Welcome to Our House - The Analogy ©

Having a baby is special. For some, it’s a lifelong dream, for others, a wonderful surprise. Either way, many of us have thought about taking this journey and whether it’s planned or a pleasant surprise, we all have preconceived ideas about what our child will look and be like. But what if it isn’t what we planned or expected? This is a short story I have written for parents who have or are expecting an exceptionally special child.

Welcome to our House – An analogy

After many months of dreaming, you finally decide it’s time. You are going to build that perfect house of your dreams. You have saved and saved, and now it’s time to put your plan into action. You find a wonderful, perfect piece of land in the city. It’s exactly what you are looking for – because it’s the plan that everyone talks about. You envision the all brick house sitting on luscious green grass, surrounded by a white picket fence. Inside is a marble foyer leading into a family room with beautiful oak hardwood floors. Granite lines the kitchen counter tops and there is an island sink in the middle. Upstairs has four perfect bedrooms and the master bedroom has an ensuite bathroom and an enormous walk-in closet, of course. It’s truly a dream come true, and it’s only a matter of time. You purchase the land and think to yourself, in nine short months, you will have it all.

But suddenly your agent calls to tell you, the land is not properly zoned, and the city has not approved it for building your perfect home. They have instead, given you land in the country, where an old country home sits. You are absolutely devastated, your dreams vanishing right before your eyes. You know you can’t back out now, you need a place to live, and despite it not being what you wanted, you know that somehow you will manage and that you can continue on.

You tell everyone what has happened, and everyone is disappointed, some even offering their condolences. You know that everyone else has a nice city home, and that was what you had planned, but you have to come to terms with the fact that you must learn to live in the country.

You go to see the property every month until closing and something funny happens. You start to fall in love with the place. The air is fresh, it’s peaceful and serene. There’s a pond on the land, and the house, though not a new all brick home, is quaint, and has lots of hidden potential. You soon realize it’s not a awful place, it’s just a different place. It’s slower paced than the city, less noisy and flamboyant, but it’s beautiful none the less. And in the process, you soon realize you may even get to meet some new and wonderful neighbours.

Its closing day and you suddenly find yourself full of anticipation, but you are still a little worried. After all, it isn’t what you had originally hoped for, and the house may need some repairs. But you are determined to accept it, and tackle everything one step at a time. You open the front door, and suddenly you are thrilled with what you see. The house is lovely, and has lots of character. The rooms are smaller but it’s decorated with beautiful attention and detail. The kitchen has marble instead of granite, and the bathroom has a soaker tub instead of a Jacuzzi. There isn’t a walk-in closet in sight, but the rooms all come with an indescribable view. Somehow, you just know that it was always meant to be and that this is now home.

This is my analogy of what it will be like for people who discover that they will be caring for a baby with Down syndrome. For us, it is not a terrible place to be, it is a journey full of surprises, milestones and discovery like any other child. And as the story suggests, sometimes it’s only a matter of ‘point of view’, and surprisingly, once you have been there, you don’t want to be anywhere else. The journey, like all others doesn’t come without some bumps in the road, but once you find your way, it’s all about the place you discovered, in most cases - quite by random chance
Author: Sandi Graham-McWade, Copyright

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Sunday, January 31, 2010

My Journal - Week 24 (31Jan10)

They made me do it.

Daddy and Grandma decided to gang up on me and make me "scalp" my son's head.  Somehow they decided that I should number 4 his head, all over.  I had reservations, because under that "oh so cute" mop of hair is a bald spot.  Yes, my son had a comb-over.  Well, it wasn't really a traditional comb-over, it was at the back.  Well, being out numbered, I caved.  It was under one condition that it would be done, I would do it.

So, here it is: the final product....

[I am not amused guys...]

[But I wont cry, I WONT CRY!]

I managed to do his entire head without a peep out of him.  This child never ceases to amaze me.  I thought he would at least fuss, if not cry.  He just sat there in his Bumbo chair for the entire buzz job.

And so it goes.  Something else to surprise me.  I can't even imagine what the next thing will be....

Saturday, January 30, 2010

My Journal - Week 24 (30Jan10)

I thought to myself, I must be going mad.

