Oh, how I love milestones. The things that you watch for impatiently with your first, then cynically neglect with your second (because it really doesn't matter WHEN they happen) and finally pray they'll happen sooner than later with your less neurotypical third (or insert appropriate number) child.
It is a truth universally acknowledged amongst the parents of the developmentally challenged that the harder won, the sweeter the victory and one of the things I love best about having so many T21 families on my Facebook feed is you get to hear about so many hard fought battles and hard won milestones.
This week my middlest lost her first tooth - which the tooth fairy kind of forgot to leave money out for overnight because someone may or may not have thrown out the tooth without realising it....(no matter, crisis averted with some quick thinking and a handy diversion).
This week also Jacinta had a milestone of her own. She was invited to her first party!!! It was a gluten-fest, let's be honest, though she didn't have much. It was just so exciting to have a party invitation. She also got tired out faster than the other kids - except one, who cried the whole party through.
It's always lovely when your child receives his or her first party invitation. It's such a lovely validation of their membership in society. With T21 though, there are children whose parents notice they are being excluded and they understandably vent on Facebook. I don't know if it's possible not to let those posts affect your optimism about your child's social prospects. I confess that for all my best intentions about her having as close to a normal life as possible, I have come to realise in life that there are certain things you can't force children to do. One is do a wee. Another is to like somebody.
A child with his own agenda will wee where and when he deems appropriate (for many that will be whatever gets him the usual bribe). A child with or without an agenda will like whomever he chooses for whatever reason he sees fit. We can't make people like our children. The best we can do is try to bring our children up to be likeable people. Thankfully Jacinta seems to have this sorted. Of about 10 children in this particular group, she was one of 4 who made the invitation list. Yay!
It's hard not to puff your chest out a little bit when your "drain on society" "burden to others" child is welcomed with open arms. It's also hard to think about campaigning for acceptance and inclusion when amongst this group it is simply assumed. It's hard not to feel vindicated about thinking we're setting the bar too low on that one.
It was hilarious when I looked around towards the end wondering (as I do from time to time) how she appeared in that setting amongst the other children. The most noticeable difference between her and the other children was racial - she and I were the only caucasians in the room. It felt a little racist to be pointing it out later to others - which makes me wonder, is it not ok to point out racial difference but apparently ok to point out chromosomal difference - or is it just rude to point, like my mother always said?
Food for thought - gluten free!