About the idea of the safety pin

I don’t wear a pin because I’ve never been able to sit down and shut up when someone’s being an asshole to someone around me, and people have always been comfortable asking me for help or accepting help when offered, so it doesn’t feel necessary (also my hair is purple and blue and very festive, and most people don’t look at me and assume I’m excessively conservative. My bumper stickers are also pretty freakin’ obvious already.)

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What helped with my depression?

CW: frank discussion of depression, with mentions of body dysphoria, mostly upbeat.

I was answering this question in a private message, and decided to flesh it out here in case it helps someone.

What helped with my depression, behind the cut.

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Understanding Gender: A Guide for Kids

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When a baby is born, the first thing everyone wants to know is, “Is it a boy or a girl?” Even during pregnancy, parents often have an ultrasound scan, to look at a baby’s body and find out whether their baby has “boy parts” or “girl parts” before the child is born.

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He believes he can fly

I was a little surprised by the depth and breadth of my four year old’s delight at the blue and lime track suit my mother bought for him.

He gasped. “It’s everything I ever wanted.”

I was bemused and confused, and called my mother. “Tell Grandma what you think of it.”

“It’s PERFECT,” he declared.

He wore it on a walk with his dad. He apparently flung himself through a sprinkler and came home soggy. I thought little of it, and his dad hung the suit up to dry.

In the morning, he came into my room, climbed on the couch, and took a flying leap at my bed, track suit jacket open wide.

It was not until later, when he jumped off the couch and explained to our roommate, “This helps me fly” that I realized what he’d seen in the royal blue polyester.

The track suit looks like this.

What he saw is this:

Needless to say we had a long talk about the difference between a squirrel suit and a track suit, and that the track suit wouldn’t help him fly.

And thus I crushed the dreams of my four year old. Who has already fallen out of one tree this year and broken an arm. I told him that he’d have to be an adult, and take a class, and be in really good shape, and not tell me about it until he was on the ground.

Bullying prevention

 

 

Schools are responsible for setting the tone of the school and keeping kids safe at school, but in order to do so they often require a sea change in how they handle reports of mistreatment, as well as how they train the kids.

  • We need to train kids through programs like peer mediation, which teaches kids how to handle problems in fair ways through talking.
  • We need schoolwide, consistent programs like “The Three Bees” (Be safe, be responsible, be respectful).
  • We need to actively ask kids to be heroes, rather than villains. In larger schools this might mean setting up buddy programs where kids who are afraid can ask for help and get several older kids who volunteer to walk with them in “high risk” settings (between classes, after school).
  • Adults need to adopt a “believe the victim” mentality. This doesn’t mean coming down like a hammer on every accused, this means LISTENING to every child. Even the bullies. Because in many cases, bullies ARE victims, struggling for control anywhere they can find it.
  • Toxic school cultures like “Don’t be a tattle tale” and “Boys will be boys” need to stop. Kids need to be actively trained to treat people well. I don’t care how “innocent” children are, toddlers and preschoolers can be mercenary little bastards and while some are tenderhearted and empathetic from the get go, a lot of them really need to be actively trained not to hurt people to get what they want.
  • Consent culture MUST be taught.
  • Bodily autonomy MUST be taught.
  • A child who bullies needs to be trained, not suspended. They need to be isolated from the child who is bullied.
  • Children need to be taught to understand boundaries and be allowed to set boundaries and have their boundaries respected. This starts with things like saying “stop tickling me” and having the tickling stop. And maybe the idea that tickling without asking isn’t funny.
  • We need to communicate everywhere that “We don’t treat people like that. We don’t allow people to be treated like that. We don’t let our friends treat people like that.”
  • We need to teach adults to listen, to mediate, to problem solve, to look for underlying issues rather than just bad behavior.
  • We need to stop punishing victims for coming forward.

The difference between life and death, between learning and depression, between functioning and suicidal ideation is not who people are, it’s how they are treated. That means that the people around them can be heroes, or they can be villains. There are no innocent bystanders.

This is true whether we are talking about trans people, LGBTQA people, disabled people, or just kids who ‘read’ to others as being different for whatever reason.Even when bullying doesn’t involve fists, it can kill. It can make people feel trapped in their situation. And the opposite of bullying is not “stricter discipline” but “more connection.”

Teach kids to be heroes.

Rule Number One

We need to talk. I know we’ve probably not met and we’ve never said word one to each other online because I filter the hell out of my Facebook and you probably don’t go to Tumblr because it’s incomprehensible and I usually don’t get into it on those comment threads. But you need to hear this.

