Somehow, somewhere along the line, I stopped disciplining Moxie the same as I discipline Micah, or rather even, the same as I disciplined Micah when he was Moxie’s age.
And I don’t know what happened exactly to change that.
I suspect that her inexhaustible appetite for adventure and mischief had something to do with it – she simply wore me down and I was too tired to muster the energy to do much else but sigh.
I suspect that her relentless adorability, the fact that her eyes take up about half of her face, her precious pout and infectious giggle had something else to do with it.
But I also think Down syndrome had a part in this.
Not disciplining Moxie because she has Down syndrome
I know Moxie is clever and yet I’ve caught myself wondering if she understands what exactly is going on, if disciplining her is going to work.
My Mom called me on it – she has been here at the training center with us, watching the kidlets the entire time that I am in training with my hearing service dog. On break one day, I was helping out, Moxie did something she wasn’t supposed to and I just started cleaning, maybe after saying, “noooooooooooooooooooooooo Moxieeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”
My Mom asked me why I wasn’t doing anything about it, that she saw that expression in Moxie’s eyes of, “oh YAY! got away!” At first I denied that I was letting her get away with it, but thought about it all for about two whole minutes and knew that my Mom had hit the nail on its head: I was totally letting Moxie get away with it.
No way in high hell would I have let Micah dump a cup of milk on the floor and not have a time out AND clean up his mess. No way would I let ANY kid do that; why on earth was I letting Moxie out of a discipline?
Huh. Oh, hi there, Down syndrome.
I’ve revved it all up about 50 million notches and Moxie’s getting immediate time outs for the things that she knows very well that she is not to do. She dumped a cup of milk in the kitchen last night and I said, “no!”(- firmly, clearly, without the drawing out of the “noooooooooooooo”) then placed her in a 3 minute time out. When the time out was over, I went to her, looked at her in the eye while crouching down in front of her and said, “no dumping milk, Moxie. No. Say you are sorry.” – she signed “sorry” “now clean up this mess, Moxie” – I gave her a towel and she got up and cleaned the whole mess up.
Every little bit of milk.
Meriah Nichols is a counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one on the spectrum). Deaf, and neurodiverse herself, she’s a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.