Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mom, Can I have a baby with Down syndrome?

Brothers and sisters of a sibling with Down syndrome have the most real and up close look at what it means for another to have Down syndrome. 

They don't have any preconcieved notions, ideas or expectations (or lack of expectations as well!). 

They just simply accept wholeheartedly their brother or sister. 

That doesn't mean they LIKE  every.   single.   thing.   that Braden does.  Allie sure gets hacked when Braden empties her bookshelf of books and leaves them in a heap after he has quickly paged through them.  That usually results in a roll of the eyes as she rearranges her shelf back to how she likes it.  Grant gets irritated in the back seat when Brady pokes his knee in that notorious game of "he's touching me" that I remember playing with my brothers!  That usually results in us making sure there is an open seat between the twins on long car rides.  Cameron sure does not appreciate when Braden kidnaps one of his stuffed animals and takes him for a swim in the fish tank.  That usually results in my laundry being bumpy and lumpy as I freshen up said kidnapped stuffed friend.  And Greyson doesn't like when Braden snitches one of his puffs off his highchair.  That usually results in a highpitched protest!

But...and this has got to be the biggest "but" ever...

Greyson loves when Braden shares his posse of animals with him.  Braden can entertain Greyson forever with his skillfull tossing of stuffed creatures.  He loves when Braden sings, complete with hand motions, the Itsy Bitsy Spider to him.   He loves that Braden will gather the wayward balls that go in the ball popper for him - over and over and over - long after the rest of us have tired of that stinkin ball popper!

Grant loves to play "bert tag" with Brady.  Braden is dead-on-accurate when throwing his stuffed Bert doll and so those two have made a game of it.  With Grant trying his absolute hardest, he is never quick enough to dodge that flying Bert doll.  Just when you think Grant has zigged out of the way Bert comes from nowhere and tags him squarely in the chest.  They will play that game for hours.  Both dying of hysterics.  Tickling and tackling and wrestling also often ensue between these two.  

Cameron loves to give Braden piggy back rides all over this house.  How someone hasn't gotten hurt yet is beyond me!  They also jump forever on the trampoline together, take turns jumping off the pool ladder and play for hours in the sandbox together.  These two are also quite the pair if God forbid there is an empty cardboard appliance box in the house!  What's with boys and their clubhouses?!

Allie loves her some Brady love.  Snuggling between those two is a daily occurance.  He just comes right up to her, says "snuggle", and she plops him in her lap for some serious big sister/little brother snuggle time.  In fact at night Brady will sometimes climb out of his bed, venture down the hall, and climb right in with sissy.  She wraps him up in the blankets and snuggles him close til morning.  These two are also our "dancy duo".  They are our only kids with any sense of rhythm.  Seriously.  Most nights you can see these two dancing in the kitchen to whatever "cool" teenage music Allie has playing.  She's always telling him they are gonna be the "first ones in and last ones out the club" when she gets older and can take him dancing. 

But the most telling of the way the kids feel, besides the hugs, besides the kisses, besides the snuggles, besides the games, besides all the dancing, is that both Allie and Cameron have at different times asked me - "When I grow up, can I have a baby with Down syndrome?". 

And I always tell them, "Only if your lucky!"

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Frogs, snails and puppy dog tails...

This picture is of Cameron a couple of summers ago.  But you know how sometimes there are certain pictures that just speak to your heart?  These just seem to capture all that is Cameron in them. 

He is totally boy - with all the dirt, bugs, and rough-and-tumble that come with it.  He is an aggressive football player, a hot-shot on his bike and loves making campfires with his dad. 

But there a such a soft side to this boy-all-boy that is his most endearing quality.  He can be so gentle -  just like he is here with this little froggy.  He was so careful and cautious with the frog making sure there would be no long term damage done from their brief encounter. 

But he also carries this gentleness through with his sister and brothers.  He truly dotes on Greyson.  Often first on the scene if he hears the baby crying.  He can also easily get Braden to do things others cannot.  With a hand on Braden's shoulder he often is seen gently guiding Braden on or off the school bus - especially when Braden would rather take a moment to eat some snow or even splash in a puddle!  Cameron is also such an enthusiastic learner - always coming up with crazy inventions or elaborate family games that often go on for weeks (and weeks and weeks).  He has yet to ever get anything but an A on a report card.  He is bright, and friendly and compassionate.  His teacher came up to me recently and said "I just have to tell you - Cameron is everything that is good, and decent and kind.  He knows how to have fun but definately knows when it's time to get back to work.  He loves that baby brother of his - and I have no doubt when he grows up will be a great husband and father!"  I so agree!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Seriously - A gravity defying snowman!