So, I adore your kids, okay? They’re amazing. They are bright sparks in a hard world. They’re looking around at a society that is far stranger than the one I grew up in, and let me tell you, Oregon in the 80’s and 90’s was pretty dang strange. And they’re trying to figure out who they are and where they fit.

These are kids who have loving hearts, who genuinely want to make the world a better place, and find their place in it. They want to make things better for poor people and children, and they want to help keep people safe and they genuinely want to do the right thing just as soon as they can figure out exactly what that is.

I need you to stop breaking them.

In my world, rule number one is “Mama loves you.” Not, “Mama loves you if you go to college and marry a nice person of the opposite sex and dress like people expect you to and get a job that is socially approved with sufficient status.”  Not, “Mama loves you if you go to the right church and wait until marriage to have sex.”

Just, “Mama loves you.”

Here are things that don’t matter when it comes to rule number one:

  • The clothes someone wears
  • Who they love
  • What pronouns they use
  • What sex acts they do, and with who
  • What church they go to or don’t
  • Whether or not they are gainfully employed
  • Whether or not they go to college at all or finish in four years
  • Whether they identify as the gender they were assigned at birth due to inny or outy bits
  • Tattoos
  • Piercings
  • Hair color
  • Who their friends are
  • Who they vote for
  • Mistakes they make and trouble they get into

Now, I get having hopes and dreams for your child. I’ve got three children and I’ve poured my life into them for 23 years. I get having expectations and wanting to provide them with a solid start in this difficult world. But there’s a right way to do that and a wrong way. It’s one thing to help your kids understand your values. But if the value at the top of the list isn’t “Mama loves you” (or parental/quasiparental tag of choice), I’m sorry, the moment your child realizes that they can’t meet your ideal for them, there’s an awfully good chance they’re either going to break, or you’re going to lose them, or both.

You need to understand that you cannot stop a child from being gay, or trans, or bi, or nonbinary. It’s not about “how you raised them”, it just is. And the more you make them feel “wrong”, the less they’re going to care about doing right. The less you love them, the less they will feel lovable, and the more likely they’re going to go looking for that love in harmful places. You can’t make them gay, but you can make them broken.

I am losing count of the number of teenagers I have had in my house or in my inbox or chat talking about how they can’t tell their parents who they are because they are afraid. Kids who did tell you who they are, and you kicked them out, because “not under your roof.” Kids who struggle for years to get back to a healthy place where they place enough value on their own bodies and souls that they don’t go out doing the exact risky and scary stuff you’re afraid of because it doesn’t matter, they aren’t worth it, you told them so.

I spend a lot of time telling them how worth it they are. And they are. These are beautiful souls who, given a chance, will pour their whole selves into helping someone, into making a difference. They have so much to offer, but you make it all harder by teaching them that they don’t.

I love your kids, but it hurts me when they hurt, and I need you to stop breaking them. Stop worrying so much about their immortal souls and worry a lot more about their hearts. Stop worrying about what the neighbors will think, and start worrying about whether your child will survive.

So… stop asking your kids when they’re going to give you grandchildren. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. Stop asking them when they’re going to get married, because the last thing you want for them is for them to end up with a bad marriage for the sake of being married. Stop judging the work they’re doing, and the friends they have.

You can tell them it’s okay to stand up for themselves. And accept it if they stand up to you. Listen. Don’t get defensive.

You can tell them it’s okay for them to expect people to treat them well. And then you better treat them well.

You can tell them it’s important to try hard and do their best. But don’t tell them they have to be the best. Don’t make your love contingent on victory conditions. Some of the best people in this world never won anything.

You can say that you worry about risky behavior because you love them and you want them safe, but don’t you dare kick them out and make them even more unsafe.

Teach them that you value them, not that they are worthless.

You can even teach them about your religious beliefs, but don’t you dare put them in hell on earth just because someone told you they might go to hell someday. I’m fairly certain if Jesus exists, he judges people more harshly for cruelty to their children than he does for who they sleep with or whether they have tattoos, that was pretty clear in the bible I read. Jesus was all about embracing people society couldn’t stand. Try being more like that.

I love your kids. They’ve slept on my couch and they’ve lived in my house and they are always welcome here. But it would be a better world if they didn’t end up broken to begin with.

Rule number one. Please. I’m begging you. Make sure they know it. Tell them it doesn’t matter. Tell them you want to understand but you don’t need to understand in order to keep loving them. Tell them they deserve love, and happiness, and joy and all good things, and that you know that their path in life may not look like your path but you want to be a safe space for them to come home to. That you don’t have to agree about politics or religion or social issues or any of those things, that they’re still worthy of all that life can give them.

