Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Seeing the World Differently

When Beth was born I remember searching for pictures and books that would show what our lives would be like when she got older. What do adults with Down Syndrome look like? How do they act? What are their families like?

With no internet back then, I basically had encyclopedias and outdated books from the library. The hospital gave us one that was in black and white and only had drawings, no photographs. I think it was from the 60's. To this day I remember the desire, the ache to know what life would be like when she was an adult. 

Today, I'm living in that future and it's not as big a deal as I first thought. If I had known someone who had a grown child with Ds and they told me that their child did this and that, I would have assumed Beth would do this and that too. But I'm older now and I realize that people with special needs are as different as everyone else. Just cause your child does something doesn't mean mine will and vise versa.

Our day to day life can be pretty boring. I keep teaching Beth, keep showing her how to do things. Things my other girls picked up naturally. Cell phones for instance. Beth turns her ringer off all. the. time. I got home home from work yesterday and went downstairs to say Hi. She immediately asked if I got her text. I told her I did and that I replied to her, did she get MY text? No. Then she started to dig in her purse to find her phone. Which means she sent me the text, then tossed her phone into her purse.

She called the house earlier today and I was out pulling weeds. By the time I got to the phone, she hung up so I called her back. It went straight to voice mail so I expect her ringer is off and she didn't hear it. So now I don't know if she was upset about something or just calling to tell me what she sang at karaoke or to ask what we're having for dinner tonight. I went back to pulling weeds and starting thinking about how I need to explain to her - again - about keeping her phone volume up and keeping it near her if she's texting or calling people.

Then I starting thinking about how I never had to explain that to Sharaya and Diana. They just knew. In fact, they explain things to ME, "Mom, we use vowels now when we text." Oh.

Beth still needs to be taught so many things that I figure she should just know. Like the phone thing. Or laundry. She pours the laundry soap in. POURS. I tried showing her the lid with the lines inside to help you measure... but those were hard for me to see, and I wondered if they were hard for her to see too. So I bought a small measuring cup and explained that she only needs a certain amount... problem solved. Now she uses the measuring cup every time.

What will life be like when your child grows up? Pretty basic. Some days will be down right boring. And it may look very different from ours. But I think, especially if your child lives with you into adulthood, that there will be times when the usual just won't work and you'll need to adjust. Adjust teaching methods. I think you'll always be teaching. And I think you'll see the world differently.


Jacqueline said...

This post was just what I needed to hear today. Thank you : )

Becca said...

What Jacqueline said. :-) Thank you for the reminder to have patience with some things, and to be creative in coming up with solutions.

Stephanie said...

I have already seen things differently than I would have if Owen wasn't in my life. This is a good reminder to just slow down and think about things from someone else's perspective.

Anna Theurer said...

Ah, the phone. It isn't just Beth. It is my dad too with the ringer. He either has the ringer off of the phone completely off--even though he is waiting for my mom to call after she gets off work!

Good call on the measuring cup. I can't see those lines either. Anyway, I like this post. You are honest about life and you remind me just how patient we need to be (patience is a virtue that I am sorely lacking!).

So. . . what did Beth sing at karaoke?

Mardra said...

Truer words have never been spoken!

When our kids (your and mine) were born adults with Down syndrome were, at least in my world, mis-represented or under represented. The world looked like a scary place.

That is why I'm glad you're making a statement (so to speak) and I decided to, too.

Jenny said...

I can't even tell you how much I loved reading this! Truly, this was a great post Cindy.

ckbrylliant said...

I love hearing about the everyday things. Oh and I love the new picture and colors on the blog!