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Sunday, October 31, 2010



One of the most common statements I hear is, "Having a child with Down syndrome (or special needs in general) has taught me patience."

I wish, wish, wish I could say the same thing. I wish having Kayla taught me to be a more patient person. But if I said that it has, I would be lying. Somehow I keep missing the lesson on that one.

If anything, I think it might have made me more impatient. I hate to admit that, but it's true.

I find myself constantly rushing Kayla and telling her to hurry up and come on. She meanders. She takes her time. She gets distracted on the way. What should take her 2 minutes to go to the bathroom takes her 10. She looks in the mirror and sings or has conversations with herself. Every few seconds I'm telling her "Kayla just GO to the bathroom already!"

It's not just her slower pace with every day things that I get impatient with either. You should see the fun we have when doing any type of school work. Makes me want to pull my hair out. Or get a root canal. Anything but sit there and try to do homework with her. Even having her read a book causes me to grit my teeth. It's not taking her so long to figure out each word; she knows the words. It's that she'll read one word and then look around the page. Or read one word and glance up to see what Lucas is doing. Her lack of being able to focus on the task at hand without being distracted by everything going on around her drives me crazy. Makes me want to put horse blinders on her!

Sometimes I wonder if I'm not learning the lesson on patience because I'm focusing so much on the 'more alike' part instead of the 'than different' part. I'm not allowing for the very real differences in her genetic make-up and personality and the way she learns and goes about every day tasks.

I'm too focused on pushing her to be 'more alike', to not want her to fall 'so far behind' that I'm not giving her the time she needs to process things.

Sometimes I forget about the 'than different' part on my own child and see the 'more alike' stuff and that is when I become impatient and think 'come on Kayla, how come you are just not getting this?'

Sometime I forget about the Down syndrome and what that means for Kayla.

I know I'm not doing her any favors. I know I'm not helping matters any. Yet I can't seem to stop and slow down and have more patience. It's one of my shortcomings.

So, no, you won't find me saying that having a child with Ds has taught me to be more patient. I'm still trying to learn the lesson on that one.

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Anonymous said...

It's not just you. It's our rush-rush society. Kids with DS and other kids with disabilities march to their own drummer and take the time to smell the roses along the way. It's a gift, in some ways, but it's hard to be that way when everyone else is always rushing, and the goal is to get there first and fastest. I think that the only way for you to deal with it is to find some kind of happy medium -- there are times when it's okay to be pokey, and other times when it's not.

Sunny said...

Love it! I always laugh when people tell me I am so patient. What they see as me being very patient is only how it looks on the outside - but on the inside I am always so anxious, and annoyed that it takes so long to do anything with Antalya. Love the girl to pieces, but I never could have imagined how someone be so pokey about everything! You're not the only one that hasn't seemed to learn the lesson yet :)

Karly said...

I am failing at this lesson as well. With both my kids (if that makes it better or worse...). If you find a way to make it stick for you, be sure to let me know. Impatience has always been my biggest struggle in general.

Molly said...

It's not just kids with DS either. It took me a long time to be able to let my 2 yo babysitting charge take a half hour to walk three blocks. To her, getting to the park is just as cool as being there, and I had to change my mindset.

Also, does she track the words as she reads? With a finger, pencil or bookmark under the words. A lot of times that helps kids stay on track.

Courtney said...

I love and appreciate this post so much. The more "independent" Lucy becomes, the more I've learned what it truly means to move at a slower pace. She is hesitant. She is stubborn. She often just doesn't want to go as fast as me. When Lucy was born, I thought I had learned to "slow down" as part of being a mom to a kid with Ds. I thought I had learned what patience meant. She is continuing to teach me that I still have a lot to learn! :)

Cindy said...

I am still learning this lesson as well. Only recently have I learned to meander through the mall, at the grocery store. I always give Beth plenty of time to do... whatever. I haven't learned patience, but I have learned to plan ahead.

I read once that people with Down Syndrome move at two speeds:

Slow and slower. :)

Hang in there!

Bailey's Leaf said...

I find that I keep telling my K- to "hoof it" or "get moving" to "hoof a loof" and so on. Patience is not something I'm good at. I didn't go to school to be a teacher for a reason. Believe me, I respect those who have.

I guess that what we low patience folk need to think about is that our kids are still in the new experiences phase of life. We've been there, done that and all that in between. Going to the bathroom can take a huge amount of time, but perhaps she has seen something that she hadn't before or that she is just so happy that singing on the pot gets her through. I guess that as long as everything works out in the end and where it needed to be, it's all good.

Someone mentioned that we live in a rushed society. Amen to that. A chunk of our patience problem can be attributed to that.

With Kayla, it doesn't hurt to want to see her to be alike, but there are differences in every child that all of us have to take into account sometimes. There are kids with tactile issues, sound issues (K- used to suffer from this one), crowd issues (again, K- a sufferer) and so on. We balance things out and sometimes we don't. Life goes on, gives us bumps but eventually, we impatient lot will get a hair more patient. Don't ask me when. I'm still waiting on that one, too.

Mom24 said...

I'm not trying to minimize it, so I really hope that's not how this feels, but it truly isn't just kids with DS, although I do understand what you're saying.

Jacob is truly on his own time, and does things on his own schedule and it drives me up a wall. He can't just go from point A to point B, there's lots of invisible-to-me points in-between. He gets so distracted. Not in an ADD thing, he's just truly in his own world much of the time and I try and I try but it truly is hard not to just scream at him about it sometimes, which is not good because it really is just part of who he is.

The Munck Family said...

Patience, HAHA...I too get this A LOT!!! I get it with having Jonathan and because of having so many children. Now at 38 I am more patient "BUT" still have a L-O-N-G way to go, it keeps me humble! So, if you ever find the cure to impatience let me know.

So, your a normal mom and a GOOD one!!!

ParkerMama said...

Yeah, the whole patience thing has eluded me too.

The funny thing is I tend to have WAY more patience with Parker than my other two boys.

I think part of it may be that Parker has been sick for so long and has spent so much time circling the drain that I am just naturally gentler with him?

I dunno.

But I bet my other two boys sure wish I would figure it out.

Give that beautiful girl a hug from me and the Brave Hero?

Tammy and Parker

Anonymous said...

I agree with everyone who responded to your blog, especially one that stated, " you are a normal mom and a good one!! LOve mom/grandma

Kaetlyn said...

Thanks for posting this. Honestly, that is one of the things I most worry about as my daughter grows...that I will have the patience to deal with everything as it comes along. I am NOT a patient person. I often worry I will spend so much time gritting my teeth that I won't enjoy the experiences. I think you can do both and it's nice to know others feel the same way! :)

Christina said...

It's not just the DS! Aurora is 6 and everything you describe Kayla doing, Aurora does too! She is SO slow and a huge staller....I am always on her to keep moving or finish her task!!! Parenting definitely requires patience!

Nancy M. said...

It sounds a lot like my friend's son who has ADD. He has to constantly be reminded to stop playing with something and do his school work. He went to the mail box one day and never made it there, he got distracted by his bike.