December 23, 2010


I am raising two very different children.  Other than a deep love for each other, I don't think they have anything in common. 

Monkey bear had her preschool family celebration the other day.  The kids filed in and stood with their toes on a line and sang a song... at least that was the intention.

Monkey bear froze as soon as she walked into the room and had to be led to the line by a teacher.  She did manage to do the hand signs but that was it.  There was a lot of nose/eye/mouth rubbing and when the hand wasn't enough, she proceeded to lift her dress and wipe her face with that.  Monkey bear did warn me ahead of time that she wasn't going to sing anything.

Meanwhile, my buddy walked from person to person like the mayor of Munchkinville.  He smiled and waved at anyone who would look at him.  My buddy loves the attention - looking each person in the eye then smiling that award winning smile.  Of course, he took a break now and then to try and run out the door or lick the floor - it is hard to resist licking a shiny surface.

One of the most fun parts of parenthood is finding out who your children will turn out to be. 

December 17, 2010


We were sitting down to a relaxing meal when I was blindsided.  By relaxing meal, I mean that my buddy had completely covered the hand I use to hold his plate in food and had moved on to stuffing peas down his shirt.  Then out of nowhere, monkey bear says, "Will my buddy be a Daddy when he grows up?"

After I swallowed the lump in my throat the conversation continued:

"No, he won't be a Daddy"
"What will he be?"
"Just a grown up."
"Why won't he be a Daddy?"
"Because he has Down syndrome he can't have kids."
"Oh, so he'll be a Buddy Walk guy."
"Uh sure.  And he will be an uncle to your kids."
"Can I call him Uncle Phil?"
"You could, but his name isn't Phil."

It's funny how things you don't think of often come up in the most unexpected ways.  I hate having to say it out loud and put it so plain to monkey bear, but I don't want to lie to her.  I wouldn't want her blindsided by the truth some day.

December 12, 2010

the r-word

After you are part of the Down syndrome community for a certain amount of time, you learn how everyone feels about the r-word.  You also come to realize how different it feels to hear the word after Ds is a part of your life.  You are also, inevitably, faced with how you will react when you hear someone use the r-word.  The other day I failed miserably.

I was in the grocery store with monkey bear and my buddy.  My buddy had spent the entire time throwing any item he could get his hands on out of the cart.  I alternated between picking food up off the ground and holding his arms still while he screamed at me.  We had finally made it to the check-out line.

I was unloading groceries with my back to my buddy.  He was in arms reach of the 5 foot tall Andy's candies cardboard display.  My buddy took the whole display down scattering boxes of Andy's candies every which way.  I was at the end of my rope.

The teenage cashier was ringing our food up when her friend came over and was making silly noises.  The cashier, under her breath, laughs and says, "You are so retarded."  I stood there paralyzed and had a very long discussion with myself in my head.

For those of you who don't know me personally, I will tell you that speaking my mind is not something I do easily.  I often find myself saying something in my head over and over and never being able to get it out.

So there I was considering just what I would say to her, wondering if she knew what Down syndrome was, feeling my face flush just thinking of the confrontation.  Before I knew it, the moment had passed and I said nothing.  I wonder if the situation were to happen again tomorrow if I would react any differently.