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Through My Child’s Eyes

This week, I am absolutely digging this story posted on the Huffington Post parents feed.

It’s all about the way one family told their son he has Down syndrome. I love how the kid just basically shrugs his shoulders and goes on about his day, the weight of what his parents had known for so long having absolutely no impact.

Kids are funny like that. In my house, if someone wants donuts for breakfast and I can’t instantaneously produce donuts (and typically, I won’t even try because we have what we have. You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit, right?!) there’s practically a mutiny. But you tell a kid something monumental like, “Hey, um, so you have this syndrome….” and they shrug it off like it’s the least impressive thing they’ve ever heard in their life.

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Once upon a time, I told my middle daughter, who is now 7, that she has a syndrome. We were in the car, where all good and important conversations are had, and I said something like, “Hey, so you know how you have this and this and this happening? And you know how you sometimes feel like this? And you know how we see doctor so and so? Well, that’s all because you were born extra super special and you have this thing called a syndrome. And it makes you just a leeeeeeeeetle bit different from everyone else. But super cute and awesome.” She had a couple of questions as she tried to grasp exactly what that meant and specifically how she was different from anyone else, because it was clear she did not feel any different from anyone else. And then she kind of shrugged her shoulders and that was the end of it.

That was the only time we ever offfically had any kind of “talk” about “it.”

From time to time, something will come up and she’ll ask me in that big personality way of hers if this something is the result of her having a syndrome.

Like, for example, all the times I have to remind her that she’s a little bit on the little side. Because this kid thinks she is enormous.

“You’re kind of little, remember?” I’ll ask.

“No. No, I’m not. I’m not little,” she’ll tell me.

She has the most bouyant and exuberant personality of anyone I know. In her eyes, she towers over everyone. In her mind, my kid is always stronger and tougher than your kid. I always know it’s coming because she cocks her head to one side, sticks out her hip on the opposite side and scrunches her little squishy face into most adorably sour scowl you’ve ever seen, her curls bobbing as she throws attitude. Then comes her signature sigh. “Argggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. So, is this ’cause I have syndrome?” she’ll ask.

And then you know I have to laugh.

Why must I laugh? Because “syndrome” is never followed by an article like “A” or “the” nor is it ever followed by the proper first name of the syndrome. It’s always just, “Is this ’cause have syndrome?” And I find that fantastically hilarious. It absolutely suits this kid and her spunky and scrappy demeanor.

scrap•py
ˈskrapē/
2. informal
determined, argumentative, or pugnacious.
“he played the part of a scrappy detective”

That’s the very definition of my kid–determined and argumentative. I hope she never loses that quality.

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