Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Family Time

Remember when being pregnant made me a bad blogger?  Well, as I suspected, having two kids makes me an even worse blogger.  October is Down syndrome awareness month, and last year I participated in the 31 for 21 challenge and blogged daily to help raise awareness.  I'm going to attempt it again this year, though I expect it may be much harder. 

My dad was here visiting this weekend.  He hadn't seen Kennedy since April and obviously has never met Caleb.  Kennedy was sure to show off all of her new skills as well as her baby brother!  Here's some photos from the weekend.  I promise, I'll be blogging more soon!

 I love the airport!!

 I'm going to tickle your feet Caleb!

Hey Grandpa, look at this.

I can open all of them.

Nap time with my baby brother.  

Hey, what do we keep in here?

And thanks to Grandpa for some updated family photos.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Extra Attention

Every parents think their kid is the cutest kid in the world.  I get that.  But I'm pretty sure Kennedy's personality radiates an extra little bit of cuteness.  You know, that big huge toothy grin of hers?  The one she gives every single person that passes us in stores, theme parks, restaurants...just about anywhere.  She draws a lot of attention everywhere we go.  Do all these people realize that she has Down syndrome?  Maybe.  Maybe not. 

I feel pretty fortunate that all of the extra attention we get is positive.  All of our friends and family have accepted Kennedy for who she is, and her extra chromosome doesn't matter to them.  I feel so blessed to be able to say that.  Even strangers who recognize that she has Ds are always very positive about it.  Last week was my first real negative encounter that left me completely disgusted.  And in all honesty, I'm not sure if it was intended to come off like it did or if she was just uneducated and didn't know how to approach the subject.  I was standing in line at Busch Gardens and the lady behind me was looking at Caleb, who was in his stroller.  Kennedy was in my arms, getting ready to met Cookie Monster and Abby Cadabby.  The woman commented that her brother just had a baby "like that" and gestured towards Kennedy with a cringe.  I repled back with something like, "oh, a baby this wonderful and perfect???"  She simply responded saying she hadn't met him yet.  I ended the conversation there.  I wish I had said more.  But at the moment I was so stunned that I just couldn't.  Not to mention, in line with a lot of people around wasn't the place to give her a piece of my mind.  I refuse to let people like that ruin my day, but it was definitely a slap in the face to the reality that I will always have to advocate for Kennedy, and always have to experience cruel or uneducated people. 

On a more positive note, we are getting back to life as usual around here.  Kennedy had her first hotel stay since July 4th.  She was of course thrilled.  And although Caleb slept through much of his first getaway, he seemed to enjoy it as well!

Here are some photos from last week, and our quick weekend getaway! 

Caleb, you should wake up for the elephants, they're my favorite!

Mom! He's stealing my Cheerios.

Okay, you're cool.  I'll share if I can pet your nose.
Yay!!  Another hotel!!

 Mom, there's no time for photos.  Bring on the food.

Daddy, when we move can I have a splash zone in our yard?

One of these days I'll be able to run around here.  Or take more than a few steps.

 Come and get me daddy!

I hate when water sprays in my face.

 The dolphins are my favorite at Sea World.

Look daddy, see the dolphins?

My brother is sleeping again. He has no idea what he's missing.

I got to ride on the big fish that went up and down!  Twice!!

Kennedy had a busy week.  She only made it part way through Sea World.  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Breaking News: First Steps!!!


Kennedy took 3 very small steps INDEPENDENTLY today!!!!!  There are no words to explain how happy and proud I was.  And how upset I was that of course, I didn't have my phone or a video camera in my hand.  You can bet I'll be walking around with one glued to my hand.  She has been working so hard at walking lately, and it shows.  I know that these 3 tiny steps are a long way from walking completely on her own, but my guess is that she'll be walking around the house in no time! 

In addition to taking her first steps, Kennedy has been demonstrating her toddler behavior.  She told me that she wants everyone to know that even though she has an extra chromosome, she is just like every other toddler.

