The blond-haired little boy stared back at me from a photo distributed on the w.w.w. [w.w.w. = world wide wasteoftime]. In a parody of democracy in action, Alex Barton was voted out of kindergarten for the remainder of the school day last Wednesday. His crime? Having a neurological condition called Asperger's and some associated behavioral problems. The teacher-- a Wendy Portillo-- cajoled her class into voting. And reportedly had children describe what they didn't like about young Alex. One reported adjective was "disgusting." Two kids voted to keep Alex in the classroom that day. The majority voted that he be excluded. Alex who was just returned to the class from the principal's office for his behavior spent the rest of the school day in the nurse's office. Needless to say, Alex has not been thrilled about his experience.
Although folks on both sides of the issue have resorted to name-calling, what I find even more repugnant are the public comments which support Wendy Portillo in her actions. Her excuse ran something like teaching the children about tallying. I wasn't there but I have an opinion anyways-- bovine fecal matter to that. Was the teacher lying about the whys and wherefores of her ill-advised election activity a la Survivor fashion? Nah, she was just being reckless with the truth.
Yes, I know how difficult it can be to maintain reasonable discipline and order in any rowdy bunch of human beings. Been there, done that. Yes I am intimately acquainted with the cluster of symptoms which comprise Asperger's. Of course I know how aggravating it is to herd cats.
I also know the frustration of living with atypical neurology.
I do not belong to the Autism Squeaks camp. [Autism Speaks but not for me, a curebie organization of unhappy parents]. I don't understand why forcing eye contact is such a big deal to neurotypicals, don't wish to blend in, will not give up my passions, and certainly will continue to celebrate diversity. I hate all clothing that is not cotton. I detest polyester and nylon in particular. I don't use makeup or wear high heels. I used to stare at the dust specks illuminated by the sunlight pouring through a window. I was clumsy rather than graceful and the last to be picked for any gym class team. I have been accused of staring too long, daydreaming, having obsessions with the things that are of intense interest to me, being intense or too intense or thinking too much about weird things or the wrong things, eating food in a specific order rather than varying what is on the fork from bite to bite, eating the same thing for breakfast daily, not making small talk, not caring about small talk or the lives of celebrities, being a geek or a space cadet or pedantic, not fitting in. And worse, daring to be content with my own company and my own internal focus and my own way of being.
No Child Left Behind. One Child Voted Out.
radical sapphoq says: A huge phooey to Wendy Portillo. As an adult and as a teacher, I cannot believe that she didn't have other options for dealing with a misbehaving five year old.
While I support reasonable discipline and consequences for one's actions, I abhor what happened to Alex Barton. I sincerely hope that he will find a new classroom where he is valued for who he is, a teacher who knows about the issues that people on the broad autistic spectrum face and who has a better arsenal of tools for keeping order in a classroom.
Bev over at Autism Square 8 has an excellent list of who to write to should anyone feel so inclined:
Educate yourselves if you wish to. Here is a partial incomplete list which includes two news articles from the same newspaper in Florida and some other bloggers who are blogging about this crapola:
excellent thoughts about this whole mess
the politics of exclusion
an interview with Alex Barton and his mother
two Palm Beach Post articles-- links working as of 5/28/08
Her voice is papery thin, frailer than I remember, like her bones where shining out of her blanched skin last time I seen her. The message is the same. You have reached this number. Talk to the machine. Because you sure as hell aren't going to talk to me. You are my first-born. I despise the man who contributed the other x chromosome. You are grown. I cannot scream at you or beat you into submission. My legacy remains, tainting you forever. For that I thank all of the demons in hell and a few of the angels in heaven.
I manage to choke out a proper greeting. Say something inane. Here is my phone number. You can call me. I am grown. You are still my mother even though I have rejected your legacy and moved beyond it. I love you. Maybe I will come see you sometime. It's been awhile. Happy Mother's Day. I hang up. Mother's Day is a day of mourning. For what could have been.
