I Told My 9-year-old He Could Be Embarrassed by his Little Sister

Even though she has Down syndrome.

Alexandra Stacey

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A face shot of a cute little girl who has Down syndrome

We were at the school’s open house. The gym was packed full of parents and grandparents watching raptly as a select few of our children braved their way up onto the stage to perform whatever little entertaining skill they’d worked so hard to perfect. The annual talent show was actually one of the few events I enjoyed during my years as a Mom of School-Aged Children; it sort of gave me hope.

My 9-year-old was on the programme this particular year. He had learned how to juggle and had been practising his routine for months, eager to show off his superpower in front of his friends.

He got up there on the stage, started his music, and set his focus on the three multi-coloured balls. The crowd watched in appropriate awe as this fourth-grader switched deftly between his two tricks and back. I was proud of him for trying, even if he flubbed his big finale.

It was at that point that his little sister decided she wanted to join him.

Our 4-year-old cherub picked that moment to scream her discontent at being denied the celebrity of her brother and kicked me firmly in the shins from her seat on my lap. Knowing this meant war, I bundled her up quickly and headed for the back of the room. I heard the applause for her brother as the door closed behind me.

Once in the hall, she squirmed her way out of my arms and started her fit, tiny fists hitting my thighs as she tried to push her way past me and back into the gym.

I reached down, grabbed her firmly by the armpits and plunked her abruptly onto her bum. She rolled onto her belly and screamed and cried into her arms while her little shoes kicked quietly against the rubber matted floor.

I hoped she’d give up quickly, but this was the hill she’d chosen to die on this particular day. And so I found myself standing protectively over her while she continued her outburst and the crowd from the gym emptied noisily around us.

Mom after mom patted my arm, hugged me from the side, or winked their understanding as they passed. They all knew the drill. Everyone stepped carefully around my peanut, and I waited patiently for her to…

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Alexandra Stacey

woman, mother, publisher, designer, artist, potter, builder, inventor, writer, voter, widow ~ so many stories, so little time. http://alexstacey.com