August 16, 2011
The Calculus of Overbelieving
So there we were, the three of us, in Target with the school supply list from Schuyler's new middle school. There weren't any particularly horrific items listed (no $1300 marimbas, for example), but one item gave us pause.
The scientific calculator.
It wasn't terribly expensive -- about ten bucks -- but we have a pretty good idea of what Schuyler is capable mathwise. We also knew that Pinkessa, her speech device, has a scientific calculator on it. We had a pretty realistic sense of how frequently this ten dollar scientific calculator was likely to ever be used.
And we bought it anyway.
In the end, it was an easy choice, once we talked through it a bit. We'll burn ten dollars rather than try to reconcile being the parents who decided that our daughter will never be capable of using the same calculator as her classmates. We'll spend that money that we could certainly use elsewhere so that Schuyler has the same calculator as everyone else, rather than the one on her speech prosthesis, the device that gives her a measure of expressive freedom but also reminds the world "I'm broken."
Sometimes overbelieving means spending money for a principle, one that says Schuyler should start off the year with the same tools and the same possibilities as everyone else. It's the same reason we politely declined the school's offer to give her a special locker without a lock on it, despite the trouble she had with the one that was assigned to her when we tried it at orientation.
She begins middle school next week, and I'm terrified for her. I have less faith in the decisions we've made for her that led up to this point than ever before. The fact that I'm even writing about this might be a good indication that I'm overthinking as well as overbelieving.
Well, anyway, there it is. Schuyler has a calculator now, one that those of us who know her best can scarcely imagine her using. But it'll be there, sitting in her bitch of a locker, if she needs it. We can do that much for her.
Also, she found a pink one. Well, of course she did.