What I'm learning is that I need to give Maya the opportunity to be herself. She is who she is and I can't compare her to typical children. I have to let her be the interesting character she is and let her develop her own story in this book of life. She does not fit into the mold of a child of her age. Yes, all children are unique but Maya has Down Syndrome and she also has other characteristic that perhaps a typical child does not have. These things make her different but they don't take away from the fact that she is a child who enjoys many things like swimming, dancing, dress up, giving hugs and not going to bed on time.
I'm trying to find the balance of having her be exposed to what typical children like, but at the same time I realize that she might not even care about those things. Birthday parties are notoriously an issue for her. She doesn't like all the crazy loud things that go on with birthday parties. She doesn't like the "happy birthday song". For so long I tried to get her to go to these events and I still feel it's important but I've come to the realization that we might not stay very long at these parties. We certainly don't stay for cake and the HB song. I believe that this is a lesson for me to learn because Maya could care less about this. In some ways I wanted her to be included so much with typical kids that I wasn't letting her be who she is. Letting go of that yearning for a typical child is helping me love and accept her for who she is and what she offers us in this life.
It's OK to be different. That's what I'm learning. It feels liberating.