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, March 4, 2011

My Journal - Week 79 (04Mar11)

SWIMMING.... FEEDING and WORDS - There's always more!

I have written about Hunter's newest enjoyments and milestones which include swimming and self feeding, also the recent past walking (or stepping) and talking.  I had not had the chance to post our recent photos and videos so I am taking a short oportunity to do so before I either forget or it becomes so part of daily routine and therefore not as exciting - for everyone to enjoy!

Just today I had the chance to read an article published in the Durham Parent (a small local news paper) and I nearly landed on the floor laughing so hard while reading it.  The article (written by Karen Principato) is clearly about what every parent (not just us) seems to be doing these days, involving swimming with a baby.  I thought I was reading a story about Hunter, John and myself and our tribulations taking him swimming.  I would have typed the whole article out - IT'S THAT GREAT... but then I thought I would just search it online and link it for you all to have the same pleasure I had in reading it, but their website www.durhamparent.com didn't have it listed for me to link.  So I was left with my last option (and much more time economical way) of taking a high resolution photo of the actual article and post it here for you all to read.  You can click on it and see it larger (or zoom in) to be able to read it better.

Click on image to see it larger
But as promised a "short" note and the photos about Hunter actually swimming.  I think I mentioned how I wanted very badly for Hunter to learn to swim.  (We have two giant ponds of water behind our backyard) With that, I decided to enrol Hunter into swimming lessons but I had originally figured to take him family free swimming first, to ensure he'd be okay with pools rather then just sign him up and come to find out that he didn't like it and had no choice but to endure it while hating it.  I didn't think that he would have any issues with it since I have been acclimating him to "swimming" so to speak by filling up our large bath tub with water and holding him in the positions of front and back crawl so that he could "see/feel" what it would be like to be in those positions in the pool and also kick.  It definitely was a great idea to do that in the order I had because on our first and second visits to the pools in our area (community centres) Hunter loved it and was a natural in the water.  All during my planning and organizing Hunter's swimming, I received an email (ironically) from WagJag (a promotional site for getting discounts on various local businesses) that had swimming lessons on sale though B&C Aquatics (which is run by Bonnie & Christopher Buckler).  This company is a private swimming club that specializes in the instruction of swimming to babies, tots, children, teens and adults.  I jumped at the chance to purchase lessons at 78% off the regular price and also passed the same deal onto two of the mom's in my YMCA Playgroup for Kids with Special Needs.  We had all been discussing getting the boys into swimming lessons (after taking them swimming the first time two weeks ago) and this deal was really too amazing to pass up.  So, after purchasing the swimming lessons we (one of the same mom's from my group) decided to take the boys swimming again (which was last Sunday) just to keep them used to the idea of going and enjoying the water.  Here are a few of the shots (we were able to take this time) of Hunter enjoying the water!

Mommy, I've got both my feet... is that how I do it?

Okay, how about one foot... can I hold one foot?

Oh alright... I will just kick both feet instead of holding them!

Ohhhhh, kicking is better for me!  Much more fun!

See mommy, I listen... kick with my legs and splash with my arms.

Look Mommy!  I'm doing it... I'm swimming... right?!

How come we just keep going round and round???

Maybe once Mommy can let go of me I can go straight instead!!

But for now, I'll just pop my hand in here... since Mommy holds me up!

I wonder how long I can get away with my hand in my mouth....?

Oh, I guess not for long!  Mommy keeps telling me to take my hand out!

Ahhhhh, this is the life!  I love this swimming with my Mommy thing!

I wish I could post all the photos but I know this is more exciting for me (and Hunter) then it is for everyone else!  Anyway, we will be starting the official lessons probably next week but even though I am so excited for Hunter to learn, this centres policy is NO PARENTS in the pool with the student.  All the lessons are officially instructed by the certified and qualified instructors and this will be the first time that I "hand" Hunter off to someone he doesn't know AND also can't see his Mommy.  Honestly, while at first it will likely be distressing for Hunter, it will be MUCH more distressing for me.  I know I will be sitting there making up all kinds of stories in my head of how Hunter will be thinking I left him and I am not coming back.  (Meanwhile I am just on the other side of the one-way mirror lounge for parents).  I will definitely need support to hold me back, while I probably silently (or not so silently) cry (being pregnant), and also stop me from trying to "rescue" my son.  I know logically that it has to happen at some point, where Hunter has to separate from me for lessons, school and life in general - but no matter how much reasoning I do, how logical I am, I know it's impossible to stop my head from conjuring up all the things that we as adults are capable of thinking, for and about our child.  When that comes (next week or so) I need to be stronger then normal.  I also need to realize that if I am sobbing and heaving, the recording I will be doing from the pool viewing window will be rather poor quality!  So for the sake of my readers, I had better try and hold it together!  But if by chance the video is shaky or has sobs in some parts of the sound portion of the recording, you know why and have been forewarned!!

Onto the feeding... I had also promised to try and get a video on the blog of Hunter attempting to self feed.  I didn't quite get a "SELF" feeding video, but an assisted feeding video!  Hope you get a laugh out of those ones.

Part 1 of 3

Part 2 of 3

Part 3 of 3

A final note, Hunter is now using about 11 words!  It amazes me (again) how when he figures out something, the rest seems to fall into place.  He has been saying, "Momma", "Dadda" (since 6 months), "Bye", "Grandpa" & "Adat" (aka Cat for over four months) "Grandma" & "all done" (more recently - though he had been saying "Umma" for Grandma since more then six months ago) and this past few weeks - "Up", "Stink", "Hi", "Yes", and "OOuice" (aka Juice).  I am sure I have probably forgotten some, but these are the ones he says all the time, consistently and accurately.  I am now trying to sign (sign language) words such as "more", "hungry" and "finished" and I am not sure if it was a fluke, but after we showed him the sign for "more" the first day, later that night he made the exact sign for "more" when I paused the television.  It was unmistakably the same sign, since there was never a time he would move his hands in that fashion and it's quite difficult to think he ironically made the same gesture as the sign for "more".  So, mentally I am in dispute as to whether he copied or actually understood the sign.  He hasn't done it again since though, so I think my speculation might be correct as a copy or Hunter has taken his usual attitude "I did it once, why do I need to do it again??".  And, really - can you blame him?


  1. Good job swimming Hunter!!

  2. Before giving your baby a bath on the pool, you must see the water's temperature. Cool water may harm the health of your baby. Try to have intex pool heater because I have tested and proven it because I do own at my home.


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