Monday, October 15, 2012
I want to do 31 for 21 and in fact enjoy writing and blogging about our lives.
I commit to 31 for 21.
I miss a day (or four).
I beat myself up and feel guilty.
I decide I will make up all the posts.
Live is crazy busy and catching up seems overwhelming so I avoid and do other things (Hello Airport Mania!).
I feel guilty and think about not blogging or catching up...alternating these steps ad nauseum.
So....here's the thing. Work has been crazy busy, our lives have been crazy busy, sometimes by the end of the day I'm not interested in talking any more and just want to veg out. Sometimes I suck it up an blog, sometimes I zone out. I've decided I'm not catching up unless I find I have more than one thing to say in a day and that I'm going to do what I can to blog for 31 for 21, but the reality is that we have a normal, busy life and that's more a testimony for living a life of normalcy with DS than anything else I can write.
Seriously. It's not funny or smart or even an effective put down anymore. Are you really someone who has to belittle a class of people who have enough challenges to make yourself feel smarter, better, or whatever it is that you think calling someone a retard will solve for you? All it proves is ignorance (especially if you keep doing it when you've been told it's hate language), a lack of compassion, and (for continued, repeat offenders) a level of spite and meanness that is incredible unattractive in a human being.
More information about the R-word and ending its denigrating use at www.r-word.org/.
Monday, October 8, 2012
Tonight was much better than I thought it was going to be. Tony was gone so it was just us girls with me only having about 5 hours sleep and there's an inverse relationship between amounts of sleep and shoutyness (Less sleep = more shouty) and it was a crazy day.
We were ok, though. At one point, Meredith and Ellie were playing and running around with laughing and squealing that requires smiles and a lifting of spirits. We studied for Meredith's science test and read Ellie's family book from preschool. (She was so excited to get to our family page...will have to share in another post). There was an inpromptu dance party that was funny (Ellie kept swinging as Meredith and I tried to dance in a circle). There was Wii cycling and swordfighting.
The best, though, was having the girls snuggle in after dinner to read a bit, do phonics/sounds. Meredith said she'd read and Ellie will do just about anything if Meredith is doing it so they tucked in and read Biscuit, which Ellie started liking this summer. I really love seeing how sisterly they can be and really appreciated and needed this moment today.
Sunday, October 7, 2012
Yes. I'm a post behind and to top it off I'm going to have a bit of a bitch about the suckitude of Down Syndrome because tonight Ellie lost a tooth and we think another one will be out soon. The problem with this is that a) she's only 4.5; b) if it was some sort of trauma, neither Tony or I or any other caregiver knows what happened and c) she couldn't tell us about it until her mouth was oozing blood.
Earlier in the day, I noticed El's lower front teeth looked really spacey...liked they had more space than normal between them. I made a little note to ask next time we're at the dentist and went along with the day. Next thing we're eating dinner and El's being a turkey (usual MO) but signed her mouth hurt. When she still didn't eat or do what Tony asked her, he looked at her and realized her mouth was bleeding. I looked in (yuck...momma does not do teeth and mouth stuff) and saw the loose tooth much looser...off to the bathroom (easier to clean up) to check it out and have Tony try to see what's going on. Calls to pediatrician and pediatric dentist who both think some kind of trauma to the mouth. Upon further investigation it does look like she hit the bottom of her chin then bit down on her top lip. Of course the nurse asks, "where does she say its hurting?" And you have to explain that El doesn't really talk, that even if she did I don't think she'd be able to answer some of the questions (what happened? Where does it hurt? How does it hurt/wat kind of pain? Etc) they want to know.
And this is the suckitude part...the not knowing or having a way to know from El about what is going on with her. You'd think that a trauma to the mouth that caused two teeth to loosen would have resulted in tears, but I don't know of anything. There have been lots of other tears, but more because we won't get her a second serving of popcorn or let her put grapes in her bowl (she's very do-it-myself right now).
And then, because you don't know, you have to worry about all the possibilities and even make up a few. And while you wouldn't want her any other way, you want (desperately) to know she's okay or to tell you when she hurts, but the stupid DS prevents her at 4.5 years old from telling you.