Yesterday I posted that Hunter had cut his first tooth... and he had - I have three additional witnesses.  Now, I explained in my last post that I had noticed it approximately two weeks ago, and there was an additional reason why I didn't post that I had seen the tooth.  It was because it disappeared.  Yes, you read right, Hunter's tooth that I had seen and felt two weeks ago disappeared and I could not see or feel it again until yesterday.  I thought that perhaps I just wasn't looking hard enough because it was barely noticeable and Hunter was not really in the mood for me to poke and prod around in his mouth.  But sure enough today I went in for a look, and once again - I swear on life itself, the tooth has disappeared again.  Now, this time I know there was a tooth there because it was hard, pointy and white as snow against pink gums.  And more importantly, I have family back-up.  Being the typical investigator that I am, I set out to figure this phenomenon out.  I personally figured that his gums had swelled up over the protruding point.  (I am relieved to know that this is the case by the way.)

So for interest sake, I am providing this link (Let's talk about teething) for anyone who would like to know more about this phenomenon.

I guess that the picture I was going to take will have to wait!  Come back tooth!  I have also, (and conveniently) added a new poll about baby teeth.  Please vote!

My Journal - Week 24 (30Jan10)

I forgot to add one other thing from the last post....

I finally got a publisher for my first children's book - "Charlie's Adventure".  It is now being illustrated, and should be ready (printed) within one to two months.  In fact, I have written a second book, one specifically for children and families with Down syndrome in their lives.  It is called: "I have Down syndrome, what does that mean?".  It will be also published by the same publisher.  I am working on a third book (my publisher is giving me a two for one deal with this next book so I have to work my tail off to get my third one done) and it too is a children's book.  (Thank goodness I already have the idea and plot for the third one.)  I have this all going on while I am concurrently working on and writing "Welcome to Our House".  Because I am frantically writing, I have been putting my YMCA Early Years Centre program on the back burner, but I will get to that shortly. 

I am happy and proud to say, I am now officially an Author.

I will let you all know when it is released, and I will provide links to the big book store sites that you can order it from, until it is available physically in those same big book stores.  Thank you to all of you who supported me, critiqued the writing and helped me get my work out there.  I will never forget your help.

My Journal - Week 24 (30Jan10)

And yet another milestone!  This must be the month for them.  Hunter has officially cut his first tooth.  Yep, believe it or not, he has a baby tooth, or should I say molar...? (Yeah, it's not a top or bottom tooth, its his first molar and it's pointy!)  I discovered that it was coming out about two weeks ago, but it was just under the surface and I didn't think it would break out so soon.  Many babies with Down syndrome can have teeth come in irregular positions and they can also be pointy.  But whatever position they come in, they usually come later (sometimes just like their walking or talking skills).  I hope this is like a sign of the future, milestones coming as they should, and not too delayed, but even if they are, it matters not to me.

What I am surprised most by is that Hunter is not cranky because of it.  He is drooling, but not overly so, and he isn't feverish, well except for a minor one a few days ago which I thought was from a cold that we both had, but maybe it was from the tooth?

Again I have to say, Hunter is one tough cookie.  He is a good baby, and he proves this each and every day.  I will post a picture of the tooth, (at some point) when and if I can get a shot of it!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

My Journal - Week 23 (23Jan10)

Lately I am finding that I always think to myself, 'I wonder what Hunter will do today?'.  Today (rather yesterday as now it is after midnight) was the beginning of week 23 - or is it the end of week 23?  I don't even know exactly how I am counting these weeks, all I know is that Saturday's mark new week numbers.  This one being week 23.  This is precisely why people just use month numbers after a certain point, but since I am keeping a journal, I find that I need to keep track by week, or I wont have a proper title reference. 

