I know that most of families with children with Down syndrome constantly say, "Treat our children all the same. Don't treat them differently. Children with Down syndrome are more alike typical children than they are different." Yes, I truly believe this and I do not want Hailey to receive different treatment or have different expectations because she has Down syndrome.
With that being said, the American Society of Human Genetics showed an abstract (#1867F) at their annual meeting last month that the 400,000 number we have been quoting about the number of people living in the United States may be inaccurate. It breaks my heart to read that they think the number is 240,500. Only 240,000 people with Down syndrome living in the United States. That is almost half of the original number. One day, my daughter will realize that she is a little different (yes, we teach our children that everyone is different), but I hope you understand what I mean. She does have facial features that are a little different...her lack of nasal bone, shorter stature, almond shaped eyes. She will realize that it does take her longer to learn things. Some things just won't come as easy for her. I don't ever want my daughter to feel that she doesn't belong. That is one reason why I find it so important for her to have a variety of friends. I want her to have friends with Down syndrome and without. I feel it is important for her. We have made a commitment as a family to attend functions with our local Down syndrome association. It is no different than us going to soccer games for the boys or their school programs.
Last Sunday was a our annual Christmas party with the DSAGC. The boys look forward to it. They love going and I was in a much better frame of mind this year. Last year, Ds was still new (yes, Hailey was almost a year old). We had come a long way, but we still had a long way to go with acceptance and coping. Hailey had rocked her open heart surgery and was thriving, but it was the first large event I had attended and I didn't know anyone. It was overwhelming. It was inspiring. This year was different. It was just a family activity. The boys made crafts. We enjoyed a nice meal. We talked with friends we've made over the past 2 years. The kids all got to see Santa. Unlike most toddlers, Hailey loved Santa and cried when we took her OFF of his lap! It is my favorite Santa picture of all! It was a fabulous event and I look forward to next years already!
|Why yes, we "need" to remove our shoes and our socks.|
|Not quite sure what to think of Mrs. Claus|
|Poor Santa barely fit in this shot|
|This might be my fave pic with Santa ever!|