10.05.2008

Buddy Walk

Today Walter, Maybelle, and I took part in this year's Buddy Walk, an annual event sponsored by Down syndrome associations around the country. I found the event pretty uplifting, in great part because it was so normal and normalizing. For instance, early on in the afternoon, I saw a five or six year old boy with Down syndrome standing with another boy around his same age. While I was watching, the second boy kicked the first one. This interaction was reassuring to me because these were just two kids being kids--nobody was being super-careful with the boy who had Down syndrome. It was similarly reassuring later on when I saw a toddler with DS having a meltdown. People often tell us how sweet people with DS are, and while I believe this is true, I also want Maybelle to have a range of emotions--I don't think she's going to be a person whose whole approach to the world is "sweet." So I liked seeing a kid having a normal toddler tantrum after a very high-energy afternoon.

We saw lots of other normalizing stuff: a very little boy gleefully running headlong away from his dad, who was having to really hoof it to catch up with him. A girl and her dad riding bikes home from the event. A little boy riding on his dad's shoulders, clapping and laughing. A teenaged boy with funky skater hair and shorts. And perhaps it shouldn't have been a surprise, but one of the nice surprises of the day for me was the fact that it wasn't easy picking out which folks had DS and which didn't--I would scan the crowd and try to identify kids, and I was often wrong.

Okay, this picture has nothing to do with the Buddy Walk, but I wanted to post it because tonight Maybelle is wearing one of my favorite outfits, which won't fit her that much longer.

5 comments:

claire said...

She is busting the seams! And I love the little mittens. It sounds like the buddy walk was a great event. I am sorry that we missed it. And I am fully confident that Maybelle will provide you with the joys and exasperations of tantrums, crazy hair, arguments about wearing shoes and jackets, refusals to eat peas (or even french fries) and repeated requests for one more glass of water.

The Mom said...

Wow - she _is_ busting at the seams! Good picture. And I, too, am glad that the Buddy Walk turned out to be a good experience for you. I can't wait to see you all this Friday!

The Mom said...

So, we need to see if we can find some more of that style of outfit in a little bit larger size while you're here...

Cate Bush said...

Oh my God she's getting big!! I can't wait to see her again :).

Peg said...

What a beauty! Congratulations on your new love.