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, November 11, 2010

My Journal - Week 64 (11Nov10)

Milestones and a multitude of doctors appointments!

I have been so consumed with appointments this past week that I haven't had much of a chance to blog.  But this one has been worth the wait, I think.


For the last week, Hunter has been using a word properly and repetitively!  It has finally occurred to him that he can say things and use them appropriately!  Along with waving to people to say bye-bye, Hunter is now saying "Bye Bye!"  I am amazed that this little boy, does these things so correctly and appropriately - and more impressively, just like that.


It may seem that way to me, but I laugh because it really isn't.  Hunter has this way of doing this... he practises.  He will talk softly to himself (sort of practising under his breath) or sing to himself when a song is playing.  At one point Rafi was playing on our CD player and Baa Baa black sheep was on.  Hunter decided that he would sing to himself very quietly and it appeared to me that he didn't think anyone was listening.  You literally have to sneak up on him, and listen ever so patiently and you will hear him signing!  It is the cutest thing.


It isn't a surprise that Hunter can say "bye bye" since each and every time I tell him to say "bye bye" to Grandpa or anyone we are walking away from, he just recently decided that he should actually use his voice and say the words along with the wave!  Now, it's not quite "B-Y-E" but it's actually coming out "Baa baa".  Either way, we know Hunter actually means "Bye", since he is waving when he says it.  The fumiest thing is, he loves to do it to Grandpa and Grandma, (and anyone else that he sees leaving or he leaves) but not to Mommy!  I wonder what's up with that?


To me it's just another wonderful Milestone that I fully appreciate him learning and doing.  On the walking front, Hunter seems to be quite content to cruise the furniture, or stand on his own for just a few seconds and then plop down on his butt.  I know full well that his walking will come in time, and if I had a better back (to bend over and help him) it may have come sooner since I could have helped him to work on it.  But unfortunately, I am very limited to how much walking help I can give him.


On the food front.  I just realized that I should be giving Hunter more "table" food then I am.  Our Doctor advised us at Hunter's one year checkup that I could give him anything we eat.  I really didn't want to push the food with salt or anything that he didn't need, so I kept on with the baby foods.  When I read on Baby Centre (one of my Down syndrome online groups) that mom's were giving their child of 13-20 months all kinds of adult foods from the table, I decided to kick it up a notch.  In fact tonight, I didn't give Hunter any baby food at all, and instead I gave him pasta with a banana.  He loved it!  I guess it kind of explains to me why he only weighs 20 pounds, when according to typical growth and weight charts he should be closer to 24 pounds....  So, I will give Hunter our food to eat for dinner nearly every day and give him the jars of organic baby food only once and a while.


This past Monday, I decided to bring Hunter to the doctor with me for my appointment.  Hunter has had a "snorky" nose (I call it) for over a month and some interesting "fishy-tuna" smelling breath first thing in the morning for the same length of time.  Upon researching this fishy smelling breath (only in the morning) I learned that he might have a sinus infection which may need antibiotics to clear it up.  So, after explaining all of this to our doctor, he gave us a prescription for Amoxicillian for Hunter for 10 days.  Remember that Banana liquid stuff that Mom always had to give us that was put into the refrigerator?  Well it's that same stuff only it's no longer banana flavour, it's fruity.  (Yuck, I prefer the old banana....)  I also decided to ensure that Hunter finally got his blood testing done for Hypothyroidism... which I should have done before one year of age, but it always slipped my mind.  This time I remembered and got the blood requisition to get it done.  Now, all parents know (or most know) what it's like to have a baby get a blood test....  There is one thing I suggest to any mom who has to go through this.  Do not be the one to hold your child down... be the rescuer!  For some really silly reason, I listed to my mother who said, "You hold Hunter okay?" and like a silly child listening to her parent I complied.  Imagine what Hunter was thinking... Moooommmmmmmmyyyyyy???  Don't let them hurt me...... Whyyyyyy are you holding me down??????  And there was Grandma, standing right in front of Hunter, saying "It's okay love, Grandma is here...." and me holding him down saying "Mommy's here...." - Ya, mommy's here helping them torture you.... Then when the blood test was finally done, and Grandma reaches out those warm loving arms, guess where Hunter wants to be?  Not in mommy's! 



