The Purpose of this Blog

The goal of this blog is to provide education and bring about higher awareness about Down syndrome. It is to share that life with Down syndrome (DS) is not scary, horrible, or to be feared.

My experience comes from raising my daughter, Nebraska Larae (Braska), born November 2006 with Down syndrome.
The posts on this blog are related in some way to life with DS or disability, and they are reposted here from my other family blogs. There are links to those blogs in the margin on the right side of this blog if you would like to visit them directly.

Thank you for coming by.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A little more about tea

I really do appreciate the responses so far to my pondering and pontificating about the tea party yesterday. Good points have been made, specifically that we never know what a child is dealing with outside of our current situation where we observe them. I do not mean to assume that a child that I deem as misbehaving is being "bad" or that that her parent is lacking proper skills. It is understood that there is always information that I'm not privy to, and that's why I did not think poorly of the moms there based on the daughters' reactions.

There was a point yesterday when Braska started yelling, crying, tears and all. She gets upset when there is a piercing noise, especially a child's scream. One of the little girls, I think she's 5, did not want to sit in a chair when she arrived and became quite agitated to the point of screaming over and over. Braska fell apart, and even though this is a rare happening, it's no fun, as you can imagine. The little girl's mom was obviously trying to calm her daughter, seemed kind of embarrassed, apologizing to me for upsetting Braska, but there was nothing in that situation that could have been helped. I felt bad for her as it was such a small room there was not a way to deal with it discreetly. She got a high chair for her to sit in, and there was not a peep from her the rest of the time.

Braska's reaction is one of those things that I can't control at all. I can't discipline her for it. I can only comfort her and remove her from the triggering event until she's calm. She's upset, not acting out or defying me. And it's that realization that makes me think that some of the other behaviors that were shown might have been in the same category. Reactions to the environment, not so much "bad" behavior.

There was one instance, when one of the older little girls was playing with a display of obviously very fragile tea sets. It made me a bit anxious because her mom was on the other side of the room and not paying attention at all, chatting with some of the ladies. I kept looking back and forth, from the girl to her mom and back to the girl. Like I was telepathically trying to will the mom to notice. Then when another mom, who was talking to someone, got in the way of the little girl, the girl hit the lady several times on the back, then moved around to the side and smacked her on the arm 3 or 4 times. Hard. The sound was almost shocking. I caught myself staring with my jaw a bit slack. I looked over at the girl's mom, and she had not noticed at all. The mom who was on the receiving end of the slaps moved away and let the girl continue to play with the tea sets.

What would you do if you were the lady getting slapped by another mom's daughter? I know it's not like she would discipline her, I don't mean that. Would you want to be told of this if you were the girl's mom? I would. No doubt. That is unacceptable in my book, to slap or hit an adult repeatedly (or at all) and I'd want to know so I could address it and keep a better eye on her at least.

I'm not sure why this little sliver of a Saturday morning is sticking with me so much. But I found myself organizing things to work with Braska on specifically as we move forward the next few months. I figure it can't hurt to work on appropriate social behavior, and I'll just have to have a plan B in place for how to handle the times that the best laid plans don't pan out.

One last thing comes to mind... I know that even before I had Braska, I had very high expectations for how she would act. Before I got that diagnosis minutes after her birth, I knew my little girl would be a well-behaved little girl. There are alot of factors that go into behavior, and I'm well aware that things may change as we encounter different things. But as far as it falls on me to teach her well and guide her as she grows, proper treatment of adults, other kids, and her siblings and parents will be very high on our list of priorities. The same goes for Kinlee. Time will tell how successful I am.

For now, I'm pleased that we're often complimented on how well Braska behaves and adjusts to whatever we're doing. I'm pleased that her personality is so easygoing. She is 2, though, and things may change very soon for us. She's already showing signs of independence and a little disobedience here and there. I get laughed at alot by those of you who interact with us and think I'm way naive about how kids act. Especially Braska's therapists. They think I'm crazy. It's true that I have much to learn, and I think you're probably right that I'm quite blessed to have such a compliant, cooperative child. There's more than one of you who have told me that you hope Kinlee gives us a real taste of reality. Maybe I just need to stop overthinking things and take it as it comes. Ha! There's a thought! I'll give it a try...

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