I wish I knew continued…..
I wish I knew Annie’s diagnosis wouldn’t put our lives on hold or alter the dreams we had for our family. She’s more like a typical child than not. We are a regular family and still get to do all the things a regular family does. When we were first given the diagnosis, I thought our lives changed forever, that we may have to move back home (to the states), that we wouldn’t be able to do the things we had planned. I remember at her two week appointment asking her pediatrician if we could take her places, for some reason, specifically, if we could take her to the beach. He looked at me funny and laughed. He said in his broken English, “You can take her everywhere. Your lives are the same. She will swim and laugh and play and be just like all children, just a little bit different.” I realize now how silly I was to think I wouldn’t be able to do these things with my baby girl because she was born with Down Syndrome.
Another mom in my online support group gave me the best advice yet. She said “don’t change any of your plans just because of Down syndrome until you HAVE TO, or WANT TO.” When I read these words it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. My family has been given the wonderful opportunity to live abroad in the gorgeous city of Rome in the beautiful country of Italy. Moreover, we have the opportunities to travel all over Europe and even into Africa for my husband’s job. I had been so excited to share these wonderful adventures with the child I had been expecting for the past 8 months and had been dreaming about since I could remember. What a life we would be giving her! When Annie was born, I thought we had to give that up. Again, how silly I was! Annie has been to so many places with us. We are enriching her life in so many ways, but she has enriched ours SO much more.
The same mom who gave me the advice I so needed to hear in those early days, recently came up with this great idea for us to share 21 things about our babies with Down Syndrome. So I am choosing to use this great idea for today’s post. My 2nd of 31 straight daily posts to share Down Syndrome awareness. And you will see…Down Syndrome doesn’t hold us back one bit!
She’s only 6 months and it’s surprising how hard it is to only pick 21 things!
1. Annie was born in Rome, Italy.
2. She looks exactly like her dad. Especially when they are sleeping.
3. She loves bathtime.
4. She was baptized at St. Peter’s Basilica, aka The Vatican.
5. Thankfully, she loves to fly. She has flown over the Atlantic twice already and will make the journey 6 more times by the New Year.
6. She’s stubborn and knows how to get her way.
7. Annie has a total of 13 “real” aunts and uncles and counting. She loves and misses them every day.
We’re still counting her adoptive aunts and uncles. 🙂
8. She is the youngest kid living at the JFRC university campus. She is also a favorite on campus.
9. Her favorite color is green. You may think it’s too early to know this, but we do. Just ask her Aunt Ginny and Uncle Andy.
10. She once faked sleeping to get out of physical therapy. Our therapist in Rome comes to our home. Annie threw a fit, fell asleep while nursing for a bit (or so I thought). She hadn’t heard our therapist’s voice in a while so she opened her eyes just a bit to check to see if it was safe to wake. It wasn’t, so she “went back to sleep” 😉 I kid you not, this really happened and she was definitely faking.
11. She has already in her first 6 months of life traveled all over Italy and been in 4 states in the U.S. In two weeks she will add Poland to her list.
12. She’s beginning to suck the same exact fingers I sucked as a child: Left hand, pointer and middle. She does this while twirling the hair on the back of her head with her right hand. So precious. She still loves those thumbs though!
13. Every morning when she wakes up she kicks her covers off…just like I find her dad in the morning.
14. She prefers veggies to fruits. Every time I introduce a new fruit she makes a classic sour-puss face. Here’s prunes…
15. She’s swam in the Mediterranean Sea.
16. She is a Daddy’s girl!
17. She attends Calcio (mini-soccer) games on Wednesday nights. We have a “for fun” calcio league for the college students studying here in Rome. Annie and I are Team Blue’s Mom and baby! We are undefeated so far. Dad plays for Team Red, they’re not very good. 😉
18. She sat in on a law school lecture when she was about 4 weeks, via skype. Uncle Danny couldn’t resist. She almost got him in trouble.
19. She is the middle of three great-grandchildren on her father’s side. And the second youngest of 11 on her mother’s side. The oldest of any of these cousins is THREE!!!
20. She loves being kissed under her chin more than anything.
21. She is the source of more love and happiness than I have experienced in my 30 years combined. She is our “miracle baby.”
Annie~ We love you more than words could say!