I learned something this week. I have a chip on my shoulder. When it comes to Down syndrome, I am starting to expect the worst from people. It started a few weeks ago when I was discussing Eon's transition into the toddler room at church with the coordinator, who is also a good friend. I thought it would be helpful to have our oldest daughters take turns being in there with him to assist him if needed (mostly because he doesn't do well without "his people" around).
Thinking aloud, my friend thought through potential issues with this arrangement and I became ridiculously defensive. I erroneously assumed it was turning into a fight for my son's "rights" and became loaded for bear. Turned out to be a complete non-issue.
This week, I'm working in the nursery for VBS (vacation Bible school). There is a petite little girl in there who is 2yo. Eon tends to crawl like a boy on a mission with his head down and really fast. The first night, he almost ran into the little girl and she freaked. From then on, she'd whimper when he got too close and point him out when he made too much noise. My assumption was that she was scared of him because he's different. It made me sad.
Fast forward to the next night. A typical little girl, Eon's age, got too close to the first girl and she freaked again. After that, anytime that girl got too close, she whimpered. She forgot all about her fear of Eon. I realized I just assumed the problem was Down syndrome, not that the little girl has space issues.
I'm the one with issues. I have to lose this attitude I've begun to carry around! There is nothing wrong with being an advocate, but not to the point that I alienate those around us. What does that communicate to people, if I'm constantly expecting them to treat him differently? I think it just showcases his differences and certainly doesn't convey the intended message that he's more alike than different.