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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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Journal - Week 44 (23Jun10)

Backward CREEPING turning into forward CRAWLING?!

I have such exciting news.  I witnessed the first "actual" movements in crawling FORWARD.  Here's how it all went down:

I am in the kitchen making Hunter's dinner and bottle.  I hear him getting frustrated.  He is sitting down playing with his toys in the family room directly next to the kitchen.  I can see his head from the kitchen counter.  I turn around to put the milk in the warmer.  I hear fussing... I look and he's moved from sitting to his tummy and then hands and knees.  (This isn't new, he's been transitioning from sitting to tummy for some time now, I'd hazard to guess about two months or so).  He's effectively turned himself around, (also something he is a pro at doing) and crawled backward to his play yard.  I look up again, his head is missing so I walk to the couch to watch him.  He's now positioned himself in the play yard completely turned 270 degrees from the sitting position (which is about 3 feet away from the play yard), and now lying on his tummy trying to reach one of the dangling rings hanging from the top of the play yard.  The rings are about three to four inches out of his reach.  (These toys when grabbed or jingled cause the music to turn on.  A feat he mastered shortly after Christmas when he got this play yard from his Aunty Jane).  I laugh to myself thinking, good - something that he wants, it will make him more determined to get at them.  I walk back to the kitchen to warm up his baby food.  I hear grunting and whining.  Sounds like, "Mommy, please move me closer to these toys... I can't reach...."  I yell back to the family room, "Hunter go get the rings, you can do it...." and I go back to warming up his food.  The grunts get louder, almost to a cry now.  I walk over to the couch again, and what do I see?  Hunter up on his hands and knees, babbling to himself.  I call my mother over.  Grandma, come see this.  It was precisely at this moment that I am thinking, he wants those rings so badly that he is probably talking himself into crawling to get to them.  I am convinced he will make the effort.  Grandma and I watch in anticipation.  Hunter is now concentrating so hard on the rings, talking to himself, at this point very quietly.  He is now looking down at his hands and back to the rings.  We continue to watch.  Then it happens.  He stops talking to himself and moves his left knee forward.  I gasp.  Then, he moves his right knee forward.  He cries with delight.  I cry with delight.  I say to my mother, "DID YOU SEE THAT?  YOU SAW THAT RIGHT?"  My mother is laughing and nodding.  Hunter plops down onto his belly and he is now hanging onto the rings for dear life, and babbles to the rings as if to say, "Rings, do you know how hard this was for me to get to you?  I am darned if I let go of you now that I am here....!"
Finally, something I witnessed MYSELF!  A milestone.  I am kicking myself for having my video camera on the table at the other side of the family room (which on most occasions is in the right spot for me to catch those "fly by the seat of my pants" moments) but I had no intentions of walking past or even in Hunter's sight to distract him from this inevitable moment I knew would happen if he thought he was by himself. 

I often comment to people on what seems to be Hunter's thought process.  He is definitely a visual learner, like his Mommy.  But, having said that, Hunter also is like me in other ways.  He wont try something until he has figured it out in his head.  He isn't the type of baby to try and try and try, fail, fail, fail until he gets it right.  He is a determined boy who wants to do it right the first time.  This is such an A-Type personality trait.  A perfectionist.  This is Mommy.  I want to do everything right the first time I do it, or I don't want to do it.  Despite me thinking that this is also Hunter's way, I have witnessed this over and over with him.  But there are consequences to this kind of practice.  It means that since he is only willing to do it when he is able to do it the right way, he probably wont practice it.  And left not to do it for long periods of time make me think he is likely to forget how he did it!  I need to make sure I give him the motivation to do it again.  I guess I need to Break out the Twiggy cat for more motivation!

Tomorrow, I am hoping to see a repeat performance, and I will make sure I have the video camera ready just in case.  Jenn, Hunter's E.I. is scheduled to come visit on Friday.  I would so desperately love for him to show this new trick off to her!  And he has yet to let a surprise like these go unnoticed by his girlfriend Jenn!  Here's hoping he is in the mood to show off once again!

And so here another chapter and milestone, and of course another proud moment for Mommy.  I can't help but brag about this one.  And better yet, Grandma was witness to this wonderful event.

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