Now I am not a guy drawn towards the mathematical type of things, but this one was so clear even I could figure it out. All my figuring came as a result of some recent birthday celebration's around the AtwoodZoo.
Consider the possibility that someone (like me for instance) who might happen to a birthday anywhere near the date of one of their children, (say, for example two days) will almost certainly notice a decline in the amount of attention paid to their birthday, while there is increasingly more attention paid to the birthday of said child. (not that I am whining, mind you...)
And while I have intuitively known this ("birthday attention slippage" was happening, I was not able to quantify said phenomenon. That is, until now. And a public service for those of you with a more statistically-oriented mindset, I have developed a mathematical equation for this very substantial and dynamic regression/increase alignment.
And since I discovered it, I call it Atwood's Theorem #1 of Relative Birthday Significance
A = (x-y)*(d)/(n-f)*pi
(key to the variables is listed below)
A - Total amount of Attention
x - age of parent
y - age of child
d - # of days between birthday of parent and birthday of child
n -# of children invited to birthday party
f - # of years over 40 the parent is
pi - 3.14 (because for some reason which we discussed back in Mr. Wilson's 8th grade algebra class but for which I have no recall anymore because I have had a birthday beyond my 40th, every mathematical equation known to man MUST have pi in it....)
Again - not whining (much) - just wanting to quantify the painfully obvious.
Tomorrow Suzie and a bunch of her Learning Lab friends are headed out on a field trip. They are all hopping on the Short Bus over to the middle school. The middle school part alone is enough to make me vomit.
But she and her friends are going over to the middle school to check things out. To begin the transition process. And I am glad they are doing this. Thrilled they are doing it. Because it is absolutely the right thing for Suzie and her friends.
In the same breath, though, I take pause but only because I remember my attitude towards "Learning Lab" kids in middle school. (Or junior high as we called it back in the stone ages.) And how I (often) can't believe I have one of "those" kids.
All this reminds me of something I wrote awhile back and how my thoughts have changed about the Short Bus...
I can remember it nearly as clearly today as when it happened 25 years ago.
For a couple of wintertime months during seventh grade, me and a group of my friends would sit on the curb outside Pennwood Junior High School, waiting for the morning bell to ring. Some days, when we got there especially early and had nothing better to do, we would just sit there on the cold curb, waiting for the “Short Bus” to pull up and drop off the special education students.
I am still not sure why this was such great entertainment, but even so we would just sit there, waiting for the “retards” to arrive. (“Retards” was my word then. I now realize the power of words like that.)Most of the time me and Mike Antonio and the Perry brothers and Terry Ricini would just point and laugh at the handful of kids as they would get off the “Short Bus.” On days when we were really pumped up, some of the guys would try to out do one another by calling them names. “Hey you retard…look over here…what’s the problem, you can’t walk or what?” It was a bonus if we could get a rise out of someone in the group. Seems like it was always Mikey Pulaski starting that talking part.
Sometimes, when the teacher’s aid or bus driver were looking the other way or maybe helping one of the kids down the wheelchair ramp, we would scoop up a crunchy snowball and just wing it across the parking lot at the short bus. Most of the time we didn’t have very good aim and if we were lucky the snowball would hit the side of the bus or maybe the sidewalk. Every now and then one of us, mostly Mike Antonio cause he was a baseball pitcher too, would get lucky and plunk one of the retards. One time Mikey hit one guy in the leg and then before the retard figured out what was going on Mikey busted him in the back too.
But one day, I was the king of the “curb-sitters.” It was the day I hit a “retard” smack up in the face with a snowball. I scooped up a handful of the nasty gray snow, smashed it into an icy rock and fired it across the parking lot. I can still see it now, flying through the sky, almost as if it was in super slow motion.
I heaved that snow bomb towards all those kids and just wished. Bam! Caught the kid in the green coat right in the face. After it happened, I held my breath, and then looked to Mikey and Mike and Terry and Tony to see what they thought. I’m pretty sure they laughed.
