I must be an idiot

The results aren’t final yet, but I’m beginning to suspect that I might be. Jacob’s mum is always more finely tuned to the nuances of those around her. It takes me a while longer to notice the secretive glances and the subtle berth that separates us from the normals. But it’s there.


Young, handsome and charming.

I’ve been trying a little bit to understand why, but not much. Jacob so long ago became a normal (yes) member of us that his Downs status is just more stuff you have to make yourself  remember, like his eldest brother’s occasional bouts of the wheezies or his middle brother’s problems with stinky farts. (Actually I don’t need to make myself remember those at all.) If that sounds trite well excuse my flippancy all over the place but I’m bloody delighted. It is trite. He learns things more slowly than they did but already he’s shaping up to be every bit as much a pain in the backside as they are, and it cheers me up no end. He’s going to get shouted at, and that is fine. He’ll make us furious at times, and that is great. He’ll wreck the place and we’ll put our faces in our hands or – more likely – have a shouty fight with each other about something apparently entirely unconnected. There will be strife, despair and a sense that somebody, somewhere, pressed the pause button on our two lives when we weren’t minding the shop.

In other words, it will be a 33% helping of the same shit we’ve taken to calling life. With loads of other little Ds extras and head melts thrown in. But on the flip side we’ll have this kid who has played more in the last six months with the toys his older brothers practically ignored when they were toddlers, a kid who wakes up seemingly to make you smile every day and who takes delight in the very act of being. His Down syndrome doesn’t break my stride, let me assure you, although he himself very often does. If I’m under time pressure (I’m always under time pressure) and have to rush past the room where he’s whacking the bejesus out of some VTech junk I’ll feel bad that I can’t stop to play.

If you have a kid with Downs who has health issues, then of course these issues can bring hardship and suffering, but they are not Ds. Your child is not Ds. Your child may have it, but that does not define them, any more than being blond, Asiatic, left-handed, good with science or fond of natural fibres defines them. It’s an aspect of their lives, one that most people do not experience up close and therefore fear, or are made uncomfortable by. How Godforsaken would the world be exactly if we were to strip away every aspect of our otherness, each and every one of us? What ‘common’ traits would be left?

Speaking of God, have you come across the website that’s built upon finding a miracle cure for Trig Palin, son of Sarah? I do not mean to offend anybody’s religious sensibilities, but I cannot visit the site for long because when I do I’m in danger of chewing my fingers off at the knuckle.  April 18, 2010 is the day when God will be sitting up, listening to the prayers of who knows how many thousand as they implore Him to fix poor little broken Trig. Because make no mistake, these people tell us that Trig is not right. Fair play to his mother  Sarah Palin, she has stated that the world needs more Trigs. I’ve gotten ‘the look’ from my better half on more than many occasions when I’ve said that everybody should have one. But it’s very often how I feel. Blessed.

The Pray4Trig people just don’t get that, but I’m setting up Pray4thepeoplewhowanttofixTrig.com which will hopefully enlighten them. My day of prayer will be on April 17 next year, hopefully just in time to stop them piling up God’s email inbox with Trigspam.

'Dad, you should REALLY have put a spam filter on that thing. Have you SEEN what's in there today?

Dad, you should REALLY have put a spam filter on that thing. Have you SEEN what's in there today?

37 comments on “I must be an idiot

  1. enc says:

    You’re no idiot. You’re smarter than a lot of people out there, and your attitude is superb.

    You look so happy in that photo with sweet and gorgeous Jacob.

    Who’s the weirdo in the bottom photo? 😉

    • Nick McGivney says:

      Really great to hear from you enc. Been a bad poster lately, but happy you caught up with us. Hope all’s good out your way.

  2. Yvonne says:

    I don’t see any idiots in the vicinity, just a lovely loving proud Dad, fabulous post Nick. And I dont think of ye or your family as being any bit different to mine, love the vision of Jacob happily bashing the v-tech stuff, reminds me of Hannah and her love of destruction 🙂 We have to organise a meeting-of-the-babies soon, I think Jacob would probably share Hannah’s fondness for walloping her Dad’s precious hand-made bodhran with wooden spoon – what do you think?

