Wednesday, June 9, 2010

He's not the only one!

Shawn and I decided to join a nearby gym (nothing like deciding to finally exercise while pregnant). As we were touring, we dropped the kids off in the babysitting area. When I scanned the room, I was so excited to see another little boy about Eon's age with Down syndrome. He was so cute! I asked the attendant about him and she said she thinks he's the youngest of four and that he's 18 mos.

Later, when we picked the kids up, she told me that she pointed me out to the mom who didn't want to interrupt when we were signing up. I hope she sees me there, again, and "makes contact". :) I still think we need a secret handshake or something. Ellie told me that when she put Eon down, he crawled right over to him and they played together.

I know it's silly to get so excited over a chance encounter, but I just never see kids his age with Ds unless we are at a Ds event. It was a momentous occasion. :) I think the attendant was as excited about it as I was.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

At least with Down syndrome...

As this blog is primarily about our life with Simeon, I don't talk much about our other kids. But it's another kid of mine that prompted this post. Ben is 4 (will be 5 in August). He is tall and lanky with sandy colored hair and a dimple in his left cheek. He is my sweet, first born son. The first time he brought me a bouquet of dandelions, I thought my heart would melt right there. I am forever blessed to be his mom.

Ben is also my most challenging child. His was my most difficult birth, most difficult postpartum period (complete with postpartum depression), most difficult nursing relationship, etc., so it makes sense that he is my most difficult child. There is some trauma in his history and I am certain that many of his behaviors stem from that.

He has mild speech apraxia, some sensory issues, some vague learning issues, and who knows what else. We have an appointment with a psychologist in July to try to identify his issues and get the help we need. In the meantime, he has outbursts...moments of rage in which he seems to lose all control. He screams, kicks, throws things, bites, pinches, etc. It is exhausting for both of us and I am at a loss as to how to help him. Some days, I parent him with love, grace, and understanding; some days, with impatience, frustration, and anger. Typical parenting doesn't work for him.

I find it so ironic that mothers are devastated to get the diagnosis of Down syndrome for their baby, when I've found that typically chromosomed kids can be so much more challenging. It makes me so much more aware of the benefits of a Down syndrome diagnosis:
  • At least with Down syndrome, we have an entire community to ask questions of. Someone in my network somewhere will have advice for me when a new situation with Eon pops up.
  • At least with Down syndrome, we get an inkling of some of the challenges we may face at or before birth.
  • At least with Down syndrome, people visually recognize that this is a child with special needs. When your typical looking child has a meltdown in the store, people blame you and your poor parenting. (If you happen to have a lot of children, they may blame that, too.)
  • At least with Down syndrome, there is the knowledge that this child is this way by design and not some failure on your part.
As with all of our children, I am grateful that I can rely on the wisdom of God in parenting Ben. He is a handful, but he is worth it.