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Life With My 1-Year-Old With Down Syndrome

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My baby is 1-year-old! Do I laugh? Do I cry? A combination of the two? Life has truly fast forwarded since this little girl came into existence.

Baby Girl is 17.6 pounds, 27.5 inches and has two teeth.

This birthday is a big deal for my mama heart. I can confidently say I wouldn’t trade a single second of the past year (good or bad). She blows me away even though her skills may not mirror those of a typically developing 1-year-old, there are so many ways she impresses me.

She is so very smart.

She uses sign language and body language to communicate what she needs and wants. She can sign “milk” “more” and “all done.” She understands many many words and phrases said to her. For example, she gets super excited when I count to three. By the time I get to, “two,” she squints her eyes and hunches her shoulders in anticipation of whatever is happening next. She is a riot.

One of our favorite things to do is wave at the pets. We follow them around the house playing “Where’s the dogs?” When she spots them, she sticks out her little hand and wiggles her fingers as we say, “Hiiii!”
She loves to read her books at bedtime and will point at pictures over and over as I tell her what they are: cow, pig, rooster, sheep, pig, cow, sheep, sheep, sheep, yes that’s a sheep, cow, rooster, pig…

She imitates everything. Pointing, tapping, waving, etc. Her favorite is the head wobble. We take turns wobbling our heads side to side — it’s our hilarious new game and I can’t get enough!


She is independent.

She feeds herself, entertains herself, even pulls her clothes over her eyes when I’m dressing her. She surprises us by randomly pulling herself to standing or suddenly turning to kneel. She also likes to hold her bottle with her feet — a serious skill if you ask me.

When reading books, she wants full control. She holds the book, turn the pages and will make sounds as she taps the words. She’s my bright little bookworm.

She has spunk. 

She will leave me hanging — I’ll make a goofy sound and a funny face that will have her squealing with laughter. Of course, I make it again and again as her laughs get more and more breathless. However, once it gets old, it gets old. I’ll make the same goofy sound and suddenly she’ll stare at me like, “Mom, you’re really taking it too far.” I’m totally left hanging and feeling very silly, usually looking around to see if anyone noticed.

Those giggles do make up for the attitude. This girl wrote the book on sassy. I’m actually terrified of the coming years. At 1 years old, she’s decided regular naps are a drag, the vacuum cleaner is the devil and when she’s done eating, all her food belongs on the floor.

She claps her hands when she’s happy and flaps her arms when she’s mad. If she wants something, she grabs it. If she doesn’t, she will push it away or toss it over her shoulder.

For the most part, she has figured out how to get what she wants. Her tactics include the infamous pouty lip, a woeful rubbing of the eyes or stretching her little body as far as it will go to get to something out of her reach.

She is relentless.

This girl does not give up. When she wants her mama, she will fight until she’s in my arms. When she prefers daddy’s arms, she will fight until we make the transfer. At school, everyone knows when she is around.

She can be quite the handful, but I see her unstoppable nature as a good thing. I imagine when someone makes fun of a friend, hers will be the first voice you’ll hear in their defense.

She is beautiful.

I have always loved how she smiles with her whole face. Her eyes squint, her nose crinkles and her mouth opens wide in a grin. Her eyes literally sparkle in the sun because of her brushfield spots and her button nose couldn’t be more perfect. She takes my breath away.

She is mine.

Because of her, my mornings are earlier and my nights are later. My trash cans are smellier and laundry is frequent; but she has brought me endless smiles and a happiness that is contagious. Because of her, I may sleep less, but I sing more. She’s taught me you don’t need music to dance. She’s taught me to never give up and that you must believe in yourself. I have never been more proud of anyone or anything in my whole life.

Happy 1st Birthday, Sweet Pea.

Follow this journey at Baby Lemonade Blog

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Originally published: September 27, 2017
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