On the 22nd, Hunter discovered he can use a sippy cup.  Yes, a sippy cup.  It's actually a training sippy cup, shaped and designed like one, with a rubberized spout instead of a hard one.  The cup instructs use for six months and up, but I figured since Hunter already knows how to drink from a cup, what's the big deal?  And, I was right.  Never put limitations on your children, they will surprise you.  If you allow them to do things that you think are impossible, they will, and they will do it well.  In his sippy cup we tried Heinz baby Apple Juice.  This too says start at six months, but I have been finding since introducing baby foods, Hunter is much more thirsty and also his bowels are a bit slow.  So, in speaking with the doctor, and consulting my handy-dandy books and Internet, I have been advised that watered down apple juice is the way to go.  Today he downed two ounces.  This baby loves new things.  Well, most new things.  And why not?  It has got to be so much better than tasting the same old booby milk everyday!  (I still breastfeed him the majority of the day and night with the exception of a 1/3 serving of Heinz or Gerber baby meal at dinner time.)
[Grandma helping Hunter with his sippy cup]

To end the evening tonight, Hunter had his bath, and yet another hair cut....  And, since last night was a disaster with bedtime, (Grandma rocked him to sleep at 10:30 pm, which totally put him out of whack) and Hunter woke up at 3:00 am, and stayed up until 5:00 am, I put him back to his regular bedtime schedule of midnight.  I am hoping that he will sleep until at least 5:00 or 6:00 am.  (I can always hope....)  We shall see how it goes this time.

Now, I think it's time for me to get ready for bed also.  I am extremely tired today, having been up so early!  Until next time....

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My Journal - Week 22 (21Jan10)

Well, I had some time on my hands last week and I did some further editing to the blog, I changed the background again, this time to something nice and subtle looking.  I think that I may just leave it this way for a while, it looks nice now.  (Yeah right!)

On the Hunter front, night-time has become something of a challenge.  Bed time doesn't come very easily now, and it's very rare that Hunter will fall asleep on his own.  Hunter has decided that he doesn't want a set bedtime, and really fights us to go to sleep.  But, because often he is so tired when it's time to rock him to sleep, he falls asleep within five minutes.  Which is not too bad.  And some times, if we are lucky, even if we can't rock him to sleep, we can put him into his crib and within 5 minutes he is fast asleep.  Lately though, he has been waking up at exactly the same time every morning, 5:00 am.  This used to be unusual for Hunter, but when he does wake, he fusses for about 2 minutes, I tend to him, and then he immediately falls back asleep.  There must be something waking him up from outside, because it's the same thing every morning!  It seems though over all, Hunter is getting very little "night" sleep.  He goes down at midnight, wakes at five, goes back to sleep for a few cat naps between 5 and 11:00 am.  He now gets very cranky during the day when he is tired, and around 3:00 pm everyday he is very cranky and fussy until he falls asleep for a nap.  On his last Osteopath visit with Kay, he started out shy, then warmed up only to get fussy, which moved onto cranky then finally to full blown overtired bawling.  This time I had to "rescue" him.  There was no further adjusting after that.  Kay got about 1/2 hour of work on him done, which is fine - we can't always expect perfect co-operation with babies.  I think on the flip side, this kind of helped Kay, as her day was 1/2 hour backed up anyway, so I think we inadvertently put her back on schedule!! 

I decided to brush Hunter's hair a tiny bit different to see what he would look like - and oh boy did I ever find out what Hunter's Asian side looks like!  Talk about "Chiney" baby!  Oh, and for those of you who don't believe that Hunter waves when you say "bye-bye" to him, I have taken a picture of him waving at me when I said "bye-bye!" (With his regular hair style).  Oh, and he is now waving with an open hand.

[Oh, I look like Mommy now, no?]

[I am "just hanging" still looking like a Chiney boy]

[I know, I am cute - right?]

[Thanks Mommy for fixing my hair, bye-bye!]
I also thought I should add a few pictures of Hunter playing on the computer with Daddy, which I took a few days back.  This is how it starts....

[Look at me!  I can do it too!]

[I am not finished yet Daddy!]

On the 18th of January, Hunter had his five month doctor visit.  He was checked over, poked and prodded, and given his Menjugate vaccination.  About that, usually when Hunter has any needle, he has a delayed pain reaction and usually cries his heart out for about two minutes.  This time he gave us the most unexpected reaction.  He scrunched up his eyes, made a face like he was about to cry, and held it in.  Talk about brave and tough boy!  He didn't make a peep, and when it was done he turned to look at the ECG leads hanging on the wall behind him.  We were all shocked to say the least.  The final details of his check up were, that he now weighs 14 lbs 8 ozs, is 24 1/2 inches long (although we had measured him at home and he actually measures 25 inches...) and has a head circumference of 16 3/4 cm.  On the baby growth chart, Hunter now falls into the regular percentile.  Phew, he caught up!  I guess Hunter had a pretty fast growth spurt, as he seems to have litterally jumped from his three month clothes into his six months in a couple of weeks.