And if that little person you thought was a boy comes to you and says that she’s a girl, your response there is a life-and-death issue. Their future happiness and ability to survive adulthood depends on what you say to them. And if it’s anything other than, “I love you, let’s figure this out and find out what you need to make you happy,” you’re playing with fire, because the biggest difference in whether or not a trans kid survives (yes literally survives) their teen years and young adulthood is whether they get support and acceptance or not. Your attitude can literally kill them.

Rule number one.  Mama loves you.

Because while I will always keep my home open for them, I’d rather they not need me. I’d rather not have to build them back up and explain to them how you forgot the important thing.

Rule number one.

Writing advice

So I’ve been delving into the strange world of Tumblr. I said for years I didn’t understand it. Then I got into the Merlin fandom, started poking around, realized that no one understood Tumblr, and started using it a lot.

So this floated across my dashboard today:

http://jenroses.tumblr.com/post/142197757771/how-do-write-good

If Tumblr frightens you, the answer I wrote is here:

The question was, “how do write good,” (sic) and Maureen Johnson gave a succinct answer I felt could use some elaboration.

Write. Write more. Ask for constructive criticism. Cry. Get angry. Do what they say. See how it makes it better. Buy your editor/beta reader/tolerant friend flowers or chocolate or something and then write more.

Read. Read amazing writers, read amazing storytellers, note that sometimes the two things aren’t the same. When something you read makes you happy, think about why.

Then write more. Write nonfiction. Write short paragraphs. Write drabbles. Write poetry. Write short fanfiction. Or long. Or your own stories. Write what moves you. Explain things to people with your writing.

Read about writing. Read about language. Read about structure. Read about why things work, why they don’t. Understand the rules. Write until your editor only makes small changes in grammar (and sometimes they’re wrong and you know it but you always listen because if it caught their attention something about the flow is probably off.)

And ultimately? Break rules if there’s a good reason to. Don’t let other people’s ideas about writing get in the way of good storytelling. A few million words in, you’re going to know to your bones when you need to be scrupulously formal and when you need to throw that to the wind because that character over there? He says “Ain’t” a lot, and no one speaks in complete sentences all the time.

But throw all that out the window for a moment, because you can stick your face in a computer screen for decades and never live enough to have a damn thing worth writing about. Go out into the world. Experience love. Experience failure. Have crowning moments of awesome and be crushed by devastating tragedy. Feel the wind on your elbows and smell things that no one should ever have to smell. Think about how you would tell these things to someone else, about how you would help them experience what you’ve experienced.

When you know enough about writing and life to be able to put someone else in your shoes and have them feel the blisters? You’ll write good.

Shiny’s current meds, logic, and dosing

Because this comes up all the time.

CoQ10:

91yOlO9D66L._SY679_   vitaline coq10 bottles and wafers

 

 

So both of these brands use Vitaline CoQ10, which works VERY well. The claim is that this form crosses the blood-brain barrier better, and I’d have to say that the results are definitely more noticeable than TruNature, which we used before (and did have good effects and raised her blood levels very high, but which did not have as profound an effect on Shiny’s language.)

Natrol was terrible, and I think their supplier was fraudulent. Be careful. Other people have used Qunol to good effect, but Shiny can’t tolerate the citric acid.  I found the best price normally at Vitacost for the SmartQ10, but Naturedoc has by FAR the best price on Vitaline 400 mg (by $57 per bottle!). The difference between Vitacost and Amazon on SmartQ10 is very small, so get that one where it is convenient.

Shiny’s CoQ10 dosing is approximately half her weight in pounds, with a zero tacked on, in milligrams. Rounded up always. She’s currently 70 pounds, give or take, and taking 400 mg because it is easier to give her 400 mg in one tablet than 3 1/2 giant chewables. We see no ill effects from a slightly higher dose, but we notice very quickly if her dose is too low.

Kids with 4q deletions are often missing one of two genes which help the body make its own CoQ10. This may or may not cause a frank deficiency in the blood, but it seems to impact muscles, nerves and brain tissue disproportionately. This directly helps correct any deficiency, and increases the amount available as an antioxidant, which can be beneficial even for kids who are not missing one of the genes.

R-lipoic Acid

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So, many people have heard of Alpha Lipoic acid, which is a racemic compound of both the S and R isomers of lipoic acid. The R one is the one the body uses. The S one is at best useless and at worse actually gets in the way of the body using R-lipoic acid. A typical dose of ALA might be 600-1200 mg.

