Friday, March 9, 2018

The Screen Shots

Yesterday when I made that vlog  I was taking deep breaths and trying not to descend into the fifth grade drama of screen shots.  

This morning I woke up to discover, via friends still in the group, that my name had been dragged through the mud.  The admin that had had a problem with me, had returned to the group and declared that I'd been kicked off because of my behavior in private messages.  

She'd done this in a group with thousands and thousands of Catholic women, a large number of who I'm friends with, and a number of who are readers here.  

At that point I decided that I needed to defend my name.  

I'm sorry no.  You don't get to lie about me and say that I did something that I didn't do. 

I didn't have a tantrum over private messenger although I suspect that Kellie invited me onto private messenger with the intention of making that claim from the very beginning.  

It also came to my attention, from friends in the group, the Kellie went back and deleted quite a few of things that were said about special needs children.  I unfortunately didn't get screen shots of everything that was said.  But I got some highlights of our interactions, because I suspected she might twist them.

I don't take screenshots in private groups.  In fact I didn't know how to take screenshots with my computer until two days ago.  But when she began to ask me to PM her I had... a bad feeling.  And google was my friend.  And screen shots... well, they felt like insurance against her lies, which ultimately proved true.  

My blog is small.  I know that.  Way smaller than the group.  

And I don't like drama.

But I also don't like being lied about in a group where other women who I respect remain.

 And a lot of people agreed.  And a lot thought it was funny.  And I avoided interacting with Kellie.

Until this happened:

Now there is a post missing here in which I said that it was true that I wasn't super active in the group because I'd seen some ladies come down pretty hard on other ladies for... well... all sorts of things.  It was reminiscent of the early days of this blog really.  And I said that the reason that I replied was that some of the things she was saying about special needs moms made me feel kind of sick.  I wish I had a screen shot of that comment but I didn't get it before I was banned.

And she told me that was why I was kicked out in the following message.:

I've since learned that Kellie's been spreading around the group some pretty huge lies about me.  That this text that she asked me to send her was harassing.

So here it is.

For the world to see.  Her words and mine.

Because I have nothing to hide.

I'm not sure she can say the same, since she lied to me about why I was kicked out and then lied to the group about my behavior.

If you have a kid with special needs I'd be careful about Catholic Mom's Building Cathedrals.  It's not a place that's friendly to those with disabilities with this admin in charge.


  1. LOL!! I tend to avoid groups like that for the basic fact that I tend to be orthodox and the majority tend to be perfectly happy with heterodoxy as long as it feels good. I'm happy they would like to build Cathedrals but I think God means for us to build families that try to look like the Holy Family and I don't see Mary, Joseph and Jesus in anything larger than the typical Middle Eastern home of the 1st Century AD. When facing people like that, ALWAYS reply publicly and let them do the first PM. I'm much older than you are, and have been around women's groups forever. Sad to say, I am rather negative on my own gender. Bad as what you experienced was-- think how they treat adults on the spectrum. I MUCH prefer groups where there are a preponderance of men-- they bitch you out in public and to your face so you can respond in public. None of this hiding and lying. I'm a little pissed you were treated this way, in my experience you are always civil even when you totally disagree with someone and even when it is a hot button topic for you.

