Pizza from Scratch, 107

25 October, 2007

Someone has to watch Peter the Downsy kitten.

© Bill Lemmond (Actually, you're welcome to download and share these web-resolution images, and you probably won't be happy with printing them.)

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Richmond has a small pond, near its reservoir and a park. There is a paddleboat concession, and you can rent them for ... I think it's about 15 minutes or half an hour. It's slow, and work, but fun for that long, at least.

Peter has Down Syndrome, but he's on the more functional end of the spectrum of effects. Why did I add him to the strip? Of course kittens are cute, but why this condition.

I have always wanted to find one woman about my age who wants to grow old with me. When I was in my teens, and my twenties ... and thirties, there were no Goth Girls or Emo Girls, so poor-and-depressed wasn't attractive to anyone. Now that I'm just poor, I'm so old that women my age are warned - by other women - of the risks of having children at their age. And I've since read that birth defects are even more tied to the age of the father.

I've been testing myself, to see if I can get used to the idea of fathering a child, maybe my only child, with Down Syndrome. From documentaries, I know they can be cute and affectionate, and vary in level of function. But there's the other side: difficulty getting through the simplest routines, such as putting on a shirt, in less than an hour; innocent destruction of just about everything electronic he can get his hands on; the TV, and the car radio, get changed every few seconds - or there are noisy, angry reactions. That's just one kid, from one PBS documentary, "Lessons from the Book of John," or some title like that.

Other kids will randomly relieve themselves in the family car.

I'm sorry, ladies, but my mental struggle is not going well. I've been through decades of chronic depression already. So not only have I served my time, I can't stand the chance of going back to that. I want a couple of kids of my own with whom I can carry on a normal conversation. I don't care if they're blind or deaf or have any other physical disability that won't prevent them from having kids of their own. But I don't think I can bear the burdens of Down's.