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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I'm Better At...

A few weeks ago the kids were at the table when I heard Lucas make a comment. He said, "I'm better at coloring." It wasn't said in a boastful, mean, or teasing way. More like a matter-of-fact way. He was just making a statement. I was pretty sure I knew what he meant by that and it made my heart heavy. So my first, quick response was to tell him something like "We don't say that."

He asked me, "What don't we say?" Just to be sure I did understand what he was said I asked him to say it again. He seemed a little shy and unsure, but he said again that he was better at coloring. I asked him what he meant by that, who was he better at coloring? I think he was a little embarrassed and didn't want to say anymore. He knew he said something that got my attention but couldn't quite figure out what it was. Finally he said, "Better than Kayla."

So I told him "That's what we don't say, that we're better at something." He asked, "What word are we not supposed to say?"

Bless his heart. He thought he said a 'bad' word. I tried to explain to him that he colors his way and she colors her way but we shouldn't say that we're better than someone else.

Then this morning he was looking at one of Kayla's pages she colored and said, "I don't like scribbling." I asked what he meant and he mimicked scribbling across her page. I said that Kayla colored that page. He said, "I don't like it."

I told him that wasn't nice to say because Kayla tries her best to color. Then I went on to say, "Remember Kayla has Down syndrome? That means some things are harder for Kayla to do. Writing and coloring are harder for Kayla, but she still tries her best. It isn't nice to say we don't like something that someone did the best they could."

Lucas has heard "Down syndrome" before - it's not that we don't say it. We talk about why we go to the Buddy Walk, and it has come up other times that Kayla "has Down syndrome." But I know that doesn't mean anything to either of them right now.

I knew eventually I'd have the talk with Lucas about Ds and what it means for Kayla and how it affects her; I just didn't expect it to be so soon. I didn't expect to have to start talking to him about it when he was 3. Not that it's a bad thing; the earlier the better so he'll be used to this being a natural part of our lives and discussion. I just didn't think he would notice subtle differences so easily at this age.

And looking at the differences in their coloring pages really brings home to me how the low muscle tone affects Kayla's fine motor skills. It is much harder for her to color and write. He is very precise, careful, controlled, and detailed when he colors. Kayla's fine motor skills hinder her from coloring as easily as Lucas as she uses wide, long strokes.

 I have no idea why this one won't upload right-side up! But it was just to show how small Lucas can color around the rim of the bowl and the letters.

I do get glimpses of Lucas being the caring, concerned and protective brother though. Before any of these conversations there was a day that we were at the library and they were using the computers to play a few games. A girl younger than Kayla came over to watch her on the computer and kept trying to help out. Lucas was sitting next to Kayla and kept watching this girl; finally he kept telling her, "She doesn't need your help. My sister doesn't need help."

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Mom24 said...

Oh Michelle. I'm sure this is the first of many, many conversations you'll have with Lucas, and I'm sure some of them might be difficult, but I really admire how you handled this. Great job.

Lawrence Morrison said...
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Anonymous said...

I think Lucas knows more than you think. He is a smart little one. He was making a statement of matter of fact, but, not to be mean or etc... (like you said) but, You handled the discussion very well. Lucas is a deep thinker and sometimes his thinking (or majority of the time)is older than his age. Love memaw

Anonymous said...

oh and he is very caring, loving and protective of his sister.:) and He will have this "gift" of tremendous LOVE for Kayla. love memaw

Arlynn's Sister said...

Hi Michelle! I would like to use some photos of Kayla for a school assignment. We are writing children's books and I am writing mine to explain Down syndrome to a little kid. Would it be ok if I used a few of your pictures?

Beth said...

Kids learn so quickly and are so perceptive!! I think they both color beautifully! W

Anonymous said...

He's just at that age where comparing is learning about himself- more about himself than kayla I think. I guess it's an age to begin teaching that kindness (bringing it into consciousness) is also part of who a child is becoming (not saying he was mean 'cause I totally agree with your mom on this issue). I also agree that you handled it well - no worries- he's a great brother!

Katie said...

I really enjoy your blog and learning about Ds. I see Lucas being caring and very protective of his big sister. He seems very mature for his age. One of the other commenters is right. Lucas probably knows alot more than he says about Down Syndrome.

Anonymous said...

<3. Miss you all. Love them. Lucas is such a good little brother

Becca said...

That little boy is so insightful! I love how you taught him the lesson of not saying he's better than someone else at something.

Just wondering, how much does Kayla know about Ds and what it means for her? I wonder whether it's too soon to start introducing the concept to Samantha. I tried one night a few weeks ago, but she was too distracted to pay any attention to what I was telling her.