Yesterday Continued

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Yesterday was my first time to hit "publish" on a post not knowing if it would be received well by all. Typically I write posts that I know will be well liked, and won't offend anyone. But I often times feel very strongly about something, and really want to blog about it, but I don't for fear of offending, or upsetting someone. Or for fear of someone simply disagreeing with me. How silly is that? Pathetic really. I want to be real and authentic and speak out about things that I am passionate about, without worrying about stepping on any toes. So it's official- I am a recovering people pleaser.

However I do want to share my response to one negative comment I received on yesterday's post. At first my reason for sharing it was because I wanted to be sure that anyone else who felt the same way had a chance to read it. I know, I know, still trying to please with a justification. Well, it's just day one, steps. No but really, I don't actually feel a need to justify anything, but I do think this further explains my feelings.....

i give you a tip, dont put your clean hands in dirty water or in other words, dont put archie in this stupid context.

after reading your blogs i recognize your sensible side but it make no sense at all because archie is what he is, 

a lovely , god given human being. 

go archie gooooo 

My Response:
Thanks so much! You are exactly right-- Archie is what he is, which is AMAZING. Smart, funny, capable, loving, kind, caring. A perfect son and brother. Which is the EXACT reason why I DID write this post. When Margaret Cho said those words she was referring to Archie. Of course I know that she wasn't referring specifically to him, but any child like him. 
Archie will one day understand what it means when he hears the word "retard". And it will hurt him. So if I can do anything to prevent that from happening, I will. If I can open a few people's eyes and minds, I will. 

I never fully understood the power of the word until I had a child with special needs. Now, the fact that my stomach knots up and turns when I hear it, I recognize its power. Especially when said in the context that Margaret Cho said it in when actually referring to a child with a disability. Many people still thoughtlessly replace the word "retard" or "retarded" for "stupid" or "dumb" when referring to situations, rather than people. Still not okay to use the word for any reason at all, but it stings a little less when used in that context.
But I also still hear people almost every day saying to another person, "you look like a retard..." or something to that effect. Of course the person being called that name is never actually disabled in any way, so everyone gets a good laugh while my child and other children like him are being mocked and ridiculed. Dehumanized even. When we say things like that we are taking away their worth. I was on the phone yesterday with a friend of mine who also adopted a precious little boy with Down syndrome,  and she reminded me that this is why the abortion rate for babies with Down syndrome is so high, and it is also why children with disabilities all over the rest of the world are sent straight to orphanages and institutions and hidden from society. Because we dehumanize them. We take away their worth and value as humans beings. Like they are just "things" that should be discarded.
To see my son's picture, even on my own blog, underneath a sentence with the word "retard" in it, makes me cringe. But it is reality---That is who you are talking about when you use that language. Or when you compare your lack of skills in a sport to being in the Special Olympics. I work with a Special Olympics team. Last summer they went to Greece and and competed in the World Games. They brought home the gold medal for volleyball. They are incredible. So don't compare yourself to them just because you happen to suck at something. 

I have no idea what Archie's future looks like. At least not specifically-- I do know that it is BRIGHT. And the last thing that he needs are senseless, ignorant words bringing him down or making him feel less than amazing. I am and will continue to be his number one advocate. And I will teach him to be his own advocate and to speak out. And I can't teach him to do those things, if I don't do them myself. 

I will leave you with my all time favorite R-Word video. 

Eddie Barbanell-- You are awesome.

Lots of Love!

Dear Margaret Cho,

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

*To preface this post: I typically play it pretty safe on this blog. I like to keep it clean and family friendly. I know that I have a pretty wide age range of readers. This post is a little different than my average post-- but you will see that I am still using words like "dang" and "bullhonkus", so as to not offend any of my loyal readers.

This morning after sending Archie off to school on the bus, and while Ace was still crashed out in my bed, I laid down on the couch for what I knew would be a tiny window of time to relax before I heard this beautiful sound: "Mommy! Apple Juice!"

I turned on the TV and watched the Today Show for a few minutes. I really tried to get interested in the political talk, and to learn what was going on around the world today. But it just wasn't happening. My brain was not near awake enough yet for any of that, so I checked my DVR recordings to see if I had missed anything important last night. Ahh. Watch What Happens Live. Just dumb enough to keep me entertained while requiring a very minimal amount of my attention.

