Monday, April 23, 2012

Lessons From Pudge?

I walked into Claire's room this morning and found her sitting sweetly in the corner of her crib just waiting for me to get her up.

And then I noticed something amiss.  Since out of all of our friends Pudge spends the most time naked or in a state of undress, I figured she and Claire have been in touch.  

When I asked her to show me her belly button, this is what I got instead...

Maybe her nakedness has something do with my half dressed state these days....  

Either way, all I ask Pudge, is that you don't teach her how to undo snaps!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Thank God for Healthy Babies

I hadn't planned on going to church this morning.  Darren and Claire were down at the farm, and Bridget and I were slow to get moving.  Early service was long over before church entered my mind.  When I realized we could still make it to late service, I hurriedly dressed us both and headed out the door.

When we walked in, I was greeted with the usual questions about how Bridget was doing, and then was told thank God for healthy babies. I didn't say anything, just gave a tight smile and sat down.  As much as I hate these kind of comments, I wasn't going to let it bother me.

We sang some songs, I stepped out to nurse, and sat back down just as the sermon was starting.  Bridget was asleep and I knew, for the first time in a while, I could listen without trying to quiet or entertain a child.  But sitting here now, the only part of the sermon I heard was


No, not a fair representation of Pastor's sermon, but it's what I heard.

Am I the only one that heard it that way?  Most likely.

I won't address the sermon.  The issue there was primarily mine, not Pastor's, since I started out in a crappy mood.  But I want to address the thank God for healthy babies comment.  It's not the first time I've heard it, and I know it won't be the last.

I believe that the person who made the comment truly meant thank God for healthy babies, even though what I heard was thank God you didn't have another disabled/damaged/not quite perfect baby like Claire.

I want people to realize the impact their words have.  Even words with good intentions.

I hate having these conversations.  I hate trying to find the right words to explain how I feel, all the while knowing the response, just like with the r word, is probably going to be I didn't mean it that way.  But in a case like this, where the comment really wasn't meant like that, it makes it even harder.  I want to open eyes, make changes where I can, but not to be the crazy lady who thinks everyone is attacking their child.

Before Claire I'm sure I made similar comments.  I know I used the r word, and nobody ever said anything.

If nothing gets said, nothing changes.


While we are on the subject of things I wish people wouldn't say....

Claire is not a gift from God/a special angel/or any other platitude said to try and make me feel better that she has Down syndrome
We are not special parents
She is not always happy

Please don't make sweeping statements about people with Down syndrome, just as you wouldn't about any other group.  When you say those isn't a good start to the conversation.

Unless you know me know well, please don't ask me question that you wouldn't ask of any other mother.  Please don't ask someone if their one week old baby will be good at x...or if she will be able to do y.  Just like with any other baby, who knows.  I'd also rather you didn't ask how my child is developing mentally.

Please try and remember to put Claire first.  She is a child, not a diagnosis.

A child with Down syndrome, not a Down syndrome kid.  And definitely not a Downs.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Early Intervention to Preschool Transition

Even though Claire won't be three until January, we've already started worrying about working on the transition to preschool.  We live in a fairly small town, and because of this there are limited preschool options, some of which would need to start at two and a half.

We marked Head Start off our list early.  The location of the program is a bit of a drive and would require a lot of flexibility at work, or a bus ride for Claire.  I'm not ok putting a non-verbal two year old on a bus, so that was out.

Next to be scratched off our list was our church preschool/daycare.  I approached them before Claire's first birthday to see about her attending daycare there.  I told them she wouldn't be walking by then (a requirement), and wanted to know if there were any exceptions that could be made.  I was told they checked with the state and that nothing could be done.  Maybe they checked, maybe they didn't.  All I know is that the daycare we have Claire in now quickly found a way for her to be in the toddler room with her peers even though she wasn't walking.  Which leads me to assume (dangerous, I know) that they just didn't want to be bothered by Claire's "needs" and this was the easiest way to get out of her being there.  If a program can't put forth a little extra effort for my child, I don't want her there.

This left us with two options.  The in district half day preschool program, and an out of district (private) all day preschool/daycare option.

The out of district school is where we would eventually like Claire to go, but we decided against their preschool program for now. First of all, she would have to start this fall, at two and a half, to be guaranteed a spot.  Second, it's a bit of a drive, about 20 minutes.  I can do that with my work schedule, but it does add a little extra crazy to our morning.  The biggest drawback for me with this preschool was the room itself.  The preschool room is SMALL.  Probably a third of the size of the daycare room she's in now.  Add in all the preschool stations, almost double the number of kids she's used to (some of them easily twice her size), and I see her being totally overwhelmed.  Also, while there is supposed to be a nap/quiet time in the afternoons, I don't see the one small room ever really getting quiet enough for her to nap well.  And a good nap is essential for all of our well being.  In addition to all of that, the daycare will also take siblings to age 12 after school, adding more big kids to an already crowded small room.

The in district option has quite a few advantages, at least for this first preschool year.  First, she can transition at three.  They will guarantee her a morning spot, which will leave her afternoons open for the all important nap.  There are five classrooms, and while it is a mixed age group (bigger kids) the rooms are large enough that I'm confident she can find a quiet spot if she needs to decompress for a bit.  She'll also be in the same town as me.  If something comes up, I'll be five minutes away, instead of 25 minutes away.

My one concern about this preschool, which will be addressed, is that when I visited, the classroom I was shown seemed to have a lot of children with special needs in it.  Of course, this was the room that was recommended for Claire.  It was presented as the choice for her as there is usually an aide there and that the teacher knows some sign (which is good), however I will not have her placed in that room *because* she has Down syndrome.  When I visited there were eight children in the room (the other small group of eight was in another room for a project), and 3 or 4 of them had noticeable special needs.  I am concerned that this room has become the unofficial "special ed" preschool class.

Now that the where has been decided, we are focusing on the when.  Claire could start preschool at two and and half.  I would prefer she start at three, but we will also be changing daycare (her center only goes to age 3), and I want to space the changes out so we don't have new daycare and preschool dropped on her all at once.  We have begun the daycare search, and I hope to have her settled someplace new this summer, so that she can start preschool after the winter break.

The next daunting task is the IEP...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Laziness of Maternity Leave

Six weeks into my maternity leave, and I don't have much to show for all my time off.

Well, except for a happy and well fed baby.  Trust me, I know that is super important, but I had plans for all this time off.  Big plans.  Plans to get into shape.  Plans to clean, really clean, the house.  Plans to work on crafts and Claire's big girl room.  Plans to cook amazing dinners.  (Honestly, I think Darren would be happy if I cooked at all....)

Sure, I've read a few books, watched a some movies, and kept up on my DVRed shows while nursing, but a newborn sleeps.  A LOT.  And most days I'm lucky if a take a shower and get dressed.  

Problem is, I'm lazy and a procrastinator.  I need deadlines and consequences to motivate me.

Every afternoon I look around the house and realize, yet again, that another day has disappeared.  I rush around, trying to get something done.  A load of laundry, maybe some dishes.  Often, I have just enough time to get started on a project before I have to go get Claire from daycare.

Today was no exception.

And on that note, Bridget's hungry.  Just enough time to nurse and watch a show before picking up Claire.

Tomorrow will be more productive.  Right??

Monday, April 9, 2012


The only thing growing faster than the piles of laundry and mounds of dirty diapers at our house is Bridget.

Little sister had her one month appointment today and has gained 3 lbs and an inch and half since she's been home from the hospital.  10 lbs even and 22 inches.  70 something percentile for weight and 80 something percentile for height.

Kinda crazy  because Claire weighed that somewhere around 4 months old!