“That’s retarded!” or “What a retard!” or “Are you retarded?”

11 Feb

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This is my son’s worksheet from after an incident at school today. It wasn’t the first incident. Today, though, they surrounded him and joined in and taunted him. It started because one student called him a retard.

This is not ok.

I realize many people still use the “r-word” casually and I realize many people use it and think it is ok if they use it because it was considered acceptable when we were growing up. It is not acceptable now. Please consider what you are saying when you are calling a friend “retarded” or “a retard” or calling their behavior “retarded” as in “that’s so retarded” or “you are such a retard“. You are saying (even if this meaning is unintentional) that people with developmental, cognitive, and physical (people assume far too much about cognition based on just a glance) impairments and disabilities are less than you, are less than “normal”.

Our community has fought, and continues to fight, just to live as others live and to have the same rights as Joe or Jane Average. We all have dealt with adversity, even the youngest in our ranks.

Do not add to the vitriol and mistreatment by using that word.

If you use it now, please stop. If you use it by accident… That happens, but think about the child or adult you are really hurting, and vow to never use that word again (and share this message. Please.). If you hear a child, your child, a nephew, niece, neighbor, etc… use the “r-word“, tell them what I am telling you here. Tell them it hurts. If you are a teacher or school administrator or support staff, please consider spreading awareness that this word is inappropriate and too many students are still aiming it at other children, and not always in a casual way.

Some of those children, being called retards or asked, “are you retarded?” on the playground, in the halls, in the cafeteria are children who have been fighting hard their entire life just to have a seat at the table and in many schools, inclusion means that the table has kids with disabilities.

If you think it’s not a big deal, ask those kids and ask their parents how they feel about it. Ask an adult with disabilities. If you don’t know any you feel comfortable asking then please ask me. It is a big deal.

I was called that dreadful word, as a child with developmental delays, and my son has been called that word daily, at school. My kid isn’t “normal” (which is a word we also don’t use in our home.). He’s better than that. His response to these lunchroom bullies is to explain to them why the r-word is not an acceptable word to use anymore. He is so much better, kinder, smarter than those nasty 8th grade boys. He would never call another child anything other than their first name, because he has been tormented and he knows that teasing and bullying is wrong. He is so much more mature than they are. He can’t fight back the way a developmentally average child would. So he explains. He tries to explain to these bigger kids why they are doing something wrong and mean. Which, of course, makes things worse, and magnifies his differences (which I see as such magnificent strengths) to these bullies. And the taunting increases. Where do you think these kids first heard the r-word? Probably at home, either from a parent or in a movie/on a tv show, and then they spread it around.

WE CAN STOP THIS.

Sticks and stones may break bones, but the reality is that words do so much damage, and until you have been at the receiving end of them, for a lifetime, it can be impossible to fathom the destruction they can cause.

Please share this and share this link: http://r-word.org/r-word-why-pledge.aspx#.Vr0azN-rTdQ

Please take the pledge and spread the message to family, friends, coworkers, classmates and ask them to move the message forward that the “r-word” is not acceptable in 2016.

Thank you.

xo,
Bek

Bunny Deux: Electric Bunnaloo

13 May IMG_8407

It took two weeks of caring for my wee baby bunny, Frankie, to realize a couple of things:


1.  I am a rabbit person. 


I love dogs. I tolerate cats (allergic to most, with the exception of Maine Coon Cats). I am obviously not a cat person (before anyone gets all knotty in the britches, I like cats if they belong to other people. I just don’t want felines of my own.)  I am surprised to find out that maybe I am not a dog person either.  I am a rabbit person.


2.  Baby rabbits have boundless energy.  I do not. 


3.  Having only my one kid (the human one) has been gnawing at me forever and as I have been closing in on forty it has been gnawing less idlly and more with the ferocity of a beaver on a dam mission or a wood chipper on a past it’s prime Christmas tree.


4.  No. 2 has helped emmensely in coming to reasonable terms with No. 3.



Still, No. 2 kept needling at me kind of in the way Frankie’s tiny baby bunny talons do as he climbs all over me like I’m the strategy board for his future takeover of everything that is and will be.  


I read up, like the diligent autodidact I am and came to realize that the guinea pigs were a gateway pet and now, to preserve sanity (mine) and improve the life of my newest little one, I would have to find a suitable, Lagomorph life partner for Frank.  Also, playtime with the piggies wasn’t cutting it (though it was adorable as there was a definite kinship and the piggies followed him around with the glee of toddlers after an older sibling, complete with adorable waddling and urinating during play) and as Frankie started physically eclipsing Oliver and Dave, the safety of the pigs was becoming a concern (guinea pigs are extra delicate when challenged by the strong hind quarters and boisterous boinging of a bunny). 


There were many considerations.  Most of them had much to do with avoiding the conception of a billion baby bunnies in my condo.  As I was planning on having Frank, and any additional rabbits, neutered/spayed, I decided another boy bunny would be the best partner for him, unless I could find a snipped cougar bunny and fast as he needed bunny companionship to help meet his energy.  


