Purging

•April 23, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I purged my closet this week of all the old clothes I have been hanging on to for way to long.  I’m not sure why I kept them, I think they were a sort of security blanket.  I felt like if I got rid of them then I was giving up and defeating to the fact that I would never fit back into them.

This purging of clothes has made me think about the other aspects of my life that need to be purged.  I had to take Elena to the endocrinologist last week for more blood work, and we found out that she does have hypothyroidism and needed to start on Synthroid.  I have been hanging on to my fears about her health, so that I didn’t have to think about my fears for her future.  I pushed them down and tried to pretend like they didn’t exist, and they were eating me up inside.  On a typical night, as I rock my sweet girl to sleep these fears begin to surface and my mind wanders to what life will be like for her when she is 5, 15, 35…

But here’s the deal, if I can finally make myself purge the security blanket of clothes than I can make myself purge these fears that I have no control over.  Right now, Elena is happy and I have no reason to believe that this won’t always be the case.  My fears for her are the same fears I had for Caden and Ava and I have allowed myself to let those go, so I can do the same for Elena.  I can’t live my life in fear.  I will find peace knowing that she is supported by so many people and she will always have people in her corner.

Elena learned to clap, and she loves to clap for everyone.  When we go to infant group she always hangs back from participating so that she can watch all of her friends and clap for them when they do something exciting.  She claps for her brother and sister, for her bottle, for getting her diaper changed.

And, of course, she is still making her cheese-ball faces.

I know that some of my fears are irrational, and I know that some of my fears I can’t control.  I have known for quite a while now that I have to let these fears go, and I am trying.  I hope that with the purging of my closet that I can translate that act to the rest of my life and purge the fears that lie deep within.  The truth is, I know that I need to push Elena to grow and develop because I want her to be as independent as possible when she is older, and I don’t want my fears to hold her back.  I watched a documentary soon after Elena was born called David and Monica and I remember thinking that the parents of both David and Monica, were both very supportive but also hindering in an unintentional way.  I don’t want to intentionally, or unintentionally hold her back.  I don’t want my fears of how she will be treated to stop me from letting her follow her dreams.  She has already proven to me in these past ten months that she is determined and she will find a way to accomplish whatever goal she sets her mind to.

A Day at the Ballpark

•April 11, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I love a sunny day at the ballpark.  The noise of the crowd happy to be out in the warm weather, the smell of hotdogs, the taste of an ice-cold beer.   I didn’t have a beer yesterday because I had to drive my three tired kids home, but I still had a great time.  We had a big gathering of family to celebrate my grandma’s 78th birthday and it was the perfect day for such a celebration.

The weather started out over-cast and a little cool, but then the sun came out and it was gorgeous.  The Tigers didn’t win, but our family did.  I think its fair to say that we all had a wonderful time.  Cousins played, moms and daughters enjoyed each others company, fathers and sons manned the grill.  It was all good.

It was the first time for Elena at the ballpark, and she was perfect.  She was passed around and loved on all afternoon.  Jason wasn’t able to make the trip down with us, and I was a little worried about going by myself with three kids — but who was I kidding?  I am never alone when I’m with my family and I had more than enough hands to help.  I’m not sure what I would do without my family, they give me strength when I feel like I’m lacking it, and the encouragement to help me realize that I can conquer our obstacles.  I love them all.

It has been a hard 9 1/2 months with lots of ups and downs, not only for me, but for my whole family.  Being able to spend an afternoon together and solidify our relationships is so heart-warming that I don’t have adequate words to describe it.  Life brings us challenges and it is nice to know that we have people who will stand by us through it all.  I would go to bat for any of them, as I know they would for me — and yes, that pun was intended.  Here’s to families, solidarity, shoulders that will be there for a good cry, laps that are open for a good snuggle, and sunny skies.

 

Spring Break

•April 7, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Apart from Ava locking Stella in the bathroom it has been a quiet, relaxing week around here.  I was expecting to break up arguments and rack my brain for activities to cure Caden and Ava’s boredom but so far so good.  Our life commences back to crazy busy next week which is why I made no plans for this week.

Elena has been making big strides in our new goals.  She is willing to sit still and work on her balance in an upright position and is mastering pulling herself up and over obstacles.  Of course, this means that my floor is an obstacle course for the rest of us but I’m sure that if any burglar broke in we would hear his cries of breaking an ankle before he was able to make off with any of our stuff!

On top of all of this, she has decided that feeding herself a bottle is the only way she will be eating.  While I am glad she has mastered this skill as well, it does make me a little sad.  I was upset about not being able to breast-feed, so I hogged her feedings for myself and now she has taken them back.  I’m so proud of all the progress she has made but am still trying to find a way to pause time as I know she is my last baby.

Notice the little wink with her smile, it gets me every time.  It’s hard to catch all of her expressions on my camera because she is full of them and they are ever-changing, but I am trying.

My favorite thing this week – the way she plays so intently with her toys, and her little feet curl up every time.  All my kids have a “thing” they do when they are concentrating; Caden’s tongue sneaks out the side of his mouth, Ava’s head tilts down and to the left, and Elena’s little tiny feet curl up.  I love these little tells that my kids have and that I can tell when they are deep in thought.

We go back to the endocrinologist on Monday, but I have no anxiety about this appointment which is a nice surprise.  I’m not excited about having to draw her blood again but the worst that could happen is that we put her on a thyroid medication.  I can handle that, and so can she.  We also meet with the speech therapist on Wednesday.  I had to fight to get this appointment, so hopefully I can get some good information.  I know she is young, but I also know that there is a speech delay so I am looking for some guidance.  I’m willing to do the work if I can just get someone to give us the tools we need.

