Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The R word

Pronunciation [ri-tahrd, for 1–3, 5; ree-tahrd for 4]

–verb (used with object)
1. to make slow; delay the development or progress of (an action, process, etc.); hinder or impede.

–verb (used without object)
2. to be delayed.

3. a slowing down, diminution, or hindrance, as in a machine.

4. Slang: Disparaging.
a. a mentally retarded person.
b. a person who is stupid, obtuse, or ineffective in some way: a hopeless social retard.

5. Automotive, Machinery. an adjustment made in the setting of the distributor of an internal-combustion engine so that the spark for ignition in each cylinder is generated later in the cycle.

It seems simple enough.
To call someone retarded. It's just a joke. Right?

Except maybe they are retarded.

Robbie was so small because he had IUGR- Inter Uterine Growth Retardation. My placenta was starving him.

Now his growth is retarded because he hasn't eaten properly in months.

His development is retarded because.. well, lots of reasons, probably.

We have no idea what his future holds. He might be brilliant. Or he might be mentally retarded.

And suddenly the word means a lot more. Suddenly I cringe. When the President compares his lacking bowling skills to the Special Olympics, I'm offended. Personally.

When someone makes a joke about being retarded, I'm angry. Hurt, too. But mostly angry.

How can someone be so insensitive? So callous? So.. socially retarded?

I hate to be the PC police. I do. But as I've gotten older and more intimately aware of different circumstances, I see why phrasing can be so important. Words hurt.

It isn't so much the word, but the flippant nature used when saying it. Haha, aren't retarded people funny? They're so stupid. And you're stupid, too.

I'm here to say that the only person who is stupid is the person who can't choose a better insult.

Let's leave this word behind us along with "at least."



ivory and jamie said...


Mrs. Spit said...

I think Ivory and Jamie said it best.

Amy said...

well said!

MightySpork said...

I agree 100%!!

Anonymous said...

seriously? you find fault with everything. i like robbie updates and pics, but am tired of your poor me attitude.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry but people have to GET OVER what the president said. It was wrong-However I am sure EVERYONE has said something they should not have one time or another. That said -I have never used the word retarded in an inappropriate manner and I do cringe if someone does.

Anonymous said...


Tom & Shannon said...

The new blogger motto: if you don't have anything nice to say, post as anonymous.

Trish, you're right on. When used in slang context, the word is at best rude and inappropriate. We should also be able to hold our President to a higher standard. In trying to be the "cool guy" Pres Obama hurt and offended many people.

Anonymous said...

I find it ironic that those that disagree with you are anonymous. It's so easy to judge someone we don't know but through a blog. Do you have any idea what this women has been through? She is one of the strongest, selfless people I know. She gives her heart & soul to that little boy. The little boy that she went through hell & back to concieve & bring into this world. How DARE you judge her & make such snide remarks when she has an opinion like this. Put your name on here Anonymous you coward. She has. She's put a name & face to her thoughts.

Trish said...

I'm sorry if my adoration for my son hasn't come through in recent writings. I will try to rectify that.

That being said, not enjoying the word Retarded has nothing to do with that. The fact that I don't like people belittling my son is BECAUSE I adore him.

No one would say "get over it" if people were casually throwing around the N word or any other racial slur. Why is it okay to belittle those who can't defend themselves?

And frankly, this is my blog. If you had started reading back when we were TTC, you'd see a LOT of whining. I whined for 2 1/2 years until I got Robbie. I'm positively perky these days. ;)

Amy said...

Ditto Shannon and Meg! You "anonymous" cowards are pathetic. Trish is awesome, and doing an amazing job in trying circumstances. I applaud her honesty ... and her willingness to speak up about how horriby inappropriate it is to use the word "retard" as an insult or a joke.

Anonymous said...

