The first year: reflections and advice

January 15, 2014 in Future

Many of our expectant moms are ready to deliver, and they could use some “been there done that” advice on the first year of a child’s life.  Were there things you did worth sharing with expectant parents?  Did you have missteps or regrets?  Have you learned of things since that time that you wish you had known then?

Missy has a great blog post on what she did with her daughter Violette in the first year, a great read for expectant moms to tuck away for later.  She talks about attitude, developmental charts, signing, tummy time, and much more.   Let’s hear from other experienced parents about the lessons they have learned.

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4 Responses

  1. Amy says:

    Our first year with Abigail was hectic, full of specialist appointments, therapy, conventions etc. We wanted to know as much as humanly possible, not only about DS but about best practices for early intervention etc. I felt like I had a ticking timebomb in front of me, and that I had somehow failed as a mom if Abigail didn’t meet developmental milestones on or close to target. I looked at Early Intervention as a way to “keep her on target” instead of what it is really meant to be – exercises and information to help your child develop skills as building blocks for new skills. Having more EI therapy sessions per week, I thought at the time, would help her not “fall behind,” and I was desperate for Abigail to be that “really high-functioning kid with DS.” She helped us along with this fallacy of mine by meeting the first several developmental milestones like a champ – she could grab a toy by 2 months, rolled over one way by 5 months, rolled over both ways by 7 months, and sat at 9 months. Then I put the whopper on my plate – ooo, she needs to crawl by 12 months. I pushed the PT, who kept telling me that I was worrying about this too much, and that if her little joints and muscles weren’t ready to work together like that yet, there wasn’t much she could do except teach muscle memory.

    Abigail crawled at 12 months, 1 week. It is that last week that I look upon now and laugh at – I feel like it was her way of telling me to relax, that she WOULD do all the things that we want her to be able to do, but that she was going to do them when she was ready, and not a moment before. I made a “pact” with myself the day she crawled – I would not put so much stock in timeframes and averages,and I would take every milestone as it came, when it came.

    Now, at age 7, Abigail runs, jumps, gallops, talks, reads, counts, dances, plays pretend, and laughs at jokes. Did she do all these things “on target,” either on a typical scale or on the DS adjusted scale? Most of them, I guess, but not all. They timing just isn’t important to me anymore. SHE is a wonder to us, SHE is perfect, no matter what skills she’s learned and which ones are still in her future.

  2. Christine says:

    I can relate to what Amy says above with want to have that really high-functioning kid with Down syndrome. I wanted my girl to be that one. Olivia is almost two and I have no idea if she is or if she isn’t. She is good at some things and not at others. LIKE ALL KIDS.

    If I could re-do the first year, I wouldn’t be so obsessed over those milestones. I would HOLD.HER.MORE. I really don’t feel like I held her enough as a baby and they do grow up! I would also have pushed harder for OT once a week. She was scoring pretty behind in her reaching skills and I didn’t push for her to have OT until she was one year old. I would have started Talk Tools therapy sooner than I did. That’s probably about it.

  3. Aside from following DS medical guidelines the one thing I wish I would have done was gone to an ENT!

  4. Heather says:

    I don’t have any regrets except that I wish I had paid more attention to building my daughter’s core strength. It affects sooooo much! I recommend that all moms take their kids to the typically developing kid things like Gymboree class, etc. I belonged to this awesome playgroup sponsored by several different social service agencies in my area. I wasn’t a client of the agencies but I was invited by a friend. Best decision I ever made! I met women from all walks of life, cultures, socio-economic backgrounds. I affirmed their parenting and their children and they affirmed mine. I learned that I am more alike other moms than I am different. What an important lesson to learn early on in the journey.

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