Mini-Vacation

•April 3, 2011 • Leave a Comment

We went away for the weekend to celebrate a couple of special girls and their birthdays.  It was the first time we have left Elena and I was very nervous about it.  I knew she was in capable hands and was going to be spoiled; but as a self-proclaimed worrier, I worried.

It was a great weekend and the kids had a ball!  We all needed some time away to unwind and break the regular monotony of our day-to-day lives.  It was fun to be able to focus on Caden and Ava and have some individualised time with them.  I love being the mother of three, but sometimes it is hard to be able to give 100% of myself because I have so many different things happening all at once.  We were able to set our schedule aside this weekend and just enjoy our friends and family.  The kids played hard and crashed hard, which allowed us some much-needed adult time too!

It was nice to go away and while I dread the laundry that has now piled up, this face made coming home all the sweeter.

Splash ‘N Play

•March 23, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Elena and I went to the pool today and I had forgotten how much I missed the hot humid air that clings to you when you walk in and the smell of chlorine.  Note to self – enroll kids for swimming as soon as possible.  While I won’t force my kids to participate in activities they don’t have any interest in, I am secretly hoping that one of them wants to join the swim team.

Elena and I had a great time.

We actually ran into some friends we hadn’t seen in a while which was a nice surprise.  Elena was her typical self and wanted to watch what everyone else was doing, but by the end she seemed to be having a good time.  I am going to try to make this regular activity for the two of us and see if she starts to get a little more comfortable.

I called the neurologist for the third time trying to get the results from Elena’s MRI.  I got a little, rhymes with witchy, with the woman on the phone but I was just frustrated with having no results.  I feel like if they insist on doing a procedure with anesthesia and a breathing tube the least they could do is get me the results in a shorter amount of time.  Anyway, after quite a while on the phone today, Elena’s MRI showed that her brain structure is exactly as it should be.  Since she hasn’t had anymore seizures, I think that it was a one time thing and I am crossing neurology off my worry list.  If anyone is keeping count – we are 3 for 3 with our doctor’s appointments.  We are on an upswing baby, and I am having a ball enjoying my girl as she just keeps plugging along.

World Down Syndrome Day

•March 21, 2011 • 1 Comment

Nine months ago I never knew this day ever existed.  I have spent a lot of time thinking about exactly what it even means to me, and here is what I have come up with.  First off, to me this day means a day of acceptance.  We are all so very much alike and yet, we are all so very different.  I want for my children, not just Elena, to be accepted into this world.  I think that this is true for all parents, whether their child has been born with an extra chromosome or not.  I will set goals for my children and I will push them to meet those goals.  In return, I hope that they will learn to set their own goals and push to meet them without me.

I remember hearing that Elena had Down syndrome and feeling guilty because I thought I had made this happen.  I remember being nervous for Caden and Ava to come and meet her for the first time because I didn’t want them to see their sister as anything less than the perfect baby I had promised.  I want more than anything for any new parent who receives this news to know that their child is perfect, because all children are.  We are blessed to have Elena in our lives, and while I knew that from the moment I held her in my arms, I wish that I would have known that everything was going to be ok and that I didn’t need to be so scared.

I counted my blessings today, and I hope that as Elena grows she will be welcomed by everyone she meets.  I know I can’t cure discrimination and all the hurtful things people say but I do know that I can teach my children to not be that way.  I have said things in the past that were not nice and I now realize how much hurt words can cause.  If anybody takes anything from this blog, take this.  Be careful what you say because words have the power to hurt people in ways we can not always understand.  I will strive to teach my children this lesson; to welcome people and accept their differences, because deep down we are all unique and we need to celebrate that.  Be your own person.

I guess what all my soapbox preaching boils down to is that my kids are special to me, as your’s are to you, and we need to work together to make this the type of world we want them to grow up in.  Children follow our lead, so lets show them the type of people we want them to be.  I am not perfect, far from it, but this last 9 months have helped me to see things from a new perspective.  I love my kids, and while this day is important to bring awareness and acceptance; it isn’t just about a day, it’s about a way of life.

Cupcakes and a Hearing Test

•March 11, 2011 • 1 Comment

Elena had another appointment with audiology today and another round of hearing tests.  This is the first time I was able to walk away from one of these appointment and actually understand their findings.  We had a great audiologist today and she actually listened to my concerns.  She ran quite a few tests, and, DRUMROLL PLEASE…..Elena has no hearing impairments!  Her ear canals are small and fluid could be an issue, but for right now my peanut can hear me and all the ruckus that happens in our house.  That is two good appointments in a row, and I can feel my worries slipping away.  I know that there will be ups and downs but I am going to enjoy this upswing that we are in and bask in all things good. 

We left our appointment and spent the afternoon with friends.  My dear friend graciously gave me her time and talent to help make cupcakes for Ava’s birthday.  I like to bake, but I am not so good with the frosting/decorating part.  Because we are taking Ava to the water park for her birthday, we aren’t doing a party this year, and I wanted to make sure she had something special to take to school tomorrow.

I wish I could take credit for these, but it all goes to Katie!

I wish I could take credit for these cupcakes, but it all goes to Katie.  Ava is so excited to take these delicious treats to school and I can’t say I blame her.  I took all my willpower to drive those bad boys home and not bite into at least one.

Needless to say, it has been a busy day, and my little peanut is pooped.

She couldn’t wait to get home and have a snuggle with her daddy, and I think he was looking forward to it too.

I’m still nervous about the MRI on Monday, but let’s go for three good appointments in a row because I’m having too much fun in this good place we have found ourselves in and I don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon.