sweet b

Monday, March 29, 2010

I'm pretty sure most people know that my sweet son Beckett has Down syndrome, if you didn't you do now. It's a topic that makes some people feel uncomfortable, usually because they don't know anything about Down syndrome and I understand that. Most people are kind, supportive and loving - the odd person (believe it or not) is rude, ignorant and insensitive.
Beckett was diagnosed with Down syndrome when he was five days old. He's healthy, loving, smart and kind - he lights up our lives - everyone who meets him falls instantly in love. We knew nothing about Down syndrome but we quickly became experts, as did our family and friends. We didn't know anyone with Down syndrome, now we know lots of people. Beckett changed a lot of things for us, all for the better.
Here's some facts about Down syndrome:
  • Down syndrome is named after John Langdon Down, the British doctor who described the syndrome in 1866.
  • It is a chromosomal anomaly, or mix-up, in the genetic blue-print that occurs at conception
  • Individuals with Down syndrome have an extra #21 chromosome, the medical term is Trisomy 21.
  • Approximately 1 in 547 live births is a child with Down syndrome
  • Children with Down syndrome have some physical, intellectual and emotional developmental delays.
  • Children with Down syndrome may also have other medical conditions.
  • Physical characteristics may include almond-shaped eyes, a single palmar crease on one, or both hands and small facial features.
  • Down syndrome is not related to race, religion or socio-economic status.
  • Children with Down syndrome share more similarities than differences with other children. They learn, laugh, play and want friends just like all children.
  • Individuals with Down syndrome benefit from loving parents, early medical and educational attention and positive public attitudes.
  • Children with Down syndrome have a full complement of emotions and attitudes, are creative and imaginative in play and pranks, and grow up to live independent lives with varying degrees of support and accommodations needed.
On standard IQ tests, children with Down syndrome most often score in the mild to moderate range of mental handicap. These tests do not measure many important areas of intelligence and one will often be surprised by the memory, insight, creativity, and cleverness of a child with Down syndrome.
Thousands of young people with Down syndrome across the country are quietly going on with their lives and transforming their communities by just being there. They have dreams and the determination to reach their goals. They learn in regular classrooms in their neighborhood schools with the children who will one day be their co-workers, neighbors and adult friends. Young adults hold diverse and meaningful jobs, maintain their own households and make significant contributions to their communities.
Here's some things that really irritate me:
  • Use of the word retarded, especially when used to insensitively describe something stupid
  • The term "Downs kids" they are not "Downs kids" they are children who happen to have Down syndrome
  • People who say "They're such happy people" I'd like to think that my child being happy is because we love him not because he has an extra chromosome.
  • People who assume and don't ask questions, if you are uncomfortable around someone with special needs just ask questions to become better educated - trust me, parents are more than happy to have a thoughtful discussion about their child.
Working in television I get to attend many charity events, it's something I have always done and enjoyed....these events mean more to me since I've had children. We're all vulnerable to challenges, no one is immune, no one lives a perfect life. My dreams for Beckett are the same dreams you have for your child, I want him to be happy and healthy - I want him to be everything he wants to be. When I look at Beckett and Zoë I feel so much love and happiness, my children hold my heart - nothing makes me happier.


occupationhousewife said...

Tamara: A friend of mine sent me a link to your blog because she thought I'd find it sweet (and I do!). After reading this post, I thought I'd send you a link to this beautiful birth story I read on another blog. I'm a sucker for birth stories and this one made me cry:



Terry Enns said...

Thanks, Tamara! I knew little about Downs Syndrome and am thankful to know a little bit more! We'll miss you when you go on mat leave #3! Congrats!


jora said...

Tamara....thank you for posting this. I think so many people are ignorant when it comes to Down Syndrome, or afraid to talk about it or ask questions. My husband has a dear friend with a child who has Down Syndrome, and we have learned some from him, but I still like learning more. He looks like the sweetest baby ever if you ask me!!

Jessica said...

Beautifully written, Tamara. Beckett is blessed to have a loving mother like you.

I grew up with an Uncle who had Down Syndrome. I too, was irritated by people who used the word retarded.

My grandmother founded the DDA, and our family continues to be involved in the association and foundation.

