This week, the family is taking over the Learning Across America blog. Each family member will be sharing their stories about our first year of full-time travel. Pull up a camp chair, and see what we’ve been up to.
Technically, Dominic isn’t the one dictating this story. He’s just two, and his vocabulary is still pretty limited. He mostly likes to yell “Goggie!” every time he sees a dog and he asks for food a lot. Still, even with his few words, Dom has a lot to say. This is my attempt to tell you how Dominic has enriched our lives and our journey.
One Year Traveling | Dominic’s Story
If Dominic hadn’t come along, we likely would have started this journey a year ahead of when we did, but I daresay that without him it would not have been nearly as wonderful as it has been. When we discovered that we were expecting, we postponed our departure. Brian didn’t think it would be a good idea to be stopping who-knows-where to have a baby, so we stayed put and planned to give the little guy 6 months or so to get started. Then we’d go.
Then Dominic was born, and we learned that he has a little something extra: He has an extra copy of the 21st chromosome. That’s called Trisomy 21 or Down syndrome. That meant that he had a few more checkups to get through up front than the average newborn. When those appointments didn’t come together as planned, we delayed again. Actually, we incorporated one round of assessments into a 6-week trial run in the RV. Everything went perfectly.
After assessments by opthamology, speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, genetics, cardiology, and dermatology (and maybe a few others–I lost track!), he was declared road-worthy, and ready to go.
Now age 2, Dominic has spent more than half of his life living in an RV. He has visited over 20 states and visited multiple historic sites. He is our little ambassador. He waves hello to nearly everyone, melts the hearts of strangers, and makes friends wherever he goes.
Having a small child along does slow us down in some ways. There is more gear to tote around, and we sometimes have to consider nap schedules and such. While we sometimes put him in a backpack, the stroller is easier on our bodies, so finding trails with stroller access is important when we’re out looking for a place to hike and explore. These are all quite minor accommodations, and they are made happily.
With so many children, we also have a built-in support system for Dominic. He has older siblings to look after him, but also to soothe him, sing to him, play with him, dote on him. The effects of their care are obvious: This child is thriving. This journey has been an amazing and enriching experience for us all, but having Dominic along has added such an incredible dimension to every bit of it. He was absolutely worth the wait!
We write a little more about Dominic over at Trisomy21Club.com. That site has a little more information about life with a child with Down syndrome (awesome!!), his milestones, and whatever other information we find time to post. The short version: He will grow and learn and will be able to accomplish most anything he cares to do later in life. It will take him a little longer to hit most milestones. He will have to work harder to achieve some of his goals. Most of all, he will be treasured. His sweet personality enriches the lives of all who know him. It is a joy to have him along on this journey of life.
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