  2. I have no words. It's unreal. Except obviously it isn't. She wrote a rule just for you? Oh. My. Gosh.

  3. I have been sitting here for 30 minutes trying to figure out what she thought was so funny or bizarre about the dogs. While a "non-judgmental" dog is an odd phrase, because I doubt there are judgmental dogs, I suppose they mean that they wouldn't know if you were reading correctly or not, they just enjoy sitting with you. In a nearby town they have a program to benefit shelter dogs, where kids come and sit with them, and read to them. Perhaps she does not have a dog, or doesn't realize the therapy part does not presume anything about the person accompanying them, it is probably the only dog allowed in the school for health and liability reasons. Is she afraid it implies a deficiency if you sit with a therapy dog?
    The humor kind of has the feel of someone making a racial joke, and when called on it trying to throw the blame on the person who called them out for being too serious.
    I have found there is an element in Mom's groups of people who (usually not openly) feel that if you just do all the right things, you will get well behaved, healthy, holy children. People with children with health or behavior issues, endanger that world view and are often met with blame or mockery. Kind of like when Jesus is asked, "Was it his or his parents' sin that made this happen" It is a subtle belief that compassion is not truly necessary because somehow you brought it on yourself. That is the only path I can see that finds the idea of reading to a dog silly and drew the conclusion that reading to a dog was only for the struggling. That said, probably there is a silent majority in the group thinking, hope she doesn't go after me next. Like a high school girls laughing when the mean girl tells them to, even though they don't really think it is funny.
    I think I am rambling, but I did want to be supportive. This stinks, you don't deserve it. Being a stay at home mom can be really lonely without a group of moms to share your load.

  4. I don’t see anything offensive about Kellie’s initial post about non-judgmental therapy dogs. I’ve been teaching children to read for 15 years, and I can’t begin to imagine how a non-verbal, non-rational creature could be of assistance to a child struggling with learning to read.

    I also do not see how finding such an idea funny is not compassionate.

    I’m allergic to dogs, so I don’t have them as pets and maybe do not understand what role they could possibly play in assisting a child learning to read. Hence, the idea sounds ridiculous to me, and it’s not because I don’t have compassion! TB

    1. Well, it's for nervous kids, kids that are afraid to read in front of people. It's been wildly successful with many children. It probably doesn't make sense to you because you've never needed it. A lot of things don't make sense to people who don't need them, and then, once you do, or once someone you love does, it does make sense. But it isn't a reason to ridicule them. It certainly isn't a reason to continue to ridicule them once it's been explained. And many, many people explained it kindly and with compassion. And she continued to insist that it was worth laughing about and that her laughs were worth more than other people's dignity. That's a problem.

    2. But if you need help understanding the problem, and you want to actually understand it, my vlog yesterday really tackles it and explains why it's extremely offensive to a lot of people. The Facebook section of the blog also tackles it pretty well by a lot of different people.

    3. I just read through the screen shots and see nothing wrong with anything Kellie said. In my opinion, you were being overly sensitive to something that many people find odd, and even humorous. In my estimation, you were combatitive and baiting in your responses. Many things that people do or are invited to do with their dogs in my town are utterly ridiculous and laughable. Treating dogs like people is a growing problem in our country -we take stray dogs off the street on cold nights, but leave the homeless people to fend for the summer I often have to race onto the playground when Suzie Dogowner shows up to play with poochie on the playground equipment, and insists, from a distance, “Oh, he’s friendly!” while her dog knocks over my screaming toddler and licks his face.

      And, as others have pointed out, describing a dog as “nonjudgmental” just begs the opposed to other dogs who have the capacity for judgment?!

      I disagree that’s it insensitive to people with special needs to find the idea of using dogs for therapy humorous. My five year old likes to read to his stuffed animals. I think it’s cute, others might find it funny. Their finding it funny, or even laughing at it, is not insensitive, lacking in compassion, or “wrong,” whether he has a special need or not.

      Unfortunately, many people without special needs kids legitimately struggle with how to talk to or interact with mothers with kids with special needs, because the latter seem to want things both ways: we’re expected to be hypersensitive and compassionate to you and your child because he’s special needs, but we’re also supposed to treat him just like every other child at the same time, to show that we recognize his dignity. Interacting with kids shouldn’t be this complicated, but if I’m walking on eggshells, afraid that I might offend a special needs mom whether I treat her child in a way that shows I get that he has special needs, or I treat him as any other kid, and don’t single him out, I feel like I might offend mom either way, depending on whether she’s championing, “recognize my child’s special needs” or “just treat him like every other kid,” at any given moment.

