Sunday, May 17, 2009

Down Syndrome Spring Picnic

Today was the annual Down Syndrome Picnic! It was so much fun as usual, though there were no baked beans. (Still unsure if this was good or bad....update after a few more diapers!)

We had so much fun playing games, bouncing and jumping in the bounce houses, eating of course and meeting some old friends and making a few new ones. Though Devon and Miranda had the best time dancing.

We had a few tense moments. I was really worried about Emerson for a while we had several episodes of the monitor going off and his eyes getting a little dusky blue!

I think the best thing about this is getting to see a lot of the individuals with Down Syndrome, so many different stages, abilities and basically just a cool mixture of people.

It also helped cause Adrian has been asking a lot of questions lately.

This morning she informed me.....that she, Jordan and Emerson did not have down syndrome cause they all came from my tummy. True yes..... but not what I was expecting...... I thought she would follow it up with some profound statement.... but no, she then told me all adopted kid had down syndrome..... so the picnic did at least give Adrian and I chance to play...... who has DS and who doesn't and why (or how she knew).

I know this seems weird.... but she has been having a few issues at school and a lot of issues at home and is a lot more confused about what is going on with the "chromsomally" enhanced ones and always wants to understand why we do not get "the good parking space" when it is just her and me!

It is a wondrous thing that comes out of her mouth....usually before she inserts her foot!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I cried today! (A LOT)

SHORT STORY......Adrian and Melea graduated kindergarten today! It was such a fun family moment to watch two of my beautiful girls sings and receive their diplomas.

STOP Here...... or

LONG STORY...... I cried today.....tears that only a "special" mom can have. I cried today because I was proud, happy, sad, amazed, joyful, and just plain beaming with pride when I watched them......both my beautiful.....Adrian and they graduated from kindergarten this afternoon.

Today started like usual.....OK sort of. My friends came and helped me get the kids ready for school .......still issues with the kids and Emerson all needing me .....(when will I learn how to nurse a kiddo.....carry his heart monitors....bathe the others and wait for the bus at the same time......thank heaven for friends!).

Differences included the fact that Adrian had laid out her clothes ....three days early! She picked out my clothes.....Emerson's & Jordan's outfits.....made sure she had invited every person she met in the last week......called her grandma and reminded her dad...about 20 times! She had been singing all the songs for me for over two weeks.....and like the wonderful sister that she is made sure Melea practiced many many times too.

I fight get Melea to let me do her hair, make sure she gets her teeth brushed.... try to make sure she doesn't hug Emerson too hard and a little argument....doesn't want to practice her songs.....just wants to look in the mirror at her "bottom" oh does that fascinate her!

Adrian got up the shower before Tammy & Angie got her. Adrian had me do her hair....put in her special bows.....wear perfume......she was so excited! Last thing she tells me.....on her way out the door is...."Mom, I love you so much.....but please make sure your armpits don't stink!"

"OK".....I reply....pretty much taken a back..... I forgot to notice she had no shoes on. Of
course Adrian was her usual creative self and decided that her beautiful burgundy suede boots would look so much better than her her pink dress shoes. (Angie did try to get her to wear the matching ones.... but Princess Grumpy was adamant about these....and I didn't notice till she marched in...Oh well!)

I actually was so surprised at her comment....I spend the morning questioning Dad, all the kid wranglers, Grandma and Jordan if I had forgotten deodorant in the last few weeks.! It really was bothering me.....I knew Adrian had been frustrated cause I have been wearing my painting /work outside in the yard clothes to Wal-Mart and Home Depot the last few times! SO I SHOWERED AGAIN!!!!!

Eric, myself, Jordan & Emerson go over to school with all the kid wranglers. We get to school about 15 minutes early, I get the preschoolers and Colin so we can all be a family unit.

I am very worried..... not about Adrian....she has a way of making everything look like she planned it. I am panicking inside.... about how Melea will do, and will she even go in with the kids. I have some really bad memories of Colin's first kindergarten graduation (our worst EVER school event to date!)

It starts late...... Adrian is one of the first in........ I am waiting flashes going off and of course Adrian waves at me....beaming!!!! I am so happy! She looks really pleased that we are all there....taking up a whole row!!!!

I am looking for Melea...... a little panicked. Well she comes in.... one of the last..... but no one is helping her or pointing or holding her hand....she just marches in (AND I MEAN MARCHING TO THE BEAT ONLY SHE CAN HEAR) all by herself.

She stands up with her friends..... all the kindergartners start to sing! Adrian immediately draws my attention because she has my musical talent and Eric's volume.....but a lot of heart!

After about 30 seconds I manage to remember to look at Melea..... She is singing, making all the movements and smiling so big it could melt your soul. I am so amazed! Tears start to well!!!! I realize her is my beautiful, shy little girl. With her amazing smile, beautiful hair and 23 pairs + 1 chromosome ..... making her my special little girl.

I was amazed thinking back to all the IEP's, all the planning, the times I was sure she wouldn't walk, or wondered if the the failure to thrive was my fault, all the speech therapy sessions where she would not make a sound..... but that smile....I see her beautiful smile. I can hear her! Tears of amazement start to flow! She did it...though it was her way.....not the way I planned, not the way her teachers always wanted either. Why is this amazing...... well it is just like the rest of them.
All her classmates stand there as individuals....all proud.....most with beaming parent too....and none of them has really turned out the way their parents planned for them in utero...... but Melea are amazing!

