Saturday, January 29, 2011

On walking...

Dylan is now 2 years and 7 months old (seriously, how is that even possible?) and he does not walk.

He does not walk and that is OK.

When we moved into our new place, we had to begin working with a whole new team of Early Intervention specialists. During that transition, I think we had about two months off from all services and while I did experience a bit of guilt about it, I also felt that the break from it all was actually quite nice. I was able to stop thinking in terms of Dylan reaching goals and begin seeing that Dylan is doing exactly what he needs to be doing. No pressure, just livin' life.

We started Early Intervention here and as I mentioned in a previous post, one of the very first questions his new PT asked me is, "Why isn't Dylan walking?". It caught me off-guard because I had stopped thinking in terms of what Dylan isn't doing and was in the complete mindset of what Dylan is doing.

She says that he is not walking because he is not confident.

I say that he is not walking because he is not ready. Whether it's physical, mental, emotional, whatever, he is simply not ready. And I am not going to push it, I'm just not. Will I work with him? Yes. Will I encourage him? Yes. Will I cheer him on like a wild woman when he cruises along the furniture? Yes.

Will I stress about it? No.

He is going to get there and he's going to do it when HE is ready. I have learned a long time ago that these things happen not on my timeline. I used to say, "Oh, I wish so badly that he'll learn to walk before he turns 2." or "before he goes to preschool." or "before the summer comes"...

Why? What good does that do?

He's trying.

He's learning.

He's building confidence, albeit slowly.

And it's all OK.

He's a happy kid living his life.

And that means more to me than anything else.

The walking? It will come. It will come exactly when it is suppose to come.

When Dylan is ready.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

What I Am

Last week as I attempted to guide Dylan with self-feeding, I saw it. Frustration. Total frustration. Dylan had the spoon and dunked it into the applesauce. He brought it clumsily up to his face and missed his mouth almost completely. I kept my smile on and said, "Oh! That's OK! That's alright!". Dylan made a sound that I can only describe as total frustration.

I think that was the first time I have seen that from him.

He attempted something that is difficult for him and he knew, he knows, that it's hard. He knows that he is not good at it and he is very frustrated by that.

I was explaining this to one of his new therapists a few days ago and as I was talking to her, I realized that this hurt. Knowing that my son is feeling frustrated by something that he can not do well, and realizing that he now knows it is hard for him...that hurts.

She responded with, "This is why we need to get him walking as soon as possible. He is only getting bigger and smarter and will soon be feeling bad about not being able to walk, too.".

That hurt, too.


Last night we went sledding with my sister and her 2 sons. Cassidy was struggling with carrying up her own sled and eventually got frustrated. "I CAN'T DO THIS!", she yelled about half-way up the hill. Becky and I shouted to her, "You CAN! Keep going!". She continued to get increasingly more frustrated by the whole situation until finally (apparently) she threw herself backwards into a snow bank. (I missed that part as I had just prior to that decided that "Dylan" was too cold and therefore I should bring him back into the nice warm house).

But Cass was frustrated. She could not do something that she wanted to do. It was difficult for her and that frustrated her.

That hurt to see.


This morning I made the connection between Dylan's frustration and Cassidy's frustration. It IS frustrating when you can not do things that you feel you should be able to do. (Honestly, I feel it most mornings as I reach the "upper abs" section of Jackie Warner's On Demand workout. I should be able to do this. Why can't I breathe, why can't I DO THIS?!!) Life can be frustrating. Life can be challenging. Not only for Dylan, though...not only for kids with special needs, but for everyone. Will it be more so for Dylan? As things become increasingly challenging, will it be more frustrating for him? Will it hurt him knowing that he is not able to do things that his peers can do?

I honestly do not know, but what I DO know is that the whole notion of thinking about and focusing on what we can't do is wrong. Yes it's frustrating when we can't do things, but look at all of what we CAN do!

