Sunday, June 28, 2009

Will My Child Have A Friend?

When Reid was born and we learned of his diagnosis a thousand thoughts and fears flooded me...many of which went to his future. A scary place to be when my son was only a few hours old and I really didn't know much of Down syndrome at that point. But, one of the thoughts I had or something I questioned was will he have friends? My heart hurt as I thought of this and wondered.Recently Reid answered the question for me...not that I didn't know the answer much sooner then now as he has been enveloped and loved by so many especially Luke's friends who I can only imagine as big protectors and extra big brothers for him later in life...but recently Reid made a little friend all by himself! About 7 weeks ago Reid started what is considered "center based therapy" in place of some of our home therapy that he was receiving (Mary if you are reading this, we miss you and Infant Stimulation so much!!). Reid loves his little school and loves his little friend Elijah. You can see in the first picture that Reid was not too sure of him at first with his hands behind his back...but he was quick to warm up and these two are now the best little fact below you can see Reid tickling Elijah and hamming it up (Elijah is quite the ham himself and absolutely adorable!). 
All these pictures are from Reid's first day there. During circle time on the floor he decided he had had enough and decided to pull his socks off only to put them on his hands as puppets that he made talk to all the kids sitting around him. I watched Elijah watch him and sure enough....he pulled his socks off too. 
It was happening...Reid was making friends, a special friend at that. The director has told me several times that these two are like old souls who have found each other. Do you know how that absolutely made my heart sing?! She has even reported that Elijah has become Reid's body guard. Apparently a little girl had pushed Reid down on the playground and Elijah saw from a distance...put his own toy down... and came over to where they were and pushed the little girl down that pushed Reid. 
Recently I had the privilege of meeting Elijah's parents as we kept missing each other at drop off and pick up. I couldn't wait to tell his mom how much both Reid and I have fallen in love with Elijah and how much I love watching these two wave goodbye to me from the window with their arms around each other and faces shmooshed against the window (I have to get a picture of is too cute!) and how Reid planted a big kiss on Elijah's lips one day as we were leaving. talking with Elijah's mom I came to find out that she has a younger sister who has Down syndrome. Hmnnn...was there something in Reid's little spirit that Elijah sensed that drew them close? She showed me pictures of her sister and she is absolutely beautiful fantastic is this.... she is part of the cheerleading squad for her high school!! Zoey, Presley, Preslie, and Caydence cheerleading just might be in your future too!

Oh, where was that crystal ball when Reid was born that could of shown me glimpses of the future and showed me these pictures and told me of these moments that would of helped ease my heart when he was so tiny? No, no crystal ball to be had....just a journey of discovery with my little guy. What we have both discovered is that Down syndrome is not holding him back in any capacity....his life is full and filled with joy and special little friends. Thanks Elijah!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Fathers Day......."Mr. Incredible"

Happy Fathers Day Toby! July 26, 2001 you became a dad for the first time... a new role that you were absolutely made for...and might I say made me fall in love with you all over again just by watching you love and care for our new little baby and then again when Reid was born 5 years later....a day we will never forget, yet you handled with such absolute love and acceptance! Our boys could not ask for a more loving, patient, involved, fun, and dedicated dad! Luke got it right when he called you "Mr. Incredible"! We love you!!

** Just before school got out Luke was to pick a special person to write about for "Special Persons Day" at school and invite them to class to hear him read his essay...Luke picked his dad, who with all his might feels his dad is nothing short of incredible, I'd have to agree.

Mr. Incredible

   Hi, do you want to know who my special person is? You do? That's great! Well, this person has blue eyes and brown hair. He makes me smile when I'm down in the dumps. This person is always there when I need him. He is my incredible dad, Toby Foreman.
   Bam! The ball goes in the hole. "Nice shot dad. You are an incredible golfer." My dad can do all kinds of things. He is especially good at roasting coffee. Every time my dad comes back from a trip he spoils me with a gift. For example, today he came back from Hawaii and he brought me a shark tooth necklace and a hat. My dad is a smart and caring person. He teaches me stuff like what coagulate means and what the centrifugal force is. He makes me laugh everyday.
   Dad, I am glad that I am your son. I am also glad that you are a part of my family. I love you!