    • Nick McGivney says:

      Indeed. I don’t hold out much hope for the bodhran at all. And a meeting of the younguns is definitely to be organised while they’re still not yet sullen teenagers. 🙂

  3. TUC says:

    Love this post. I am pretty sure the “pray for trig” gang is a bunch of fakes. They can hardly defend their “faith” and haven’t a clue about Ds. I am cracking up over your graphic!

    • Nick McGivney says:

      Oh Lordy! I wish they were a bunch of fakes, TUC, but I suspect they actually mean it. Oh sod them. We’ve life to be getting on with. Loving your posts too by the way. Lot of heart and honesty around your way.

  4. Elbog says:

    “I don’t want to start any blasphemous rumors, but I think that God’s got a sick sense of humor, and, when I die, I expect to hear him laughing. . . . ” or something like that.
    That this site has probably been set up by a 23 year old Red Bull junkie with abiding hatreds occurred to me, right off the bat. Our country, in particular, is mainstreaming meanness on an increasingly greater scale.
    The Google ads give it that special touch.
    Besides, we already have a cure.
    Sarah Palin, God love her. May she rest in peace – or at least obscurity. Proof that chromosomes can have little or no relationship to idiocy.
    That’s definitely a Southern California Jesus, man. His hair is, like, you know, perfect. Part those waves again, dude, Surf’s Up!
    Now, as to you, you’re no idiot. Your eye is keen, and, if my perceptions were able to be validated, always looking for an angle. You’re in advertising, and I don’t mean that disparagingly – I mean, we need people like you and defense attorneys and such. Subtlety is not always required.
    Bang away, baby. I loved this post. Needed to read it.
    P.S. April 17 (or the 18th, for that matter) might not be such a good pray-day. April 15 is the deadline for filing taxes in the U.S.A.; God’s gonna still be pissed at all the epithets sent his way just a coupla days earlier. . . I’m just sayin’.

    • Nick McGivney says:

      Good tip on the tax filing date. Don’t hold out much hope for the pray4trig camp then, unless the chads on all the ‘JC’ exclamations from disgruntled taxpayers are claimed by that particular camp of nuts. Keep truckin’ Elbog.

  5. Suzie says:

    Jacob is a cutie pie! He is getting so big. I don’t know the ages of your other sons, but my sons used Lily as a “chick magnet” when she was a baby. These kids have many uses 🙂

    • Nick McGivney says:

      Hey Suzie, if the boys try to use Jacob as a chick magnet they’ll be facing some disappointment. When he gets ’em, he doesn’t like to let ’em go! Big mwahs! to the Lily from her Irish fans. 🙂

  6. BonnyP says:

    xxxx Oh you’re in need of a few teenage daughters to sort you out……either that or a visit!

  7. d says:

    thanks,as a dad of a son who has ds around the same age as jacob your post’s never fail to give me a lift when things sometimes get me down.thanks again.

    • Nick McGivney says:

      Thanks a million for writing, D. You’re welcome, and I’m beyond words with what you said. A very humble thank you.

  8. lisadom says:

    Love the woman in the background of that photo with her arms crossed.
    of course you’re an idiot. that is the magic of children – to teach us everyday that we know absolutely NOTHING.
    And make us laugh about it. xx

    • Nick McGivney says:

      Er, if you could like, reply without actually reinforcing that I’m an idiot, that would be like, er, great and stuff? On the off chance, I won’t hold my breath.


  9. NAN P. says:

    “Oh My God…” Seriously? “Fixing Trig?” And “praying” for that? See, it is rubbish like this that has turned me off religion – at least, I hope that the pastors, etc… that they mention contacting to organise such a useless “event” will take them by the shoulders, turn them round, march them through the doors, and close these firmly behind them, leaving them in the cold of the coming winter. So there!

    As for “young, handsome and charming”, you both are, no doubt. But please give us more photos of Jacob, he is such a cutie, and growing so fast!

    BTW, haven’t you understood yet? Kids are put on this hearth to keep their parents on their toes… Sometimes, it seems to be their sole purpose in (our) life! 😉

    • Nick McGivney says:

      So one calls me an idiot, and the other says ‘More pics, just not of YOU.’

      Okay, okay. So there’s a conspiracy. I get it. 😦

  10. Conor says:

    Nick, this is one of the best posts / articles I’ve read in long time! Well done indeed!

    • Nick McGivney says:

      Thanks Mister. Glad you got stopping by, and thank you for that. Hope the gang is keeping well up the road.

