When Ruby was born, they handed us a pamphlet and a book outlining the characteristics of Down syndrome and set us loose. Not exactly the best welcome to a community that is so oh so much more. But now that Ruby has been in our lives for a year, I've been thinking more on those lists, those characteristics, those 'markers'.
Since Ruby was the first person I'd ever met with Down syndrome, I was definitely someone who identified T21 with certain physical characteristics. Because of this, I was probably more scared by these lists...they all seemed like a checklist of what Ruby would be defined by. Now I know this list to be the tip of the iceberg. I came across another blogger recently who detailed the awesomeness of her daughter's 'list'; it is my pleasure to do the same.
Short fingers/hands: Ruby's baby hands are precious. Who doesn't mourn the day they find their baby's knuckle dimples have disappeared? I think we are still very far from that day...
Upward-slanting eyes: Ruby's eyes are gorgeous almond-shaped blue eyes. They are so similar to Maddux and Eli's, while at the same time being uniquely her own. Those eyes look right into my soul every time Ruby looks up at me. Those eyes crinkle in the corners every time she smiles, which is all of the time. Those eyes take in everything around her when she's in a new environment, learning and exploring.
Low muscle tone: Ruby is strong, of that I'm sure. I mean, this girl was flexing her stomach and trying to sit up from the time she was a month old! But she does fatigue easily, and it does take some extra work to train her muscles to work successfully. Because of this, I get to carry her more (and she MELTS into anyone who picks her up). Because of this, she's taken a little longer to crawl and walk. Because of this, Ruby has given us longer in each stage. Because of this, we've enjoyed every second.
Excessive flexibility: Ruby can put her foot in her mouth and does so on a regular basis, impressing anyone who sees her perform such a trick.
Brushfield spots: These tiny white-spots in the colored parts of Ruby's eyes make them absolutely beautiful and irresistible.
Short in stature: Welcome to the family, Ruby. We all are.
Large and/or protruding tongue: This tongue reaches out and touches her nose when she's especially verbal. It also works so hard in speech and feeding therapy, and it helps Ruby when she says "mamamamama" and "mohr!".
Intellectual disability: So far, the only thing we've noticed in the area of Ruby's ability to learn has been is that she's a quick study. Her physical therapist comments on it routinely, as she masters a skill almost immediately upon being shown the ropes.