Luke Foreman

I need to comment on this last was taken during Luke's "Scooby Doo" Birthday party. We created a real mystery for the kids to solve...the Birthday Bandit was on the loose and had stolen all the birthday presents. The kids followed clues to find the culprit...who was Toby. In this picture he is reciting a script I had given to him the night before...and yes I am not beyond writing out scripts for least this one, the theme just screamed for one (LOL)! :)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Summer's Here!!!!

It's's out, and SUMMER has begun!


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ears and Adenoids and Thyroid...Oh My!

Well, Friday we headed to outpatient surgery to have tubes put in Reid's ears...or so we thought. In the last few months Reid started to be a little wobbly in his walking and we wondered if he was having equilibrium problems because of fluid in his ears....also the fact that he called me "Bob" instead of "Mom" up until a few months ago also made me wonder if something was going on with his ears (Luke was so sad when Reid started to call me Mom, he thought Bob was the funniest thing ever!). Anyway, to make a long story short Reid ended up not needing tubes after all as there was actually hardly any fluid there...and she said his ear canals were just too teeny tiny to put the tubes in. I know children with Down syndrome tend to have small ear canals but apparently Reid takes the cake when it comes to teeny tiny. So, no tubes....but she did decide to take out his adenoids (hmmmnnn in for tubes but out with no adenoids...okay, I can handle it). Actually I was glad she took it upon herself to do this when she saw the need because that was on my "checklist" of things to discuss with her a little later down the road....but apparently I can now check that one off. Actually, I can check another thing off as Reid was in having the ears taken care of a nurse called me on the phone and said, "Reid is okay, but we need to know when you last had his thyroid checked?"...This seemed like a weird question and it made me nervous so my first response was to ask if he was having a hard time with the anesthesia...the response was, "No, it is just a Down syndrome thing, and since we had to get a line in him to draw blood we might as well draw an extra vile for the thyroid since it should be checked". Wow, when I got over my initial nervousness I was actually so pleased that this Dr. knew about Down syndrome and had the forethought to utilize this time to be as comprehensive with his care as possible. Though our time in outpatient surgery took FORRR-EVER.... I was and am so pleased with our doctor! Ears (check), Adenoids (check), Thyroid (Check)!! :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Love and Expectations of a Big Brother

On the way home from school the other day Luke told me, "Mom, I don't care how long it takes or how hard it is... I am going to teach Reid until he can get into the GATE class". GATE meaning Gifted And Talented Education, which Luke is currently in the cluster class for.  He totally caught me off guard. OH MY GOSH, what a sweetheart this little boy is! And with all that is in him, he means it...the love and expectations of a brother are just unmeasurable! I truly believe that if we have high expectations for our children, all our children, and give them opportunity to grow and shine, they will. Somehow Luke has learned that already.

These words came from the same little boy that I was so afraid to tell that his baby brother had Down syndrome after he was born...that his brother would be a little different, look a little different, that he

 would take a little longer to learn things...but that he would. Nope, I couldn't do it. For the first 10 months of Reid's life Luke's understanding of the word Down syndrome was that it meant he had a "bad heart". We had friends tell us we were wrong for not giving him the whole diagnosis, but I just didn't feel he was ready, I wanted him to just get to know his brother without reservation. Looking back in hindsight Luke would of handled the entire news as he does everything... contemplative, inquisitive, and lovingly. But, the truth is I don't think I was ready to share all of it yet.

When we did finally share more of the diagnosis it was on the eve of our first Buddy Walk, when Reid was 10 and 1/2 months. Quite a few of Luke's friends were going to be joining us for the walk in the morning  and I didn't want him to hear about his brother's diagnosis from his friends. So, Toby and I sat him down and told him in more scientific terms what else Down syndrome meant for Reid besides his heart complications. We shared with him in detail and then told him how lucky Reid was to have such a super big brother who could help teach him things. You could see the wheels turning in Luke's head so we asked him if he had any questions....his response was "No...but hang on a second..." and he then proceeded to pick up a book from the coffee table and went right over to Reid and said, "See this word buddy, it says". Toby and I looked at each other and knew right then and there that Luke was indeed going to be the best big brother for Reid. 

*The picture on top was taken when Reid was about 2 1/2.... He is looking through one of Luke's anatomy books while Luke explains to him what the Dr. did to repair his heart.