Being ten months into this Down syndrome parenting experience, I’ve learned that there are some annoying things about having a baby with Down syndrome.
- Their flexibility. This is kind of neat because these babies can easily do splits and practically touch their heads with their toes. All babies can touch their heads with their toes, you say? This is different. Babies with Down syndrome can do this lifting their leg sideways. It’s cute until you sleep next to them as they sleep on their back and swiftly kick their leg at a 90 degree angle and get you right in the chest, then it becomes annoying.
- Crappy immunity. It just takes longer for these kids to get over a cold. A sniffle that may have lasted a few days for most babies lasts close to 2 weeks for babies with Down syndrome which then means horrible sleeping which then leads to bad sleep habits, such as sleeping in the bed instead of the crib which results in being kicked in the chest. Crappy immunity also turns any calm mom into a germ-a-phobe and any existing germ-a-phobe into a psycho.
- Petechiae. This is a typically harmless rash that pops up mostly for minor reasons, however it can be a symptom of leukemia and leukemia is more prevalent in children with Down syndrome. Therefore baby with Down syndrome + petechiae = mom losing mind and planning baby’s funeral. Petechiae is extremely annoying.
- Low muscle tone. Low muscle tone causes our babies to be a bit delayed in gross motor skills, therefore at 10 months the baby play mat is still lying around because it stimulates baby, but the exersaucer is also there because you’re trying to get the baby to play with something new and work on new skills. This means big toys everywhere; playmats, swings, exersaucers and walkers, you name it and they are all in the living room at the same time annoying you.
- Appointments. When you have a baby with Down syndrome you end up making new friends – specialists such as cardiologists and ENTs; therapists such as physical therapists, speech therapists and occupational therapists. Some are precautionary appointments and are just what you have to do but your schedule definitely becomes busier with visits to medical buildings and hospitals. More appointments is a bit annoying. This is definitely annoying if you’re afraid of germs.
- Short limbs. Baby clothes are precious but not when a baby doesn’t fit in them the right way. You’ll either have to put them in pants too small so that the length works but their belly is making a giant muffin top, or let them comfortably wear pants that cover their feet. Annoying because the clothes are so cute but just don’t work.
- Small nasal passages. Babies with Down syndrome have smaller nasal passages than typical babies which means they are more susceptible to infections. They are also congested more easily, especially in the winter when the air is dry. As a parent you do whatever you can to help them be comfortable – running a humidifier constantly, sleeping them on an incline and spraying saline into their nostrils. The worst is when you resort to using an apparatus that requires you to use your mouth to suck the boogers out of their nose and the only thing stopping you from swallowing their mucus is a blue spongy thing smaller than a dime. But the congestion is so annoying you’re willing to take the risk.
Let me be clear, these are annoying things about Down syndrome, Down syndrome can be annoying. Baby is not annoying. Baby is a flexible little cute, lovable, sweet, adorable and cuddly blessing with a lot of congestion.