I love Law and Order. When I was in college my roommate like to watch Wheel of Fortune every day at 6:00 p.m., so I went out and bought a TV to put in my room so I didn’t miss re-runs of L&O. Yes, I was that sad–I didn’t want to miss a single re-run.
So now that I don’t even have TV, I get my fix with DVDs from the library or streaming on Netflix. You would think I’ve seen every episode by now, but apparently the re-run people only show certain ones and every season has a few I’ve never seen before.
There’s this one episode–I’ve seen it before–but the was BC (Before Charlie) and I never really considered the issues involved the first time I watched it.
The gist of the story is that a woman with Down Syndrome gets pregnant, but since she knows nothing about reproduction, she can’t tell the police how she got pregnant. They, of course, catch the bad guy, and even tie the story up with a nice little bow, but there was some moralizing in there about the mom being over-protective and not giving her child a chance at a more normal life.
And that’s just another thing to add to the recipe that is parenting a special needs child: Over protection. It’s not just a Britney Spears song.
It sounds simple in theory, but reality always seems to be a wee bit different than the theories. For example, I worked with kids with learning disabilities in regular classroom settings. I know that many of them made good gains and probably learned more than if they’d been in a resource setting. I know all that and I still have no idea how I feel about putting Charlie in a regular classroom–even with an aide. There’s a boy at Charlie’s school who is two years ahead of him and who has a very similar condition. He can speak and his wheelchair is green, but other than that, they are very similar. His mom fought HARD to have him placed in a regular Kindergarten class for most of the day. Would I have been that brave? I’m not sure. The idea of letting Charlie sit in a regular class with a regular kids–away from the warm cocoon of his special needs classroom? Yeah, that makes me feel squirmy inside.
It’s easy to spot it when other parent’s are doing it, but when it’s you? Not so much. That floating outside your body this is tough when you’re not in the movies.
I’m not keeping myself up at night or anything, but like I said, it’s just one more thing to think about: am I holding my child back? Is my need to keep him safe keeping him from doing everything he wants?
Ahhhh. . . because just being a parent isn’t hard enough.