Ahhhh, the joys of children. Much particular “joy” with three-year-olds it seems. Whoever coined the phrase “terrible twos” must not have endured the crafty and mischievious mind of a three-year-old. And why should a child with Down Syndrome be any different? I’ll be the first to say that Seth’s latest stunts as a blossoming 38-month-old are nothing more than typically developing….So I give you a few of his best moves, from Seth’s perspective:
The Grab and Go
I have a growing vocabulary (both words and signs) and some of the ones that my mom started to teach me long before I started talking were “share,” “your turn,” “my turn,” “please,” and “thank you.” But with a slick move like The Grab and Go, words or signs will only slow you down. Here’s how it works: Simply sneak up behind your victim, whether its a self-defending sister or an innocent little brother, and take whatever it is that seems to be captivating their attention. Then, just go, go, go! Get the heck out of dodge with your new, fast feet! Run to another part of the house as fast as possible, play with the object for about 30 seconds, then casually discard the item unless you see the self-defending sister chasing and shrieking behind you! If that’s the case, start shouting “no” and prepare to hit her with the object until the Fun House referee comes in to break up the “misunderstanding” (right?). At that point, fall to the ground in a heap of tears, as though you have been wronged by the other party. Tip: Good luck convincing the Fun House referee you are innocent. Just try to shed as many tears as possible. It helps if you stick out your bottom lip, point harshly at the other party and say, “Mama, Mama!” over and over again.
The Hit and Run
Similar to The Grab and Go, but more effective than signing “angry,” “frustrated,” “my turn,”or “share,” The Hit and Run is fairly self-explanatory. Just hit someone, either with your hand or a toy, and run away as fast as possible! It doesn’t have to be a hard hit, really. Just a good womp that gets the unassuming party’s attention. Addendum to The Hit and Run: If you’re not really feeling like a right cross or upper cut with a hot wheel in hand, why not consider a hair pull or a baby tackle? Both are effective in getting a rise out of the other party and capturing the attention of the Fun House referee. See tip in The Grab and Go for effective measures on pleading your innocence.
If I Don’t Look At You, I Can’t Hear You
Well, one of the coolest things about my ears is that they both hear perfectly (I have a miracle ear)! But I’ve learned a cool trick that is called selective hearing, and the best way to execute this move is to not look at the referee when he or she is giving instruction. If I Don’t Look At You, I Can’t Hear You works well whenever you are being called for a clothing change, hand washing, tooth brushing, bath, meal (sometimes, unless it’s your favorite thing to eat) or to get down the stairs and in the car for something, within tight time constraints. It also works well if you are caught considering The Grab and Go or The Hit and Run, particularly with the innocent little brother. Basically, If I Don’t Look At You, I Can’t Hear You will buy you some time to do exactly what you want to do, rather than what the Fun House referee might prefer. Either way, see the next move for tips on staying out of trouble.
I’ll Do Something Cute to Get Out of It
Look, a little secret of mine is that in that extra copy of the 21st chromosome (Down Syndrome) is an extra measure of cuteness that not many other kids are lucky enough to have. But it’s all in how you use your “cute.” As a three-year-old, I’ve learned that sometimes, if I’ll Do Something Cute to Get Out of It, then my consequences are far less severe. Don’t get me wrong, the Fun House referee calls a tough game. She makes me apologize to my brother and sister, sit in time out sometimes and throw fits in my room if things take a quick downturn. BUT…I know how to squint my eyes so tight that they become little rainbows! And the Fun House referee loves it when I purse my lips to kiss her or pretend that I’m dancing in circles. I’ll Do Something Cute to Get Out of It can make any referee think, “Hey it’s not such a big deal. After all, he’s so cute!”
Kids, this isn’t a tough one. It’s self-explanatory, much like The Hit and Run. Here’s how I like to play Total Destruction…when the Fun House referee gates me into my room for either “room time” or when I’m waking up from a nap or early morning, I like to be creative with my energy. My room is my canvas!
In Total Destruction, I start at my dresser and open the bottom three drawers. As quickly as possible, I like to just reach in and throw out as many things as I can. I send shirts, shorts, sheets and pull-ups flying through my room in a jumbled-up, colorful mess. Then I head over to my toy bins, where the Fun House referee has spent many minutes helping me learn to sort blocks from stacking cups, books and action figures. (When will she learn that I’d rather have it all mixed up anyway?) One by one, I just dump the bins out all over the floor. Next, I might consider walking, running or dancing through them to really mix things up and keep it fun. If the noise has not yet woken or alerted the referee, I then move to the book basket or shoe shelf in the closet. But I’m not worried, she’ll help me clean it up once she cools off…
The Answer is Always “Yes”
I’ve gotta be honest, I love the Fun House! We have a really great time around here, but I admit that sometimes I do get a little carried away with all my stunts and cool moves, and can actually cause a little trouble. And when the Fun House referee is really fired up, and I know she means business, I immediately go to my safest move ever: The Answer is Always “Yes.” For example, “Seth, I need you to apologize to your sister for pulling her hair, do you understand me?” ….and The Answer is Always “Yes!” In other examples, she may ask if I made the mess, will I help clean it up, do I deserve consequences, will I stay in my bed this time?…and I’ll answer “Yes.” I have found that in most serious occasions, when the Fun House referee looks most tired, most stressed and speaks with greatest intensity, that signs are more effective than words….for me, not her. So, more often that not, I just sign “yes” rather than say it. For whatever reason, it makes the referee smile when we’re done talking.
See there! Seth IS a typically developing three-year-old after all. In the comments, let me know some of your kids’ funniest moves…bet we could laugh for hours!