Today is one of those days that this battle comes up in my mind. The kind of day where I just want to be mom, and not have to work so hard on the list of tasks from our new speech therapist. The kind of day where it frustrates me to no end, that my sweet little girl has to work so hard at things that other kids pick up on so easily. In my head, I know this is reality, and it's never going to change. But some days I really just want to let her be a kid, and learn things at her own pace - and not have a mental checklist of all the things I need to work on with her. She is doing really well, she's happy and healthy, and that's what matters. She is absolutely perfect, but that doesn't mean that we don't have to continue to work on new things all the time, in order to continue on this trend. As a parent, to any child - extra chromosome or not, you know the things that you teach your children are setting them up for their future. And some days, like today, that thought is just exhausting.
Hey mom, look - I took all the containers out of the cabinet.
I love taco night!
Can you get the beef out of my hair please?
While you clean up the fruit I threw, I'm going to unload my dresser.
Hi blog reading people! It's Kennedy. I'm keeping mommy really busy these days, and she's kind of tired from chasing me and waiting on my little brother to show up. So I offered to write today's post.
As mommy might have mentioned, I waited until she got really big and really slow to start showing off all my motor skills. I'm climbing, walking with my push toys, and working on standing independently. I'm also starting to be more compliant with practicing my speech stuff, and mommy says that I'll be meeting my new speech therapist tomorrow. I'm not sure how I feel about that. Maybe my little brother will decide it's time to show up and mommy will have to cancel.
I'll give you a run down of some other things I've been doing lately.
* Emptying all the kitchen cabinets.
* Emptying all of my brother's clothes onto the floor.
* Refusing to go to bed.
* Crawling away from mommy when she tries to put my shoes on.
* Throwing balls in the bath tub, and playing peekaboo with mommy over the side - while I'm supposed to be playing with Daddy.
* Tossing food on the floor when I'm not in the mood for it.
* Pulling clothes and cards off the racks at Target.
Basically I'm doing my best to do everything that a toddler my age does. It's just awfully inconvenient timing for mommy. I'm also doing cool things like learning signing, going swimming, taking all 5,000,000 toys out of the toy box and not playing with them, playing with mommy's water bottles, learning how to use the laptop and remote controls, and playing new speech games on the iPad. I even stopped using bottles at night and just drink from my straw cup! Mommy is pretty excited about that, but daddy says he misses giving me bottles, especially right before bed. I've also been playing with my babies a lot. Mommy keeps saying I need to practice, especially being gentle.
Mommy has been slacking on uploading photos too, but she promised to have more of me on here soon. Hopefully Caleb will be here soon and she can show you pictures of me and my brother!
One of the things I've told Kennedy from the day she was born is that she can do anything she wants to, and that we will do whatever we can to help her achieve her goals and dreams. Even though she's still too little to understand just what we are saying, she's already showing her determination. Lately, there are a lot of things Kennedy is determined to do (or not do.) Sometimes she shows her determination when she's learning a new skill. This has really come through in the past few weeks as she has been working so hard on her walking skills. She also shows her determination at night when she doesn't want to go to bed, or when she wants to eat something from our plate. When she doesn't want to get in her carseat or when she's trying to figure out a new toy.
Standing and walking is hard work. It takes lots of determination to learn to do these skills. Fortunately Kennedy almost always shows us how determined she is. Except today, during Physical Therapy.
Today Kennedy was determined not to let Grandma put her in the car seat. She decided it would be much more fun to stand up in it, and play with her friend, Lowry.
I love to hear stories about how other people with Down syndrome have used their determination to make their dreams come true. The link below is to a video that brought tears to my eyes and reminded me how many awesome things Kennedy, and other children like her will do when they grow up. One extra chromosome isn't going to stop her from following her dreams, just like it didn't the gentleman in this video.
It's hard to imagine that we will be a family of four, literally any day. Every day I wake up thinking, "this could be my last day with just Kennedy and I." I'm obviously very excited to meet Caleb and to see him and Kennedy together. But it's also a little bittersweet. I was feeling a little sad that I won't be able to give Kennedy 100% of my attention. As a stay at home mom, most days are just Kennedy and I, and she is very used to that. She also has no idea just how much her life is about to be turned upside down, and for that I feel a little bad. Obviously, we've tried to prepare her for being a big sister, but at just 16 months old, it's a little hard for her to grasp the concept.
