Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I'm pretty much a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kinda girl--which has its good points and its bad points...it does mean that I end up speaking my opinion (and probably irritating a lot of people) WAAY too often when really I should just keep my mouth shut, but it also means that I'm pretty open and honest.

Over the past few days though, I've been tempted to break that policy.  Let me explain:

In the past week there have been a plethora of people asking me how old Miss B is.  While that may seem like a fairly innocent and harmless question to most people...for Miss B, it's not.  It's complicated and anxiety provoking and makes me want fib a bit because she's not doing all the things a typical 18-month-old would do.

I was at the park the other day with Miss B and Fearless when a mom with 9-month old twins came up to me and asked if her sons could sit and play with Miss B.  She plopped them down next to her, and they were all about the same size.  They were doing about the same things--sitting, crawling, putting leaves in their mouths...Miss B was a little more social and wanted the boys to play with her...but at first glance, you would have thought they were all the same age.  While making small talk, the mom asked how old Miss B was.  I paused for a minute, considering.

Should I tell the truth? or fudge a little bit?...or maybe I should just say "One" and leave it at that...or maybe I could say "her birthday is in April" or maybe I should just say it like I did with the boys and say how many months she is...

I eventually decided on the last option due to my desire to try raise Miss B just like my other kids as much as possible.

After what was probably a longer than socially acceptable pause for such a simple question, I finally busted out with "18 months" and she started eyeing Miss B a little more closely.  In fact, she gave her the full on, up-and-down eye sweep.  And then after another 30 seconds or so, she picked up her twins and moved a few feet away.  There was no specific reason that I could see to move her kids away...and it wasn't like they went that far...maybe the mom was just tired of my small-talk but it seemed odd that our little spot was no longer suitable so soon after I stated Miss B's age.  I tried to brush it off, thinking that I'm probably just over sensitive.

But then it happened again while we were at the pumpkin patch yesterday.  Miss B was playing happily in the corn box (cute pictures to come later!) when another mom started smiling at her and saying how cute she was...and the she asked how old she was.  When I said "18 months" (still determined to do it the same as I did with T-Man and Fearless) the mom gave Miss B the same scrutinizing gaze that makes me want to grab Miss B and hide her behind me.  All the smiling, cooing, admiring was gone and replaced with a piercing stare.  End of conversation.

And then it happened at the grocery store.

And then it happened on the soccer fields.

And I'm sure it will happen again.

I'm also pretty sure that if I just said she was a bit younger, we would avoid the staring.  But Miss Banana IS 18 months old.  And she is doing a zillion great things.  So why should I have to lie about her age to avoid people's stares?

And why do I care if people stare?  Why am I even tempted to lie about a silly thing like her age?  Miss B is an amazing little girl and if people can't handle that she's not walking or talking like her typical peers, that's their problem. 

Part of the problem is that I need to be better about not caring about what other people think.  I don't usually care what people think when it relates to myself, but for my children?  That's hard.  Especially when Miss B has done nothing except have an extra chromosome to draw people's stares.

I have the feeling that in the long run, the stares aren't going to go away and we will all just have to get used to it.  Maybe someday I'll get to that point.  Not there yet though.


Courtney said...

What do people have to stare at? What is the big deal? I love that you speak your mind and don't change (it just let's them win).
That is weird about the Mom with the twins- what difference does age make- Are all of our friends the exact age as us, NO. We, as a general populace of persons are all at distinctly developmental stages. These women are obviously at the developmental stage of a bratty teenage girls.

Sweet Pea's Mommy said...

Oh boy do I know how you feel! There are so many times that I want to say 9 months instead of 18 months. It's very hard to guess what is going on in people's heads. I have yet to lie, but boy have I been tempted to. I don't know why, but I often say 18 months, but she has Down syndrome and she is doing wonderful. I wish I didn't feel like I needed to advertise the DS as if it was an excuse. It's not WHO she is so why do I feel I need to say it? I don't know, but it's how I tend to handle this situation. Maybe I hope that by saying it, it won't be the unspoken question and if they had questions they could ask openly? Doubt that is the reason, but I'll pretend :-)

I hope those other mothers start to wise up and stop staring at sweet Miss B! She is so adorable!!!

Kristin said...

That is weird. Haven't experienced that one yet. I did have someone at the park ask me if Max was crawling (he was asleep in the stroller). He wasn't at the time. I did feel a little uneasy. But then I just told them why - he had Ds and it may take him longer to do things. The lady (grandma to the kiddo playing at the park) just said, Oh, and that was pretty much it.
It's almost like they want to 'one-up' your kid. Like if their kid was younger and already sitting, crawling, walking, etc., it would be their proud moment.

Talley Images said...

I really just dont get people sometimes... ugh, and I really dont understand, especially with Miss B - she is gorgeous and amazing.

molette said...

I just recently found your blog. I am in shock at how these people treated your daughter! That is just awful. I hope and pray my children never grow up to be like these adults. What are they teaching their children? Im so sorry you and your beautiful girl were treated so rudely!

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