Making Friends in Unexpected Places

Three of the four kids had school on Monday, and that left me at home with my baby. It was nice. Very nice. So I thought I should go somewhere and do something to celebrate the fact that I got a day of one-on-one with my boy. I decided to take him to see Monsters vs. Aliens.

After the film, we stopped at the potty on the way out. I learned that Mr. Flushes a Lot should not be trusted to stand behind you while you're sitting on the loo. Bidets are not pleasant when they're unexpected.

And then I changed Micah's diaper. Getting him changed on one of those fold-down wall-mounted thingies is a struggle. They are not designed for 6 year olds is all I'm saying. And when the diaper is the messy variety things get even more tricky because you can't just lay the boy's bottom down while you find somewhere to put the used diaper or grab an extra wipe. (Besides the fact that poop will get everywhere, his bottom tends to hang off the end of the table. He's just too big for the thing.) It's obvious to everyone around that the boy is too big to be wearing diapers. Painfully obvious. And inevitably, someone always feels the need to ask how old he is.

I always feel there is some explanation needed when I reveal the fact that he should have been potty trained years ago. I struggle with this because it sounds like I'm apologizing for the hand that life dealt me. But recently I realized that if someone has a problem with my 6 year old not being potty trained they can do one of several things.

1. Lump it.

2. Potty train Micah for me.

3. Assume there is a good reason for his current lack of toileting skills, and perhaps even ask.

4. Realize that the boy has Down syndrome and understand that sometimes things like potty training take longer. Like 6 years of longer and counting.

I decided that Monday would be the perfect day to test my newfound backbone and see how straight it helped me to stand. When asked the inevitable question, I simply said, "he's 6." And I smiled. Because he's my boy and I'm very proud of him, and I won't make excuses for who he is any longer.

It was the sweetest 5 minutes of my day. While I stood there trying to balance my boy's bottom above a too-short board suspended several feet in the air, I made a friend. As I wiped poo that smeared into cracks and crevices heretofore unknown to man, I heard about my friend's grown son with Down syndrome. As I struggled to find a place to put a messy diaper and get another wipe to finish the job at hand, I was reassured that our kids are the best blessings that we'll ever have in this lifetime. And we both knew that she meant our kids with Down syndrome. We each had 3 other kids besides, but agreed that there was something special about our kids with special needs. Something magical. Something angelic. And we wouldn't ever change our boys even if we could.

We knew that of all the parents in the world, we were the lucky ones. We got the kids with disabilities.

20 comments:

Fishsticks and Fireflies said...

What a wonderful encounter! You are certainly very lucky to have Micah, and I am very lucky that I get to share in your experiences and in the joy that he brings you through your blog. You are the best!

(And . . . who designed those changing tables?! They barely fit a toddler! And pooh on judgemental people! Cooper being so tall and lanky, I am often forced to pointedly remark that he is only 3! Just because he looks like he is 5 doesn't mean he should act like it! End rant.)

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

I could never use those changing tables. But isn't Micah old enough to just stand up and then bend over so you can wipe him? I do that with my late-training preschoolers.

Leanne said...

You rock my friend. That's it.

Flea said...

Who'd a thunk your boy would lead to such wonderful experiences and friendships for all of you?

the planet of janet said...

that rocks. and almost makes it worth wiping a 6-year-old poopy butt.

well, i said almost ...

Karen Deborah said...

that's so sweet.

Karen said...

So true....we are the lucky ones!!

Nap Warden said...

Awwww...tear *sniff*

Burgh Baby said...

*sniffle*

SunflowerMom said...

1. I am so glad no one has tried to drum up a conversation about my still-in-diapers son while I am wiping his rear.
2. You are right, those changers are worthless over the age of say 18 mo. But yes, I still lay my 4 yr old on them when needed.
3. Don't you wish they'd keep all of those in the HC stall so your kid could have some privacy while getting aired out?
4. I'm glad your conversation was with a mom that gets it and wasn't being critical!
and 5. If you find some one to take you up on the PT Camp offer, please send me the admission form!

JennyH said...

I agree- those tables suck big time and they are never clean. I avoided those at all cost. But sometimes you HAVE to use them.

I also agree about us being the lucky ones. Someone said to me through a friend on FB that "retarded kids are given to parents for the sins they did" (after he left a "R" statement and i said it wasn't funny or necessary) My friend deleted- thank God. But that person will never know what they are missing.

ModernMom said...

Oh Yeah You! A straight forward answer and a smile will shut up a busy body every time.
In this case it sounds like you were meant to make that new friend!

Pam said...

uhm, you made me cry- great post!

Lovin Mama said...

Wow. That ending totally caught me by surprise!

Michelle said...

Gorgeous post, Karen... and I'm so glad that you didn't apologize or feel bad -- and how cool what happened!

CC said...

smiles :)

Karen MEG said...

How neat that when you finally felt that you didn't have to explain anything (and you shouldn't), that you should meet someone who knows exactly where you're coming from. A very special moment.

Debbie Yost said...

Boy, do I hear you on the apologizing thing. I always feel that way. Why is that? I hope I can take a page out of your book next time. Of course, Peanut still fits on those little boards so that helps, but I more feel the need to explain/apologize because Peanut doesn't talk.

Trannyhead said...

Good for you! See ... I'm mean and nasty and would have beenlobbing poo at these people long ago. But I'm glad you made a new friend. It's a sweet story. I'd love to meet Micah one of these days.

NANCY From the Shore said...

that post was VERY beautiful:*) I am hard of hearing,and I wish my mom felt that way.Your son is VERY blessed.
OH BTW,those Changing trays are just GODFORSAKEN AWFUL:X
I found(hope this helps) at BRU,these blankets that fold into a bag,they are SO convinient.My daughter just potty training now.She is not talking much,but much ado..potty training she does.she SPOKE SO Much more,and than had a shot,and her speech went backwards.I pin point it RIGHT to that,but of coures the dr says no.@@.She'll catch up though.
(((good luck)) & ((GOD BLESS YOU )))!