I am so very excited to contribute to a Day in the Life with Down syndrome. I can remember very well those days when my belly was still quite large and I could still feel the kicks and tumbles of my little guy moving within how much I wondered what a typical day would be like once he was here – extra chromosome and all. I read blogs, I looked at pictures but it was very hard for me to actually visualize our life. I had fear. I had anxiety. I was excited. I was optimistic. I wanted so badly a glimpse into what our life would be. So that’s what I’ll give you a play by play of a typical day. I hope this glimpse helps anyone out there to know that whatever fears, stress or anxiety you have to know, to truly believe that it is going to be OK. I promise you that.
My Alex just turned 3 last month. My husband and I both work so Alex spends his week day hours with a nanny that comes to our house. I struggle like all working moms with the balance of work and home but I love my job and I love my family and we have settled into a great routine that works for our family. When the weekend rolls around it’s all about family. Our typical days are just like those of my friends and family – you know – laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking, etc. etc. Alex loves to help when he can. He likes to hand me the clothes that needs folding and I have to say “thank you Alex” each time. He is great at matching socks (true story) and gets excited when I chase him with the vacuum. Just this morning I was cleaning bathrooms and Alex came up behind me and said “Alex clean.” While I’m excited my guy wants to help me I wouldn’t let him clean the bathroom!
Alex loves to walk to the mailbox every day. He is just now becoming a walker so this is great exercise and a perfect way for him to practice his new skill. We sing while we walk and he points out the things he sees. “I see bird.” “I see tree.” “I see car.” He has to be the one to open and close the mailbox and if you get in a hurry and skip this step he will let you know that you messed up. “Alex, Alex, Alex.” he shouts.
He loves for us to blow bubbles and screams with joy. “Amazing.” “Oh my goodness.” He plays basketball with his daddy and bowling with me. He loves to sing songs. His current play lists includes “Up Town Funk” “Happy” and “What Does the Fox Say”. He sings along to each song. I can’t wait to take him to karoake some day.
His favorite thing is and always has been books. He will request for books to be read to him over and over and over. “Mommy read book.” “Daddy read duck book.” He showed me one day that he could recognize the letters and would point to them correctly when I would ask. That day I realized just the potential for learning that existed in that little mind of his.
Alex is three years old and if I can take a moment to brag on him I will. He knows all of his letters (upper case and lower case). He knows most letter sounds, colors, shapes, body parts. He can count to 13 and can read some sight words.
This year he has been attending a montessori program 2 mornings a week. When I met with his teacher for parent/teacher conferences they told me that Alex was cognitively achieving the highest in the class. A class of 11 other students all the same age and typical development.
Now that Alex is 3 he receives therapies from private organizations so our family works together to transport him and learn from these specialists in a variety of ways. We learn exercises that can help him walk, and run. We work on fine motor tasks that can help him gain independence and communicate clearly. Up until his third birthday these therapists came to our home on a weekly basis and very much became a part of our family. These ladies were totally invested in Alex’s skills and even cried as he would reach exciting milestones.
I have lots of friends with kids Alex’s age and I’ve come to realize that for the most part our days are pretty similar. We wake early, drink coffee, play with our toddlers, and all the other chores that only a mama can perform best. We give our babes their baths, read them books, sing them songs and squeeze in cuddles before doing it all over again. Having a kid with Down syndrome may bring a few more doctor appointments or therapy appointments but trust me you get used to that.
Having a kid with Down syndrome brings a whole lot more too. It brings a love that is without measure and a joy without limits
Meriah is the deaf, single mom of 3 kids (one gifted 2E, one with Down syndrome). A longtime career counselor, teacher and disability advocate, she loves helping to create community and empower parents, people with disabilities (and of course, parents with disabilities).