Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Sidekick, that's how I often refer to Brinkley. Now that we don't have a home health nurse it isn't often that you see me without this little smile. That smile gets us noticed everywhere we go. Most people can not resist stopping and speaking to Brinkley, especially if he throws up his tiny hand and waves. (That little wave makes the ladies melt!)
This time last year I couldn't imagine all of the things that we are able to go out and do now. For so long it seemed like our only public outings would be to medical appointments. Many weeks we had multiple appointments each day. Just as the other moms in my support network told me, things have finally slowed down. Brinkley still has standing therapy appointments twice a week, but the doctor visits are much fewer and farther between. (We only have one scheduled visit this month and that is for his RSV vaccine.)
Things seem so much more "normal" now and I have finally gotten to the point where I don't think about the developmental and health issues on a daily basis. As a matter of fact, I don't even think about Down Syndrome most days. Brinkley is just a baby, my baby. Like any baby, we are working on learning to drink from a cup and eat from a spoon. He's working on crawling, standing, and walking. Our timing may be off from a typical child, but we are working on Brinkley's time frame and that's great!
I guess that's why I was really shocked Sunday night when the topic of Down Syndrome came up multiple times. That evening we decided to take advantage of a gift card we had received and headed to Jason's Deli for dinner. While we were eating I heard a man behind me say, "the baby in the high chair behind you has down syndrome."
What? How did he know that?
I wondered what tipped him off and if he would say something to us. He and his wife did stop and speak to us before they left. She is the caretaker for an 11 year old girl with Down's. They were very nice and made some kind remarks about Brinkley. I just couldn't get past wondering how they knew. We left Jason's Deli and went to get groceries at Trader Joe's. While waiting for Bryan to grab a last minute item an employee struck up a conversation with me about Brinkley. I told her how old he was and that he was a preemie. Her response, "my good friend has a son with Trisomy 21." She went on to tell me a little about Riley. Again, I was completely caught off guard. I couldn't imagine how she knew he had DS.
Don't get me wrong, I am well aware that there are physical characteristics of DS that are fairly easy to spot. I'm sure that those sweet little almond eyes were probably a clue. It could have even been the fact that his features are fairly small. I don't know for sure, but what I do know is that this experience was a good lesson for me. This is one that I want to share with new parents of extra special kids. It may take some time, but life will settle down. It will settle down and you will find your new normal. That new normal may even bring days that you forget (maybe for just a moment) that your child isn't typical.
Forgetting just may be the best thing we can do for our kids. When we look past their disabilities we push them to reach their full potential. We move away from limiting them and allowing them (even if subconsciously) to limit themselves.
Here's to forgetting!