Monday, September 05, 2005

Family Secrets....Revealed

I may be overly sensitive, but here it is, what do you think? My nephew recently got engaged. The family is elated. The girl is pretty, nice, caring and overall a great girl. But my husband and I had not met her yet. My nephew and his fiance had come in for the weekend and finally we were able to touch base. They came by yesterday to say hi. She is a doll! They are so cute together and make a great match. But here is what I am unsure of. Apparently no one in the family told her about Peanut. It was very apparent when she came into my house, met my son James and was then introduced to Peanut. The expression on her face was sheer surprise. She make a quick escape out to the deck where her fiance and my husband were talking. When I came out she was trying not to look at Peanut, yet I could tell she wanted to "check her out". So I made sure to look the other way, after all I would probably have done the same thing if I was in her shoes. So my question is as follows: the family memebers involved have seemed to be not very comfortable with Peanut from the start. They spend no time around her and when they are around they are inattantive and talk to her like she is a tiny baby. She is not a tiny baby and she actually is only delayed by 3-4 months depending on what you are looking at. So I guess I am curious if I am being over sensitive knowing that this poor girl, who is new to the family was not told about Peanut. On the one hand it could be beacuse the DS is not important or it could be because they are uncomforatble about it themselves, so they just pretend it doesn't exist. When asked if they had told her, we were told no they had not. Was this because of shame or because of indifferance? Like I said I may just be overly sensitive, but what do you think? I normally don't care and prefer that people treat Peanut as she is, a little girl, not a DS first then girl second. But I just felt very akward this weekend, something I haven't felt in a quite a while......The wedding should be fun! I am already looking outfits for my kids and of course for myself.... we'll let you know what happens in November....


Kim Ayres said...

When faced with the unknown, most adults will do their best not to react, in case their natural reaction is offensive. The very reason that children can come out with such priceless comments sometimes is precisely because they haven't yet learned to stay quiet in case they embarrass themselves. It is only when we become more familiar with the cirumstances that we start to relax and ask questions.

I would guess that most of the family members you refer to just don't know what to do, and so do nothing in the hope that they won't cause offense - even though their inaction is offensive.

My suggestion is that it's time for tactful talk - it's time for their education. Invite the various family members over, or go out and see them, then talk. If it's easier, talk about other people's reactions rather than theirs.

For example, let them hold peanut and say something like "it's been difficult with some of our friends who seem to have being staying away since our daughter was born. We think that they feel awkward and don't want to cause offense. However, all they need to do is come and see her, play with her for a little bit and then they'll realise that peanut is just a wee girl like any other, who needs love, attention and fun. just because she has Downs, doesn't stop her being a wee girl first. What do you think?"

And if that doesn't force their hand and clear the air then disown them - send everyone a pointed letter saying that until they are prepared to accept your daughter as a human being then they can all take a running jump and stay out of your life.

Either way, you'll probably feel better than leaving things as they are.


Belovedlife said...

100% right! thanks...Ithink we shold have a chat...