Enjoy your two beautiful children, and enjoy your pregnancy. Baby #3 is so lucky to be in your family. Take care.

Pinecone Camp said...

Tamara, Beckett is a sweet little man. I truly hope you haven't run into too many insensitive humans. A fabulous post, so thoughtful.

Leona said...

Seriously, Rock On!! What a fantabulous Mom!! Downs Syndrome Community is so blessed to have you sharing this info!

Congrats on baby #3!!
Happy Tuesday~

WorkSafe PAC said...

I am very familiar with Down Syndrome, but that is neither here nor there. Bottom line: he is a seriously cute little dude!


Purplestamper said...

Thank you for sharing your heart and your insight. Your children are beautiful and so blessed to call you mom. I work in childcare and have had the privilege of working with an amazing child who happened to have Downs. It really touched my live and my spirit. Thanks for the information in your blog and the obvious love and excitement you share in your role as a mother. :-) I love it.

Tricia said...

Great Post. Your Children are adorable. Even before my Son was born with Ds I read an interview you did where you addressed the "babies with Down syndrome are always so happy" myth. YOU said something that really stuck with me... "we like to think Beckett is so happy because he is so loved not his extra Chromosome (or something like that"...

You Rock proud mama!

Ali @ Fat to Fit said...

I was going to send you a link to the same site that occupationhousewife sent. Kelle is pretty darn amazing, as is Nella! I've read her blog from the very beginning, and it's fabulous! Definitely check it ouT

Michelle said...

Beckett is a love.Your blog post was very well written and informative.There are many people who are very ignorant in regards to down syndrome whiich is a shame.

sarah, flourish design + style said...

He is beautiful + I am sure he lights up your life.. such a sweet little guy! I am happy to have stumbled across your blog and I look forward to coming back. xo

jan said...

Beckett looks like the sweetest little guy and I'm sure he will touch and enrich many. It surprises me that in this day and age there are people out there that are still ignorant and obviously ill-mannered. Thanks for the informative post on Down's Syndrome and sharing.

Brenna said...

You're post is very touching and informative. I knew very little about it before reading this but now I feel more educated. He is def adorable and I'm sure he will grow up in a very loving and happy home. Thanks for sharing your story.

gigiandoliver said...

I just found your blog through Pinecone Camp today. I have loved reading through it!

First, let me say that your children are absolutely adorable...and your dog too!

I also wanted to share with you that one of my most fond memories as a child was playing with my great uncle who had Downs Syndrome. He was the absolute best...always, ALWAYS ready to play and always, ALWAYS ready to cry right along with me when I was having a bad day. Just looking at your precious son's face and that adorable smile, I can tell he too brings a lot of joy to a lot of people. Thank you for sharing that joy with all of us out here in blogland.

heather said...

A great post on Down syndrome. And your children are so adorable, too!

dahlhaus said...

Becket is absolutely adorable! You are so fortunate to have such a wonderful little guy!

I used to be a support staff for a woman who has down's syndrome- she's near to celebrating her 60th birthday now. She was such a joy to be around!
Her experience of being taken away from her family at a young age and being put in an institution makes me appreciate that times have changed (thank goodness!) More families have better support at home, in schools and in their community so that their kids can be an integral part of their community.
All the best with #3 on the way!

karen said...

This post made me excessively happy. It takes a variety of people to make a world whole. Each of us has a place (actually, many places) in the world, and we need guidance in being respectful of each other. Thanks for yours!

Best wishes with baby number three. As I said with each of mine, when people said "As long as it's healthy" (which irked me no end), ... "as long as eventually he or she comes out, I'll take whatever I get!" Because they always come out, and the rest of it is my journey, and I welcome each and every bit of it.

Trina Strongfeather said...

He's so beautiful.

Sonja said...

I have a cousin who has downs and he is now in his late 40's. He is an incredible man. He lives in a group home, which he loves (gives him independence) and loves to paint. His painting have been sold to raise money for the group home he lives in and it's amazing at how well he does. You are so blessed to have a son with downs. I have found that kids with downs, for whatever reason seem to be more accepting of others and just seem to make the world a more exciting place to be in. Thanks for the post and helping people better understand.

vita33 said...

I have a baby downs syndrome too,tx's for share....