So what have we learned, in our ten years with Jack? Well if anything we have learned that he is more like the rest of the 10 year old boys out there than not. Does your 10 year old like to play outside? Yup. Jack does too. Does your 10 year old love to swim and play in the lake? Yup! Ours too! Just about anything your average run of the mill 10 year old boy loves to do, Jack probably loves it too. He has two sisters, one older by three years and the other younger by ten. He has taken a while to warm up to the baby as he was afraid she might cry and crying scares him but today he played with her in the van when we were waiting for Jessie and they were both laughing their heads off together. It was incredibly heart warming to see.
Over the years and over the internet I have seen many photos come through with children with Down Syndrome and their adoring older siblings. Often these pictures will be captioned with such things as “I adore my baby sister, she is my whole world, I would do anything for her!” or “I love my baby brother so much he is my best friend and I will build him a house in my back yard!” and they are lovely. I LOVE to see what a terrific bond there is between those family members. However, in our house my two older kids FIGHT like cat and dog! They argue about this, they bicker about that, they snipe, they are mean, they call each other names… oh don’t worry, I KNOW these two kids love each other, they try to make out they don’t but I see them once in a while playing out on the swings or playing Minecraft together and I know they do. And believe it or not I secretly like that they fight! Oh don’t tell them, and I don’t like the fighting itself ( the NOISE! Make it STOP!) but I do like that Jessie sees absolutely NO need to spare Jack. She doesn’t treat him any differently than any other annoying brother who might barge into her room or steal her iPod. He gets no special treatment, he has no handicap, he’s just an annoying pesky brother sometimes and when he is, well, she’ll tell him so!
Ultimately I think that’s what has made Jack, Jack. We don’t really treat him any differently than any other child. We were very lucky in that he doesn’t have any health issues and he’s always been a sturdy boy so we’ve never felt we had to protect him from anything much. We’ve taken him to Europe from America several times, we go places, we do things and we include include include him. His speech has improved a lot over the years and these days he’s a very big talker… and a thinker… I love to hear how his mind works. He is constantly trying to invent machines and is stymied not by his syndrome, but by his mother who is totally unable to figure out how to help him build (sadly the thing he wants MOST is a flying machine and I’m just NOT able to work that one out!). What he needs is a big tub full of nuts and bolts, washers, pipes, wrenches, hammers, nails and tape and he’d be in hog heaven… Huh. Just like your kid, right? 😀