Monday, October 8, 2012

One dimensional...

The first thing that I learned about my son was that he was a boy...the second was that he had his daddy's lips...and the third was that he had Down syndrome.  Over the next few weeks I learned that he was a fighter.  In the following months I learned that he had his very own likes and dislikes...from the position he slept in to the way he drank his milk.  Breast feeding with Camden was not a bonding experience for us...did he learn how, yes, so don't let my experience deter you from nursing your child, but from day one, it was a fight.  I mean pushing me away, arching his back, crocodile tears fight, to get him to nurse for maybe ten minutes...we tried everything...until he was four months old when I finally decided I didn't want to dread dealing with my newborn every two to three hours.  Feeding in fact has always been a fight with Camden.  When bottle feeding during awake times he wanted to see what was going on around him so he would not eat  unless he was facing out...and even now at two and a half he refuses to use utensils (even though he can) because he wants me to do it...he will even get off his chair and bring me over his cup from across the room so that I can hold it while he drinks. Yes, we are working on these things...and I promise I am not a push over parent...what I am is a parent dealing with a toddler, a stubborn, passionate, somewhat lazy, opinionated toddler.

What I have noticed most of all in the last few years  is that Camden developed his personality first and foremost.  He laughed at an early age, he was interacting with the world at an early age, he was focused and observant at an early age.  Camden in fact has usually tested near or at age level, and in some cases ahead in social and cognitive development...his speech and self help level follows that and gross and fine motor are his weakest links.  As Camden developed along side his peers this became more and more evident, Camden put all of his energy into developing his cute little personality, which I always found interesting since most of his peers worked so intensely at gross and fine motor those first eighteen months and their personality and social awareness came much later. Camden recognized emotions in others at six months and responded...he was doing hand motions to nursery rhymes before fourteen months...he shares toys, plays pretend and gets his feelings hurt when kids are mean to him.  The kid understands other people and is keen to pick up on what is going on around him and he always has been.  This has been good and bad for his development...first off it created a cautious little boy when learning gross motor...he held off on a lot of skills because he either could not see the point of a skill or he was afraid of the skill.  It also created a stubborn little bug who knew if someone was trying to get something out of him, and knew how to say no and flat out refuse at a very young age.  I honestly think Camden would have developed in gross and fine motor very differently if he had not developed the above mentioned traits first and foremost.  Most people notice that Camden is older than he looks when they interact with him for more than a few seconds...but from a far he still looks no more than eighteen months (a small eighteen months).  Every child develops differently, every child excels in areas and puts other areas on the back burner (down syndrome or no Down syndrome). Not every child with Down syndrome develops like Camden, but I have noticed a lot of cute personalities at younger ages is this community.  Is Camden delayed? Yes.  But if there is anything I have learned it is that Camden decides when he takes the next step...and no amount of therapy or pushing can change that about him...because he is in charge of Camden, and he knows it.

One myth I see a lot about kids with Down syndrome is that they don't share the same emotions that their typical peers do, and I guess the point of this post is that they absolutely do...and being happy is not their only personality dimension.  Camden at this age knows fear, excitement, happiness, sadness, hurt feelings, loneliness, insecurity and much more.  He knows what he wants and what he doesn't and he is not afraid to let you know it.  He is not clueless to the world around him...he is not a happy kid 100 percent of the time...but still I hear it on a regular basis..."he is always so happy"...and I usually answer " I promise he is not! "  So why is it that he appears that way to other people? I honestly think it goes back to his personality developing first...the kid likes to be social, he likes attention (granted he is not tired or hungry in which case move out of the way).  Is every kid with Down syndrome like Camden? No.  But every kid with Down syndrome experiences every emotion that you and I do...they are not living life oblivious to the world around them, in fact I would argue that they are very much aware of the world around them, even if they can not communicate that.

In all reality Camden is very much a toddler at this age...with its ups and downs, cute instances and beyond naughty ones.  He gets into trouble, he knows when he is disobeying, he likes to snuggle and he adores attention.  Some days I want to pull out my hair...and let me tell you it isn't because he has Down syndrome, instead it is because he is two in pretty much every way.


  1. Love this! What a great post!

  2. Excellent post Tonya! I loved reading this description of Cam :)


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