Thursday, October 17, 2013

Revisiting the R-word

This is not a new topic. In fact, it's one I have blogged about on numerous occasions. One that I wish I could avoid.  The r-word.  It's been awhile since someone slipped it into a casual conversation with me.  A few months ago I complained to a local grocery store manager when a cashier used it in front if me, while talking with another employee.  It seemed like the message was getting through, and maybe others weren't using it so much.  Yay!!  Nope. Stop. Don't get too overconfident.  You can imagine my surprise when the instructor of Kennedy's special needs gym class threw it out there in conversation tonight.  Yes, you read that correctly.  The r-word thrown out there freely in front of parents and kids - in a SPECIAL NEEDS CLASS!!!

I have a few problems with this.
1.) The word is highly offensive.  It ranks up there with racial and homosexual slurs, in my mind.  
2.) You're talking this way in front of young children. Ages 2.5 to 9 years.  Some very capable of repeating it.  The use of the word will never stop when it's used so freely.
3.) Said instructor also happens to be an education major in college.  I hope and pray that her choice of language improves before she graduates.  
5.) Even if you "didn't mean it that way" it hurts. It's like a knife going right in me.  

As my daughter (as well as my son) grows up, I do not want them to be exposed to such hurtful and offensive language.  I decided against saying anything during the class, but I do plan on addressing it.  Not only should that particular teacher learn, but the entire staff should learn (or be reminded) that offensive language such as the r-word will not be tolerated.  Thankfully, at this age, Kennedy doesn't know the difference and went on having fun.  But someday she will.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

31 for 21: Time to Reflect

Tomorrow is our third visit to Hope Haven Down Syndrome clinic.  I'm so excited!  We have had two amazing visits there so far, and I know tomorrow will be no exception.  The past few days have really given me a lot of time to think about where we are and how far we have come.  It seems like yesterday that Kennedy was a squishy newborn, fast asleep in my arms, while I obsessed over the fears of open heart surgery.  Now she is a wild toddler, running up and down the beach and into the ocean.  Although she has speech delays, she communicates with us to tell us what has caught her attention, her likes and dislikes, and what she wants or needs.  Her personality is really coming out and she is growing up so much in the past few months.  No more high chairs or booster seats for meals, she's requesting foods (which sometimes leaves me feeling like a short order cook) and she's chasing birds down the beach, trying desperately to catch them.  She races to the elevator ithe hotel to push the buttons.  

As usual, she is showing us how she really is more alike than different.  I remember all of the stress I went through when Kennedy was born.  All of the fears I had.  I was so afraid I didn't have what it took to be the mom of a child with special needs.  How ironic is it that I'm having a harder time parenting my "typical" child and Kennedy is proving to be the "easy one."  The fact that I've sat in the pediatrician's office saying, "I don't know what to do with him."  Yet, I don't think I've said that about Kennedy since that first day we got her diagnosis.  Who would have known?  

It's hard to believe the big changes we are facing over the next few months.  Kennedy will be three before long, which ages her out of the state's Early Intervention program.  It also makes her eligible for pre-school through the county school system.  The idea of sending my child off to school full time at the age of three absolutely terrifies me.  We have always felt that we would homeschool our children, but the closer we get, I wonder if it's the right decision.  Not because she has Down syndrome, but because of her personality.  And partly because she is so darn stubborn when it comes to working with me.  She is much more willing to work with her therapists than me, no I wonder if she would do better in a school environment.  But the idea of leaving my baby girl in someone else's care terrifies me.  I'm finally considering the part time program which would have her in school four days a week, three hours a day.  Some people think I'm crazy and that I should jump at the chance for a "break" but I'm still not convinced that this is the best avenue for our family.  Part of it is because I feel like I know her so well, and that I should be the best person to teach her.  And part of me is just plain terrified.  I keep trying to convince myself that I can't let my fears hold her back from doing someone that she will enjoy and that will help her succeed.

With that, I'll leave you with some photos of Kennedy's latest beach adventure.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

31 for 21: Our Normal

When Kennedy was born I thought our lives were being flipped upside down.  I wasn't sure that our lives would ever be "normal" and I was quite positive that our dreams would surely change.  Boy was I wrong.  In fact, I couldn't have been more wrong!  

One of the big dreams my husband and I always had was vacationing with our children in Hilton Head. We have taken Kennedy twice, but this summer it was time to make it a true family vacation!  We packed up our mini van, including both Grandmas for a 10 day vacation in Hilton Head!  The kids had an absolute blast!  Kennedy loved the beach, and was so excited to play in the sand and water.  We spent every moment enjoying the beach and pool, and pretty much lived in our swimsuits the majority of the time.  

We were also fortunate enough to meet up with one of my very talented friends, for some family photographs.  I'm pretty sure our lives are about as normal as could be....

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

31 For 21: Dusting Off

It's that time again. Down Syndrome Awareness month.  I've been debating on whether or not to even think about my tradition to blog every day of the month to raise awareness.  Especially since I haven't touched my blog in about 3 months.  But here I am.  I can't promise to blog every day, but I'm going to try really hard to take this as an opportunity to get back to blogging.  There are a lot of things going on in our lives, and we are facing big choices as Kennedy gets closer to aging out of Early Intervention.

It's hard to believe that it was more than 2.5 years ago when we had the shock of our lives.  When our first child, a sweet little girl, was born with Down syndrome.  The news took us by surprise and the day of her birth brought about many emotions.  Especially fear.  But, I'm here to say, while sometimes I do still fear the future, the present is pretty awesome.

Kennedy continues to amaze me. Every. Single. Day.  She is learning so much, and her personality really shows.  She is talking and signing more, though her biggest delay continues to be speech.  We are making progress though, and she definitely has the ability to communicate with us.  She is still the sweetest little girl.  So friendly and outgoing and by far, the BEST big sister.  She loves Caleb so much, and they are best friends.  They play so well together, and love on each other all the time.  She asks for him first thing when she wakes up, and is lost when he's not around.  I love the bond that they have.

I promise, I will have photos tomorrow, when I'm posting from the computer.