  11. We’re all idiots I think, and long may it last I say.

    This was great to read.

    • Nick McGivney says:

      And great to read you too, Mister twenty major. Half way, what? Yes we’re idiots, of course, but at least we can be smug in the knowledge that we are. Those other idiots have no idea that they’re idiots. How stupid are they?

  12. Mel says:

    Idiots are everywhere- but you’re not one of them, of that I’m certain! Great to see Jacob doing well, and sorting you out 😉 I’ve never heard anyone say that Sarah Palin is such an amazing mother that God gave her a son with DS…I always love that gem whenever it is bestowed on me! Couldn’t I have had a winning lotto ticket too?!

    • Nick McGivney says:

      Hahahaha! Oh yes, God knows how to pick the right parents, huh? And how many fragile wrecks get to win the lottery? I guess I’ll order us all a few ‘It’s Just Not Fu€%in Fair’ t-shirts. Mine’s extra thick. Big wave to the Duke of Luke. 😀

  13. Jill says:

    Still loving the blog Nick. It always makes me smile to come in here, settle down & read the blog & the comments (there’s some grand people who reply, it feels like a lovely happy family – if that’s not an oxymoron :-)!)

    As for the headline – you are far removed from being an idiot, but I hope you don’t mind me saying that I do think you are a bit of a daft bugger. Which is a good thing!! I’ve always liked daft buggers, we need more in the world lol.

    BTW, would someone mind telling me what a ‘bodhran’ is? Yvonne’s post talking about walloping dad’s bodhran sounds really really painful to this woefully uneducated English woman!

    • Nick McGivney says:

      Aww thanks Jill. I think! 🙂 Been called an oxymoron for years. Don’t even notice it any more. As for the soapbox, hop on any time. Always room for a rant.

      A bodhran (pronounced bow as in how, and ron) is a trad Irish goatskin drum. Deceptively difficult to play well. Look here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1PC6Cv_cM4&feature=related

      God, we’re so friggin’ cultured round here, what?

  14. Jill says:


    On the “cureby” front (we have a number of ‘curebys’ mainly Americans in the Autism family too)

    If your child is in pain, then yes you should get down on your knees every day & ask God to help that child.


    If your child is living a happy, fulfilled life that brings joy to everyone around them every day, wouldn’t you be better using your prayers to thank God??

    *climbs down off soap box*

  15. Cal says:

    I just noticed the silhouette of (I assume?) the Mrs in the background…I could be wrong but I think her posture is saying that she agrees with your post title. Ha!

  16. jen says:

    just found your blog and we all love reading it! Keep tabs on that redhead there he looks like trouble 😉

  17. jen says:

    ps I have to add that I CANNOT WAIT for Trig’s “cure” to fail abysmally. Perhaps God will send a cc: to all of the people praying for his cure saying “He wasn’t a mistake, and he isn’t broken, and he’s awesome the way he is, yo. So go direct your prayers to something more worth fretting about.”

    • Nick McGivney says:

      You’ll have to forgive my laziness in replying, Jen. Delighted to see you round Our Jacob’s place. As for Trig’s cure people, I don’t let them occupy too much space on my hard drive. Life’s too short and there’s too much to b done with what we have, which is so very great anyhow. Let them pray, and maybe enlightenment will come. Meantime we’ve got friends to make, parties to go to and life to grab by the scruff of the neck!

  18. Trig’s cure? so glad I don’t always keep up with the news!

    hey, great photie!!

    (sorry long absent, keepin busy and outta trouble…:D…will hopefully have some wild Oregon pics for ya here soon)

    • Nick McGivney says:

      Thanks for noticing the outstandingly handsome men we have round these parts, lil lady. Swing by sometime and we’ll take you dancin’, Jacob and I. 😀

  19. Jenny says:

    Great post. I’m blind, things are sometimes more difficult but I wouldn’t change a thing.
    I can’t stand people feeling sorry for me, and assuming that I’d choose to cure my disability if i could.
    Great blog.

    • Nick McGivney says:

      Wonderful to hear from you, Jenny, and thank you for stopping by. You’ve just inspired my next blog post, which in itself is super-inspirational. Be delighted to have you stop by anytime, just to kick my arse if I’m ever slipping into the old self-pity mud baths.

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