The National Advocate for People with Down Syndrome Since 1979

National Down Syndrome Society
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A Jewish Princess Named Johanna
A Jewish Princess Named Johanna

Johanna Alexis Sklar, aka Jo Jo, was born on February 27, 2008 at 3:15 pm, three and a half weeks early and a whopping eight pounds, two ounces. She came out bright red and screaming, which was no shocker given her two type A parents. What was a surprise, however, was that Jo Jo had an intestinal blockage in her tummy and an extra chromosome. When we (Jo Jo's parents) learned she had Down syndrome, our first thought was we'd never be able to handle it. We were the type of annoying, obnoxious people who assumed their prodigy of a child would be toilet trained by 18 months and reading by three. How could we handle a baby with a disability, even one as cute as Jo Jo? We were wrong. So completely dead wrong. Within the first 24 hours of her life, Jo Jo had us wrapped around her little baby pinkie finger. We fell in love with her pout and her indignant wails and the way she wiggled her way down her NICU incubator until her toes were touching the bottom. We couldn't have cared less about the clueless, completely un-PC doctors who glumly warned us she might never learn how to read or dress herself. All we cared about was bringing our beloved baby girl home. Today, Jo Jo is a busy preschooler whose favorite activities include singing, dancing with scarves, reading her Llama books, playing her Elmo guitar, and banging her two younger brothers, Teddy and Geoffrey, on their heads. She's every bit the quintessential Jewish princess, as she expects the rest of the family to wait on her hand and foot and loves dressing up in fancy pink tutus and going clothes shopping with Mom! She also has quite the posse of male admirers and every day when Mom walks her into preschool she's greeted by four year old boys shouting, Theres Jo Jo!' Just wait until she gets to high school! As proud parents, we can't imagine ever not having our Jo Jo in our lives and we always wonder how we survived our first 34 years without her. We're not religious, but boy, we sure are blessed! And' if anyone knows of a nice four year old Jewish boy with Down syndrome, let us know!




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