In the literary department, I finally received my official Copyright certificate for my "Welcome to Our House - An Analogy".  It is actually a beautiful certificate.  I have to frame it.  It is very encouraging to see the fruits of my labour so to speak, in that in all areas, my writing seems to be taking off.  I have also contacted two publishers and it would seem that I have acquired two publication reps.  I have decided to publish my children's picture book that I wrote four years ago, (which I finally completed as a manuscript on the computer) and my only concern at this point is whether I should 'self publish' or have an established publishing company do it.  There are merits and pitfalls to both so, I really have to make a decision on which one I should utilize.  A few of those decision makers or breakers have to do with the illustration part of the book.  If I 'self publish' I may have to find my own illustrator since letting a self publishing company find an illustrator is extremely expensive.  Using an established publisher saves me from having to co-ordinate the illustrator, as they tend to want to provide their own illustrations.  I think that I will send out my Manuscript to some publishing companies, and see what happens with that route. 

Ellen, my E.I. manager came for a visit on the 19th of January, and we discussed the publication of my analogy within Durham region, (which is now officially underway) and we also discussed the direction I wanted to take with regards to the YMCA Early Years Centres.  The OAICD team has been invaluable to me, and will be able to provide all kinds of support to me (and subsequently other families) in directing this program for Special Needs children.  I can't wait to finally bring my proposal to the table with the Centre.  I will certainly post an update when I finalize that program.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Journal - Week 21 (12Jan10)

Okay seriously, these Milestone things - is there no stopping once they start?  Talk about rapid fire.  Last night we were playing with Hunter, daddy took him for a moment so I could get something to eat, and lo and behold Hunter said, "ah mum".  Okay - this time we both heard it, and laughed.  So, once again, practical me - I just thought he was babbling away and the word just happened to come out that way.  Until today - right now.  "Mum! Mumma, Mummm"  So, now I am going crazy researching on the internet, 'when did your baby say his/her first word' and I was flabbergasted when I read that some babies were saying "momma" at three months old.  I didn't believe that was possible, until I read some more.  Now, three months is considered unusual and very early.  The norm seemed to be around five to eight months.  Well, Hunter will be five months in three days.  I know that he isn't making a connection to what he is saying and what it means (well, at least I don't believe he is making that connection, but perhaps I should be giving him the benefit of the doubt?) So, when he says it, I tell him "very good, yes Mumm is here".  Whatever this situation is, I am confused as to whether or not I should be considering this his first word.  Should a first word be just that, whatever the word spoken is, or should it be a word that the baby understands or is actually a word other than "Mumma" or "Dada"?  I think I will go with option number one.  Yay for Hunter!

Oh, and on the waving front, Hunter is still proving to anyone who will wave 'bye-bye' to him that he can do it back.  This morning, Grandma was leaving so I told her to say "goodbye" to Hunter and to wave, so she did, and like clockwork, Hunter waved back!  Good boy Hunter!  Making Momma proud!

I tell you, he is one smart baby.  Keep going Hunter, we are here to help you every step of the way!  I have posted a new poll for people to vote regarding first words - please vote!

Monday, January 11, 2010

My Journal - Week 21 (11Jan10)

Today I wanted to post just how crazy Hunter's hair is.  Yes, this child's hair grows like a weed.  Just like Daddy's.  I have to cut this baby's hair at least once a week or he starts to look like a shaggy dog!  And if you think that I am exaggerating, I am not.  Because his hair is so thick and has curls at the end (just like Daddy's) I have to keep triming it so that he doesn't start growing girly curls.  I don't mind cutting, and frankly it apears that Hunter doesn't mind either, he's used to it.  Obviously Hunter likes his hair cut, he is full of smiles when it's done.  Perhaps that's because I am no longer asking him to hold still, and I am not fussing with his head.  Oh well, as deluded as I am, I have a very handsome looking baby when his hair is done.  Picture perfect.  I think I should become a baby hair stylist!  (Some more delusional thinking....)

