Down syndrome from a father's perspective.

Down syndrome is like a little lamb with a bucket stuck on his foot.

There has been a lot going on lately and I have been struggling to keep my head above water and as a result the frequency of my writing has decreased. There are a lot of things I could write about and but this morning A Fly Went By. The fly flew by because it was being chased by a frog that was being chased by a cat that was chased by a dog and a pig some cows a fox and a hunter with a gun. I may have missed a few things in there but you get the idea. Ultimately they were all running from a little lamb that needed help because it had a bucket stuck on its foot.

I have never struggled with the fact that my son has Down syndrome.

If you are familiar with my story and how Down syndrome came to be a part of my life you know that I have never had a difficult time with the fact that my son has a disability. I don’t want to give you the impression that my acceptance of my son’s Down syndrome diagnosis is because I am such a “noble person.” No, had I first struggled and then come to terms with it I may be able to talk about nobility but that is not the case for me. I simply looked into the eyes of that little boy the nurse just handed to me and knew right there that this was my boy and I loved every aspect of him just like I loved every aspect of each of my three daughters.

That is how I feel about Treyton. When I see him running around getting into things, I just have to smile and thank God that he is mine. I don’t give a $#!% about Down syndrome – that’s my boy.

-taken from the May 28, 2012 post Johnny Cash, Kid Rock, and Down syndrome

I realize that I am an odd-ball when compared to most parents of children with Down syndrome. Just the other day I had someone tell me they could not believe how I adapted to the diagnosis. If you have had a hard time with some aspect of your child’s Trisomy 21 there are a lot of people who have that in common with you. Parents, especially new parents, need to know it’s okay – struggling with the diagnosis has nothing to do with how much you love your child. I know you love your child.

My wife has had a hard time dealing with some aspects of what it means to have a child with Down syndrome. The two of us have come at this from two totally different perspectives; at times our different views on Down syndrome has been difficult on our marriage. In fact it was just the other day (4 1/2 years later) that my wife said, for the first time, that she really feels like she would never want another child, one that did not have Down syndrome. She is and has been a great mom for Treyton and there was never a question love, but there were times when some of the realities that come with the diagnosis weighed heavily on her.

If you let fear drive you even a lamb is scary.

I usually leave for work before Treyton is awake but occasionally he decides to start his day a little early, this morning was one of those days. Instead of rushing out the door I decided to take a few extra minutes and read some books with him. One of the books he picked was called “A Fly Went By” written by Mike McClintock. It is a fun book, one that you can take at face-value.  I am pretty sure the author did not intend for the story to have a moral but I think there is one that applies to Down syndrome.

The book starts with a fly going by that is scared and trying to escape a frog. However, the frog is not really chasing the fly but it is trying to get away from a cat that is trying to catch it. If you are quick you may have already guessed that the cat is not trying to get the frog but is instead trying to flee from a dog it thinks is chasing it. The list of scared creatures goes on and even includes a man carrying a gun. The man is scared and running away from a sound that seems to be following him.

The reality is that the man was scared and running away from a little lamb that was coming to the man for help because it had a bucket stuck on its foot. A little lamb is about as innocent and harmless you can get not to mention this one needed help. However, all of the characters in the book allowed their fear and ignorance to drive them and panic spread like a fire. I think that is the same thing that happens with Down syndrome. People are ignorant and this lack of knowledge makes it very easy to be afraid of raising a child with Down syndrome.

Please join with Treyton’s Posse as we work to spread this message:


Down syndrome is like a little lamb, nothing to fear.

  1. Pingback: What is Down Syndrome, Really? | Little Bird's Dad

  2. Mark Leach

    Not what I expected when LBD linked to your description. I was expecting an explanation that Down syndrome is like a lamb with a bucket on its foot because the lamb is like most lambs, it just has something that affects it a little bit. The way you explained it is much better, and accurate.

    • Rob Arnold

      I am glad you liked my explanation, it is really about the lamb at all – it is about the person that is scared of the lamb.