With all this snow we of course had to make a ginormous 8 foot snowman.  That's exactly when having a 6ft-5" husband comes in handy.  You know for getting that way too heavy snowman head up there. 

I'm not sure if it was the asparagus we used for the spiky hair that gave him this super power...

but this snowman was not giving up without a fight...

never really thought that snowmen could be FLEXIBLE...

Did he drop something?!

I think he's leaning into the wind...

This whole process took 4 days.  The kids were jumping out of bed in the mornings to check on him to see if he'd hit the ground yet.  Very entertaining but still a little odd!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The conversations I have!

Anybody that knows Braden knows how he loves his stuffed animals.  He plays with them all the time, throwing them from one room to another, taking pictures of them, bouncing them on the trampoline with him, sleeping with them, and oh so much more.  We often refer to them as his "posse".  Now back when he was in kindergarten, they had a home center.  They could play like they were taking care of a house.  Included in that area was a feather duster which Braden took a real liking to.  Then he discovered that we had one here at home and pretty soon that became his feather duster and was assimilated into his "posse".  Just like one of the herd!  It was included in all those activities I mentioned before.  In fact, a couple of times he has climbed into bed with us in the middle of the night and I have awakened to discover that I had also spent the night with our blue feather duster.  He'd tucked it in bed right between us - covered with blankets and all.  The other day he had gotten home from school and quickly disappeared into the playroom.  He was even so nice as to remember on his own to shut the door to keep Greyson from getting in there (we have that area still for the big kid toys that have many small pieces).  15 minutes later he opens the door and he is standing there with a dripping wet blue feather duster!  Obviously, it had been swimming in the dogs' water bowl.  Yeesh!  He gives it to me to put on the sink to dry (he knows the drill since this isn't the first thing to have ever gone swimming in the dogs' water).  Says "Sorry Mom" and sits himself on the steps.  Like I said he knows the drill!  :)  The other kids are laughing now at him self punishing himself.  It's like he knew he'd get in trouble for doing it but just couldn't resist taking that feather duster for a swim.  And so now to our conversation.  It went something like "Braden you cannot put feather duster in the water.  It will get soaked and soggy and not be fluffy like you love it.  Then you won't be able to sleep with it any more and I'm sure that will make you sad.  So, please, play with your feather duster the way your suppose to and do not take it for a swim ever again. No more water for your feather duster, ok?"  Which he replied "ok" and off he went.  What the proper way to play with a feather duster is I'm not exactly sure.  Just think it must certainly not involve water.  Before kids and certainly before Braden, I never would have thought I would have had such a serious conversation about a FEATHER DUSTER!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

All's quiet... for now!

Funny right now my house is silent.  Greyson is up taking a nap, all the big kids are at school, this isn't one of Tom's work-from-home-days, and even the dogs are upstairs napping.  I'm all alone in this big ole house.  I can even hear the furnace kick on and off.  I'm able to easily do what needs to get done without any interruption.  But, that is about to change!  Allie will be home momentarily from highschool  ready to tell me all about her day - the good, the bad and the ugly.  The dogs will wake up and come flying down the stairs as soon as she hits the door.  They will get all worked up knowing the stream of kids is about to flow back into this house.  Then within the next half hour, Cameron, Grant and Braden will also come home from school.  They pretty much explode through the door.  There will be 4 backpacks, coats, mittens, hats, lunchbags, shoes, school folders, school papers all strewn around.  Everyone, except Braden, will be needing a reminder about where each of those items needs to go.  You know the "hang up your coat, put your shoes in the bin, put your back pack in the closet, put your luchbag on the counter, put your folder away" drill.  Cameron and Grant will be vying for airtime to tell all about their days and Braden will wait til I pry that same info out of him.  This hootinanny will always wake up the wee one who will "sing" loudly in his room til one of the big kids runs up to rescue him from isolation.  He LOVES LOVES LOVES when the kids come home from school.  And so do I!