Thursday, July 20, 2006
Thanks, ladies, for your comments. I thought I would have a clearer, more calm perspective this morning, but instead I cried while I cooked breakfast. Pbbbt.
I realized that the problem isn't that someone used the word "retard" about me. It's that I haven't really accepted the idea that The Biscuit isn't a brilliant little boy. He certainly seems like it. If someone was just telling us today that he has Down syndrome, I wouldn't believe them. He's just too darn smart. Well, at his age maybe it's more clever than smart.
He got a toy for his birthday that's an activity center kind of thing. (I'll have to snap a photo and edit this post.) It has completely different things to do on the bottom, so he will turn it over when he's bored with one side. I realized a few days ago that he is turning lots of his toys over after playing with them for awhile, looking to see if there is another way to play with it. I think that's an example of his cleverness.
But who is going to see that if they first see his mouth open and his little tongue hanging out? I don't want someone writing him and his abilities off because of his appearance or because they happen to know his diagnosis. I've yet to meet someone who hasn't said what a cute baby he is; they don't say, "Aw, he has Down syndrome." Grocery store cashiers especially seem to like him. I only know one person who has mistaken his occasional shyness for the typical "Buddha Baby" -- a baby with Down syndrome who just sits there and isn't phased by anything. But she knew the diagnosis before she met him and must have known other kids who were that way. Believe me, he has opinions and expresses them! He is not always happy. But if this woman is going to make assumptions about him, so will others. I can feel myself tensing up for a fight just thinking about having to protect him from the limiting assumptions of others.
So much work. I knew that having a child would change my life, but this is not what I was expecting!
Posted by Kath Youell at 9:35 AM