October is Down syndrome awareness month. Our campaign this month is called ‘A Day in the Life’. Throughout the month we will be sharing blogs from our community about what it’s like having someone with Down syndrome in their lives. Today we share Odhrán’s story, written by mum, Aoife.

A day on the life of Odhrán, oh gosh where do I start?

Odhrán is just your typical rough and ready three year old, he’s fun loving and boisterious but with a sensitive soul. He also gets away with murder, much more than his younger siblings, thanks to his cheeky smile! 

Odhrán’s day generally begins with a song…. at 5am! Because, just like Ana from Frozen, “the sun is up so (he’s) up”! 

After his 500th rendition of twinkle twinkle little star you start to hear his patience  waver and he goes to either slam his wardrobes or ransack his book shelf in the hopes of waking his little brother to join in the fun!

Odhrán’s days are generally busy and his events calendar would make every socialite envious! After breakfast, there’s usually a mad rush to get dressed and clean and out of the door. This is usually accompanied by someone losing a shoe or someone looking like they’ve been dragged backwards through a bush even though the clothes they are wearing were clean five minutes ago. Odhrán and his little brother, Fionn, (a.k.a his “twin”) head to nursery on Mondays and Thursdays. They are no longer in the same room, which Odhrán took in his stride and reduced me to a blubbering mess at the thought of my baby growing up. 

The other days are filled with play groups, sensory groups, toddler groups, soft play, running around the park and swimming. Most of the time Odhrán likes to be part of the older gang and is taken under the wing of some older boys of the group, all while Fi tags along showing that he is, in fact, the younger one. 

Odhrán is of average height and build whereas Fionn is TALL, so I’ve given up correcting people when asked if they are twins. They basically are. They have their own secret language, games and adventures, which mama is not party to, the games abruptly stop when I enter the room. They also fight like cat and dog – because, you know, they’re siblings. 

More recently Odhrán days have been dictated by a clock because we are potty training! Training has been going well so far with Odhrán getting onto the potty himself when he needs to or signing “potty” occasionally, for consistency we pop him on every few hours. We had hoped we could potty train both boys at the same time but his younger brother still wears the potty as a hat! 

After a long day of socialising, comes dinner time. Odhráns FAVOURITE moment of the day especially if its lasagne day! I’ve never seen a toddler gladly eat his daily portions of vegetables quicker than when his veggie lasagne comes out! Blink and he’s inhaled the food and is demanding more! He had been slowed down by using cutlery but even that doesn’t slow him down enough anymore! 

After lasagne night it tends to look like the boys have gotten hold of some fake tan so it’s off to the bath. Odhrán has had swimming lessons since he was 9 weeks old and loves to be in the water. Over the last while the pool has had to be replaced by a bath, but either way he gets to splash! 

Bed time is generally around 7, and you could set your clock to this. At 7 Odhrán dies! The boys have a bedtime sing song and a story and then are popped to bed. Odhrán sleeps in a toddler bed in his own room. It’s easy to climb out of and for him to get into. He’s got his pillow and duvet and loves to snuggle down at night.

To anyone who has toddlers, this all sounds too familiar right – the giggles, the tantrums and the inability to ever have two shoes on at one time! For all intents and purposes Odhrán is just your typical 3 year old, with an extra special added chromosome. 

Sometimes Odhrán’s days are even busier when there are hospital appointments added to the mix! These days are a bit hectic but thankfully they are few and far between. Apart from ENT (for glue ear) and ophthalmology (for a squint) and a yearly check up from paeds he rarely has to visit outpatients. When he does, he definitely makes his presence known and we usually acquire an adoptive granny as we walk to the appointments. Odhrán is such a flirt! He will seek out people to make his googly eyes and cheeky smile at, and thats it they are hooked and this awkward, shy mama has to now engage in conversation as the adopted adult walks along side us. This was Odhrán’s biggest obstacle when covid hit, he couldn’t adopt a granny every time he went out (in olden days he would hold their hand as they accompanied us around). 

So that’s Odhrán’s typical day, in a nutshell. When I was pregnant I used to worry it would be much harder, day to day. I used to think it would be an effort for everything and it hasn’t been. You get used to your child’s cues, signs and babbles as you do with every child. The days now fly by and with children you don’t have time during the day to worry, it’s filled with schedules and meal times. So while there are still worries, they are much less than my pregnancy worries. Odhrán just Odhrán – a happy and wild threenager, with the social calendar to match!