Thursday, July 9, 2009

"Bagging, of course."

You know, just when I start to think that everything is cool, when Playette is just like any other kid her age, something happens.

Sometimes, I can let it go, thankfully. Other times, it bugs me. Maybe even to tears.

But, regardless, stuff happens. When your kid is unique, people notice. Even well-meaning people.

So, yesterday, there we were at the place that's not In and Out, right after a not-quite-ideal visit with the Audiologist (her hearing's good, cooperation is bad) and this happened:

Stranger Lady: Would you like help with the umbrella?

Me: (Hm, I guess maybe I should take Playette out of the direct sunlight. Is this lady judging me and my parenting skills? Oh, screw it.) Sure. Thank you.

Another woman comes to sit outside. She is pregnant and with a 2-3 year-old girl. She leaves to go get something from the car and asks me if I'll make sure that no one throws away their lunches. I agree to do so.

Stranger Lady: Down syndrome?

Me: Hm?

Stranger Lady: (nodding towards Playette) Down syndrome?

Me: Oh. Yes.

Stranger Lady: Yeah, my nephew has it.

Me: (trying to eat my dry sub that is not a cheeseburger) Oh, ok.

Stranger Lady: Yeah, he's 23 now. My sister kept him at home. Raised him herself.

Me: (giving up) That's great. Twenty-three years ago, some people still didn't do that.

Stranger Lady: Yeah, she kept him home. He's doing real well now. He has a girlfriend...

Me: (perking up)

Stranger Lady:...and a job at a grocery store. Bagging, of course.

Me: (deflated)

Stranger Lady: We just love him. He's our angel. Just like your girl. She's an angel from heaven.

And here's where the other lady returns with her daughter. For some reason, I got all passive-aggressive with her because of what I can only think was my dislike of the way the conversation had turned.

Me: Yeah. A lot of people don't want kids like mine. They get a lot of misinformation and think that hers isn't a life worth living.

I know kind of why I did this, though it doesn't excuse my behavior. I mean, if sooo many woman are choosing not to have babies diagnosed with, or simply suspected of having, Ds, they have to be somewhere right? People aren't really copping to it. That's their right, of course, and I don't expect them to check in with me first or anything, but when I'm being honest with myself, I do feel a little bitter.

Who is this woman and her (possibly) "perfect" baby? Is she as naive as I was in thinking that Ds would never be a part of her life because things like that don't happen to people like her? Has she done things in the past to make sure that it wouldn't be?

I didn't obsess about this for the rest of the day, nor did I get sad, but I was reminded that I still have a lot of growing to do.


AZ Chapman said...

wow talk about low expectations come visit

Cori said...

Yeesh. Like running a cash register is so fucking difficult? Gosh, of course he could only be bagging!

Lisa said...

You know what? Our kids are going to do so much more than that, Chrystal. They are going to amaze us, I just know it.

datri said...

I have to admit a chuckle at your remarking about how people don't want kids with DS around the pregnant lady. Any time I go to the OB/GYN (at least 4 times a year since I get Depo shots) I always wear my Down syndrome T-shirt. I was thinking about getting a more blatant one that said something like "Down syndrome -- A Child not A Choice" but that might get me thrown out of the office, LOL.

Cate said...

I hear you. I swear if one more person mentions the grocery store to me....argh.

DownTownDan said...

While still in the hospital after Ozzie's birth, a group of nurses made the rounds and stopped in to see us. The lead nurse decided to give us a pep talk.

"Oh, you'll see, kids with DS can do wonderful things. They can take part in Special Olympics..."

I wanted to punch her.

On another note, in high school I was a bagger at a grocery store for years. I finally worked my way up produce clerk. If Ozzie does indeed become a bagger, like so many people assume he will be, he'll be following in my footsteps.

I can still bag faster than anyone at the grocery store.

Tricia said...

I like Dan's comment. I know the bagger thing is a total cliche and I DO think our kids will ultimately "do more" with their lives, but I don't want my child pigeonholed at 2. Sorry about that C, we ALL have a lot more learning to do, I think you said a lot of good stuff.

sheree said...

I think datri is on to something. I need to get a shirt made now...and book an appointment to the OBGYN.


Michelle said...

Trying to comment appropriately ... and? I've got nothing. I think you're awesome. And I get all passive aggressive like that, too.

Anonymous said...

Oh I still lose it sometimes. Probably more often than I should. The minute I see some stranger eyeballing my daughter I run the OTHER DIRECTION to get away.

And yes to what Lisa said. A bagger is a fine job for some, but not all. Let's hope by the time our children are looking for jobs the realm of possibilities has continued to expand.