Friday, October 11, 2013

31 for 21: Five and Dime

Five things I hear too often:

1)  She doesn't look like she has Down Syndrome.

Yes, she really does.  But that's okay since she does have it.

2)  Elise would have been so pretty if she didn't have Down Syndrome/Do you ever wonder what she would be like without Down Syndrome?

Yes.  But I can't change anything and you would never ask someone else if they wonder if they would like parenting better if their kid was smarter or better behaved. It's still not okay.  And I have a sneaking suspicion that she would be exactly the same without the chromosome.  Spunky, witty, funny, hard-working, tom-boy, athletic, and stubborn.  These don't require 46 chromosomes instead of 47 to be true.

3)  She seems like she is high functioning.

Again, I don't say, "Well, your kid seems to be reasonably smart."  The level of independence does not give her credence for living and having a fulfilled life.

4)  You handle her so well.

Some days.  But sometimes we have ugly truth days.  But all the time, I love her and parent her...the same way I do my 3 other kids.

5)  What do you think her future will hold?

I don't know.  But you don't know if your kid will be a doctor/lawyer/investor/inventor, and independently wealthy; if your kids will boomerang back to your basement; or if your kid will wind up in prison, either.  So we're even.

Five things I *WISH* I heard:

1)  I love how Elise tries so hard to_______.
2)  Elise is beautiful/Elise has beautiful hair/Elise's eyes are striking/She looks so much like you
3)  Elise is persistent.
4)  Elise loves so hard/faithfully.
5)  Elise is so perceptive.

If I had a dime for every time I heard "Elise looks like you", I'd have 50 cents.  I really wish people had the courage to say it.  I wish they would note the things that make her awesome.  I wish they would encourage her strengths.  The same as they do any other kid. 

Because she wants the same as every other kid.  She wants you to like her for HER.


  1. Elise is a beautiful girl and by what you post it is obvious how smart she is. She is blessed to have you as a mom or is it the other way around?

  2. I don't know if I've ever told you Elise looks like you. She does! Both of my kids go through stages where I see one or more of their cousins in them, Elise included. The family resemblances are obvious. :) I'm surprised you don't hear that more.

    In my experience, when it comes to "what to say" people either overthink it or don't think at all. I tend to overthink things and analyze myself into fear of saying something wrong and then just end up not saying anything at all, for fear I might be misunderstood.

  3. Ugh. I love how people don't seem to think they're talking about our kids here, that if we were to say to them, "you know, your kid really could have been pretty if she didn't have such a big nose. Do you ever wonder how she'd look with a rhinoplasty?" or "too bad your kid isn't as smart as her brother/sister. Guess you'll be able to save on her college tuition!" If these things aren't okay to say to their kids, what makes them okay to say to ours?

  4. "or if your kid will end up in prison, either". Oh I love it! Another great post, Tiffany. How is it that people feel they can talk about our kids as that way? They would be appalled if we did that to their own children. I don't get it. I like Elise's spunk!

  5. Lol, Becca, I wish I could "like" your comment.

    Great post. I, too, wish people would tell me that Kimani looks like us, because she does. She also makes the cutest face that looks just like my sister when she was little. But no know ever says it... it is as if it is taboo to say someone with Ds looks like "us".

  6. I would hate those comments too, and I hope I never say them to any parent, no matter what special needs their children may or may not have. Who would say those things about someone's baby? Do they think you aren't as sensitive about her as you would be about your other kids? :(