      I’m probably not expressing myself very well, but I often feel that I’m put at a disadvantage by the mom, because I’m darned if I do and darned if I don’t!

      It is not difficult for me to respond to or work with special needs kids, but I’m often afraid of their mothers because I see so much defensiveness and judgmental reactions from them. I never know how they’re going to react to what I say or do. “Did I get it right? Did I smile at Mikey the same way I smiled at Sarah? Is mom going to verbally abuse me because I paused before speaking to Tommy?”

      This is an honest observation from a mom who quite frequently feels trampled on and manipulated by moms of special needs kids. This may seem like a separate issue, but I imagine there’s some of the same misunderstanding and fear playing into the whole non-judgmental therapy dog discussion. Maybe I’m way off, but those are my run-on thoughts after reading through the exchange. I mean no ill will, and o do think it’s possible to have a difference of opinion over whether the dog comment was funny or not, without one side being truly “in the wrong.” As Kellie explained herself, the humor was found in the word choice and the implied relationship of dog-to-human, not in a child’s perceived need of a therapy dog. Hence, I don’t believe her sense of humor was offensive to human dignity, as you seem to understand it.

    4. Have you really been personally abused by many special needs moms Theresa? I certainly have never abused you. I'm pretty sure after today you can't say the same. I've certainly done nothing to you to deserve this. And no I wasn't baiting her. I was defending the many mothers that she'd stripped of their dignity throughout the long tirade she'd gone on. Many of who thanked me later, because they'd been hurt, deeply by her words.

      I get that you don't get it. I get that you're kids are perfect and you don't understand. Or that you can pinch them hard enough during Mass and they'll act perfect and that doesn't work with special needs kids because they can't remember long enough to be that obedient.

      I feel trampled on regularly by the Catholic Moms who've acted like I don't exist because my kids don't fit the mold. I've been pushed aside and ignored and left out and I haven't complained or said a word 99% of the time. I've prayed and worked and done my best with what I have. And it's sucked. It's really really sucked.

      And you know what it does annoy me when people act like dogs are people. But that's not what this is. At all.

      So I'm sorry if it's hard for you to interact with special needs moms sometimes. Guess what? It's a thousand times harder for them ever day of their lives.

      Get over yourself.

      You don't need to come back here.

      We were never really friends. And you certainly aren't my friend now. The best thing that ever happened to our family was getting away from Ave. I thank God ever day for that.

    5. Anonymous, maybe you should examine yourself, hard, if you really find it that difficult to interact with children with special needs. You are not responsible for meeting their physical needs; you are merely expected to treat them like human beings, and train your children to do so as well. That you find it so difficult speaks volumes about your character and true internal disposition towards those with disabilities. Special needs moms scare you? Why do you think we had to learn to stand up for our children? Because of people like you.

    6. Good idea, Cammie. I prefer rational discourse to temper tantrums and personal attacks. You’re welcome to save your next dose of vitriol for...someone else.

      I’d say, “don’t take it personally,” but that would just be silly at this point. TB. -feel free to share what I’ve written to share your just anger at everyone who disagrees with you. Because really, we just offensive people and should be roundly denounced by all of your compassionate following.

    7. Anonymous, You are convoluting so many issues.

      First, ill behaved pet owners shouldn't be compared to highly trained therapy dogs (in most places they need CGC- Canine Good Citizen- training to be allowed in)

      Second, parents of children with special needs are often frustrated by the judgment and rudeness of those who have neurotypical children. One woman insisted my daughter could not possibly be more than 15 months old when she was two months shy of 2. She's small and she has a speech delay (around 12 months). I mean good grief, I know how old my child is!!!

      Third, incase you missed it the mod drew a clear line between those with special needs and those with "ordinary needs". She made it clear that ordinary children don't need to read to dogs. But I mean, c'mon it's fun. It's great it's open to all. She clarified herself very well. She was making fun of the idea of having a dog to read to.

