Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Good Morning! From Ethan

So this video has absolutely no purpose… this is just the way I wanted to remember him this morning. He makes our drive to school so enjoyable and I only wish we had more red lights on the way to sing and dance. He really puts a smile on your face, making every morning a great morning.
I knew once we got to school he would be all tears and screams.

Once again, I handed him off, leaned in to kiss him goodbye, which was a huge mistake as he tightly grabbed a handful of hair in each hand and tried to jump back in my arms. Poor little guy. He is merely a child and I know it will take some time to find comfort in other people besides us. Another mom mentioned that she was told that by NOVEMBER all the kids should be fine. NOVEMBER!!!! How about by next week?

I cant wait for the day that he can be this happy little guy with his classmates and teachers. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

He's a goofball!

and I love him!

Except I would love for him to cooperate and let me take one good picture of him. As soon as he sees the camera it is instant mischievousness with his looks!

yeah, there is a boogie in there... we werent going for the boogie shot.. Ethan just wanted to show it off.  

He is sooo handsome.

School Update-
Ethan’s first days of school were rather tough on him (and us all). Today wasn’t any easier leaving him behind. Crying hasn’t tamed down at all, then again it has only been 3 days. I am just waiting for the day that he looks forward to being in school with all of his friends and teachers. 

Today I tried to spend less time in the classroom as I dropped him off. I understand it’s easier for the child if we make simpler and quicker good byes, but it’s not easier for Mama. I stood outside his classroom and watched him through the mirrored window as he cried and pointed towards the door. Then I noticed he was being taken to get his diaper changed, which meant he would see me in the hallway so I ran out of the building. 

**Last Friday I after I dropped him off he also needed a diaper change. I wonder if he is so scared and nervous that it is causing him to go earlier than usual…hmmm. 

***AND I also found out they have wagons to help transport all the kids to and from the classrooms! That mystery has been solved for any of you that wondered how that went!


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Why is this SO hard! Ethan goes to school

The little man has started school! It is a very exciting day indeed. 
excited about the chairs!
As of today, my mornings are now officially more hectic than I ever experienced! Brushing hair, rushing kids, feeding Ethan –oh, lets not forget that he will NOT be rushed when he eats nor will he let you feed him. So I anxiously stood over him, trying to stuff eggs in his mouth as he would turn his head away and stab me with his fork. Fine, I get it, you will feed yourself, thus I shall wake up an extra 15 minutes earlier to give you ample time to comfortably feed yourself. 

Next, drop sisters off at school and head to Ethan’s school. I am thankful that Daddy came back from work to make sure he would be there for Ethan’s big day. And Grandma and Grandpa made sure to be there as well. 
Walking in with his dear grandparents!
 And with anxiety in my heart, we walked in to the building and made our way to his classroom. He immediately ran around and laughter spilled out of his precious mouth. We joined the rest of his classmates in the Sunshine room, which is basically a room full of every cool item you ever wished your child could ever have in their own playroom at home. Slides, ball pit, trampoline… HEAVEN for a child. The kid went crazy. 
"lets get one thing straight... I am the boss.."

Shortly it was time to head back to his classroom and it was quite entertaining watching a teacher and her 3 assistants trying to get 7-9kids to walk back to the classroom. Thankfully the grandparents came in pretty handy and they each helped out by holding a child, otherwise, I have absolutely no idea how we were going to ever get back to that classroom! I wish them the best of luck tomorrow!  

Once we reached the classroom is when reality and panic set in for Ethan… and grandma… (overall grandma did much better than I anticipated as well, it was only a slight meltdown, but she survived)

We eventually stepped out of the classroom and watched through the mirrored windows.
And he cried. 

