Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Down syndrome: The mark of Cain

OK, my terminology is a bit strong. But I could sense Ricki’s exasperation yesterday evening as someone just categorically boxed and labeled her.
We were at a bus stop, coming home after Ricki’s regular Monday exercise class. As we were sitting, Ricki suddenly decided to pour herself a drink from a bottle she had packed and brought along with her. I warned her that the bus could come any minute, and that she would not be able to get on the bus with a full glass (paper) of drink. The motion of the bus would automatically cause spills. Well, she insisted that she was thirsty, and was gosh-o-golly going to have a drink. At that point a woman came over and tried to pour the drink for her. Ricky was rather shocked. I shook my head, commenting “She can manage OK, don’t worry. “ A moment later she tried again, and again I had to say that Ricki didn’t need her help, she could manage on her own.
It just happens that Ricki has been pouring drinks spill-free for years. As a toddler, one month I let her pour and pour to her heart’s content. My husband suggested buying stocks in the dairy company, as we were buying bagfuls of milk. (Milk comes in bags in Israel.) But by months end she was a spill-free pourer.
Would you like to know what really made my evening?
Ricki didn’t make a face at her. She didn’t stick her tongue out. My G-d…. I think she’s maturing. She dealt with the unwanted intervention like a dog coming out of the water: shook it off, and kept on her way. (And, luckily, she finished her drink before the bus came. If she hadn’t, and we had missed the once-every-half-hour-bus, I am not sure I would have been too mature…..)

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