      Fourth, most special needs moms do alternate between being an advocate for their children to be treated normally and explaining their needs. It's our job. With my own child who has very mild needs I let her jump and run and interact with other children. She's a great listener and so she keeps up with other kids well. However, when I could tell she was in distress but the other kids are dragging her around and not listening to her limited words I stepped in. Most parents were understanding but some gave me eyes as if I was intervening without merit. It took my friend, a SPED teacher of 15 years telling one mom to back off and that I was the least hovering parent in the world before she listened. She was pretty mad because she felt kids should learn to work it out. Yes, normally, but kids should also be aware of differently abled children and that they may not interact like their typical friends.

    8. Teresa, responding to you isn't a temper tantrum. It's a response. A response I'm willing to put my name to. I don't hide behind and cast out cruelty behind the title of anonymous as you have. Of course I'm taking it personally, you've attacked me. You've hurt me. You've been cruel. You're someone that I have known in real life. I sat by your side and comforted you after you lost a child. And you do what. You come on page over and over again and leave insensitive comments. And mostly I ignored you.

      I don't know if you've felt the need to put me down to make yourself feel better, or what, but you've done it consistently over the years. The last ridiculous comment I remember ignoring was when I wrote a post about those with disabilities using iPads as communication devices and you were quick to point out that people might use iPads for porn (At Mass!) and that they also might take pictures of yours children and therefore should not be allowed. The level of paranoia and disconnect from reality was astounding, but I allowed it, because I knew you were a real person, and I gave you leeway.

      That's not me having a temper tantrum. But it is me saying something that I probably should have said at the time.

      You've been mean. And yeah you've hurt me. I've totally responded in pain. I am upset. And horrified at how you've acted and the things that you've said. But I guess I shouldn't really be surprised.

      I won't be reading or publishing any more of your comments Teresa. If you comment again I will publish your whole name instead of first name in my response. That's me asking you to back off. You've done enough damage. You can stop now. I'll pray for you. You don't realize what you've done. I hope someday you do.

    9. The only reason I use anonymous is be cause I don’t have a google account or URL. I use TB because you’re the only person here who knows me, and I’m willing to put my name to my comments, because they’re directed at you.

      Today i recalled you making dinner for me when I miscarried, and I wondered why you felt you had to respond to my initial comments so harshly. I’m sorry you took them as personal attacks.

      And I’m truly sorry you brought up the loss of my child to put yourself on a moral high horse for your readers. THAT, is truly offensive.

    10. Theresa Bird, you have demonstrated my point for me. It was never about being on a moral high horse. It was about reminding you that we WERE friends. That I'd sat next to you and shared life with you. Even when it was had for me. Even when I was recovering from the loss of my own child, which not a single person at that school visited with me during, including you.

      I was hoping that you'd remember that I'm a human being on the other side of the computer screen. And honestly the fact that I've sat beside is the only reason I've published your comments and the only reason that I'm still talking to you here. Who's been up on the moral high horse? On every comment you've ever made. Every time you chided and corrected me over some small thing and put me down? That is why I brought it up. I wanted you to remember that there's a human here who was your friend, who cared about you, who you have hurt.

      Why did I respond, harshly. You've responded harshly to what I've written here for years. Maybe with some comment here or there that you were praying for me, but generally you would only comment to tell me that I was wrong.

      Maybe it's just how you come across on the internet. Maybe it's built up, being talked down to for a very long time and it culminated today when I asked you (harshly?) to maybe watch the vlog and try to understand my point of view instead of just assuming the worst again.

      But I'm done. And I hope you are too. I'm done giving the benefit of what is no barely an acquaintance and publishing your comments. I will no longer even be reading them if you respond. You either do not have the self control or the respect to stop. If I see a comment the moment that I can tell that it is from you, it will be deleted.

