Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Tongue


It wasn't so long ago that I still fretted, wondering if people who look at Finn could see that he has Down syndrome. A lot of people have been surprised to find out that he has Ds, because, they insist, "He doesn't look Downs!" Which, I'm sure they mean in a helpful, positive way, but which really isn't helpful or positive because that remark, by its very nature, implies that it must be a bad thing if someone who has Ds actually looks like they have Ds. And people generally seem to believe that the more subtle the outward physical characteristics, the more "mild" a case of Ds the person must have. I've even had doctors make this assumption about Finn! And I'm here to say that there was a time that I held out hope that this was true. I rationalized in my head that if that pesky extra chromo manifested itself so subtly in his facial characteristics, then wasn't it reasonable to assume that it would also manifest itself "mildly" in his cognition and range of abilities?

Well, the plain truth is that there is no correlation between the manifestation of outward physical traits associated with Down syndrome and health issues associated with Ds or cognitive and developmental potential. None.

I've accepted this truth. And honestly? The older Finn gets, the more clearly I see Down syndrome in his face. And you know what? I adore that face, I really, really do. He's beautiful to me.

I tend to assume at this point that people who see Finn can tell right off that he has Ds. Whether this is actually true or not, I really don't know. But since I see it so clearly, I just assume that everyone else does too.

One of the traits Finn shares with a lot of other children with Ds is The Tongue. Let's talk about The Tongue, shall we?

It seems to be unsettled among the experts (doctors, geneticists, etc.) exactly what causes the notorious Protruding Tongue in people with Down syndrome. I've read that people with Ds actually tend to have larger than normal (haaa! "Normal" - there's that word again!) tongues. I've read that no, they don't have a larger tongue, just a smaller mouth cavity. I've read that no, it's neither of those factors, it's actually the low muscle tone that causes The Tongue.

Eh, who knows?

But Finn has it. He has The Tongue. Finn's tongue seems to be something of an extension of himself . . . sometimes it almost seems as though it has a mind of its own, the way it snakes out stealthily to explore some new object. He uses that thing to examine new things, to accentuate his ear-to-ear grin, and to offer up affection. He's a Licker, I admit it. Don't go trying to kiss him unless you're willing to accept a wet one.

I've spent a lot of time feeling self-conscious about Finn's Tongue. But you know what? I'm over it. It's part of who he is, and I'm totally okay with that. And you know what else? He's in good company, because he's got a couple of potential girlfriends (they're lining up, I tell you!) who also have The Tongue: Georgia and Playette.

Rock on, kids.


16 comments:

Molly said...

Gorgeous boy. bottom line.

Hector and Jennifer Varanini Sanchez said...

The Tongue is often a topic of conversation over here too. Joaquin has it...love how you put that it has a mind of it's own...so TRUE!
I'm also ok with....MOST of the time...I will admit I still try and tell him to "stick your tongue in your mouth". Thanks for the post...got a nice chuckle out of it!

Mel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tricia said...

Thanks for that post!
The tongue...yep we've got it too;)

Christina M said...

Great post as usual Lisa. And he is SO cute.

I also get that Vince does not look downs... And he must have a mild version of it. I am over it though, so I just try to ignore it.

About that Playette and Peach thing (Georgia), maybe Vince and Finn can come up with a datings chedule together, cause you see, I'd love to have those chiquitas in my family as well :)

Karly said...

Finn is adorable as ever and in good company!

Hector and Jennifer Varanini Sanchez said...

By the way....I WANT that shirt! Gotta find one!

Monica Crumley said...

Love that post. and the t-shirt. and the photo. so cute. I still wonder if people "know" our kids have Ds or if they are just wondering "what does he have?" Because, honestly, until I had a child with Ds, I can't recall ever seeing a child with Ds and knowing it. It's not until I would see an adult and someone would point out that they had Dwon syndrome. So, I know what you're saying. I "see" it in my son, too, but I adore his face and most people who meet him do, too. That's just how it is.

heather said...

Love the shirt!!!

ds.mama said...

The Tongue, lol!! Yeah, we have a french kisser in our house too. I had never thought about getting that Stones shirt before...what a great idea.

Dang, Finn gets cuter everyday.

Anna Alexandrova said...

Hi Lisa!

It's great to see these new pictures of Finn! I look forward to them each time I open your page. He is truly beautiful! So glad to hear all is well with you all!

Carla said...

Love the shirt. He is one beautiful boy, tongue and all.

onlywhoiam said...

That tongue... means lots of raspberries blown here :)

His teacher keeps poking at it to get him to pull it back in. I love the way he glares at her when she does it. The look says "back off, lady!".

jonas said...

Archer's got the tongue and it took me a long time to be (mostly) over it. I'm also trying to turn him into a Stones fan because of their logo. so cute, that boy of yours!

Kelly said...

LOL........i say embrace the tongue! I love it! Landon does the tongue "thing" too! I got Landon the Stone's t-shirt too, for 2 reasons.....i love the stone's and it suits Landon well. As a matter of fact, Landon was a frog this past Halloween, well, I didn't have to buy any props, I used the built in one for free (and much more cuter)! Great post Lisa!

Lisa said...

That picture is the cutest thing. Ever.