I jump back to looking at Adrian! She is so proud, so straight, so effortlessly looking amazing..... she is so smart and open....she takes care of herself and exuding confidence....I cry a little more this time. Partly because I am proud and partly cause I am pleased she does not burst into interpretive dance in the music interlude in between the verses of "You Are My Sunshine".

My eyes dart back to Melea.... still singing.....still doing the hand motions! I am so amazed. I am watching another example of inclusion at its best. Maybe she doesn't know her sight words or is able to do basic addition...... but she is standing their confident and singing with the rest of her peers. This is not what happened last year..... last year I just got that open mouth with a little drool....confused looks and a run to her aide.

Today I see a beautiful young girl, with her peers....singing her heart out (off key) but doing everything the others are doing! I have another wave of pride..... tears started to fall again!

Then I look to Adrian and I realize the whole class was signing the last verse as well as sings it..... for Melea....cause she signs as well as sings! More tears flowing.

Then comes the sadness, for both my little beauties. For so vastly different reasons!

Melea.....I realize how hard she has to work to have more days like today, for the birth family who placed her with us....who lost the daughter they were hoping for..... and for me! It makes her life a lot different than the one Adrian will have, that thought makes me cry with sorrow......

I am thinking of that chromosome....the extra ones in each cell....the ones that if they were not there..... she would not be my daughter.

I feel a lot of guilt cause I am glad she has 47 chromosomes in each cell! This is something there is no question about!
I feel guilty and it makes me sad.....but then I think ....Adrian.....and my sorrow switches to a few tears of pain (remembering that natural child birth and 14 hours of labor..... and realizing that it was almost 6 years ago that I really learned how hard it must have been for all my adopted children's birth parents!)

I think..... Adrian is one super special little girl, she is confident, intelligent, friendly, outgoing and an absolutely fantastic sister! I am crying cause I lover her so much, and I am sad at thinking that she is growing up so fast and someday all the societal pressures may make her not think that helping Melea or being her sister is a good thing. I shed some tears for the fact she has so much to learn about the ways of the world and the fact that not every one will value her family the same!

Then came the tears of joy and thankfulness for all the people who have helped my children, the teachers, the therapists, the counselors, and their favorite.....the bus drivers. They all worked so hard, very rarely getting a chance to see how it all comes together.....but today I did!

All the children finished singing.....they signed thank you, and then they proceeded to take their seats...... the kids then all get their chance to walk up and get their diplomas from the principal! All of them look so proud, and so happy!

After several minutes and about 14 children Adrian gets to go....she is so beautiful and radiant....... she flashes Daddy her best smile....a little secrete wave and bounces off to get her diploma! (by the way.... I am back to crying with pride and joy again)

I spend the next five minutes finishing the morning class and starting the afternoon class. Emerson starts to nurse, and I am reminded of the family who has never seen a photo of Melea, never once asked to get anything we have left for them..... and I wonder if they ever think of her.....I remember she does not share mine or Eric's DNA.....again the chromosomes, but......

I hear her name....... she slowly gets up.....(still crying....not sure why)! She does the thing I have come to love over the years..... it is so Melea! She puts her right hand over her eyes, peers out from underneath to see if anyone is looking..... and acts shy. But then she walks up....... hand still over her eyes. Adrian says really loud (I don't think she meant too.... she is just my kid) "this way Mia!....go to Mr. G****".

Eric is in the middle aisle....trying to take the photo.... the camera doesn't work ...... it seems like five minutes...... the principal is doing his best to get her to take her hand off her eyes.... and we are all clapping and I am crying again!!

This time because they are both my beautiful girls.....two of my four. Eliza and Miranda are sitting next to me......Eliza running around like the Tasmanian devil and Miranda clapping for everyone and cheering! Because Adrian is so worried about her sister and Melea is just playing it up and being a "ham" on purpose!

And I start to smile......I realize I am so proud and so lucky! (And of course there are a few tears....cause I am sure Eric blew the shot!)

Afterwards when I get to hug the girls and give them the roses I brought for them. The tears flowed again. This time is now joy..... I am happy again to be the one sharing this day with both my girls as their mom!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Just want to say thank you.....

to my dear husband ..... who works so hard so I can be a stay at home mom (MY FULL TIME JOB) and have fun with the kids besides cleaning the house.

This has been a very busy week. Though almost all of the rest of them are between now and the end of the year. 2 days doctors appointments (T & TH), Special Olympics (W), an IEP (M) and 1st grade field trip (F). All this was in between the normal food shopping, nursing Emerson, several medicine pick ups, and a few phone calls with the health insurance company, made some time to pay bills and balance the checkbook + all those other mom things! (the ones people forget....till mom isn't there to do them and laundry stacks up to the ceiling, and the dishes get moldy in the sink)

Today was the last field trip of the 08-09 school year. It seems to have flown by....... the kids have grown and learned so much.

Colin and I (as well as Emerson ...tagging along in the sling) went to Shaw arboretum today! As usual it was a dreary day, but we had a great time. We did a nature hike with 12 different spot where his class stopped and completed several investigations.

It was really a whole lot of fun for Colin. He had so many of his favorite's hand to hold, Emerson to show off and kiss, lots of mud to stomp in.....and his favorite.....bugs, worms, and frogs to scare mom with.
It really is nice to have this special time with the kids....they parties, the plays, the concerts, the field trips......all are lasting memories our children will have. So thanks Daddy....for all you do for us so we can have so much fun!

So here are some shots from the year of all we have done at school with the kids with Daddy back filling with babysitting and working hard!