Yesterday we spent the day with friends and Kennedy had a great time swimming and playing with the older kids. Even though the youngest is 7 years older than her, she had so much fun interacting with them! It made me really excited to see how her and Caleb will interact when he gets a little bit older and they can play together. Kennedy has lots of friends and always has play dates, but I'm never very good at taking pictures. Thankfully our friend was! The photos she captured of Kennedy playing with her new friends just melted my heart.
Kennedy and Lily enjoyed making faces at each other!
Kennedy loved Jeremy's hat, and his bracelet! Fortunately he didn't mind at all.
In between chewing on them, Kennedy was happy to throw the pool toys for the older kids to retrieve.
Swim time with mommy and daddy!
Munching on Jeremy's bracelet. It took some serious bribery to get it back to him.
Things have been pretty hectic around here the past week. Kennedy is keeping us on our toes more and more every day. We had PT today and her therapist was amazed at how much progress has been made in just the past two weeks. I think it's safe to say that she's well on her way to walking independently. Like a lot of other things, it's just a matter of her gaining the confidence and comfort to take off.
Here's some photos and videos of the past week. Also, some professional family photos!
Hey mom! Look what I can do!
Hi blog reading people!
This is good chicken.
More ice cream please?
This is good stuff.
I adopted mommy's pillow. I hope she doesn't mind.
I don't want to go on another car ride.
Grandma, what are you doing?
If it means I get Cheerios, I'll check it out.
This isn't so bad after all!
Does this thing sing anything else?
You don't mind if I move this table, right?
Do you people want some dinner entertainment?
And last but not least, here are the family/maternity photos from a few weeks ago. Kennedy was less than interested, but we still got some great photos.
When I sat down to start writing this post, it was almost exactly one year ago to the minute, that we got the word Kennedy was out of surgery and was doing great. July 5, 2011 was by far the worst and most scary day of my life. A day that I will never forget. I woke up at 6:30 this morning, and realized that was exactly the same time that we were watching her be wheeled to the OR last year. Probably the hardest part of that whole day. Handing my baby over to a team of people and just praying that she would make it through the surgery as successfully as everyone expected her to.
Everyone told me that those days would become a distant memory. And although I didn't believe them at the time, they were right. But I will never forget the way I felt on that day, and in the days following, as we made our way through the recovery process.
Last year we spent July 4th in the children's hospital, completing all of the pre-op requirements and prepping for surgery the next morning. I wrote this post as I sat staring out the window of the hospital, crying in fear. Fireworks going on all around me, but I wasn't celebrating anything. To me, it wasn't Kennedy's first Fourth of July, although we tried to make her as festive as possible before going to the hospital.
This year we spent July 4th at a hotel downtown. We went swimming, ate good food, and took Kennedy to the park next door to the hotel to enjoy the fireworks. We kept her up well beyond her bed time, and later than she even wanted to be up, but it was worth it. She enjoyed every minute of the show, despite being pretty over tired by the end. She stared up in the sky in amazement at the colors. It was the best Fourth of July ever. As I watched the fireworks and watched Kennedy's face, tears streamed from my eyes. I cannot ever express the gratitude that I have for the surgeon and the medical team at All Children's who fixed Kennedy's heart and gave us the opportunity to make all the memories that we have over the past year, and the lifetime of memories ahead of us. After we got back to the room, Kennedy fell asleep on my lap, having her milk. I sat there, snuggling her for about an hour, watching more fireworks from all over the area. July 4th will forever have a new meaning in my heart.
Looking back at the photos from last year, it's hard to believe how tiny she was. And nothing could ever erase the memories of her after surgery. But it's harder and harder to believe, looking at her now.
Blissfully unaware of what was about to happen.
Snuggles the night before surgery.
After surgery...July 5, 2011.
And what a difference a year makes, here are just a few (okay maybe several) photos from our 2012 July 4th Celebration!
Come on mom, I'm ready!
Waiting (forever) for lunch, and snacking on Cheerios! (Which she later threw in the toilet.)
Enjoying a walk on the marina.
I love hotels, you knew that right?
Dinner? Please? What do you mean they can't find a Kids Menu?
Okay, a new friend will hold me over for now.
There's so many people to wave at in this hotel.
Just hanging out....
Waiting (a very long time) for fireworks!
Giving daddy kisses!
This is fun, but how much longer mom?
Don't worry dad...I've got this.
I'm a big girl. I stand on park benches now.
They are fun for peekaboo too!
Where did all my peekaboo people go?
Daddy spin me around again!
I'm so tired...but those are really pretty.
It's truly amazing the difference that one year can make in a child's life. My husband and I, along with our friends and families are so proud of how far Kennedy has come in the past year.
Happy One Year Heart-Aversary baby girl! We love you more than anything.