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Last night I took the girls to a Bat Mitzvah. Not our typically Friday night activity, but this was no typical kid getting Bat Mitzvahed.

So I rushed home from work and asked Courtney the Wonder Sitter to help me hustle the girls into appropriate clothes and we were all crammed in the bathroom and Sophie was being stubborn.

“Oh, Sophie, please put the dress on,” I begged. “I had a bad day.”

She turned and looked at me.

“Was it because of me?” Sophie asked.

Courtney and I looked at each other. Whoa.

“OF COURSE NOT!” I said, giving her a big hug, and agreed when she wanted to wear a different dress, a velvet sleeveless number with a tutu skirt and a faux leopard fur collar.

Later, after all three of us fidgeted through a long serivce (highlighted by Anna’s incredible performance and Deborah’s touching speech — “You crawled, then you walked, then you wanted to know when you would fly.”) we retired to the synagogue’s rec room for cookies and fruit.

A gaggle of old ladies admired Sophie.

“What is she, 3, 4 years old?” one of them asked.

I smiled. “No, almost 8.”

Inside, I cried. Of course they thought she was 3. Just like the psychologist said. (Typically I blame such comments on Sophie’s size. Not last night.) I cried all day, off and on, mostly in response to the incredible comments you left on my blog and Facebook, dear friends. I sincerely don’t know what I would do with you.

But that’s not the only reason. I’ve lost my footing. Maybe it’s footing I was never supposed to have; maybe it’s footing no one ever should have dared to kick. But I have. And to be clear, it’s not the IQ number. I’ve seen enough of those come and go. It’s the comment about Sophie having the cognitive abilities of a 3 year old. Try hanging with your kid and not thinking about that….All the time.

It doesn’t make me love Sophie any less, but for now, it’s changed the prism through which I view her.

It’s changed my whole world.

On the bright side, we found her glasses.

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Tags: Filed under: Down syndrome by Amysilverman

7 Responses to ““You crawled, then you walked, then you wanted to know when you would fly.””

  1. I think any kid who asks if your bad day was because of her definitely has more advanced cognitive abilities than that of a 3-year-old!

  2. Ditto to Carolyn. Believe me when I say that it is just as if your glasses got twisted in some way or you looked in a fun house mirror, or the way we look at ourselves sometimes? You know when we look in a mirror in a harsh light, with a full length mirror and gasp- is that how awful I look? But then you look at your eyes… and see the real you. And you ask others around you that love you and they tell you that you are beautiful even tho you are thirty lbs over weight.?
    It will pass, your glasses will straighten and you will see the truth – that it doesn’t matter what they say, none of it matters except that she is perfect… absolutely perfect .
    Amy, comparisons are deadly to truth.
    Hugs again. xo
    Oh BTW – F… them. F-them. They are the pathetic ones not Sophie, never Sophie or you.

  3. First, know that this “sudden realization” that there IS a great gap between her and “regular” kids is something that catches up with us eventually. But whatever her cognotive abilities, what is IMPORTANT is:
    1) That she continue learning things all her life
    2)That she learns to manage in the real world
    3) That her behavior and interpersonal relationships are good

    Seems to me that Sophie is doing GREAT in all of these!

    (As your child gets older, the gap gets bigger. BUT they become so much their own person, and they LEARN so much!

  4. You inspired me to put it down about this issue. I hope its okay.

  5. I’m with Carolyn.

  6. Amy, there are no real words of comfort I can offer you, and I am surely sorry you are going through this. Please try to keep the perspective though – Sophie is not going through this. Sophie does not care what people think. Sure, some day she will care, but it’s not today. By then, you will have your footing and you can console her. Until then, rely on your friends to see you through. The psychologist was rude to tell you that – even if it were true (which, with Sophie being able to read, she is THE smartest “3 year old” I’ve ever heard of!) Get a second opinion – or simply recognize that the opinion of someone who does not have your respect does not matter. As for the old ladies, well, they are old. Bifocals and wrinkles make filtering systems a bit weak. I am sure they meant no harm.
    Hang in there – and call if you want to talk! Anytime!! :)

  7. I meant to comment on your last post but the weekend got ahead of me and then I saw this one. I have been reading your stories about Sophie for some time now and you are one of my favorite bloggers. I am not a psychologist but it just seems to me that this one woman is a little off the mark. Sophie could have been having a bad day, the psychologist could have been having a bad day – we’re all human. I think it’s worth a second interview with another reviewer. It’s so strange to me that her opinion is so different from everyone else’s. Kids have fluke days all the time – I’m giving Sophie the benefit of the doubt here – I think she deserves one more chance.

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