      I've asked you to stop before and I will again. You know that I'm sick. You know that I'm dealing with a lot of difficult things right now. Could you just not make life harder Theresa Bird? Seriously, could you do that? I would appreciate it hugely and you're only purpose has been to hurt me/ put me down/ make me feel less than you for quite a while.

  5. Ok, I have to say the "non-judgmental dog" made me laugh. Mostly because it's such an repetitive phrase. All dogs are "non-judgmental". That IS funny. Because the word therapy is in there it's not as funny, and I'd never want to cause another mom pain. I'm purely laughing at what I consider incredibly poor word play and not at the very real and valuable service provided.

    What she goes on to say is disgusting. I can't remember who it is now but there's a famous scientist/inventor (one of the Wright bros, maybe?) I remember reading about as a kid who had a stutter and got rid of it by reading poetry to the farm chickens.

    Parents should be able to avail themselves of whatever methods and helps they want for their kids. Many parents know the difference between a struggling K reader and an emerging K reader.

    Her words are based off the premise that I have to fight against every day...that kids develop at their own pace and getting them help before it becomes a major issue is a waste.

    1. I totally get what you're saying. When I read the original post I kind of shrugged, and wouldn't have commented (I talked about it a bit in the vlog). It didn't upset me, until I saw the elaborations, the calls to cut funding, the people who said it was an affront against life ("we're replacing younger children with dogs", people actually said that). Things like that. Then I was all fired up. I totally agree that the wording of the flyer was awkward and even funny. But maybe not like "only in my town" funny. I think that's when it began to go in a different direction.

    2. You were completely justified in getting fired up. The attitudes expressed are so ignorant I can't even find words.

  6. Aww. My daughter has read to a dog named Fletcher and loved it! It's a really common thing around here, and used for both kids who love dogs and are nervous about reading, and for kids who are scared of dogs. To me the beauty of the internets is learning from people you likely wouldn't meet in real life, and I don't understand why it's so threatening to some people to say "I hadn't thought about it that way before, thanks for sharing your perspective."

  7. I think a program where kids read to therapy dog is awesome. Any program that helps kids learn the skills they need to succeed in life needs to be supported and funded no matter how weird it sounds at first. If it works it works. The library system I work at has therapy dogs come in twice a month to allow kids who have trouble reading aloud or below reading come in an read to a dog. In order to get used to reading out loud. Cause lets face even the most well meaning adult can also judge the kid and its sad to say make fun of the child. It actually happened to me as a kid I had a stutter that other kids parents made fun along with my teacher. So my mom encouraged me to read aloud to my dog, because I was even to embarrassed to read aloud to my mom after that.

    Even though I don't have kids of my own I know that no matter how weird a therapy sounds I don't judge it nor make fun of it because I was at one point a kid who needed that "weird therapy" that does indeed work.

  8. I'm sorry you were treated so awfully. As a SPED teacher, the mother of a medically complex child, & as a former Catholic, the way you were talked to horrifies me on so many levels...but unfortunately doesn't surprise me. Shake the dust from your feet and keep going.

  9. I am a public librarian and we offer a monthly Read to a Dog program that is always well-attended by kids of all reading levels. I can't think of a single kid who wouldn't benefit from extra reading practice, so the idea that these programs only serve kids who struggle with reading is quite odd to me. Reading to a dog increases confidence and improves reading skills. I realize anecdotes are not data, but I've seen vast improvements among the kids who come to our montly programs. Also--libraries plan programs based upon the needs of the communities they serve. If kids keep showing up to read to the dogs, the need is obviously there. Sounds like the FB admin needs to think outside of her own sphere. (I never thought I'd come to the point in my career where I'd have to defend Read to a Dog!)


I love comments and I read every single comment that comes in (and I try to respond when the little ones aren't distracting me to the point that it's impossible!). Please show kindness to each other and our family in the comment box. After all, we're all real people on the other side of the screen!