Archive for September, 2013

Dear C.N.T. (Clueless Neuro Typical) Parents,

I hate to admit it, but I agree with you.  This Disney thing about the lines and the waiting?  Yup, we are on the same page.  I agree that the issue is bratty, ill-behaved kids and their lazy parents.  I’m with you that it’s about people who feel like they are entitled to go right to the front of the line.  I agree that it’s about parents who have no control over their children and take advantage of a system to cut in line in front of everyone who is patiently waiting for their turn to ride It’s A Small World or my personal favorite, the Haunted House. The parents don’t want to do the work necessary to teach their kids the lessons of patience and expected public behavior.  The kids are fidgety and noisy and have an absolute lack of self-control.  Your kids push and shove.  They cut people off, pushing others out of the way and you just smile or shrug your shoulders as if to say, “what are ya gonna do?”

Oh, wait, what?  You thought I was talking about parents of Special Needs kids?

Um, no.

This debate about special lines for Special Needs families is actually not all about those families.  This debate is about you, the C.N.T. Parent.  Why is there a special line for Special Needs families?  In part, it’s because of your clueless looks of disdain and horror when our kids flap or squeal in line.  It’s because you jump to the conclusion that if our child is flapping their arms or screaming in response to every time your child says, “Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama,” while you ignore your child, my child must be a brat or misbehaving.  It’s because your child will walk up to our child and say, “what the hell is wrong with you?” and you do nothing.  It’s the complete lack of empathy on your part and your inability to teach it to your own misbehaving, bratty children.

So when a place like Disney makes an effort to ease the discomfort for everyone (you included) by giving us our own line, you decide, “well, I deserve that too.”  So you actually go to guest services and game the system.  You actually go to guest services and say, “my child has a disability, give me my fucking guest pass.”  This, despite that fact that your child is completely typical.

This debate is not about letting Special Needs families “cut” in line.  It’s about giving them their own line because C.N.T. Parents like you didn’t want us in your line in the first place.

But it’s also about safety.  If my kid flaps to calm down, isn’t safer to let her flap in a line populated by people who understand to give her a little space as opposed to packing her with you and your unempathetic brood?

So, you’re right – these parents have to get off their asses and actually discipline their children and teach them how to behave in society, but those parents are you, the C.N.T. Parent, and those kids are yours.

Come walk in our shoes for a week during the school year and you’ll see what hard parenting work really is.

Thanks for nothing,



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So yesterday was curriculum night at Katie’s school.  I’ve gotta tell you, I really like the group of teachers she has this year.  They are energetic, dynamic, eager and they seem to genuinely care about their kids.  The night was fantastic, except for one little blip.

Those of you who follow Jess may have seen her post this on her Facebook page:

Screen Shot 2013-09-20 at 2.22.24 PM

From the very moment the social studies teacher said “three” and “why” I knew the tears were coming.  I was sitting behind Jess so I put my hand on her shoulder, hoping that I could help her keep the tears in.  It was a tough moment.

But there was something that I had forgotten to share with Jess over the past week; something that really didn’t register until that moment, sitting in the classroom; something that I had inadvertently brushed off three times.

On three separate occasions this past week, Brooke began to relentlessly ask me “why?”

We need to go to speech Brooke.
Well, because it helps with your communication skills.
Well, Ms. A helps teach you how to use certain tools so you can tell me and mama what you need or like or want to share.
Because that is her job.
Because that’s the field she chose…

Time to take a bath.
Because you need to get clean.
Because you’re dirty.
Because you played out in the sun today.
Because you’re teachers let you all out for recess.
So you could get the jigglies out…

…and on and on it went…on three different occasions…from my 10 year old daughter…and it was wonderful!

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“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
~George Santayana

We are all mortal.  Eventually each and every one of us will die.  The only way our thoughts and beliefs will carry on once we are gone is through recorded history, whether that be in the form of the written word, photographs, digital media or even our most ancient of methods, word of mouth.  Although the world is constantly changing, seemingly hurtling headlong toward the future in faster and faster bursts, it would behoove us to look back and truly study our past.  It seems that in this day and age, when access to humankind’s rich and colorful history is the most accessible it has ever been, available to all with access to a computer and the internet, that more and more the citizens of the world give only lip service to those who came before us.

We have been charmed by soundbites, headlines and narratives fashioned by others, by those who should know better, who should act better, who should be better.  They focus on the now without truly understanding that “now” only exist because of “then”; that without “then” there would be no “now”.  But their biggest folly in ignoring the dusty pages of history is that mankind is essentially stumbling into the future with blinders on. Though no one can truly “see” the future, studying the past can at least reveal some of the pitfalls that lie ahead and help us avoid repeating the same mistakes.

The focus in the news for the past week or so has been whether or not we should bomb Syria in response to their use of chemical weapons.  It would seem that our President has stumbled through this “crisis”.  Polls show that the majority of the US is against any kind of military intervention – it’s not our business – stay our of Syria – we don’t want to get into another quagmire.  I don’t know what the right answer is, but I do wonder this – do any of the people who are so adamantly opposed to punishing Syria for its use of chemical weapons have any idea of just how horrific chemical weapons like mustard gas are?  People of my generation do not remember the horrors of soldier suffocating in the trenches; the unpredictability of a gas let loose to the wind, sometimes bringing the gas right back to the armies that had deployed it or into towns and villages in the surrounding area.

It is possible that President Obama was bailed out of this mess by an off the cuff remark by Secretary of State Kerry and an opportunistic move by Russian President Vladamir Putin.  Opponents of President Obama are howling that he has been shown up by Putin and now Russia, that paragon of diplomacy, has won and the USA has lost.  To paraphrase Jon Stewart from the Daily Show, who cares?  As long as those chemical weapons are being taken off the shelves and locked up for good, we ALL win.  Up until this point, no one else was willing to take a stand on the use of chemical weapons.  All war is horrific, but it was decided long ago that the use of chemical weapons were beyond the framework of the battlefield, were much too unpredictable, much too uncontrollable.

On the surface it might seem an odd segue to bring up the topic of vaccines, but this is the very topic that came to mind while I was watching the news coverage of the opposition to bombing Syria.  So many have begun to eschew vaccinations for fear their child might get autism or some other neurological disorder – the knee jerk reaction to a study based on bad science continually spread by bubble headed celebrities.  It has left us, all of us, more vulnerable to the horrors of disease.  People of my generation and younger do not remember little Johnny or Janey disappearing in the middle of the school year, sometimes returning with a disfigured leg; sometimes never returning at all – victim to the crippling, often lethal effects of polio. People of my generation and younger do not remember the near 30% fatality rate of measles or the sometimes resulting infertility from mumps.  We don’t see these horrors anymore because science found a way to protect us from these diseases.  Many of those horrors have been relegated to the pages of history.  We have rid the world of smallpox.  We are close to eradicating polio.

They are history.

There is a reason why those who come before us feel compelled to record their time in history.

A parent will inevitably tell his/her teenage child, “trust me, I’ve been there, done that and you don’t want to repeat the mistakes I made.”  What will the teenager do?  Exactly what the parent doesn’t want them to do.  It is the natural order of things; the circle of life – but mankind is not a teenager; governments and communities are not teenagers – they are run by adults who should know better, who should act better, who should be better.

George Santayana’s quote is worth repeating – Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

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