But I was miraculously ok, full of peace and calmness. He wasn’t hysterically crying the way he tends to cry, he just cried. They gave him a sippy cup from there with water and he just threw it right back at them –that’s my kid. The crying eventually turned more into an occasional whimper. Turns out they gave him his Winne the Pooh blankie. Its one of those stuff heads with an attached blankie, and if Winnie the Pooh had been real, he would have choked him to death. The sippy cup was then switched out with his own sippy cup and he very tightly wrapped his other arm around it. The comfort of familiarity.  

It was very difficult for me to leave. It most definitely hit me much harder once I was at work. I knew he would be fine, but I just wanted to observe him for a bit longer.  I have two older children who have gone to daycare before. I know how it is. But I just cannot cut the umbilical cord with Ethan. I am so attached to him and even if we are not in the same exact room, I just wanted to be part of this day and see with my own eyes that he really did fine. I am so eager to get home today and hug him to pieces.  And I am sure grandma feels the same way. I guess he is not just my baby boy; he is everyone else’s baby boy too!

Thank you all for all the well wishes and prayers! I am sure it will only get easier from here.

Monday, August 22, 2011


 (nothing is better than left over birthday cake for breakfast!)

Ethan’s birthday weekend has come and gone!
It is just bittersweet. I wont deny the fact that I refuse to have him grow up. Ethan has simply been an amazing child. He is full of laughs and just keeps me going every day. I love every second of it and I only want to keep him my baby just a little longer.

We celebrated his birthday Friday evening with a handful of family and friends, hotdogs, burgers and cake. Simple yet a great time.

Saturday night since Ethan was so pumped after a night of dancing (after a trip to a local winery and live music) and not ready for his crib and too late for a bath, we all 3 jumped into bed and waited for midnight as we cuddled with the love bug. I treasured every second as time only got closer to 12. I would never again say that my son was one… I took in his scent, I could still smell the outside on him with a hint of sweetness, I covered his little face with gentle kisses, I told him I loved him and what a blessing he was… and as the clocked changed to 12am, both daddy and mommy sang happy birthday. Shortly after that, exhaustion finally filled his little body; nestled between us he fell asleep. Just perfect.

(picture from the winery, where the they sang Happy Birthday to Ethan)

And of course, it can’t be his birthday without mommy making a video of his past year in pictures. Starts with a picture from his birthday last year and ends with pictures from his birthday this weekend.

**Also wanted to mention that while at the winery we ran into Ethan’s cardiologist. That was completely amazing and unexpected to have ran into a great man whose kind words forever touched our hearts almost exactly (we actually met him the day after Ethan was born on the 22nd and this past Saturday was the 20th)  2 years ago.  We sat in that recovery room, with only quietness and uncertainty filled that room, no reassurance came from any other dr or nurse that walked in there. And as if he was sent by God himself, Dr. Q walked in with all the kindness and reassurance our hearts needed to hear at that moment.  

(And for kicks here is his 1st yr video)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Look What I Can Do - Barking and Self Feeding

Since my little Hunk is almost TWO I wanted to share some of his accomplishments. His biggest challenge is speech, so him barking is such a great accomplishment! Now if I could only get him to say “mama”.

It’s quite a task getting him to do anything when the camera(slash phone) is out, he’ll stop what he is doing and will flash me his usual super cute face, where he squints his eyes close and opens his mouth wide open, even if I am taking a video. He doesn’t know the difference with my phone. Or he’ll try to reach for the phone and see what’s on my screen.

Because I work full time (I ENVY you SAHMs) I don’t have a lot of spare time to work with him, we especially don’t work on a lot of animal sounds. I do what I can. Sometimes the guilt is overwhelming because I feel Ethan would be doing so much better if I was home to work with him. So the fact that he somehow picked up on the fact that dogs go “woof woof” is amazing. I have casually barked in front of Ethan, but not necessarily in a teaching way. That goes to show how intelligent our kids are indeed and they do learn simply from observation –just like other children. Just like he helps me unload the truck after we go grocery shopping, because he sees his sisters helping and he grabs a bag and drags it in the house (THAT is a picture I need to take and share with yall. IT IS FREAKIN CUTE!)  

