Posted by Rebecca Bingham, Special Needs Mommie | Posted in The Special Needs Mommy | Posted on 05-05-2011
Tags: Down Syndrome, stubborn
When you first find out that you are going to be the parent of a child with Down Syndrome, you will get a variety of responses. The most common one will be to tell you how loving and sweet they are and how their disposition is easy and mellow. The second thing you will hear is about any job that any one with Down Syndrome ever has had. Mainly grocery store baggers and office cleaning staff. (That used to really bug me, but since I now have the pleasure of being friends with BOTH grocery baggers and office cleaning staff who have Down Syndrome, I can calm down about it. They like their jobs. They are good at it. Amen). The last thing you will ever be told is about the inherent, mile wide stubborn streak that many kids with Trisomy 21 can possess. In my case, it was pointed out to me yesterday during a school field trip for one of the older kids. Let me paint a picture; we have just left the elephants at the Oakland Zoo and I am trying to convince 8 kindergarteners that they don’t REALLY want an Slurpee right now, they want to go look at the zebras! In the 90 degree weather. Where we can still smell the elephants.
Me — “Ace, please get your finger out of your nose”
Her — She fixates on me with a stare that is a perfect combination of disdain and boredom that only a three year old can perfect. The finger is still in the nose. And by the way she isn’t even DOING anything with the nose. There is no search and rescue operation happening. It is an idle finger, shoved up her nose. For effect.
Me — “Seriously Acie, get that finger out of your nose. That is ka-ka”.
Her — The look continues, but she might have actually rolled her eyes at me.
Me — I pull her finger out of her nose and say “No, Acie”
Her — The finger goes RIGHT back to the nose. Lips are pursed
Me — “ACE, no thank you. Stop it with the nose”
Her — Finger. Back. In. Nose. Then the other one too.
Continue off and on for the next 25 minutes (the stamina on that child is impressive).
Beyond the obvious question of why I was having an argument with a three year old, I was mentally marking how she is turning into a real toddler who has an opinion and personality. The special ed teacher walked up to me after observing our nose issues. “So, you are starting to see the stubbornness, huh?”. I just thought this was an off comment, lots of kids are stubborn. Most of mine, actually. She continued “that is the biggest challenge with them during the next few years, trying to manage that stubborn streak and not turn things into issues while still showing them that they have to use the correct behavior”. Wait a minute. Them? They? It suddenly occurred to me that she was referring to something that is a DOWN SYNDROME thing, and not a MY KID thing.
I am not sure if someone TRIED to tell me about stubbornness being something that is a big hallmark of T21, but in between all the talk of angelic sweetness and grocery bagging I missed that one. As I walked around the zoo with a toddler who had two fingers shoved up her nose, I was not impressed. If the nose thing is any indication, the tween years are going to be a treat. And since I am already doing the tween thing with a fairly stubborn girl, I don’t even have ignorance to get me through it.
So here is to you mom!! Remember all those times you wished (either secretly or out loud) that I would have the pleasure of raising a child just like myself? Bwua-ha-ha-ha. I hope that 37 years wasn’t too long to wait. How is that revenge? Is it really better served cold? In all fairness, I have long since accepted that I will ever be as kind and loving and PATIENT as my mom was. And she had twice as many kids. I had a great example in my mother on how to be an invested and present mother. I need to do better on that one. At least I can send my tweens to her and let her work her magic on them.
Happy Mother’s Day to all you mamma’s. Even to the ones who have stubborn, nose picking daughters. Especially to those moms.