A Matter of Etiquette

This is a topic I’ve written about on my own blog before now, but felt it was worth revisiting here – not least to get some other opinions about it.

My wife and I were in the supermarket recently when we saw a mother with 2 kids – one was about 18 months old and sitting in the trolley, while the other was about 4 or 5 and was running about being helpful.

The wee tot in the trolley was achingly beautiful. She also had Down’s Syndrome.

It’s an odd thing, but after nearly 11 years, I still have no idea what the protocol is, if there is one at all.

What I wanted to do was go over, pick the wee lass up and give her a big hug. Of course this would clearly be unacceptable and I would most likely be beaten to a pulp by an irate mother before being arrested for attempted kidnapping.

Even so, a part of me still wanted to say hello and mention that we too had a child with DS and that she had a beautiful daughter, but that seemed wrong too. One of the things I always felt uncomfortable with after Meg was born, was the idea that I had somehow joined a “club” (see Lada Owner’s Club for more details), so if I’d been prepared to tear up my membership card then, it would be more than a little hypocritical to try and use it now.

So rather than say anything and risk embarrassing the mother, or ourselves, we just surreptitiously watched the child as she laughed when her bigger sister came up to the trolley, and pretended to be interested in the items on the shelf every time the mother glanced in our direction.

But I would love to know how other parents of children react when seeing a child who has similar special needs to your own. Or, for that matter, how you have reacted if someone has come up to you in a supermarket to remark on your child and the needs of their own.

Kim Ayres
Kim is usually to be found at his own blog, Ramblings of the Bearded One. Although you will find tales about his daughter, Meg, under his “Down’s Syndrome” category, you’ll find far more simply under “Fatherhood

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