Saturday, January 26, 2008

Awareness

Around the breakfast table this morning, Jamie was questioning us about the day's activities (it is very important for him to know the itinerary of each day). He asked, "Do I have school? Do we have swim class? Does Clare have physical therapy?" As I answered "no" to each question, I explained that today was the weekend and a day to play at home all day long. Then Jamie asked, "Does Clare have Williams syndrome today?" I was floored and taken aback by the unexpected question.

We have briefly explained to Jamie in the past that Clare has something called Williams syndrome. One time, he overheard us discussing it and asked what that was. But I have no idea how much sinks in. Jamie is a very intelligent almost 5-year old, but you never know what they really pay attention to. So I explained to him that Clare will always have Williams syndrome. I told him that was the name for why Clare has her heart boo-boos, took a long time learning how to walk, has help from Jen and Kelly (her therapists) to teach her how to do things. Jamie grasped this simple explanation and added, "And why Clare doesn't like to eat anything!"

It was an eye-opener to hear Jamie ask about Williams syndrome. I know that he will know all about it someday. It will always be as much a part of his life as it with Clare's and our entire family's. I was just surprised it would happen so soon.

9 comments:

Julie said...

Bless his heart. Grace said the same thing when we went to the Williams picnic this summer. I think it is hard for her to realize how different Noah is at this age. But there were kids there Lexi's age and I think she picked up on it. She asked Scott if Noah would ever get rid of Williams syndrome. It was very tough to fight back the tears.

Every minute counts.... said...

It is tough when the siblings start to "get it". Ours realy understood when we wnet to the convention in 2004. I think they were old enough to understand but not too old to think badly of their sister at that point.
Kids are amazing and pick up more than we think they do sometimes!

Noel

Penny said...

Awwww. I am sure you will remember this forever. It's actually easier when they are aware. They tend to have more patiece and be more understanding.

Anonymous said...

Teresa & Shawn - I applaud you for 'allowing' Jamie to be part of Clare's specialness. I believe that there is more tolerence & acceptance when there is understanding. Jamie, as well as Simon, will alway love Clare for who she is, not what she can/cannot do. That is because you two live by example. Thank you for making this world a little better for all of us with "differences". Love to all, Aunt Joan

Amy said...

Yay about the endo appointment! It is nice to get good news from Drs. every once and a while. It is funny how we, as parents, live and breath WS and we don't think anyone else is consumed by it, but I think that it is impossible that our loved ones (young and old) don't feel the impact that this syndrome brings to our lives.
XOXO-Amy

Tara said...

Oh goodness, since Payton's my oldest we haven't come across this yet. It's amazing to me how young children pick up on things so quickly.

Katie said...

Its a bit of a shock when you see how they are taking it all in.
I remember Lorelai getting upset with Jai for something and she said to me "why does he ALWAYS do this?" and i told her to give him a break as he is only little and she replied "Im 4 too and i dont do that!" then Liam suddenly piped up "Jai is just different, ok? leave him!" It was the first time i had heard him acknowledge any difference and also stick up for his brother. It made me proud and my heart break at the same time.

Kerry said...

We have had conversations like this with Michael, and he only really notices differences right now with babies younger than Brady who can do more things. Once in a while he comments on it, but doesn't think it's a big deal. I think when the differences are more apparent, as Brady gets older, Michael will understand more since he is 7 years older than Brady. You know these sibs just take their clues from us, their parents. That was a really good conversation you had with Jamie.

LOVE the pics of Simon! He is such a little man!!!

Heather said...

It's tough. I think you handled the conversation really well though. Since Caleb was just diagnosed with WS, we just recently talked to our other two about WS. Before they knew he was different, but not really why. It is easier now to explain. My youngest still has questions here and there which we try to answer honestly. My oldest has always stuck up for Caleb and accepted him, even before the DX. He is 12 though and getting a little self concious. I see that he is getting annoyed quicker and is more worried about what his friends think of Caleb. I still have to remind him that we need to accept caleb for who he is. Like I said, it's tough and I'm glad you've had the opportunity to get started while Jamie is young.