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Blind (Play)Date

posted Saturday February 25th, 2012

Sophie has a playdate with a new friend today. This is incredibly nerve wracking.

Not for Sophie. She’s over the moon. She popped up this morning before sunrise and announced, “Today’s my playdate!”

“Good,” I said, covering my head with the blankets. “Go clean your room to get ready.”

And for the first time in almost 9 years, she actually did.

Sophie’s thrilled and I’m a bit of a wreck. Ah, the new play date. The scourge of the parent.  Of this one, anyway.

Why can’t she stick with her old friends, the ones whose parents I know? (Ditto for Annabelle, while we’re at it.) Sophie might need more friends — but I don’t. And yet here I am, making awkward conversation on the phone with a woman I don’t know, worrying for days when she promises to call back but doesn’t, wondering if I’ll freak her out by calling again to make sure that the tentative playdate Sophie’s been talking about non-stop is going to happen.

“Ali’s been bugging me for days,” her mother said when I finally reached her. OK, phew. Everyone’s on board.

So these new people are coming to our house this afternoon, and I’ve spent the morning shoving piles everywhere you can shove piles (don’t dare open a cabinet in my house today) and the place is still a mess.

Some things you just can’t hide. Or announce ahead of time. Maybe I could text it to this woman along with our address:

So looking forward to meeting you later today! Please don’t mind the fact that we’re slobs. Oh, and just in case no one’s mentioned it, my daughter has Down syndrome. Tootle-oo!”

Sophie crash landed on my bed 10 minutes later, announcing her room was “all clean,” and snuggled in for one last (still way too) early morning cuddle. I stroked her hair and had a thought.

“Hey, Sophie, have you ever met Ali’s mom?” I asked.

“No,” she said.

So does this woman know? I’m pretty sure no one ever mentions the whole Down syndrome thing at school. I had thought maybe this woman was avoiding me all week because Sophie has Down syndrome, but now I realized something worse. She might have no idea. This won’t be my finest moment, but I will go ahead and admit it: If I took my kid to a playdate and the other kid had a (let’s face it, fairly significant) um, issue, I’d be thrown a little.

Annabelle’s on the couch with me as I’m typing this, so I asked her.

“What if Ali’s mom has no idea Sophie has Down syndrome? Do you think she’ll think that’s weird?”

Annabelle, who just yesterday drew a lovely portrait of her sister as the first woman president, shot me a look.

“No. I don’t think anybody thinks it’s weird,” she said.

I guess we’ll find out at 1:30 this afternoon.

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Tags: Filed under: Down syndrome by Amysilverman

5 Responses to “Blind (Play)Date”

  1. Annabelle speaks.

  2. Ack, I am hooked… i can’t wait until the after-blind-playdate-post :-)

    But until then, keep in mind… Ali does know Sophie has Ds, and Ali wants very badly to come hang out with her. If the Ds is a surprise for her mom, she will hopefully (likely) follow her daughter’s lead and look past it.

  3. Ditto – yes, Annabelle speaks.
    But now, also, I’m going to be watching the clock, waiting for an update. Please don’t leave us hanging!

  4. My Soph has a friend whose older sister is schizophrenic. The mom mentioned it almost immediately, the very first time I met this mom, at a crowded birthday party.

    I was a bit nonplussed when this mom said, “Hi, I’m A, mom to B, and my other daughter C is schizophrenic. But don’t worry, your Sophie can still come over to play, because we’re nearly certain that C won’t be violent towards someone who’s not a relative.” I was nonplussed (violence? really?), but also curious (who wouldn’t be? how do you decide to get a toddler tested for schizophrenia? what does toddler depression even look like?). And I was also glad to have that information. Without it, I would have wondered why this very-moody older daughter behaves so oddly, sometimes, and so sweetly at other times. I almost respected this mom for her rush to reveal her daughter’s diagnosis.

    We still have playdates with this family.

    So I’m of the disclosure school. Yet I’m also confident that you will be more suave about diagnosis-disclosure than this particular mom I met, who also called C “a devil-child,” to me. I know you would never call your Sophie a devil-child.

    And, of course, DS does not involve the violence that schizophrenics can have. I hope my whole analogy isn’t insulting. It’s just to say: diagnoses are useful to know.

    If this other family doesn’t respect Down Syndrome or clutter, they’re not worth being friends with.

  5. and…??? fill us in, how did it go?

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