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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Monday, October 31, 2011

My Journal - Week 115 (31Oct11)

HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!!!!

How was your Halloween?  Ours was fantastic from the Sunday to the Monday evening!  Check out what we did for our weekend.... (There are more photos in my Facebook album - 44 to be exact).

Cupcake for me??

Roar!!  I'm a Dragon, Vaun's a Dragon... we are twins!

Daddy... can I have another cupcake?!

Roar!!  I'm an awesome Dragon!

Family Portrait Oct302011

Check me out... I can fly!

What?  This horsey doesn't like Halloween?
 
If you look real hard you can see me on the Wagon Ride!


Knox Pumpkin Farm - The end of the day


AND FOR THE BIG DAY... HERE ARE MY PRECIOUS TWO!

A Scary Pumpkin - Miss Hayleigh!
Happy Scary Pumpkin!
 
"Roar"... Yes I like to roar!!

THE LOOT

THE LOOT PART TWO!!
 
Hunter after Trick or Treat... "Daddy??  Wanna go again??"

"Umm Daddy??  You okay?  We don't have to go again...."

Yay for Hayleigh!  Her 1st Halloween!

Looks like Hayleigh loved it!
Another sucessful Halloween for everyone!  Mostly for Daddy, who gets to eat all the candy.  Maybe if Hunter is lucky, he may get a Doritos chip or two from Mommy!  And, I don't think Hayleigh was ever the wiser or upset that she wore Hunter's first year costume - It's all about sharing after all!  Fortunately for Hayleigh, it's not always going to be about "hand me downs".  This Christmas we got her a new personal outfit... since (a) Hunter (at three months) wore a newborn outfit which would NEVER fit a 16 pound 4 month old baby named Hayleigh, and (b) she needs a girly Christmas outfit - not a boys!!



Saturday, October 29, 2011

My Journal - Week 114 (29Oct11)

MY CUTE CUDDLY KIDDIES!

I spent some time these past few weeks taking photos of the kids - some of just Hayleigh (professional shots like the ones I PAID to have done for Hunter back in 2009) and some of them together, not professional style.  I had originally wanted to do the "brother, sister" shots as professional shots, but Hayleigh stopped co-operating after about 20 minuets of her own shots!

Never the less, here are some new photos of the kids.  (The first set are just taken with my iPhone).  It's not what you take them with, it's how you take them.

I love my Sister... does she love me?

I'll just give her a kiss, see if she likes it!

Hey!  Looks like it worked, she likes it!

Now we are both very happy kids Mommy!

Aww, I am such a good big brother, Hayleigh wants more kisses!

Looks like she's just going to come give them to me now!

You are such a good baby!  I do love you too!



 Here are Mommy's very own personal PRO Shots of Miss Hayleigh.  Hummm, maybe I should get into taking photos of babies... wouldn't hurt!  And it's very lucrative!  Have you any idea how much they charge for a photo session and their packages?!  Every new parent gets hit up with that charge and not many parents would say no... when it's their first baby!  Tell me what you think of my photo taking... keep in mind - I did it in less than 20 minutes.  


Like this Mommy?  Is this how I pose?


Hummm, Mommy says this is my pink bear....

What is this basket thing?  At least I have my bear!

I'm so cute...

My blankie tastes good!

Ohhh!  Don't eat the blankie!

Aren't I pretty?!

So much fun!
 
Now that's more like it!

I got you now Pink Bear!

Uhh, Bear?  Where are you going?!

My Bear is so nice!

Check me out in the basket again!

My casual shot after the shoot is all done!
And just for fun, two of the professional shots that were taken of Hunter when he was just 8 weeks old!
Hunter:  Me and my rubber duckies!

Hunter:  Me and my First Teddy Bear!

