So here we are, our last day at the National Down Syndrome Congress's Convention. Here are my updates from this experience:
- I've succeeded in achieving the experience that was my highest priority: I've gotten to meet in the flesh, and hang out with, my blog friends, friends I've known from afar for years, including the very first person from the Down syndrome community ever to comment on this blog--she commented back in the day when Biffle wrote a post about our decision not to get further prenatal testing. These women are amazing! I don't think I can post any of the pictures Biffle and I have taken of the group of us, because I didn't ask permission...but I'm tempted. Check back and you might get to see them.
- Last night we had the most riotous hotel room pizza party that I've ever been part of. At one point six kids were enthusiastically jumping on the king sized bed in the hotel room. And I discovered that I really like cheap margarita mix.
- I've become "the CofC woman," as one guy at the elevator yesterday referred to me, because I've been enthusiastically endorsing the REACH Program. The person in charge of Think College laughingly disputed my public claim that REACH is the best college program in the nation for people with intellectual disabilities, but she agreed that it's very, very good.
- I still contend that it's the best college program in the nation for people with intellectual disabilities, because it's rigorously and enthusiastically inclusive. Not "inclusive" meaning that people with disabilities get to eat lunch with everybody else. Inclusive meaning welcome to my intro to Women's and Gender Studies class: we're all in there together.
- Bummer of the trip: two of the things we were looking forward to were a walk through the zoo and swimming in the beautiful outdoor pool. Sadly, cool rainy weather has meant that neither of those were really good options, so we've spent much of the time inside. Maybelle as asked to swim every single day. "First potty, then swimming," she'll announce, and we'll have to say, "No, we'll see if we can swim later."
- Potty training doesn't necessarily work so well when you're traveling. We've had some good experiences, but we've also had a number of diaper changes. And Maybelle is really interested in independence these days. "Go away," she'll announce. Last night she told Biffle, "Go away" when she was in the bathroom, and then she shut the door. From inside the room he heard, "Yay! Sit on potty! Soooo proud," followed by flushing. When he finally entered he said there was about 10 feet of toilet paper on the floor.
- Best quote: when we were having our second lunch at the noodle shop down the street from the conference hotel, Starrlife said, "It's like we're on a different planet, a planet where there are tons of people with Down syndrome. It's great!"