Let me start by saying that I have never been good at being bad. Some may say that I'm a really moral person, or that I have good values, but the reality is that I get caught, if I'm not. Junior year in high school: I finally decide to have a small moment of rebellion and try my hand at ditching school. A guy I had just met convinced me to ditch school and go to the beach with him. I thought, You know...I never do anything wrong. I'm gonna go for it. What could one little day of ditching school and going to the beach really harm? I did my best to plan it out. I would get to school as usual, then he (who we'll call Bueller since that later became the nickname my parents gave him) would pick me up and off to the beach we'd go. We planned for me to get back to school just as the last class of the day was finishing. I started worrying that I was gonna get caught, so Bueller said, "Let me handle it", and called the school. Bueller: "Yes, this is Patrick Garrett (my Dad's name) calling to let you know that Jennifer is sick today." Then I hear, "818-555-5550" and he hangs up. I knew I was caught! I said, "If they really believed that you were my Dad, why did they ask for a phone number?" He said, "Don't worry" and picked up the phone again. He called the office that he worked at (he was about 3 years older than me) and told the secretary, "I'm going by the name Patrick Garrett today, so if anyone calls for me tell them that I stepped away from my desk and will have to call them back." I didn't believe this was going to work, but I held out hope, caught a ride home from school, and walked in the door. My Mom was on the phone but quickly got off the line. "Hi." "How was school today??" That's when the lies started flowing. I don't even know what I was saying, but it was a load of crock from the second I opened my mouth. Luckily for my Mom, she knew my weak spot. Ballet. She picked up my dance bag, took it out to the trash and said, "You're done." I started crying and confessed every last word right then and there.
I get caught. At everything. Which is why I spent my day in traffic court yesterday.
I rely on my cell phone...and I mean RELY on my cell phone to keep my calendar and alarm me with reminders so I can't forget one of the billions of to-do tasks that I have volunteered to handle. However, a couple of weeks ago, my phone died and was replaced with a brand new one. The phone store synced my information for me and off I went about my merry way, unaware that everything EXCEPT MY CALENDAR synced perfectly. So, I woke up on Saturday morning and had a strange panic go off in my head...When is traffic court...when is traffic court...I should've been reminded by now... I ran to my computer and checked my backed-up schedule. and there it was in blaring bold print:
You missed traffic court yesterday, bonehead.
ARrrrrggggggghhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOOoooooooooooooo!!!!!! (Punctuated by a drop to my knees). So, I trudged through the weekend and called first thing Tuesday morning (the only time I hate a 3-day weekend is when you really need to get in touch and clear something up during business hours). After a considerable amount of frustrating time, I finally got through the phone system to find out that I could just show up at court the next day and get a walk in pass if I was early enough. I showed up and waited about 3 hours when a man comes to the back of the courtroom and calls my name. ? I jump up as he waves me out to the hall. He says, "Okay. So you had an expired registration, a suspended driver's license and no proof of insurance." "Yes," I say. He asks, "Did you know your license was suspended?" "NO!" I say, "I really had no idea that an old unpaid ticket had caused that." He says, "Okay. So they're willing to cut you a deal." He says this in a hushed tone and leans in as he says it, like I'm on trial for manslaughter or something. "They're going to waive the no registration and the suspended license if you plea guilty to the no proof of insurance." I pause, because it sounds like a pretty good deal, except that, "I have insurance and I had insurance at that time, I just didn't have the card on me." He says, "You do?" "Yeah." He proceeds, "Well, the suspended license is a much more serious charge...." I was sort of flabbergasted. I said, "Well...umm...should I say I don't have insurance when I do???" He says, AND I QUOTE:
"Well, if you wanna go with the Truth, that's your call."
????????????????????? WTF! WTF! WTF! I finally asked him to tell me straight what was going to be best for me. I mean, the registration was taken care of ages ago, the insurance was always intact and the suspended license has been handled (though I didn't yet have the proof from the DMV). The failure to appear was a mistake. What a mess. This mess all started occurring in December when I needed to "check out" of my responsibilities and wrap my head around the fact that my baby had just been diagnosed with Down syndrome. It's not that I want to play that as a card for some sort of life-long pass or excuse, but that time in my life was...that time in my life and I did what I had to do to try and deal with everything in the only way I knew how. Oh yeah, and P.S.: Elijah was 12 days old when we left the house for the very first time to go to church and got pulled over 1 block from my house for the expired registration. Bad country song, right?