-Back to the barking, if you listen carefully on the following video, he does get a few “woof woofs” out. I LOVE his barks. They are getting much better as well. 

And there is self feeding. Lately he won’t eat unless he gets to feed himself, unless he is extremely hungry he will gladly let me shove away. His improvement over the past month has been incredible. He went from most of the food going on the floor to most of the food in his mouth.

The best part is, less clean up for me! Oh yeah! Because cleaning up sticky wet Ramen Noodles from the floor is not as easy as you might think. 

He truly is a motivated little guy and this mama is very proud.  

PS – I hate Ramen Noodles. That is the only “meal” that he will eat besides eggs, and he will also have peanut butter and jelly mixed together and a piece of toast on the side. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

He's not Downsy... he's a Warrior

I’ve been a crying mess these last few days.  There have been so many good things and bad things, and things just out of my control, leaving me feeling excited, mad, angry, hopeful, hopeless…. 

One of the things that just has me straight up angry is the whole ridiculously stupid movie, The Change Up, controversy. (SAVE YOUR MONEY, go watch the Smurf’s! haha)

**I’ve admitted before, I am not so easily offended by the word Retarded, especially when people mean no offense. I still don’t like it and it makes me cringe; I will speak up and say something in most cases. IF you are a good friend and/or family member I am hoping I never have to say anything to you (OR YOUR CHILDREN) because hopefully by now you have either realized it really is an ugly word, or you have learned to walk on eggshells around me (which I rather you not and just learn to get the word out of your vocabulary.)**

And in case you have been a hermit this past week or you are not an member of the “disability” community you might not know what I am talking about :
There is a scene in the movie where Ryan Reynolds character visits his long-time friend, Jason Bateman’s character, he sees his twins in their high chairs and says, “Why aren’t they talking –what are they retarded?” then “and this one , he looks Downsy.”

Seriously, who the hell talks like that… real life or a movie? Even before Ethan I would never dare ask anyone if their kids where “retarded” or “Downsy”… trash trash trash! And I’ve never even heard of that term pre or after Ethan… THANKS stupid trashy movies for throwing more slurs out there for  other dim-witted people to use. And the fact that they specifically were making fun of Down syndrome is infuriating 

But then what added to my emotional mess is how I have a dear FB friend (yes you Erica!), whom I have sadly not met although she lives right outside of Houston, whose 17 month old is recovering from open heart surgery.  Overall he’s seems to be recovering fine, but some of her statuses have just broken my heart. (Please continue to keep them in your prayers!)I know many parents of children with Ds who  have been down this road, some of their children had open heart surgery at just MONTHS old. I cannot even image the fear and worries that accompanies such an event. And honestly, we are still not 100% sure Ethan might not need heart surgery, granted it wont be open heart surgery, and we wont know until he is 3. 

And it JUST angers me how our children are the BUTT OF MANY JOKES. After our children have to endure such complicated  and risky procedures such as open heart surgery… Our children are at a higher risk of leukemia, heart diseases, thyroid, hearing, vision problems.  And at the end of all of this, they look at us with a smile, full of love, hope and determination.

My sweet little darling that I love more and more with each heart beat. He, along with his peers with Ds, has had so many challenges and it is so confusing for me to see how our children ended up as being a joke.  Because maybe they look a little different? Because they might talk a little different? Walk a little different? -Ha! and I laugh… I laugh/cry at that thought BECAUSE damn it, it wasn’t easy. I remember holding Ethan up against a wall… “come on son, walk to me.. come on baby… you can do it…”   and just staring into his eyes, anxiously waiting for that first step.  And yes, he might walk a little different, but he’s walking. And I’ll take that. It wasn’t easy.

He struggles to talk. I know he wants to. He just can’t. So in the end, what if he does talk a little different… it’s ok, at least he’ll be talking. At least he’ll be able to tell me he loves me. And really, what mother doesn’t want to hear that, no matter how it comes out. 

