Abby doesn’t say much, but if she could I’m sure it would go like this. “No no no no. No. OH HELL NO. NO no no no no. Give me a hug. A HUG RIGHT NOW! No. NO. HOW DARE YOU TOUCH ME?! No. No. Food. MORE FOOD. I threw my food on the ground. Clean it. WHY ARE YOU CLEANING THAT? I was saving it. No. No. Wanna go outside?”
You know, regular toddler stuff.
She is, in fact, a toddler. A spoiled diva toddler who has gotten away with too much because she’s too freaking adorable. But she’s also got her own stubborn personality, her own ‘free will’ that she’s learning to harness as if it were some super power. She’s frighteningly good at it, too. She yells. She throws fits. She wants HER way and she wants it RIGHT THIS SECOND.
She’s a toddler.
She’s also a toddler with Down syndrome, so it’s a tricky relationship. She knows what she wants, but doesn’t quite have the ability to express those wants all of the time. She throws fits and after a while, so do I. It’s hard, and what’s more, I get crap for saying that it’s hard. I feel like people want to think that because she has Down syndrome she’s supposed to fit into the Down syndrome stereotype of being happy placid all of the time. She’s not. She’s her own person with her own wants, likes, and PERSONALITY.
Stereotypes do exist for a reason. It is generally seen that people with Down syndrome are pretty happy. Abby is pretty happy. She’s pretty laid back too. But not anymore than Carter was at this age. My issue with this stereotype, even though it’s seen as a positive one, is that it tries to put her in a box that she doesn’t fit into. That no person I’ve ever met with Down syndrome fits into. It takes from her own individuality as a person and defines her by her diagnosis.
My friend Deanna wrote an amazing article on how the Down syndrome community has overshot in their efforts to prove that Down syndrome isn’t as horrible as some make it out to be. Read it. Right now even. I’ll wait. Listen, I’m all for showing people that Down syndrome isn’t a death sentence. That it’s not what doctors say it is when they counsel someone whose baby just got diagnosed with it. There’s a lot of misinformation about the reality of Down syndrome. I hope that this blog helps to negate some of that information. But at some point, our zealous need to prove to the world that people with Down syndrome deserve a chance at life, we’ve lost some of our grip on reality. In our characterization of all people with Down syndrome being angels, we’ve done what so many in the community hate- we’ve defined our children by their diagnosis, and not as the individuals they are:
Cute, sweet, but sometimes totally bratty, individuals.