The first time he said "Down Syndrome"
November 30 2006, 12:49 PM
We have been talking to our son Walker about Down Syndrome pretty much since day two. He has played with many kids with Ds and hasn't really noticed a thing. He also has gone a couple of times to Eliza's Easter Seals playgroup which is all pre-walkers of which there is one other baby with Ds. All along the way we have asked Do You Have Any Questions about Down Syndrome? To which he has given that 4 year old blank stare of "Not really interested Mom." He has asked "Why doesn't Eliza walk?" or "Why does she go to the PT, ST etc."
Anyway, this weekend we were on a hike and out of the blue he starts telling a story about Sam. Same is a little boy with muscular dystrify in the ES playgroup. Eliza just loves Sam and he doesn't take his eyes off of her. She always crawls over and runs her fingers through his hair before she takes off for the ball pit.
Sam has this vacuum thing that sucks the saliva out of his mouth. It's very loud and fascinates all the babies, and Walker really is dying to get his hands on that thing. So, Walker is telling this story about Sam, and says "Sam has Down Syndrome." We try to explain that he doesn't, but Walker goes on to tell a story about three babies with Down Syndrome who are on a treasure hunt...
Janet and i look at each other. It's the first time he has said the words. He has been processing,but somewhere along the way i think he thinks everyone with anything "different" has Ds.
This morning Walker is reading National Geographic Kids when he shouts out "Look, a girl with Down Syndrome!" Sure enough there was a WONDERFUL article about a 16 year old. One for Eliza's positive article book for sure.
I ask him - How did you know she has Ds? Well she's different, he says. People are all different, in different ways - I'm trying to explain. I said, look at her beautiful eyes they look like your sisters. I really am trying to find the right words here.
"Eliza doesn't have Down Syndrome." Walker then says. "yes she does." I say. Then he starts naming off some other kids and if they have Ds or not.
The conversations will be starting. He is noticing the difference, when sometimes all i think of is the same. I always wanted to be honest with him, but sometimes i have to think about how he interprets things. He loves his sister so much that is one thing i know for sure, and he is Eliza's favorite person for sure.