Why I’m making waves about my Angel’s effort to drink more water

Staying hydrated can be a battle with Angelman syndrome

Sabrina L. Johnson avatar

by Sabrina L. Johnson |

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Seeing my 13-year-old Angel, Juliana, play in the water is nothing new for our family. But seeing her drink water has our family in awe and me wondering how to keep this miraculous trend going. I know many moms ponder how to keep their children hydrated. And I am certain that Juliana is doing what many kids her age are probably not doing.

However, the issue becomes more serious for children with Angelman syndrome who already battle constipation. We all know that water plays an important role in digestion. And insufficient water intake can also lead to dehydration.

I’m concerned about both for her, but its the constipation that has caused problems in the past. Once, her constipation was so bad that we had to take her to the doctor. It lead to serious pain and discomfort and, of course, lots of crying and screaming. This issue has gotten better over the years, and avoiding water wasn’t always Juliana’s strategy.

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Back on track

When Juliana was younger, she would drink water like it was a delicacy. And then I did something I shouldn’t have: I introduced juice. From there, it seems there was no turning back. She began snubbing water, and I struggled to get her to drink a cup or even take a sip.

If you’re wondering how she stays hydrated, the answer is simple: sugar-free juice. Originally, she drank homemade peppermint tea with cane sugar. But as time went on, she drank so much that it left her teeth stained.

Brushing and flossing can also be difficult to manage, so weaning her off that drink was a must. I have tried just about every liquid imaginable. It wasn’t until a conversation with Juliana’s pediatrician that I decided to move on from the water fight. Her pediatrician kindly said there would be other challenges to face. So instead of spending time and energy to make her drink water, I switched her to a diluted sugar-free juice.

But last week while having a snack, Juliana drained her water cup and then asked for more. Three refills later I was dumbfounded. Is it the cup? Was it a fluke? My husband reported similar results on another day, so know it wasn’t a one-time thing.

A 13-year-old girl with curly hair and a red T-shirt with a U.S. flag sits at a small breakfast table clutching a cup in both hands. She smiles and stares satisfactorily at the cup.

Juliana is pleased with herself after receiving a compliment from her mom for finishing another cup of water. (Photo by Sabrina L. Johnson)

I’ve seized this opportunity to capitalize on Juliana’s water binge. I plan to introduce a few flavored waters to see if I can get her off the juice. Although there is no added sugar in her juice, it still has calories. Juliana’s doctor has asked me to monitor her diet, so my thoughts immediately went to the empty calories in her juice.

I’ve never been one to let a good opportunity pass me by, and this one certainly won’t. If my Angel is drinking water, I plan to milk it for as long as I can. 

Note: Angelman Syndrome News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Angelman Syndrome News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Angelman syndrome.


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