Friday, March 21, 2014

World Down Syndrome Day 2014: Celebrating Normal

Cookies by my awesome friend, Jill!  Check her out at Cookie Cutter Creations on Facebook!

Hello World! 

It's been quite a while since we've written!  We've been busily posting updates to family and friends via Facebook while in the meantime, our little blog has been left neglected and forlorn.  Much has happened in the last year: Kaetlyn turned three and started preschool, riding the bus each day; Grace turned two and somehow has developed the vocabulary and language skills of a 5-year old; Kaetlyn is picking up all kinds of language from her little sister, but is sure to remind her who is boss!  So, why, you ask, after a year did we pick up and write again?  Well, firstly with the hopes we might more frequently do so...and secondly, and more importantly, because it is World Down Syndrome Day 2014...3.21.14...and that is reason to celebrate and update our long-forgotten blog.

World Down Syndrome Day is meant to raise awareness and acceptance for all those who sport that little extra 21st chromosome. That awareness is not just about folks who have DS, but also those all around them. So, today, we write about and celebrate our simple, ordinary, every-day life that unexpectedly was blessed by a little something extra!

Hello World!

4 years ago, while I anxiously awaited the arrival of my precious Kaet, I didn't know what life would hold.  I was afraid of what trials and struggles my baby would have, but oh!  I loved her fiercely.  3 years ago as I pondered the wonder of the second life growing inside me, I wondered how would we make it work?  Two children not walking, not talking, one with special needs, both parents working, and three aging dogs.  I was once again afraid.  How would we define "normal"?
Gracie swingin'
Fast forward to today....  Normal?!  What is normal?   Our days start by running around (yes, literally RUNNING...they ARE 2 & 3!) in the morning to get dressed, hair combed, teeth brushed, dogs fed, and ready to get out the door. There can be tears over footwear (Grace loves rain boots, which Mommy doesn't always find appropriate), or tears over hair (Kaetlyn is in a "no brush" phase), and the ever-present sound of some show - Sophia The First, Daniel Tiger, or Doc McStuffins - in the background.  Then the rush to get in the car amongst choruses of "No I do it myself!" as little girls clamber into their car seats and attempt to don their 5-point harnesses.  Arrival at daycare is heralded with "Kaet's room first!" Or "Grace's room first!" depending on whose day it is to get to their room in advance of the other. Girls settled in, ready to learn or attend dance class or singing class, Mommies and Daddies at work, we eagerly anticipate day's end to spend more time together.
Kaetlyn practices her letter "L" at daycare

Gracie the Dancing Queen

Thursdays are big days - we get to see "Speech Sarah" and Grace is adamant lately that she gets to "play" with Speech Sarah while Kaet must sit with Mommy in the waiting room.  While that has yet to happen, it makes Kaet that much more interested in "playing" with Speech Sarah.  Oftentimes, Daddy meets us in the town where we see Speech Sarah and we get to go out to a restaurant and have someone else cook for us! 

Evenings are spent over family dinners at least 4 days a week.  Important topics such as favorite color, favorite shape, favorite animal, favorite fruit or vegetable, and inevitably favorite ear (Right?  Left?) are discussed. Then playtime and sometimes yoga with Mom or pretend to be an animal (Grace likes to hop like a frog; Kaet to roll like a bug!), somersault practice, and often tea parties are in the mix.  There's frequently singing ("Frozen" songs are high on the list these days! :))  Some nights it's bath night; every night has story time.  There's always the enviable task of telling girls to stay in their beds and go to sleep (though admittedly, this seems to be getting better!).  Lights out, day is done, repeat tomorrow!

Dress Up and GO!
Weekends are spent going to parks, attending birthday parties or the Tiny Tots symphony, running errands, playing dress up, helping with laundry, and myriad other "normal" tasks. It's ALL normal. Every bit of it.
Park Fun

Each day starts with a hug and kiss and ends with a hug and kiss. Some days are tougher than others and we're reminded that this is a journey. Some days are just downright joyful. The best thing about all of it is the friendship that exists between Kaetlyn and Grace. That we get to be a part of an amazing community and get to experience the ups and downs of having a child with Down Syndrome is, for us, simply normal.   And we would not have it any other way!
Happy world Down Syndrome Day everyone!  Here's to the beauty of life and the acceptance of everyone and, yes, to normal, in whatever form it may bring you.  :)

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