I was trying to get my daughter ready for school. She’s six and was playing on the iPad. I was running late for work and she refused to get dressed with something about hating school and wanting to stay home all day and she shouldn’t have to go to school and why was I sending her and why did I have to work. I tried to pull on her pants when suddenly, she went boneless. It was like trying to dress a fish in leggings. Then she started doing this moaning thing. “Eeerhhhhh” “Errrrhhhh”. “Oh, come on! Get dressed. You’re not retarded!” I said. And then my brain started firing in my head: Tanya, you can’t say that! We don’t call people retarded anymore. That’s something you used to hear when you were a kid and it’s just WRONG. Or, technically, it’s right, but it’s the wrong word.
So I listened to my brain and then fixed the problem by saying: “I mean, come on! Get dressed. It’s not like you’re Special.”
My daughter said: “I’m not special?”
Then my brain said: Shit! You just told her she’s not Special. She thinks you mean that she’s ordinary instead of referring to someone who is disabled. Not disabled. They’re not call disabled. What the fuck are they called? Challenged. No, not CHALLENGED. Handi-able. Whatever. FIX THIS!
“No! You’re special. You’re just not special. You’re not all eeerrggg,-I-don’t-have-any-legs and…”
My brain couldn’t even process that line fast enough.
I recovered by saying: “Just. Stand. Up. Get your pants on. And pretend this conversation never happened.”
Then I added 25 dollars into her savings account for when she goes to college and needs therapy.