[Oh, I am so handsome!]

[Yaaa!  Do you like my hair?]

[Thank goodness, Mommy is done cutting... again....]

Today we discovered Gerber Peas are not on the top of Hunter's favourites.  Carrots are still number one, squash and peas run a close 2nd to each other, but Dairy Queen Blizzards are still his long time favourite.  Gas issues are slowly becoming less and less, he seems to only suffer once a week or so with gas pains.  (That's a relief - no pun intended.)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

My Journal - Week 21 (10Jan10)

Hi all, just a quick post to show off Hunter's sitting milestone!  Okay, it's not quite unassisted sitting, but since he was trying to sit by himself today, I thought it was definitely time to bust out the "Bumbo Seat".  Take a look at Hunter and how comfortable he is in it!  I suppose this is how it's going to go, like rapid fireworks, look out, here's Hunter!  I can't help being such a proud Mommy.  My baby is having a good time, trying to grow up.

[Hunter sitting in his Bumbo seat for the first time]

[Hunter loving sitting in his Bumbo seat!]

So, what do you think?  Should I let him continue to use this crazy contraption?  How cute is this?  Glad I had my cell phone handy to take a picture.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

My Journal - Week 21 (09Jan10)

Today is Saturday and this marks another week of existence for Hunter.  He is now 21 weeks old, just shy of being 5 months old.  Hunter is developing quite the personality, he is a smart cookie and knows just how to get across what he wants.  He does have specific verbal abilities that tell us that he is hungry, tired or just happy babbling away.  He doesn't have any real recognizable words per se, but Daddy swears up and down that Hunter can say "Daddy".  To be honest, I have heard what John believes to be Hunter saying "Daddy" and it truly does sound like it.  Hunter has a whimper sort of cry that means he is hungry.  He has a whiny sort of cry that means he is tired, and the louder he gets, the more tired he is getting.  This is usually accompanied by yawning and rubbing of the eyes.  And the cuter sounds that fill up the rest of the day are Hunter's vocabulary.  He really tries to have conversations with us, and is very interactive when it comes to verbal exchange.  Lots of smiles and gurgles are also the norm.

Something else that is quite funny is that when he is hungry or watching someone eat, he will open his mouth very wide because he wants some too, and if you don't acknowledge him, he will bang your arm with either his hand or foot!  So, I have given in on some occasions and let Hunter have a tiny taste of vanilla ice cream.... I know he loves it.

The newest action of late is the closed fisted wave.  Don't believe me?  Well, since Hunter was small, we have always waved hello and goodbye to him.  Grandma makes it a point to wave Hunter's hand back to me or John when we do this.  Now, Hunter has picked this up because for the last three days, (and I made sure not to post this until I was sure it wasn't a coincidence) when someone waves at him, he waves back!  Not only does he do this when we wave and say hello or goodbye, but he has taken to doing it when he wants your attention!  Last night, Daddy was waving hello to Hunter while I was holding him, and Hunter promptly began waving right back at Daddy.  Hunter would stop, and Daddy would do it again, and Hunter would respond again.  This amused Daddy so he continued doing it over and over, like me, trying to see if it was really a cognitive action or just a fluke.  We have concluded (because there isn't any information to the contrary) that it is not a fluke.  Hunter is a good copy-cater!  Now we are working on trying to get him to open his hand while waving....  I will let you know when this happens.

Since Hunter can hold his head up now, (though he does have some trouble sometimes because of the low muscle tone in his neck) I decided to put the Jumperoo together.  We put him into it, and wow - he loved it!  I was surprised that his little legs did reach the ground, and he was able to push and bounce by himself.  It came to mind for me to do this because within the last week or so, I had been bouncing Hunter in my lap and he laughs his head off when we do this.  So, why not let him try it in the Jumperoo?  Here are a few snap shots of Hunter enjoying himself.

[Yaaaaa! I love this thing!]

[Look Mommy, I can bounce!]