When Dylan's new Physical Therapist came to our house for the first time two weeks ago, one of the very first questions she asked me is, "Why isn't he walking?". I responded, "I don't know. Perhaps he is not ready.". I wish I had added to that all of the amazing things that he CAN do.

Walking will come. Self feeding will come. Cass being able to carry up her own sled - that will come, too. We need to continue to build on that self-confidence, though, because there will always be frustrations with the things that we can't do.

Oh how I want my kids to see the good in themselves and to have the confidence to know exactly what they are. To keep their heads up high, be strong, and be the best that they can be... I want...when the frustrations come, for them to keep going, to roll with the punches and to remember all that they CAN do.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

He's growing up.

Sweet Sergey M.

Two days ago as I sat looking through the pictures of children with Down syndrome listed in the "Youngest Waiting Children" section of Reece's Rainbow, I noticed that Sergey wasn't where he used to be. I scrolled down and down and even further down. Maybe he got moved to a different spot on this page?

No. He wasn't there.

My heart jumped. Could it be?! Maybe...did he...could he...has he been found?! Finally?! I looked at the "My Family Found Me" page.


He is not there.

No, his family has not found him yet.

I remembered his birthday, then, and I found him. Immediate tears. Sergey is about to turn 3 and is now listed in the "Most At Risk" section of Reece's Rainbow. As a 3 year old, he is now getting closer to the day when, if not adopted soon, he will be transferred to a mental institution.


I can't even bear it.

Today I looked again. I wanted to see his sweet little face, his big gray eyes, his perfect little mouth and lovely bald head. I wanted to send loving, positive thoughts to little Sergey. I scrolled down and what did I see?

A new picture! Look at him! Look at how much he has grown! Ah, my heart. He is waiting, all. He is waiting for his mama. He needs his mama. Is it YOU?

And if it isn't...if it can not be you, you can still do something to help. Please click here to donate.

Sweet, sweet Sergey.

Friday, January 14, 2011

It begins with...


It Begins With Awareness.


If you have not seen this yet, do. I ask you to please, please watch. Grab a tissue (or 5) and with your heart open and a willingness to understand and be inspired, watch it.

(And look closely for a surprise appearance from our little friend, Dylan...)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

These may be things...

that appeal only to this mama's heart, but they are...

A few nights ago as I attempted to cook dinner, I couldn't help but notice that Dylan was not a happy camper. Rather than busying himself with the magnetic letters and "fridge DJ" like he usually does, he sat on the kitchen floor and yelled and fussed.

It continued this way until Cassidy came running into the kitchen holding a piece of paper with a drawing she had just finished. She took the paper, stuck it on the refrigerator and proclaimed, "There. That should help".

I asked her what it was and she said that it was a "picture for Dylan to remind him how to act". The first face is a picture of Dylan with a smiley face and the second is a picture of Dylan with a sad face...and a line through it.

Ah, so hard to believe that this little one can be such a serious fussbudget, isn't it?

Oh but he CAN! And each time he started to fuss, Cassidy would say, "Uh uh uh! Look at the picture, Dylan. Look at the picture...".


And on another note:

In addition to increasing his signing vocabulary (his very best sign now being "ice cream" which he signs frantically about half-way through dinner), Dylan has also begun speaking (and attempting to speak) more words! This has been really exciting for us! I kept forgetting to get a video and then finally remembered mid-way through his breakfast yesterday, so please pardon the food in his mouth.

Here are a few of his favorite words:

Some other words that he loves to say but that I forgot to ask him about are: papa (cough), up, "Tass" (Cass), sock, mama, dada...

Because we have moved, we have been on an Early Intervention vacation for about 2 months! Yikes! We officially began again last Friday and are looking forward to learning lots in the next 5 months before ol' Dylan heads off to PRESCHOOL!!

As the saying goes, "The days are long but the years are short". Enjoy IT!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

No Vague Dream

I received this quote in my email the other day and felt it so fitting:

"One is happy as a result of one's own efforts - once one knows the necessary ingredients of happiness - simple tastes, a certain degree of courage, self-denial to a point, love of work, and, above all, a clear conscience.

