Friday, November 30, 2007

Tea & Doughnuts

I really do feel I have learned a whole lot more from being a parent that I ever did in college (sorry Dr. Watras!) or ever imparted all the years I was teaching!

There are so many neat and awesome things that I see my children do every day that it makes me wonder why we seem to grow up and have no where near the fun we did when we were kids. I always seem to be promising myself…that I won’t ruin their child hood by telling them that plaid skirts do not go well with our luau flowered turtle neck….. Of that shorts over your tights look a little weird….. Or we don’t eat dessert first ….or many others I have uttered since becoming a parent.

Basically I have learned that as adults we sure work hard so we can have the money to have fun…. Though I don’t think I really see a lot of people having it. Where along the way did our idea of what is fun become so vastly different from the children we were?

All of this became so apparent to me yesterday. I had a tea part with two of my little girls… basically because Adrian did not want Melea to play with some toy she had and Melea was sad so she and I and Eliza had a tea party with milk and doughnuts.

I just sat back and watched as Melea tried to teach Eliza to eat a doughnut. It was amazing… cause number one thing I realized that I ha never feed Eliza a doughnut since she had lived with us….. Boy we eat way to healthy some days! And number two was that I feel I have been eating doughnuts all wrong for the last 40 years.

Melea started eating the doughnut from the top down after licking all of the icing off! Then she slowly turned it over and ate the other side… till the rest just collapsed. Eliza kept trying….but basically her doughnut was just everywhere…. Melea and Eliza were giggling and having such a great time and after they were finished all they wanted to do with their chocolate covered faces was to kiss me!!!!!!!!!!!

At first I shuttered and wanted to run for the broom…. And the baby wipes…. Till I really looked at how beautiful Melea and Eliza were…. There smiling at me and wanting nothing more than a kiss from me…. I was afraid that I had suddenly turned in to a curmudgeon and then I just decided I NEED MORE CHOCLATE KISSES, and STRIPED TIGHTS AND POCK-A-DOT DRESSES WITH PINK SWEATERS, and little guys who giggle and bite my chin!

I promise to try to be more in the mood for chocolate kisses, wearing napkin hats, and to teach you about mud fights and to play in the sandbox more often … if you just promise to not let all us grown ups take away your joy and excitement and the wonderment of play in your eyes and in your life!

And never let us teach you how to eat a doughnut!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Circle of Thanks (sorry its late)

Sorry I am a week lat in posting this! But somehow… I do not know how it seems possible but every single thanksgiving week one of my wonderful and awesome children brings home the first stomach virus of the season!!!!!!

And yet again another thanksgiving has come and gone without my cooking being the actual cause of my children’s violent bouts with vomiting or diarrhea.

And incase anyone is mistaking this for jocularity it is more a thankful prayer of relief that last night and this morning I have now started seeing a return of normal POOP from all the kids!!!!!!!!!! Bad microbes be gone I say!!!!!!!!!!! And FYI stomach flu with six kids and five in diapers really sucks and don’t forget to add one whinny daddy! BUT THEY SEEM TO BE DONE WITH IT FOR THIS PARTICULAR DISEASE DUJOUR! and on to a head cold now!

Well this is what I wanted to write last week! For Thanksgiving!

My Circle of Thanks!

Thanksgiving is probably one of my favorite holidays!! It seems that almost every person I know here in USA celebrates it, there is some type of celebration similar (though maybe no cooked turkeys involved) in almost all countries and cultures.

It also starts the beginning of the Christmas holiday season and I get to “officially” decorate as soon as I have cleaned up the turkey pan (though the more trees I get the earlier I get to stat now!!!!!!!!!!... I collect anything Christmas!!!)

Another thing that always starts the holiday season is my annual attempt to get a family photo. Clothes have to be taken for each child to change into…cause Mom likes matching outfits, I have four beautiful princesses that want their hair perfect and a little guy who would love to roll in the mud and there is always the one child who manages to poop, throw up or somehow ruin their outfit just before we start the photo attempt. This could be an entire process could actually be and Emmy winner for a sitcom.

