World Down Syndrome Day 2020

Nothing is currently as expected.

Today we would have been attending a party with other local families who have someone in their life with Down syndrome. Just a couple of weeks ago, I thought we’d carry on as normal… but the Coronavirus has stepped up and moved on and now the schools in the UK are closed, everyone (who can) is on work from home mode and all parties and gatherings have been cancelled.

To say the times we are living now are bizarre is an understatement.

Audrey has an educational health and care plan, which does actually mean she could continue to attend school, however, since her brother Rex’s preschool is closed and Ted and I are able to work from home, we would much rather have her with us.

And so here we are, “social distancing” is our current mode. Staying at home, perhaps popping out for some fresh air, but avoiding group meet-ups and physical contact where we can. We hope to Face-time and stay in touch with friends and family as best we can. We hope Rex won’t climb the walls (and us) too much.

The biggest stress for me by far (yes, above the thought of catching the virus) has been the pressure (social media, friends chats etc) focused on homeschooling and activities. Everyone is being extremely helpful sending links, resources, accounts to follow, apps to download, things to print… I cannot fault people for trying to ensure we can all help our kids learn, but what it results in is a seemingly mountain high pile of stuff you feel you have to do. I am overwhelmed by the thought of doing my actual job (communications for a charity), doing my mum job (entertainment, food, referee, wiping bums etc) and now being their teacher! It feels like too much to handle on top of the fact that all four of us will be at home together for months. Even if we get to escape the house for fresh air it will be short lived and it won’t really be with other people. Intense!

There is a funny part of me that thinks “you wished for this”! Because often in the mornings, during the stressful period of “Put your shoes on, Where is your book bag? Don’t take your coat off! Please can we get in the car now?”, I find myself wishing we didn’t have to do that morning routine 5 days a week.  Now of course I am desperately sad that I don’t know when we’ll do that routine again.

Anyway, bringing it back to today… World Down Syndrome Day raises awareness (and funds) for various charities relating to DS, there will still be a lot of online campaigns and videos. The central campaign involves “lots of socks” which I (and many others) actually don’t like! It gets confused with odd socks (for anti-bullying) and muddies the water to “we are all different” when we are often striving for people to understand that having DS doesn’t make you so different to typical people.

I mentioned in my Instagram feed this week that I actually learned something about Down’s syndrome this week thanks to COVID-19: I have pretty much consistently told people throughout Audrey’s life that “people with DS have a weak immune system” , but once this all kicked off I decided to fact check. Actually, it’s just that people with DS are prone to certain conditions (relating to their heart or lungs) and it’s those underlying health issues that can cause compromised immunity. So basically, Audrey is fine because she has no health issues. Plus (major plus), she has my immunity passed on from breastfeeding, yay!

 

Love love love part 2

Just a list of things I love, that Audrey does.

The way she dances to police sirens, lorry reversing beeps and builders banging (basically whenever she mistakes those kind of sounds for music).

The way she obediently hands things to me when I ask her to (how long will that last??).

The way she pats you on the back with her hand when cuddling and says “Ahhh”.

The way she blows kisses with a dramatic flourish.

The way she does something she’s not supposed to (emptying a pack of baby wipes, playing with our shoes or electrical cables) and says “Noooo!” whilst doing it.

The way she sucks her toes.

When she shuffles over to my feet, looks up at me with her arms spread wide and says “Ahhhh” – her way of asking to be picked up.

The way she points in her mouth and says “teeth” to ask to have her teeth brushed.

They way she claps and says “Yeah!!!” With such enthusiasm at the end of a song at music class or after some good drumming at our drumming group.

Pretty much every word she tries to say – her speech and language is coming along so well and I’m so proud of how hard she tries with everything from “sneeze” to “fish”.

Her lion roar.

The fact that at just 2 years old, she already has a favourite book (A Bit Lost) and that I don’t mind reading it 3 times before bed.

Bless you gorgeous Audrey for making everything little thing so loveable!