Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

On children and perfection

Amy Welborn has a post up about screening for Down's syndrome. Having three normal, healthy children--relatively speaking, I suppose--I feel ill-equipped to talk much about it. I did date a guy who said he'd have little patience for a child who didn't understand math; what would he do with a child with Down's? I have reason to believe he's unmarried and thus I hope he's not "burdened" with children, especially one with Down's. My own experience is fairly limited. But it goes like this.
A friend from college has a brother with Tri-Somy 23, I think. I may have the number wrong. He was a gentle soul who idolized his older brothers. And he wasn't the youngest, either. (I'm not sure whether to use present or past with that; it's been years since I talked to Bill.)
In my years of subbing, one of the places I really liked was the POHI--Physically or Otherwise Health Impaired. Why? Lots of reasons. The classes were small, the parapros made it easy, the lesson plans were always detailed and easy to follow. The kids were varied in their abilities; some had cerebral palsy, some were retarded, one actually was a thalidomide-impaired kid. He got in trouble frequently for the speed at which his wheelchair traveled through the halls. There was one boy named Michael whose task it was to drop clothespins into a jar from a distance of four feet. He taught me that every child is the sunshine in someone's life.
Another boy--John--programmed his voice machine to do an Elvis impression: Thankyuhthankyuhveramuch. I remember the first time he saw me. He was just sitting there, waiting for class to start, and he looked up. Suddenly his whole mood brightened, he shoved whatever was on his tray aside, and pointed to a word: WHO. I walked over and looked. "My name is Miss Blaesing, I'm subbing today."
And we have a nephew with grand-mal epilepsy. He turns 10 this month. We haven't seen him very often because of an ugly divorce and geography, but he has helped teach me what unconditional love is.

My final thought? Nobody is perfect. Some imperfections are just easier to see, is all.

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At 1:57 PM, Anonymous Kheldar said...

Having been concerned about such things as chromosomal anamolies in the last two of my children, and still not knowing what's in store for us with Lily (all the complications that necessitated the early delivery were surely caused by something), all this genetic screening bothers me.

We were offered amnios multiple times. We chose not to bother, since there was nothing that could be solved with any information gathered. Of course, if someone is open to the "solution" of killing an "imperfect" child, then there would be a solution-of-sorts. For us, we would have considered such tests if they could lead to a treatment or surgury or something to save the life of our baby. This is intended for the opposite kill the baby if it doesn't meet the standards of "perfection".

As my wife has said to several people: "Never did I think I'd have so many people offer to kill my child."

At 2:07 PM, Blogger Heather said...

I couldn't articulate it at the time, but the ex's attitude threw me. I think I blinked and changed the subject.
Now, I know the feeling was, "You don't get to choose, Mr. Arrogant (whether or not your child is good at math, etc.)."
And I remember your wife saying that about Lily. Eek.


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