For kids with CoQ10 issues, R-lipoic acid helps the body use CoQ10 more efficiently to make energy, which is EXACTLY what Shiny needed. It also protects cells from damage and helps the body recycle antioxidants. Win win win win.

But straight up R-lipoic acid is VERY eager to bond with other molecules. And it is a narcissist. It LOVES itself. In liquids, R-lipoic acid may readily gloop onto itself into long polymer strands, which the body can’t use very well.  So we got some results giving Shiny 300 mg ground up in milk, but they took a couple days to see.

R-lipoic acid can be stabilized with a salt that makes it more water soluble and less likely to “gloop”. K-rala  stands for potassium (K)-R-alpha lipoic acid. The first brand we bought worked pretty well at doses of 100 mg, but we started increasing those doses and the company was bought out by Vitacost, and the quality went downhill… probably due to a fraudulent supplier, but the stuff stopped doing ANYTHING. I did some reading and decided to try the Geronova brand shown above. We gave Shiny 6 drops (20 drops is 100 mg, so this was less than 40 mg, after she’d been on 300) because the company said it was often much more effective at much lower doses due to the ready bioavailability.

They were not kidding. 5 minutes later, she started chattering. It wasn’t super coherent, but she was MAKING NOISE ON PURPOSE and it had been a long, quiet summer, punctuated mostly by her tears of frustration. And she was CHATTERING. Talking constantly. For an hour. Like every word she’d tried to say burbled up at once.

She’s now taking 12 drops per day, at about 70 pounds, and we’ve gone from talking about getting her to cooperate with sitting in a chair at school to talking about them teaching her actual subjects. (She’s in a life skills classroom, but is incredibly interested in science and the natural world.) Use this brand. Don’t bother with anything else ever. Not ALA, not RLA, use the Geronova K-rala if you need anything having to do with Alpha Lipoic Acid.

Everything else she takes is at dinnertime. GIVE THIS IN THE MORNING. Trust me.

 

Melatonin

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So this we buy at Trader Joe’s because it’s $3.99 per bottle there, but even at twice the price it’s a good deal. Most people who need melatonin can get by with 1/2 tablet, which means 200 doses. That’s 6 months for $4, even at twice that it’s a bargain. 1/4 tablet is enough to make me tired. Shiny takes a full tablet.

More is not better for melatonin. This stuff works, and works well, at some of the lowest doses available on the market. It’s chewable, and citrate free. I don’t advocate melatonin for most typically developing kids, but throw in a chromosome disorder, metabolic disorder, autism, what have you, and the stuff is a godsend.

Give only at night, within half an hour of bedtime.

Fish oil
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Shiny takes one of these every night. It really seems to help with behavior and frustration levels. The dose is not high, but the price is, but this works and she tolerates it, and that’s enough for me. It tastes terrible. We bribe with chocolate.

Methyl Folate, B-12 and B6, and biotin

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Methylated B-vitamins may be absorbed more readily, and we want things to be as absorbable as possible. This is a tiny lactose tablet that dissolves fast under the tongue. She tolerates it very well. B-vitamins can help the R-lipoic acid and CoQ10 work better.  When we added this and other B-vitamins, Shiny’s energy levels picked up even more than with the other supplements. We’re currently giving Methyl B-12, Methylfolate, P-5-P (B6 in a more absorbable form) and Biotin (separate tablet). The doses are probably higher than she needs, but I don’t worry too much about it as she can pee the rest out.  We special order the combo from our local health food store, it’s hard to find online but worth it (cheaper than giving them separately, and less trouble.) The biotin can be had on amazon.

This is another B-vitamin we give. She tolerates it well. If we were more organized we’d probably give the b-vitamins in the morning.

ADDENDUM 6/22/17
We have dropped all the B-vitamins above in favor of mixing half of a B-right capsule with the other powders with a little food. This is cheaper, and gives a broader variety of B-vitamins, and they’re an ideal form.

B-right b-supplement

Vitamin D, because Oregon

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This has zero taste and she tolerates a drop on food. The drops come out slow but zero taste and tolerates well makes me not care. One bottle is a year’s supply for one kid. Everyone in Oregon gets D deficient if they don’t supplement, so this would be on the list even if she didn’t have a deletion.

 

Sunflower lecithin

So this is a good source of choline, which is helpful neurologically. I take it myself, she has a liquid form, not a capsule. It helps a LOT with her mood. Super low risk. This is better than soy lecithin which can be irritating for some.