This year I had a plan!!!! I reserved 2 different dates (incase it really didn’t work the first time). It was at 6 pm on a Tuesday (deadest day at the mall and for the studio). However you would be amazed at with the number of people it takes to actually help in this process is utterly amazing! Besides the photographer, and the two extra people the studio schedules….and this year I got smarter……. I took two of our child helpers (or wranglers depending on your point of view) and a daddy to the attempt too!

But here is my favorite shot….

My children in a circle …look like the spokes on a wheel!!!!!!! Now if you could see what it took to get this shot you would be amazed…. Three people laying over two kids legs and another one just running around and flipping over which ever kid rolled over and putting them back into place…… the three stooges never made anything as funny as the scene when we were trying to get this photo!

But this photo got me thinking…………… about the number of lives that my children affect each day!! These people that I need to thank just keep spiraling out in concentric circles from the center of my world! Some help my kids a lot; many of these people will come and go from their lives over the course of the next year. Many have gone that were here last year at this time….. and then there are so many that have touched our lives briefly but had huge impacts on it! I can look at my little “circle” and see all of your influences! And I see how my six little children will have their lives touched by so many!

So today I want to thank my “Circle of Thanks”. It starts in the center with my husband and goes our in concentric rings from there, with my children and then our extended family and friends, our children’s birth families & their relatives, and all the people who help support us in our lives: the social workers, the teachers, the nurses, the doctors, our many therapists and lots and lots of wonderful caring people. I could not do it with out all of you and want to wish all of you the happiest of thanksgivings and a wonderful beginning to the holiday season!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Happy Seventh Birthday My Dear Colin!!!

Today my son Colin turned seven! It is so amazing all of the things I have seen you learn and do over the last seven years! He does so many amazing things that I am constantly watching him change before my eyes!!!

I thought I would mention all of the changes I have seen this year!!!!!!!!!

Here is birthday photo last year:

What a Change 365 days can make: like most children we are taller.... smarter...... and a handful but we have made some major progress and I am so happy to report that his year we did the following:

He can now write our own name!!!! And we write it everywhere. This was not a gradual process…. He practiced ant school for the last four years…. But it seems that one day last October it just Clicked…. And he started writing on his own…. No longer needing to be forced to trace anything!!!!!!!! He also now knows that any word and every word has letters that go with it…. He is forever making me write the words on his doodle board!!!!!!!!!

He recognizes that he goes potty and even asks to go occasionally….. I am finally seem some hope at the end of a very long diaper period! We also are getting less and less afraid of the toilet! And public toilets no longer freak us out completely!!!!!!!!!

Colin understands there is something green or that you need to have mom exchange things to get a toy or food or something!!!!!!! Huge jump!!!!!!!!

He can do the MACARENA!!! Not sure if this is really an improvement, cause he does it at such in opportune moments…. Like when you want him to get on the bus or trying to get him in his car seat and it is raining! But this is thanks to Mrs C …his kindergarten teacher!!!!!!!!!!! And one persistent little sister which also loves to do……

Elmo is slowing moving away from being his best friend! (It is sort of Sad…because it is such a visual reminder to mom that he is growing up….but Eliza is picking up the Elmo collection where he left off! So I still get to here those wonderful singing Elmo’)

He can actually do some household chores, and does them really well! He can take out small to medium garbage bags; sweep the floor with the big broom; he helps load and unload the dishwasher; he gets out and sets the table, helps pass out food to siblings and wants to feed them to!!!!! This is so amazing to me that I always get reminded just how far he has come!!! Though he also keeps helping me do the dishes in the sink cause he loves to play in the water!!!! I have a few new water stains in the basement ceiling now!!!

He has become the world’s best big brother!!! He comforts his siblings when they cry, he has signs for all of them and uses them all the time, he “reads” to all of them with his leap pad and his other books (though I have no idea what he is saying). He tells (signs) NO when they are doing something bad... like throwing food or trying to climb on table and hugs them a lot and helps them play outside by pushing them on the swings!!

