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Overheard from the Back Seat (the Back Story)

posted Friday August 10th, 2012

I have to admit that I was devastated by Sophie’s comment the other night that she doesn’t want to have kids.

And a tiny bit relieved. But mostly upset. For as long as I can remember, Sophie’s begged for a baby of her own. (I did a piece about it for KJZZ/NPR in 2007.)

We have dozens of baby dolls around the house, everything from the Itty Bitty (or whatever it’s called — the price certainly isn’t) from the American Girl store to several Walgreens specials. Including Bob.

I have dubbed Bob “the scariest doll in the world.” He (or maybe she) is the most basic, old school, crappy baby doll ever — and thus has not held up to the wear and tear of our household. Bob has been stitched back together many times in a series of sewing lessons (mostly that Annabelle has given herself, some from our Super Nanny, Courtney). At one point he/she wore a jaunty fleece shirt and hat Courtney sewed; that’s disappeared. (Why do ALL the dolls in our house end up naked?)

Looking back, a pattern has emerged.

The other day Sophie marched into the bathroom waving Bob, who no longer had a foot.

“What happened?” I asked.

Sophie mimicked yanking the foot off.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “Courtney will be here soon. That can be your project for the day.”

Sophie didn’t seem at all concerned. Two nights later, she let loose with the “kids are too much work” line. It was still bothering me this morning, so a few minutes ago, while Ray was toasting her an English muffin and I was waiting for the caffeine from my first Diet Coke to kick in, I brought it up again.

“Sophie, you really don’t want to have kids?” I asked. (Knowing I should leave this one alone.)


“Why?” Ray asked.

“Because they cut your stomach open.”

Ohhhhhhh. I looked at Ray.

“Oh yeah,” he said, looking a tiny big guilty. “I was showing Sophie her birth pictures the other day.”

“HER WHAT?!” I practically spewed soda across the room.

“Don’t worry, you can’t see anything! You’ve seen those pictures!” (I have NOT. I do not want to know anything about that whole C-section scene, let alone see pictures of it, in the case of either of my daughters.)

Okay, well that explains some more.

And for the record, yes, I know all about the challenges of having a child when you have Down syndrome. And I’ve given up (almost) on the idea that Sophie will have babies.

I just wasn’t prepared for the fact that she’s given up.

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Tags: Filed under: Down syndrome, family by Amysilverman

5 Responses to “Overheard from the Back Seat (the Back Story)”

  1. She may have given up, but…she has some time to reconsider. :) When I was her age I wanted to be a veterinarian and have a baby named Susan. And look how that turned out.

    DS makes it all so fraught. The marriage/babies thing stews around in my head sometimes. But really, who knows what will be going on in 20 or 30 years?

  2. Cate is right. When I was ten years old, I didn’t want a marriage or kids — and now I have both and would never want to give either up.

    My own Sophie likes to speculate about whom she’ll marry: a girl? a boy? her brother? the boy she’s known since they were both babies, or the boy she met just yesterday? or maybe a boy and girl together (although I do advise her that it’s easiest to marry one person at a time)… I’m fairly certain that this speculation has very little bearing on her actual future. But, then again, I don’t have DS making everything more fraught.

  3. I traumatized my little one when she was 5. She asked me how she got out of my stomach. Showing her my C section scar “seemed” like the easy way out….. Big mistake.

  4. When my younger daughter, Elizabeth, was in 2nd grade she made a card for her pregnant teacher. Inside the card she wrote: I am sorry. Your baby will make you very, very tired.

  5. I understand feeling devastated by her saying she doesn’t want a baby, but think in many ways Sophie’s explanation is a huge compliment and validation of our most earnest pursuit. June Cleaver and Marion Cunningham (and often our own mothers) made mothering look so EFFORTLESS. They sold us a wicked untruth. Our kids know they’re not JUST work — they’re so much reward and compassion and beauty and laughter and cuddling (my daughter, this first morning of her senior year, crawled in bed with me at 5 am). Sophie’s a dreamer AND a realist. That, my friend, is great parenting.

    (Remember when Zach was about 8 that he announced at the dinner table, “I’m going to be gay.” His perception, based on some good friends, was that you get to marry your best friend, watch Star Wars, and play video games for the rest of your life.)

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