Friday, May 27, 2011

Happy All the Time...

Myth #1
People with Down syndrome are happy all the time.

John Michael and Luke are starting to mutually enjoy each others' company, which thrills me. To see these two together, as in the photo above, makes my heart sing with joy. And I wish it was like this all the time...

I love photography. Just as poetry captures the moment in writing, photography captures the moment visually. And while they say a picture is worth a thousand words... it's the moment before and after that remains unseen...

So, Myth #1 is that John Michael, and all people with Ds, is happy all the time.


In the 20 minutes before this photo was taken, I had corrected John Michael a dozen or more times for patting Luke on the head a little too hard... Pulling Luke toward him too tight... For grabbing the sample of root beer float away from Luke that I was holding for him to taste... For biting my fingers (it was an accident, but his teeth are SHARP!) when I was doling out turkey burger patty samples... etc, etc...

Life, right now, is in constant motion... kinda like a carousel spinning out of control, and I can't find a way to jump off.

These two together are both wonderful and trouble at the same time. John Michael can go from total joy and fun to total fit for not getting his way in no time at all. He will say, "Mom! Mom!" until I say, "What?" and give him the answer he wants. If not, he'll keep repeating himself. I LOVE that he is talking so much... really talking... and then I feel terrible when he doesn't get the subleties of language when I say, "No, you can't play a game right now. Maybe later."

"Mom! Mom! Game. Cows."

"No, John Michael, no cow game right now."

"Mom! Mom!"

"No, John Michael, no game."

"Mom! Mom! Game. Cows."

Now, repeat 3 or 4 more times...

When he finally gives up, he cries.

Yes, it would be easier for me to give him the game, but I need to teach him that he doesn't get what he wants all the time (and I recently heard that cell phones are harmful to our kids and they shouldn't have them near their bodies too often).

Anyway, just wanted to bust that myth.

I'm glad it's not true... really.
I mean, I wouldn't want him just going through life without a vast array of feelings and experiences. I can say from experience, though, that when he's happy, he really is genuinely happy. And it's a wonderful thing. He's funny, too. I also love that he tells me he's happy.

"Mom! Happy."

"Yes, John Michael, happy. I'm happy you're happy. :-) " 

And I think to myself... "Even though life is a challenge right now with you and Luke finding trouble together, I'm still very happy to be your mom, because the joy far outweighs anything else."

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Three Small Words... One Giant Message!

We interrupt this blog post with 3 small words from our sponsor...

That's right, Folks.  John Michael wants to say,

"I.  LOVE.  YOU."

Now, go and have an awesome day!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Emerging sense of humor...

With John Michael's growing spoken vocabulary of up to 4 word phrases, he is initiating conversation and really wanting to tell us things.  Through all this, his sense of humor is also really shining through.  It's so fun... this boy is seriously funny, and I'm thrilled that we're starting to see it.

Some mornings, when it's just too hard to wake him, I play a little game with him.  First, I wake up his arms by rubbing them and saying, "Wake up, arms".  Then we wake up his fingers, his legs, his toes, his tummy, his elbows, his nose, etc..  He LOVES this and before long is naming parts that I "forgot" to wake up.

Yesterday, I pretty much covered his whole body, including ears, hair, knees and back.  I said, "John Michael, is there anything else we need to wake up?"

"Yes (thess)," he said, with a huge smile. 

Lifting his arm high in the air, shouted, "Armpits!"

I laughed my head off. 
His huge, wonderful smile, much like in the photo below, showed me he was ready to start the day.

I hope your Mother's Day was wonderful! 

This was, by far, the best Mother's Day I've ever had!  Doug made reservations for all of us and his mom to go to my favorite restaurant, Il Fornaio, for Mother's Day brunch.  Such a treat!  The kids thoroughly enjoyed being spoiled at a nicer restaurant (our standard is Old Spaghetti Factory).

John Michael and Greta shared a huge waffle and orange juice, and my veggie frittata with mushrooms and asparagus was out of this world!

Luke had his first taste of orange juice.  I think the pucker tells everything  LOL!

After brunch, we strolled around the Galleria for a couple hours, doing a little shopping (something else we rarely ever do!).  So much fun!
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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Expressions and Manners

 John Michael is almost 3 1/2, and in the past few months, I've noticed many changes in him. So many, in fact, that I can only post a few areas at a time. One thing that has surprised me, and is very exciting, is his use of expressions in his speech.

Last week, while checking out this fire engine, I heard him describe it as "Cool!" or "Wow!" and tell me, "Look, Mom! Hole!" to describe where the hose fits on the truck.

Another favorite thing to say is, "Listen!" and point to his ear, or "Watch", or "C'mon, Mom!" to get me to actively participate in something he's doing. He's also claiming to hear a bear and tell me he's scared, or tell me, "Ouch! Hurts! Finger!" Three words together is becoming more common, too, as are words with more syllables. Yesterday, he said watermelon perfectly, broken up in to two words... "water melon".

One of his big brother Nic's first phrases when he was little was, "Sit down, Mom." I had to laugh when, the other day, John Michael told me, "Mom, sit!" and patted the carpet for me to come sit next to him. It was so cute and yet, kinda bossy, which also made me laugh. The most bossy, annoying thing he's saying lately is "Dwiet!" (quiet) whenever anyone, mostly Anna, is singing in the car. Of course, he got that one from me, because I got into the habit of telling Anna to be quiet whenever she would sing her solos from the musical Bye Bye Birdie at the top of her lungs in the kitchen. So, I'm paying for that now, because he even tells me to be quiet when I'm rehearsing!

Last week, out of the blue, he said, "Woo hoo!" when something went his way. It was so cute, I had to giggle. It's so cute to hear him use expressions and realize that he's using them exactly as they're intended. He really gets it... and he is starting to let me know.

John Michael has also shown us that he's pretty funny, too. If he could talk in complete sentences, I know he'd be telling us jokes non-stop. He's a prankster and loves to get us to laugh. Recently, he's started pretending to be different animals, like a snake or lion or tiger. His growls come from the bottom of his gut and you won't want to mess with him if he growls at you. But then, when you tell him, "Oh, John Michael, how scary!", he breaks into laughter as if to say, "Got you!" Which is another expression... he loves to say, "Got you!" and then tickle you. He's also recently shortened his "Thank you" to just "Thanks." I just love it!

"Mom! See! Eggs!"

Besides expressions, John Michael has good manners. When someone in our family sneezes, he's the first to say, "Bless you!"
Last week, a lady at church blew her nose and he turned around to say, "Bless you!" It was so sweet. Coughing, sneezing and nose blowing all get the same treatment around here. There's no shortage of blessings :-) He also gives us blessings on our forehead, which is very sweet, and shakes hands with others at the Sign of Peace. At Communion, he waits in line, walks up with his arms folded across his chest, receives a blessing, and walks back to our aisle. We used to have to either chase him or just hold him. Now, he gets back to where we were sitting.

He is also learning to pause to say grace before meals. He does his best to make the sign of the cross and then we all hold hands and say grace, followed by, "Amen!" He prefers to use utensils, uses a napkin to clean his mouth and chin when I remind him, and can eat an entire bowl of Froot Loops. OK, not something I'm proud of in a nutrional sense, but we actually work on colors as he's eating... and then he finishes up by drinking the milk from the bowl. Well, so not everything is considered "good manners", but we think it's great at home.

I have so much to write about... but want it to be relevant. Is there anything in particular I should post about?

I'd love to hear from you again... :-)