Tuesday, October 5, 2010

31 for 21: #5 Angels with Dirty Faces


I love Elise. I am sure that by now you have seen this. I just wanted to clarify this before I write this one.

Elise is no angel. For one, I'm pretty sure that angels don't hit people and spit at them on a regular basis. I am also very secure in the fact that if someone is afraid of an angel it isn't because they are fearing a kick in the teeth.

If Elise is rough in her showing of affection (her "drive-by hugs" will just about unseat all but the burliest of men), then she is pretty stringent in her showing of disapproval. There will be ABSOLUTELY NO QUESTION if she dislikes something.

I have a somewhat "off" take on the use of "retarded", and I also take issue with the generalization that all people with Down Syndrome are loving, mild-mannered, long-suffering, "angels". (I can be taken out back and shot later...) But my baby girl could not pass as an angel unless she was asleep. I'm serious. I adore her and treasure what she has shown me, and I truly believe that she has brought real-live angels into my life, but pardon me if I insist that list does not include her.

Elise is on the green light at school on Mondays, apparently refreshed coming off of the weekend...and then the behavior chart takes a nose dive...Yellow, to Orange, to Red. Her teachers added Orange to the behavior chart because Elise was blowing through it too fast...and they wanted her to have more chance at success. (More on that another day!)

If we as parents don't want the negative stereotypes applied to our kiddies, I would like to add the "positive" stereotypes may not apply either. They're just kids after all! They are all different. They may have blue eyes or brown, they may look like their mama or their daddy...They may show one or many of the physical manifestations of their diagnoses. They may love princesses or baseball...

They are not angels or monsters...they are just kids...


  1. I can relate. My son is 6 ½ and autistic. To outsiders he looks like this sweet little boy because he is shy, quiet, and withdrawn in salutations that he is not comfortable in. However, when he’s at home or school he is this little terror. We had an indecent at school not that long ago where he decided right in the door way that he did not want to go to school that day. I had to carry him kicking, screaming and practically throwing his body out of my arms into the class room. Parents and other teachers were all standing in the hallway looking. Sometimes it’s feels like they burn holes right threw you. His “fit” continued in the classroom for a good 15 minutes. It was bad. I love him to death but I can’t say that I like his autism. We also have that aggressive affection issue with him. Apparently his touchiness at school bothers people.

    You are so right “they are not angels or monsters they are just kids” ones who have a little harder time than others.

  2. Thank you for this post. Everyone keeps telling me after hearing about our baby how special and perfect DS babies are - I think to comfort me. Which is funny b/c I don't need comforted about the DS - I'm fine with it. I know our baby will be ours and we'll love it to pieces and it will be perfect in our eyes, but I also know he or she will be a kid and we'll struggle. Every day won't be the most perfect day. With two other kids & the battles I fight with them, I just can't imagine that not being there with a DS kid. Thanks for giving me a view into the school years and what we may face. I don't even have our baby hear yet, but by the amount of things people have said to me already - I can definitely understand your frustration with the generalizations.

    Also - today is a better day for us - the prayers are kicking in & I've found good resources & blogs like yours to help.