I made the second anonymous comment about the president which I did not think was bad. Just the truth the way I see it. My Name is Christine and if you want my email then ask. I am not a coward. I do not have blog, google account, open Id so anonymous was my only option.
Sorry I offended you Trish I thought you might like everyones opinion just not the people that praise everything you say. I do read your blog everyday. We were pregnant at the same time. I have prayed for Robbie. I don't always agree with you. I thought it would be ok to comment on my feelings. I guess its not! I will be sure to keep my thoughts-Good or bad to myself. Sorry again

Anonymous said...

Hi. I don't blog therefore I have no account name. I'm Liz. Nice to meet you.

Christine, I think you're just making it worse. We are all adults here...or so I thought...and we can all cope with and process how certain people feel about certain words/opinions. You expressed your opinion about this blog. Fine. When you called Trish out as having a 'poor attitude' that was too far in my humble opinion.

I agree that people need to get over what the President said. I mean if we really want to get into semantics we could easily pick apart several of the electoral candidates from 2008 (or hello, what about our dear President Bush, I've got a whole calendar of fun quotes from him) but that's not what blogs are about.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but everyone is also allowed to express their opinion and not be judged.

Just my 2 cents...
Hey, maybe that'll be the name of my blog. ;)

Trish said...

Christine- your comment wasn't that offensive.
I disagree about "getting over" the president's comments, but that's a fair opinion.

And everyone is welcome to share whatever comments they have. If I didn't want them shared, I'd have deleted them. You'll note that they're still up.

But the people who want to defend me are just as welcome to share their opinions as those who want to call me whiney.

It's true enough- I am whiny.

I also adore, appreciate and enjoy my son. I think anyone who doesn't know that isn't reading enough.

And truly- this blog was started as a place for me to "get the ugly out." I tend to write when I'm upset.
When I'm happy- I just enjoy being happy.
When I'm sad, or scared or angry- I write.

So sometimes I'm sure it seems that I'm unhappy a lot.

I am taking the insults as constructive criticism and will work on posting more happy updates.

Amy said...

Christine: Just so you know, if you don't want to be Anonymous, just click on Name/URL and type in your name; a URL is optional there.

The Blatchford Family said...

Thank you for posting about this. I too am hurt for my son when that word is used so flippantly.

Anonymous said...

The word retarded absolutely makes me cringe. I HATE HATE HATE it.

Trish, I've followed your blog for a long time. I don't usually comment though. I think you are an incredibly courageous woman and a fantastic mom. I think you are amazingly sane, grounded, and strong, especially for everything your family has been through.

Thank you for not sugar coating your experiences which you are kind enough to share with us.

Please continue to keep it real.

Laura said...

I have never posted a comment on your blog before, but I do read it daily. I always enjoy seeing the Robbie updates, and also reading about how you are handling the many challenges that you have been given. Your love and adoration for Robbie comes through on a daily basis. What I love best about your blog is that you are real with everyone about what you're going through. If that means you're whiny, then oh, well. I think you have a right to be whiny every once in a while. This is a much better outlet for your frustrations than what many other parents choose.

That being said, I don't think that the President's use of the words Special Olympics were meant to hurt or offend anyone. I am usually pretty sensitive to this kind of thing as well, as I had a dear uncle who competed in the Special Olympics for many years. The President knew what he said was inappropriate, and called the president of the Special Olympics immediately to apologize. Does that make it right? Absolutely not. But I do think that although he is held to a higher standard, he is still human and will make mistakes - this one just happened to be on national TV. We should all take this as a lesson on how hurtful this slang can be, and try to refrain from using this language.

Anonymous said...

I think we've all been guilty of offending one group of another in our lives. It's our nature to put others down to feel better about ourselves, no?

I can't stand here and condemn someone for the use of the "r" word when I use midget 5,000 times a day.

With that being said, one thing that frosts my cookies is telling a mom who's literally been through hell and back that she has a "poor me" attitude and chastising her for her beliefs.

