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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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My Journal - Week 134 (21Mar12)


I am so far behind in my blog... I wish that sometimes I could just rewind myself.  Oh yes, I can do that here in Blogger!  So, don't pay me any mind - I have dated this post back to the 21st of March in honour of World Down syndrome Day.

21st Chromosome, 3 copies.  21st day of the 3rd Month (March) 2012.  It's officially a Palindrome.  A word or number that can be read both forward and backward.

Check it out - 21312
I must have been bored (causing my brain to need some sort of mathematical work out) a few weeks back when I realized that this year, and only this year would be a Palindrome for World Ds Day and for many things such as the Mayan's Doomsday... 121212 or whatever date they think will be our Armageddon.

Anyhow, on to much nicer things....  Since I have returned to the DDSA, I've been officially sworn in as Vice Chair (Vice President) and things are in motion for a great and busy year.  We have lined up another year of Summer Literacy Program, A Porsche-Abilities Race Day, Swimming at B&C Aquatics at 50% off, A Synchronized Swim Event, our Annual Summer Picnic (with the possibility of it being held in a new location), the Buddy Walk (which may be in conjunction Porsche in years to come)... and on and on this list will go.
My list of TO-DO's will be extraordinarily extensive, with a few notable items such as creating a new main website page, detailing out a brand new Facebook page for the DDSA, working out fundraising and membership and plenty plenty more.

This post will probably be one of my shortest little blurbs that should and could have been extensive, but I will save the extensiveness for next time when I have more time to post many many new photos!

Happy World Down syndrome Day everyone!

Keep in mind, my YMCA (Down syndrome) Play to Learn group is still running every other Tuesday (next date is 3Apr12) so please feel free to drop in or this flyer on to anyone you feel might benefit!

See YMCA notes here: http://www.children.gov.on.ca/Scripts/EventCalendar/EventDetails.aspx?EventID=48508&Date=4/3/2012&CalendarID=11

Calendar here: http://www.children.gov.on.ca/Scripts/EventCalendar/CalendarView.aspx?CalendarID=11

And my Downloadable PDF here:

See you all soon!

Friday, March 9, 2012

My Journal - Week 132 (09Mar12)

A Flash From the Past...  (YMCA Nov. 2011)

Back in November, I took a lot of pictures of Hunter and Vaun (my best girlfriends son).  At that time, I had just renewed my interest in my photography and found that I was taking about a million photos of everyone and everything!  I took my camera everywhere I went, which included my Down syndrome Playgroup - YMCA Play to Learn for Kids with Special Needs.  For those who don't know, I created this playgroup in partnership with the YMCA back in 2009 and it's been running every other week, ever since!

Don't let me fool you, it's not like I happened to recall that I had these photos just lying around, I had some time on my hands today and I found myself sorting though hundreds (literally) of my photos (finally) and realizing I needed to put them into my "Children's Photo file" (which currently contains over 4000 photos of my two kiddies).  In the many various photos, I discovered I had taken so many of Vaun with Hunter.  These images are not as great in resolution as my newer Nikon, but the photos are still fantastic quality.  Anyway, after looking at these particular images, I figured I'd put a little commentary on them.  It's so obvious (and cute) that the two of them are engaged in some sort of ... something!  How cute - Huh?!  LOL


Hunter, Don't forget about me here behind you.... Are you mad at me?  (Hunter discovers he can "make" a cake.) 

Hunter???  You listening buddy?  Was it something I said?!  (Hunter vigorously stirring his batch...)

Hunter!!  I'm right here!!  I love you....  (Hunter seemingly finished, thoughtfully decides he must add a pinch of a missing ingredient...)

(This last one is my Favourite...) 
Hey Vaun!  Let me tell you all 'bout my 'poon.   Umm, were you talking to me just now?  I was busy making US a cake!

There's just so much love with these two boys.  I am guessing that the next two (Hayleigh and Ashur) will be just as close, given that they are three weeks apart.  Nothing is better than friends and family.

Monday, March 5, 2012

My Journal - Week 131 (03Mar12) Part 2

Hayleigh... And her many Milestones in One Video.

Sorry folks, forgot to add this to the last post....

Don't just read about her new milestones, watch them here instead!

Cool, huh!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

My Journal - Week 131 (03Mar12)

Upward and Onward to Bigger & Better Things in the Very Same Place....

