Exhibit A: Ansley’s response to potty training……
It is NOT always easy to be the parents, sibling, extended family member, teacher, friend, neighbor, fellow church member, bus driver, and even, innocent by-stander, of a person with Down syndrome. It takes strength: physical, emotional, and spiritual, and sometimes, just downright determination, more stubborn than they are to overcome and teach how we are going to act.
We thought she would NEVER be potty trained (she is), and I truly believed that I would have a 20-year-old daughter who threw her food if she decided she didn’t like it or was not hungry (she does not).
Some typical childhood behaviors last a lot longer than in kids without Ds. Behavior is sometimes unpredictable, embarrassing even, and usually, unfiltered and loud. The determination and yes, stubbornness, that comes with that extra chromosome is real.
Our pediatrician once told us that this quality, so strong in Ansley, would be our biggest challenge as parents, but also, her best strength as she confronts the challenges of her life.
A blessing in disguise!
We’ll take it.
As a psychiatrist once explained to us, “her brain knows what the right behavior is, but sometimes it just can’t react quickly enough to control her body and/or her mouth. Know a few people like that who don’t even have this syndrome? We ARE more alike than different!
It is not all sunshine and sweetness, it is not always easy, but it is always a blessing and we learn. My secret is simple: I pray. A lot.
EXHIBIT B: God gave us to each other. I can out-stubborn her all day long.
“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart.” Jeremiah 1:5
About the author: Susan Lewis Ellis grew up in Habersham County. Her parents are Rev. Furman and Jeannette Lewis of Clarkesville. Susan and her husband, David, are the proud parents of daughters Lila and Ansley. The family lives in Venice, Florida. In observance of National Down Syndrome Awareness Month, Susan wrote a series of articles for Now Habersham about her daughter Ansley. You can read all of her articles by clicking on the links below.