September 8, 2007
My Beloved Cyborg and Me
Schuyler functions pretty well in a mainstream setting, and she'll continue to improve as she goes alone. But like many of her projects, the big poster presented some challenges. Schuyler's handwriting is still very hard to read, for example, and she doesn't deal well with small spaces in which to write. We've been having her write out as much of her homework as possible, as opposed to printing it off the Big Box of Words like we did last year, but for her poster, we decided to use the computer and help her create something with a little zazz.
I know some people probably would disagree with helping her out with a project like this, as if we were ashamed of her monster-fogged work. I guess we felt that Schuyler's poster should reflect the girl behind the monster, rather than seeing all her interests and loves obscured by the Difference. Her artwork is good stuff, and her ideas of what she wanted to present were very cool and, yes, very Schuyler. (She drew King Kong, of course.) But since her writing is a problem and doesn't really keep up with the crazy race going on inside her head, we decided to do a few items for the poster as a family, and in doing so, bring some computer power into play.
Which was how Schuyler and I came to create a real artistic collaboration, a little comic book-style page telling about her new puppy, Max. She wrote the text and helped choose the photos, and I did the formatting for her, using basic Apple "drag this here and type this here and suddenly everyone thinks you know what you're doing" software.
(I was already thinking of comic book formatting because I'd been tidying up my old site, reformatting my old "pet blog" parody site, Flappo!, the night before. I know Flappo! was crude, and since the pet pages trend mercifully died out pretty soon after, the joke of vile, rude pets instead of cute, fluffy ones is sort of dated. Still, I have to admit, of all the pre-diagnosis things I ever did, Flappo! was maybe my favorite. It was my first attempt at humor after September 11th, although I'm not sure anyone else thought it was actually funny. Still, I sort of miss the guy who was writing that sort of thing, back before I became all Twenty-four Hour Tragedy Dad.)
When our Max page was done, we all just sort of looked at it and said, "Wow, maybe it looks TOO good." We didn't want it to appear that Schuyler just sat around playing with her dinosaurs while mom and dad obsessed over having the Absolutely Most Perfect Poster of all the Plano Kids, by golly. She served as both writer and director, after all.
But for Schuyler, with so much of her future waiting for her in the world of computers that will help her speak and create, even more so than most kids, perhaps it was fitting that she once again was able to compensate for her monster by electronic means. If Schuyler's going to have to engage in these compensatory measures to get through school, I think it's only fair that she be able to do so with style.
Schuyler's future looks great, so long as there's electricity. If civilization collapses and we all revert back to primitive life, however, I suspect she'll still be the kid holding the conch shell.