Friday, October 25, 2013

Benefits of Down Syndrome

Welcome to Down Syndrome Awareness Month 2013! I've written a lot in the past about the challenges that can come along with Down syndrome. Today I want to touch upon (perhaps again?) the benefits, however silly, of Down syndrome.

We're not having any more children. This decision has nothing to do with Down syndrome, we just don't want more children. I do love babies, though! You know how people wish kittens would stay kittens or puppies would stay puppies? Well with Down syndrome, growth (and development) happens on a smaller, slower scale. This means that I get to keep my baby a baby longer. Knowing he's my last, I treasure every baby moment and I'm having extras!

I would have nursed Spencer past infancy regardless,
but his smaller size makes it easier to cradle him.

You know how fast kids outgrow their clothes? You hate to spend much money on an outfit because before you know it, they've only worn it a few times and can't anymore. Spencer can wear the same clothes for a lot longer. In fact, I tend to start with big clothes and fold the cuffs, so Spencer has some Winter shirts this year that he wore last year and I'm sure he'll wear next year, too!

November 2012 vs October 2013

This shirt is an 18 month. I had to fold the cuffs twice last year, but have only been folding them once this year. Next year I probably won't have to fold them at all! And that will make 3 years in the same shirt. I might even get 4 years out of it!

Because of the delayed development, and the sheer variety of delays (no two children with Down syndrome experience the same medical problems or developmental delays), you don't get the same "keeping up with the Joneses" attitude. While sometimes it does sting to see another child surpass my son's skills (even though he walked before his friends with DS), there isn't the same competition you might find in other mom communities.

Physical Therapist, Rachel, trying to get Spencer to evenly use both legs.

Watching my son reach his milestones is a much bigger deal than it was with my other children. When you have to work harder for something, when you have to help them work harder for something, it makes the goal a bigger deal. I love all of my kids and I was excited for each of them as they learned to walk, but it was more exciting when Spencer reached that milestone. I guess maybe I'd summarize this one by saying that having a baby with DS is more exciting!

This was, quite possibly, the hardest day I've had as Spencer's Mommy.
But through supporting him during the hard stuff, I feel a very close bond.

Dealing with the extra medical procedures, I've learned that I'm stronger than I ever knew. I was so scared in the beginning and had to have moral support at every appointment. (That is okay, too. Get what you need.)

Nearly two years into this journey, I think I'm beginning to understand why so many mothers (of children with Down syndrome) say they wouldn't change a thing!

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. The Buddy Walk is behind us. This is my last Friday post for Down Syndrome Awareness Month. I hope you've learned something and enjoyed peeking into our lives.

Please visit my Facebook page for daily tidbits about Down syndrome during Down Syndrome Awareness Month.
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