Just recently, our pediatrician merged offices with a new group of doctors. She is not available as often anymore so when we need to make impromptu visits (like today), we may often end up seeing other doctors. I wasn't happy about the change because I really love our pediatrician and the thought of not seeing her as much is disappointing. She had been called to the hospital before Colin was born because his heart had been in distress and she was also the head neonatologist at the hospital. Of all of the doctors that we saw and spoke with, she was always the most calm and reassuring. Later on during numerous checkups in her office, she had told us that she didn't have much of a population of kids with Down Syndrome, but was going to do everything to make sure she was on top the guidelines and how things have changed in recent years. She has always spent extra time talking with the kids and making sure they felt comfortable with her.
Today was our first visit to the new office because Kailey had some suspicious bites on her arm that looked like they were infected (they weren't). We ended up with a doctor we had never seen before. When she came in and introduced herself, she looked at Colin, who was really excited to see her (he is so good at doctor visits and loves when they check with their instruments) and mentioned how cute he was. She then asked "is he yours?". Hmm, first thing that struck me as odd. She started asking questions about Kailey while examining her. Colin kept saying to her "I try?", meaning, can you check me too? She kind of looked at him and just smiled so I told her what he was trying to say. She then turned to me and asked, "is he high functioning? he is really well behaved so he must be high functioning.".
Womp. Womp. Seriously? His behavior at that moment indicated that he was high functioning? In her mind, I know she was probably complementing him but this question and statement irk me in so many ways. What if she saw him look at me, laugh and then run away on the sidewalk maze walking in to the office, would she think otherwise? If she saw him in the waiting room refuse to pick up a book he dropped and have a mini-tantrum stomping his feet on the floor each time I asked (and then later obliging), would she think otherwise? If she saw our now daily fight (literal) with flailing, kicking feet each time we take him to the potty, would she think otherwise?
While I gathered myself on the inside, I corrected her in my own way by saying that he is doing really well and is just like any other toddler. It irks me because I just find it unprofessional to ask a question like that. It irks me because she apparently thinks that behavior defines kids with special needs. It irks me because it does.
This journey has lots of ebbs and flows and I find lately that I feel a little overwhelmed with some of our challenges right now. I know a lot of these anxieties stem from the fact that we are in a rather undefined summer "break" with much less rigid schedules and routines. I feel a little "stuck" with some of the progress we had been making with Colin and start to overwhelm myself with things that still need to be done, goals reached, skills acquired, words to be said, and accomplishments on the potty.
While I never want to see the summer come to a close (we still have a month!), I will be happy to see some of those more formal routines again because I feel as though we see the most progress with them.