Happiness is no vague dream, of that I now feel certain."

-George Sand

I hope that when my total belief in this Happiness Project begins to waver, because I am quite certain that at some point it will, I can go back and reread this quote and remind myself that yes, it is right. It is true. Keep at it. Maybe it doesn't feel like it right now, but it's working. It is!

And this. This one, too:

"In my view happiness includes chiefly the idea of 'satisfaction after full
honest effort.' Everybody is guilty of mistakes and of serious
mistakes...But it need not be fatal to a general satisfaction...But no one
can possibly be satisfied, and therefore no one can in my sense be happy,
who feels that in some paramount affair he has failed to take up the
challenge of life."

—Arnold Bennett

My January goals are coming along. Working out is wonderful, I am tackling tasks left and right, and I am making a point of trying to act more energetic. Now, "organizing and tossing out"? That is one goal that I am failing miserably at! Ah well. As the woman in my On Demand yoga workout said this morning - "It doesn't have to be perfect. It takes time and it takes practice."...

So, onward we go. One day at a time. Learning, working, practicing, and seeing the good in all things.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Happiness Project - January

Since I have begun reading The Happiness Project, I have been a woman on a mission. I've been consumed with feelings of purpose, direction, understanding and connection... finally.

That book was waiting for me that day in the library, I just know it.

This past week, whenever I noticed that my kids were engaged in something other than me, I would grab my little library book, my trusty lined notepad, and a pen. I'd pick up right where I left off.

The author, Gretchen Rubin, began her Happiness Project in January. Perfect - so will I. She began her project launch with a focus on boosting energy. It makes perfect sense to me - boosting energy will make it easier to stick to all of the happiness project resolutions for future months. So, like Gretchen, I have committed to "Vitality" for the month of January.

Vitality for me includes:
1. working out
2. acting more energetic (act the way you want to feel)
3. tossing out, organizing
4. tackling nagging tasks

I have created a "resolutions chart" which I hope will hold me accountable for these four goals for the month of January. It is currently taped on my refrigerator, waiting, eagerly...

Oh...if you know me you know that I have spent the majority of my life "working out". I swam my way through elementary, middle, high school and then college, too. As if that wasn't enough, I continued to swim for a masters team in Colorado after graduation from college. I then added cycling and running to the mix and competed in triathlons as well as a full marathon while living in California.

After I had Cassidy, I stopped exercising. Completely. People said, "Oh, well, you're busy." "You're a mom now.". "You must be too tired.". I'd say, "Well, yes, that's it.". Then I had Dylan and apparently I was even busier and even more tired. Yes I was, but if I really wanted to, I could have found a way to exercise. I could have made it happen, absolutely. The truth of the matter was, I had lost it. I had lost the spark, the desire, the fire that I once had. Every single ounce of my soul had gone into my kids. Exercise no longer mattered to me.

It matters to me now.

Four days ago, I set my watch alarm for 5:30am. I figured my kids would be up shortly after that, but perhaps I could squeeze in a 20 minute Jillian Michael's workout (my sister had just recently showed me how to use "On Demand". How awesome is that?!). At 5:26am Cassidy came shuffling into my room, "Can I lay with you?". "Oh Cass...I'm doing my exercises this morning. Remember?". (I was so excited about my upcoming workout I had told Cass all about it the night before.) She said she'd do it with me. So, we both did Jillian Michael's in our pjs. We used water bottles for weights. We banged on the floor so loudly doing our jumping jacks that we accidentally woke up Dylan. Not ideal, but a start nonetheless.

And there we go. I started. I did it and I'm going to keep doing it.


My Happiness Project...I wonder if this all sounds horribly selfish? Yes, one of my goals in doing this is to be happier, but in being happier, I will be able to make others happier as well. I know, without question, that being a happier Laurie will help me to be a better mama, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, advocate, etc etc... If I want to do all that I know I want to do, it has to start like this...with me.

There is so much more to share, but those are posts for another day.

For now: Happy.