Last week I mentioned that she knocked over wine in the grocery store.  Apparently the grocery cart wasn't quite far enough away from the shelves.  In the 20 seconds I was comparing chicken broth, she managed to stretch and reach and I assume in the process of reaching for a bottle of wine, she knocked two others off.  For a grand total of 3 bottles of wine shattered on the floor.  Oops.  It's a good thing she's cute, and they laughed it off.  Mommy would have had a tough time explaining why she spent so much on groceries with nothing to show for it. 

The wine was just the start of the string of toddler behaviors that are driving me to gray hair and exhaustion.  In the past two days she has discovered that shredded chicken sticks to the wall really well.  And after months of crawling all over the same floors, she found the area that the grout was cracked.  And discovered that she could take the broken pieces out.  And put her blueberries in.  Yes folks, she has mastered the in and out skill.  Removing the grout and filling it with blueberries.  I'm sure any potential buyers will be very impressed.  We may want to consider moving sooner, before Kennedy destroys the house any further.  My friend said people expect that when they look at a house with kids living in it.  I hope they also expect broken blinds.  And maybe they won't mind stepping over the tupperware she through all over the kitchen.

One thing is for sure.  Kennedy has grown to love her brother more every day and is such an excellent big sister.  It melts my heart to see her with Caleb and it makes me so excited to continue to grow our family.  She was a little upset that I took pictures of her with out any pants, and with bed head, but they are to cute not to share.

I think Caleb needs a kiss.

 I really love him mom.  When can he play?

Caleb: Mom, can I have some peace and quiet? Please?

I can't deny it, the kid is pretty funny.

I'm hiding from my sister.  Please don't tell her where I am.

 I'm milk drunk, Leave me alone people.

Mom, is he okay?

But I don't want to play with you mom.  I want to play with Caleb.

Maybe if I kiss him he'll wake up.

I think I'm going to snuggle him.

Nap time with Caleb.

Enjoying a cool Florida afternoon.  It was only 87*.

Goodnight blog reading people.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

18 Month Stats and Photo Dump

Kennedy had her18 month visit with the pediatrician this week.  Something I usually dread.  You know, the developmental questions that the nurses ask, and I usually have to answer most with "no, not yet."  Despite knowing how great she's doing these questions usually serve as a reminder to her delays (not that I need a reminder) and I usually leave feeling a little sad.  I don't know if it was the chaos of having Caleb's 1 month appointment at the same time, or maybe they assumed the questions weren't appropriate, but they didn't exist at this visit.  Instead, the doctor just asked how she was doing with things.  She got a perfect report, which was a big relief, as always.  And she's still hanging on to the typical growth chart at 20 pounds 4 ounces and 30 1/4 inches!

P.S. In addition to her appointment, Kennedy also broke 3 bottles of wine at the grocery store his week. Thankfully, they laughed it off.  And apparently they don't have a "you break it you buy it" policy!

Here are some photos from the last few days. 

It's cool Grandma, I don't mind the doctor.

Can I wash his hair mom?

Are you serious?  I can't? That word isn't in my vocabulary.

Caleb, I'm going to give you kisses. 

Don't worry mom, I'll babysit.

I don't want pictures.  To the pool people!!

I love swimming!

I didn't do it.

Daddy thinks I'm snuggling, but I'm really playing with a string on the pillow.

Why did you tell on me, mom?

Practicing standing! No hands!!


Monday, September 3, 2012

She is NOT Downs

It never ceases to amaze me how unprofessional some therapists are. This is one of my big worries about our upcoming move.  It took us a few attempts but I can honestly say we have an excellent physical and speech therapist.  It took some time to reach this point.  We had the physical therapist who insulted me when he insinuated that I wasn't working with Kennedy enough, because she crawled backward instead of forward first.  And then there was the speech therapist who expected Kennedy to sit still and focus on what she wanted her to, for an hour. 

