Good morning! Just a quick post to mark World Down’s Syndrome Day 2017. We are busy planning a move, I’m job hunting, both kids are running around like crazies and my mum is ill. So the blog is suffering a little… but I wanted to mark WDSD with a little note.
Audrey is still surprising us everyday, her vocabulary is broader, her stroppiness is increasing, her need for independence (“I want to walk!”) and her loveliness never stops. She is an excellent big sister, but is not so inclined to share toys… but will share a cuddle. Rex looks to her for guidance, he is learning so much because of her. I certainly never thought I’d say this, but our lives are richer and happier with Down’s Syndrome in it. Fact.
So there you are, just be aware; Down’s Syndrome isn’t scary or sad. It’s pretty cool actually.
I missed our local T21 gathering to celebrate (on Sunday), in favour of a mums-only trip to see Beauty and the Beast! But the kids had fun with Daddy and Bibi and here is Audrey enjoying a bit of soft play…
Here we are again, our third World Down Syndrome Day. I feel like I’m always banging the DS awareness drum, I really hope it’s not a bore to people.
This time around we’ve got tiny Rex with us, depriving me of sleep and making me a little bit insane (well the hormones post-pregnancy are). So it’s a crazy time. But one thing Rex has done by crashing into our world and turning things upside down; is shine a light on just how wonderful his sister is. I’m not saying him being difficult makes us realise how good Audrey is… Well… I guess I am a bit… But I know he doesn’t mean to, he’s just being a demanding newborn, wanting to feed and to sleep in our arms, crying too much and pooping and weeing at the wrong time… But in amongst the stress and tiring times, we have a beautiful little girl who is unaffected by the chaos – but has the sensitivity to ask if we (mostly Rex and I, the criers!) are ok. She’s offering cuddles and (heartbreakingly), saying and signing “Mummy sad”. She is playing happily by herself, casually saying “Hi Rex” when we bring him into the room, offering him cuddles when he cries. Her emotional intelligence is incredible.
And so, on this day, I celebrate Audrey for being our daughter, someone we love now more than we ever thought possible, who happens to have Down’s Syndrome. And if you let that define her or you make a judgement about what she might be like based on this syndrome, you will be way off the mark. Because I know there are many who are having scans and taking the screening test to find out their chances of a baby with Down’s Syndrome… And some are doing this to “prepare” (they have no intention of aborting), but want to know what’s coming. But many are geared up for aborting if the chances are high – they are thinking they couldn’t handle a disabled child. They may even be worrying about all the difficulties they’ll face. They will probably be wondering what kind of life can someone have with a learning disability? Some may even say that livng with a disability; “well that’s no life at all”. Of course I can’t guarantee things won’t be hard, that their won’t be health issues and struggles, but I can tell you about our daughter with Down’s Syndrome. I can tell you that our experience has been so amazing and that her life – wow, she loves it to the max. She’s having a great time and we love Audrey more and more each day. Now that Rex is here, we look at her as a big sister and we are so proud and excited by the prospect of them being friends forever. We are also thinking about how much she will teach him.
Happy World Down Syndrome Day everyone!
21st March is #WDAD15 (World Down’s Syndrome Day). A time to raise awareness, raise money and raise a toast to that special person with an extra chromosome who has affected your life.
A year ago, Audrey was just 8 months old when we attended a local gathering and met lots of DS families… and faced seeing older children and adults with DS; which was something that definitely scared me back then. We came away feeling good. For me, raising awareness is predominantly about showing how ‘normal’ (whatever normal is!) life can be with a child who has DS. Of course things are different, but those early panics brought forth feelings that nothing would ever be the same again… That this little baby girl would have a difficult and sad life. So I want my blogging and instagramming to show that Audrey’s life isn’t a struggle, she’s not suffering, she’s just getting on with things and she just so happens to also be incredibly beautiful and wonderful!
Mixing with other families serves to strengthen the feeling that ‘everything is going to be ok’. The surprise of a child with DS can make you feel like your world has been crushed, when in fact it’s just shifted a little. You may end up on a slightly different path to the one you planned, but isn’t that what makes life great?
People said to me that Audrey would teach us a lot and initially I thought that was just a cheesy statement that gets dug up to make you feel better. But just 20 months in and it’s so true. She has taught us so much already. Priorities shift when you have a child, but I also think I look at life differently.
Isn’t it great to have people in the world who challenge your view of beauty? And make you less judgemental? Making you appreciate the smallest things? Well that’s what Audrey has done.
I never could have imagined that I would become this enthusiastic member of the Down’s syndrome community, but here I am, sharing our story and being thankful for Audrey everyday. She is the love of our life and we are so excited to watch her grow and learn. And how amazing is it that social media lets us watch other little ones with DS grow up too? We can all be connected from all around the world, sharing our ups and downs, giving support where needed.
Happy World Down Syndrome Day (taking out the ‘s this time for the Americans!)!
Oh and of course, here she is… Will try to get pictures of us at the local WDSD event and post them later.