Talking to children about their differences

 

Marilyn's cutie-pie 3-year-old daughter Sylvie was born with some minor deformities to her feet due to amniotic band syndrome (something I'd never heard of until just now):

The left foot is probably a 1/2 inch longer than the right foot, on account of that normal big toe. This means that shoes of the same size, say a size 8 toddler, fit one foot well and not the other. We've been able to keep her in normal shoes so far. (As in the same size on each foot). I tend to buy Mary Jane style shoes for her. The strap on the top helps to keep the shoe on her short foot, as the shoe is generally too big for her. A ballerina style would not work. [We've tried]. Perhaps if we bought two pairs, in two different sizes, and put the 9 on the left foot and a 8 on the short foot, we could work it out.

Marilyn hadn't really given much thought to the condition until recently, when she began to contemplate how to explain it to Sylvie once she starts to notice how her feet differ from others'.

So why now have I investigated this and blogged about it? Well, I generally don't think about Sylvie's toes. I forget about it, especially during the winter when she wears socks. I had her try on her summer sandals yesterday and I noticed the cutie pie toes once again. I got to thinking about how she will discover that her feet are somewhat different.


I'd like to know how to handle a child's (deformity?). I think she is beautiful and perfect. God made her like this, and He makes no mistakes. So, do I tell her that her feet are different (and that God made her like this, and He makes no mistakes) before someone else points it out? Or do I just tell her that she is beautiful and that God made her special and hope that one day when someone points out her toes that she'll be self-confident?

So, any of you parents who've gone through a similar situation -- any advice?

Michael's Memphis: He's at it again

 

Photographer Michael Cardwell had a wonderful project last year where he took portraits of locals in the hopes of putting together a visual patchwork of what and who Memphis is. You can see the results here.

Good news, Bluff City dwellers -- he's doing it again:

So much has happened since that time, because of that project, that I want to continue my exploration of the people of Memphis in 2012. My goal is to take 100 portraits of people in their work spaces, their creative environments. I want to meet people from all walks of life, people that work with their hands, and businessmen who structure the deals that help build this amazing city.


I want to tell the stories of the people that drive this city. Everyone has a story, I would like to have the opportunity to tell as many as I can. I plan on shooting every weekend, to reach my goal of 100 by the end of the year.

So if you want to be involved this time around let him know! E-mail him at mkcardwell (at) gmail (dot) com with the subject THIS IS MEMPHIS, or tweet him: @stucide or @ThisisMemphis.

Spring is springing as we speak

 

The power of a letter

 

Something happened to Susie recently that got her thinking about the power of the hand-written word, especially in today's climate of ephemeral, 140-character blitzes of thought:

Living in Atlanta, I learned how powerful a positive remark can be. I was rushing out of the house one day and accidentally locked my toddler, in the minivan, in his car seat, engine running, in the garage. Of course he couldn't reach the lock and the extra key was traveling with my husband. Nic was in no danger, but what the heck do ya do? I called the dealership which was about 6 miles away and explained my situation. I obviously couldn't hitch a ride and go pick up a key. Within 15 minutes an employee was in my driveway with a key. He wouldn't accept any money. I was so thankful, I sat down and wrote a letter to the dealership about their amazing service and wonderful employee, who I am sure had plenty of work to be done that day. To my surprise, they wrote me back. They told me how refreshing it was to get a letter of compliment and they were thrilled I was happy. The letter would go into the employee file of the guy who brought me the key. Wow. I had no idea.


I felt very powerful. But I knew at that moment that a letter of complaint could easily have the same ramifications. I have written them. But, I also recognize that people have burdens. I may be at the return line at Macy's the day that employee found out her mom has cancer. Who am I to think that someone should put their life on hold to make my return quick and seamless. How many times do you get a receipt with a phone number and a code so you can "let them know how they're doing"? Do you feel like anyone really reads that stuff? Are you really in the running for a $5000 gift card? I think those are simply ways to track their customers. But write a real letter and trust me, wheels will be in motion. I know.

