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


A Bouquet of Paintbrushes

posted Wednesday October 13th, 2010

“Sophie Day” peaked — then plummeted — when we arrived at the mall late this afternoon. We entered through Anthropologie, which happens to be a personal favorite of mine, and which is conveniently located near Lush, our ultimate bath bomb-destination.

Sophie found the one item actually not for sale in the home furnishings/clothing/accessories mecca: an artfully displayed pot of paint-splattered paintbrushes.

For a few minutes she played happily with them, allowing Annabelle and me to ooh and ahh over wool hats and teeny tiny rose shaped measuring cups. Then I noticed Sophie having a heated conversation with a saleslady, who was trying to explain that no, the paintbrushes were not for sale.

Uh oh. It didn’t matter that we have dozens of paintbrushes at home, that I had several in my purse and even an emergency pack in the glove compartment of my car. (And yes, I get how ridiculous the paintbrush obsession is.) Sophie threw herself and these particular paintbrushes down on the funky, distressed wood floor and sobbed. It took a good 15 minutes of coaxing by both Annabelle and me before she’d even lift her head.

By that point, I was exhausted. We were late to meet my parents for dinner and I hadn’t started packing for Portland — too busy celebrating Sophie Day, naturally. The day began with a play date with a friend from school, followed by a three-plus hour marathon at Chuck E. Cheese with two more friends, ice cream sandwiches and a LOT of tokens.

Then it was off to the mall, with a pit stop at home to change (filthy — thanks, Chuck E.) clothes.

It wasn’t what we did all day that got me so tired — more what Sophie did each time we had a transition. (Including the transition from home to her favorite place on earth — CEC.) She just absolutely refused to leave whatever we were doing. No matter how much I begged, cajoled, yelled and threatened. She went dead weight on me when I tried to pick her up. It usually took Annabelle to finally convince her to budge.

I stood in the middle of Anthropologie and watched Annabelle patiently whisper who-knows-what into Sophie’s tear-filled ear and thought (but did not say!), “Annabelle, we deserve a vacation, you and me.”

And so we will go, way too early tomorrow morning. (What was I thinking, booking a flight before 9 a.m.?) I’m dreading the goodbyes. They’ve already started. Tonight Sophie stood dripping on the bathmat, a cornflower blue towel wrapped toga-style (sort of) around her, and stared at me, her eyes getting redder and redder.

“Don’t go, Mommy,” she said.

“Oh Sophie,” I answered, scooping her up and helping her into her Dora nightie. “I’ll be back soon.”

She looked at me and sniffled bravely. (Crap, is she getting a cold?!)

I snuck into bed with her a little while later, to “cuddle to sleep.”

“Let’s talk,” she said, snuggling against me.

We chatted for a while, then I sang our traditional “Hey Jude,” and we both closed our eyes. I opened mine and watched her for a while. Sophie fell asleep holding my hand, the rest of her body slowly relaxing but the grip on my fingers just as tight as when she grabbed them.

I noticed that loose bottom tooth practically wiggling in the breeze and made a mental note to write the tooth fairy letter before I leave, and thought for a while about all the other stuff I better not forget to do before tomorrow at dawn.

Then I laid there for a little longer and thought about Sophie. I’ll miss her just as much as she misses me this weekend — maybe more — in a way I never thought it would be possible to miss someone, particularly (to be brutally honest) a “someone” like Sophie.

Life is funny that way, isn’t it? Sweet dreams, everyone! See you next week. I’m off to Portland to look for the biggest bouquet of paintbushes I can find.

Did you enjoy this article?
Share the love
Get updates!
Tags: Filed under: Down syndrome, family, travel by Amysilverman

4 Responses to “A Bouquet of Paintbrushes”

  1. Awww. Sophie. Isn’t it great when the kids go to sleep!She can come visit me anytime.
    Kayli can be troubled a bit by transitions. It must be hard with two kids but I’m going to post on how I handle things.
    Have a great time.

  2. woo hoo! Have a great trip!

    It’s so funny when you mention Sophie going dead weight. Johanna does the exact same thing too. I was hoping she’s outgrow it but maybe not!

  3. YES.
    Just, YES to everything you said (shock).
    What the H is it about transitions? It’s come to the point where I actually have said to Leo, “you know what? we’re not going to do anything fun anymore because you make it not fun by not wanting to leave!!!”
    I know, #1 Mom here.
    Is it a maturity thing? The fact that they just don’t want to give up something that feels good? It is baffling and SO frustrating. I have been the mom at the mall (or the bookstore, or the coffee shop–just fill in the blank) carrying out the kicking and screaming kid (and I have tried, believe me I have tried, to reason with him. Once in a great while it will work but most often, not).
    Many times, I end up in tears too. It’s awesome.
    Now I am off to read Starrlife’s advice because dammit I NEED it.
    Oh and I also want to add that I am glad you had some sweet, peaceful moments with Sophie before you left. Those are the moments to cling to, not the mall moments.
    BIYB again.
    Have a wonderful trip!!!

  4. hallie: i have a bad feeling that the dead weight thing never does end…. not with my parenting skills, anyway!

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