Saturday, June 27, 2009

24. Common Thread

Hi everyone. Just in case a few of you still haven't heard about the T21 Traveling Afghan Project, I wanted to publicize it here on Down With Oz.

Step right up folks! Get a gander at the craze that's sweeping the nation! It's circling the globe! What is it, you ask? It's bigger than a Slinky and warmer than a Hula Hoop. It's the T21 Traveling Afghan! TRAVELING, I says!

This little beauty is the brainchild of Chandos Field, a thirty-something mom in Wisconsin. Chandos had a vision, and boy oh boy was it a doozy.

Step 1: Crochet an afghan. And crochet she did.

Step 2: Offer to send it to other families touched by Down syndrome. Include a journal so families can write about their experience and log the afghan's short stay in their home.

Step 3: Watch in awe as a flood of families ask to take part in the project.

Well fellas, she did all that and more! Seems some kids loved that afghan so much they didn't want to part with it. They say it's the cat's meow - it's the greatest thing since sliced bread! So now, poor little Chandos crochets a new afghan for anyone who asks! Her heart's too big, I tells ya!

Meanwhile, the afghan is racing across the great US of A. The goal is to hit all 50 states - even the crummy ones! And then it's going over the pond, to places that AREN'T America! Chandos' afghan is going intercontinental!

And after that? Well boys, I have it on authority that Chandos is secretly knitting a rocket. That's right, the T21 project is going intergalactic! And if you buy that, I've got some swampland for sale in Florida.

So step right up, folks, it's not too late to get in on this amazing offer! She's done all the work for you - just visit her Web site and sign up now!

Thanks Chandos - you are a class act. I can't wait for the afghan...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

23. Photo Update

Several readers have asked for an updated photo of Oz. I'm here to please:

Monday, June 1, 2009

22. Assumptions

Today I read a post on another blog (the fabulous "Finnian's Journey"), and I had so much to say about it that I just decided to address it with a post of my own. The subject: how moms and dads handle strangers' questions about their child's development. You can read the post here.

Last week I had a similar experience. I was talking to someone I had just met, and she was asking about my job and my family – all the routine, small-talk stuff. Eventually the fact that I have a ten-month-old came up in the conversation, and her eyes lit up. And as they did, my tension level began to rise.

Here we go, over the cliff...

"Oh, ten months old. Such a wonderful age! Let's see, I bet he's crawling all over the place by now. Maybe pulling himself up, right?"

If my life was a movie, this scene would have been playing in slow motion. And as she spoke those words, the camera, fixed on my face, would have captured the transition from smile to thousand-yard stare. Because at that moment, my mind was shifting into overdrive. I was playing a mental game of "Choose Your Own Adventure," trying to size her up, trying to decide how much to tell, what to leave out, how to change the subject, and finally, how to end this conversation.

After a pause that was just a little too long, I answered:

"He's working on it."


She said something else about how she loved babies at that age, maybe asked me another question - I don't really remember the details because I had shut down by that point. And here's where being a guy helped quite a bit: I realized that I had just played the "uninterested dad" card, and she had bought it.

End of conversation.

It hurt a little bit, because I know her impression of me was probably not a great one. But in reality, I was operating in survival mode, trying desperately to protect us both from a very uncomfortable exchange. She had no idea how hard I was working to guide her safely through the minefield.

What can anyone learn from this? Well, probably nothing. She didn't do anything wrong. But please be aware that innocent exchanges like these aren't always so innocent to the other player. Your assumptions can actually be really intrusive and really unwelcome.

And that stoic guy with the thousand-yard-stare? He may just be the most loving dad on the planet.