Monday, December 29, 2008

Just to Clarify

I just reread my Mim Mims post and hope I didn't offend anyone. I struggle with being pro-breastfeeding without seeming judgemental towards moms that aren't bf. I know it isn't black and white. I've become very frustrated with doctors that refuse to educate themselves so that they can truly support breastfeeding mothers. I went through 5 pediatricians in 3 years before finding one that trusted me as a mother and believed breastmilk was the ideal food for babies.

So, when I wrote that failure was not an option I was writing from inside my head. I don't consider other moms failures. But, that is how I would have felt about my situation. I know as mothers that we do the best we can with the information we have available at the time.

After Goldie was born breastfeeding gave me something to focus on. I felt like it was the one thing I could do for her. It gave me a sense of control. It was also what was familiar to me. I wanted mothering Goldie to be like mothering my other babies. I would have grieved tremendously if Goldie hadn't been able to nurse. My heart goes out to mothers who struggle with this. Mothers who pump for their babies have my highest respect. They are doing double duty to give their babies the benefits of breastmilk.

I would love to hear comments on what did and didn't help mother's wanting to nurse their baby with down syndrome. I'd love to see better information available to future moms.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Something Naughty, Something Nice

Ok, I'll tell you the naughty story first. Swatcho will be 7 next month and is reading pretty well. She is half way through the Calvert first grade phonics program. Today we were driving past an Arby's and I hear her say "New Year's Eve W**res" Whoa! What? Then big sister says "no, New Year's Eve hours." Oh, ok. I resumed breathing at that point.

Now for the nice. We were returning some things at Target yesterday. The girls waited nicely on the bench while Goldie sat in the cart. The couple in front of us had a baby sleeping in his carseat. Goldie looks at me, signs baby, points at the baby, and signs baby again. The sweetness of it all just carries me away. She is 21 months and I have been signing to her since she was 7 months. She has signed baby before, but I am seeing her first attempts at using signs to COMMUNICATE not just immitate. Another one that melts my heart is the sign for milk. She is using that when she wants to nurse. Or when she just wants an excuse to get out of the cart. Too smart.

Here is a picture of her watching Signing Time. It is the only thing she will watch.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Where I Come From

We live in the house I grew up in. Hank and I bought it after my parents divorced and have done some major renovations to it. We love the land and the location. Most of the time.

I woke up to the sound of spinning tires at 3:00 this MORNING. I immediately thought we had gotten some more freezing rain and my husband couldn't get out of the driveway to work. So, I get up to check. I find the neighbors have had too much Christmas Cheer and are "pulling" on the road. What is "pulling"? Well, two vehicles are chained together going in the opposite direction and the one with the most power wins. Since Hank and I like to enjoy these moments together, I call him on his cell. He assured me that he got off to work just fine and yes they were getting ready to pull before he left. I went back to bed. I fell asleep after all the victory yelling was over. This is harder to do in the summer when my windows are open and they are pulling tractors. (If you are worried about the safety of other motorists we have no traffic on our road at 3 am.)

Why do I put up with this? Why don't I call the police like the rest of the neighbors? Because, if I need anything they're one of the first people to help me out. If Hank is at work and we get a bad snow, they plow us out without even being asked. They let my chickens run thru their yard. They give me tomoatoes from their garden. My kids run the neighborhood with their kids. (yes, they have kids) (yes, I let them play with my kids. They are here all.the.time.) I've learned to take the good with the bad.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas 2008 Highlights

What a whirlwind day of opening gifts and visiting family. Goldie still has one gift left to open. She was more interested in what her sisters were getting. You know, things you can choke on are much cooler than blocks and stacking toys.

Santa brought the big girls a Wii. This is our first video game system. I try to limit their screen time, but we've played Wii at the neighbor's and it is sooo much fun. Its something we can all do together.

Goldie got one of these from Santa. She is having a great time learning to use it. Hank is impressed by how well made it is. Also, since its wood it is fixable should the kids break it. Then, since she absolutely hates the stacking rings, I got her this and this. Now that she is walking we need to start encouraging her to use her fine motor skills. The OT thinks she is capable of doing more in this area.

