The Hailey Herald

The Hailey Herald

Monday, March 12, 2012

Extra attention & looks

My children seem to get attention no matter where they go.  Yes, I'm biased and think they are all wonderful but they always do.  My oldest always has a smile on his face (99%) middle child has a deep voice that sounds like the Godfather (people really stare at that one)...and Hailey likes to high 5 people and play shy.  Overall they are good mostly middle son will occasionally get a little rambunctious but it is still winter in the Midwest and we don't always get all his energy burned off.  In church, I generally get compliments from older members of the congregation that they were very well-behaved (hmm...I wonder if that is because one or more of them fell asleep during mass!) and Hailey enjoys a good game of peek-a-boo around mommy to see who she can get to smile at her.  However, I have found since having Hailey people stare more.  As a typical mom....I "assume" it is because she has such beautiful eyes, who can resist those dimples, and that giggle is contagious.

However, recently, I have become more realistic.  People are curious.  It is human nature...they want to "know" consequently, they are "nosy".  Some people still don't realize that she has Down syndrome but I think overall, they do.  Some people know another person with Down syndrome and see her beauty inside and out.  Some have never met anyone with Down syndrome and want to know more.  Does she sit quietly in the corner like a wallflower?  How does she behave?  Does she throw tantrums?  Is she well-behaved or a hellion?  How do her parents act with her?  How does she relate to her siblings?  Does she talk/babble or is she quiet?  Is she "lazy" or does she move around?  Is she strong or does low tone mean weak?  Is she "sickly"?  What can she "do"?   I do believe that there are people in this world that are ignorant and will choose to stay that way.  I have little patience or energy for them.  But the people who are genuinely curious and want to know more...go right ahead...I will answer almost any question you have about my daughter or Down syndrome.  I would much rather them ask and be curious than look away and ignore.

Overall, we have not had many bad or uncomfortable experiences.  We get the typical, "oh, they are always so happy"...well, she's not a breed of unless they are referring to all my children lumped can leave out the "they".  This person has obviously not seen my daughter when her parents are not getting her bottle quick enough or have left her in the room when she wants held.  The girl is NOT always happy....she has a grumpy streak.  Some people make odd comments.  At preschool drop-off the other morning, a mom said, "oh, I just love it when she sticks her tongue out".  This made me cringe.  We had been doing so well with keeping Hailey's tongue retracted until she started teething.  We are working so hard on it and it was the one thing this mom commented on.   I had one lady tell me what a rough road we had ahead of us.  I just shrugged and said, "don't all parents"?

To all the people who stare out of curiosity, here are a few answers to your questions....

She plays well with her brothers

They love her very much
Her cousins love to play with her

She likes everyone to know she is here.

She plays with her toys

She is mischievous & gets everything she is not supposed to have

She is NOT always happy

She plays so hard, she doesn't care where she naps

Her parents are head over heels for her

She has daddy wrapped around her little finger
She is a baby...just like her two older brothers.  She basically has done and is doing the same things they did at her age.  She has hit a few of her milestones a little later than they did but overall, she has been an easier baby than the two of them.  Not to mention...she sleeps through the night! 

I'm happy to help educate anyone on Down syndrome and our "normal" life, but as my mom told me growing up, "if you don't have something nice to say, keep your mouth shut".


  1. Great post Michelle! I have to say, I get so irritated when people lump Abby into the "they" group (loved the "not a breed of dog" comment). The fact that she is happy at some points has nothing to do with her having Down syndrome. The fact that she is stubborn as all get-out, has more to do with the fact that her parents full of stubbornness. Unfortunately I've found that the "ignoring of the individuality of each child" is not something only parents with "typical" kids do. I know someone who's son has Down syndrome, and every time I make a comment about Abby, she has to compare it to her son, or "our children" - it drives me nuts! Abby is happy, cranky, wonderful, silly, stubborn, and so much more because she is ABBY - nothing else! Down syndrome is a part of her - it isn't WHO she is - it doesn't define her.

    Something I've found, that you may have as well, is that people look to me for my "reaction" to Abby. I think when they see I treat her like a person, they see that as well. When people ask questions I tell them, and I usually do with a smile. The more "normal" I am, the more "normal" they can be. In fact, I've gotten to the point that I don't even notice - I'm thinking they are looking at a kid throwing a tantrum, or a kid greeting them with a smile - and no one can resist Abby's smile!

    Thanks for your thoughts - they are great ones!

  2. I know exactly whay you mean. Sometimes I feel like turning around and saying, "She has Down syndrome! It's no big deal!" Haha.

  3. Great post for sure. And the pic of her crying is so sweet. Does that make me a sadist for thinking that? And the ones of you with her are really just priceless. Beautiful mommy with her lovely girl.

  4. Excellent post! I am with you, I much rather have people ask questions than just look away and ignore. I love all of the Hailey pics :)

  5. I've tagged you for my 11 Things blog meme - would love it if you'd participate!