Monday, June 17, 2013

Judging Intelligence on Small Factors

Once upon a time Skylar was not yet two years old and I took him in with me for a WIC appointment. Now, the WIC nurses where we were living at the time were mighty different from the ones in Columbia, so I'd like to emphasize that this does not imply anything about WIC nurses in general and that it certainly doesn't relate to the ones here. This particular WIC nurse was pretty short with people as a matter of course. She had already been nasty to me and to Skylar enough times that I thought of her privately as WICked.

On this particular day, she was angry at Skylar, because after she had told me that finger pricks don't hurt, and that only kids who are old enough to expect them to hurt even cry, and that Skylar would therefore not, he had cried upon receiving one. Now, he was gripping his bandaided finger while sitting in my lap. His bandaided middle finger. Well, this woman got into her head that he was quite deliberately showing her that particular finger- again, this child who was still not even fully verbal, was taking advantage of the fact that his middle finger was the one pricked in order to have an excuse to make a rude gesture.

So, she called him over, and took his bandaid off, and gave it to him, and told him to put it in the garbage. When he just looked at her, she repeated the order. She would not listen to me explaining that he knew the word 'trash', not 'garbage'. She just kept insisting to him that he must go put it in the garbage, it was only giving him an excuse to cry and be bad, he'd cried long enough, go put it in the garbage.

(I'll divert for a second to say, I should've gotten up and walked out and placed a complaint at some point during this, but I wasn't aware enough or assertive enough at the time to do so.)

So, anyway, she later informed me that he seemed to be delayed, because a child his age should be able to follow simple commands like 'throw it in the garbage'. Skylar normally threw trash away when told, but again, she refused to listen to the fact that he just hadn't been exposed to the word 'garbage'.

Anyway, my point here is not that the WIC nurse was an utter bitch.

My point is how easy it is, if you don't care enough to look beyond the surface, or listen for a second, to confuse lack of exposure to certain information with stupidity or slowness. How easy it is to decide someone is beneath you or lacking in some way, because they don't know some minor fact you personally take for granted. I've watched for this in people since, and it happens a lot- you see that I don't know the name of the new computer program, and therefore you assume I don't know how to go online, or you see that I'm not familiar with a certain book or movie and assume I'm ignorant of the whole subject. It happens an incredible lot to kids.

The funny thing is,Skylar is really bright. Like, not just I'm-his-mom-so-I-think-he's-smart bright, but honest-to-goodness exceptional, frighteningly exceptional. And yet, if I took him back and let him carry on a conversation with that same woman today, she'd never be able to see it, even if he talked to her about algebra and science and what he's been reading lately, because she saw that one word he didn't know, and she made up her mind.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Grumpy. Tired. Stuff.

I've decided to blame pregnancy hormones.

I woke up this morning angry. Angry at several layers and aspects of 'the system' for various struggles I'm having with it, and for the ones I'm avoiding. My kids are about to not have medicaid, because I can't get proof of child support because NC says that SC has to 'put it in the system' and SC says they don't have *that* system, and that they'll happily fax proof if NC will just fax a request, to which NC snaps, "I will not fax anything! It's YOUR job to get me this information!"

I'm angry at the school for bouncing back and forth between being the best and the worst. It's wonderful how they pull together a small community and make everyone feel welcome at the fifth grade picnic, and how all the parents brought food or gave their time to make it happen, and all the things the teachers did that are above and beyond what is required or expected of them. Not just with year-end stuff, but in general. So why does such a wonderful group STILL not get that school endorsement of religion equals [an aspect of] government establishing a preferred religion, and that, more importantly, it alienates those who aren't members of said preferred group, makes them feel less welcome, less included, less worthy? And how can the same school hold teachers who I would happily clone and put in every classroom, teachers who would make the world open up for every one of these kids, and monsters who should never be allowed around any child unsupervised, if at all?

I don't know whether to praise all they do so well- not just well, but beautifully, wonderfully, devotedly, or be angry at all the hurt they've caused, and I don't know how to reconcile the two opposite feelings toward the same institution.

And I'm angry at this whole custody thing that's still moving like snails through molasses when it should've been finalized in October of last year. And mad about a dozen details of it that I just cannot openly state online. And mad and sad that my kids are hurting. And I feel helpless because I can't stop it. Can't stop him.

And for a dozen related factors that I also can't state openly.

And at this job thing, which I'd've walked out on the second day if it wasn't my family.

And I'm TIRED. I can't deny my kids some basic fun things- company, time to ride bikes in town, etc- when I'm about to miss them for eight weeks. But two in the morning the big kids still making noise, and five in the morning the baby up, and six in the morning the girl up, up to stay, and eight in the morning the nephew here, and then this afternoon heading to work till eleven or twelve and then an hour's drive home.....I don't know how I'm going to survive it when I'm already so tired I can't think.

And I'm grouchy. I'm jumping on the kids for stuff that doesn't matter. And I can't make myself stop. And I can't take a nap or go for a walk or anything, because, you know, kids.

And I am reading WOT for what must be the eighth or tenth time, and scenes (where Faile comes riding back after Perrin sent her away and she's leading an army and the kid who told Perrin that another army was firing on the trollocs turns out to be a cousin of his after he thought he'd lost his whole family) are making me cry. Cry!

And so, that one is the final key, I think, that allows me to call it 'emotional because of pregnancy hormones' instead of 'I'm an angry mean bitch'.