And This is the One I Worry About….

3 comments
additional needs, down syndrome, down's syndrome, equality, family, inclusion, love, special needs

AND THIS IS THE ONE I WORRY ABOUT…..

LITERALLY just the other night I was at a friend’s house enjoying a lovely festive evening of drinks and nibbles and chatting with some other mums. We all talked about our kids in various forms. They all know Seb pretty well, as do most people at his school. But it was Dominic I was talking about.

I’ve written before about how much I worry about him. He is a sensitive soul, he is a middle child and to top it off he doesn’t have a unique gender position within the family, like his sister does.

Seb naturally gathers attention wherever he goes. Not because he is “different” but because of his lust for life and ability to savour every second of every day and live in the moment. He has an incredible amount of empathy, he is full of charisma and confidence and he oozes charm. He deals with the here and now without being clouded by the past or the future.  He has a wicked sense of humour and, perhaps his greatest strength, he can laugh at himself.

By comparison, Dominic is very self aware. He dies of embarrassment if he falls over. He is very cautious on his scooter and he is very considered and thoughtful. If he has a bad experience it stays with him.  He has also started to notice how much attention Seb naturally affords.

Anyway, I was saying to the mums how I worry about Dominic as Seb (honestly) is like a minor celebrity in the playground. As we leave for home it takes ages to get out the door amidst the high fives and the “hey Seb”s and “see you later, Seb”s.

He also commands extra attention for me. With his tendency to run off, my eyes are on him ALL the time and poor Dominic is often left holding the baby, well the buggy at least, whilst I chase after his brother. Even strangers talk to Seb. I guess meaning well and not wanting to appear to be ignoring him, he gets a lot of people talking to him in the street.

As Dominic is a September baby he was allowed to do one year at pre school last year as a sort of pre-pre-school and another official one this year. So the dynamics have changed dramatically for him. Last year he was the smallest and the youngest. He had a few run ins with some of the bigger and older boys (which broke my heart). And so this year he has his turn at being the biggest (and then I worried he would turn into a pickle with the littlest ones to make up for last year!).

Anyway, the very morning after I had been having this discussion, I dropped him off a little late (yes, I had a tiny hangover). As he walked in, a crowd suddenly appeared around him. Like a king holding court. All saying hello and high fiving him. “Dominic’s here!” someone piped up and I could see the pride in Dominic’s face at such a warm welcome.

Then I really laughed as one of the key workers let out a sigh of relief that he had arrived. “They all talk about him before he’s here, asking where he is……he is the Danny Zuko of pre-school” she added.

It made me chuckle so much and I cannot begin to tell how much relief it has brought me that he has the opportunity to shine in his setting, to be his own person and make and nurture friendships without being overshadowed by his ridiculously confident brother!!!!

DECEMBER 2014

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3 thoughts on “And This is the One I Worry About….”

  1. J Jones says:

    I found your blog through the BBC Ouch feature today, which I found really thought provoking and I really agree with the point about adults having a far bigger issue with disability than children.
    I was so interested to see you refer to your non-disabled children, how you deal with disability with them and the effects on them – I don’t hear that perspective in much of the disability-related stuff I see. I’m an (adult) sibling of a disabled person, and I just wanted to mention a book I found helpful called ‘Being the other one: Growing Up with a Brother or Sister Who Has Special Needs’ – I only recently found this (in my thirties!), and I wish I’d known about it sooner – apologies if you have already though. I hope you don’t mind the comment, I don’t normally (ever!) comment on these kinds of blogs! Clearly you have dealt with and continue to deal with so much, and thank you for sharing this so positively and thoughtfully.

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    • Wow julia, thank you so much for your lovely response. It is so nice to hear from your perspective and I haven’t heard of that book but will definitely get hold of a copy. It is my middle child I worry about the most, but so far, even though he is only 4, is showing empathy way ahead of his years and is a very caring little thing! Hopefully that will continue. As parents, especially mothers, I think we are conditioned to feel guilty about everything and worry we are making a mess of things so your comments are much appreciated x

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  2. J Jones says:

    No worries, I’m pleased the comments are appreciated. I hope the book is helpful, it’s designed partly for parents, but I haven’t recommended it to a mum so far – it covers all sorts of things and some of it might make slightly tough reading but it’s positive and supportive overall – see what you think, and if you don’t like it, ignore!! It sounds like your 4 year old is delightful, and you’ve clearly put lots of thought into how you’re bringing them all up. All the best, J

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