I just had to share the story from traffic court because I literally felt that I had stepped into the twilight zone. It was a reminder that the law is not about Truth. Sad, by true. I got an extension to get the proof I need from the DMV that everything is handled, then I go back to court to prove it next month. Should be a simple dismissal with (hopefully) some minimal fees...fingers crossed.
Tomorrow is a BIG day. Christian starts preschool. I'm so nervous for him... for me...will the teachers like him? Will he listen and follow directions? Will he play well with the other kids? And like usual, he'll probably do fine- maybe even well, and certainly better than me. Hopefully I'm not crying into my coffee after dropping him off...It is a short day tomorrow, though. It's a chance for them to get acclimated and then the full schedule starts on Monday. His teacher came to our house last week to introduce herself. She had him at Hello. She brought a backpack full of toys and she was his new best friend! Before Ms. Stephanie came over, I would tell Christian, "It's so exciting! You're gonna be starting school soon!" and he'd say, "I don't like school." Sigh. But, after Ms. Stephanie came, he was all about school. On our way to music class last week, he said, "I don't want to go to muskick class, Mommy. I wanna go to school!" I told him that school didn't start until next week and the cries of I wanna go to school got louder and more high-pitched. Well....I wanted him to want to go to school. Be careful what you wish for...
Charles and Christian went for a little hike today (please ignore the sturdy hiking shoes (AKA inappropriate Crocs) that Charles put on Christian...)
Elijah has been making things tough on Charles the last couple of weeks. Maybe it's a mild form of bottle refusal, but he is just not eating much when Charles goes to feed him. I started back to teaching this week and am totally freaked out by this phenomenon. In a 6 hour period, he is eating sometimes as little as 5 ounces. This is bad. He is already a little peanut on the growth charts- 3% in weight and has dropped percentiles at each and every well-baby visit. It's not a concern overall, because he has had steady growth on his own upward curve, but it still freaks me out because any milk refusal could be bad for him. I'm really, really worried. I don't know what to do. I've been off from teaching all of August and he's only needed a bottle on the few occasions where I get to go out, so maybe it's just a form of preferring the breast...Ugh. I really hope this doesn't affect his growth negatively! Other than that, Elijah is charming the pants off of all of us. I got some video of him reaching and playing with toys, another exciting milestone.
Susan, the child development services person came back again this week and she seemed even more informed than last time- she certainly seems to be doing her research on Down syndrome, which I really appreciate. I am feeling like she is going to be an advocate for us as the needs arise. My current concern that really needs to be addressed is Elijah's eyesight. Something is going on there and I am worried that it is something called Nystagmus. We have our pediatric opthamology appointment on the 23rd, and hopefully we'll be able to get a little more information by then. I've even recently started calling to see if there are any cancellations so we can get in sooner. The one hope I cling to is that this pendulum effect that his eyes do, has reduced quite a bit since birth. I'm praying that it is something that can continue to improve over time or be helped by some sort of visual therapy of something.
Back to Susan...I printed out a flyer called "How do I talk about Down syndrome?" and handed it to her. I told her that it was something I found very helpful at the beginning and that I thought she might find it helpful too. I told her that I had a lengthy conversation with her program director, Linda, and that perhaps she could share it with Linda as well. I hope that she will read it (she was already perusing it while I explained) and that she will pass it to Linda. I explained in my last post that inaccurate language in reference to a child with special needs can be incredible dehumanizing and hurtful, and I think it's important for people who work within the special needs community to be aware of the power of their words. I hope it will be a subtle, but powerful communication to Susan and Linda for starters. If you'd like to read the full brochure, click here. (Although I gave the brief explanation in my last post.)
Because I think a little guy like this deserves to have the language right:
Okay. I need to end now. I just stepped on a bug. A BIG bug. Barefoot.
I need to go freak out...