Onto some other news, I have decided that I am going to create a web page for us.  It is mostly about Down syndrome and our journey with it, and also a place where people can learn some facts and perhaps also things that we have experienced.  It is currently in the works, and I find the more I do, the more I want to add.  I thought originally it was going to be a one page project, but it seems that just like Hunter, it is growing rapidly!  I have also linked this blog to it, so when I do publish my website, people will be able to access this blog directly from the page.  I will put out a post with a direct link when it is ready.

With respect to my story and the analogy part that I am publishing, I had thought it prudent to apply for a legal Canadian Copyright.  Even though through my research I learned that all literary work created in Canada is automatically protected by Canadian Copyright laws, and internationally there is such a thing called the Universal Copyright Convention, I felt that one can never be too protected when it comes to their own creations.  I wanted to make sure I had the ability to take action if someone copied or plagiarized my work, since it is also published on the World Wide Web.  Police level thinking again.

I have also recently made some changes to the blog which can only be seen when actually visited as opposed to reading these posts through the automatic emails that some of you get.  I added the "analogy" and I also added some resourceful web links and a reading list for those interested.  Anyway, time is up for today!  Back to the real world!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My Journal - Week 20 (06Jan10)

What a great day today has been so far.  This morning, my tag team duo superheroes Jenn and Kay were here to fix up Hunter some more.  Hunter's kink in his neck has become much better since last time, he freely moves his head left and right now, but it still tends to get stuck facing right on occasion.  And, Hunter's weak neck muscles are still prompting him to tuck his chin down to his chest, but he's diligently working on holding his head up high.  He is however, doing some awesome tummy time things, and is now rolling over to his left and right! 

Hunter is definitely reserving his smiles these days for those people he recognizes, and chit chatting in overdrive for those he loves.  He still pouts and perhaps sheds a few tears when confronted with someone strange or new, so if he makes "funny" at you, try not to take it personally, he is still doing it to Grandpa too.

On the book front, I have been speaking with my Early Intervention team manager Ellen, and I have officially signed a consent form for the Ontario Association for Infant and Child Development (OAICD) to "publish" my analogy part of the story.  For now, I have agreed to let them publish my work in the Durham Region newsletters and websites, in Newspapers and Magazines, in any Down Syndrome Association website, and anything else they can suggest to get the story out, and more importantly get people educated.

Something else that I have been working on is now also materializing with the OAICD's help (specifically Ellen, Jenn and Kay - my E.I. team) - back in November I had been asked by the YMCA Ontario Early Years Centre's management if I would like to spearhead a play/learn group for special needs children.  This came about when I had asked them if they had any such groups that Hunter would be able to participate in, in addition to the already existing programs that they currently run.  Unfortunately, they told me that once upon a time they did have someone who was running a program for children with Ds, but since her child was now a teen, it hadn't really been her focus to continue it.  Before I could even jump at the opportunity to volunteer, the manager at the YMCA implied that I would probably be perfect for such a task.  I couldn't agree more.  And so, I decided that in order to do this right, I would need help.  With that in mind, I called in my 'big guns'.  I am so proud and happy that we can put this together, I know that many people can and will benefit from this plan.  And while I may be responsible for getting it underway, without my superheroes and the 'Y', it wouldn't be possible.  Our next step is to meet together and discuss our plans and hopefully put everything into motion. 

Lastly, today was another milestone day for Hunter.  Gerber baby food!  Carrots to be exact....  While the event was a messy one, and I am certain Hunter's insides are now a bright orange... he seemed to LOVE carrots!  This baby has no boundaries and is quite willing to try just about anything and everything.  That's my boy.  Good thing he likes the taste, because his smile captured on camera is worth a thousand words.

[What's this?]

[Ohhhh, soooo good!  Yummy carrots!]

And one last thing for the day - I just found out that my cousin had her baby boy this morning.  Congratulations Judy and Richard on your new bundle baby Alexander.  Welcome to parenthood, it's absolutely wonderful.

Monday, January 4, 2010

My Journal - Week 20 (04Jan10)

I want to share my triumph with you all, even though it has really past its point of interest for most people.  I just feel that I should share how proud I am of my accomplishment.

