Saturday, October 27, 2007

31 for 21: What to say

I have encountered plenty of people who ask "How old is she?" when Braska and I are out together here and there. They always guess her age about 5 months younger than she is, but that's ok, since that's what size she is. I have said several times that I can imagine it will bother me a bit more, although still not a huge deal, when she turns one next month and I see their reaction to that, as she still is in her car seat/carrier when we're in a restaurant or in a store since she doesn't sit up.

Today, I met some friends for brunch. The waitress was a nice enough, very young girl, and she started cooing at Braska right away. That's nice. I don't mind, Braska likes the attention, and I'm proud of my cutie. The waitress asked her age, and I told her 11 months. She then said, "But she's not walking yet?" as she noticed that she was up to the table in her car seat/carrier. I just agreed and said, "Not yet." She said she had a 14-month-old and told me how soon I'd be running after her. "Mine was walking by then," she said, referring to Braska's age. I just smiled and took a drink, trying to politely end that part of the conversation, hoping that one of my friends with me would say something about food or that she would walk away to let us look at the menu. She paused a moment, then finally said she'd be back in a minute.

I told my friends then that I never know what to say, and that's the truth. I almost feel like I want to defend Braska or something...like it's not her fault that she doesn't sit yet. But I also don't want to be just constantly blurting out that she has DS for no real reason. So I guess it's something I'll get used to. It's better now that her feeding tube is under her shirt instead of in her nose... that helps cut down on comments and questions, but still. Maybe I'll sit down and plan out some possible statement that I can kind of keep in mind. That's how I am. I like to be ready for situations. Then again, maybe I'll just go with it.

I don't mind telling her "story." So it's not that, I just wish I new what the right time was to say this or that.

11 comments:

  1. Man :( I am sure she wasn't trying to be rude, but I can understand and feel your pain with how uncomfortable that would be! Huge hugs to you from me! Kallie is 8 and I still don't know how to handle uncomfortable situations!

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  2. I totally know what you mean. Georgia still sits in her carseat at restaurants too b.c while she is sitting, she gets kind of crazy about it and flings back and I am too worried she will hurt herself. Some people don't realize when they are pushing things...they just don't realize. IF you figure out what to say, let me know!!! :)

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  3. You know, we had a similar situation with Ruby, when we brought her to an event at our older daughter's school. This other parent would NOT let it go, how tiny Ru is - we told her our standard, "She's just a slow grower" and she kept on about it. Finally my husband told her, well, she does have Down Syndrome - and the woman didn't believe him. It was ridiculous! It was really rude, she said things like, "How do you know? I can't tell." (in a super snotty voice) Well, if random rude people can't tell, it must not be true!

    Tell what you're comfortable sharing, and don't worry about it. Or come up with some super sassy comebacks - and then share them with us!

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  4. We certainly aren't required to explain to them, but I think I always did. The only problem with that is they either won't know what to say or the always say uneducated remarks like "Downs Babies are always so happy."

    Make sure you come enter my giveaway this week. It starts today!!!

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  5. I find myself in the situation quite often too. I usually end up saying something like she enjoys taking her time doing things so that we can savor every wonderful moment and milestone! Sappy I know, but it's my way of saying we are happy with it all. :)

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  6. I can understand your dilemma. Have you tried just mentioning her open heart surgery at 3 months? I would think people would then just say how healthy she looks now and leave the whole "timetable" thing alone....

    Dad

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  7. Hey-My daughter is almost 5 but she looks around 3 (and acts more like a 3 yr old) So, when people ask me how old she is and I say 4 or almost 5 they sometimes look at me like-ookay)lol.Ive been dealing with this forever.How old is your baby is just such a comman question I guess.

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  8. You know, the funny thing with this is that it really is not all about the fact that she has DS. People love to talk about how their baby did something that yours can't do being completely insensitive to everything else. You know Maddy and Grace were a year before they were walking and so many people were always like "oh my kid was walking at 9 months." I usually just told them that I was sorry for them because now their kids were into everything, and they had to chase them everywhere. Or I would say you know it is so much easier to take them places before they can walk, aren't I lucky! I think most people are looking for some validation that their kids are some how better than everyone elses, stupid people. Karen K

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  9. I wish there were some kind of guide book that we could just open on the spot and have a witty, generous and educational answer all ready for us. If you find one, let me know.

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  10. I have a 4 year old with Ds who we just adopted from Ukraine. He weighs 19 pounds on a good day & wears 12-18 month clothes. Everyone is always asking how old "the baby" is. I've even have doctor's say "He can't be 4." Now, he has casts on both legs(correcting clubbed feet) & I get "How did such a small little baby break both his legs?" I have taken the attitude that I'd rather people ask than just stare. And, since as a teacher I always said "No question is a dumb question" then I try to always give a positive answer. There is no "right" answer, but please don't let it discourage you. You can always say "Everyone is different and she's doing things at her own pace. She's working on it and she'll get there in her own time." I do mention that our son has Ds if someone asks certain questions because I look at it as an opportunity to share the joys of my son with complete strangers. And, you never know when you are talking to someone who will one day be a new parent/grandparent or whatever facing a diagnosis of Ds...and they just might remember you and how positive you were and how much you loved your little girl. And if people get too stupid or try the pity routine(where they act like they feel sorry for me or my son), i just tell them he's perfect just the way he is. My thought process is that if I react positively to strangers now, then I will teach my son(and my other children) to react positively in the future.

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  11. Don't feel too bad about them guessing a younger age. We went to Wal-mart the other day and the checker thought that Rhett was only 7 months old.....um....try two!!!

    Her jaw about dropped and she couldn't dig herself out fast enough when I told her how old he really was.

    People can be pushy and rude, and I guess there isn't much we can do about it. Sighs......

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