Wednesday, June 07, 2006

My baby's first birthday has snuck up on me!
"Oh, is she running around?" ask the platelet donors who remember me pregnant, leaning over a giant belly trying to reach their veins.
No, she is...she is...
let's discuss.
Charlotte is developmentally disabled. Thats the term I use. In a few years it will probably be considered inappropriate and kids will use it on eachother on the playground--like the latest-"Retarded."
At work a coworker will say "Whoops, I'm retarded" and I will cringe a little. Once I promised myself next time someone said that I would respond
"oh, like my daughter?"
But I never did.
The word retarded doesn't mean developmentally disabled anymore. It means stupid or foolish.
So I let it go. Even the ARC-Association for Retarded Citizens--no longer goes by that phrase. It's simply "The Arc."
Once in the hospital I listened, ear pressed to the door, to the nurses giving report about Charlotte. She said "She looks a little Down-sy." Downsy? I guess that's fair. With her bald head after surgery I said she looked like a cancer patient. Was that wrong?
I come across old articles that use words like "mongoloid" or "idiot". How the language changes.
Even Developmentally Delayed isnt' right anymore--many of them aren't delayed. All the work in the world won't help bring them "up to date."
In nursing school I heard the phrase "FLK" used in report-I guess the inapporpriate term for "downsy." Funny Looking Kid. I didn't find it offensive then and I don't now, but I know many parents do.
Handicapped is even frowned upon now, referring to parking spots only. For a brief period a few years ago the term of choice was "differently-abled" but really...that's a mouthfull.
Slow, retarded, handicapped, mentally disabled, developmentally delayed, idiot, otherwise abled, differently-abled, different, Special. The words we've come up with to describe those who are different, unfortunate, slow, delayed, challenged.
First and foremost, a baby. My baby.
My beautiful, happy, joyful opinionated baby girl, who sings herself to sleep and loves playing with pinecones and ice cubes. I use the term Developmentally Disabled. As well as "Princess Pea" "Booferdeedoo" "Sweetheart" and "Love." No man made term can describe all that she is, and that goes for all of us. She's my baby, and that's what counts.