Anyone who has a kid with Downs will tell you that they hear some pretty outstanding things, and surprisingly often from people who they’d expect to have more cop on. I’m getting a business card made up. I’ll carry a dozen in my pocket, and when somebody says a crass or ridiculous thing I’ll hand it out. It will say Ensure that the circuitry between your mouth and your brain is regularly checked by a fully licensed professional. This consultation has cost you €1. Have a nice day. I’m also going to have a version that says Because I know you and didn’t expect such stupidity from you of all people, this consultation has cost you €2.
All proceeds will go towards the registered charity of me, for having to put up with such drivel. I fully expect to be in a position to retire within six months at the outside.
I’m sure it’s not deliberate or nasty on the part of those people who say silly things, but it is thoughtless. And we’re all smart enough at this stage not to need to be thoughtless. I’m far from the perfect gentleman myself, but by now even I have learned NEVER to assume that the bump that lady is carrying is indeed pregnancy related. ‘When is it due?’ is not a question you’ll hear from my lips, no siree. What’s more, I know that attempting to truthfully answer the ‘What age would you say I am’ question is a mug’s game. And irrespective of how hideous the outfit is, I will not ruin the entire wedding by needlessly speaking the truth to the foolish person who thought that such a coma-inducing get-up was a good idea.
I have learned, you see. I know that the good Lord will overlook these things on Judgement Day, because I do not doubt that even the good Lord has fibbed on occasion. Aha! But not so those well-meaning people who say those well-meaning things like ‘I couldn’t think of anyone better than you to be a parent to an angel.’ (You couldn’t? You COULDN’T? But surely you’d like a shot at it yourself? No?) Course you can’t say that. You can only think it. Because the chances are that it’s coming from the mouth of someone you actually do like and respect. That’s part of the killer. This person is letting you down and will never even know it! AAAGH!!!
Here’s another one. ‘I think that this will be the making of you.’ Oh you do, do you? Well God bless your infinite font of universal wisdom, you jackass. I’m not a bloody flan. The ‘making of me’ didn’t necessarily require 6 lbs 14 oz of baby with extra chromosome, did it? Only I never actually got the recipe.
Here’s an even better one. Not strictly in the same department, but worth the admission price. I know someone whose stock refrain to any moan about kids was the classic ‘It’d be worse if they had Downs.’ I never even used to hear it, it was so worn out. In fact, like the annoying buzz of next door’s lawn mower too early on Saturday morning, I only really heard it when it stopped. It stopped six months ago. Can any of you guess why? Huh? Can you?
Oh don’t mind me. Some days I just want to let off steam. Some days I just want people to use that nicely non-committal ‘And how are you with that?’ line. It’s worked for generations of therapists wearing comfy shoes and cardigans and it bloody well works for me. (Ok, I’m entirely guessing about the therapists bit, but it might be true.) Some days that’s good enough. Today that’s good enough. But enough of my yakking. I must go off now and be the parent of an angel. I think it will be the making of me. And let’s face it, wouldn’t it be worse if he had Downs? 😀 😀 😀 😀