And to cap off the whining, we now need to go see out dentist (who is awesome) in this super crazy busy week and try to get x-rays from a kids who doesn't know what's going on and to explain about losing teeth and just overall dealing with this when all I really wanted was for a peaceful week with no extra drama.
Friday, October 5, 2012
While counting various things, we also read lots of books with counting and numbers. The 10 Little Ladybug book was in heavy rotation for a while and it counts backwards from 10 and she'll read through it and sign/say the numbers and whatnot. We also count how many bites she has to eat of something she's not particularly keen on.
Anyway...point is...we count. Numbers are fun!
The other day, I picked Ellie up from daycare and found her sitting in the little mud ditch outside. Yay! So bath time was moved up from after to dinner to when we walked in the door. She doesn't love having her hair washed so I usually tell her how many pitchers/cups of water I'm going to pour. Wednesday night, I said okay, four times and then poured a cup of water on her head. Before I could say three, Ellie says/signs three, then we did two then one. I don't know for sure that she was counting the pours backward, but on the other hand, I don't know that she wasn't accurately counting. From her verbal and facial expression it seems like she knew she only had three more to endure.
At first I was surprised and excited because I didn't expect her to do the backward count! Yay Ellie! But then, I find myself beating myself up because I should expect her to do it and shouldn't be surprised at how much she knows. I think she knows lots and lots but because she doesn't have the verbal or sign language capacity, we don't know how much is locked in her beautiful head. She's a little sponge who is a keen observer and I usually feel like we could be doing so much more with her (more flash cards, more therapy, more, more, more!!!!!); and it become more and more obvious that there is (and has never been) any lack in her; that I am really the one that needs the work.
I don't know why Thursday is our very bad, no good, horrible day. We first noticed it (I think) after Meredith was born. Tony and I would find we were nitpicking and sniping at each other and then we finally realized that it usually seemed to be on Thursday. I don't know if it was just being tired by the end of the week of juggling work and schlepping Meredith around, but at some point on Thursdays we just look at each other and go "it's Thursday." Then hold it together until girls are in bed and everyone goes to their separate corner.
So that's my excuse. Now, I'm going to post about what Ellie did in the tub on Wednesday!
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
The day has been long and frustrating and I don't have much to say since it feels like everything that comes out of my mouth is harsh. I hate the tone and try for patience buy failed, failed, failed today. Hopefully, a good night's sleep and deep breaths will help tomorrow. If not, how needs happy pills when there are donuts?
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Ellie likes to sleep on the floor. Usually, she falls asleep in the corner where the door and wall are so you have to push her when you open the door. When Tony or I go to bed, we pick her up and put her on the bed.
After a long day which saw me getting home around 11:15, I went in and kissed Meredith then went into Ellie's room to find her on the floor under her bed.
Monday, October 1, 2012
It's 31 for 21, a commitment to blog everyday in October to raise awareness for Down Syndrome. Although my blog has been silent for almost a year (yikes!), lots has happened and I think that writing a bit each day is the least I can do both to help educate about DS, but also just share some perspectives.
October is a busy and interesting month since it's also Spina Bifida Awareness month, Disability Employment Awareness month, and, of course, the juggernaut of breast cancer. I think all these things are good to be aware about. I only wish that they didn't occur at the same time so that the message that disabilities are a part of life would really seep in.
I fully admit that I was ignorant and blase about my awareness of disability and it's impact on individuals, their lives, their loved ones, their caregivers. I knew we get old and slow down. I was taught that people in wheelchairs or who didn't look like me did not deserve ridicule or hate. I didn't know, though, until Ellie was born, how much disability there is in the world at each phase of life.
So many families are impacted at birth, some through accidents later in life, some will care for others with a disability, and the majority of us will experience disability at some point -losing hearing, mobility challenges, etc.- if we live long enough.
So, while I will spend this month talking about Down Syndrome and it's effect in our lives, I think it's important to put it in the wider context of disability as a whole and to challenge the prevailing thoughts; to change the paradigm (and language) associated with those who aren't "typical." Because Disability Employment Awareness month will become important when Ellie goes to seek work; and Meredith and her friends will be at risk for neural tube defects when they decide to have children; and women battling cancer (of any kind...get checked out!) are definitely experiencing (hopefully temporary) disability, but disability nonetheless.