And how weird is it that Hunter had (and still has) more hair than Hayleigh, when it specifically says, babies with Ds have less hair than typical babies and much more sparse hair in general.  I guess someone forgot to tell Hunter this.... He had a full head of hair when he was born - so long it was touching the back of his neck when came into the world.  Hayleigh is still missing her hair to this day... we are hoping for a growth spurt for her hair since the rest of her doesn't seem to have that problem!!!
Oh and just for the record, Hayleigh beat Hunter with her teeth.  She has two teeth already which came out at less than 4 months of age.  Hunter wasn't that far off mind you, his first one did pop up/out 3 or 4 times at four months (called a floating tooth) but didn't come in permanently until he was about 6 months old.  I think it maybe time to stop breastfeeding Hayleigh too, as she has no qualms about biting me... AND LAUGHING at me after I yelp when she does it!

I would love your honest answers to my question; Would you use me to take photos of your children?


Sunday, October 23, 2011

My Journal - Week 113 (23Oct11)

I am Joining with "Grammarly" 
to Touch Lives Around the Globe...

October (And November here In Canada) is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. In honour of these wonderful kids, Grammarly, the premier grammar checker on the web, has partnered with WideAwake.org to support the Yamini Foundation that assists children with Down syndrome in India.  I am joining their efforts by sharing my story of hope.


Many of you know I have authored several books and stories.  One personally written short story is about my own view on how our lives are touched and changed by Down syndrome.  Originally I was inspired by Emily Pearl Kingsly's "Welcome To Holland" to write my own piece, but in all honestly my own experience in having a son with Down syndrome coupled with my very own feelings about Down syndrome truly allowed me to produce "Welcome to Our House - An Analogy".  I published "Welcome to Our House - An Analogy" as a new copyrighted short story, placed it directly into two of my more recently published books and was also lucky enough to have it published as a two page spread in a popular family periodical called "Exceptional Families" magazine.


Please feel free to print this (use PDF below) or pass this on to others.

Reintroducing: "WELCOME TO OUR HOUSE - AN ANALOGY"



Having a baby is special.  For some, it’s a life long 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 – 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 an awful place; it’s just a different place.  It’s slower paced than the city, less noisy and flamboyant, but it’s beautiful nonetheless.  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

This work is protected by copyright - © 2010
 


Downloadable version:  



My Analogy serves as a home page for this very blog and is also available for PDF download in my heart-felt resource website called www.WelcomeToOurHouse-Ds.com

Grammarly grammar checker the best resource for English Grammar Rules will provide $25 to support the Yamini Foundation via www.wideawake.org ;

I hope this story serves to remind us how change can enrich our lives.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Journal - Week 112 (19Oct11)

A NEW UPLIFTING CARTOON CHARACTER...
who just happens to have Down syndrome!




It was only a matter of time before the world would realize - Down syndrome isn't different....  "More alike than different" is the Down syndrome motto and it is becoming more of a reality than in past years.  Networks are working to introduce a new preschool cartoon character named "PUNKY".  Punky is not your run of the mill cartoon.  He has Down syndrome!!  Equality in every way now includes the cartoon world!!  The Ds world is very excited about Punky because slowly he gives children with Down syndrome a voice that says, we are just like you, even in cartoon-land.  When this cartoon hits the airwaves, it will give this new generation of preschoolers a view about Ds that the 80's generation got with "Corky" (Actor Chris Burke) from Life Goes On.

It's not just the cartoon world that has introduced Down syndrome into the view of the general public's eye.  Currently Sesame Street has several children with Down syndrome on it and at least one child with Ds is on nearly everyday.  Prime-time shows are now casting actors who happen to have Down syndrome, and they make the regular cast - not just stand in's or guest spots.  Take a look at Lauren Potter (Down syndrome Association of Los Angels' member with Down syndrome) - she plays Becky Johnson on T.V.'s hit show GLEE.  And WHY NOT?  1 in 660 babies born are born with Down syndrome.  A newer updated statistic (from 1:880) that makes a person more likely to have Down syndrome than a person to be born with red hair.  Interesting... isn't it? I thought so too, considering that Red hair occurs on approximately 1–2% of the human population (according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_hair) and the world's population of Down syndrome is at 2% and rising.

