Thursday, July 31, 2008

My McDonald's Story

Last night we met some friends of ours, Mary and Justin, at McDonalds for dinner before heading to their brother's house to swim. You may remember that Mary and Justin are the parents of the beautiful Mr Riley and his wonderful big brother Rex.

So there we are enjoying our delicious and nutritious meal, when a lady comes up and starts shaking Ella's hand. Of course Ella is smiling at her and being her cute self. The lady says to me "Did you know Cathy McMorris?" I say yes, she is referring to Congresswoman Cathy McMorris-Rodgers who has a son Cole that has Down syndrome. The lady says "yeah, she had a Down syndrome. But HE is SUCH a doll!!!" I just stare at her speechless. Then she says something to Ella about having 2 teeth (which she really has 10 but whatever,) and walks away. As she walks out the door I say "yeah, she has 2 teeth just like you." The lady happened to be missing several teeth.

Okay, I'm sure she didn't hear me, though Chris was quick to point out that the door was still open. I am not usually an ugly person who spouts off mean things, but SERIOUSLY???? I was a little annoyed, okay a lot annoyed. First of all a mother does not have a Down syndrome, you have a CHILD who happens to have Down syndrome. People first language here people!!! Secondly, what is she implying??? That my Ella is not a doll, not the cutest thing on earth??? Perhaps I am biased but really Ella is a cutie and has the personality to go with the looks.


I don't know why I get annoyed by people's stupid comments. I am sure she meant nothing by it. I should have done the right thing and educated the lady right then, but I guess I still get shocked at what complete strangers will say to you. It's amazing to me. Really in the grand scheme of things it was not a particularly offensive comment, it just rubbed me the wrong way as so much does when in reference to Ella. I guess what bothers me is that Ella is singled out because of her Down syndrome. People always stopped and commented on Hunter when he was little, but it was because of his beautiful eyes or how well he speaks. And, there are many people out there that comment on how beautiful Ella is, but of course what stands out in my mind is always the DS stuff.

After the lady left McDonalds, my wonderfully hilarious friend Mary said that she always wishes she was quicker with her comebacks. She said that just once when someone mentioned something about Riley having Down syndrome she would like to pretend to be completely shocked and ask "WHAT??? He has Down syndrome?? How could the doctors have missed it all this time???" Boy, how funny would that be. Perhaps I will remember that next time someone says something stupid to me!!!

13 comments:

Michelle said...

Ella is BEAUTIFUL!!!

I know people don't always know better, but it still bothers me.

An acquaintance of mine was telling people how we had lost one of our twins, and it was SO TRAGIC that our surviving twin had DS. Whatever! For one thing, both our twins had DS, and that? Is not our tragedy. Not even close! Ruby is the light of our lives.

amy flege said...

look at her eyes in the photo! stunning!!! he is one hunka hunka too!!!!!
dont let that stuff get to you. its not worth it....

Mary said...

OK I have a couple of corrections to that story. First of all at least she noticed your child. My was the ugly one stuck in the corner. :-) Second you need to tell the story. I believe she actually said "ah do you have two toofers in there" and you muttered "ya two toofers just like you". And you forgot to add the part where as Chris is pointing out that the door was still open he was also scrubbing off Ella where the lady touched her. Ugh. Yucky!!! Plus he laughed at all the unPC statements that we all made. I have come to the conclusion that while these comment drive me crazy I'd rather laugh and have a sence of humour about it than get angry. I think I'd be in a padded room by now if I could laugh at the ignorance. There are the days it makes my cry but the laughter far out numbers the tear at this point.

Mary said...

That was supposed to say I'd be in a padded room if I couldn't laugh. :-)


PS- I love when we make the blog. It make me feel so loved.

Mommy to those Special Ks said...

Ella is most definitely beautiful! My grandmother... STILL 4 years later... says that Kennedy is "Down syndromed". I'm pretty sure that's not a word... but whatever. It's something about that generation, I guess.

The Bliss Family said...

OMG...sorry you have to go through that. Just goes to show there are plenty of people out there that still need us (parents) to educate them. Ella is beautiful and yes a child first, who happens to have DS. You should try your friends response and pretend to not know Ella has DS just for laughs and see what kind of response you get. I'm sure you'll get a kick out of their reaction. I'm going to keep that one in mind and try that myself...I'll let you know what happens.

Lisa b said...

Ella is gorgeous! Just look at those eyes!
have I seen her beau before ? What a handsome devil he is.

Yeah, I wish you did not feel it was your 'job' to educate people. It is an opportunity, but it is not your job. I think she did mean well. Maybe it is better if people say something rather than nothing. I had a mom take her child away from mine - at our children's hospital no less! Like any kid there doesn't have some kind of issue.

I actually caught myself today talking to a mom from our spec ed play group (my daughter has sotos syndrome hers has T21) and I was commenting to the baby how happy she is -which she is! - but I realised halfway through saying it what a DS stereotype that is so quickly corrected myself saying how both my girls are so sweet when out but monsters at home.

It is tough, I am a total bitch and so I am attempting to be charitable if people make an effort. Though I have to say all the docs, OTs and other support workers going on about how beautiful my girl is when I totally know they think she's a FLK. Well it annoys me no end.

I guess maybe there is no winning, but thanks for sharing your story here, it does help me feel more prepared for the inevitable stupid comments from strangers.

Laurie said...

There is so much ignorance out there. All we can do about it is roll our eyes and correct it when we can think fast enough.

**We just got a new babysitter who said, "I've never babysat anyone with Down syndrome before. He did some things differently, like he cried when he went to bed, but I called my mom and she said that they just like to be cuddled and so I did and he was fine." Seriously? Don't all babies like to be cuddled? Gee. Didn't know having T21 made you enjoy human contact. Weird.

You know we all love Ella Grace because she's Ella Grace...not because she is lucky enough to have 47, right?!

Bethany said...

What is WRONG with people! You sound just like me ... I would have hollered something at her too! ROFL. I love that pic of Ella ... beautiful!

Sabrina said...

Ella is absolutely beautifuL!!! I can relate also. We had a waitress at Cracker Barrel who made the same comment we hear a lot " Those are the sweetest kids!". As if that is supposed to make us feel better that we didn't get a bad one! They don't know Abbi at home when she doesn't get her way. She is like any other 2 year old on the planet. :-))))) Or my favorite comment "God only gives children like that to people who can handle them and love them." So what kind of person does that make me. I haven't yet decided on a best answer for that one...

Anonymous said...

Some people just need an edit button--or a mute button! I'm sure Chris had some sparkling reviews on her as well-ha! Oh well grace under pressure. We all know just how gorgeous Missy IS anyway we dont need anyone to point out the obvious! Love, Aunt Tami and family

Jennifer said...

The world is full of ignorance. I just found your page and I think your daughter is beautiful (oh my, her eyes!) I have twin girls, one special needs and she is always looked over. When they were babies (they just turned 2. sob.) I was at the store and an older looked at them and pointed at my Emily and said "Whats wrong with THAT one?" It hurt my feeling bad, it was the first time someone pointed out Emilys differences. It still echoes in my mind. Sometimes we just have to ignore stupidity, but boy it sure is hard sometimes!

Jenn
JohnAndJenn@bellsouth.net

Denise Pequignot said...

Loved the photos, wish I was good at taking pics. Crazy what some people say..we are so fortunate to have our kiddos in our lives, to bad for them:)
www.caringbridge.org/in/sydneylynne