Tuesday, 12 February 2013

A Beautiful Face

Sigh....those eyes!
I haven't had this happen to me for quite a while, but a few days ago someone said those familiar words, "He doesn't look too Down's, does he?" I'm never quite sure how to respond when people say that about Felix. I'm assuming they think it's a compliment; expressing that he looks more 'normal' or 'acceptable' and not 'different'. What people don't realise is that to us, as parents of children with Down Syndrome, we are in love with those unique facial features of our children . We don't see our children's features as imperfect or strange, and don't consider our children to look any more, or any less, like they have Down Syndrome than any other child with Trisomy 21. It is what it is; they have Down Syndrome. Much as, I'm sure, people are trying to be kind when making a comment like that, it's actually quite hurtful. Imagine if someone came up and said, "Wow! Your child's ears don't look quite so huge today!" I can guarantee that, as a parent in love with their child, you think those ears are quite beautiful and certainly don't see them as a fault. Having someone infer that your child looks a little bit less 'ugly' or 'unattractive', is awful!

I can do cool stuff with my tongue!
That being said; for every one person who makes that (well meaning) comment, there are dozens who see Felix exactly as we do; an adorable little boy! I have lost count of the beautiful comments we have had from people about how cute Felix is, and how much he makes them smile. I think that making people smile is a gift  Felix will have his whole life. He is so full of character and already has so many hilarious quirks. I have no doubt he will bring happiness to everyone he meets.

Since having Felix, I have a new appreciation for the 'look' of those with Down Syndrome; the stunning almond shaped eyes, the tiny little button nose, and even the protruding tongue which seems so much more prominent while concentrating or tired. I see these features as something beautiful; in the same way I look at someone with a different ethnic heritage to myself, and marvel at the physical differences between them and me. It's made me more appreciative of the diversity of the world we live in and, I think, I'm much more aware of those around me.

Love that tiny nose
I can't get enough of looking into Felix's eyes. In the sunshine I can see the beautiful Brushfield Spots in them which sparkle like little stars. I love how his short, stumpy fingers comb the hair out of my eyes, and the way he kisses me with his tongue poking out just a little bit. I laugh at how much I have to roll up his pants at the bottom because his legs are so short, and the way his sunglasses slide off his nose because it's so tiny. But, for all his physical differences, I love how much he looks just like his siblings, with his facial expressions, his hair which grows in many different directions and how skinny he is. I love it when people say he looks just like his Daddy, or looks similar to me. He has so many similarities to all of us, and is much more like us than he is different. Next time you see someone who has Down Syndrome, try to look beyond the features which are different and see how similar they are to the rest of their family. I think you will be surprised!

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