Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I've been "Simpsonified!"

This is too cool. Go to . You can create your own Simpsons avatar. I think this is a striking resemblance to the real me.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Easy Keepers

Harriet over at Feed Me! is dealing with one of those "if-fat-people-just-ate-less-and-exercised-more-they'd-all-be-thin" trolls. No matter how many studies and statistics you pull out showing that weight is largely due to genetics and that weight loss dieting has a woeful success rate, they still insist that it's a simple manner of energy in/energy out. 90% of the people I've run into online and IRL who cling so tenaciously to this fallacy are people who have never really struggled with their weight beyond the "I-noticed-I-was-getting-a-paunch-so-I-cut-down-to-two-beers-a-night" level.

When I was a kid, we had horses (my dad still does). We kept Quarter Horses at the time, which are known for being "easy keepers." This means that they can maintain or even gain weight on less food than some other breeds of horses. This was considered desirable in the 19th century West, when and where the breed was developed, because food could be scarce in that arid climate, and having a horse that wouldn't starve to death easily was a plus. The fact that certain breeds of horses needed more or less food per pound of body weight to maintain their weight was commonly understood among horse people, and not disputed.

Being a chubby kid, I used to joke that I was an "easy keeper" too; I ate the same food as my slimmer sister, but gained weight more easily and had more trouble losing it. I don't know why it's so easy for some folks to accept that weight is genetic with horses (or different breeds of dogs or cats) but not with people, unless of course it's that thin person we've all known at one time, who force-feeds themselves pies or peanut butter sandwiches in a futile attempt to gain weight. When it comes to a fast metabolism, there's usually no problem getting people to acknowledge that the energy in/energy out "rule" doesn't apply. I don't know why it's so hard to get the same acknowledgement in the other direction.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Parent Police

Or, another episode of What I Should Have Said to the Bitch.

This has only happened to me a couple of times, so when it does I'm in such shock that I'm usually left hanging for an appropriately bitchy response. Today I took Sam over to the mall to get out of the house for a while. He loves to walk around the mall to look at things and ride up and down the escalators. He's generally very well-behaved (today was no exception) and he was happy and excited and "flirting" with all of the female sales associates. We were at Nordstroms and I wanted to do one lap around the shoe department to see what was new. This woman was sitting in a chair trying on shoes, and had leaned her crutches against the chair so they were sticking out in the aisle. Sam likes to show me things, and had picked up a shoe from the display on the other side of the aisle for me to see, and didn't see her crutches behind him and accidently kicked them. I was holding onto his hand all this time, and as quickly as I could took the shoe from him, put it back in the display and moved him away from where her crutches were still blocking half the aisle, while telling him well within her earshot, "Honey, watch where you're stepping! Be careful please."

So we get a few feet away, and stop to look at something at a display table (which is now in between her and us), and several seconds later she turns around in her chair and says in one of those haughty, fake polite voices, "Will you PLEASE WATCH him!" and then because apparently she thinks I'm stupid, says again "Will you PLEASE WATCH him." I assume she's referring to my son, who I have by the hand (and had the entire time) and is standing there doing nothing. I just blinked a couple of times and said "we're leaving now." It's not like he was misbehaving. He just tripped over her fucking crutches. And I'd already moved him well out of range several seconds before. Where do people like this get off???? I know some parents do let their kids run amok in public, but that's not us. We always are consicous of his behavior and take pains to be sure he's not disturbing anyone, or we remove him. Gah.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Other Child

I don't think about him much anymore, the other child, the one we thought we'd have, the almost ten-year-old who I imagine would right now be riding his skateboard up and down the sidewalk outside the house instead of the ten-year-old watching Elmo videos and flapping his arms excitedly. The one who would be bringing home math and social studies homework, instead of tracing the letters and coloring the balloons. The one who would be fighting with me about whether he was old enough to walk to Burger King with his friends instead of fighting with me about whether it's time to stop playing long enough to get a fresh diaper.

But if we'd had that child instead of the one we have, he would have started brushing aside my kisses a couple years ago, and would have long since outgrown sitting in my lap at bedtime and listening to a Thomas the Tank Engine story. He would probably no longer think that going to Grandma's house to swim was the coolest thing ever, or get excited about an airplane flying over. He'd probably no longer be happy to go to school, and anxious to show us his ability to recognize letters and numbers on signs.

I don't think about that other child much anymore.

When Sam was first born, and we knew there was Trouble, we got a lot of well-meant advice and platitudes meant to console. Everything from "I'm sure he'll be just fine in time," to "God must think you're very special people to give you this child to care for." Neither of which actually consoled. Nothing prepares you for a child with disabilities. The first and overriding emotion is one of being overwhelmed, "we can't possibly care for this child." But little by little (and in our case, with a lot of support and hand-holding from people who knew better) you get into the routines, you learn how to fight the insurance company to pay for all of the services they're supposed to but will initially deny, you learn about the services available, you learn how to handle an IEP, and you actually find ways to have a reasonably normal life. You find that--most of the time anyway--you can cope.

There are some concerns looming: we're going through some behavioral issues right now (hitting or yelling when frustrated) that we're working on but that could be serious as he gets bigger and hits adolescence (when the testosterone kicks in, dialing up the aggression), finding living arrangements for him as an adult where he will be well cared for, and setting up finances/trusts so that he will continue to be cared for once we're gone and won't be at the mercy of whatever form of "compassionate conservatism" is carrying the day. That last is the one that worries us the most.

But then, I imagine we'd be worrying about some of this even if he were the other child.