May 26, 2010


This evening was a little different from most.  One reason is that my buddy went to bed early leaving me and monkey bear to enjoy a little one on one.  As she was decorating cards for her cousins birthdays, she started in on the questions.  Tomorrow we have a new teacher coming for my buddy.  She's part of his early intervention team.

Monkey bear's first question was, "Why is the teacher coming tomorrow?"  I give my usual answer of, "My buddy has Down syndrome and needs some extra help learning different things."  The conversation continued from there....

"Will I have Down syndrome?"
"No, it's how my buddy was born and he'll have it his whole life."
"Why does he need a teacher?"
"His brain is a little different and he just needs extra help."
"How is my brain?"
"Uhhhh, your brain is regular."
"Was I born with Down syndrome?"
"No, just my buddy.  He'll have it forever.  It's just how he is."
"Why does he have Down syndrome?"
"It's just how he was made... just like you have brown hair.  Do you want more stickers?"

I don't want the words Down syndrome to come as a surprise to my kids, but at the same time, I don't want monkey bear to think that my buddy is all that different.  I hate to focus on it, especially when I know that an almost 3 year old has no real way to understand.  If I'm being honest here - I'm not even so sure I totally understand.  I don't know what goes on in his head.

I can't fault monkey bear for being so curious and for the part of her that wishes she has Down syndrome too.  As far as she sees, he gets lots of adult playmates and away with WAY more than she gets away with.   It's a fine line between treating him the same and giving him the intervention he needs to be the best he can be. 

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