Monthly Archives: June 2015

Happy Father’s Day

I’ve been a father for 12 years now and they have been some of the most challenging 12 years of my life. I get compliments from people on my parenting, or more precisely, our parenting, since I’m just one member of a very tired team. Honestly, I don’t know what to say other than “thanks?” I mean, I’m dead tired most of the time, run out of patience on a daily basis, make mistakes at least that often, question my choices, and consistently drop plates that I’m trying to desperately keep spinning.

I think that also my difficulty in accepting compliments is that I don’t have a basis of comparison other than looking at what my Dad did for me and my brothers. He had quite the set of challenges of his own. Mike was rocketing off into new things like a evangelist-in-training. Pat was a quiet genius feeling pressures from Mike and me. I was the youngest, desperately seeking attention. Dad balanced the three of us and our needs, whether it was Mike in piano or scouting, Pat in computers or all-state chorus, or me with trumpet and soccer.  Of course it was never so simple because we each had so many other interests, some that overlapped and others that didn’t.

And of course the endless dad jokes.

And now at this stage in our relationship, my dad is as supportive as ever of all of us and is a terrific listener.

How am I to judge?

If anything, I think I’m not patient enough, too tired, too frustrated, too quick to judge, and too selfish at times (usually from being too tired).

Today I took Alice to Kimball Farm for a father’s day event sponsored by Mass D.A.D.S. and organized by Jeff Roback. It was a rainy day, but we still went and I met up with my friend Jeremy, who I had worked with about 16 years ago. We’re finally in the same state, we should see each other, right? Alice and I went, Stuart declined, preferring to stay at home with E. Alice loved going on the bumper boats and playing in the arcade. I enjoyed catching up with Jeremy and meeting his family.

And now as the day winds down, all I can think is that if I am a good father, it is because I had a strong model. Thanks, Dad.

Having a Child with Down Syndrome, Part LXXVIII: Fifth Grade Graduation

Copyright © 2015 Stephen Hawley, all rights reserved.

Alice had her 5th grade graduation today. In her school district, there is one Junior High School for the entire district, which is fed by four elementary schools after 5th grade, so this is a big transition and they celebrate it.

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The gym filled up quickly with parents and all the kids and the fifth graders processed to Pomp and Circumstance. The principal gave separate speeches to the kids and then to the parents. Then she called each fifth grader up to get their certificates. Parents and kids cheered for each child.

IMG_20150619_093042790_HDRWhen Alice was called, the cheering got louder. A lot louder. Wow.

Alice got her certificate from her teacher and took her place proudly.

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The class sang a song and then marched out.

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On the way out, I thanked her teachers and especially thanked the principal and gave her a big hug. She has built a great school and Alice has a great set of classmates. This is why inclusion is important.

And If You Think It’s All Sunshine and Butterflies…

Copyright © 2015 Stephen Hawley, all rights reserved.

How to tell you have a tween in the house:

Alice turns on all the lights in the kitchen and dining room.
Me: Alice, would you please turn out the lights in the kitchen? There’s nobody in there and it saves money.
Alice: No.
Me: Alice, there’s nobody in the kitchen. Please turn out the lights, it saves money.
Alice: No.
Me: Alice, since there’s nobody in the kitchen, don’t you think it would be a good idea to turn the lights out?
Alice: Fine.

Alice: Butthead.

Timeoutularity ensues.

Later, Alice tries to get me to do an in-app purchase on her iPad.
Alice: Daddy, sign here.
Me: What is it?
Alice: Daddy, sign here.
Me: Nice try, Alice.

Alice fires up the music app, which can’t be locked out, right in front of me.
Me: Alice, please give me your iPad. You have an iPad time out.
Alice: NO!
Me: Alice, were you using the music app?
Alice: No.

Alice: Yes.
Me: Ok, that’s an iPad time out. If you behave nicely, then you’ll get it back sooner. If you behave not nicely, then it will take longer.

Alice: Fine. I tell mommy about that. Mommy said, “never, ever do that again!”

E comes down stairs in perfect timing.

Me: E – did you say that Alice should never, ever get an iPad time out?

E: No.

Drama ensues, followed by timeoutularity.

Alice is now up in her room yelling at me that she’s going to call the police and, “you’re in trouble mister“.

On another note, I’ve also trained her to respond to “Alice, drama?” with “Is this a dagger I see before me?