Thursday, August 20, 2009

Guess What We Got?

The OFFICIAL T21 Traveling Afghan!!!

John Michael dropped it off yesterday and we are thrilled to have a few days to enjoy this amazing little blanket. So special!

Read more about this afghan and sign up if you haven't already. We will be passing it on to Baby Joey and then Miss Gabby. Thank goodness for the mid-August chill we've been getting here in Sacramento. Makes us all want to get cozy with the blanket!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Joaquin's favorite part of Speech Therapy at Jabbergym.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Do I Have Down Syndrome?

A few months ago, my oldest son Diego asked me a question that made me think long and hard about how much siblings can be affected by having a family member with special needs.

He asked me out of the blue..."Do I have Down syndrome?"

Me: "No you don't have Down syndrome, why do you ask?"

Diego: "I want to have Down syndrome!"

Me: "Why?"

Diego: "Because....(said with a sad tone in his voice)....I want to be special too."

Me: "Diego, you ARE special! You don't have to have Down syndrome to be special. We love you just the way you are. We love all of you. You are ALL special to me and Papa."


Since that conversation, I've made an extra attempt to explain what DS is to Diego and to remind him that he is just as special as his brother Joaquin is and just as special as Mateo too. It's been an opportunity for me to be sure and check in with him. Now I understand how deeply this has touched him. It's true. Joaquin gets A LOT of special attention. Lots of different therapists come in and out of the house every week. Most are very welcoming to Diego but there is one therapist that prefers that the boys stay completely out of the room during Joaquin's session and that is really hard on the boys and on me. Joaquin is also a people magnet so he gets a lot of attention from family, friends, even strangers and this must be hard on the boys too.

Another interesting thing that has been happening lately, Diego will let his tongue rest on his lower lip almost as if he wants to look like Joaquin. He doesn't do it disrespectfully. It's a subtle thing he does when we aren't looking. It's like he is experimenting with it. I know that this is an attempt to get our attention as well.

The one thing that we have going for us is that Diego absolutely ADORES his brother Joaquin which is so beautiful to witness. I wish he felt the same way about his brother Mateo sometimes! But I can see that if I don't continue to watch the family dynamic that some resentment could grow and that's the last thing I want to have happen. I take extra care in making sure each of the boys gets lots of attention and special activities specific to them but it's hard sometimes because Joaquin is also the "baby" in the family so naturally he's going to get more attention just based on his birth order. Thankfully I'm a first born in my family so I know how Diego feels at times, but having a child with special needs in the family is very new to all of us. I would love to attend some workshops on this topic in the near future or chat with families who have been through this to make sure I do the best job I can in raising my boys to love one another and to each feel individually special. All of this without any resentment towards their youngest brother.

Just another reminder to tell our children, every day, with Down syndrome or not, that they are loved and they are SPECIAL.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

i did it

"Just Do It"

Nike's hugely successful ad campaign has been telling us for quite some time now to just do "it".

It's about time the DS community came back with our own slogan. Our own ad campaign.

On our recent trip to Seattle, Joaquin was just learning to pull himself up to stand and he was SO proud of himself. All of us were hanging out and watching him try out his new skill when all of a sudden he starting laughing, cracking himself up and clear as day shouted "i did it"! (Hector added some appropriate music to the video clip of Joaquin's new words and he added a bit of crawling footage from earlier today for fun!)

I didn't believe it. I thought I was hearing things but then he said it again. And again. And again. Until we were all cracking up with him, half in disbelief and half in awe. Here he was, accomplishing another milestone and telling us how proud he was. "i did it".

He did "it".

And so did Avery.

And so did Bridget.

And so did Finn.

Nate did "it" too!

And there are hundreds more doing "it" every day.

Three simple words that mean so much. Accomplishments that are celebrated and cherished. All the simple little things and the big things too. First smiles, first steps, first words. Things we used to take for granted and never will again.

I took this small little phrase that means something so big and made a limited quantity of infant and toddler tees with the slogan on it.

My hope is to sell these tees for $21 each (in honor of Trisomy 21) and for every tee purchased I will buy a copy of the new book "Gifts 2", sign it with the name and/or blog of the child who the tee was purchased for on the inside cover (optional) and donate it to a local hospital, genetic counselor's office or pediatrician's office here in Sacramento. If I sell out quickly and there is a lot of interest, I will have more tees made and expand the effort. I have wanted to give back in some small way and I thought this might be a fun way to do it. We need to spread the word that our children are amazing! They can do "it". Maybe this really could be our new slogan. Our new ad campaign.

If you are interested in purchasing a tee, I have them in 3 different sizes (6/12 mo, 12/18 mo and 18/24 mo). Shipping is on me! You can order a tee by using the comments section here on this post just leave your email address and t shirt size and we'll work out the details. Or you can also order on my online business site Addy & Sam as soon as we get it up on the site.

Let's do "it".