Sunday, June 14, 2009

When Did I Turn Into My Parents?

Early one morning this spring, we left Paul's parents' Wyoming home. We had prepared the girls for the long car trip to come and were ready to drive straight through to lunch somewhere in western Nebraska. Or at least to a rest stop in southern Wyoming.

Yet we found ourselves stopped just minutes from town. We made a spur-of-the-moment decision to check out Ayres Natural Bridge Park. The trip - a few miles off paved roads - took us through a herd of bison and past a couple of ranches before we popped out into a beautiful park. The side trip was worth the delay, even if the girls disagreed.

After Sunday School this morning we rented bicycles and a trailer for another trek through Forest Park, this time exploring the park's interior paths.

And after dinner we took the girls on a nature walk at Powder Valley where we stopped frequently to admire insects, squirrels, and deer with great enthusiasm. This place is only a couple of miles from our house; how have we never done it before? (Thanks for the suggestion, Dori!)

Boring, educational side trips on vacations? Check.

Safely helmeted family bike rides? Check.

Family nature walks? Check.

Transformation: complete.

Ellie prefers to be sedentary, and we don't like to make her miserable. This has led to a rather sedentary lifestyle for all of us, which clearly has to change. (When I say that Ellie "prefers to be sedentary," please know that's very much an understatement.) We've always been big go-and-do'ers, but this summer we're making a huge effort to be more active. It's a rare occasion when we stay home all day, but even when we're out-and-about, we're usually not figuratively pushing the girls too much. We're literally pushing them a lot of the time.

While we're still taking lots of trips to the zoo this summer, we're using the stroller less and less. We'll push swings at the park, but no more baby swings. And every day brings a walk around the block, time on trikes, swimming, or some other form of enthusiastically "encouraged" activity.

I've even tried doing my own exercise while the girls are awake, though with limited success. There are strictly finite limits to my patience, after all. And we'll see what happens when the summer heat sets in for real.


Kathy G said...

Good for you modeling active behavior for your family! Everyone will benefit because of it.

My perception is that people with Down Syndrome tend to live sedentary lifestyles because of poor motor coordination. Is that true or a stereotype?

Sarahlynn said...

Somewhere in the middle - a generalization, perhaps?

People with Down syndrome tend to have low muscle tone, which makes everything harder work, from walking to chewing and talking. This makes the most basic physical tasks tiring.

And harder, too. So people with Down syndrome, like the rest of us, tend to want to avoid activities that are too hard, or exhausting.

But not everyone with Down syndrome has poor muscle tone, and others just push hard and live active lives anyway.

Part of the problem is that until very recently, people with Down syndrome were rarely encouraged to do so.

Another reason there are so many overweight adults with Down syndrome (ignoring for now the fact that most adults are overweight regardless of the number of chromosomes they have) is that many people with Trisomy 21 have hypothyroidism which might not be well-controlled by medication.

Thanks for asking!!!

RAK said...

When I start baking with less sugar than the recipe calls for, that's when I will know that I have really turned into my mother.

Sarahlynn said...

There's always something!

My mom likes sugar, but when someone around her is getting fat (e.g. me, my dad) she tends to eat less and less and run more and more, presumably to "set a good example." But, as much as I love her, it just come across as a little passive aggressive.