Saturday, August 1, 2009

Our Neighbor Ally

We met Ally, who is 2 months older than Matthew, and her mom earlier this year at a Parents as Teachers playgroup, then again at preschool gym. We learned that we lived in the same neighborhood.

Matthew and Ally collage

Inspired by the book My Friend Isabelle, I have these thoughts/ observations about Matthew's friendship with Ally.

They both like music and enjoyed the Kindermusik summer camp.
They both like books and enjoy Tot Time at the library.
They both like playing with water in the pool.
In their own ways, they are picky about food.
They both like to play with toys. They are both learning what it means to share.
Ally speaks clearly and spontaneously. After a dinner at their house, Ally showed Bill a book and said, "This book is about King Xerxes." Matthew has not spoken his first word.
They both know some sign language.
They have fun together.
Matthew has Down syndrome. Ally does not.

When I first met Ally and her mom, I did not immediately tell them that Matthew had Down syndrome. It wasn't until the 2nd or 3rd playdate when I was talking about our social calendar and therapy sessions that I mentioned Down syndrome. Since then, we've had several more playdates, toy exchanges (borrowing toys), and kiddie pool parties. Recently, we had a wonderful weekend at the lake with Ally and her parents. Just for fun, we got a photo of the kids on the seadoos.

Matthew and Ally on seadoos

It doesn't matter to them that Matthew has Down syndrome. Many people can learn important lessons from our neighbors. Respect, Inclusion, Acceptance. Coincidentally, the first letters of these 3 words spell my name.


Debbie said...

How awesome for you and for Matthew! Isn't it nice that it doesn't really matter to other kids that Matthew does have Ds???

I always worry about that with JEB when he's starting a new place like Sunday school, church or daycare. It always takes a while for the kids to adjust to him and how he does things....and to things like his limited speaking ability. BUT in the end....they take care of him and play with him and include him in the things they do. He can hold his own.

I'm glad for you that you have someone that he can play with and you can have 'mommy' time with!!

RK said...

Yay for friends close-by! Ally looks like a great playmate! :)

The Hapa Girl said...

I like that RIA! Just another great reason to remember your name :)

Renee' said...

I found your blog throught Braska's blog. Matthew is just so cute. I am so happy to see that Ally and Matthew are such great playmates.I am sure that years from now they will still be friends if not each others best friends. People could learn alot from watching children weather their own or someone elses. This is truly a lesson of unconditional love and friendship and this I do believe is how God intended true friendship and just people in general to be. Thanks for allowing me to follow your blog.

Beverly said...

looks like a good time!

Michelle said...

I love this story - and great pics!

When Kayla was born there were 6 other babies born within several months of each other in the group I hung out in on base. It was nice that they all accepted Kayla and our kids were growing up together and all of that...but everyone was military and everyone slowly started moving away. Sometimes I wish we weren't military so we could stay in the same town and Kayla would make life-long friendships who would know her and accept her from a young age.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ria, thanks for posting this photo retrospective of the kids playing together - they are so cute! You are right that we see Matthew for the whole person that he is. (What would be the point of only focusing on one aspect of his existence?) Yes indeed, Ally and her parents absolutely adore Matthew. We cherish our friendship with all three of you and thank you for sharing so much of your time with us since we met. And from one mommy to another: thanks for sharing your thoughts on parenting on this blog and in person, because I always appreciate hearing your ideas. We've both got fast-moving toddlers with serious "independent streaks", and so I think we need all the help we can get from one another! (smile)