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Feel dreadful, I did that 'elephant in the corner' thing with a mum and her little boy with Down Syndrome today.

(14 Posts)
Olihan Sat 05-Jul-08 21:24:02

I should have handled this situation far better than I did.

We were in the village park today, I had my 3 dcs, she had her 2 dses. She's a mum I've seen aroundbefore but not really spoken to - we sort of smile in passing and that's been it.

Anyway, her 2 year old was playing with my dcs, her baby was asleep in the pram, we started chatting, just the usual mum things: how old the kids were, where we lived (it's a small village), her ds1 going to preschool with my dd in September - everything was fine.

Until the baby woke up.

I could see he had Down Syndrome, but she hadn't mentioned it and I didn't know how to bring it up, so I said nothing about it all.

Ironically, I used to work with families with children who had special needs so I'm familiar with DS and what it entails but dealing with it out of a 'professional' capacity left me feeling really awkward.

What should I have done? Should I have mentioned it? What would be an okay way of working it into the conversation?

I feel as though I was really ignorant, which I'm not, I just didn't know how best to handle the situation.

How would you have felt, if you were the other mum and how would you have wanted me to behave?

TeacherSaysSo Sat 05-Jul-08 21:26:43

hmm why would you think you need to mention it at all?

TotalChaos Sat 05-Jul-08 21:33:37

DS's SN didn't become apparent till he was 3, so I was not in this lady's position. But I would have thought what you did was very sensible - in just treating her baby with DS like any old baby. As she may not want to go into the ins and outs of DS and it's treatment with an acquaintance she bumped into iyswim.

Olihan Sat 05-Jul-08 21:38:16

Thanks, TC. I just cooed over the baby and said he was gorgeous, like I would have done with anyone else.

I think I'm over thinking this one, aren't I?

Tclanger Sat 05-Jul-08 21:46:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Seuss Sat 05-Jul-08 22:00:45

I think I would have done the same. Sometimes I'm not in the mood to explain ds' special needs and am quite happy to leave the elephant in the corner myself! It's probably better to bring up the elephant in the natural course of friendship. IMO.

Olihan Sat 05-Jul-08 22:07:19

Okay, I feel better now. I felt as though I was ignoring it in a way but if that was the right thing to do, then good.

Thank you all.

moondog Sun 06-Jul-08 00:16:01

It was great to treat him just like any other baby, because he really is just like any other baby.
You did the right thing. smile

MannyMoeAndJack Sun 06-Jul-08 10:11:41

This can be tricky for everyone. I was out with my ds in a park last week and chatting to a stranger (a mum with her 9mth old). My ds started making odd noises and the mum looked at him, then at me - I immediately told her about my ds's SN and that was it. However, I've had years to get used to talking about my ds and he can't get away with doing odd things at his age anymore without there being an explanation for it. So, my policy (with new people) is to get it out of the way ASAP then move on - I find this makes everyone feel more comfortable. I guess it's different with DS though because it's an 'obvious' thing, so in some ways, it needs no explanation.

Phew - I guess I'm saying that your saying nothing was fine!

sarah293 Sun 06-Jul-08 10:17:03

Message withdrawn

Buckets Sun 06-Jul-08 13:53:09

I would also have said nothing unless it was mentioned, then maybe said 'Oh I did wonder.' As Riven says, there are some unusual looking kids out there! Can you imagine if someone said that about your new baby?

theheadgirl Sun 06-Jul-08 16:15:54

You did the right thing. My DD3 has DS, and strangley I felt the need to tell everyone and anyone that she had Downs as its not so obvious in a baby. If she wanted to mention it she would have done. And of course, as Riven points there is the slight chance that the baby doesn't have downs, which would be mortifying.

colditz Thu 10-Jul-08 18:21:13

I pester babies because they're babies, not because they do or don't have special needs. They are still babies with baby fuzzy heads and tiny socks.


sheepgomeep Thu 10-Jul-08 22:15:32

I think you did the right thing too. You just treated the baby the same as any other baby.

<off the subject> I really need to give you the slings back. I lost your email adress I really did then I couldn't find the chat thread. mine is taz n jan at yahoo dot co dot uk. I'm really sorry I've kept them so long.

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