Sunday, June 17, 2012

New Beginnings

"They grow up too fast"..."Time flies"..."Savor the moment": All things that people who have traveled the road before you say in regards to raising kids. All true. And yet, no amount of "savoring the moments" will actually slow down time. They do grow up fast. Last week we celebrated Christian's graduation from preschool. We were barely off the premises before he asked if he was going to Kindergarten next. I responded with a tearful Yes, only to realize that he literally wanted to go to Kindergarten RIGHT THEN. As in, let's get in the car and go!

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 Christian with the director of his preschool; Christian and teachers, Kathy & Colleen

The 2012 graduating class celebrated with a special Graduation Field Trip & Picnic. The kids got to ride in a school bus all by themselves (with teacher escorts, of course!) while the (non-petrified) parents drove separately to meet them all at the park.  When the kids walked out of their classrooms in their matching class t-shirts, holding hands and ready to board the bus, they looked so small. I started welling up over the fact that even though my firstborn is already 5, and the "big boy" in our household, he is still a little guy- super excited about a bus ride with his friends and super, super, super (in his words) excited about a new beginning at Kindergarten this year.

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I've been assessing where "I'm at" over this last week, and the conclusion I've drawn is that I'm feeling truly happy. I have a slightly reduced work schedule now through to August, which means more quality time with my boys. I have a fabulous group of friends and family, who I am finding a decent balance of time spent with. I'm fairly "angst free" right now, and it feels great. This mood leaves much to be enjoyed, and puts me into a spirit of gratitude for the new beginnings we're about to embark upon. Plus, it's summer! I get almost equally excited about each new season, yet I always find myself caught off guard by the anticipation and excitement of hot, lazier days, during which our biggest decisions revolve around  Sprinklers or Slip and Slide? Watermelon or Strawberries?  Swim Lessons for just one or both boys? Mini Vacation or Staycation?

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New Beginnings are often a source of anxiety as much as they are of excitement, and the changes we're looking forward to are no exception. This year, I'm embracing it with a smile and a solid knowing in my heart: We're good.  We're happy.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

From Here to There

I'm heavy with thoughts today. It's been a week full of doctor appointments and check ups with Elijah. The first was a visit to the Orthopedist to see about getting Elijah some "braces" to keep him from relying on his hypermobility (extreme flexibility) in standing. (Basically, in a kneeling position, instead of putting one foot underneath himself and then standing up, he just grabs onto something and rolls right over the top of his feet.) He'll eventually learn to do it right, but this is the goal of early intervention-approach the learning of skills from a variety of angles and hope for a benefit.  I definitely see that there is a benefit. It is not a direct relation, though. It's not as if 5 therapies a week gets one result while 15 therapies a week would get a much better result.  It doesn't seem to work quite like that, but I definitely see an improvement. The Orthopedist was nice enough, and he's even just finished treating my nephew for a broken toe, but he flat out said that he doesn't believe that physical therapy does any good and that braces for Elijah won't make any difference. Our physical therapist was with us on this appointment and she was pissed. Ultimately, he gave us what we wanted, which was the referral for the braces, but he was clear in his stance. It was pretty maddening. Last I checked, medical school is training them to practice medicine, not study a control group of people who have had early intervention vs those who have not.  As a Mother, I have one goal: advocate and help my kids. I would SO much rather err on the side of trying something that didn't help, than to err on the side of not trying when something really could have helped. The Orthopedist also x-rayed Elijah's neck for an uncommon condition that causes instability in the neck and spine and would require surgery to fix.  He was very sure Elijah wasn't going to have that, but did an x-ray just to be sure. 10 minutes later, after he read the x-ray, he popped back into the room to tell us the x-rays were clear for that condition.  He repeated that it was a really uncommon condition and it was unlikely that he would have had that. I looked straight at him and said, "Yeah, well it was 1 in 770 that I was going to have a baby with Down syndrome and it happened. I really don't rely on "uncommon" anymore." Smiley face.

IMG_7105 Our next appointment this week was with the Ear, Nose and Throat doctor. I wanted to have Elijah's ears checked again, as he didn't pass his last hearing test and had fluid in his inner ear. I wanted to see if we should be exploring having tubes put in his ears or if it had resolved itself. We waited an hour to see this doctor.  While waiting, 3 patients walked in the door: an adult woman with Down syndrome, another adult woman who had a typical appearance but seemed intellectually disabled in some way, and a man who also seemed intellectually disabled and who had clearly had some sort of ear operation (he had large doughnut shaped protectors over his ears.) I'll be honest in saying that it was a little scary.  Granted, of the 3, the woman with Down syndrome seemed the most engaged with her surroundings. However, she was the mental image I had always had of people with Down syndrome- tongue hanging out and clearly...different. It may have just been my imagination, but Elijah was looking right at her and only her. She kept commenting, "Look at that baby. That's a cute baby. Look at that baby." Elijah does look more like a baby than most 2 year olds, but there were 3 little kids sitting right next to this woman and she never commented on them at all. I kinda wanted to cry. I don't know this woman, and maybe she has had a really good life, but it didn't "look" like how I ever imagined a child of mine living a life.

 IMG_7057 Last up in the doctor line-up this week, was the Opthamologist. I like this doctor. We have been to him before and he was the one who prescribed glasses for Elijah to help with his near sightedness. Insert the giant sigh. Elijah will. not. wear. his. glasses. He will not wear them Sam I am. He will not wear them with a hat. He will not wear them on a cat. He will not wear them up or down. He will not wear them if I frown. But, we went in for a check up anyway today. It was my secret hope that maybe he had outgrown the prescription and that he hadn't been keeping the glasses on because he wasn't seeing well...yeah...NO. He's still just as near sighted as before. The doctor gave us a new prescription and I said, "He will not keep the glasses on- not even for one minute. I don't know what to do." The doctor said, "It's tough, but in Elijah's case, the glasses would really make a huge difference in how he could relate to his world." What I heard was: "If you were a better Mother, then you could get him to wear his glasses." But, I know that no amount of Mother of the Year awards would change this right now. The best I can do is keep trying with the glasses and hope that eventually, developmentally, he'll be ready to wear them. Pretty much wanted to cry anyway.

Charles and I took the boys to a concert in the park this weekend. It was a wonderful night- the weather was amazing, the music fantastic and Christian and Elijah were soaking up every moment. At one point, I stood up and started dancing with Elijah. He has this full-out belly laugh anytime we dance.  It is the full and complete definition of JOY. I've never had an opportunity to witness something quite so contagious and pure. The park concert was no exception. Elijah had a ball! A little while later, a woman came up to me and said, "I wanted to tell you what a gift it was to see you dancing with your son.  We were enjoying the park before that, but that just made our night. That was pure joy!" I agree with her. I am just lucky to be the one that gets to dance with him and benefit from the joy of watching him belly laugh...

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I had to throw in a photo of my sweetie, Charles, too. I was having a blast with a new 50mm lens I got and couldn't resist getting some love shots of my boys...

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Christian "graduates" from preschool tomorrow. I don't know how I'm going to do with that. He is growing up so fast, couldn't possibly be more excited about the idea of Kindergarten, and is becoming more and more independent with each passing day.

"From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere. Oh me! Oh my! Oh me! Oh my! What a lot of funny things go by. Today is gone. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one." -Dr. Seuss
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