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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Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Journal - Week 35 (22Apr10)

Nap time anyone?  How about bed time then....

Like any parent who has a baby, we all know the importance of day time naps.  Without naps, comes crankiness, and sometimes the inability to actually eventually get to sleep for the night.  Today, Hunter did not have his scheduled naps (a schedule he set for himself long ago) of roughly 3pm and 7pm.  Now, it wasn't that he didn't try to nap, but Hunter has always been a child full of wonder, and somehow thinks if he goes down for a nap, the world wont be the same when he wakes up!  In other words, he hates to miss anything and therefore hates to nap.

Our E.I. Jenn had advised that we should probably take him upstairs to his crib for nap time, a really great piece of advice that somehow we never really followed but should have from the beginning.  We faltered on that simply because when we took him up on occasion, he would wake as soon as you laid him down and would then stay awake, playing in his crib.  So, ultimately we ended up allowing him to nap down stairs with us, so we knew he would get the naps in.  Otherwise we would have a baby monster on our hands at night time... much like tonight.

No naps equals No SLEEP and a ton of crying.... (not me, Hunter - though at times I was close!)  Honestly it didn't matter where we were, or what we did, he ended up so overtired and upset that he couldn't get himself to sleep.  But, it was evident that his body wanted to sleep, he continuously kept nodding off and yawning.

Time to break out the modified FERBER method....  Many parents research different and sometimes specific methods to get their child to sleep, but since Hunter was always good at sleeping, from the time he was two weeks old, we actually never needed to research anything - until tonight.  So, reluctantly I did my research (after the fact).  I took Hunter up to his crib at around 9:30 pm tonight.  His usual bed time is around 11:30 pm.  He pretty well kicked and screamed all the way up there and for about half an hour after I put him up there.  As soon as I put him down, he started sobbing and that gut wrenching cry that you would think you might hear from a toddler who heaves when crying.  The odd thing was, there were little to no tears and if I looked at him, he would offer up a smile and a laugh to me... suggesting the "oh I am so cute, pick me up - you know you can't resist!" and for the most part he's right, I can't resist but I held back.  I told him very quietly, I was going down stairs and that he needed to go to sleep.  I rubbed his back, put on some baby music for him for 10 minutes while I stayed with him.  He didn't make a peep.  When the music ended, and despite the fact that he was still awake, I said my good night to him and left him to get to sleep.  I went back down stairs and waited for the full out bawling to re-initiate, and it most certainly did.  I called up to him, telling him that we were still here and that he should go to sleep.  Daddy and I watched on the baby monitor (with the awesome night vision and crystal clear digital sound) poor Hunter sobbing and kicking his legs, rolling onto his tummy and crying into his arm above his head.  What a sight.  We are only slightly used to this because it has occurred about three other times before when naps were avoided.  No matter how many times you hear it, it still breaks your heart listening to him cry.  We have also learned that bringing him back down stairs with us doesn't work either, because at this point he is too far tired that he just continues to cry from absolute and pure exhaustion.
I ended up re-visiting Hunter two times after I initially put him in his crib, and within the half hour he finally fell asleep.  I did go back up one last time after he was sound asleep, just to check on him because he had his head lying on his bear which was soggy and dripping wet from tears and runny nose.  I actually moved him onto his side, and he didn't even wake or stir - that's how tired he was.  What I did notice though was that he was still heavy chest breathing (those tiny uncontrollable hiccup sobs that go on long after you finish crying that you can't stop by yourself) while sleeping.  That totally broke my heart, but he was asleep.  After all of that, I looked up the FERBER method, and learned that I did the modified method, which worked.  All I know is that I will do what works for Hunter and us.  And it seems that we nailed it on the head, this time.  In the end, I just hope that Hunter stays asleep for his usual eleven hours.

Daddy did console me after though, knowing that I hate to see our son cry like that.  It is unusual for him to cry so when it happens, it distresses me.  Daddy also very professionally pointed out that by our next baby, I will be an old pro and that this type of thing will be nothing that gets me ruffled.  Ha.  We'll see (but he's probably right.)

Another night bites the dust....  Hopefully no repeat performances though!

1 comment:

  1. Try the Jane method next time. Put him in his pyjamas, bundle him up and take him for a short drive. Within a block or 2 guaranteed he'll be sound asleep. Don't know what it is about car drives but it will even put me to sleep at times (as a passenger of course).


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