Hokay. This is how it was.
I was born in December, 1963. In a military hospital that probably wasn't any better equipped to deal with a problematic birth as it was to deal with my mother's subsequent depression. To hear my mother tell it, the doctor was late coming, and they advised her to keep her legs together.
I was born, on the twenty third, some four minutes to midnight. I wasn't breathing when I was born, and I refused to breathe for five minutes. They wouldn't show me to my mother. I believe that they took me straight to an incubator. My mother wasn't allowed to handle me at all.
By the time that I was allowed to go home, my mother had been advised not to get too attached to me. I'm not sure why, did they think I'd shred the drapes and chew on their shoes? Surely they knew that all came later.
My mother didn't know what to do with me. I think she was overwhelmed, and scared, and probably dealing with the depression she's dealt with all her life. I love my mom. She's probably one of the strongest people I know. Just..not always the first one over the wall, my mom. My dad was the one who fed me and talked to me, and did his best to educate me, at least at first, as to what the world was like.
Thank God that there's some parental influx that dictates that parents regard their goslings as beautiful. Otherwise I imagine I would have died very early on. I was an appallingly ugly baby. Bald, and cross-eyed, I apparently howled a lot. I'm really surprised sometimes that they didn't think I was a changeling. My father however, was determined that I was going to Experience Things.
Note to Sam. Grandpa is a very good man. He's a very smart man. But when Grandpa decides that he is going to do something it's probably best not to struggle too much. Just let him go on and do it. It saves you trouble in the end.
He introduced me to classical music at a very early age (so the family legend goes) by positioning speakers near my crib. I don't blame The Ride Of The Valkyries for my CP, but I do blame it for the twitch I can't get rid of. He took me to the ocean growing up, took me out to the water and had to rescue me when a wave knocked me over. "All I could see was teeth" he told me later. I was irritated. I had almost *drowned* and he thought it was funny?
I never did get my father's jokes.
He did things that made me crazy. He would tell you when you were sick that it was all in your head (though if you threw up on him he changed his tune.) He bought me a bike, and shipped it all the way to England. A three wheeled bike, in a time and a place when they weren't common. It was golden yellow and the man in the bike shop made it just for me because I couldn't keep my feet on the pedals and go all the way around with the pedals. He took me out to the garage with that bike, and he left me there. I could come inside when I could get on the bike by myself.
I hated his guts. I cried. I got hugely mad. I tried and fell off. I got back up and got back on. I slid. My legs got shakes. It took me two hours.
Once I was on, I was triumphant. I was never getting off again. I wouldn't even let him inflate the tires before I took it out for it's first trip around the block. It was really hard to pedal and I didn't give a damn. I went around and stared at the narcissus, and heard the church bells and I swore that I would not get off this bike ever again except to pee.
Which proved to be true..at least while we were in England. I learned that when you fell off, the ground was so cold that the joints in your hands ached. That people were disturbed to see someone crawl. That people wanted to help, and if you didn't let them they got even more upset.
You have to understand..things were so very different then. I might joke with Laguera25 about the Sekrit Crip Cabal..but it wasn't so funny back then. People treated you as if you were stupid. Not bad people but honestly well meaning and intelligent people. For years, and years, whenever I saw a doctor, the first question they ever asked my mother was "Is she retarded?" (I learned very quickly that answering "No, are you?" would produce a vehement reaction from my embarrassed mother.) Children who were handicapped went to special schools. It was simply accepted that you had physical therapy and occupational therapy. You learned quickly that the school was the place where you could go and *be* smart.
It was also the place where you learned the secret law of give and take. You did things for other people. Picked up their dropped crayons, or helped them get to the toilet in time, because when the time came you might need someone to cover for you. You learned fast who would accept your help and then rat you out, and you left them alone. Or you learned who the popular kids were.
I knew that the school that I went to didn't study the same things that my sisters did, but I was never really that concerned, after all it was normal to me to be bored at school. I was dyslexic and restless and full of anger, and school, with it's carefully marshalled activities was no outlet for me. It was the place you went to to learn how to sing "Frosty The Snowman" in unison, or to recite a few lines of Christmas play dialogue. And in one spectacular bit of miscasting I played Mary in the Christmas pageant.
It wasn't the place to go to learn. You went home to do that. You read everything you could find. You snitched your sister's schoolbooks.You watched television, and you waited until your parents were at work so you could read *their* books. You learned how to look closer at everything within eyelevel.
About eyelevels: I had braces that I had to wear every night. I couldn't stand them. They stretched out my hamstrings, and I could never sleep in them. So I would wear them for say..fifteen minutes, and then clamor to have them taken off. I had canes to use while walking in the braces but if I didn't wear the braces..you get the picture.
So I crawled everywhere. My knees developed inches of callous and I learned fast that people thought you were *wierd* if you crawled everywhere but I didn't really care. It was getting around and it didn't hurt, and actually, you could get into an amazing amount of stuff there on all fours. Everyone at school was just as wierd as I was, so what was the problem?
Except that it was a problem. It made people uncomfortable. Not my parents, and not my sisters and not my friends, but other people. And I was always very aware of other people. I didn't want to be compared unfavorably with my sisters. I wanted people to know *I* was the oldest. I was the grown up one. And how could I do that if I was crawling on the ground?
(tbc, sometime..I just can't seem to push forward any more)