"This year we'll be in the school play, and we'll have to dance with boys!"
I was listening to Lamb and a friend chat and giggle about their 2nd grade adventure, which begins tomorrow.
"Oh!" Lamb squealed, more for dramatic effect than any real emotion. "If I have to dance with a boy in front of the teachers and the principal...! Oh, I think I might just faint." (She is so full of bologna. She LOVES being on stage and has NO issue with dancing with boys.)
"And what if I have to dance with Steve*?" her friend wailed.
"What's wrong with dancing with Steve?" I joined into the conversation.
"Are you kidding? With Autism Steve??? He's so weird!" Somewhere in her 7-year-old brain, she put some pieces together about why this might be hurtful to our family (although I don't think she could fully verbalize the hows and whys of it), and she backpedaled a bit. "I mean... not weird exactly... he's just so... autism!"
He's different. He's hard for them to understand. She wasn't exactly making fun, and I truly think she would be kind to his face... but he's different. He's weird. He's autism. And she doesn't want to dance with him.
Someday a little 7-year-old girl will tell her friend's mom that she doesn't want to dance with Roo because he's just so... Down syndrome.
My heart hurts a little.
*Not his real name, for my local friends...