Browse all articles By Kat Abianac / July 7, 2014 I knew him as ‘Parker’ since the day I found out I had a son. He was 18 weeks in utero and a radiologist told me he was perfect in every way. He was measuring exactly where he needed to, with a strongly beating heart I watched on the screen in front of me. I didn’t know about his surprise; he would keep that extra chromosome a sweetly wrapped up little secret until he was 1 hour old. In utero, I loved every kick I could barely feel. When they concerningly tapered off in the last trimester, the tiniest of movements were counted, measured and treasured. While pregnant, I had so many hopes and dreams for the son had I wanted for so long. To have him over with his teenage friends so I could cook up a storm for them. Cuddles on tap, and love so different from a daughter. Taking out the trash without asking. Remembering my birthday. Affection for his mama even when he was a grownup, because that’s what a good son does. When ‘my son Parker’ turned into ‘my son Parker with Down syndrome’, it was overwhelming. My world spun to a new axis and abruptly stopped. It would never go back to how things were. My self identity changed. My mental fantasies of the perfect son changed to nightmares of a bedridden, ill child who had serious health issues and couldn’t speak or interact with me. I knew no better at the time. Reality set in, and my fears were broken down one by one with research and reconstructed with an accurate picture. Still a little overwhelming, parenthood always is. But doable. I could do this! I could be the special needs mum. All of the appointments, the advocating, therapy, hunting, researching, looking for more all the time, booking activities. I was that mum, like all of us, trying to be perfect and do it all, and I looked at my son daily and loved him and waited for each new milestone, however tiny, with bated breath. Like any parent. I looked at him and I would see his almond eyes needing an ophthalmologist, and his lowset tiny ears. His posture, and crawling gait. My newly trained mind would assess the next therapy need and order of priority I could afford specialists in. Thyroid? What the hell is Reverse T3? Are the studies into human growth hormone relevant? Testosterone treatments? TML? Blood tests for leukemia? Orchidopexies. Adenoids. Obstructive apnea, central apnea, heart defects, laryngomalacia, tracheomalacia, Alzheimers, oxygen tanks, stickers for oxygen cannulas. CPAP. Petichiae. Oh, this is the tiniest, tiniest sliver of a fraction of what exists in my Google search history. I researched all of it. Some relevant, some not. Then I slowly stopped looking at my son and seeing Down syndrome. I started seeing a little shining personality between those two perfect little ears. I saw him wiggle and dance and cry and tantrum and say ‘mum’, and ‘no’ to EVERYTHING, and laugh at his sister, and I realised that Parker is Parker. That is all. That radiologist was right, at my 18 week scan! Parker IS perfect in every way. No matter what I research, he won’t change. His needs are the same and I can take a day off and the world won’t stop spinning and his medical team won’t drop off the face of the planet. It’s one thing to always tell the world to treat your son like a person first. It’s another to take a deep, deep breath tonight, sit on the floor, and play. Just for the sake of it, and because that’s what you do when you have a divine little 18 month old toddler who wants all of your attention, all of the time. Not for gross motor, fine motor, vision therapy, integrating different sensory activities, but just hand him a toy and watch. Stroke his hair and read him a book and tell him he’s doing great. Dance to his favourite song, and know he’s loving it for the tunes and not for the vestibular stimulation. Then I cuddled him tonight, and gave him a bedtime bottle, and put him in bed. Because we have surgery at the Mater Hospital tomorrow, and it’s a big day. Follow Parker on Facebook here.