Monday, December 03, 2007

JON & KATE PLUS 8

OK, this is my latest fascination - I stumbled on this show in one of my extremely rare TV channel surfing moments, and got hooked. TLC was running a marathon of "Jon & Kate Plus 8" and I got sucked in big time. EIGHT? And I'm sorry, SIX 2-year-olds? Lord, have mercy!

But here's the irony. The more I watched, the less I was in that "I don't know how they do it" state. I DO know how they do it! They have EIGHT children that sleep on a schedule. They have PREDICTABILITY, ROUTINE, ORDER, CONTROL in their home. They have eight children that eat what's put before them. Eight kids that are TYPICAL.

I just finished Jenny McCarthy's book, Louder Than Words. As any parent of a child FAR from typical knows, this is HELL. I'm willing to go way out on a limb and say Jenny McCarthy, and parents dealing with life and death health issues and/or extreme special needs, have it WAY harder than anyone with "just 8."

I want a reality show where they have a film crew around the clock of a mother of a two-year-old with some special needs, and a baby with lots. I want that crew to be there at 1:00 AM, 2:00 AM, 3:00 AM, with the screaming infant, the mother wildly swinging the baby in an infant seat in a futile effort to let the husband and 2-year-old sleep. God knows the daddy has to get up in the morning and "work" - he needs his sleep!

Instead of a camera crew following Kate along while she manages to grocery shop with 2 carts and an impressive array of coupons, ALONE, I want a camera crew to follow the mother of the 2-year-old and infant trying to shop. Please keep the camera rolling as she tries to unload the car, put the food away, cook the dinner, and have everything ready for the husband when he gets home from "work" - he'll be hungry! Please keep the volume on while the infant SCREAMS the entire time! Please keep things rolling as the baby barfs on the mom, the mom's boobs leak, the 2-year-old wets her pants and this is all happening in full stereo in the grocery store.

Are you impressed with her use of coupons? She needs two carts, too, just for a family of four. The infant seat takes up 1/2 of one cart, the two-year-old the other 1/2, then one is for groceries. Of course neither child spends much time in the cart, so this mother wears running shoes to catch the two-year-old while wildly swinging the infant in the car seat. Wouldn't want to disturb all the nice people at the grocery store with all that SCREAMING!

Do I sound bitter? Resentful? Well Key-rist! Kate and Jon had fertility treatment. They KNEW they would likely get multiples. They CHOSE this. They paid good MONEY For this. This is what they bargained for. Are we to applaud them and make them heroic for getting exactly what they wanted? Nobody gets married and says, "Hey, honey, I know, let's have two kids, both with special needs! It'll be just like we always dreamed! The sleep deprivation! The doctor visits! The therapists! The relentless screaming! The bills! The inability to leave the house ever again! What do you say?"

OK, let me come back to center. I like Jon and Kate, they are darling. Their family is darling. We need families like that in the world. Great humans doing great things. I do not wish on anyone the full knowledge of what it takes to raise a special child, or two, or three, or... I do wish for a world where those of us that ARE dealing with atypical children are given the benefit of the doubt. We are given your compassion, not your judgment. We are given your help, not your condemnation. We are given your smile, not your disapproving looks. If you don't know what to do, say that. Say, "I don't know what to do, tell me, I want to help." We will appreciate that. And while you are at it, do not judge our marriages, coping skills, atypical adjustments to life with atypical children. Please. We've got enough to deal with without making it all OK with you.

Thanks.

17 comments:

sara said...

amen sister!

Terry Whitaker said...

time to call the networks and get them in there!!

riversgrace said...

I think about this all the time, actually, especially when I think I am on the edge, at the limit, about to go insane (which is often)....and I am fully aware that the edge is so far out from my coping limits for so many others.

I bow to you. Really. I wish that reality shows would cover this corner of reality!

I want to say: you need to teach, Carrie. With the numbers of these kids rising (which I don't think is bad, it just is), you are such a valuable teacher. But then I think that you've been paying your dues for so long now that you should get to do whatever you damn well please at this point.

And then I ALSO know that life has other plans, life comes to get us for what we are supposed to do, how we are meant to live our true vocation.

Teacher, teacher, teacher.

Kim said...

GREAT post--you just got me all riled up! Ditto everyone: you need to call the networks, you need to teach, and AMEN to all of it!

Anonymous said...

Wow!

La La said...

Did you see extreme home makeover last night? The family had 4 kids, all of whom had this rare illness, where the mom had to make formula for them to eat because they can't eat anything normal. One kid was on a feeding thing-a-ma-jing attached to her back in a backpack of sorts. I cried watching it. The struggle to meet their special needs was overwhelming. I can't imagine all that parents with special needs go through to meet their children's needs. Blessings to all of you!!!

Ziji Wangmo said...

Well, I'll never complain again about my "normal" rowdy 4!
Bless you!

Jenny said...

Jon and Kate Plus 8 is great (hey, I'm a poet). I watch it because the wife is so funny. You are funny too - one of many reasons I love your blog. Maybe you should start posting YouTube videos of Fully Caffeinated plus Rojo plus Hubby plus daughter.

Eileen said...

So true Carrie,so true. I don't think most people have a clue. I got so tired of people looking at me like I spoiled my child or friends/relatives/strangers giving me parenting tips on her meltdowns (like I hadn't read every single book in a desperate attempt to figure out how to help my child) and on and on it goes.
Thank you Carrie.
XOXOXO

Molly said...

As a mother of multiples (no not 6 thank God) and an Aunt to a 12 year old Autistic boy with a 2 year old sister I can say with all honesty it's way easier having "normal" multiples than one let alone two special needs children. Amen to the parents, care-givers, support systems of children, parents and families of special needs children.
Make your case Carrie, call TLC

Robin said...

Carrie, I thought was the only one to swing the child in a car seat in the middle of the night. I even made car sounds, trying to convince the baby we were actually in the car (the only place he would sleep). And it all made perfect sense at the time.

Great, great blog.

Manic Mom said...

Hi! Great post! I don't watch the show cuz I don't watch TV, for that whole reason of getting sucked in and not being able to be sucked into other stuff (like blogging! Ha!)...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I appreciate it! : )

marge said...

Carrie- I love your posts because you say everything I want to say but you write it with such honesty and humor. My daughter is 18 and I still get some of the cruelest judgements. They have no idea what it is like. They also don't know how hard it is to be the child. How much energy they expend just to get through the day. It's tough for all involved. Love you my dear.

momof twins plus one said...

I think it is a good reminder that unless you have the EXACT same situation....none of us really know what the other is going through.
As mom's we have to cut each other some slack....support each other not judge.
Somebody always has it worse that you.

Nancy said...

ditto ditto ditto ditto!

Go Mama said...

Whew Carrie. Now that's a rant!
Go girl. Get your own show!

Deb said...

This is why the world needs to read what you have to say, not just the priveleged few of us who get to come here regularly! Amen, and Amen again!!