I have been totally cigarette free for a year now.  Probably for most of you, unless you are or were a smoker, you cannot even fathom how difficult it is to quit smoking.  Especially if you have been doing it for a long time like I had been - 19 years.  It was not only an addiction, but it was also a habitual and locational problem.  I remember the first time I thought I had quit - and I say 'thought' because in my mind I had quit, but in reality I only quit buying my own.  I did honestly make the effort, for the first big event in my life - becoming a police officer.  Unfortunately, it only lasted for the two years prior to my actually policing, and then once I was out in my own police car stirring up trouble, my old friend found me again.

Now, it isn't as though I didn't know it was bad for me, or that it was cutting my life shorter and shorter, but as they say, some habits are hard to break.  I remember seeing some ads on television coaxing me to quit because I had hit my 30th birthday, or because I got married.  But the one that really stood out in my mind was, for my first born.  It's funny how you wont do things for the good of your own self, or possibly for your family, but for me, knowing that one day I would have to answer to my son: "Mommy, why are you smoking?" practically killed me.  I had no proper answer, and it wasn't like I could say, "do as I say, not as I do" - to a child who would be looking to me for guidance.  I wanted to be a proper role model for him, even before he was born, not to mention the health risks that everyone was pounding into my head on a daily basis regarding smoking while pregnant.  So, just like that I made up my mind I was quitting.  Now, making up one's mind, and putting theory into action are two very different things.  I had a plan though.  When the remainder of my carton of cigarettes was done, I was done.

I wont kid you, it was hard, and I did crave my habitual cigarettes, but the more pregnant I got, the harder it was to actually smoke.  (Thank goodness for pregnancy hormones, without the nauseated feeling of actually smoking and feeling sick to my stomach, I might not have actually quit!)  So perhaps timing is everything.  Maybe it was a number of small things that led me to my victory, but in the end, I have to say - I am proud of myself.  What's more is, I really thought I would revert right back to wanting to smoke when I was no longer pregnant, but to this day, I do not want to smoke and I am proud that I am finally done with that part of my life.

I have a feeling that I will be repeating this sentiment until the end of time, "Thank you Hunter, for saving me".

And in future...

Friday, January 1, 2010

My Journal - Week 19 (01Jan10)

"Happy New Year!"

This is Hunter's first 'New Years', kind of quiet - but spent with family.  It's really very neat when you think about it, all these firsts, but even more ironic is the fact that life is all about firsts.  I personally did not make any new years resolutions, but I always think to myself - I would like to live a life worth living.  I think that those are words everyone should live by, and also to remember how good my life is, despite any hardships I think I may be facing.

[Hunter all smiles for New Years!]

[A kiss for Mommy 5 minutes after midnight]

[Dancing with and kissing Mommy during the countdown]

I hope that everyone enjoyed 2009, for me there were several wonderful events.  (As I am half Chinese I think it is important to note that this year was the year of the OX and coincidentally I happen to also be an OX.  Being that it was "my" year, it stands to reason why it was such a good year for me.) The first and most significant event to me was Hunter's birth - and how wonderful that my Son and I will now share the same sign.  Also just as significant was my wedding day.  25th of July 2009, a wonderful day that I will never forget.  (I am truly blessed that I have such a wonderful husband who is my soul-mate and partner in life.)  In addition my one cousin got married and my other cousin got engaged.  I learned that two of my other cousins were pregnant, and one other had a baby girl in June - so Hunter will have lots of cousins around the same age to spend time playing and growing up with.  I was also lucky enough to have made a new girl friend who is exactly like me.  She is like the sister I never had, and has been completely invaluable when it comes to experiences that we laugh, share and talk about.  Now that's a best friend.  Thanks Hun, for all the past, present and future advice for Hunter and also for me.  I hope I have been to you, a fraction of how good you are to me.

Well 2010, you have large boots to fill but I am sure that each event will be memorable and remarkable.  I hope that I am starting off well by getting an article I wrote published.  The article is actually from the beginning part of my book that I am writing, and its debut is supposed to be right about now.  I will update everyone when I find out more.  Keep your eyes peeled, as it is hopefully going to be in our local newspapers.

And to keep in the spirit, I have changed the look of my blog, (yes again) to browns and blues.  So I hope that everyone enjoys the new look - feel free to leave a comment after the post below.  (I am always trying to keep it fresh, so make sure you keep looking and visiting!) - HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!
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