I talked to my grandma on the phone yesterday and she was asking how Finn is doing. I told her about his surgery last week and that he's doing really well, and that developmentally he's doing well. She said, "Well, I guess he must have a mild case of Down syndrome." You know, like it's a sickness or something . . . like, maybe he has just a touch of the flu or something.
Later in the conversation I told her how we just love him to pieces, and she said, "Oh yes, those babies are so loveable! They're known for that."
It was on the tip of my tongue to launch into the whole explanation of how there's no such thing as a "mild case of Down syndrome." I wanted to tell her, too, that we love him to pieces because he's our son, not because he's extra loveable because he has Down syndrome. But you know what? I just didn't have the energy. She's 87 and very set in her ideas and notions, and I just felt too tired to try to enlighten her.
I think the stereotype of children with Ds being so loving is one that bothers me more than some of the other stereotypes. That and the "they're so happy" one. When I hear that, it always feels like the message really is "They're too dumb to be anything but happy and loving. Happily stupid. And isn't that great?" Something like that. I know people don't mean that, and I know my grandma means well, I really do know that. And maybe it's just impossible to understand why the stereotypes are so irritating unless you're standing on this side of things, and not as an outsider looking in.
Adieu - After more than two years and 555 posts (556 counting this one!), I'm saying goodbye to Adventures in Motherhood. I'm ready for a change, and I've started ...
6 years ago