I was intending to have some really great and enlightening 😉 😉 posts written for National Down Syndrome Awareness Month (October) and National Adoption Month (November), but obviously that just didn’t happen. (I guess moving halfway across the country will keep you busy!) Although I was hoping to use this blog somewhat as an advocacy for both, I have recently failed miserably…

As the definition cited by Google states, an advocate is a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy. As an advocate of both Down syndrome AND adoption by this blog, I most certainly will support (via conversation, information, or other ways as I deem appropriate) individuals choosing to adopt in general (or with special need), however I will not recommend this cause to everyone, nor do I believe this is a choice for all people. As an advocate for Down syndrome alone, I am hopeful that a glimpse into our life, although unconventional from many families, will prove that different IS normal and all life is precious and deserving, even to those with trials most may never face.

Part of this blog’s advocacy with regards to children with Down syndrome includes documenting and revealing both positive (and negative) things about Baby #4’s challenges, and sharing in particularly those things related to Baby #4’s overall development. I’ve been meaning to keep up with these milestones in written form, however his accomplishments have been slower than my other children’s. As a black-and-white thought-thinker myself, I don’t feel like EVERY uncertainty needs to be elaborated on or explained upon in detail. Delays with Baby #4 ARE expected. This is normal. He is normal for him. We treat him much like our others at home.  To expatiate on every issue so that he stands out more than he already may to those unfamiliar with Down syndrome is not something I intend to do, but instead plan to privately manage most things within our family unit and alongside support of outside sources so that Baby #4 can reach his fullest potential.  I do desire to update on times of progress and struggle, but hope these posts do not dwell on Baby #4’s disability and instead focus on motivating and celebrating newfound capabilities.

To aid Baby #4’s overall achievement, he does receive both speech and physical therapies weekly; besides the help, encouragement, and stimulation found at home. These are currently the only services he uses and their use is quite common among many children, even in some which are “typical”. Other than the annular pancreas issue, Baby #4 has never had any feeding issues, required a long-term tube feeding, or has had any other medical intervention other than that to progress his already inherent set of skills. Please do not compare your child to mine. All children progress differently and in their own stages. Slow progression and detours are not always indicative of a lack of success.

With that being said, I would LOVE to share some of Baby #4’s successes and give you a glimpse of his personality. BIG milestones (not all) and other fun things will be posted in chronological order:

6 months old: Baby #4 can roll over and mimic some expressions and sounds.

• At and around 10 months old: Baby #4 had 3 surgeries.  Since these operations were mostly abdominally placed and his diagnosis prior to them was deferred, he was quite delayed in gross motor skills for some time.

12 months old: Baby #4 can sit up independently. His first teeth started to come in around this time too. He now hates ALL haircuts, but he loves him some bath time!

15 months old: Baby #4 can feed himself with his hands and he has started crawling. He has begun to say sounds and a few words more clearly.

18 months old: Baby #4 can pull himself up to standing. He can use a sippy cup appropriately. His vocabulary is expanding. We know for certain that he can say his oldest brother’s name, has a specific word to reference the dogs, uses “all done” appropriately at mealtime, and can say “Dada” (of course he has said this for a while…still no sign of “Mama”). He also does a really cute “kissy face” on demand…

All done.

Kissy Face…

20-21 months old: Baby #4 can climb the stairs alone, however supervision is still necessary. He also cruises upright around the furniture independently. He picked up an evil laugh from one of the kids’ movies; it is quite funny!  Sign language is clicking slowly…

wpid-2014-12-02-13.22.52.jpg.jpegwpid-20141204_112829.jpg

Stair Climber!

The Evil Laugh…

After meeting with our new location’s therapists, they have both concluded that Baby #4’s developmental age is at about a 10-12 month old presently. This is NORMAL for him and others with Down syndrome! It does not mean that his basic skills will be limited or that he will need these services life-long. This estimation only shows where he is today; it does not say where he is going tomorrow or the next day… And as scared as we were of our adoption’s journey in the beginning, hopeful thoughts now have replaced that fear. We are so proud of Baby #4’s recent accomplishments!

I am not so proud of my advocacy (or lack thereof)…but on a brighter note…

I AM proud of my children, who, in their own way, have definitely stepped up their game in the advocacy department! Since moving to a new area, Baby #1 has continually introduced his youngest brother and has added, “He has Down syndrome”, to the introduction! When Baby #3 is asked if he likes being a big brother, he almost always responds with, “He’s adopted”. All of which are good conversation starters for me, I suppose…but do sometimes add a bit of awkwardness to the discussions.  Either way, both comments are certainly spreading awareness and acceptance of others in different circumstances. I feel very proud to have children who so openly proclaim Baby #4’s differences, and who can also explain each circumstance (the Down syndrome diagnosis and the meaning of adoption) so plainly and with hints of normalcy about our situation in their tones.

Down Syndrome is NOT scary or THAT much different or disappointing. Baby #4 is making his own path.  It is new.  And challenging.  And funny.  AND NORMAL!  Just like my others’.  Even my older kids think so!

wpid-2014-11-28-12.37.12.jpg.jpegPlease feel free to contact me privately with questions related to adoption or experiences with Down syndrome!

4 thoughts on “Meeting Milestones Late

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