Learning to walk the tightrope of motherhood...

Friday, March 21, 2014

World Down Syndrome Day

Today, March 21, is World Down Syndrome Day. If you're wondering, "Why today?" it's because the date is 3-21...3 copies of the 21st chromosome...get it?!
Anyway, this morning, as I wondered what to do to celebrate and spread awareness, I thought about person-first language and about something I hope you already know to be true for yourself:  No one descriptor, no single role, defines who you are.
The same is true for Meredith.
So, in the spirit of the day and celebrating all 47 of her chromosomes, I offer you 47 ways she might describe herself.

  1. She reads voraciously.
  2. She dances any time of day.
  3. She tucks her baby dolls in for nap.
  4. She wakes up early.
  5. She pushes her bedtime.
  6. She spins in circles while she sleeps.
  7. She scribbles with crayons.
  8. And sometimes she bites them. 
  9. She amuses her brother with peek-a-boo.
  10. She cooks eggs with her dad for breakfast.
  11. She folds laundry with her mom.
  12. She writes the alphabet on her iPad.
  13. She hugs the vacuum cleaner.
  14. She cheers for women's basketball.
  15. She watches Sesame Street.
  16. But she prefers Super Why.
  17. She reserves the right to be particular about her food.
  18. She wants soft pretzels.
  19. She asks to be excused after meals.
  20. And then she stacks the chairs at her table.
  21. She swings.
  22. She slides.
  23. She puzzles.
  24. She blows bubbles
  25. She squishes Play-Doh.
  26. She accepts bribes of stickers.
  27. And chocolate.
  28. She knows the letters of the alphabet.
  29. She counts--sometimes with all of the numbers and sometimes by the "skip a few" method.
  30. She likes bandaids on her boo-boos.
  31. She kisses other people's boo-boos to make them "all better."
  32. She sings in the stroller.
  33. She sings in the car seat.
  34. She sings while she's getting her hair dried.
  35. She attends preschool.
  36. She makes a plan--it's usually "table tops."
  37. She thrives on routine.
  38. She bends into super flexible positions.
  39. She listens and follows directions.
  40. She ignores directions and pitches a fit. 
  41. She anticipates Thursdays for our trips to the library and dance class.
  42. She shops at Target.
  43. She shares her toys with her brother.
  44. She snatches toys away from her brother.
  45. She apologizes with a hug and a kiss.
  46. She dotes on her cousins.
  47. She has Down syndrome. 
Down syndrome is a part of her life, and of all of our lives, but it is only a part. And, when you compare it to all the other things she DOES, this thing she "has" really isn't that exciting.
So today, help spread awareness about Down syndrome. Make a donation to a support organization. Listen to a new parent talk about their joys and challenges. Read a book about Down syndrome to kids. And remember that no single label...Down syndrome or otherwise...tells the whole story about who a person is.