Take a peek here and read about this new character:  http://www.awn.com/news/cartoons/target-wins-global-rights-new-preschool-animation-punky

I am glad that parents and families who watch cartoons with their children, will get to see PUNKY.  Perhaps ideas will change when more people are exposed to the realities that Down syndrome isn't an unknown, strange or scary "disability" as some think it is.  Visions change when people are forced to realize that Down syndrome exists and they meet face to face with someone who has Ds.  Otherwise Ds is an unknown.  So perhaps this little cartoon child "Punky" will introduce Down syndrome in a way that is (of course) less threatening - being that he is a cartoon after all!


Monday, October 3, 2011

My Journal - Week 110 (03Oct11)

My Son is GROWING....


It's been precisely six weeks since I last blogged.  My Son is growing taller and my Daughter is getting heavier.  Either, time is running away with my children or I haven't got any time to stop and smell the roses....  I think both are true at the moment.  For me - things have been complicated and busy.  But, progress with Hunter has been phenomenal.  Swimming is about the same, small progressions each week.  Hunter's Early Intervention happens about each month, or two with the status as usual (Hunter is meeting his goals).  We had requested our family physician to refer Hunter to Grandview for Speech Therapy, just to ensure we covered all our bases ahead of time.  Though Hunter's cognitive and receptive language skills are at the typical mark, his expressive language seems to have fallen a bit behind.  But, what we have noticed is that Hunter is more than capable of "expressing" his desires and wants but often resorts to grunting to express his frustrations.  Our problems lie with the fact that we know very well what Hunter means and wants, thus allowing him to continue to "grunt".  I have been attending a workshop held by Grandview which teaches the principles of the Hannen Program - (a program designed to facilitate speech in children who seem to be delayed for one reason or another).  I have learned quite a few tricks to encourage Hunter to verbally express himself but I find our only challenge is not Hunter!  It's getting four adults to co-operate and properly facilitate these lessons with consistency!  I am pleased to say (despite the inconsistencies) that Hunter has learned to do a whole "whack" of new things just from this program alone.  All due to the adults in this household being reprogrammed....
For instance, Hunter now self feeds (a trick he knew how to do long before recently).  Hunter no longer has any need for a baby bottle.  He now drinks his milk and juice from his sippy cups and can drink from a regular cup with help.  He pleasantly says "Hi!" to everyone in the home as well as first thing in the morning to ensure his Mommy and Daddy get up out of bed.  Hunter now indicates when he is hungry by pointing to his belly or to his mouth (we are still working on words instead of signs though).  Hunter has discovered the world of song.  He sings in tune most nursery rhymes albeit the words are indistingishable.  He rambles on a mile a minute, sentences that only Hayleigh at the moment understands.  If ever you saw two little ones talking to one another, don't assume they don't understand one another.  Hunter and Hayleigh have daily conversations!  On the topic of brother and sisterhood, my two little children are getting along much more famously now.

Hunter is now over 32".  Somehow (it seems almost overnight) my son has grown so much that we seem to have to move everything out of his reach.  He now is able to open doors inside the house.  Just today, Hunter nearly escaped the bathroom after discovering that he could open the door, all on his own.  Imagine that.

Since I opened the Dragon Ink Tattoos and Piercings Studio, Hunter himself decided to "get ink".  Take a look at a photo taken on our Grand Opening day... (the tattoo isn't real - even though it looks authentic).

Today even Miss Hayleigh has been deemed "ahead" for her age.  Jenn had been reviewing Hayleigh due to our concerns about possible Fetal Abstinence Syndrome, which to date has proven to be non existent.  Hayleigh had been drooling (what we believed to be the start of teething) only to discover that she indeed has a bottom tooth!  Imagine, at only 3 1/2 months old... a tooth.  Wow.

So, enjoy a few photos that had been taken over the last 6 weeks!

The Wolverine - aka Hunter needing a hair cut....

Miss Hayleigh engrossed with Mr. Froggy

Miss Hayleigh with Uncle Ollie

Hunter with his new "Tattoo"....
Hunter "getting" his new "fake" Tattoo!!! (It's our real artist but not a real session).

And there you have it, an update!  Next time I'll put in a swimming video!


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