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A blog about our busy family with two amazing kids, one of whom happens to have Down syndrome!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Inclusion at its finest

It was raining yesterday so my sister and I packed up the kids and headed to the mall! It's a great idea to take a 3 year old, a 19 month old and a 13 month old to the mall, right?

Actually it was! The mall we went to had a large play area for kids surrounded by benches for the parents. We took Ryan last week after our failed attempt at his first movie theater experience.

It was packed yesterday and all three kids had a blast! Ryan and Jesús, my nephew, ran around like crazy and were climbing everything and going down slides. Lauren stuck a little closer to me mostly because its not as easy for her to get around.

One little girl kept giving Lauren weird looks and would get upset if Lauren to too close. Her mom whispered something to her and she started being a little nicer but eventually went to the other end to play. My heart broke a little bit because it was clear she didn't want Lauren around because she looks different.

Then another (amazing) little girl swooped in and was basically Lauren's little protector. She was around 8 years old. She followed Lauren around, hugged her, helped her reach for one of the wall toys. It was awesome. A little boy accidentally knocked Lauren over and she didn't even cry because the older girl gave her a hug! The boy who knocked her over also gave her a hug and patted her head! The older girl even totally blocked a tunnel so Lauren could safely crawl through without getting knocked over again.

My heart was so happy! When it was time for her to go the little girl gave Lauren another hug and waved goodbye. 

Then a little boy (around 2) and his brother (around 4) showed up. Since they were the same age as my kids it worked perfect! Their mom right away encouraged them to play with my kids.  The 2 year old even tried to pick Lauren up which was SO funny. The older boys played and Lauren played with the little one. The the older one was playing with Ryan and then all four of them played too. 

I can't even explain how awesome it was to see BOTH of my kids playing so well with others. Ryan can be shy and its awesome to see him come out of his shell. And Lauren playing just like any other kid is a sight to behold.

There's something to be said about a mother encouraging her child to play with another child with a visible disability. Lauren looks different. And while younger kids may not notice, parents do! It's great to see parents encouraging inclusion. And even better is seeing older kids, who tend to notice obvious differences, take the initiative to not only befriend but protect another kid. 

Yesterday was an awesome day and both kids were SO sleepy by the time we got home! Lauren screamed for an hour straight, thanks to teething and her lack of a nap, then promptly fell asleep right at 8 (for 13 hours!) Ryan didn't argue (very much) at bedtime either. Definitely a successful day.


  1. This post made me happy. I hope that my son is so loving and helpful with kids on the playground. (He's only eight months now.)

  2. Lauren is so adorable that I have a feeling she will find that "protector" every where she goes with no trouble at all!