Dealing with Down's Syndrome & Bedwetting
An interview with Carly, a JOIZI Brand Ambassador, creator of The Up Side of Downs, and mum to Ollie. Follow Carly on Instagram.
Carly, what’s been your biggest parenting challenge so far?
The biggest parenting challenge so far has to be having a child with a disability, and not knowing what the future holds. Before I had Ollie, I was never around children with special needs. I wasn't sure if I could cope with the not knowing what to do.
What’s been your biggest parenting success so far?
My biggest parenting success has to be that no matter what, you can only do your best. I always believe that slow and steady wins the race. When Ollie started walking, unaided at the age of 5, I knew that our persistence paid off.
What do you feel is most misunderstood about Down’s Syndrome?
I was always told by professionals that Ollie would never lead a normal life, and he wouldn't meet his milestones. This is a lie. Ollie leads a life, and is treated no different, like anyone else. It may take him a little longer but he has reached milestones that any other child has reached.
What’s your #1 parenting product and why?
PeapodMats are definitely our go-to parenting product. This mat has changed our lives and I only wish I knew about it sooner as I could have used it so much more in various situations. This mat is a complete game changer. Ollie suffered so much with acid reflux when he was younger and would be sick all the time, this mat would have saved my furniture and carpets.
Do you have a go-to parenting book / resource?
My biggest parenting resource has to be social media and the Down's Syndrome groups I'm in. Other parents help so much when they are living the same life as you. Never be afraid to ask for help.
What do you do to make sure your child is comfortable overnight?
Every night Ollie has a shower before bed, his jammies are on the radiator so they are nice and warm for him (in the colder weather). Ollie has his v-shaped pillow for extra comfort and always goes to bed with a beaker of milk.
Do you have any toilet training tips?
Our toilet training journey has been long and hard, but we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I started toilet training Ollie when I believed he was ready, and for Ollie, that was at the age of 6. My parenting tip is that for us we started it in the 6 weeks summer holidays so my attention was on him and we could really crack this out. Schools are busy enough as it is, so I didn't want them to take most of the responsibility. Don't force it on your child and never tell them off for an accident. I always made a huge fuss of Ollie when he used the potty to encourage him more.
What’s your bedtime routine?
Ollie can usually go to bed anywhere from 5.45-7pm. It all depends on what mood he's in / how tired he is. Ollie will tell me when he wants to go to bed. It's never after 7pm because this boy loves his bed, and his sleep. Ollie will either have a bath or a shower before bed, warm jammies on, a beaker full of milk, and he enjoys to watch his iPad in bed for a bit to unwind and chill out. Because of Ollie's poor eyesight, sadly, he can't see the TV in his room so this is the reason for his iPad. Ollie can wake up anytime from 7am-9.30am. We get up at 7am on a school day. Ollie has always loved his sleep and his bed. His bed has become his safe place.
When did you start sharing your journey on social media, and why?
I have always wanted to share Ollie's life and journey on social media to show that Down's Syndrome isn't scary, you can't catch it and most of the stigma is old wife's tales that aren't true, and are actually crazy. I wanted to meet new people who are living in the same boat, make new friends and encourage each other. We started sharing Ollie's life late last year. I wanted to do it when he was younger but all the hospital appointments, surgeries and how poorly he was, was all too much and I knew I couldn't fully commit myself. I also didn't want to show a scary side to having a child with Down's Syndrome. In the beginning with how poorly he was, it was super scary for me and I didn't know how to deal with it myself. So I bit the bullet and I haven't looked back.
What has surprised you most about being a parenting blogger/influencer?
What has surprised me the most is that we have met some amazing people, how everyone's life is completely different, and how each child excels differently. Just because they share the same diagnosis doesn't make them the same person. Also how we have only experienced good things on social media! Social media can be a weird place and also a scary place, because of trolls, but lucky enough for us we haven't experienced that.
Carly's review of PeapodMats
Excellent product and customer service. This 100% works and has been a complete game changer in our household. Waterproof, soft and breathable. I recommend this to anyone who's child struggles with bed wetting, just like my child. You will not find anything better than this, I have tried xx