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Ahh…the life of…Down Syndrum Sister

posted Monday February 23rd, 2009

In the past week, Annabelle has talked about (and, I’m guessing, thought about) Down syndrome more than she has in her entire 7 and a half years.

The science fair project is due tomorrow (don’t ask if we’re done — though we are finished with Sophie’s rock collection, entitled “Sophie Rocks”) so I’m guessing the conversation will slow after that.

It doesn’t bother me, but it is a little exhausting.

It’s fascinating, watching her process it. I don’t know how the “final report” will turn out for the science fair, but last night Annabelle worked on a drawing — a family portrait — entitled, “Ahh…the life of…Down Syndrum Sister.”

It depicts the four of us, lined up on a ski slope (Annabelle and Ray went for her first time recently). Annabelle’s saying (I’ve corrected spelling here), “Wow! Steep!”, I’m giving her advice (as I don’t ski): “Keep it steady,” and Ray’s warning, “Be careful.” Sophie’s at the end, clearly about to fall, yelling, “Mom! Dad! Help! Help!”

Here’s the drawing:


I gently suggested it might not be appropriate for the science fair. (What IS appropriate? Annabelle wants to include a picture of Sophie. I think it’s ok if it’s not front and center, but tucked away a bit. We’ll see how things fall out tonight.) So she addressed it to Sophie and left it in her room for her.

This morning at breakfast, Annabelle casually mentioned that a lot of “people” (translation: kids at school) think Sophie is a midget. We talked for a while — she said that didn’t bother her at all — and Annabelle read a new kid book on DS (this was the worst so far — the author purports that Down syndrome occurs when you have “an extra gene”) and then Annabelle looked a little exhausted herself. It was clearly time for a break, and she gave herself one.

She and Sophie started tickling each other, cracking themselves up, and Annabelle had one more comment to make on the heavy subject: “She sure is different but she still is ticklish.”

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One Response to “Ahh…the life of…Down Syndrum Sister”

  1. I guess 7 1/2 must be the age when it really begins to sink in. At my 2nd grader Laurie’s school they were discussing bullying. Laurie said she raised her hand and said that she was afraid kids would make fun of her sister Kayla and think Kayla’s stupid and doing weird stuff on purpose when she can’t help it because Kayla has Down syndrome and autism. I really didn’t realize that it was something that was on Laurie’s mind.

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