Sunday, August 8, 2010

The code words we use

First day of vacation wasn't too bad. Sofia crawled into our bed at 6am, and fully woke up at 7, so I got out to the living room with her. Hung out for an hour, breakfast, TV, until all the boys woke up. Then I went back to sleep for a couple of hours. Then it was time for the beach. Gorgeous. Gorgeous. Warm water, very strong waves and undertow, so we had to hold on tight to Sofia, and David had to pull the boys out a few times.

Sofia wouldn't stay out of the water, even when she was getting totally buffetted. The boys had fun with the boogie boards or just jumping waved. David took a little walk with Sofia down the beach, and then sat near the edge with her for a while. There are little girls to both the left and right of us - one is a sweet chatterbox and was playing with our kids on the sand for a while. There are also two boys next door, around the same age as ours, but they have not "clicked" yet.

I finally had to pull Sofia back into the house. I'd been swimming with her, and got very exhausted suddenly - probably too much sun and too much undertow. And Sofia would NOT sit still. So we went in, showered and lunched.

We all relaxed for a few hours. Then went out for a drive to get Micah a new boogie board (his is cracked). The boys and I got henna tattos! They only last a few weeks - I wouldn't want a permanent one. I got a flower on my shoulder, Sam has a small dragon on his leg, and Micah has the NY Yankees symbol on his ankle! Sofia slept through the whole shopping trip (which made it much easier!).

Then we went for dinner - and here's where the title of this post comes in. We ate at a small seafood restaurant, on the porch by the water rather than in the main restaurant. Food was good - I had grilled tuna. And we all LOVE the hushpuppies that show up on the table as soon as we sit down!

Anyway, our waitress was completely gaga over Sofia. And David and I have been disagreeing for the past several hours...he thinks she did not know Sofia has DS, and I am certain she did.

My clues: She said "I have a neice like her; she looks exactly like my neice." "I have two little friends like that." "Oh, yes, they are all such beautiful children." And, most telling for me, when Sofia finally woke up and ate enough to start talking a bit, the waitress said "Oh, her speech is very clear!" in that way of someone who knows that this is not always the case.

David, on the other hand, thinks she did not know. He thinks she was just taken with a sweet-faced little girl.

So how am I sure that she "got it"? Because of the "like her" and the "like that" and "they are all"... Never once did anyone utter the words Down syndrome. But to me, it was a very clear conversation with someone in-the-know. David is unconvinced. (I think he was too busy fighting with Micah.)

I have not seen anyone else with Down syndrome down here yet. And David is, I think, very conscious of being "different" down here. Aside from the DS, Micah always calls us "Aba" and "Ema", the Hebrew words for Dad and Mom, and I see David kind of cringe when Micah gets too loud. And he took the MWJDS magnets off the back of the car. Interesting. We are certainly in the Bible Belt, or some near cousin. There are about a bazillion churches, and there are signs of Christianity everywhere. But I also saw a tzedaka box for Chabad! And this is a vacation area. There was a synagogue in New Bern, where we stopped for breakfast yesterday. So I don't think we are THAT out of place.

It's just interesting. I am never uncomfortable being "different". Sofia's chromosome or Micah's Hebrew don't faze me - they are just part of who we are as a family.


Becca said...

Interesting. It sounds to me like she totally knew. I think people are much more accepting of "differences" whether cultural, religious or chromosomal, than we often give them credit for. They may ask questions if they don't understand something, but that's just an "in" for us to provide a little bit of education. Sounds like a lovely vacation!