Today we sang Old MacDonald in the car. Elijah was quickly lulled to sleep by our super long song, but Christian was game. In it, I would leave the "and on that farm he had a...?" open for Christian to fill in the blank. Then I'd ask, "And what does (that animal) say?" He would proudly tell me and then we'd continue on singing. We did a ton of animals, each time with me being amazed that he was thinking up so many. Well, he finally got stuck. Not sure what animal to say. So, I suggested, "How about a cat? Do you think Old MacDonald might have a cat?" And a huge grin broke out on his face. "Yeah! A Cat!" "And what does a cat say?" He paused as he thought, then said, "(Insert cat hissing sound here)". I nearly had to pull over I was laughing so hard, and I said, "Yeah sweetie, that IS what a cat says...to you anyway!" Christian has a close friend who we play with often, and everytime we're at her house, he tromps off in search of their cat...who absolutely despises him. It's of no matter to Christian. It is just as entertaining the 50th time, as it was the first time to chase that cat around, while it hides under and on top of furniture, crouched, yet arched and hissing. You can be sure that if Christian is out of sight for 2 minutes while we're at Caitlyn's house, he is chasing that cat. And then there is the matter of the backyard cats and bunnies. Somehow, we have ended up (in the concrete jungle in which we live) with 2 bunnies (!!) and 2 cats who come to visit our back yard. One bunny is white...well, it may have been white at one time...now it is dingy. The other bunny is an orangish brown. They are really, really cute. Each day now, Christian wants to go outside to see the bunnies (The cats are too quick and too smart to hang around long enough to see what shenanigans Christian will be up to.) He searches around for them and I can always tell by the screech of laughter, that he has found a bunny...and is probably making up some new way of chasing or taunting the bunny. Sigh. He's relentless. But it is really, really, really cute. Plus, it makes for an entertaining day for me while he hops around the house saying, "I'm a bunny."
We've had a fun couple of days with Elijah too. He has finally started trying to prop himself up on his elbows and lift his head! He doesn't have the stamina to hold it for very long, but for short periods he looks like a typical 3 month old. The rest of the time he looks like a drunken sailor... :) ...he'll get there! I couldn't be prouder, and I've had fun showing off his new "trick". We went to the Club 21 playgroup again today and it was fun to share his progress with the Moms. I also got to meet "Sunshine" in real life (I mentioned in my last post about meeting other Moms online), and her adorable 16 month old daughter. It's both encouraging, but also daunting when I hear about all of the helpful therapies out there, the types of progress our kids will make, etc. Most of the time all I can think is, How will I fit any thing else into this crazy life we have carved out? The majority of people I have met with children aged one or more with Down syndrome, have various therapies totaling about 6 hours a week. SIX hours. Oh boy. This is where I live in happy denial and glow in the fact that Elijah has figured out how to start lifting his chest. That's all I need to do for today. Maybe it will be like babyhood progressing to childhood: When Christian was a month old, my sister's youngest son, Davin, was 6 months older, and I remember thinking, "Whoa. 7 months old is a handful. How am I going to handle that?" And my Mom said, "Well, that's the beauty of why they start out small and get bigger. You get used to dealing with more without realizing it." True words.
Now for a little confession...I have a repeat event client that I'm working with. Interestingly enough, when I planned and designed her older child's mitzvah 3 years ago, I had just had Christian when I went back to work and helped turn out a great event for her. Now, her younger child is being mitzvahed and I am back in babyland again... I haven't said anything about Elijah's diagnosis. Today, I even had a meeting with her and she's been dying to see the baby, so I brought him. ...And didn't say anything about his diagnosis. She and her family ooh'd and aahh'd and I didn't say anything. For one, because what am I supposed to say? Glad you think he's cute, but he actually has an extra chromosome? For another, because I'm trying to remember that he is a baby just like any other and his extra chromosome doesn't change as much as you'd think. He's more alike than different. It's weird...I don't know if my client senses something, sees something or doesn't notice anything different at all, but I have this hyper-awareness. It was nice to just let someone ooh and aah without having to go into the overall picture of how we feel and what we think about Down syndrome.
I leave you with only this (stolen from a friend's FB status) and a picture of one of the backyard bunnies and cats:
"You never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have." - Author Unknown.