Loving a Child with Down Syndrome

This child. Her name is Eurydice.

Eurydice. Courtesy Cristina Nehring. (c) 2012
Eurydice. Courtesy Cristina Nehring. (c) 2012

The following was written by her mom:

Leaving aside the question of whether one can measure happiness in coffee spoons and, more troublingly, compare the real happiness of an existing child to the potential happiness of a nonexisting child, it is a cliché of developmental psychology that kids with disabilities like Down syndrome often outstrip their peers in joie de vivre. Something about their trust, tenacity, and tenderness—as well as their often uninhibited engagement with other people—seems to equip them for lives that are not darker than the lives of sensitive intellectuals but brighter.

Cut to: Paris, fall 2012. I am sitting next to my cherry-lipped, porcelain-skinned daughter, now 4 years old. I step out of the medical transport van that has ferried us home from her preschool and heave her onto the sidewalk. She giggles and extends two fingers to stroke my cheek. Before the driver can pull away from the curb, I gather her against my heart, draw back a few inches, smile in wonder into her radiant smile, and kiss her face and hair and temples as holiday shoppers stop and stare.

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TED Talk: The happy secret to better work

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From the TED intro:

We believe that we should work to be happy, but could that be backwards? In this fast-moving and entertaining talk from TEDxBloomington, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that actually happiness inspires productivity.

Shawn Achor is the CEO of Good Think Inc., where he researches and teaches about positive psychology.

Take a Nap, Grow Your IQ

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Beautiful Napping Dog

This probably explains why my dog Celeste is so smart. Via our friends at PsychCentral, Napping Makes You Smarter:

A new study that examined participants’ cognitive abilities after they took a nap demonstrates that a simple nap may help make you “smarter.”The research, conducted at the University of California at Berkeley, examined the brain boosting effects of a nap on 39 healthy adults. Half the subjects took a 90 minute nap during the day, and then all subjects were administered a set of tests designed to measure cognitive ability.

Those who took the nap outperformed subjects who did not. The people who had a nap improved their ability to learn by 10%, according to the researchers.

By the way, our cats Samantha and Bryce are smarter than Celeste. They’re better nappers.

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I’m Gonna Get Me a Couple of These

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From The BBC

Mutant genes ‘key to long life’

There is a clear link between living to 100 and inheriting a hyperactive version of an enzyme that prevents cells from ageing, researchers say.

Scientists from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the US say centenarian Ashkenazi Jews have this mutant gene.

They found that 86 very old people and their children had higher levels of telomerase which protects the DNA.

They say it may be possible to produce drugs that stimulate the enzyme.