Ok, we get a lot of questions - the most common, "Are they twins?" I try to answer the curious questions graciously. I'm not known for my tactfulness but I figure if having a question answered makes them more comfortable with the next person with Down syndrome they meet - or helps them realize it's not such a tragedy if someone is born in their family - then that's a good thing, right? I also love to talk about my kids.
Over the course of the years, I have been asked if Caelia has Down syndrome in unique ways. I had a little boy ask if she was "retarded?" His mom tried to disappear but I wasn't really offended - I just told him that she has Down syndrome and that means she learns a bit slower. He was happy to continue playing with her - but he did slow down his instructions to her. My favorite was a cashier at Target who looked at the girls and asked if they were twins or did we get "special angels" twice.
We went out to eat with both girls this weekend - Michael was playing with a friend. Caelia sits pretty well while waiting for service - Lera tries to crawl under the table, lay down on the bench. etc. We sit in a corner whenever possible and contain the girls by sitting on either side so they don't escape and disturb other diners. On this particular outing, I heard a loud voice from the table across from us say - Oh! she's really pretty! I said, "thank you, so is her sister if she would come out from under the table", and continued coloring with Caelia. A few minutes later - right behind me I hear, "Are they twins?" and turned to see this woman had come across and was standing next to our table.
"No, they are 3 months apart. We just adopted Lera from Ukraine"
She looked at Caelia. "is she from Mongolia?" Ok - this is a new one.
"do you mean, mongoloid? She has Down syndrome, yes"
"She's pretty but the other one is prettier" (OMG!)pause "She doesn't understand me, right?" (which one? Caelia is looking at you like that because she just doesn't like you)
"Is it expensive to adopt?" - "you should go to Reeces Rainbow if you would like more information" (sorry, Andrea)
"Are they hard to keep?" (they're not dogs!!!!!)
"I would like to adopt one" --- "It's VERY expensive"
We paid our bill and tried to leave as quickly as possible before this woman was anymore offensive.
I didn't chew her out for two reasons. One, OMG!!!!!! I just couldn't register what she was saying and two, I serious began to wonder if she were "slow" herself and perhaps, no one had ever told her.
Not everyone is as enlightened as I would like to believe but this was the most obnoxious, that I can recall. Sorry for the negative post - I just couldn't wrap my brain around this person's perspective.