Monday, January 11, 2010

Parenting Class

Hi it's Mommy (aka Kristy). I recently went out with a group of friends for a Mommy's night out. All these Mommy's are pretty fantastic, motivated, and just really great people. It's a pretty eclectic group of women with various backgrounds and beliefs but we have one common bond that makes our group fun and unique. We are parents of children with special needs. At this last Mommy's night out, one of the mothers asked for a list of terms that really bother us when people refer to our children. Often, people will unknowingly make comments without intent to harm. This mother is part of a parenting class and has been asked to share her experiences parenting a child with special needs and how other parents can be supportive. So this awesome Mommy is choosing to show other mothers how these comments, while intended to be supportive, really aren't. Here is the email I sent and the terms or actions that just really get me going.

Terms I HATE:

1. "Angel Baby"

2. "Kids with Downs are so sweet and always so HAPPY!"

3. "That Downs Kid"

4. Term: Retard or Retarded

5. "Does he act 'normal'?"

6. "God gives parents only what they can handle."

(To clarify: Yes, I'm a Christian and most certainly believe in God...but please don't tell me this. I know everyone in our Mommy's group has different beliefs but this statement particularly bothers me. Don't tell me what God does or does not do. There's a book for that.)


1. (Last Week)

I took our dog to the vet the other day and she asked if our dogs treated Dylan any differently because he had 'Downs'. When I asked what she meant, she said that because he was 'different', the dogs must be just so gentle with him compared to 'normal' kids.

2. (All the time but most recently last week)

"Oh! You are so lucky. He has Downs and they are just the happiest kids. Every time I see them, they are just smiling and so loving."

**(By the way, this happened last week at the grocery store and as this gal was saying all this, Dylan was literally throwing all the magazines off the racks - screaming- because he didn't want to be in the grocery seat while waiting in the check-out line. Go figure).

3. Openly touching or hugging my kid without permission because you think my kid is 'special'. That's like rubbing a strangers pregnant belly without asking AND my kid has health concerns. Thanks for sharing your germs.

My best example: a lady picking up the blanket covering Dylan's car seat two days after we got out of Children's Hospital and were getting ready for heart surgery. She literally saw that Dylan had Down syndrome, called him an "angel baby" and then kissed him on the lips before I could start screaming. (Okay. I was a little too stunned to scream but I did a lot of screaming when I got home). I did not know this lady and again, we were at the grocery store.


Ang said...

((((Kristy)))I love you all..Miss You

Meril said...

I am even coming to hate the term "special needs". It leaves a lot of important people - especially siblings - out. Tim is Tim. Dylan is Dylan. Meril is Meril.

RebeccaA said...

Great list. I have a good mom group here as well. A never ending supply of stories. My favorite with Cameron was when, shortly after his surgery to repair his cleft lip, a woman in a store commented, "isn't it too bad we fix what God has made." Like you and the woman who kissed your son on the lips, I was stunned by the moment. Of course later you think of something to say... my comment would have been, "Lady, I think God would want my son to have his lip attached to his nose." Also, sorry to read about your puppy and his illness.