I know, I know - it's been another unforgivable few weeks since I wrote.  But, perhaps this will come as some much needed good news for those who I might have disappointment last November.  I decided to re-join the DDSA (Durham Down syndrome Association) executive as VP.  Personally, it sounds so terrible, to go and come - seemingly as I pleased... but in all honesty, it wasn't like that.  Originally, I left because my family life and personal time was suffering - taking a beating to be blunt, AND there was discord among the ranks.  When I left, I told the Chairman (who had asked me on a few occasions to reconsider) that I would definitely revisit the idea in the new year.  I had some time, which for all intents and purposes I will call a sabbatical, to calm, de-stress and "revisit".  There were many things which in hindsight I realize, I could have said "no" to, and stay within my limits.  I shock myself like a pop bottle to a point where the gasses had no where to go but "bang" and blow.  Now, perhaps I will only allow myself a slight shake here and there, which I can "release" on occasion when I need to.

I took a good look at what I gave up and was feeling terrible as I had a great sense of overwhelming guilt saying "sorry and goodbye" to the many people who I was letting down by leaving and not being a part of this association.  I realized that, it doesn't make sense to let it ALL go, when the reality is, I joined the DDSA executive to help people with Ds and my OWN son.  As it stands, I have to undertake this in such a way that I don't undermine my home efforts with helping my own son.  I can't tackle helping "Hunter" if I spend most of my time being too busy with DDSA work because being a part of the Down syndrome Association.  A fine balance is what I needed and what I am now undertaking to do.

This week Tuesday, I am attending a preliminary setting for talks with Porsche (yes, that's right - the car company) headed up originally be Jill Clements-Baartman (Hunter's private speech therapist) in an effort to plan an event with the DDSA.  Porsche was looking to partner with a Charity this year (originally they were talking with Sick Kids Hospital but talks fell through) and Jill took the guns to mention the DDSA.  She made it possible for us to begin a highly desirable partnership with the Executives of Porsche.  After Tuesday, I'll be able to talk more about what is upcoming and in the works.

On the personal "Sandi" front, I've finally registered my Photography business - Random Moments Photography.  It's now official, Random Moments Photography has a master business licence.  My Tattoo Studio: Dragon Ink Tattoos & Piercings Inc. is flourishing - as the new year started, people have been coming in more and more for work.  Welcome to our House is still going strong and my books and magnets still selling.

The kids:
Hunter - Our mischievous 2 1/2 year old is so expressive.  Chattering away, mimicking every new word he hears is very exciting for him as well as us.  Sentences are there, only they mostly consist of jargon with jumbled in clear and precise single words.  We are working on two and three word combinations that are clear.  Right now, our largest unrelated pitfall we have with Hunter is his extreme bad habit of chewing on his left hands index finger.  When he was under the age of one, he chewed on his fingers to relieve teething pains.  Unfortunately, as time went by Hunter continued to soothe himself by chewing and never got out of the habit.  Now his index fingers are calloused and often raw.  We are trying desperately to figure out how to get him to stop chewing his finger off!  The problem is, we usually catch him chewing only at night and 90% of the time he does it unconsciously, until we start asking him to stop.  At that point, finger chewing becomes a war and he is ever more determined to chew.  We've held in in our laps, holding his hands - but this restraining type method, infuriates him.  How does one fix something that for the most part isn't being done consciously?  I've tried band-aiding his fingers, taping his fingers, putting mittens on, maybe tape a sock on....  I'm considering trying something awful tasting like "no nail bite" that our doctor suggested but I know sure as heck that Hunter would defiantly continue to chew right past a terrible tasting finger.  So far, only the band-aids have helped to make him aware of his fingers but he simply gets more frustrated with trying to pry the bandages off and being unable to.  Ideas anyone?

I started off with the left finger thinking - this should do it...

Turns out, we must band-aid both....

Hunter is simply not pleased about this band-aid thing.

Hunter can't stop staring at his two fingers.

At least, they are protected for now.

I wonder how long he can stand to keep his fingers wrapped up?

Hayleigh - Our ever so happy bubbling eight month old baby girl now says "Hi and hi dad, Dadda as well as Momma", waves to her family and can clap her hands!  She's been sitting up since she was six months old, she now stands up with help, can pull herself up to a stand on furniture and feed herself an entire cookie!  Not to mention, she can also shake her head 'NO' back and forth.  Seems like time is just flying by.

How brave!  How cute.... Notice the "Super-baby Baby Bib Cape".

Such deep concentration can only lead to one eventual thing....
Good think the floors are safety rubberized.

Enjoy!  Stop by and check out my photography sites if you have the time!



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