Dear Mouse: We Had The TalkPosted: July 24, 2013
We had the talk. No, not the race talk. Not the sex talk. We had the your-brother-has-Down-syndrome talk.
You see, we never sat you and your sister down to talk about LP’s Down syndrome. For one, Chipmunk is too young for any of that discussion. At a little over two years old, she’s mainly concerned about that extra deep booger and when her next snack fix is coming. No one knows this more than you, sweetie. I know you guys trade boogers. Please stop, it is ultra-gross.
More importantly, we figured that sitting you down to “deliver the news” would likely make a big deal out of something that isn’t. Remember this: Sitting someone down to tell them that nothing is wrong is a sure-fire way to say there is something terribly wrong. We just couldn’t see that conversation going well at all. If you’d been older, we would have had the sit down talk. You’re only four. Seemed a little much.
We haven’t been hiding anything from you, though. Strangely, while your father and I were having discussions about chromosomes, disability, inclusion, and medical updates over dinner, you didn’t seem to give a flying hoot. This is very contrary to your usual nature. Meaning, you’re usually pretty damn inquisitive.
So we’ve been going along for the last few months, figuring you’d ask when you needed to know. Yesterday we were discussing our coming calendar of events. One of our errands was going to our local Down syndrome group. I wasn’t surprised when you finally asked, “What’s Down syndrome?”
Well, you know how Daddy has blue eyes, and Mommy has brown eyes? Daddy is tall and Mommy isn’t? Well, your brother has Down syndrome. It’s just one thing about him. I did not tell you that he is different, because he isn’t. He is just as much a sibling in this family as you. He is not different. He is your brother.
I did tell you that he’d do a few things later than other kiddos. He might crawl, walk, or talk later. He might learn a lot more sign language than you ever did. There’s more, but that would have entailed an impromptu genetics lesson, discussion about social justice, disability rights, and the like. Later. Don’t worry.
So your response?
“My friend Ayzumi has Down syndrome.”
(Ayzumi has been Mouse’s imaginary friend for going on two years now. Ayzumi has been orphaned, had babies, miraculously changed ages, lost pets to death, gone to college, and comes over to our house regularly for birthday parties. Like, once a week; the girl is in an alternate space-time continuum. Ayzumi has lived a very rich, varied life.)
So that’s it, huh? Figured as much. You see, Mouse, I’m pretty sure that you are wiser than I am. Given how talkative and
nosy curious you are, the fact that you had no further questions speaks volumes. There was just nothing else to know. Rock on, little mama. You’ve got your head in the right place.