Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tongue Tied

I know this is my second post today, but there is something I need to get off my chest.

The fact that Joey has Ds is not obvious to most people. One of the obvious indicators of Joey's Ds, however, is his cute little tongue. He often sticks it out deliberately or allows the tip to stick out of his mouth. For some reason though, this is something that people comment on all of the time and something which I am not sure how to respond to. Do I tell them he has Ds and that is why he is sticking his tongue out? Do I simply ignore the comments? Do I just laugh and say I know he likes to stick his tongue out? I am just not sure how to respond to these comments and wish people just stop commenting on it. But I'd be curious to know how other moms deal with this. Any suggestions?

The other day, however, I was shopping for a nursing bra at a maternity store and the sales girl commented on his tongue. I am not sure why, but I told her it was because he had Ds. I guess I was somewhat hoping that by telling her that, she might think twice about making such comments in the future. Instead, albeit a few minutes later, she said something else that has been bothering me for days.

Leaning over Joey's carrier she said something to the effect of "I bet this little one is going to be a lawyer someday." If I had not just told her about him having Ds I might have shrugged the comment off a bit easier. And maybe I am being overly sensitive, but this really upset me. Although I felt like crying, I simply said "just like mommy" and left feeling really defeated.

I want, with all my heart, to believe that Joey can be anything he wants to be when he grows up. But I also feel like I have to be realistic, which makes me feel bad. Am I the one limiting my baby. Do I encourage him to aspire to being a doctor or lawyer despite his Ds?

In fact one of the hardest things for me to come to grips with, with respect to Joey's Ds diagnosis, has been accepting the fact that there are limits to what my baby is going to be able to do when he grows up. So for someone to say "I bet this little guy is going to be a lawyer when he grows up" was sort of like pouring salt in the wound. It has been really hard for me to acknowledge that Joey is probably not going to go to law school, like his mommy did, or to medical school like I would have liked to have done had I been able to pass chemistry.

Instead I know that we have to set realistic goals and to celebrate the small things that Joey accomplishes. And I am very proud of all of the things he has accomplished already. He is rolling over. He smiles and coos and babbles in response to us. And he has been so brave in dealing with the hospitalizations and the surgery. I just wish it were a little easier to swallow the fact that there are limitations sometimes and I wish I knew how to intelligently respond to these situations.


  1. I always respond differently depending on my mood and how I sense the comment is being made. I'm actually the most sensitive when children comment on it because I want to use it as a teaching moment for the kids.
    As far as feeling bad about the lawyer comment, allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling and not beat yourself up about it. I'm in the same boat, still trying to figure out how I feel about everything when it comes to the diagnosis and Joaquin's potential. There are so many unknowns. You are doing such a great job with it all.

  2. oh no! and I just left a comment saying I loved his tongue! I don't have a DS baby, but I do get ridiculous comments when I'm pregnant...aka: you're huge, you must be due any second, I bet you're having a boy...etc etc. Every time. Annoying. I respond different every time - depending on how well I know the person or what my mood is. You really can't take it personal. They are strangers and most people talk before they think. You don't owe anyone a response so if you want to ignore them, you should!
    I don't know why you have to go through all this, but I do know that God loves you and your family. Lean on Him and you can get through anything. Your son is adorable and I'm happy you're blogging!

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  4. Just found your blog! My little man is a year and one day older than yours. His name is Vincent,we wanted Vinnie (which is what we call him) but a few people said we couldn't name hi that "what if he is president one day". I think about it a lot, he most likely will NOT be president! We didn't know before hand so it's not exactly the same but that darn "salt" still slips in there every once in a while. OUCH.