I am always learning with my kids, they teach me more than I could ever discover on my own. It’s hard to compare Mya and Ellie developmentally at this age and I told myself I would try really hard to never do that, but one thing I notice again and again is their differing reactions to colds. Ellie had her first cold at 3 weeks old and I remember our pediatrician’s words as I sat in her office, Ellie’s colds will always be worse and will always last longer. I can’t blame everything on Down Syndrome as Mya grew up in a bit of a bubble with no daycare or true access to germs, while Ellie lives in the same house as a preschooler whose germs I can almost see flying off her shirt and onto all unexpecting victims within a mile radiance. But it is interesting to watch the cycle of a cold as it relates to Ellie versus Mya at her age. Again, it’s hard to compare, Mya had her first cold at 7 months, Ellie’s had about 3 weeks in her life in which she has not had a cold. Every phase in Ellie’s cold seems to last about 5 days longer. Many people with Down Syndrome have a lower immunity than typical people and are more susceptible to colds and respiratory issues. Again, my writings are specific to how Down Syndrome has affected our life, every person is different. When I notice Ellie first getting sick I hear the congestion starting way in the back of her throat, resting in her upper respiratory system, her breathing is louder, a cough is present when she eats, it then takes over a week for the next phase in her sickness, to display the typical visible signs of a cold, from there Ellie still has another two weeks of feeling sick. I take her to the doctor who acknowledges it’s a virus, listens to her lungs for fluid, and sends us on our way, Ellie will always be a bit more miserable with a cold. Although sickness has attached itself to Ellie for the majority of her life, some heart related, she handles each affliction with her standard positive nature. She continues to eat although it hurts her throat as she coughs, she only moderately protests my saline attacks which occur several times throughout the day, she smiles and laughs although I know she doesn’t feel well. As usual Ellie is always trying to tell me something, there are worse things in life than a cold, I picture her saying, if it means that mom will hug me more and sing softly while she takes care of me, I don’t mind being sick so much. She is always pointing out that my silly complaints are unimportant. I am learning the art of handling a horribly runny nose from my sweet Eloise.
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