Pasupatidasi's Blog

thoughts, poetry, life as it is…


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learning twice

i heard a saying once that goes something like “to teach something is to learn it twice”.
that is most certainly true in my experience.

altho i’m not a certified teacher, i have homeschooled three daughters, one of whom is ziona. i have volunteered for Project Literacy U.S, tutored in college while i was pursuing my own education, helped adults seeking their G.E.D and participated in some of my older daughter’s classrooms as the poetry parent, for lack of a better title.

it is exciting for me to learn how another person learns! and it just so happens that it is a good way to be effective as a teacher. much like neuro-linguistics, finding out how someone learns makes it easier to know how to present materials to them. so it is that one truly learns twice that which they would teach. even the most reticent of students can have their curiosity piqued in something if it is presented to them by making it understandable from their own bent of mind, or areas of interest.

but some, like ziona, have naturally questioning minds. the things she asks, born of her own curiosity upon being introduced to a concept remind me of my own childhood school experience, wherein i drove many a nun to the brink of anger with my inquiries

“if god made everything, what did he make it out of?”
“what was there before god made everything?”
“who made god?”

anyone who has a scientific mindset who has been schooled in a catholic or other religious school well knows that such questions are not answered, and one is immediately made aware that asking the questions is totally inappropriate,…even sinful maybe!

ziona asks very interesting questions.

when we were first studying cells, she wanted to know where and how that very first cell happened. when we were delving into astronomy she was curious about what there was before the big bang, and from what or where did all that energy which later was to become stars, planets and moons, the stuff that was spewed and exploded by this big bang to the point of creating space,time and all the dimensions, originate.

so i faithfully dig into my own knowledge, and search out other good sources online, sometimes documentaries on youtube, learning what i already know all over again, so that i can satisfy that thirst in her for answers. she has a much easier time of posing questions than had i in my elementary school experience, needless to say.

a couple of days ago, after her bath, she had another really interesting question, one it may not be possible for me or anyone else for that matter, to answer.

she asked if it were possible that “since i got the boy parts even tho i am a girl, maybe another transgender kid got the girl parts i should have gotten, even tho they are a boy”

at first, being hopelessly cis-gendered, i didn’t get what she meant. then it hit me! we had been talking about the fact of the conservation of matter, a lesson that began her thinking about the whole big bang thing since it means that all the matter and energy present today have always been around, only changing forms, never just blinking out or into existance. she likened this to the notion that if there are x number of boys who should’ve gotten female bodies, perhaps there are also x number of girls that should’ve gotten male bodies. like her real body was out there somewhere, as much a problem for the would be boy that was stuck in it as is the boy body she is stuck with for the time being.

i couldn’t answer the question of course. i told her that for a completely balanced ‘mix up’ like that to be true one would expect to find just as many trans-males as trans-females…and to my knowledge the numbers don’t bear this out. upon hearing this she immediately offered,

“well maybe some of the people who are transgender don’t know it yet. you know, like some of your friends who didn’t know it until they were grown-ups.”

so now i will be absolutely bothered until i do a lot of online research, to see just what the ratio is of transgender females to transgender males. not learning something twice this time, but learning something new! not an uncommon thing for me since the day i started raising this very special child.

because of ziona, i have learned about autism, about balanced trans-location of genetic material from one chromosome to another, about seizures, about juvenile polyposis syndrome, and about transgender children, just to name a few of the things i have become aware of because of her. all these things in addition to the many things she’s taught me about love, patience, compassion, and even such as video games and dinosaurs.

i love being her teacher/student!

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parental bliss

today is a special day.
it is my daughter’s ninth birthday!
as per an old family tradition, the birthday girl gets to choose the meal (or where to eat), she chose ‘red lobster’.
the girl’s got taste!

my mom came with us. and before we left together to the restaurant, she produced a wrapped gift for ziona, compleat with a card in an envelope. inside the box was a ‘girl’ outfit. something my mom has grown to feel comfortable about is buying girl things for zee.

but zee couldn’t get over the name on the outside of the envelope. remarking excitedly “she even got my name right!” it was more important than the gift. it was validation, it was recognition of who she is.

of course, being autistic, she missed that she could’ve thanked my mom outright instead of referring to her in third person, for not just the gift but for the whole name thing, so i reminded her gently to do so. then made sure my mom understood just how important, how big of a deal it was to have the name on the envelop right. zee hadn’t even bothered to read the card inside, until prompted. once again her eyes brightened with anticipation as she openend it.

it reminded me of a scene in the movie “splash” where tom hanks’ character presents darryl hannah’s character with a wrapped gift. being a mermaid, she isn’t familiar with a ‘present’ and gushes about the beautiful ‘box’ she holds in her hands, until he tells her to open it. and she, genuinely surprised says, “there’s more?”

so zee opened the envelop to find a gamestop giftcard inside. she was unfamiliar with what a gift card is. i had to explain to her that it is like money that she can spend on things at that store. she was thrilled all over again.

i love being a mom!

is there anything quite as heart-warming as the genuine innocence of a child’s heart? it is like peering into the mind of an angel, seeing the world through the clarity of their pure eyes!

of course, there are moments of our life together that get pretty messy. the tantrums mostly…the ocd of her anger at feeling dirty and the constant insistence upon hand-washing. the low threshhold she has for the slightest frustration. but even in those very volatile instances, she is nothing less than completely honest about what she is feeling.

the other day she asked me if i wished she were really a boy, (ironic since her body says she is) and if i wished she didn’t have autism. i quite nearly cried at the beauty of her inquiry. she simply needed to know. despite the many times a day i tell her how dear she is to me. she had to know that i not only accept her, but wouldn’t have her any other way.

of course, i reassured her that i would love her no matter what, but sensing her need i added the “but i love you the way you are, and wouldn’t change a thing”.

she smiled, then looked worried, “but what about when i get my body changed?” referring i guessed to the ‘wouldn’t change a thing” remark.

i reminded her that we are all constantly changing. new cells replacing old ones, getting taller, hair getting longer…getting older. then asked her “do you think that there’s anything you could do or say, or become, that would make me not love you?”

a big hug was the reward!
i melted into her love.