Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


(Not So) Large, and In Charge

posted Wednesday October 7th, 2009

sophie heart

This is Sophie, posing yesterday morning just before school. A happy first grader, to say the least.

What could be more important than that? Yes, at this morning’s parent/teacher conference, I was happy (though skeptical) to hear that Sophie is reading at grade level — not at grade level for a kid with Down syndrome, Miss Y reiterated under questioning, but at grade level for a typical kid.

Super. The rest of her report card was equally positive. But academics are not as important as happiness (something I’ve come to realize rather late in life — in fact, I think they might be mutually exclusive) and happiness can’t be protected without safety.

I am reminded of Maslow’s hierarchy and high school debate — but I won’t go there today; lucky you, reader. I’ll just say that the other topic of discussion during the parent/teacher conference this morning was the fact that Sophie went AWOL (again) during lunch recess yesterday.

That is not surprising. There is one person (count ‘em, one) supervising (to use the term loosely) the entire first grade (close to 100 kids I’m guessing, I’m afraid to ask) on the playground at lunch recess. Sophie takes her time eating, so she leaves the cafeteria after the duty has walked the kids out. That means she leaves by herself.

Look at her picture. Does that look like a kid who’s going to go where she pleases? You bet your ass it is. And you can also bet that I want it that way — well, in theory. I want my kid to be friendly and loving and to have a ball in her world. But I want her to be safe. I don’t want her to be one of those “trained” people/kids with Down syndrome who refuses to make eye contact, who does exactly what she’s told as though she’s been whipped into submission.

Or do I? At least those people are physically safe, if not mentally so.

What Sophie needs is an aide at school and her mother is too big a wimp to fight for one. That’s the truth. Or one of the truths, anyway.

On some levels, I exaggerate. The new school (built over the summer) is much safer, enclosed. Everyone knows Sophie. So far, she’s only gone to safe places she’s not supposed to be. Yesterday, during lunch recess, she turned up in Miss Y’s classroom and the two of them spent the last 7 minutes of recess playing teacher (Sophie’s favorite game).

Part of me wishes Miss Y had reprimanded Sophie and sent her back to recess. But that is only part of the truth. I love that Sophie is loved, and that she gets to be independent.

But I want her happy. And that means safe.

(And she’s reading at grade level — can you flipping believe it?! Yes, I’m proud.)

Did you enjoy this article?
Share the love
Get updates!
Tags: Filed under: first grade by Amysilverman

5 Responses to “(Not So) Large, and In Charge”

  1. You should be proud!!! Glad Sophie is doing well in reading, I knew she would!!! And yes, I do find Sophie coming into my room during her bathroom breaks but I reprimand her and send her off but my heart wants to scoop her up and hug her and have a nice chat!!!! Saw her in the hallway yesterday, she said to me…”you come to my house for a play date?” I told her YES, I would love that and maybe over fall break SO…. Let’s plan something over fall break, I miss you both!!!

  2. That is soooo awesome… reading is such an important skill. AWOL? blame that smokin’ cool purse. I’d wander off with that too :-)

  3. Yep- mine is a little miss independence too~But she usually goes to places she knows! Oh to find that perfect combination of submission and independence! Congrats on the reading- that’s super!

  4. Great news on the reading, and that picture clearly captures the level of sass you are dealing with…

  5. reading! at! grade! level!

    you have no idea how happy that makes me.

    well, actually, you probably do, but still. That is awesome.

    aides: I have really mixed feelings, but it does sound like another grownup on the scene would be a good thing. I can’t fathom one adult supervising that many kids.

Leave a Reply

My Heart Can't Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome is available from Amazon and 
Changing Hands Bookstore
. For information about readings and other events, click here.


All content ©Amy Silverman | Site design & integration by New Amsterdam Consulting