“Good day, citizens of the world!
It is I, pint-sized superhero ‘Numero Uno’! I’ve been asked to share a typical day in the life with Down syndrome. I would be happy to offer my three-year-old super-powered take on what a day in the life of ‘Numero Uno’ is like.
Generally, I awake at the crack of dawn. I wiggle out of my supersonic sleeping unit (mom calls it my big kid bed. Strange.), and approach the parental quarters to alert them of my need for a hearty breakfast. I generally request a cereal bar, yogurt and milk…but will often use my super sign language skills to beg for cookies. After I throw my cereal bar and cookies to my furry sidekick (I believe his name is ‘No’…at least, that’s what my dad always yells when I throw him my breakfast. He also calls him ‘dog’. Dads, eh?), I am ready to take off to preschool!
My preschool is out of this world! Right now, I’m the only kid in school who has the super power of the extra 21st chromosome, so I’m sort of a big deal. Everyone knows ‘Numero Uno’ and I have many super friends! At school, I’m working on creating masterpieces with crayons, my finger painting technique, and not throwing my goldfish all over the floor at snack time, which I’m told is a no-no (they must have two furry sidekicks hidden in my classroom somewhere! They call to them frequently throughout my day at school).
After preschool, my mom picks me up and we zoom off to therapy. Now, I don’t want to alarm you, citizens, but therapy is helping me hone my super skills! One day I will be so super that I’ll have to do extra super things like ride a bike, graduate something called ‘high school’, and find a big kid saving-the-world job! With all the hard work I do in speech and occupational therapy, it’s easy to imagine being big and saving the world. I’m a hard working superhero! The world needs ‘Numero Uno’!
Once therapy is over, some days I play sports. My next challenge will be soccer! I’m excited to learn a new game, and I’m hoping I don’t intimidate the other kids with my super abilities. It may be hard to be on the same team with such a shining star, but I’m sure they’ll manage. There’s room for us all-super or not!
I have such full days as ‘Numero Uno’ that it can be hard to unwind. The best way to relax is to hang out with other Supers. My big brother Joey is my best friend and biggest motivator-he teaches me so much. How to be super, how to be kind, how to sneak candy and eat it in our secret hideout. I recently found out I’m getting another sibling, a girl, and I’ll be a big brother. I’m pretty pumped about this because it’ll be super awesome to be just like Joey! I wonder if I get new super skills for being a big brother. ‘Numero Uno’: the bottle maker!’ Numero uno’: the diaper getter! Hmmm..diapers. Maybe I’ll just teach my sister to sneak candy.
By the end of the day, I’m whooped. It’s time to turn in my mask and cape, and throw on some super jammies. I cuddle up to my mom (don’t giggle-even super heroes need snuggles) and she tucks me in bed. She says “Good night, Nicholas” and kisses my forehead. It’s good to be ‘Numero Uno’. But it’s even better just being Nicholas.”
From the mom of ‘Numero Uno’:
Nicholas Michael is a happy, strong-willed, busy three year old living with Down syndrome. He’s more alike than different from his typically developing peers and everyday he proves to the world that having Down syndrome isn’t scary. He’s capable and bright. He brings out the happiness in other people every day and our lives are sunnier with him in it. We may not have chosen Down syndrome, but we’re very thankful to see the world in a different light now: everyone is capable and everyone belongs. A day in the life with Down syndrome is just like any other day in any other life. Only a bit more “super”.
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).