The guests on the episode were comedian Margaret Cho and Rosie Pope of Bravo's Pregnant in Heels.

All was good and I was laughing with my eyes half open until Margaret Cho said something that made me want to vomit. Or punch her in the throat.

The topic of motherhood came up and Margaret started to talk about how she really wanted to have a baby but that she was forty-three, getting older, and wasn't sure.
Here is what she had to say:
"My eggs are jumping ship. Seriously, they're like, 'last one out is a retard.'"

A good portion of the audience laughed, but there was also quite a bit of silence. Andy Cohen was visibly shocked and had no idea what to say.
But she went on:
"I get worried about that. As an older woman, I don't necessarily want to have a retard."

When she realized what she was saying was not totally being received well, she asked, "is that not okay to say?" (Really, Margaret Cho? Really?)
Andy Cohen awkwardly told her, "You can't say that."

She went on with some bullhonkus about how she just meant that, "you want your kid to have the best chance in life..."

Margaret, Margaret, Margaret. Dang Margaret Cho. I don't know if you were trying to be funny and took it too far, or if you are really that ignorant. You actually thought that discrimination against an entire group of people was okay. Did you forget that you were an Asian lesbian? That's great. You go on and be you. And I have heard you poke fun at yourself saying things like how getting pregnant is "hard for a lesbian." And you would probably say that it doesn't bother you when people make fun of you, or make cruel remarks about your race or sexuality. And maybe you are able to blow most of it off. But what if before you were born your mother had said, "yeah I want to have a baby, but I just don't want to risk having a dyke. Or a Korean. That would really ruin my life."

I am assuming you didn't choose to be either of those things, right? Yeah, kind of like how children with disabilities didn't choose that either.

Like my son, Archie. He is what YOU would call a retard.

Archie did not choose to be born with Down syndrome. In fact, the course of his life changed drastically because of it. 

You seem to be quite confident and secure with yourself, Marge. Rock on. 
Just like Archie is a confident kid who is proud of himself and his accomplishments every day. For now, he wouldn't understand your thoughtless, ignorant comments. But one day he will, and the last thing I need is for people like you to be knocking my kid down. 

I am assuming that you have not been blessed enough to have ever had a person with special needs in your life. I have full faith that if you spent a day with my son, you would no longer make comments like the ones you made on Watch What Happens Live. You may still stand by the fact that you wouldn't choose to raise a child with a disability. But you wouldn't call them retards anymore. Unless you are just a sick jerk. 

Okay Margaret Cho. That's all I've got for you. I could go on, but that would turn this post into something I am trying really hard not to let it become. So peace out. 

What is the deal with people in the public eye thinking it is okay to make these kinds of "jokes". Just last week I almost wrote a similar blog post after hearing a comment made by Howie Mandel on the Today Show. At the end of the segment, Hoda and Kathie Lee were performing their own "talents". Kathie Lee was drinking a glass of wine while attempting to hula hoop, and Hoda was drinking a glass of wine while attempting to spin a basketball on her finger. Both clearly failed at their classy talents, but that wasn't the problem. What really irked me was afterwards when Howie Mandel said, "there's the special olympics, and this is special talents." Insinuating that Hoda and Kathie Lee looked so dumb that they appeared to be "retarded". Sorry Howie, you can say you meant it some other way....but you didn't. That's what you meant. 

And then of course I can go all the way back to 2009 when our President made a similar comment. Obama was on Jay Leno, making fun of his bowling skills. "I bowled a 129.....It was like Special Olympics or something." (hahahaha....he cracked himself up). 

Look, I am not trying to spark some debate or anything like that. I know many people will say, "it was just a joke...."  Yeah, I get that. They were just kidding, yada yada yada. But "jokes" at the expense of others are simply not funny. And when our own President is making jokes like that...well that's just not good. 

Be the change, people. 

Just a couple of kids trying to be awesome. 
Don't knock us.

Lots of Love! (even to you, Margaret Cho)

Princess and T-Rex

Monday, May 21, 2012

Our family has officially grown again! We have two new babies.

