MUMMY is my brain damaged !

This article is written by Parul Agarwal for Zenparent

If you watched my son on the playground, you’d see an average-sized 9-year-old with beautiful brown skin and a big smile. His mannerisms are a little off, his language a little strange and has a big head. My son suffers Down’s syndrome. He is differently abled. We noticed it quiet early and thought love and Disney themed toddler room will fix everything. But it doesn’t happen so.

This has never been as clear as the day he stood, sobbing, in my kitchen nine years later, asking if he has brain damage. It always happens that kids throw these parenting bombs at us when we least expect it. So there I was, mouth hanging open, food burning on the stove top, fumbling for the right words. How do you tell a 9-year-old his brain will never work like other kids? How do you tell him he’ll always be slower, less coordinated than his peers, and he’ll probably need therapy and medication his whole life?

“Why did my brain get damaged, Mummy?” he asked through tears. “Why am I the only one in my class who’s stupid?” Why every time people stare me and kids run away from me in the park. “Can we fix it?” he asked. “Can I get a new brain?”

Trying to hold back my own tears, I hugged him and said, “All we can do is try our best and keep going.” I’m not a believer in sugarcoating things for my kids. I tried explaining him all the right words that night, and that any number of professionals would give me a round of applause for it

 

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TO THE PARENT OF THE CHILD POINTING TO MY SON: –

As we enter the playground area, your child immediately points to my child, calling loudly “Mom, look at HIM!” You quickly hush himand reprimand him quietly. At the supermarket when your child catches a glimpse of my SON and asks, “Why is that boy having big head? You practically put your hand over his mouth to stop as much of the question as you can while hurrying around the corner without looking back. Your children freeze, staring open-mouthed at my son in the mall, and you try to distract them to look anywhere but. I recognize all this unfolding, nearly every day. I hear all of the questions; I notice all of the whispered comments. I hear you, and I see you, and I feel it all, deep within my heart. And it makes it worse when you then try to “hide” it from me. You’re uncomfortable, and I understand that. But we’re both parents, trying to do our best, and we both love our kids. And when you try to hide these conversations that are happening right in front of us, it feels like you’re hiding from our family. It feels likthe small gap between us that your child has noticed has now widened and no one wants to cross that and accept us.

A REQUEST TO ALL THE PARENTS

I wish you would close that gap by approaching to us and accept us without being uncomfortable. When your child points and tells you to look, I wish you would respond clearly, “Yes, look at that little boy. It looks like he’s having so much fun playing, just like you are!” When your child asks you, “Why is that boy’s head so big?” or “Why does he look like that?” I wish you would answer honestly: “I’m not sure, but the way someone looks isn’t important. We all look different from each other, don’t we?” I wish you would encourage your child to say hi and to ask my kids’ names.

I wish you would apologize without feeling ashamed if your child is offensive right in front of us: “I’m so sorry; we’re still learning how to ask questions respectfully.” It also goes a long way if you tack on: “Your son is so cute, how old he is?” And above all, I wish you would read to your child about differences and talk about various kinds of differences, from wheelchairs to birthmarks, from Down syndrome to other syndromes, from racial differences to wearing glasses. Ultimately, I hope that our children learn that if they have questions about someone’s appearance, they can ask you later, privately, so that they don’t hurt anyone’s feelings – because, after all, how we treat each other is much more important than how someone looks.

So next time, I hope you don’t hide and my son feels that he is part of this very society.

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