I'll leave you with a family photo. Excuse Hank's attire. He is a total farm boy and I can't get him into clean clothes. But, I'm totally smitten with that cleft in his chin.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Two Years Ago

I was 7 months pregnant with Goldie. Hank (cute nickname for hubby) and I decided to buck tradition and have Christmas Eve at our house. It would be the last day I spent with my Grandma. She died of a brain tumor a month later. But that night she was the smart, witty woman I had known all my life. She bought my girls some fun gifts and had a wonderful time watching her great-granddaughters enjoying them.

Goldie was born 4 weeks after my Grandma died. I did not see her before she died. I will always regret that. I should have followed my heart and not listened to the advice of others. However, I have no regrets about her life. I always made to time to stop and visit with her. My mom's family lives in Vermont, so she was the only Grandma I had growing up.

There is a sad irony in her passing before Goldie was born. Grandma had 3 boys. I have 3 girls. Her youngest sustained brain damage at birth. She was the mother of a special needs child before the term even existed. Before Early Intervention. She drove across Pennsylvania twice a year for his therapies. She told me about her experiences, but it never really hit home until Goldie was born. The one person who KNEW what I was going through was gone...

I cried a lot after Goldie's diagnosis. I could handle my daughter having Down Syndrome, but I couldn't fathom this journey without my Grandma. I've come a long way since those dark days. Here is a picture of her with my uncle and Swatcho (nickname for my middle dd).


Before I have any readers, I feel the need to explain the somewhat anonymous nature of my blog. There are 3 reasons:

1. Setting a good example. I have spoken to my children at length about being safe on the internet. Not sharing personal information like their name and address, so I want to practice a bit of what I preach.

2. Previous wierd internet experiences. Like the time I sold some cloth diapers on eBay only to 6 months later get a picture of a grown man wearing them. Eeew. This made it really hit home with me that creeepy people are out there.

3. I'm paranoid. It's genetic, all the women in my family suffer from it.

So, I will be coming up with cute nicknames for my family and you won't be seeing any pics of them standing in front of their elementary school.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It was bound to happen

sooner or later. The other moms just shook their heads in disbelief when I told them my kids had never gotten into the eggs. never. No, I had never cleaned up broken eggs from the fridge or floor. Well, yesterday Goldie claimed that first as her own.

I had brought the groceries in and was letting her take them out of the bags when I heard "Goldie has an egg!" So, I pick up the carton, only to find that its empty. All the eggs had been dumped into the bag. This contained the mess nicely. But after counting 7 cracked eggs I decided that we would be having eggs for dinner. So, I mixed in some cheese, milk, leftover taco meat, and green peppers. Ta da. dinner.

I didn't take any pictures this time, but here are some other messes she's made.

Monday, December 22, 2008

More About Me

I'm writing here to keep a promise I made to a friend. One of my friends asked me to promise that I would write about Goldie and how amazing she is. Everyone should have friends like mine. When I think of Goldie's birth, 21 months ago, I think of how supportive our friends were. They did so much for us. From cleaning my stove and folding laundry to bringing us food and groceries.

I seldom read blogs before Goldie was born. I was homeschooling her sisters, so sometimes I would read a homeschooling blog. Well, after she was diagnosed with Down Syndrome I wanted to read about families that were raising their child with DS. (I was not impressed with what some of the books were telling me.) I needed to SEE what their lives were like, what their kids were doing, and how DS fit into their day to day life.

I already had two children and was very set in my ways as far as parenting goes. I needed to know that my parenting style was right for my baby. I worried that the cloth diapers and riding in the Ergo would make her froggy legs worse. I wondered if I would be able to forgo rice cereal and pureed baby foods as I had with her sister. Would I be able to homeschool her? I needed some reassurance that I was the right mama for her. So, I googled "down syndrome attachment parenting". That is how I found Emma Sage. Which led to me other blogs (listed in the side bar) that I have been following anonymously, until now.