And then this showed up on Craigslist: 

  

  

There was a note on the listing saying that the last rabbits would have to be sold by 5pm or those baby bunnies would be heading for “Freezer Camp”.  The picture is of the blue Silver Fox buck/boy.  He was the same age as Frank. FREEZER CAMP. 


*gulp*


I knew I was in trouble.  I knew I, even though I am not a vegetarian, would not be able to withstand the burden of knowing this particular creature was killed because I didn’t take action.  (Don’t fret, herbivore friends, I battle with my own hypocritical thoughts and behaviors each and every time I slip on my shoes or raise a physician prescribed nibble of flesh to my lips. I do.)


I talked to my kid about it and read him the craigslist ad.  


“We need to go get that bunny, Mama.”


So we did.


We put Frank in his hamper, hopped in the car, and drove up to Port Charlotte to meet Otis.  


That’s when we learned that Frank is a really tiny, possibly dwarf, rabbit.


Otis is a meat rabbit.  READ:  very large.  Frank: 1.5lb  Otis: over 8lbs. (Frank has since grown quite a bit but is clearly the racing model to Otis’ utility/tank/steamroller body type). 



Here’s Otis, at home, the first week.

  


  



There is more to the whole Otis tale, but it just dawned on me that I have gone completely non-linear.  I think I failed to post anything about how I went to go get hay for the Guinea Pigs and there were baby bunnies and I put my hand in their enclosure and this little black and white bunny, who looked kind of like a Boston Terrier and a bit like a French Bulldog with bigger ears, immediately started licking my hand.  I asked to hold him. I did. And an hour later Frankie was settling into life at home and I was frantically reading everything about rabbits. 


Here’s baby Frank:  


  




And fast forward a couple of months…

  

Before you are pummeled by the irresistible cute of a baby bunny,  please please please do your research to prepare for their needs.  They are a joy and require very specific and constant, involved care.  One fantastic resource is the House Rabbit Society. 





The Obsessive Joy Of Autism

5 Mar

This: “If I could change three things about how the world sees autism, they would be these. That the world would see that we feel joy—sometimes a joy so intense and private and all-encompassing that it eclipses anything the world might feel. That the world would stop punishing us for our joy, stop grabbing flapping hands and eliminating interests that are not “age-appropriate”, stop shaming and gas-lighting us into believing that we are never, and can never be, happy. And that our joy would be valued in and of itself, seen as a necessary and beautiful part of our disability, pursued, and shared.”

Just Stimming...

I am autistic. I can talk; I talked to myself for a long time before I would talk to anyone else. My sensory system is a painful mess, my grasp on language isn’t always the best, and it takes me quite some time to process social situations. I cannot yet live on my own or manage college or relationships successfully. I can explain, bemoan, and wish away a lot of things about me and my autism: my troubles finding the right words to say what I really mean, my social processing lag and limits, my rubbery facial expressions, my anxiety, my sensory system’s dysfunctions, my brain’s tendency to get stuck in physical self-destruct mode and land me in the ER. I can complain about the suckiness of being socialized and educated as an autistic and as an outsider, about lack of supports and understanding and always needing to educate.

One…

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Please welcome…

12 Feb

Oliver
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& Dave!
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Kid has been talking about adding a furry critter to our family for quite some time. I’ll admit that I have been entertaining that idea for a very long time.

I really wanted to adopt a rescue pup, but right now I’m barely coping with the second bout of severed iron deficiency in under 6 months. I feel lousy. Walking a dog a few times a day just is too much to ask of this sore body with it’s tired blood.

Not that these cutie pies don’t require lots of care and attention.

They need so much more EVERYTHING than I would have ever imagined, even after reading everything I could set my eyeballs on.

They do not need to be walked, though.

Everything else can be spread throught the day, especially the snuggles and playtime and the neverending supply of hay and veggies.

So far, so wonderful.

Kid is over the moon and we are all very attached to our new family members and they are settling in nicely.

Electricity

16 Aug www.sunshinepostcards.com

I caught this to share with you…

I watched the night sky crack over and over again.

The pulses of light were like memories returned.

A few moments (a long, thirteen second exposure) calcified, concentrated on my screen (once the vocal billows rumbled past and I could plug in again),  and the fine, reaching, dendritic threads appeared and yes, this is precisely how it feels to have lost moments returned after a decade or more.

One small sparkle reaches and branches into more crackles into cracks like a heavy foot on the lake, not yet settled fully into winter.

People can tell me a memory, but it just doesn’t feel true, organic, like the deep in every cell, electrifying every nerve of a firsthand memory, and these second hand memories just can’t capture the intricacies of how my senses & mind focus and capture each morsel, waft, tactile, auditory, proprioceptive vision in an overloaded, carnival ride.

Each large crack, each branch, each baby eyelash and hair-thin thread a sensory memory, each grouping creating a breathing, visual, auditory, wildly flavorful, supersaturated, olfactory snapshot in time, in my strange and wonderful curious, thirsty, synesthetic, autistic, insomniac, famished brain.

It is electrifying.

-b.

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