Does size matter?

So, people are always interested in your child’s age for some reason. It’s the height of small talk and will inevitably lead to some comment on size and developmental milestones (“Is she walking?” Etc).

I’m interested to know if mums of “typical” children ever feel like a comment on their child’s size is a criticism – if it ever makes you feel like you’re doing a bad job?

You see, Audrey is small. The last time she was weighed, she was travelling around the 9th curve on the Down syndrome chart. For those of you who don’t know, people with DS generally grow slower and are smaller than typical people. So the 9th on the DS chart is smaller than the 9th on the typical chart. 

She is 22 months old, wearing mostly size 9-12 months (just moving to 12-18). So basically she’s the size of a one year old and is nearly two. This means people are usually quite surprised by her age or that they guess her age and are way off. In the early days I definitely felt like I was to blame. It was my breast milk feeding her and I so wanted to make her grow big and strong, but she just kept slowly crawling up the lower curves. She was refluxy, so it was tricky getting her to gain weight, but once we started her on solids, she gained some good chunk. Unfortunately she was still weeny and yeah, it’s great to be petite if you’re a lady, so I’m sure this won’t be an issue in time, but right now, whenever I meet people (bus, supermarket queue…) and they say “Ahh, she must be about 10 months?” and I have to say; “Well, no, actually she’s 22 months”, I feel uncomfortable about it. I feel like they are wondering why on earth is this kid so small? And it’s often followed by the question “Was she premature?” and then I have to say “No, actually she was 6 days late”. Queue another surprised look.

Audrey’s size has skewed my idea of what size a baby should be, so I can’t really enter into the guessing game when meeting a new baby, because I have no idea what age to go for. In fact, how does everyone else know the average size of a 10 month old?! I didn’t know pre-Audrey and I certainly don’t know now. And why do I think that big bouncing baby = successful mother? 

She is a greedy piglet and we feed her a lot. In fact it was Audrey’s ‘decision’ to drop her nighttime bottle in favour of a snack! Ha. 

Anyway, if you meet someone and enter into the small talk of baby age, please try not to be overly shocked by their answer (whether the baby seems tiny or huge to you), either way, I’m sure the mummy won’t be thrilled that you think their child is mahoosive/minuscule! Thanks!

Audrey with a (giant!) teddy and her friend Edith (over a year younger than her!)….

  

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Aim of the gameĀ 

Today I am attending a Mothers Meeting (http://mothers-meeting.com). I got my ticket after a friend vaguely explained the event to me and said I had to go as she is on holiday and can’t make it.

As far as I can gather, it’s a networking event for like-minded mummies; those of us that like clothes and coffee and design and cool stuff. From what I’ve seen on IG, a lot of the mums attending are creative types with their own businesses. I’ve had an email that says we will all have a little opportunity to say something about ourselves(!), so I thought I’d talk about this blog. This is the closest thing I have to ‘work’ at the moment!

So it got me thinking, what is my aim with this blog? How will I describe it? It’s not just mummy ramblings… Honest!

My main aim is sharing the ups and downs of life with a child with Down’s Syndrome. More than anything I just want people to understand that is nothing like you might imagine. 

Imagine having a disabled child. Depressing isn’t it? Picture the mother of a child with special needs. Is she mumsy? Is she Florence Nightingale?

I guess I want people to know it can happen to anyone, rich or poor, cool or uncool, caring and uncaring. Kids with special needs are born all the time and the people that have them, love them and do normal things.

One thing that always gets me a bit ‘ranty’ (apart from too much red wine), is the fact that 9 out of 10 women in the UK (and I believe it’s the same in the US) abort after a near-certain Down’s Syndrome prenatal diagnosis. So the majority of kids with DS that exist were surprises. 

I guess there are two reasons to raise awareness; 1. To support those of us that had the surprise (share our feels of disappointment, grief, guilt, confusion and how we moved on) and 2. Help women who receive the prenatal diagnosis make a decision based on what it is really like to have a child with Down’s Syndrome (it’s not as bad as you imagine! I promise you’ll love them and they’ll be amazing!).

I appreciate we get a lot of love from pro-lifers, but Audrey isn’t here because we are anti-abortion (although I don’t think we would have aborted, I’m not anti-abortion in the right circumstances). But I do think it’s terribly sad that couples might make the choice to abort a child based on fear and a stereotype of what ‘disabled’ or ‘special needs’ is.

I mean, ‘special needs’ isn’t cool. It’s not sexy or fun, it sounds awful to me. I’m hoping our Instagram and blog can help people realise that it can be cool! And yeah, maybe one day Audrey will want to be sexy (and we’ll still feel icky about it, just as my parents did when I started wearing mini skirts and crop tops), but a part of me will also be thinking “Yeah, go Audrey!”, because she can be whoever she wants to be and that’s exciting!

Today I’m going to meet some cool mums and (hopefully without coming across as a ranting crazy), bang the drum a little for Down’s Syndrome. Let them all know that it’s not the end of the world and that it can be cool. I mean, look at our cool little dudette…

   
   

A day in the life

So I may have said this before, but having a cute kid with lots of hair and glasses is like stepping out with a celebrity. She gets so much attention. 

