One of my all time favorite things to do is shopping. My cousin and I even call ourselves "savvy shoppers" because of how great we are at finding deals and sales. One of the best sale times, in case you were wondering, is right after Christmas. All the stores are trying to empty out their winter clothes and make room for the spring collections -- which come way too early if you ask me -- meaning that there are some pretty good clearance deals.
This past weekend, my mom, cousin, and I all went to the mall to look for the sales and see what we could buy, even though Christmas was literally a week ago. I had been looking forward to getting up early and going all week, and the idea of shopping was kind of getting me through the post-Christmas blues (I know, I'm pathetic). I went to bed early on Friday, and woke up with a lot of excitement, but that excitement was soon met with a little bit of anger.
My mother informed me that my sister, Ela, was going to the mall with us.
Now, it sounds terrible that I did not want her coming to the mall, but the thing is, Ela is the worst walker/shopper in the history of the world. Whenever we have gone to the mall in the past, she has taken 3 steps and then complained that "her legs are broken". No matter if it's Disney World, Washington D.C, or a local museum, the routine is the same: Walk, then complain, then walk for 30 seconds, then complain some more. I did not want Ela to put up any sort of a fight on this day I had been looking forward to.
Unfortunately, my opinion was not valid, and Ela was coming whether I liked it or not. We all piled into the car and arrived at the mall without any issues, but I was basically just waiting for something bad to happen. First, we had to return something that we bought weeks ago, so I was expecting Ela to throw a fit of boredom in the middle of the store. However, this did not happen. There were no exclamations like "I'm tired" or "I'm bored" or "when is lunch". Ela just waited patiently for us to finish.
After returning everything, my cousin, mom, Ela, and I set out into the rest of the mall. We walked in a bunch of stores without one single complaint from Ela; she was just laughing and joking around with us. It was a little weird, not having to encourage her to move a couple more steps, but it was a good kind of weird. I was very impressed.
The anger that I once had slowly went away as the day went on. Could we have gotten more done if it was just me, my mom, and my cousin? Sure. But I think that it was good for Ela to come to the mall. She felt more included, got out of the comfort of her room, and saw that walking around for a couple of hours was not an excruciatingly painful experience. I think that by going places and finding activities to do with Ela, even if it is hard at first, we are all learning to have more patience and toleration.
What I am trying to say here is that one of the most important things for kids with special needs, or really anyone for that matter, is exposure to every day activities. We all dread certain places or scenarios, but by getting through them and experiencing them more, we can find patience. If kids are kept in their comfort zone, or left behind so that more work can get done, how will they ever learn? Sometimes, the difficult situations are necessary to endure so that in the future, they aren't that bad.
So I think, in the future, with this whole mall thing working out pretty well, Ela might just become better at shopping. It was annoying, yes, to have to fight with her to get her to walk at one time, but I think seeing her eagerly go shopping with me, for once, made it all worth it.
Hi! My name is Serra Tuzun and I am currently a junior in high school. My sister, Ela, who is 3 years younger than me, has Down Syndrome, and I thought it would be a great idea to share my experiences with her to the world. This blog is just a way for me to let other siblings to children with down syndrome know that they are not alone!