Apparently I offended him with all of my bunny blaspheming on the way home from grandma’s house, and then again when I thought the damn things had invaded the yard. Mom blames the bunnies, Easter Bunny’s feelings get hurt, no chocolate treats in cute little baskets for the kidlettes. I’ll take the heat, I’m a big girl. But I digress… sort of…)

The second reason this was bad? She started working on that tooth and had it yanked out, blood running down her chin, in less than a week, and she ripped the second one out three days after that! On the other hand, her motivation could have had something to do with her dad telling her he could “get that tooth out”, as he holds up his fist. “No thanks dad, I don’t want a knuckle sandwich.” Totally serious, totally straight-faced this girl. And yes, she does understand the sarcasm of it all, so don’t get all DCFS-y or anything. But here’s the real kicker — after she lost her first tooth, she REALLY lost it. As I was looking for an appropriate under-the-pillow fairy-vessel, apparently the tooth went, and I quote, “tink tink tink  down the stairs.” I looked for that fucking tooth for an hour plus. No tooth.

I tried to explain the significance of the first tooth to The Girl, how the toothfairy was going to give her a gold dollar coin, but only for the first tooth, and how she would only lose her first tooth once. She was still more interested in playing with her bear than looking for her tooth. And The Boy? He kept picking up cracker crumbs and saying “I foundda tooths!” After about the 28th time, I found myself answering him back with a not-so-nice “no, no you didn’t sweetie”. I finally gave up and put them both to bed, explaining that no, we couldn’t just leave a note because think of the scams kids would run on the poor toothfairy. Yeah, I know, that was pretty harsh for a 5 year old, but I was tired, my head hurt, and she was the stubborn one who didn’t think my original little pouch was good enough, insisted I find something “better” for the tooth, wouldn’t let me keep the tooth whilst looking for said better something, and lost the fucking thing. Besides — I was pretty sure I could find it in the morning.

As it turned out, The Husband found it later that night in roughly 10 minutes.

I was so flippin’ excited, we tried to wake her up, but she was UNconscious. Once that kid is asleep, it’s like trying to wake the dead. Or a seriously napping cat. But she was incredibly excited in the morning, and the next night the toothfairy came, traded money for tooth, shook her head about the whole damn thing, and put that freakin’ tooth in a very, very safe place.

Now, as for the gold dollar? Yeah, she lost that the next day at school.

That’s my girl…

 

 

 

dear condron.us,  

i know i’ve been conspicuously absent for some time now, and i do apologize for the abrupt and unexplained departure, but it’s hard to reach the computer when you’ve been swallowed by the sucking vortex of the laundry monster in the hallway. it was a long, hard-won battle; tears were shed, blood was spilt, fingernails were broken, detergent and stain remover were used in copious amounts, and socks were lost in the melee of it all. but the clothing has agreed to never again conspire to attempt consciousness and I have vowed to never again allow the laundry pile to grow taller than my knees, or my children’s heads, whichever comes second.

Sincerely,

the help.