Tuesday, August 22, 2017

You Found Us

With my daughter off at college, I have taken up a new hobby. Cyber stalking all the new people she meets. Kidding! Sort of. I like putting a face to a name, and my kid isn't one of those girls who takes pictures of new friends or daily activities or food. (not complaining on this point) I only look up public social media information. Interesting side note, kids today are pretty good about locking down the security on their accounts, their parents, not so much. I always learn more about people from their mother's facebook page than I do from their own activity. At the moment, my son is still pretty hard to track down info on. His name is generic enough to confuse google searches, and he has none of the expected social media accounts. My daughter, well, she has my distinctive first name which means, if someone searches her, they will end up finding me and this blog. I did a quick search to see if there was anything horribly embarrassing. I didn't find anything too bad, and I feel it is my responsibility to correct that oversight. So, without further ado, I present:

 "A letter to the person google searching my kid"

Congratulation! You have hit the mother load of information here. If you want to, you can now scroll through several years in the life of our quirky little family, and musings of the mother of the kid you are looking into. OR, I could save you a little time and sum things up for you.
- God is at the center of our family. It is why we are still happily married, why we are never free on Sundays or out too late on Saturdays, and the first reason why we don't really fit into the "normal" box. We strive to be faithful and committed followers of Christ. We do have friends outside of those we go to church with. We aren't isolated amish type people. We are just serious about our faith.
- We were geeky before being a geek was socially acceptable. I have worn a costume for occasions other than Halloween. I have been to conventions (yes plural). I have stood in line for tickets to a premier showing of a movie that started with the word "Star" more than once. Most of the art work in our house has something nerdy about it. We try to dial it back when we meet new people, but sooner or later you will see us in a t-shirt you don't understand and we will make a Harry Potter joke that we don't realize not everyone was also thinking.
- We aren't very social. We have friends. We get out. We do things. We just aren't the type to throw parties. I have never been clubbing. We haven't ever vacationed with people who aren't family. I can't even think of anything else social people might do, which should paint a pretty good picture of how little we get out.
- Our family is very close. We do our best to share at least one meal a day with each other during which we share about our lives and laugh a lot. Our conversations are rarely boring because we are the type of people who will say that weird thought out loud. Just yesterday JD asked, "What would be the worse song to play at a funeral?" This was followed by each of us suddenly interrupting other topics to name another song. My husband won with "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead".
If anything you have read here, or elsewhere on the blog, concerns you, you might want to run now. If your kid has become attached to one of my kids, relax, we are good people. We are quirky, but mostly the harmless fun kind of quirky. I hope we get to meet face to face one day, but if we do, I promise to overlook you knowing things you shouldn't, like our cat's name, if you overlook my knowing where your last vacation was.    

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Define "Substantial'

More often than not, I strive to write with a bit of humor and a lighthearted take on whatever is going on. This is not going to be one of those posts. This goes more under the heading of an uncomfortable look at reality.
Recently, I have noticed a lot of articles being shared on social media about Iceland's excitement over "ending" Down Syndrome. Since it is a chromosomal abnormality, their method of "curing" this is actually just killing everyone they suspect might have it before they are born. Their only regret seems to be that they occasionally get false negatives and one of these kids slips through and is born. Personally, this all seems monstrous to me. I can not even being to fathom how an entire country could be so blind to genocide. Even still, there are people who will look past it or make excuses.
My question is, after eradicating this, which abnormality will they target next? Make no mistake, there will be a next, and something after that one, and on and on in an effort to only let "perfect" babies have a chance at life. How far will they go?
In an effort to answer this question, I did a little research. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists published a handy guide in 2010 on what constitutes a fetal abnormality that warrants termination when a mother is past 24 weeks of pregnancy. This covers England, Scotland, and Wales.    This is how they define it.
         "There is no legal definition of substantial risk. Whether a risk will be regarded as substantial may vary with the seriousness and consequences of the likely disability. Likewise, there is no legal definition of serious handicap. An assessment of the seriousness of a fetal abnormality should be considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account all available clinical information."

In short, they don't. It is up to the doctor. To be more specific, if you can get two doctors to sign a paper saying they think there is at least a 50% chance that your child will have something they deem serious, you can abort the baby after 24 weeks.
They go to great pains to make is appear as if it is only used in cases where a child would most likely die shortly after being born or if the mother would die, but that is not how it is written. Consequently, there is a rather well known case in which the Church of England attempted to have a doctor charged with aborting a child after 24 weeks. The baby was diagnosed in the womb as having a cleft palette. An investigation was opened, and it was determined that since two doctors said it was okay, they did not have grounds to charge the doctor who performed the abortion.
In case you are new to knowing me, you should know that I was born with a cleft palette. As you can imagine, I take this case rather personally. When I was born, the doctor told my parents that if you were given a list of birth defects and told you had to pick one for your child to have, a cleft palette would be the one to pick. It is the easiest to fix. No one knows I had one unless I tell them. It took a total of 2 surgeries to correct. Sure, it wasn't a walk in the park, but it was easier to deal with than something like a peanut allergy.  The point is, if they could legally justify aborting a child for a cleft, then they can justify literally anything that they might consider an imperfection.
Killing everyone suspected of having Down Syndrome is a test case. If they can get away with it then they will move to another defect. As prenatal testing gets better, so will the number of things they attempt to end.
It won't be long before they make the case for killing the babies born alive who were missed in the screening. It isn't even that big of a leap. Once you start down the road of deciding who deserves a chance at life, you open the door to debate. It is a debate we will lose.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Buy All the Things!

Nix leaves for college a week from tomorrow. To answer the most common first question. I'm actually doing really well with it. I'm still just really excited for the adventure she is starting. I'm sure it will hit me about halfway into the ride home from taking her. She will still be close by, so if I miss her terribly, I can just drive down and lure her into meeting me with the offer of free food and a full gas tank.
Since she is my first to go off to college, I have been reading a ton of articles on what to bring with you and what not to. They are hilariously contradictory.

Buy a cheap set of plates, glasses, and utensils because it is so much cheaper than paper products.
Don't waste your money on reusable dinnerware. You kid won't want to wash it and will end up using paper products.

Buy a stick vacuum because it takes up less space and will keep the floor neat.
Your kid will vacuum exactly once this year and it will be when they move out. Save your money and just bring your's when you come for move out day.

Buy a printer. It can be hard to get a school printer to work and it costs extra money.
Don't bother with a printer. Most assignments are emailed in now and a school printer is always open. Personal printers never work when you need them too.

Get a big meal plan. The freshmen 15 isn't going to appear magically.
Get the smallest meal plan allowed and stock the dorm with easy foods.

Color coordinate and make it feel like a home with lots of comfy throw pillows.
Don't waste money of decorative things. This is a dorm room not a house. Throw pillows just get thrown in the floor they aren't vacuuming.

Don't forget school supplies! They will still need the full list of notebooks, pencils, crayons, glue,...
Get a few basics, but don't go crazy on school supplies. Your college town will have a Walmart. Let your kid get what they need as they need it.

Get a full basket of cleaning supplies. A clean dorm is a happy dorm.
*insert the laughter of experienced parents* Just get lysol wipes and try not to look at the bathroom on Parent's weekend.

The bottom line is, know your kid, think about how they live now, and then shop with common sense accordingly.  I am sure I have forgotten several important things, and I would never pretend to claim to have the perfect packing list. I do however know where the closet Walmart, Target, drug store, and gas station are to the campus, so I think we are good to go.