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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Friday, July 16, 2010

My Journal - Week 47 (16Jul10)

Are you scared yet?

Today was quite the day of fright for one mother alone to handle.  I am the first to admit, having a baby is full of joys and fears.  Triumphs and failures.  Bumps and bruises.  Laughs and scares...  But honestly, two in one day.... I am going to go grey before this week is through!

Hunter is a child full of wonder.  I know I have said this probably on many occasions, and now that he is crawling around, I have gone around and checked little things that I think he could or would get his little hands on and more importantly put into his little mouth.  I thought I had done a good job, even reading the old fashioned toilet paper tube rule that says, if it can fit through the hole of the paper tube, it can be swallowed and choked on by baby.  So, I diligently went around a while back with a paper tube and while it may have looked quite strange, I was putting things up to the tube to see if they would fit or not.  I figured in our T.V. room, I had pretty well gotten anything and everything that a little hand could put into a little mouth.  I want to say, never trust toy manufacturers.  Not that I do trust anything at all, but I figured that a toy designed for babies, would be safe.  I know after today, I have learned my lesson.  Hunter, now capable of getting into his sitting position all on his own, and literally motoring around the T.V. room at lightening speed decided to sit in front of his play cube (a large wooden box with an abacus on one side, a wooden peg maze on the opposite side, a xylophone on the third side, and a magnet board with large fun shapes on the last side.  Even our E.I. had said the shapes would encourage Hunter's dexterity with handling the shapes, so no one ever thought that those shapes would cause a problem.  Hunter had been capable of placing the shapes onto the cube and then removing them for about a month now.  He would hold them up, examine them by looking and mouthing them also - a typical baby action.  Today, as I was cleaning the table our T.V. room, I hear Hunter whimper, and then let out a little cry.  I looked over at him, sitting literally about four feet from me with the red circle standing vertically inside his mouth.  He had managed to pop the entire circle into his mouth but because it was so large, he couldn't get it back out by himself.  And the more he tried, the harder he clamped down on the circle.  Now, you can't imagine how scared I was when I saw this circle in his mouth.  The circle is so large, that he would never have been able to swallow it, but the mere fact that he had it inside his mouth had me terrified, and obviously had him scared also.  I took it out of his mouth, and he let out a fretful cry.  I was so angry at myself for believing that this large circle was harmless.   It didn't fit in the tube by any means, and therefore I thought it wouldn't be "dangerous".  Now, after all was said and done, no harm had come to Hunter, and there would have been no way for him to have swallowed the circle, but getting this darn thing stuck in his mouth was enough for me to put those away, for a long long time.

Here are the pictures of the magnets.

[I put a penny next to them for perspective]

[Here you can see it doesn't fit in the paper tube....]

Now, if that wasn't enough of a heart attack for me, Hunter the ever so smart and brave baby, decided that he would accomplish yet another new milestone for me tonight, but again, scared the "Crap" out of me while doing it.
I went up to our bedroom to change both myself and Hunter into our sleepwear.  Once I got Hunter changed I sat him down on his bottom in his crib, since the crawling has become an exploratory thing, I can't trust him on the bed for even a second with out me (and even with me he's so fast!).  He wasn't too happy to be in his crib while I was changing, but even through a protest, he managed to make his next milestone.  I turned my back to put my clothes into my laundry bin, and I heard "MAMA! MAMA!" very loudly.  I turned around and there was my son, standing up holding onto the front rail of the crib, leaning over it with one hand on the rail, the other reaching out to get me....  I swear I took one giant leap and yelled "Oh my Gwad!".  In the process of leaping to him, I guess I scared him too, and he fell backward.  He laughed at me and clapped his hands!
So there you have it, once again - our child makes yet another milestone of pulling himself to a standing position all on his own, and I missed it because I was putting laundry into my basket?!!  I know I will see it again, and honestly I knew he could do it, since he has been pulling himself to a standing position holding our hands everyday.  But, to see him do it all on his own would have been the best, especially catching the first time.  I wanted to put a picture here in the blog so you can see how he stands up with his hands on the rail, but I will have to do it tomorrow, when he's awake.  It was a good thing Hunter did this tonight, Lord only knows if he would have done it in the morning, to get my attention, and then toppled out of the crib as a result.  So, after that super episode, I got my tools out and lowered his crib nearly a foot down.  Now when he sits, he can just peek out, and when he stands, the rail comes up to his chest.  It will have to be lowered again probably sooner then later, since I am guessing it will only be a matter of time that he can swing a leg up and over....
Can you believe it?!  That's our boy.  Super star.   I hope he doesn't give me any more "heart attacks" though!

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