Recently, we were lying in bed watching TV, a commercial comes on with a doggie, Ethan jumps up and puts his tiny lips together and makes some sort of humming sound, he was trying to bark.  My heart soften and the biggest smile spread across my face. 

Barking, along with meowing and moo’ing came natural to my girls at his age, I never thought ONCE, when will my little girl make a “meow” sound… IT JUST HAPPENED. Yet, here I am wondering when will Ethan meow. 

But somehow Ethan and everyone like him are targets and victims of cruel jokes. And somehow society has made it acceptable, thanks to ridiculous movies like The Change UP.

Well it is not ok to make fun of my son. IT IS NOT OK. He is a human being. He is not less valuable. He and his friends are WARRIORS! 

I don’t know how the rest of world overlooked that fact. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Reflections – School and Birthday

Life has been a little chaotic lately, a whirlwind of emotions and things that need to be done and events . I just really haven’t had the time to sit calmly and reflect on the actual events about to happen.  

August 22, my two darling girls will start school, 1st and 5th grade. On the 25, Ethan starts school as well. He will be attending the Rise School. It’s a special school for children with Down syndrome and they also have typical children.  Honestly, I am not sure what will happen or what to expect. When we went to meet his teacher last month, I could feel the tears that were trying to build up. The reality of my little man going to school was trying to set in, but I fought it back. I am sure he will do just fine, but Ethan has this SEVERE separation anxiety and I know he will cry for WEEKS. It scares me. I’ve never felt that way about my girls. They have always been so strong and confident; they were also older when they first started school and even when the girls initially cried at a new daycare, it didn’t concern me. I knew they would eventually stop crying and they would be ok. 

Ethan can cry for hours. This then leads to throwing himself on the floor and banging his head and biting and scratching. It terrifies me to think about it. I wonder if they will kindly hold him and not show frustration as he continuously cries and hits and scratches. Will they think horrible thoughts about the little boy that really is a sweet little man? Of course I have no idea how things will go. I will just have to wait and see. In the meantime I will just have to pray for peace in my heart and mind. 

But the other thing I haven’t had a chance to reflect on is that Ethan will be TWO!!! Very very soon. On the 21st. I knew his birthday was coming up, I’ve already invited a few friends and family for a simple fun time together next Friday evening.  This morning I actually sat down and reflected on what his birthday is and it what it means to me.

*A celebration of his incredible appearance onto this earth. A gentle soul from God given to me… to our family. A reminder that God chose us as his parents. He entrusted us with this extra special child. I am humbled. I am humbled that he has given me my girls, but even more so, Ethan, a human being that others find it so easy to criticize and dehumanize, yet he has more value than they will ever have. He will stand up tall and smile.  He will know his true value; I will make sure of that.  He will touch many people’s hearts and lives. People will change because of him, as so many already have. 

I never imagined myself as a mother to a child so extra ordinary…  but I am so delighted and thankful that I am.

Two short, yet beautiful years, full of tears, numerous happy tears over sad tears, full of achievements and proud moments. I can only pray for many more years and each year I will equally cherish, as every year will be a stepping stone to grander things. 

Just a few more days till I can say “happy birthday my son”. 

 *I moved the treadmill to our bedroom, hoping that by seeing the ugly thing first thing every morning I would be more motivated to get on it… Ethan has been getting more used out of it than I have.  “WHAT! Mommy has a jungle gym in her room! NICE!”

**I was possessed with something this weekend and took the girls AND Ethan to the movies to see The Smurfs, all by myself. He actually did pretty well for the first hour, then he decided he had had enough and cried and screamed and threw popcorn off the balcony for the remainder of the movie.  Thankfully it was the first showing and there were other crying screaming kids and we blended in pretty nicely. Except for the fact that my crying kid was right in my ear.  
 “HAHAHA, I am going to make you REGRET this momma!”