Determination

“I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go.” ― Langston Hughes

It’s a little early in Mia’s life to figure out her personality. She doesn’t cry much. She is a little fussier than her brother was when he was her age. Although, those who knew Fynn as a baby are thinking, “She’s probably still pretty good since Fynn was the ‘magic baby who never cried.’” So, yes, she is still pretty easy. She loves to snuggle and she loves to move.

When Mia was born, she had what many children with Down syndrome have – hypotonia or low muscle tone. It basically means that if you pull on her limbs she has very little resistance. Also, when you would pick her up, she was like a rag doll. The only real treatment for this problem is lots and lots of physical therapy and opportunities for exercise.

You can imagine that this could be a pretty significant challenge in a newborn, especially one with other potential developmental issues. You can put children on their tummies all day every day and bug them until they cry, but if they don’t move or try to lift their heads, there’s not a lot you can do. Encourage, encourage, encourage…that is all. Of course, this was something I worried about – especially when you hear stories of children with Ds not walking until age five.

Enter Ms. Mia Katarina. Her middle name is a derivative of Katherina – the “shrew” from Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew (one of my favorite plays), and she seems to have taken on one very important characteristic of her namesake – she’s headstrong. She has a stubborn determination that is quite impressive. I’m sure I’ll rethink this choice of name when she’s 16.

She definitely does not just lie there like a dish rag while on her tummy. She spends the entire time wiggling, kicking, pushing her head up, and even trying to roll over. She rarely cries. Usually it means she’s finally exhausted. My daughter impresses me every day. She started from nothing 6 weeks ago, and all of her hard work and determination are paying off. She’s reaching milestones – something that we didn’t know when or if it would happen.

We’re having a lot of wins now, and I’m thankful for that. It won’t always be the case. But even if she doesn’t walk until she’s five, I know it won’t be from a lack of determination.

I wish I had half the determination that this little girl has. I watch her and think – I complain about an awful lot of things that are completely within my control to change. The New Year is coming up, so I’m thinking about losing the baby weight, getting in shape, getting organized, reading more, and numerous other dumb little resolutions. There are a lot of things that are completely out of this little girl’s control. She was dealt a difficult hand. I’m not sure what is inside her that is making her work this hard when she could just lie there – instincts, personality? Does that go away as you get older? Will it ever go away for her? I don’t know.

But what I do know is this – in six weeks, our little newborn has taught us that “if there’s a will, there’s a way.” I’m excited to see what she does next. And in the meantime, I should stop making excuses.