Archive | May, 2011

The R-Word

27 May

A few months ago, while running some errands, I ran into an acquaintance who was in the midst of telling her kids to stop acting like retards as they were playing around and being silly in the store. To me they were just kids being kids.

Typically, I wouldn’t intervene on others parenting techniques. After all nobody is perfect, and parenting is something that is learned over time with each new twist and turn in the road.  However, this time was different – she used a word that to me is very offensive and loaded with discrimination.  I had to say something.  To me the r-word is a personal attack. An attack on my daughter, my husband, myself, and my family.  I felt so protective of my daughter at that moment and the mama bear persona once again shone through.

Without trying to be too judgemental I politely asked her not to use the r-word, both in front of her children and in general. It reminded me of the poem by Dorothy Law Nolte  – Children Learn What They Live. More specifically one excerpt; “If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.” If these kids grow up hearing the adults around them using these words in the way of an insult whether it be in a joking manor or not, chances are they will grow up using them as well.

She became pretty defensive and replied that her husband’s family is french and she is just used to hearing it, and that she was only joking around with them.  Now it’s been quite a while since I took a french class – high school to be exact, but I don’t ever remember the r-word being used to degrade or insult someone.  I even asked a good friend who happens to speak fluent french every day. Her reply: “I can honestly say that the French generally use ‘retarder’ in the true sense of the word – to hold back… I don’t know of a slang version that is applied in the negative way it is used in English.”  So why did this grown, educated women feel it was ok to use it in the store?

When I returned home I decided to look a little further into the usage of the r-word and came across the site The R-Word – Spread the Word to End the Word.

Spread the Word to End the Word is an ongoing effort by Special Olympics, Best Buddies International and their supporters to raise the consciousness of society about the dehumanizing and hurtful effects of the word “retard(ed)” and encourage people to pledge to stop using the R-word.  In 2004, in response to Special Olympics athletes’ call for change, the Special Olympics International Board of Directors adopted a resolution to update the movement’s terminology from “mental retardation” to “intellectual disabilities.”

After taking the pledge to eliminate the demeaning use of the r-word, I came across this video of an adorable little girl sharing why her little brother is so special and why she wants people to stop using the r-word.

Mya and Noah Ban the R-word

Just this past week, a public service announcement titled “Not Acceptable” with Lauren Potter and Jane Lynch from the hit tv show Glee aired during the show the total online pledges grew to well over 200,000.

I took the pledge – will you?

Lights, Camera, Action!

23 May

A few months ago when my ladybug was still in the hospital, I received an email asking if we would be interested in participating in a documentary and news article about our princess and her journey for the Mac Kids Miracle Weekend.

At first I was excited – what an incredible opportunity to share our story and most importantly shed some light on CDG. Then I started to get a little apprehensive. For the most part I am very open when it comes to sharing everything we have been through. However, there are a few things that I’m still having a hard time talking about especially when it comes to my daughters prognosis, and have therefore chosen to keep it within our family. If I were to agree to have this documentary air everything would be out on the table so to speak.

I pretty much put off replying to that email because I really didn’t know what to do. It was the encouragement from my spouse, family, and another mama who has spent the majority of her daughter’s life with so many unknowns like us, that convinced me to go ahead with it.

Well, that and the fact that the producer and the Mac Kids coordinator  stopped by 3C (Mac children’s ward) to talk to me in person. Not really anywhere I could hide at that point.

Within the first 30 seconds of talking with Kelly the producer of the documentary – I felt at ease and had an instant connection. She had been reading LittleLadybugHugs, and mentioned her shock at the negative remark I received earlier that month stating that her  claws came out a wee bit as well while reading the post. By the time she left I was completely at ease with my decision, and was looking forward to begin filming.  Now to figure out which outfit to put ladybug in so she would be comfortable, but at the same time shine in the spotlight she so much deserves. (To my dismay, wardrobe, hair and make-up were not supplied – not for lack of trying on my part) 🙂

We would begin filming in May with Annette Hamm from CHCH (whom, might I add, is awesome). Fast forward to the moment when Jeremy, Kelly & Aaron from The Shooting Eye Corporation arrived to begin filming and the nerves set in. Between the wonderful crew, and Annette Hamm I felt like I was catching up with a bunch of old friends chatting about the ups and downs of our lives. The wee ladybug did fantastic as well, she was all giggles and smiles – that is until the camera started rolling then she was quiet, looking around, and taking everything in.

The filming wrapped up a couple of weeks ago. It was a wonderful experience – and I will actually miss the team from Shooting Eye. I’m so happy we went forward and filmed the documentary for Mac Kids. I can’t wait to share it with everyone (I’ll post a link to the video as soon as it’s released), but even more so I can’t wait for others to see what I see everyday and that is how incredible my daughter and all the other children with CDG are.

(From left to right – Ladybug, Kelly, Lisa from Mac Kids, and Jeremy)

Sunshine & Smiles

10 May

I’ve always been fascinated by the effect that sunshine has on people. On a beautiful sunny day people driving have a wee bit more patience, strangers are more apt to pass with smiles on their faces, and everyone’s spirits in general seem to be lifted.   It’s not just adults that seem to come out of their dreary winter shells when the sun comes out – children do as well.

This past Sunday we witnessed this first hand. Ladybug is typically a content little baby. I’ve noticed these past few days (all of which have been sunny out) she has become increasingly giddy and energetic.  After our annual mothers day trip to the local greenhouse, a quick stopover through the Starbucks drive-thru, and a visit with my folks, our sweet ladybug was one little bundle of smiles and giggles. While daddy was cleaning out the garage to clear room for our impending move.  I decided to take ladybug for a ride in her little red wagon. Within seconds of pulling out of the garage and onto the gravel driveway, that happiness shone brighter than the sun.

Seeing that smile took away all the mundane thoughts of having to finish packing, as well as all the upcoming doctors appointments , and reminded me of what is truly important – enjoying every second of life.  Even though at times I know we need the rain to see the rainbows, there is nothing better than having a beautiful sunny day and spending it with the people who mean the most to you.