The Charm and Challenge of Raising Julianna

In bullet points, in no particular order: Every time we introduce Julianna to a new teacher, be that classroom or for swim lessons, we have to begin with these words: “She likes to pretend she’s more helpless than she is. You have to be firm with her.” The truth is, she manipulates without even realizing…

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My Alternative Spring Break

You know those trips organized by campus ministries every year, where college kids go to build houses in Appalachia or Central America? I never did one of those. I was way too timid (shocking, I know) and way too comfortable in my own ordinary. Those kinds of missed opportunities are the only real regrets I…

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The Orthopedic Surgeon Who Rocked My World (or: The Saga That Isn’t)

You all remember, I’m sure, the saga of the orthotics. I’ve been talking about it periodically for years, both here and on Facebook. After Julianna broke her second brace in January, the orthotist sent us back to the PT. The PT told me she really wasn’t sure what to say except she’d like to see…

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The Gift I Have To Give Is Me

We just came through parent-teacher conference season again, and what we learned in Julianna’s home visit was that although she can read a page that looks like this: her comprehension is stuck on pages that look like this: For anything more complicated than Corduroy, I have to sit with her, read with her, and stop…

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The Minor Frustrations Involved In Raising My Chromosomally-Gifted Girl

When the phone rang during my oh-so-precious work time the other day, I almost decided to ignore it without even checking the caller ID. But there’s always the chance it’s somebody’s school. Which in this case, it was–Julianna’s. It turned out there had been a minor altercation on the bus. Julianna kept touching a boy’s backpack, even…

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In Which I See My Daughter Changing

Julianna has been changing lately. It started a year or so ago, when we realized she had lost that wispy, delicate feel. She’s still tiny and I can still pick her up and carry her, but it’s no longer easy. She feels solid now, rather than fragile, her physical frame finally catching up with her…

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The Saga of Orthotics, and why it’s important to talk about it during an election year

I hope you’ll bear with me today, because there’s a reason I’m about to tell this story. One thing that sometimes accompanies an extra 21st chromosome is “pronation.” This means that due to low muscle tone, the feet turn out. Julianna has fabulous health and good cognitive functioning but her feet are regularly regarded as…

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Julianna and the Ticking Clock of Approaching Adolescence

I have this parenting theory: It’s not that a child is too young to learn a particular lesson (like, say, toileting). It’s really a matter of when the parent decides he or she is ready to take on the task of teaching it. When the parent makes it a priority, the child learns.*   I…

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Stained Glass, A Strong-Willed Breakthrough, and Learning to ride a bike in a week (theoretically)

It’s been a pretty intense week, with Julianna in iCanBike camp in a nearby town. I’ve had to pull her and Nicholas from school early every day so we could make the half-hour drive to the camp. They begin with this gizmo, which is sort of barrel-shaped, so it’s narrower and less stable than training…

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