 Introducing Princess and T-Rex

Their official names, given by Ace, are Princess Dora Eicher and T-Rex Dinosaur Eicher

Ace and Archie could not be happier. 

For a long time, Ace had been saying she wanted a Guinea Pig. We took frequent trips to the pet store to look at Guinea Pigs. I would hold one and she would pet it. But she seemed a little skeptical each time. So the last time we were in the pet store, the lady who worked there showed us some mice. They are called Spiny Mice. We took one out and I held it and it was so sweet. I asked Ace if she wanted to hold it, and much to my surprise she said yes. She stuck out her hand and I set the mouse in them. The mouse started to run up her arm and Ace freaked. She started crying and hugging my mom's legs. So I thought the mice were not happening. Maybe another year.......

But then when we left the store I asked her if she liked the mouse, and she said yes, she told me that she loved him. I asked her why she cried when she held him and she said, "No, I cried because I liked him, that means I like him. And also I cried because I just wanted to hug you and Mimi."
Ohhhh...that made sense. 

So the next day Mimi went and got 2 mice and a sweet set up for them to give the kids for their birthdays. 

 I thought Archie was going to be so freaked out. This is a kid who cries when his sister puts a doodle bug near him. He is afraid of most living things that are not people.

I was shocked when he was immediately reaching his hand into the cage trying to pet them. He was a little bit hesitant at first and preferred to just look at them closely while I held them in my hand.....

But before long.....I couldn't get them out of his hands. 

He loves to give them kisses.

And Ace is so good with them. 

She is in heaven

Not too sure about T-Rex kissing her ear...

She has been working with them on some tricks. Here she is "training" Princess to do a 360 on the wheel. It is hilarious. They start running really fast on the wheel and then stop and hang on and they go all the way around. Ace totally believes that she taught them how to do it. Notice her in the background with her arms up....she was moving her hands in circles and told me, "Mom, that's the sign for 'do a flip'".

One of them climbed up on Archie's head. He was CRACKING UP. 

Oh the joy of having your very own pet. 

These mice are seriously awesome. If you have little kids who are wanting a pet, spiny mice are the way to go. They do not bite, and they don't have sharp claws at all. They love to be held and play. They are super sweet. 


Lots of Love!

Eight Years Ago

Saturday, May 19, 2012

When Ace was born almost 4 years ago, on June 10, 2008, I remember exactly what I was doing. (Imagine that..)

I remember every emotion, every feeling, the pain, and the joy.

I remember my fears. I remember my excitement.

I remember the outfit that Joey was wearing.

I remember being super annoyed when he was filming me while I was in extreme pain and rockin' an oxygen mask.

I remember the exact moment when I realized that dang epidural was not working.

I remember wanting to punch my nurse when she told me that because things were taking so long, my baby was going to come out with a "really pointy head." And then proceeded to try justifying that ridiculous comment by telling me, "but that's okay, we'll just slap a bow on it."

I remember my daughter's first sound. The most precious little scream.

I remember the overwhelming emotion and the instantaneous, never-knew-existed love I felt when they plopped her on my chest.

I am so incredibly thankful for those memories. I am so thankful that I remember.

Eight years ago today, halfway around the world, my son was born.

And I have no idea what I was doing on that day.

I can only imagine....

May 19, 2004: It was a Wednesday. I was twenty years old. I had just finished up my sophomore year in college, and would soon be starting summer session. I am sure I was with Joey, considering that we spent every waking minute together. We were more than likely just hanging out at my parent's house where I lived. We were probably playing an insane amount of ping-pong games, because we were always playing ping-pong, and he would never let me stop playing until he won (and that always took a super long time....I am not one to throw a game....even if it is in my best interest.)
Whooping Joey in front of an entire cruise ship. 
He is on the other side of the table crying. (I am not sure what I am doing, but I can only guess I was suppressing laughter)

The bottom line is, I don't remember.

I wish I did.

I wish I knew exactly what went on in that hospital room the day that he was born.

I wish I knew how his birthmother felt.
Was it hard for her to sign those papers? Did she struggle with the decision?
What about his five older siblings? Were they there? How did they feel?