Magnesium works with the other vitamins and supplements to help the cells work better. We avoid citric acid, so this powder format has been handy. This lasts a very long time, we use a tiny ‘stevia scoop’ for it.  Pretty much magnesium is magnesium. Find a form your kid can tolerate. It’s rarely fraudulent (because it’s cheap and what companies use to cut other meds with, lol!) Bedtime is best for magnesium. Mag can help with asthma and lung reactivity.

Vitamin C:
Pure ascorbic acid does not contain citric acid and seems to be well-tolerated. Buy the smallest jar you can, it only takes a tiny pinch added to foods to boost C-intake dramatically. Can cause diarrhea if you give too much. We bought a large jar and Miles got into it and mixed it with ketchup and most of it was lost and it still took us months to get through the rest. I’m serious that a little goes a long way. 4 ounces is probably a year or two’s worth, watch the fresh date.

Generation WiFi

I’d call this kids born in the 20 years following 9/11

Currently ranging from 0-15 years old, these kids have an unprecedented access to technology even across a wide variety of demographics, wireless, cordless and intuitive. Many of them are competent at navigating a tablet and smart phone from infancy, and they have never lived in a world with the twin towers. Their first awareness of politics probably has to do with Obama on some level or another. Most of them will come of age in a world where gay marriage and legal marijuana are seen as inevitable, and they are the first generation to grow up with a significant cohort of kids who are not in the gender binary and also not in the closet about it. Kids who have literally never been in the closet about it. Sexual orientation is not particularly controversial for them, and by the time they hit college, almost every school out there will have clear consent policies. Their “Berlin Wall” is more likely to be universal health care (should we be so lucky) and the breaking of the big banks.

Parents as researchers

In response to this article because I get Shiny’s story out when I can in hopes that it will give other parents the oomph to look past what they’re told:  https://www.propublica.org/article/muscular-dystrophy-patient-olympic-medalist-same-genetic-mutation

I am the mother of a child with a rare chromosome deletion. Watching her as a baby, I would see her energy run out like a dying flashlight battery, watch her “turn off” and stop playing, watch her go quiet and silent as she waited for her energy to pick back up enough to play again. Then she would, like a flashlight turned off and on again, have another burst of energy, play for 20 minutes, then stop.

I said, “Something is up with this child’s mitochondria.”

She had, at that point, demonstrated a consistent reaction to too much citrate or citric acid in her diet, or when I was breastfeeding, mine. I took to googling now and then phrases connected to her condition. Citric acid. 4q21. That led me to learning about the Kreb cycle (also called the citric acid cycle), which helps the mitochondria do what they do to help the body produce energy from the raw materials it takes in.

This lead me to a seemingly random article on Coenzyme Q10 deficiency. Reading the symptoms, all more severe than those of my tiny daughter, I started to get goosebumps. At that point I think I knew two or three other families whose children were affected by the same mutation in the same area, and I knew their children’s symptoms. Every symptom showed up in some degree in our girls. Where full CoQ10 deficiency would give full on seizures, our little girls might have absence spells where they weren’t quite fully seized but weren’t fully functional either. (We now call them brown-outs.)   Language issues were rife (one of the dominant features of 4q21 deletions at that time was a near universal lack of expressive language). Kidney issues showed up in some of our girls, not as severe as the article described. The lack of energy was pronounced. When I got to the part about the genetics, I said, “I know where that gene is…” and sure enough, it was at 4q21. A recessive mutation would produce a marked deficiency of CoQ10 because a precursor would not be made. Our girls’ symptoms seemed remarkably consistent with a “half strength” issue… our kids had one working gene, which seemed like it should be enough if the disorder was truly recessive, but clearly it was not, and clearly something was missing.

It was when I got to the section marked “Treatment” (there was a section on treatment!) I started shaking and had to wake my husband to tell him to stop me from robbing a health food store. Over the counter CoQ10 resulted in a near complete reversal of symptoms, within a month. I immediately sent a message to the researchers listed in the paper, and had an answer back by morning. “Little to no risk in trying CoQ10,” they said. “Here’s the dosage we use for people with two copies of the mutation.”

“Maybe she only needs half the dose?” I wrote back, “Given that she probably has one healthy gene?”

I received the electronic equivalent of a shrug back, and put her on the full dose that day while arranging for some testing. She was almost two. I knew that kids who didn’t get solid language skills before two often never did, and I felt an urgency because of that.