[snip]


So here is my challenge for my blog readers. Write a letter. A letter of thanks or a compliment to someone who maybe made a transaction easier, a shopping experience pleasant, or maybe a product you never knew could work so well was a great surprise. I'm not asking anyone to praise someone for doing their job, but there are many, many people who will exceed all of your expectations. You will be amazed at the power of a positive word. Okay, there ya go, you don't even need to head to the grocery store! So, what are you waiting for? Get in there and write!

I know I am guilty of sharing complaints more than I share praise. This week I'll try to remedy that.

Have you written something positive lately?

Some pretties for you to look at

 

memphis morning skyline
by Jason Lee

First Baptist Church Chelsea Memphis wall
photos by Joe Spake and sanbordini

Set Aside & Peace (Explore)
by Simon Hua

Forgotten Muddy's Menu Photos, Session Three
by Jackie Ellison and Amanda Raney

Wonder Bread
by Susan Clement

All photos are from The Memphis Blog's Flickr pool. Got Memphis-y photos you'd like to share? Click here and drop 'em in! They could show up here.

Another beautiful Memphis video

 

Jason Lee -- the auteur who made that wonderful trolley video -- once again dazzles with Memphis Moments. Try not to be in love with this city after this video.


Is this thing still on?

 

Open Spring
photo by Simon Hua, from The Memphis Blog's Flickr pool

*knocks dust off microphone*

Hello?

Oh, man. It has been a while, hasn't it? This is a little like seeing your estranged boyfriend who stopped returning your calls in the aisle of a grocery store while you're there buying Doritos and Easy Cheese to cram into your lonely gullet. Not that that has ever happened to me. (Protip: Put the Easy Cheese ON the Doritos and thank me later.)

We've got some catching up to do, don't we? But first, a couple of explanations for those of you who might have wondered what's up with the radio silence.

First, I had a baby! Yep, that's why I've been gone since early November, when my son Holden was born. In a tiny inflatable pool. In my living room. Long story (but you can read about it if you'd like, and if you've got the stomach for it). My time off is now officially over but I'm working from home through the rest of February. So I'm trying to get caught up on this blogging thing.

Secondly, we need to formally say farewell to Jen, my co-blogger and friend who was let go in a round of layoffs right before Christmas. There is no way to sugarcoat that fact: It plain sucks any way you look at it. But Jen is a savvy lady and on top of her game. She's hunting for a new job and is chronicling that journey, since finding employment is always scary but in this economic climate can be terrifying. So follow her and let her know if you know of a good gig that's open. She'll be an asset to any organization she joins, and we miss her here on the desk at The CA.

So now it's time to get on with it, I suppose.

What have I missed?

The most positively Griswoldian holiday displays

 

Does your neighbor have an over-the-top Christmas light display that's visible from space? Have you seen horribawesome Christmas decorations that just make you shake your head? Or are you the one whose decked-out lawn attracts passersby from the street, stopping their cars to take photographs?

I wanna see!

Send photos my way of the best holiday displays you've seen, with a vague idea of what part of town they're in, and I'll post them here. 

You can email, or send a Twitpic to @memphisnews, or post them on our Facebook wall. The more lights, the better!

Al Kapone and Memphis Symphony Orchestra, "Whoop That Trick"

 
Of last month's Opus One concert featuring Al Kapone at the New Daisy, Live From Memphis' Christopher Reyes writes:

"Memphis, you have no idea how insanely cool your city really is." 


Find out more about the Opus One series here

Build your own sandwich at bleu

 
It's early to make such a bold prediction, but I think bleu might give Houston's a run for its money in the "Best Business Lunch" category in next year's Memphis Most contest.

The reason can be summed up in four words: build your own sandwich. The online department went today, and we all got sandwiches. They're fully customizable -- you choose your protein, temperature, bun, sauce, cheese, toppings and side. One of the bread options is "grilled cheese" and it's exactly what it sounds like.

Here is my order sheet when I finished making my selections. As you can see I did not follow Scantron protocol. 

bleuordersheet.JPG
And here is my sandwich.

bleusandwich.JPG