In June we lost the Early Interventionist that we had worked with for over a year.  Kennedy had grown to love Amanda, although it took quite a bit of effort.  (Like the time Amanda hid on the kitchen floor, behind the table, peering around the wall.)  Since June we have had two new Early Interventionists.  I liked the first one, but after one session, I was told she was out of our district.  So today (yes, on a holiday) we met our new Early Interventionist.  And let me tell you, she wont be the last.  I know I've written about people first language before.  And as much as I cringe when I hear things like "Downs kids" I don't always correct people, as long as they aren't being inappropriate.  I definitely tolerate it a little more than I do the "r- word."

Today's therapist shocked me.  Apparently she knew nothing about Kennedy when she walked in the door.  I don't quite understand this.  I get a copy of the IFSP, and I'm positive that it says she has Down syndrome.  As well as that she had open heart surgery at 4.5 months old.  None of this should come as a shock to her providers.  I was a little surprised that she was so shocked that Kennedy wasn't walking yet.  Most kids with Down syndrome aren't walking at 18 months.  Then she commented on how quiet she was.  I told her what words and signs she knows, and explained that she's quiet around new people.  In my head I was thinking she should just be glad that she's not screaming.  Twenty minutes into the session it was like a bomb was dropped.  She looked at me and said, "She's Downs right?"  I'm still trying to pick my jaw up off the floor.  And in the 2.5 hours since she left, I can think of so many other things I wish I had said.  But, in the moment, while recovering from the shock, I told her that no, she is a little girl that happens to have Down syndrome.  Down syndrome does not define Kennedy, or any other child for that matter.  She continued to compare Kennedy to "other Downs kids" and even commented on how she was surprised we had another baby after everything we went through.  I'm honestly not even sure how to take that.  But more importantly I wish these therapists learned something about people first language in school or from their employer.

One thing is for sure.  I will be contacting my Service Coordinator and requesting a new Early Interventionist.  But I;m going to take it a step further.  I plan to contact the agency that she works for an let them know how inappropriate her remarks were.  I'm also going to ask that they educate their therapists in people first language so that they do not make such uneducated statements. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

On the Run

Go, go, go.  That's been the theme around our house lately.  You would never imagine that I just had a baby a few weeks ago with the way our schedule is.  With two kids the days go faster than ever, and some days it feels like they are gone in an instant.  My almost four week old is already outgrowing his 3 month clothes.  And my 18.5 month old is starting to outgrow her 12 month clothes!  Two kids and life in general make me a bad blogger. 

Unfortunately, my blogging is likely to get worse before it gets better.  Big things are happening, again.  We recently found out that we're being relocated to North Carolina.  Something I have very mixed emotions on.  I'm excited because it means daddy won't be traveling as much.  And because we'll be living closer to family.  Kennedy can grow up with her cousins.  We have some great friends there already, which is also exciting.  But at the same time, I'm sad to leave our friends, the connections we have made here.  Playgroups, doctors, therapists, midwives, friends, family, etc.  I know we will keep in touch and we'll visit frequently, but it is definitely bittersweet.

While I'm sad to be leaving our friends behind here, I'm eager to make new friends and new connections.  I have friends from message boards that live there, so I'm excited to meet everyone.  I've already been in contact with the Down syndrome Association there, and I'm excited about the events and groups that they have.  We will be participating in the Step Up for Down Syndrome Celebration when we are visiting North Carolina in a few weeks.  I'm confident that we will make many new connections and North Carolina will once again feel like home in no time.  Of course, it helps that we lived there several years ago. 

In other news, Kennedy is still working hard on walking.  In fact, she's borderline running with some of her push toys.  Now, if only I could teach her how to turn them.  As of now, when she gets to the end of the hall.  Or random objects, like walls, doors, furniture, etc. she sits down and cries. 

And some photos from the past week:
Going to the doctor is fun!  When I'm not the patient...
Look at my new climbing gym!
Oops, was I speeding?
I hate when I run into the furniture. Mooooooom, help!
Do I look like I want a nap?
And one of quickly growing Mr. Caleb.