She wanted. She always wanted. She wanted my love, demanded it, could not recognize it. I was a terrified child. I could not name the terror to my own self. I told anyone who would listen for a minute that my mother drank too much. No one listened. And she drank on and on. The scotch. After marrying again, the wine. The pretensions. She wanted to be Italian. She really tried. The only spices she knew were salt, oregano, parsley, and sometimes a bit of basil from the garden. She doled them out sparingly. She said pepper was made from little grounded up rocks. We didn't have a pepper shaker. Bacon had to be burned to a crisp in order to be rendered edible. I was a child. I did not always remember everything I had to get at the store. By sixth grade I was doing the laundry at the laundromat and all of the supermarket shopping. I learned to ask the produce man or a lady customer who looked nice to pick out the ripe tomatoes for me, to tell me which of the bunches of bananas I should bring home. I was a child. I didn't know how to do many of the things that were required of me.
When she was angry, her voice took on a vibrancy that is gone now. She screamed. She yelled. She threw a bottle of tonic water at me once in high school. She threw me down some stairs once, after dragging me on my stockinged knees across the carpet. She was the queen of humiliation. She pretended to call my nursery school teacher and screamed into the phone the horrible thing I had become. Years later, I realized that the nursery school teacher had to be dead. She called me a frig. Frig was her favorite word, a baptized substitution for the word fuck. You are a frig. Frig frig frig. Hit her Tony. I always thought of him as a jellyfish, yielding to all of her orders. He was. I was too. Not to be, well perhaps I would not have survived my childhood and adolescence.
She baked cookies. Sugar cookies from a recipe torn out of a magazine. They were good. She made drop cookies and cookies with melted chocolate pieces too. Mainly though, it was the sugar cookies. With lots of butter in them. She made a Polish rum cake once. She dumped an entire bottle of rum over it after it came out of the oven. The cake was so thick with rum that pressing the fork tines against it would yield a flood. In my blackened innocence, I thought an alcoholic drank wine at home. So as soon as I could, I drank beer out. I had forgotten about the beatings, the vindictiveness, how she made my poodle disappear one Sunday when I was visiting my dad. I'd forgotten how at restaurants she would delicately eat the seafood or spaghetti and delicately lift the elegant shining stemmed glass to her painted lips, pretending all was right with the world and that she had two shining daughters from the same father and those two daughters loved her more than life itself.
Every year for two weeks we went down the shore. There would be a house near the ocean, or once a cramped motel room which I hated for the lack of privacy. There were other kids there, down the shore on vacation with their parents. I learned to walk barefoot on the hot tarry street, how to smoke a cherry cigar once, how to dig under the overturned lifeguard boat at night and have a child's seance. J.F.K. if you are here, give us a sign. And the candle would blow out and we would dig back out of there with a quickness. We went to Bingo as a family, to the beach as a family, to a restaurant, to the boardwalk. My little half-sister and I rode the rides, were treated to custards, walked and walked and walked holding hands in front of the two parents who were busy weaving a public fantasy. I learned how to panhandle on that same boardwalk with a younger summer child vacationing down the shore. Mister, I need a dime to call my parents to come pick us up. And so we would collect enough money for a five dollar bag of weed. Then we would walk the three miles back to our beach along the shoreline, avoiding the gate where we were supposed to pay. The beach where we stayed lacked the rides or the matrons of the gates demanding payment. The cars at our beach had parking stickers instead. And there were gazebos instead of rides. And the overturned boats.
I swam out once, way beyond where I was supposed to be. The lifeguards sent a boat out after me. I was fine though, a strong swimmer in my element. The saltiness and the fresh air and the sun invigorated me. By time the boat got to me, I had already turned around and was halfway back. They did not insist that I get in the boat. They didn't yell at me for doing such a stupid thing when I'd arrived back on the sand. My mother hadn't noticed, or pretended not to. A small crowd had gathered to watch the aborted rescue. My mother continued sunning herself, reading a paperback all relaxed as if nothing potentially dangerous was happening. She didn't say a word to me when I got back and flopped on the beach towel. The music pouring from the tinny transistor radio didn't miss a beat. And I learned that silence can be as fracturing as a beating.