Archie spent 50 days in the hospital after he was born. For 50 days my baby was alone, in a hospital. No mom or dad there to comfort and love him. I pray that someone loved him while he was there.

I wish his birthmother could see him now.
Not because I want to show her what she is missing.
But because I want her to see how amazing her son is. I want her to be proud of him. I want her to be happy that he has a family who can't imagine life without him. That he is loved by so many. That he is a cherished, beautiful, hilarious little boy.

I don't think about these things often because it is hard. But on days like today, I cannot help but think about her. I cannot help but grieve for my son and his rough start to life.

I am also so thankful to "K", for giving life to my son, for bringing him into this world, eight years ago today. 

Happy Birthday, my precious son. 
Here is to many years of making new memories. 

Lots of Love!

Mother's Day.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Today was such a special day for me. Last year, Mother's Day was bittersweet. I celebrated being Mom to my precious Ace. The girl who can make me smile and fill my heart with pure joy at any given moment, no matter what else is going on.

And at the same time my heart was breaking because I was so far away from my son.
I was here. And he was there.
So. Far. Away.

I longed to hold him again so badly, that I felt physical pain much of the time we were apart. So needless to say, Mother's Day wasn't the easiest. 

I cannot even put into words how thankful I am to be able to experience motherhood in two very different ways. My relationship with each of my kids is so unique.

Ace is my Baby Girl. No matter how sassy she gets, or how mature she starts to think she is. That is my baby. I can't get enough of her snuggles, kisses, and affection. A while back we started a deal that when she wanted me to do something for her, she would have to pay me in kisses. I will tell her, "well, I am going to need payment upfront." Some things only cost one kiss, but others are as pricey as twelve. (Like going upstairs to retrieve her orange sippy cup and filling it with Apple Juice). Now when she asks me to do something for her, she immediately follows up with, "what's the payment gonna be for that?"

Archie reminds me every day that absolutely nothing is impossible. He pushes me to limits that I never knew before, and stretches me beyond where I ever thought I could be stretched. And I love the ways that he has changed me. I cannot believe that I am lucky enough to be the one he calls Mom.

I tell both of my kids every day, "I am so happy that you are mine".
Ace of course always says, "me too, Mommy!"
Archie normally just says, "kank you, Mommy."

But today, I called him over to me and looked right into his perfect, dark brown, almond shaped eyes, and said quietly, "Archie, I am SO happy that you are mine." And he said, "I so happy you my Mommy!" And gave me the tightest bear hug of all time.

Today was the most perfect Mother's Day I could have ever dreamed up.
Both of my babies in my arms. That's just about all I need.

Oh, and this guy's pretty cool too.

Happy Mother's Day, Moms!

Especially mine, the greatest mom and Mimi in the world!

Lots of Love!

Monster Talk

Saturday, May 5, 2012

My favorite thing in the world to do is listen in on Ace and Archie talking. Archie is now able to have real conversations. When he first came home, and for a long time, Ace would just bark some orders at Archie and he would respond, "okay, Ace", and go along with whatever she was trying to get him to do. Now he is having full on conversations and is understanding everything. It is incredible. And their conversations are hilarious. 

They have also both been trying to get dressed by themselves every day, with no help from me. In fact, I am asked to wait outside of their room, and most of the time I even have to close my eyes upon the big reveal. They are so proud of themselves when they successfully get their clothes on. 

So this morning I stood outside of their door and listened in on them. My mom got them both a bunch of these really cool animal socks. They are "easy-up" socks. There are little hooks on the sides so that they can easily get them on without help. They like to mix and match animals. 

Here was their conversation regarding sock choice this morning: 
(Ace is in pink, Archie's in blue)

Okay, so we've got one pig for me, and one pig for you. 
Now, let's see, there's a bunny and a puppy. May I please have the puppy?
No, Ace, I need puppy.
But Archie, I really wanted the puppy.
No, Ace, I need puppy.
Okay fine. 
(They proceed to put on socks)
Man, I really wanted the puppy. (in a super pouty voice)
Sorry, Ace. 
That makes me sad.
It does?
What da heck? 
(Ace coughs)
You okay, Ace?
Where's Mommy?
Let's go find her.
Okay, Ace.

The final results

Dream Big, Little Monsters!

Lots of Love!