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 25, 2011

My Journal - Week 82 (25Mar11)

Hunter's 2nd Official Swimming Lesson!

While I know it may not be super exciting to watch four videos of Hunter learning how to swim, (after having seen the initial 1st lesson) I did promise to keep everyone updated on his progress and time in the pool!  However, more importantly was the promise I made to catch Hunter's unassisted walking on video, and I DID IT!  And I kid you not, that job is a feat in itself - not his walking... the videoing of it!  Those who know Hunter, know what kind of photogenic, not at all camera shy baby, he is.  So, hopefully you can appreciate the time it's taken to get this on video - as much as we do!

So without further ado, here is our video clip of Hunter (and the caption I used for You-Tube to describe it):

Even though Hunter's very first steps were taken on the 9th of February, I have been trying ever so hard to get a bit of it on video.  And as promised, here is a short (very short) clip of Hunter walking on his own, unassisted.  This short SIX step shuffle was caught after he actually took about a TEN step shuffle only moments before it!  I kid you not, it's nearly impossible to video Hunter doing something extraordinary simply because he will STOP everything he's doing just to be a "HAM" for the camera.  And, he is one child (possibly of many) who will not perform on command.  He is quite the opposite actually, where he will go out of his way NOT to do something because you are watching him.  He will even check people out to see if they are watching before he attempts to do something he's been working on.  Very sneaky and also cautious!  I actually had to hide the camera several times just to get this shot.  So, enjoy!

Just as an update to this video (which took a few days to get uploaded), Hunter has since walked halfway across my best friends living room!  It was the best walking he has ever done, sans shuffling!  He actually took proper steps and literally walked about 5 feet, all by himself!  It was most unfortunate that I did not have my video camera or cell phone poised and ready to take the video.  But, at this point it's only a matter of time that Hunter starts running around the house!

Now, here also is the 2nd swimming lesson that Hunter had on Friday.  Before each video is the caption I wrote for You-Tube and also to describe what was happening.

Hunter's 2nd Swimming Lesson - Part 1:
Today we recorded Hunter's 2nd swim lesson and once again he has surprised his Mommy & Daddy.  I had believed that he would have a melt down this time around, knowing that he was going to be separated from his parents - but instead of doing so, he managed to have a great lesson.  He did seem a tad bit upset while sitting at the edge of the pool (I think it was due to having a different deck supervisor "Dawn" to hold him, meaning learning to adjust to yet another person) but whenever he saw his instructor Bonnie coming to get him, he livened right up.

Hunter's 2nd Swimming Lesson - Part 2:
Hunter has already demonstrated a progression from his very 1st lesson that I wasn't sure he'd get to so quickly!  In his lesson with Bonnie he actually allowed her to lie him down in the water on his back, and further allowed her to do it while only holding his head!  This kind of progression had me in awe simply because Hunter trusted Bonnie enough to do it without losing his mind AND after only one short lesson a week ago!

Hunter's 2nd Swimming Lesson - Part 3:
While it may seem that Hunter is very sad and pouting at the beginning of each recording, (and my professional parent reasoning is that he's truly more sad about having to sit outside of the water rather than my initial worries of him being distressed about Mommy & Daddy not being there) one thing is for certain, he enjoys kicking and splashing water onto Bonnie when she sits him on the edge of the pool during his lesson with her!  Watch how he kicks water onto her each and every time she places him on the edge (but not with Dawn when he sits waiting).  It becomes more obvious to Hunter that it's funny to kick water onto Bonnie in his lesson - in the next and final clip....!

Hunter's 2nd Swimming Lesson - Part 4:
For this final clip of his entire lesson, it's interesting to note the things Hunter does when he's on his back learning how to float!  He tries to kick non-stop (and I think Bonnie is telling him not to, so he can learn to float) - and that is Mommy's fault since it's something we initially taught him to do in the full size bath tub and also when we took him swimming, he also pops his hand into his mouth - something he has always done when he's either being tickled, gets excited or is doing something scary like being held up in the air by Daddy.
It's very interesting how Bonnie seems to sooth Hunter by rubbing his forehead while she holds him on his back in the water.  I think it not only makes him very relaxed, it calms him to the point of nearly sleepy!  Lastly, it seems appropriate that this was his last turn with Bonnie for this lesson since he started saying "mom, mom, mom" (lip read by Mommy) and also just about fell asleep in Deck supervisor "Dawn's" arms after Bonnie handed him off to end his lesson.  The interesting thing was, despite his tiredness and calling for Mommy, he willing put his arms up to go back into the water at the end, making it clear he wasn't done being in the pool!

Keep watching for more lesson video updates!

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