Three days later, she picked up a new word, for the first time in a year, she didn’t lose an existing word at the same time. (This, a child who had said “Mama” at 5 months old, consistently, for months, one of the only sounds she made, but who had lost that word for months when another word took its place.) New words followed in a tumble. Her articulation was terrible but clearly her brain was finally managing to produce language in a way it had not been.

She’s now on several supplements, all aimed at helping her body use CoQ10 better. Each addition of the right stuff improves an area that has languished. Some things don’t help, we don’t keep those. The true test is that sometimes we discontinue something, and if skills go with it, we know we’re on to something important.

When she grows, we have to increase the dose or her symptoms start creeping back. The dose that makes her symptoms disappear is almost exactly half the dose she would require if she had two mutated genes rather than one functional gene. Our best guess is that there are other genes in the area that work in concert, and that a simple mutation of one gene does not produce the disastrous effects that missing the whole segment does.

More importantly, other children with similar deletions have tried similar treatments and seen similar improvements. We’ll never have a large enough sample size for a gold standard study, but the risks are low for the supplements we use, and the rewards, thus far, for many families, have been life changing.

We have had many doctors pooh pooh the idea, including one who said, “Mitochondrial ailments are very rare. It would be extremely unlikely for her to have two extraordinarily rare conditions. Missing one gene rarely produces effects with things like this.”

I had to laugh. When a family has already been struck by lightening, telling them they’re not likely to be struck again, despite having found a tall metal object in the middle of the living area, isn’t very useful, especially when the burn marks all look exactly the same.

Interestingly, while my husband and I do not share my daughter’s deletion, his mother was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia. Which may have a gene at 4q21. I have no idea what that means for my husband, if anything, or why our family would be struck by such apparently different lightening in such an identical position.

I’m 43 years old and may well be going back to school soon in order to learn molecular genetics, because there is so much I need to learn to even read the papers that might answer my questions. To gain access to testing equipment I can’t persuade a doctor to use to satisfy curiosity. To contact experts who might take a student seriously when they brush off a parent.

In the mean time my child is now almost 11, and despite the fact we were told she would likely never have more than a few words… she has more than 1000 spoken and signed words that she can use, can read (taught herself to read silently, we discovered it by accident). She sings. She makes puns. She has a robust and precocious sense of sarcasm.  She is not “healed”. She is not “cured”. She is who she is, but with every supplement that we find that works, things get a little easier for her, a little less frustrating. We were told that 70% of children died before age 2 with her condition. Then they said 20% by age 5. That there might be a high risk of death before 20. Now? No one is making predictions anymore. We’re in uncharted territory.

The single best resource we’ve had? Each other. Other parents with children with similar deletions. Even some parents who also have deletions in similar areas. We share information. We talk about what works. We talk about who to talk to. We keep each other going when doctors dismiss us or simply don’t even bother to try to understand.

Gandalf for President

I was sort of absently ruminating about how a guy who bears more than a passing resemblance to my grandfather is managing to fire people up so much. Them I realized.

He’s filling the same ecological niche as Gandalf, Merlin, and Dumbledore.

He’s spent every damn Republican majority at the gates, staff in hand, shouting, “You shall not pass!”

Bernie Sanders *is* Gandalf. No wonder we love him.

So I dusted off my Photoshop skills to do this:
Berndalf

This lead to the following…

I printed out a copy to show to my husband, who was having his weekend morning bath in the deep tub.

He was appropriately amused, but asked that I leave the printed copy “over there” so it wouldn’t get wet.

Over there happened to be on the shelf over the toilet.

I said, “‘You shall not pass’ isn’t really the sentiment I want hanging over my toilet. Besides, think about the hashtag… #feelthebern…”

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen my husband laugh that hard at six in the morning.

Getting our house in order: the false competition between the homeless and the refugees.

I’m seeing a whole lotta nonsense out there about how it is morally reprehensible to go offering help to refugees when we have so many homeless. Leave aside that the people bitching the loudest are also the same people who tell us not to give to the poor because it “enables them” to buy booze or whatever they deem unworthy of the “lower classes”. Also probably the same people trying to cut food stamps and whatnot. Let’s just say the credibility of people who say, “but but but HOMELESS VETS” or “HUNGRY CHILDREN” is not high with me because I suspect they care very little for either, truly.

The fact of the matter is that if we got our shit together and did the things that science and research and public policy data say are the most effective at caring for people, we could actually solve a whole bunch of problems and spend less money than we spend now.

I’m not exaggerating. I’m not making shit up here. This is well supported by data.Continue reading