In fact for his birthday I always let the children pick something they want in the photo for a special one they design after the requisite number of shots mom wants....and this year HE WANTED JORDAN!!!!!!!!!!!!! He really does love his little brothers and sisters so very much!

He can cut his own food with a knife (not a sharp one) and always tells me what he wants to eat and drink….though we can not have egg burritos at every meal!

HE CAN and DOES SAY DADDY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! On a regular basis and means it!!! Again the fact I don’t hear mommy is a little disheartening!!!! But I hear so many more attempts at so many words and sounds now that I am confident that by 21 I will have heard MOM so many times I will want to scream by then!!! AND HE CAN SIGN SO MUCH MORE THAN ME or what I know!!! When the speech ability does completely come in….. it will have so much vocabulary behind it that it will be amazing!

So I have watched my beautiful baby who was placed with us by an extraordinary young woman…. Grow into a wonderful young boy and I am anxiously awaiting the transformations we have yet to come!

Happy birthday my son and I love you more today than I ever thought I could!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


I have on dreaded activity in my house!!! LAUNDRY!!!! With six children you can understand why! I know we will really be "rich" when I can pay someone to come in and do the laundry and put it away!!!! That is my real dream!!!!

But being a somewhat realist I will be happy just thanking my dear husband! and telling him I am so grateful to for helping me create the most wonderful laundry room every!!! BUT even with that I still have one LARGE question, WHERE DO THE SOCKS GO?

I estimate we have over : 6 children x 14 days x 2 pairs each day (conservative estimate some days) x 2 socks per pair = 336 socks + an estimate of 48 pairs of tights + an estimate of 24 slipper socks, and footies/shoe. + all of daddy’s (probably 90 to himself…he has never met a sock to nasty to keep) and my 24 and 18 pairs of tights & hose. I do all of the following to save my sanity: I buy only white (course people always give me other ones!!!)

And Adrian and Melea want pretty ones so occasionally I buy some pink or lacey one….though I ALWAYS REGRET IT LATER!!!!, I try to keep it to a small medium and large sizes….. but it doesn’t matter…. They go into the washer…and get lost somewhere on the way out of the dryer. I am always hunting a sock or two each load.. I am sure part of it is my fault….

I really hate matching socks…so I usually end up throwing them into a basket and matching them as I need them. I think it is because they actually disappear in mass quantities….where they go is a great mystery to me and I know to most moms. I also know this is not just my problem.

I have early memories of my father complaining about this phenomenon too. Maybe that little gremlin followed us to our knew home. So after they disappear and I am left with a “pile” of unmatched socks. I am stuck buying replacements and then they don’t “quite match” or my other favorite is when one or two (of course they are never the same pair or size) sneak into the washer with the red load and turn PINK!!!

Colin always snickers at me when I hand him that “pink/ white pair to wear….he somehow seems to know that it is a really bad morning if I expect him to wear these…so he never complains (OK HE DOESN”T TALK YET….but he can make his point known if it bothered him)

We also have the “really cool pairs” or the ones Adrian likes where I match two different colored socks that are the same style…. Usually what is left after the mate got lost wherever socks go….. THESE ARE HER FAVORITE!!! She will choose or fight Melea for there really cool pairs and has even been know to take apart 2 matching pairs to make her “ pink / purple” or “lacey and no lace socks” sock pairs.

So I am doing laundry again today and I am fearing the time I have to match all those socks!!! My basket is overflowing with socks that need matching and the drawers are empty of pair (and Colin doesn't wear tights) so today I must venture into the laundry room and spend an hour or so trying to match those socks again! URGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Where I have been!

There have been several reasons I have not updated for a while! Most include working way to hard and being underappreciated on a huge project and having very little time due to that! But mainly I have been scared and neuorotic about my children again!

After looking at the cartoon Eric sent me on You Tube at the beginning of October…I decided to look at a few other things about Down syndrome. I was really surprised at some of the things I saw there…and more taken back by the things I read there. It has taken me a while to calm down… almost twenty five days.

