Down Syndrome Awareness and Impromptu High School Reunions (a 7QT post)

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HAPPY T21 DAY!!!!!!!

Three copies of the twenty-first chromosome, or 3/21. Also known as the first full day of spring. I think that’s appropriate. Because there’s so much more life in life with Down syndrome than the uninitiated person thinks when first encountering Trisomy 21. I thought life as I knew it was over. In a way I was right–things changed–but not for the worse.

Watch this two-minute video. Please.

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J mischief grinFor example: Wednesday evening I took Julianna up to church for choir practice (me) and church school (her). Our church is half a block from Applebee’s, Wendy’s, Ruby Tuesday, Taco Bell, and a steak-pizza place. So when you step outside you never know what fried-and-or-grilled yumminess you’re going to smell. “Wow,” I said. “That smells good, doesn’t it, Julianna?”

“Fiss…taco!” she said.

“Fish taco? You are silly!”

Julianna’s silvery giggle made me smile as I backed out of the parking lot.

She sang “Spoonful of Sugar” for a while, and then, about a mile from home, returned to food. “What..iss…my fayvote….thing…to eat?” she asked herself. “Um, um, um, pah-ta and bok-ley” (she’s not kidding; she scavenges plates for uneaten broccoli) “and ah keem and FISS…TACO!” Hysterical giggling. First grade humor, Julianna style.

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Speaking of first grade–a week ago I met with the principal, Julianna’s teachers, and a district sped administrator about holding Julianna back for next year. They wanted me to know what services are available in the years following high school–the law says kids can be served by the local school district up through age 21, and in some places the local district offers job training programs for that three-year window following the standard high school time frame. Not here, though. Here the goal is to have students graduate on time, or add one semester or year if it’s really necessary. Given that and the reasoning laid out in an earlier blog post, the principal decided to honor our request. So Julianna will spend one more year in the first grade. We promised them we’d never ask again. šŸ™‚

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On a more serious subject: In the past month or so, there have been three unexpected, untimely deaths among my acquaintances. I haven’t talked about it because it’s not my place to put other people’s lives on display, even if it did impact my life. But this week I lost a high school classmate–the second of my classmates to pass away since this school year began. I’ve done a lot of soul-searching the last few months connected to these two deaths.

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My high school class got together around the funeral/visitation of this classmate. We started reconnecting on Facebook a couple of years ago in advance of our 20th reunion (twenty years! How is that even possible?). The thought of myself as an adolescent, as I said earlier this week, gives me the willies. The thing is, when I was in high school I thought I was the only one who was misunderstood and misfit. It never occurred to me that–gasp!–EVERYONE FEELS THAT WAY. (Duh.) As I’ve spent time around my classmates in adulthood I realize how very much I like them–men, women, people I never talked to in high school because I was so intimidated by social interaction. It makes me wish I’d understood earlier what it means to be an introvert.

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Photo via Wiki Commons

Call this one “I’d Rather Eat Ice Cream.” The night we got together, I was the only one not partaking of a beer. I had to drive, so I didn’t want alcohol (I have pathetically low alcohol tolerance), and I only had about an hour to spend with them, so I didn’t want to waste a minute going to get a glass of water. But I think my classmates weren’t sure what to make of it. Maybe Kate’s a teetotaler?

The truth is that since I started counting calories I classify all food & drink in one of two categories: Worth The Calories or Not Worth The Calories. I’ll have a margarita or a daiquiri on occasion, a glass of wine–but most of the time, given the choice, I’d rather save the calories for ice cream. šŸ™‚

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Did you see this?ā€”Hug more, Scold Less: Strict Parenting Linked To Childhood Obesity. My first reaction to this headline was to go leave a scathing comment about nonsense. We are very strict with our children. That’s why they’re so well behaved. And not one of them is anything even close to overweight, much less obese. Now, I’m fully aware that this is attempting to disprove science via anecdote. Nonetheless.

Of course, I hug my kids all.the.time. And we do talk about the why behind food rules. So I’m strict, and I hug. Gasp! The two are not mutually exclusive! What a concept!

7 quick takes sm1 1 Quick Take in which I do an imitation of a responsible adult

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9 thoughts on “Down Syndrome Awareness and Impromptu High School Reunions (a 7QT post)

  1. I hear you on the strict+affection kind of lifestyle. I just explained to my 8 year old that if people just act as they please there is a need for more rules and everything takes more time enforcing the rules, but if they make choices considering the people that will come after them, there is a need for fewer rules, less enforcement and more time for FUN!

    • as for the whole food thing. I explain in it terms of budget. If we spend a ton of money on snacky type foods, we run out of fun money. But my kids are allowed to eat all day, as long as it’s an apple or carrot. That way, if they are really hungry, they eat. If not, they can wait.

  2. I love the article you shared in #7. As a child who grew into an obese adult (at various points in my adult life) and who has struggled now to get to a healthy weight (almost to goal — just 7 pounds to go!!) I have reflected an awful lot on my parents’ ways of disciplining me and rationing food to me as a kid. I was one of those kids who was thick through the middle, but not necessarily fat or obese while a child. I think I must have looked a lot like my Helen does. and my mom had me on diet after diet from age 2 on up. she often told me I was fat. I did not conform to her image of a little kid (I was never skinny….or petite or tiny as a little girl)

    I have taken the road of not restricting snacks and things on my kids. If they are hungry, I let them snack, though I do encourage healthy snacks (fruit, veggies, etc) but I don’t completely restrict the sugar, either. It has worked so far. Oh and I give LOTS and LOTS of hugs. šŸ™‚ We’ll see how we end up, but so far…I’ve got active healthy kids who seem to have a healthy relationship with food, too.

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