After his head snapped back from the surprise shot in the face, the boy in the green coat two sizes too big slowly wiped the snow off his reddening face. His expression was not so much mad, as sad. I think I was mad because he didn’t get mad. It was like he just couldn’t figure out why someone would have done what I just did. His eyes were confused as he looked out between the school buses, trying to understand what had just happened. Then he reached down to pick up his books from the cold, salty puddle where they had fallen, wiped the last of the snow off the silver rim of his glasses, and trudged off silently to class. I know that his head hung down the whole way because I watched him walk all the way in to school.
Now fast-forward those 25 years, and while much in my life has changed, there is one thing that is eerily similar. Nearly every school day I still sit on the curb and wait for the “short bus” to pull up. Only now I’m not outside Pennwood Junior High School, I am outside the front door of my suburban home.
And when the short bus pulls up, I don’t wait to ridicule the retards when they get off the bus, rather I wait for the bus door to open so that I can help my golden-haired nine-year-old “retarded” daughter Madison get on the short bus to go to school.
Ohh, how I hate the “R” word now.
I hate it in much the same way I would guess that those kids at my junior high school hated getting laughed at and pelted with snowballs.
I used to think that riding on the short bus was as a badge of dishonor or a label of imperfection.The bus, and the kids who rode that bus, were a never-ending supply of cheap laughs. I have come to know that the short bus really is the exact opposite of all those things that I thought before.
Because now I see, that for those who ride the short bus, it is the highest of honors to do so. The ride on the bus is a time of freedom or independence or “typical-ness,” however brief it may be, for these “untypical” kids. It means that children who often have little control over their actions or thoughts or sometimes even the movements of their own bodies can perhaps be in control of what seat they choose or of what they look at out the window or maybe even in how they see themselves.
And so now, it is with great pride that I wait for the short bus come to my house. Though Madison can easily get on the bus by her self everyday, most mornings I like to walk out with her and wait by the curb as she steps through the extra wide door. Every day is the same as she will quickly pass all of the half-dozen or so empty seats up front, and head directly to the seat next to where her “best friend in the whole world” Abby sits in her wheel chair. Abby and her family live around the corner from us. We did not know them when we moved in, but I am certain that the God of the Universe planned it down to the last detail so that Madison could have a friend to push in the big blue swing and sit next to on the short bus.
Many times I step past the curb and follow Madison up on the bus as she moves towards her seat. It is truly for my benefit more than hers. She doesn’t need me to find her seat or be settled.I just love to hear Abby squeal with joy when Madison, her best friend in the whole world, sits down next to her. I like to hear from the bus driver that on some days Madison will sing “Jesus Loves me” to Abby. Many days they will just look at each other and smile. The driver also says that there are also days when they do not say a word or even share a glance on the way to school. They just look out at the big world from the tiny window on the short bus.
And I pray that there are not kids like me sitting outside her school when the short bus pulls up.
And said "she was keeping the dog despite the attack because it had been provoked by her son pulling the dog's ears."
Well of course...Noah, the two-year-old boy, should know that if he pulled the dog's ear he would get mauled until "Noah was covered in blood and crying hysterically when Ms Cottier pulled him away from the dog and dialed triple-0."
As the annual love offering to the IRS tax time approaches we all begin to think about the best way to get everything filed. If you're like me, you think...hmmm...I wonder if my accountant/tax preparer/brother-in-law really know what their doing.
And so you begin to consider options.
Walking through Wal-Mart this afternoon I saw an "option." There it was in all its gray-flannel glory, the Jackson Hewitt office cubicle, (nearly) all set up for business.
Maybe it's just me, but I think I would be a little bit nervous if I called my tax preparer to set a meeting, and in the course of getting directions to their office they said, "now if you get to the women's restroom at Wal Mart, you've gone to far."