Dear Playground Mommy


Dear Playground Mommy,

Remember last Sunday while your child and Noah were both playing in the sandbox at Saltlick?  You watched Noah out of the corner of your eye, smiling that sweet smile I know so well, “Downs kids are so cute – I’m so glad he belongs to her and not me.”

Your little one inched closer and closer, wanting so badly to help Noah fill his sand bucket.  But you called him back.  “No, that’s his bucket.  You come play over here.”

“He’d love some help,” I quietly murmured.

“Oh, that’s okay,” you awkwardly replied, as  you admonished your son to stay on his side of the sandbox.

I’m sure you were probably conjuring up images of an out-of-control full blown temper tantrum, maybe some foaming at the mouth and possibly even some biting if your child dared entered Noah’s territory.

Noah knows better.

Noah was oblivious to your slight, thank goodness.  But I wasn’t.

Playground Mommy, everybody needs a friend, even kids with Down syndrome.  I promise, Noah won’t bite or scream or throw sand.  If Noah is unhappy about sharing, I’ll step in and help out – just like any child’s mother would.  My child has Down syndrome – it’s not contagious, and he actually makes a really good friend.  He loves people, and he especially loves toddlers, toddlers like your child.

Playground Mommy – Think about how special your little guy is to you.  Think about how much you love him and how you want other children to treat him.  Think about how you’d give him the moon if he asked you for it.  Well, that’s exactly how I feel about Noah.

Next time you see us, if you’re still not sure if Noah would make a safe playmate or not, would you ask me?  I promise, I’ll answer all your questions.  No, he doesn’t bite; yes, he likes to play with other children; no, he doesn’t talk much but boy can he communicate; yes, he understands everything we say.  And someday soon he will even understand some of what we do.  Like when you lure your child away from him at the sandbox.

Thanks for listening, Playground Mommy.




10 thoughts on “Dear Playground Mommy”

    1. Thanks. I keep vascilating between feeling angry and thinking “their loss” and feeling sad that rejection will be part of Noah’s journey – and mine – for a while. It is what it is, I suppose. I could count all my blessings and not dwell on this, but there’s something in me that is telling me to be fully present for this, that it’s okay to be sad, it’s authentic to be sad. For a while. And then I’ll count my blessings.

      1. I definitely feel like everything you’re feeling is completely justified and understandable. I wish people could overcome their misconceptions, or whatever it is that holds them back from accepting ppl with disabilities. Children shouldn’t have to bear this weight. It’s so sad, and so unfair. But I guess this is something we have to live through, we continue to give our children the best we can. Regardless of what anyone thinks, our children ARE a blessing 🙂 no matter what

  1. Oh, I’m so sorry! That’s awful! I feel your pain Momma, I really do!

    I would kick her for you if I was there, promise. Because Noah may not…but I DO bite! Lol 🙂

  2. *big sigh*
    When Dominic was a little younger ( he will be 8 in June ) I was so pleased to see how accepting other little kids were. I realized that anything else was taught to them.. As he’s getting a little older it has been more of a challenge to find other children that are willing to play with him. It breaks my heart but I suppose the key is to surround ourselves with good people… I try to educate as much as I can, but there are times the encounters make me so angry I just want to cry.

    1. Yeah, I don’t see this getting better as Noah grows. I wish people would just ask questions rather than assume it’s best to leave us alone. I feel awful because I probably have been “the Playground Mommy” before I had Noah. Now I seek special kids out to the point my daughter thinks I’m neurotic, and perhaps I err on the side of being too forward. I think I better aim for just being authentic and compassionate.


  3. I have worked with children with Downs and they have all been kind hearted, loving souls. Sure, they have their moments just like any other child. Fear and lack of understanding stops people from doing many things. I hope this mum was one of the minority you meet.

    1. Me too . . . in the alternative, I’d like to be able to say something to moms to communicate to them how much it would mean to Noah for them to encourage their kids to play with him rather than move away from him.

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