Most of the videos, montages or other clips had at least one and sometimes up to 40 different horrible quotes/comments on them about people who share many things in common with my children.

Some of these comments were horrible…like “they should all be killed”…or “I know what I would do if I had one”. All of these comments that I read…yes I know I should have stopped reading…I shouldn’t let this bother me…sometimes I like living in my own little world where my children can be or do anything they want…the belief that everyone will be nice to them and treat them as an equal part of society…. But maybe I needed the real dose of how some people (I am actually hoping and praying it is a few) see all my precious little gifts!!!!

For the first hour …I just hugged the kids a lot….I talked to Eric later and asked him if we should home school them….Eric points out that would last an all of 3 days before I went insane myself……and that the internet just gives these opinionated people a place to “say” stuff that they can’t other places because of the anonymity.

Great…now I wonder what these guys/gals will say to my little ones in person!!!

….my statistical brain says if they even represent 1 percent of the children at our local high school that is a whole lot!!!..... OK this is not helping me in the least…..I just want to keep the kids home with me every minute now….course Eric is reminding me how much I love my coffee and my 4 ½ hours of mommy and Jordan time.

I point out to Eric the information in the article I was sent by a friend about the attack on a developmentally disabled man in NYC by two young men with a toilet snake. I then panic again!!!!

Basically I really wish that I didn’t have to hear all the stuff like this!!! and I am sure that Grandma wishes I didn't either!!!

I never want bad things to happen to any of my children, but the thought of some of these children and young adults’ comments and what was done to that young man….SCARE THE HELL OUT OF ME!!!!

I do not understand most types of violence….and I taught in a prison for a long time….so I have worked with many different types of offenders….but I DO NOT GET THIS.

So I mope around for a week or so and realize that I am probably putting my kids in to much danger writing about them and such! I mope some more~! A LOT MORE~! I keep putting things off.... I write a bunch... but I just keep it in files and I mope some more!!!!

We keep doing all our family stuff & Eric and I go to parent teacher conferences. Not one of my favorite activities ...trying to arrange child care and a time for four conferences that Daddy and I can attend.

Oh how I long for the day when someone says “Ms. Smith your child is exceptional and so well behaved and a joy to have in my class”. This really didn’t happen this year…though we are getting closer. We actually discussed a lot of how Melea & Colin were not fitting in really well at the beginning of year in their regular room and finally after 12 weeks they were seeing some progress in their Kindergarten Placement….but for a while their teacher was really concerned. I appreciate her observations and I really want her to realize I want them in this matter what most of the time! BUT IT SCARES ME for probably much different reasons that it might for her.

Later after I left I realized the integration was not really about my children and their benefit to the exposure to the “typical” ones or how they did in that class….but maybe it was more for the “typical” children to learn and remember later in life….

That there had been a little guy named Colin once that they all fought to hold hands with, or be his partner or field trip buddy or were excited he came to their party…. Or a beutiful young girl named Melea who had the most awesome hair and loved to hug everyone.

Maybe this integration/ mainstreaming/ or whatever the “politically correct term” is for the “typicals” not my little angels!!!

They are NOT the ones who need to learn acceptance. Never have Colin or Melea ever turned up their nose at someone based on skin color or how they look or what they can do! These little angels take everyone for who they are TODAY not yesterday.... but are willing to open their arms and hearts to them no matter what has happened previously.

I realize why I take my children everywhere with us….why I am planning on getting them all passports when Eliza’s new birth certificate ever shows up. Because you can’t really promote awareness if you hide! People need to see that my kids and all other children with disabilities can & do anything that “typical” children do. It might be slower or look different BUT they can do whatever they want!

So I will keep blogging to promote awareness. I hope you all see the similarities and all the “normal” things we do. I will work on not panicking and try to be a lot more calm about the things that scare me about my children’s future…..and I really hope I can convince comedians and TV hosts/journalist to quit insulting all of the “retarded people” out there by comparing certain world leaders to the retarded…because believe me…. my children are not that stupid!