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29 Apr 07 Nicole Teaches Mommy Another Lesson

What began as a regular visit to the food co-op today ended in the latest in a lifetime of lessons I’ll learn as a mother. We left Marley and Ncole in the co-op’s child care while we shopped. I leave Nicole there almost twice weekly when I’m shopping or working, and give the child care workers the same spiel about how she can’t go in the exersaucer, where they would normally put kids her age, because of her low muscle tone.

When I returned from shopping, a rather blunt child care worker immediately launched into a rant about how Nicole is too vulnerable to be left in child care. It seems she needed to be held the whole time so the bigger kids, who were throwing things around, wouldn’t hurt her. Carrying her for 20 minutes is a pain, I agree, but I did ask twice before I left if they could handle having a baby there (sometimes there are just too many kids and they say no).

I was insulted by the worker’s brash approach and felt Nicole was being dicriminated against because she isn’t able to do the same things other 9-month-olds can do. I’m determined to not allow her limitations to change how I will treat her, and I want her to experience all the normal things, like sometimes being separated from me and socializing with other kids.

You may not agree the worker was being discrimnatory. Obviously, I feel she was, but that’s sort of beside the point. The lesson I learned isn’t about about how Nicole will face much discrimination in her lifetime, but rather it’s about how I must learn to deal with it positively and teach my kids to deal with it that way, too. I fumed all the way home, then took a couple of deep breaths and decided to not let it ruin my day. It didn’t seem to bother Nicole, so I’ll try to take my cue from her.



Reader's Comments

  1. |

    That’s a tough one, but life is not easy. I’m sure, however, that it did not harm Nicole. My strongest reaction is that perhaps that particular child care worker shouldn’t be taking on such responsibility if she/he cannot handle it. Some of us are better in challenging situations than others. Hopefully, we all learn what our own limitations are, and can handle 20 minutes with another person’s child no matter how difficult it may seem at the time. Nicole is not a threat to anyone – woe betide the child that is.

  2. |

    Really brilliant Karyn. You just crystallized for me what it is to create an empowering context for yourself inside of a potentially upsetting situation. People say and do thoughtless things all the time – like the care-worker. But it was your capacity to see something valuable for yourself and your children inside of that which made the difference. And that you were able to draw that lesson from Nicole makes it all the more heartfelt and inspiring. Thank you for sharing it with us. You made my day!

  3. |

    Karen your love is inspiring!!! Situations like this are less than desirable, but it is your positive resolve and strength that is encouraging. Nicole is watching…..and it is with those sweet little eyes that she will interpret the world. Your unconditional love will help her realize all that she CAN do. Seeing the child first and then the disability or limitaion is a GIFT. Thank you for making me smile.

  4. |

    Karyn – We always knew you would make a wonderful, loving and caring Mother. You are forever amazing us with your positive attitude. Always stay the way you are. It would be a loss to everyone if you ever change. Stay Happy. Love Mom & Dad

  5. |

    These kinds of confrontations really hurt. My reaction is to run and hide. You are a fighter! Good for you!
    My name is Leticia and I have a 5 year old daughter Christina who has Down syndrome. I have just passed my first anniversary of blogging, and to celebrate, I’ve created the first ever Carnival of Down syndrome bloggers today on my blog Cause of Our Joy http://cause-of-our-joy.blogspot.com.
    Come on over and meet some wonderful bloggers. Send me a post if you have time today at leticia77@optonline.net . If you don’t get this till Monday, you can send me a post for next week’s carnival, they’ll be a weekly event from now on.
    Leticia Velasquez

  6. |

    Wow. George’s comment was perfect, and I don’t think I could say what I felt reading this any better. Clearly he is in the right profession!

    You go, girl! Unfortunately there are people in this world who are not as enlightened as you. Thanks to you, Nicole will never be one of them.

    Your duty as a conscious individual on this planet (however frustrating) is to lead the world forward through your day-to-day actions. You and Dave are a real inspiration to me that way.



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