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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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My Journal - Week 59 (05Oct10)

Where Oh Where Has "Mommy's" Nosey Gone?

A couple of months ago I posted about how Hunter knew how to show me "nose" on my face.  Something we were very happy about.  After a while, the phase of locating Mommy's or Daddy's nose was just not as fun as it used to be.  While Hunter would certainly show you, it wasn't as often or even remotely as interesting to him as it once was.  It was "old news".

UNTIL, the "Baby Can Read" videos.  Since the video's have "nose" as one of the words often repeated, Hunter has rediscovered the joy to finding noeses again.  And this time it isn't about someone else's nose... it's the locating of his own nose!  How much fun is this?!  A ton of fun!  The video instructs babies to point to their own nose, something I had been working on for a while when Hunter learned what exactly a nose was.  I knew that it would be harder for him to figure out that he had one, since he couldn't very well see his own.  But, with this new video, (and I have to say, this "Baby Can Read" is terrific and I fully fully support it) the children on the video and the voice of the adult who instructs the child who is learning, constantly request and show Hunter to point to his own nose.  With noticing how attentive Hunter has been with this video, I started noticing Hunter pointing to my nose all over again.  I decided this time to ask him to show me his nose, just like the video does.  And would you believe, he actually pointed to his own nose?  This happened literally on the same day we noticed his German Measles spots.  I told him he was a good boy but in my mind I truly brushed it off thinking, I knew he just did it, but I didn't believe he did it on purpose... (or would repeat it again).  Obviously (once again) I mentally didn't give his actions the appropriate credit for doing it on his own without my prompting like I usually do.  Fast forward to the next morning, giving Hunter his milk in bed.  (Saturday morning).  I ask Hunter, "Show Mommy your nose..." thinking I need to prove to myself it wasn't a fluke.  And like clockwork, he points his left index finger, (since we are noticing everything gets done with the left hand....) and shows me his nose.  It was clearly a nose point as he squashed his nose while doing it. 

I was so happy!  He gets it!  He gets it!  I was yelling!  (Of course to no one in particular....)  I praised Hunter over and over each time he had done it, even if it was only once each day.  It would seem, (which is why I didn't fuss or get overly excited) that Hunter refuses to show you more then on one occasion.  I laughed with my own Mother about this, and we have concluded that Hunter simply is too smart in that, he is probably wondering, "Okay, you have asked me to show you my nose, and I did... Now, why are you asking me to show it to you again?"  OR, "Doesn't Mommy know?  I just showed her...."  I wouldn't put it past Hunter to think this way.  He is a child who makes it quite clear that he is not one for repeat performances.  Either take it or leave it.  He did it once, and if you missed it, too bad for you!  Truly, this is our son's personality.

So, just to make sure, I asked him again today during watching "Baby Can Read", and I got my 'one time showing' or pointing to his own nose.  It certainly makes me feel really good.  All the times I had let Hunter point to my nose and I always responded "Mommy's nose" and then took his finger and pointed to his nose afterwards and said, "Hunter's nose" or said, "Where is Hunter's nose" and then used his own finger to touch his nose and said "Here's Hunter's nose", has obviously paid off in tandem with the "Baby Can Read".  The other really great thing is it definitely is apparent that Hunter completely understands "Clap", "Wave", and "Cat" along with "Nose" purely by the sound of the word.  I think that in a few more weeks, (or perhaps sooner) he will actually make the visual association with the word and the meaning.  And yes - while it is true at this point the association will purely be from recognizing the word as opposed to reading it.  The reading (as instructed by the Doctor who created the program) will come later on.  In the beginning, recognizing of the words is from recalling and memorizing shapes of the words.  Understanding the pattern of the English language by reading will come later on.  Honestly, either way - I am completely impressed and satisfied with the purchase at this early stage.   I guess I would have posted this earlier if not for the spots and also if I had trusted that it wasn't fluky that Mr. Hunter recognized his own nose!  What can I say?  It's not that I don't believe my child, it's simply that I enjoy these surprises (called milestones) so very much!! 

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