I know many many people that are martyrs because Starbucks screwed up their coffee. "OMG!!! They didn't put non-fat milk in dare they!! Don't they know the agony...."

Come now, parenting has it's challenges - so couple that with raising a child whose existence every single day is a miracle. This is not a mom that is agonizing over diaper genies or selecting the right changing table.

If she wants to gripe about something that has significance to her situation, she deserves that right WITHOUT judgment.

Stop the hating on Trish. I have no qualms about crapping in a bag and mailing it to you Debbie Downers.

*shakes an angry fist*

Natalie said...

As always Trish, well said.

I can't believe anyone would say you have a poor attitude! Clearly they do not know you!

Robbie will be brilliant, and he will be kind and smart too. With a mom like you, it's a given.

T-Mommy said...

Kids will "shine" on their own as much as we as parents let them.....

....I am sure Robbie will!

I don´t comment too often Trish but I do read and enjoy your updates.

A big hug to you!

weeza said...

As the stepmom of a mentally handicapped boy, he is not REARDED in the way most people use it now as a derogatory slang for stupid...he is far from it and has the biggest heart.
Though technically not a swear word, it is derogatory, and I suspect many people know it is wrong. It's wrong if you can't call a co-worker that word in front of your boss...


weeza said...

Oh, I'm a liberal, and yes, I was offended by the President's comments, not hugely so...but yes

Slytherpuff said...

First, I *HATE* the r-word and will always speak up. Even my shy-as-hell never-spoke-up-in-class 12-year-old self was angry enough with some of the "popular" kids for making fun of one of the Special Ed kids that I did something about it. A firm "That's.Not.Funny." shocked the hell out of them (ha! she speaks!) and sufficiently embarrassed them.

I'm disappointed in President Obama for his remark, but I think we need to move past it. Not ignore or forget, but move on. He made a mistake, but I'm pretty sure it's not the only one he'll make. :)

About your writing...

*shrug* If you want to whine/bitch/moan in YOUR blog, then do it. And if others see it as a "poor me" attitude, then so be it. There have been times I've waited to read a Robbie update b/c I knew it was going to be sad, or make me cry or worry about him (and you). But that's me and how I deal with whatever mood I'm in.

Whatevs. It's YOUR blog. You do what you need to.

But please post more Robbie pictures. I'm *always* in the right frame of mind for those. :)

Martha Compton said...

Love your post. I'm with you in disagreement that we should "get over" Obama's statements. I think it's an excellent opportunity to make it a teachable moment. And as I load my students on the bus next week to head to the Special Olympics, I just wish that Obama could see the excitement and determination that will be on their faces.

Anonymous said...

My response was in in regards to the fact that Trish was told she had a bad attitude & how she should act around her child. The fact that you choose now as a chance to make that statement was worth mentioning.

I'm a huge supporter of President Obama yet I still find what he said in poor taste. I don't think he meant to be harmful in his statement. I do think as the president of our country he needs to filter his sense of humor. Should we "get over it". No. Should we move past it, yes. Will it stick with a mother who fears her child might have mental disabilities? Yes. I was in poor taste & it offended & rightfully so.

As for saying that only the posts that praise Trish should be posted is just pathetic as an argument. Of course the negative commentators are welcome. It's what makes for a good debate. However, if you are going to shell it out be sure you can take it cause I'll serve it hot & fresh right back to ya! Because if your opinion is welcome so is mine. ;)

Oober said...

I am not so much offended with the "r" word, as I am with "I don't even think I could get into the special olympics"...That sentence infuriates me. Sure, we all slip up from time to time, but he's the President. He's held to a higher standard than any ole Joe Schmoe. He made a very bad joke, and he deserves the wrath that comes down on him. By-gones are not By-gones, and he should know that.

Melanie said...

