Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Store

It's never happened to me before.

Asher and I were in the store check-out line. In front of us was a young mom with a boy around 7 years old. The boy turned and saw Asher standing behind him. "Hi!" he said to Asher.

Asher immediately waved "Hi." back.

"Hey! That's now how you say, hi!" the boy said. "Open your mouth and say hi!" he demanded.

I quickly responded, "That's how he says hi. He talks with his hands using sign language."

His mom jumped in, "See? You learned something today. You learned how to say "hi" in sign language. Isn't that cool?"

The boy didn't look very happy with our response. He looked back to Asher. "You're supposed to talk with your mouth. Just open it and say hi." His mother, looking mortified, roughly turned him away as she leaned down and whispered a lecture in his ear.

I looked down at Asher.  At that very moment I wanted to do two things at once. First, I wanted to get in the kids face and tell him some things are better kept in your thinking bubble. Then I wanted to leave. Forget paying for our stuff because at that moment I was feeling tears well up in my eyes.

A 10 second exchange with a little boy brought me to tears. In nearly 16 years of parenting kids with Down syndrome I've never had anything like this happen to me. But didn't happen to me, it happened to Asher! That's what upset me so; that it happened to Asher. The boy didn't even say anything mean, really, but I instantly pictured Angela walking through her high school. How often does this happen to her? How often do people give her a hard time? And Axel? Does this happen to him? So what that neither Axel or Asher would understand the words the boy used, they both certainly understand the tone behind them.

We didn't bolt from the store, but when Asher and I did get to the car I gave him a big hug. "You're perfect Asher. Everything about you is perfect."


Devon said...

Sounds like a typical day in our life. I completely understand! I can't tell you how much sadness I feel sometimes about it all.

Milena said...

I'm so sorry. On a positive note, at least the mother reacted nicely, though sadly the boy wasn't like his mom :-(

My Girls R Angels said...

That is why our kids need to be included in our public schools. If there had been children in this boy's classroom who learn differently, he would have signed back instead of making rude remarks! :( Sending cyber hugs, Leah!

Cindy said...

I bet it didn't bother Asher at all! How is he today? I hope that little boy learned a valuable lesson from Asher!

gps said...

I wasn't there, so I don't know what the kid's tone was, but depending on his age he might have just been trying to be friendly. Little kids can be innocently blunt without being mean-spirited. It is good that his mom is teaching him appropriate behavior. It sounds to me like the kind of comment a kid might make, for example, in coaching a friend in how to pump on the swings.

Leah S. said...

To all: thanks for your comments. Cindy, no it didn't bother Asher because other than "Hi", Asher has no clue what the boy said. Asher doesn't understand enough English yet at only 4 months home. But the tone was clearly understood by Asher's facial expression.

To gps: The tone was not friendly at all. It was mean and bossy, which I think is partly why his mom was looked mortified.

My hurt wasn't about the little boy. He could have his own hidden disability, and kids are kids. My hurt came from realizing how it hurts to have such exchanges.

Imogen said...

It would have hurt me too. Here's hoping the little boy was able to learn a lesson from it. Big hugs to you x x