Somehow Ozzie's entire life, and everything I know about Down Syndrome, fits into a seven month period. Seems impossible, but it's true. An update on the longest seven months of my life:
Ozzie is doing very well. He's recovering from a bout of RSV, which is a nasty viral infection. It's the sort of thing that puts babies in the hospital. He is okay now except for some congestion, especially in the morning. He doesn't know how to make himself cough, so when he wakes up he starts making these weird groaning/moaning noises as he tries to clear his throat. I've decided that he sounds like either a monster in the basement or the guy in the next cubicle.
Ozzie is starting to eat solid foods. He likes squash and puffy cereal, and hates pretty much everything else. I hope that changes at some point, because if it doesn't, it's really going to limit our restaurant options (McSquash'N'Puff's, anyone?). He is also becoming more mobile, using a rolling technique to make his way across the living room. And he wormed his way forward on his belly this week, pulling himself about 12 inches. Which doesn't sound very impressive, but it wore him out.
And now for an update on my state of mind:
DS is finally becoming familiar to me. I'm not uncomfortable any more when I'm at the store with Ozzie and someone looks at him or comments on him. That sort of interaction was stressful in the first few months after his birth, but those feelings really started to dissipate around the six-month mark. Which is a huge relief, because it's not fair to Ozzie. Who knows - maybe I'll feel self-conscious again as he grows older and the DS becomes more obvious, but hopefully not. Hopefully I can always just enjoy being with Ozzie.
As I've grown accustomed to living with DS, it has become less scary. I now think of it not as a curse, but as a "life intensifier." That's sort of cheesy and New-Agey, but I can't think of any other description that's more appropriate. I'm sure DS will intensify the good, transforming even the smallest of Ozzie's accomplishments into causes for celebration. And it will intensify the bad, bringing my family more heartache than anyone deserves. I'm just hoping those two sides of the DS coin can balance each other out and bring us some sense of peace.
Lately, as Ozzie slowly changes from infant to little boy, I sometimes find myself unconsciously playing a mental game whenever I look at him. I stare into his big almond eyes, trying to imagine what he would look like without Down Syndrome. I subtract a little DS here, add a touch of mommy here, a dash of daddy there, trying to conjure the face of the perfect little boy I was anticipating those seven long months ago. I can't help myself – it's just fascinating to think about what he would look like without DS. Surely I'm not the first DS parent to wonder such a thing.
It doesn't matter anyway, because I can't really see any Ozzie but the one I have.
The one I love.
7 months ago