A lot of the time, you do have a poor attitude, compared to most other mothers, some of those that have lost one or more children. (And I don't mean by miscarriages) But I am not here to judge or criticize as your blog was justified. You have every right to be angry and whiny. But the point is that you have to try to see the positive side of things even in the darkest moments. What doesn't kill us only makes us stronger. You are a stronger mother, and Robbie will be a stronger person who knows how precious life is.

God has a plan. We may not know what is coming next but God does. God did not choose to give you Robbie by mistake. Robbie needed a strong mother, not a weak one. So that is why you have him - because you are strong enough. You just have to believe that and trust in His will. Robbie is small. So what? You don't have to explain him each time you talk to someone, just like I learned I didn't have to do with my daughter when she was so little people "couldn't believe that she's 4 months old, she's so small". My response then: She got sick, lost weight, was dehydrated, had reflux, etc, etc, etc. My response now: Yeah, she's just growing on her own time.

Also my response to "she's behind on milestones" is "She'll do it when she's ready."

Just like my daughter had setbacks, so did your son. He will do things when he's ready. My sister walked when she was 8 what? Some babies don't walk until they are 18 to 22 months. My daughter is 6 months but doesn't sit or crawl. So what? She doesn't want to yet. She's happy and FINALLY healthy and that is what I have to praise Him for. I know Robbie's not quite 100% happy and healthy, but he'll get there. He is extremely disadvantaged being born early. YOU and everyone else cannot think of him as a 10 month old, as I am sure doctors have told you. He IS 7 months old, mentally, physically, emotionally....So treat him like a 7 month old. My daughter was only three weeks early and our doctors even told us to think of her as three weeks younger than what she actually is.

"Retard" is a real word, but it is a word to describe a medical condition, not an ugly pair of pants or a teenage boy's idiot math teacher. So your post on that was 100% valid and justified and has absolutely nothing to do with you whining too much. I do not pay attention to our president or politics in general, so I was not aware he said that. I can't believe someone in his position would say that especially since over half those people in the Special Olympics could probably whoop his ass. And no, anonymous or anyone else, I don't think we should have to get over it. It's a comment that no person ESPECIALLY the president should make. If you are going to tell people to get over it, especially the families of mentally or physically impaired people, to "get over it", you might as well tell the President and all other African-Americans to get over slavery and racism.

Trish, just enjoy Robbie. We aren't promised tomorrow so we must cherish today. Whine when you want to, it's YOUR blog and those who don't like it can leave. But just as much as you whine, gloat and praise just as much.

Cassie said...

Trish I love (and understand) this dark side so many here are talking about. And you are bright and cheery on the other side (robbie's blog). This is your outlet. Keep it up girl. =)

Brendan and Brenna's Mom said...

I have to tell you when I was younger I used to have a bad habit of saying Gay, as in "That's so gay!" We were out with a bunch of friends and I asked a guy if he was having fun "or do you think this is gay?" He looked at me and said, "Well, I'm gay..." I felt very stupid, and have never used anything like that again. I asked him if it bothered him and he said no because "words only hurt you if you let them". It was a good lesson for me, and one that I have passed onto my own son.

caitsmom said...

Oh, dear. I feel like I've just read all the words that were spoken to me by friends and family after the president's words. I couldn't blog about it, because I was still reeling from a personal encounter ( Trish, my heart goes out to you. Thanks for posting the Special Olympics; I've added it to my blog. Two more things: God did not give me my child with special needs because I'm strong; I'm strong because I love a special needs child. And there is NOT a reason for everything; but I have the gift of rational thought and through my pain I can reason. Can't help it THREE things; to show love avoid telling others how to feel and how to heal.

Adriane said...

WOW. Go away for the weekend and miss out on so much! I am not even commenting on the R word situation. It was so wrong.

Trish - this is YOUR blog. Write whatever you want, when you want. You are not whiny at all. You are REAL. Your challenges as a mother have been far more than anything I could imagine in my life. Anyone that thinks you should suck it up and be happy all the time should just plain SUCK IT. Let them try walking a week in your shoes. You rock, sister.