Today this is roughly how our day panned out…

9am: off out to catch a bus to our group for babies with special needs. See bus, do an enthusiastic sign for “bus”, wave the bus goodbye and see smiling faces on the passengers who have witnessed the joy at the event.

(We had at this point, just missed our actual bus, so we popped off to pick up a coffee from a favourite local trendy place).

9.15am: wave at beardy man in queue, get a wave back. Marvel at pastry treats behind glass (“Wow!”). Wave at everyone and anyone, receive wave back from man that Mummy had incorrectly pre-judged as grumpy.

9.20am: back at bus stop. See dog, sign “dog” and attempt to reach the dog from the sling position. Mummy thanks the man for stopping. Drunk man passes and compliments Audrey’s “bins”.

9.30am: get on our bus. Wave at people out the window, dance when the bus is stopped in traffic and the engine sounds like music (to Audrey’s ears).

9.35am: bus stops for a while by the shopping mall. Wave at man who isn’t looking until Mummy points out a willing participant who is watching from the bus stop. Waving back and forth is fun, but starts to get a bit uncomfortable once we are stopped there for a while. Mummy looks in opposite direction.

9.40am: motion of bus too much, fall asleep on Mummy and miss a dog that gets on the bus and sits right by us.

10am: arrive at reception for baby group, bum shuffle to the centre of the room, wave and say “Hi Daddy!” to the two ladies in reception. Throw ball.

10.03am: enter room for Early Stages group, greet all nursery nurses with a wave and “Hi!”, see tent filled with lights and say “Wow!”.

10.03-11.30am: greet any arrivals with a wave. Play at every station, but not for too long, lots of bum shuffling to do. Successfully make a choice at singing time (choosing is hard, Mummy advised offer row row and it’s a no brainer). Enthusiastically take part in all songs, clap and say “Yeah!” at the end of each one. Mummy beams with pride.

11.30am: have lunch. Make lots of yummy noises and copy speech and language therapist when she mimes rubbing her tummy. Everyone marvels at the signing.

12pm: bum shuffle over to the mirror and amuse everyone with babbling. Say what sounds like “Hi ladies!”. Leave with Mummy, wave bye bye and blow big kisses!

12.10pm: wave at girl at bus stop, who waves back and I think remembers us from last week.

12.20pm: get on bus, lady sits next to us and chatters at Mummy, wave to lady. Lady compliments eyelashes (Audrey’s, no one cares about Mummy’s anymore), marvels at Audrey’s old lady name.

12.30pm: fall asleep.

1.30pm: wake up, surprised to find we are on another bus. Stare at lady next to us as she has amazing sunglasses and a crazy hat on. Blow her a kiss.

2pm: arrive to play in waiting room ahead of eye test. Wave to everyone in room.

2.05pm: have to look at a light and some tiny toys, do ok, but not thrilled about it. Have eye drops and cry. Lady says Audrey really looks like Mummy when she is about to cry. Hmmm. Wave goodbye to lady as if she is a best friend and not the mean lady who put drops in eyes.

2.20pm: more crying in waiting room as older child knocks down a tower of bricks. Smiles and clapping once Mummy sings.

2.40pm: more eye test annoyance. Shake hands with eye lady. Lots of wriggling and noises of discontent. Eat rice cake to recover.

3pm: bus home, not feeling the best. Lots of thumb sucking and cuddling with Mummy.

3.30pm: in the shops. Lady comes to compliment glasses. Give her a smile and wave despite feeling under the weather.

4pm: more waving in the supermarket, lots of comments about those lovely rosy cheeks (ezcema!).

4.15pm: get home, play with toys and have some down time after all that waving.

The end.

No photos taken today, but this was last week skipping radio channels for our daily dance party…

  

Update: here she is today. Red cheeks and all:

  

Stuff and things 7

So I somehow manage to be busy, despite not having a job since November and mostly drinking coffee and entertaining Audrey.

Since she started bum shuffling, it’s been surprisingly ok. I mean, I thought a mobile child meant endless running around and use of the word ‘no’; exhausting basically. Yes, she likes to tackle the electrical wires and empty bags of stuff everywhere, but mostly the exploring is safe and it’s a lovely feeling watching her travel. 

In other news I now possibly have lots of people I know reading this, thanks to my husband’s share on Facebook. Hello.

Aforementioned husband is studying for an exam in June, which means less Daddy time at weekends (which is what us stay-at-home-mums live for), so I’ll be glad when that is out of the way.

My job hunt may finally have proved to be fruitful… More on that as it unfolds.

Audrey is coming on in leaps and bounds, her signing is bloody brilliant. She is a genius. We had speech and language therapy last week and I plan to start her swimming soon. Only bad news is that she has to have the thyroid function blood test again, booo. They didn’t take enough blood last time and it was so traumatic pinning her down for the event šŸ˜¦

So, I had decided I would blog at least once a week, but have failed at that. Will keep working on it… Although sometimes I don’t have much to say, so don’t want to just ramble! Which is happening now… Over and out.