Since John has Down syndrome and we have four other children who do not, I thought it would be helpful to share some of the differences and similarities of John with my other children. As a side note, some of these differences may or may not be entirely related to him having Ds. First the differences.
- John does not have teeth at this point, so he is limited on what he can eat, whereas our other children had a few teeth if not more at this point.
- John is currently learning to crawl with his belly off the floor, whereas our other children were cruising the furniture at this point.
- John takes longer to eat than our others did. Three reasons why: John gets distracted easily as he would rather socialize than to eat; tongue thrusts; and when he gets excited he begins to flail his head and arms around.
- John is not gaining weight as fast as the others did at this age.
- He seems to be prone to illness (croup for one).
- The few times he has gotten the croup, it has been more difficult for him to get over it.
- John requires the bulb syringe to clean out his nose almost on a daily basis, whereas our other children could clear the mucus at the back of their throat by themselves.
- Despite children with Ds having small ear canals and being known for ear infections/tubes, John has only had one ear infection in his life.
- We are just as crazy in love with him as we were with the others.
- John is just as interactive as the others were at this age.
- John is a very happy baby.
- John has just as bad of a temper as the others did.
- John loves books and to be read to just like my other children did at this age.
- John is just as curious about things.
- John is tests the boundaries just like our other children did (he will do something like drop things on the floor or get into things he knows he shouldn't and then look back at you).
- John responds to no and being redirected the same as our other children did.
- Everything he finds on the floor goes in his mouth.
- John doesn't mind being passed around at big gatherings.
- John can learn cause and effect just as our other children did. (thank you Baby Einstein and other light up toys).
- John responds to his name being called.
- John looks just like my others did at this age.
This is definitely not a completed list. But there are many more similarities than there are differences between John and my other children. All too often, we (my wife and I included) react negatively to these children because we think that they will require more time, money and effort. That may be true for some, just as there are non-Ds children who would fall into the category. But I can tell you that after 10 months with John, things have been more of the same little baby than have been different. I hope that has been true for you.
And for those of you that are looking toward a life with a child with Ds, I hope that you are able to take a little comfort from these words. They are truly worth the little bit of extra effort and do not deserve abortion. They will have a positive change on you and your families life.