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, July 5, 2011

My Journal - Week 97 (05Jul11)


Today we had quite the day.... And in all honestly with Hayleigh's arrival, we've had quite the last two weeks.  I think (rather I knew) at some point Hunter was going to have a complete MASTER-MELTDOWN.  And today was the day.  I was very close to videoing the Meltdown itself, but I decided it would probably not be the best thing to do while he was "engaged" so to speak.  So, after an hour of screaming, (and when I say screaming, that doesn't do it justice...) crying, growling etc., Hunter finally retreated into a more "Hunterish" type of personality.  By midnight, he was back to the Hunter we are more accustomed to.  This is the boy we hadn't seen in over three weeks.  I just hope he's back to himself on a more usual and regular basis... as opposed to the meltdown monster that we have been seeing as of late!!

I suppose it's one of those things where if I had the time to worry about Hunter & Hayleigh's behaviours (having taken them both to YMCA Play to Learn group today) I wouldn't have likely ventured out of the house.  They both were actually wonderful and calm while out today, no screaming while out at the group, no hitting or biting (which as of late had become Hunter's somewhat newer adaptive behaviours to having a permanent visitor called a sister).  All these "good" behaviours lasted until we got home (and with no nap, new things and a SISTER) it was a recipe in the making for a huge disaster.  It was just a mater of time before the bomb blew.  Only, I had no idea that the bomb would be that big - and if anyone want's clarification of exactly how big - or what I mean, just ask one of the three other adults in this household who had the privilege of hearing, seeing (or trying to soothe) Hunter.  After our ride home from playgroup at 5:00 pm - Hunter had fallen asleep but awoke once we arrived home (five minutes away).  I managed to get him back to sleep after about 2 hours of up and down, for a total of one whole hour, when he suddenly awoke, from what I can only guess was a bad dream.   If anyone has ever been woken up after only an hour of sleep when they needed at least eight, you can imagine the mood....  Just add everything else to that and BAM - you have an INSTANT CORE MELTDOWN.   I realized it was going to take some serious Mommy love and our own space (sans Hayleigh) for me to get Hunter to come back down to Earth.  He cried, screamed and literally tantrum-ed so hard that he could hardly breath, much less scream or cry.  Short of him throwing himself down on the floor (for the classic hands and feet banging while having said meltdown) he whipped himself back and forth, flinging his head wildly around, requiring me to just hold him tight, remove him from the area which seemed to provoke more (our play room) and take him away to a more quite location.  After an hour, he finally just melted (to finish the meltdown).  I then literally had to force his milk into his mouth (sounds horrible) because he couldn't stop for even a moment to realize I had his milk for him.  Once he got a taste of it, he calmed down (just enough) to drink it.  We sat holding onto one another for what seemed like an eternity until he was able to tolerate being awake!  At that point it was 9:00 pm.  The reason I have added a video and blog today was because this newer refreshed attitude I was seeing (after the meltdown) was the long lost Hunter I have been missing since we brought little miss Hayleigh home from the hospital.  I just hope that it's a sign that Hunter is starting to cope.  Trust me, whether Hunter is able to verbalize or not, he makes his feeling known.  It's up to us as parents to help him sort through these feelings, frustrations and insecurities.  At least (and I say that with a raised eyebrow) he's calm now and back to a chittery chattery self.  It seems my newest challenge/goal work with Hunter will not be so much about physical milestones, as they will be about emotional ones, and rightly so at this time.

Oh, don't mind the sleepy Daddy, he's been working his usual crazy hours and we are all physically tired and worn out with having a newborn home and sleeping reversed hours!

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