In the five short years that Kate has been alive I have found myself in countless meetings where my agenda has been to prove to the people around the table that Kate is disabled. I've been tasked with repeating over and over again how very delayed, and dysfunctional she is. I must do this to prove that she deserves access to services that can help her as she grows.
I'm tired of explaining over and over why my daughter is 'not right' because I think she is beyond perfection.
It is taking its toll. So, please let me say here, what I would really love to say in those meetings but do not for fear she might lose access to a much needed therapy.
Kate plays inappropriately.
In what sense? So are you telling me that because she is entertained by things that 'normal' kids don't find interesting she is supposed to be dysfunctional? You know what I think is dysfunctional; that fact that every little girl this side of Montreal likes the exact same things and those things that they 'love so much' are delivered directly to them via mass consumerism and we all think it's 'Normal.' Guess who doesn't give a shit about all that? That's right; Ninja Kate.
Kate's communication is delayed.
She communicates just fine. You assholes are just not listening. Not everything is said in words. Isn't that communication 101? She does use a lot of words lately and she tries very hard to get them organized into the order you are expecting but when she can't do that, she reverts to other forms of communication. If you can't figure that out, then maybe you have a little delay yourself.
You know who else perseverates? Pro athletes, artists, authors, scientists and anyone who wishes to become great in their field. Yes, right now she is five and she perseverates on Ninjas and Pirates but soon she may choose to turn her hyper-focus onto something else like, Social Policy or Politics or Medicine. (or maybe still Ninjas)
It's a a very valid form of communication. How many times did she try and tell you something before she resorted to hitting? Again, is it maybe you with the communication issue?
Again, perfectly reasonable communication when all else fails. Kids like Kate need their point to made quickly and efficiently when words don't work. This is a strategy, that although we don't love, we respect.
Kate wears her hair short and plays rough.
What's your fucking point? She's beautiful and she likes her hair that way. She is not 'playing rough' she is sensory-seeking and she doesn't realize her own strength. Besides, she's forty pounds. Suck it up, buttercup.
Kate can't sit still.
Mostly, that is because her brain is asking her to move. Try not to scratch an itch and you'll get a small taste of how Kate feels when she is asked not move. There is nothing wrong with moving while you learn. In fact, some people believe that moving is the best way to learn. I bet you're tapping a leg right now.
Kate does weird things.
According to who? The same people that let big business and big box stores tell them what to like and how to be? There's a reliable source.
Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.
The best part of that title is that you think I am kidding but I am dead serious. My children are ages 5 and 7 and have little to no interest in television, and they couldn't care less about video games, either. They would rather interrupt me until I cry or wait for a three second silence so they can scream, "Mama" a few times for good measure. Don't get me wrong. We do all of the prerequisites to ensure I qualify for decent mom status. We spend lots of time outside. We attempt the occasional Pinterest activity, we read and play games daily and we eat supper as a family. Doesn't all of that afford me a little time to myself during the day? Just thirty minutes to vacuum or make supper would be a dream. Did I really just type that?
Netflix is streaming some great throwback cartoons now so I will make an effort this weekend to introduce my kids to the cartoons I adored as a child. Scooby-Doo, Spider-Man and Garfield are a good start. Here's hoping they fall in love like I did.
How do you find time during the day? Do your kids play quietly, on occasion, so you can get stuff done or do they climb you like jungle gym while calling 'Mama' over and over with no question in mind?
Am I alone here?
Why can't I touch you? It's proving to be very difficult not to reach out. You are one handsome man, after all.
Thank you for the question and the glossy 8 x 10 headshot. I know with my soft fur and ears like velvet it can be excruciating to look and not touch. I hope you can be strong because along with this handsome physique of mine, I have a set of skills that set me apart from other dogs. First and foremost, I take care of a little girl who hasn't developed a sense of fear. When we are together I must do my very best to focus on her and my handler so that I can make sure she stays close and safe. Secondly, I provide sensory pressure for my girl when she becomes overwhelmed. If you think I am irresistible now, wait until you see me comfort my girl.
Why do you look so sad all the time?
A Concerned Citizen
Let me be the first to tell you that I am far from sad. I spend more time with my family than most dogs because of public access laws for service dogs. In fact, I've been to more movies and restaurants this year than I can count. That Melissa McCarthy is hilarious, isn't she? Anyway, the truth is I was born with these big brown eyes and although I know they make you melt I promise I am one happy pup.
Why are you going to school with Kate? How will you help her? Won't that be a distraction to the other kids?
Dear Joey's Mom,
First of all, are you sure you're not Joey's sister? How young you look! Well, the facts are these. It's going to be up to you and Joey and all the other kids in the school to ignore me completely. I will have no problem doing my job. I take great pride in my ability to lay beside my girl while she works. I will escort her through the school when needed and I will provide sensory relief if she needs that, too. I could go on and on about the benefit I am to my girl but you get the idea. I am a very talented dog (I am writing this for starters). I won't bark, or groom, or even relieve myself while at work (I bet you can't say the same). Therefore I will not be a distraction to others, unless you count my good looks.
Having said that, I do realize that this gorgeous mane of hair can result in some allergies for others so we've made sure to place me in a classroom free of allergy sufferers. Furthermore, if someone has any fear, I am 90lbs you know, we'll make sure they never have to cross my path.
So, you see, easy peasy and everyone is happy. Especially me.
What do you do for fun?
Thanks for your time,
Like any dog, I love to run and play as much as I can. I go to the dog park each evening to meet friends and race around like maniacs until we collapse. When I am home I like cuddle with my girl. Sometimes she lets me be a pirate on her ship or a lion in the jungle.
I don't like to admit this too often, but sometimes I like to snuggle with Bill Bailey, the cat. He's so soft and he gives the best massages.
Happy Mail to:
27 Wellington Row
Saint John, NB
Grace and Kate's mom. (Shanell)