Monday, March 12, 2007

Meeting a future special ed teacher!

Saturday afternoon, the family went to Barnes n Noble so Daddy could look at the latest baseball magazines to prepare for fantasy baseball. While he was in the periodicals, I took Jack and Jenelle to the Children's section. Almost immediately upon our arrival, Jack announced that he had to pee. You know, I never actually realized there were restrooms in Barnes N Noble... my visits are never that long I guess.

So I notice this little girl following us into the Ladies room - she was maybe 10 years old and she kept looking at Jenelle. I took all three kids into the disabled stall and we did out business. When we exited to wash our hands the little girl was waiting next to the paper towels. I didn't really notice her until she asked me a question.

Little Girl: "What is your daughter's name?"

Me: "Jenelle."

Little Girl: "Um, is she in special ed?" (her voice was very, very quiet and see seemed a little embarrassed to ask.) Suddenly, I realized this little girl had followed us into the restroom to ask me this question.

Me: "Why, yes she is! Jenelle has Epilepsy." (I added the Epilepsy part
because from the relieved look on the girl's face, I knew there would be more questions.)

Little Girl: "Oh, what is that?"

Me: "Well, Jenelle has seizures. And because she has so many seizures, it is hard for her brain to catch up, so she is mentally retarded."

Little Girl: "My neighbor has Downs Syndrome, and she is my friend. She goes to special ed too! Jenelle does not look mentally retarded; she is very beautiful."

Me: "Yes, thank you! Have you ever seen a Mic-key button?" I asked lifting up Jenelle's shirt.

Little Girl: "A what button?"

Me: "A mic-key button. We have to use this to feed Jenelle because she cannot chew."

Little Girl: "Oh, that is really cool that she can eat that way! I really want to be a special ed teacher when I grow up!"

Me: "That is awesome! You need a lot of patience, but it helps to be already interested like you are."

Little Girl: "Thanks. I am really interested in special ed. I want to help kids like my friend."

Me: "That's great. Thank you for asking about Jenelle. Sometimes people don't ask questions and like to stare at her instead. I'd much rather answer their questions instead of wishing they would ask about Jenelle."

Little Girl: "Really? You don't mind talking about it?"

Me: "Nope.

Little Girl: "I guess it is better than staring! Thanks! Jenelle is very beautiful!"

Me: "You're welcome!" And we left the ladies room.

Jack never asked why the little girl was asking questions, nor did he seem phased that she was so interested. I told Brett later about the the little girl, and we both seemed to see a difference in kids today and how we were raised. I'm not sure I would have been as brave to approach a mom and ask such questions. But then, when I was in school, we never really met disabled kids in school.


Fun on a Friday Night...

I wish we had taken a video clip. Jenelle's newest toy is the vacuum. She loves to "chase the vacuum" when we are using it. (Yes Mom, I do vacuum from time to time.) So on Friday night, around 9:00 p.m. I was vacuuming up a small mess Jack had made and Jenelle was entertaining herself by chasing the vacuum. Brett and I had to laugh because she is so cute when she does it. Sometimes I let her "catch" the vacuum too, and she likes to put her hand on it I guess to feel the vibrations. She also likes to look at the light.

Brett looked at me and said, "I bet you never expected this to be your Friday night entertainment back when you were 25!" Too true!


Tammy and Parker said...

Reading this post put such a big smile on my face! Thanks!

Army of Mom said...

I was a lot like that little girl when I was little and my 4-year-old is the same way. She loves babies and has no reluctance to walk up to a mom and ask her how old her baby is or what the baby's name is. She is very fascinated by their age for some reason, but I'm very proud of her for being able to walk right up and ask for the information she wants to know.

When I had my cancer as a 7-year-old (and the scarred/disfigured) face to show the remnants of it, I was very open to talk about it and explain what happened when people would just ask me. I hated it when they stared, though, so I totally understand.

You're so wonderful to share Jenelle with the world. She's incredibly lucky to have you for a mom!

God bless,