Tuesday we had our YMCA Play to Learn group and Hunter discovered a new toy which he absolutely loved and wanted to take home with us.... It's a toy which has four wheels and a handle to push along on top.  Hunter pushed and pulled this thing all over the play room and did not stop for hardly a moment to do anything else!  He did however, work his way over to the table where Sue (the manager of the Pickering YMCA Early Years centre) was sitting and he pulled himself up to see her and stood there to play and chat with her for about 10 minutes!  It wasn't that it wasn't exciting that he did that, but Jenn (Hunter's EI) had been trying to get him to do that for her (for at least 15 minutes earlier) and he wouldn't have any of it....  What a turkey!!  Then, for fun I decided to see if Hunter wanted to try orange juice.  Not only did he try orange juice but he drank it from the cup!  Now, let me just say that drinking from a cup today was not Hunter's first time.  His first time using a cup was when he was just days and weeks old.  (I know technically that doesn't really count, but for the record, Hunter has experience.)  So, I figured we would try and see how much of that experience he recalls... and it would appear that he fully recalls how to use a cup to drink.  Again, not surprising to me.  What was funny was, after he drank from the cup - he thought he would be a jokster and then spit it out all over mommy... just for fun.  If you are wondering how I know he did this purposely, it's because he managed to properly drink half of the cup of orange juice over 10 minutes and then for the last couple of sips just experiment and spit it out at and on me.  Not something that usually happens after doing it successfully.  That is something I would think would have happened first, not last.  And further, it happened exactly when Penny decided to take a photo of the event.  No further explanation required.  Hunter is just your typical photo Ham.  I can only assume what my son was probably thinking at that very moment... They want a photo?  I will give them a photo....!  Yes, cute, very cute Hunter!  (Pictures to follow).



Wednesday Hunter had his follow up Audiology appointment for his hearing.  All was going well until I told the specialist that he might have a sinus problem and she suggested we check his pressures in his ear to ensure that there was no fluid in there.... Well you would have thought we were torturing this boy.  He screamed and cried so hard - you would have thought he was getting multiple injections or something worse!  She was able to get a reading on the left ear (which was normal) but he would not let her do the right - at ALL.  So while he passed completely his hearing portion, the pressure of his right ear will have to wait until next time....


Wednesday afternoon (after the audiology appointment) we decided to take a peak at Pickering Town centre for me to check out the Dual Strollers.... But being pregnant - hunger seems to creep up at the most inopportune moments and we stopped in the food court to get a bite to eat.  I noticed the Durham Region of Health was also there giving out Flu shots AND since I have pregnancy brain and I forgot to get my Flu shot on the Monday's doctor appointment for both Hunter and I, it was perfect.  You might think, after having a very upset boy from only an hour ago with the hearing test, I would be more logical and not torture my son any more for the day - but nope... I was inconsiderate a little more that day and wheeled us all in to get our missing and forgotten Flu shots.  So thinking back to the blood test on Monday, and having spoken to friends at the play group on Tuesday about the blood test episode, they tell me - give Hunter to someone else to hold and you be the saviour after the bad stuff!  So, thinking ahead, I tell my mother, "You hold him for the Flu shot this time, and I will rescue him!"  Mom just shrugged her shoulders and said okay.  Thinking to myself, this time I will be the hero and comforting arms, I smiled.  Would you believe, (and this shouldn't be so difficult for me to believe from all the past shots he has endured) he sat there laughing and playing with his piece of paper, not even fazed by the injection.  He didn't even make a peep or flinch about the needle.  Just goes to show you how silly that is... scream to get something stuck in your ear, but smile when you get an injection needle?  How completely confusing.  I can't win!  You can't plan for that kind of stuff.


So here we are today and I finally have time to post my brags about the newest milestone of saying "Baa Baa!" and all the other events of this very busy week!  And it's not even over yet!


Friday will be another busy day, I have my next ultrasound appointment and then we are off to the Baby Show on the weekend at the Toronto Convention Centre to hopefully find an excellent deal on Aluminum Tandem or Dual strollers.  Speaking of tandem strollers, if anyone is interested in purchasing a Brand NEW Tandem Graco Deluxe Stroller, I had purchased on earlier this year (still in the box, unopened) which I can't use.  Now that my back in really very bad, I have to invest in an extremely light weight aluminum stroller.  Otherwise I am going to attempt to get Toys R Us to take it back (which I am past the return time frame) for a gift card instead or worse case list it on Kijiji for sale.  It is a beautiful and fantastic stroller but it is not light enough for this mommy with her very injured and degenerative back.  If not for my back, I would have kept it, but I simply can't handle that on my own now.  So, if anyone out there is interested in purchasing a Brand New tandem stroller, email me - tkd73@sympatico.ca.

And since I don't have any really new photos of Hunter until I receive them from the play group day (our friend Penny), here is one of my belly, which decided to "pop" out already.  I call it my micro baby bump!

Pregnancy at 7 weeks 6 days (micro baby bump)



Until next time.... (When hopefully I don't have so much to say and overwhelm everyone!)



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