If I had to choose one word to describe my mother it would be vindictive. My mother is still vindictive, even in her senior years. The thing inside her that made her give away or abandon my dog and call me a frig and be late for the wedding pictures still exists. I do not pretend to know how it got there. That doesn't matter now. The knowledge of her vindictiveness does not comfort me. Yet it is better to know an unpleasant-- even cruel-- truth than to ignore it and pretend. I do not pretend that everything that is wrong with me or toxic about me is purely the result of her essence. I will not pretend that there weren't good times. It's just that the good times always ran into the bad times, that there was never any escape. After my physical escape, there were years of learning how to escape mentally.
When my mother dies, I will mourn. I will mourn for what could have been and not for the woman she was. I will grieve for a long time and I will carry on. Life is like that. Happy Mother's Day.
spike q./sapphoq remembers
I went a-whoring after other gods.
Or rather, I went off to secondlife to see what I could see.
I have seen and I have somewhat returned.
That is the short version.
The longer version can be found at http://healingtbi.sapphoq.com if anyone is so interested.
If not, I don't care.
Anyways, just to let yous know that I am alive and as well as I can expect to be.
My dad is currently in the throes of a difficult divorce and may or may not
I don't know what happened to SpamBob, the site that allowed you to create an email addy with the "@SpamBob.com" (or .net if you wished it to be forwarded).
The great folks at BugMeNot have partially filled in the gap. Goto http://email.bugmenot.com/
to created a non-password protected email addy "@bugmenot.com."
I will miss SpamBob although I applaud BugMeNot for branching out in their services.
xo_tara_xo of insane journal's asylum The Friday Five says: Something's gone terribly wrong with the F5 entry.
lifted from Melian-Silmaril of Commie Journal.
I didn't like my results so I altered them slightly.
|The Sexlife Motto of
|I am a sex g-ddess. Let me take you to Paradise.|
'What is your Sexlife Motto?' at QuizUniverse.com
Any of you who have been following the drama over at Wikileaks will be glad to know that following this here linkage: http://184.108.40.206/wiki/Wikileaks will get you there (a mirror site from Sweden) for the time being anyways. Alternate linkage outside of the United States was part of the original plan-- to have sites set up in various countries should the courts of one country succeed in getting a shutdown order. Here's another one, this one is based in England: http://www.wikileaks.org.uk/wiki/Wikilea
Wikileaks protects whistle-blowers from corporations (or governments) who would much rather not have folks tattling on any suspicious practices. Recently, a Swiss bank challenged Wikileaks and now the site is facing a court battle with the United States versus responsible exercise of the First Amendment. Bloggers across the internet have protested the February 15 court decision and this blogger too joins in the fray. Buzz-flash has quite a few things to say about this whole mess over at: http://www.buzzflash.com/articles/contri
Quite amazing to me is that the court case took place in the United States. While the order to erase the D.N.S. from U.S. servers will certainly not hold up on appeal,
it is disconcerting that this case involving documents regarding a Swiss bank doing business in the Cayman Islands made it court on United States soil. Still, we are far better off living here than in places like Egypt where one can be severely physically beaten for dissident web-surfing and document leaking or in Red China or even Vietnam where folks have been imprisoned for similar activities.
cross-posted all over
Extra points if you know all the songs where the answers came from:
1. When is the last time you became unraveled?
I made a test called "What blogging site am I"
Go check it out:
I love this song. 99 Red Balloons was the song that my second (witch) teacher played for me as she demonstrated how healing works.
And it is my current motivation for losing weight and becoming physically fit.
I want to look hot in a black top and black pants and dance like that.
|You Are Cilantro|
The good news is that most people love you more than anything else in the world.
You are distinct, unusual, fresh, and very controversial. And you wouldn't have it any other way.
It was cold outside, but not that cold. Still, the ice hadn't fully melted and pissed-off-woman wasn't real good at maintaining an upright position on the slick stuff, even with the fancy smancy
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