"One day Dad took Beth, Diana and I to Kmart but the 3 of us decided to wait in the car while he shopped. We were just playing around and Beth and I kept calling each other Bob (like Bob the Tomato from Veggie Tales). She got really hyper and started saying 'Bobby, Bobbo, Bobba, Bobin!!' I said, 'Bobin'? And she said, 'Yes, B-o-b-i-n! Bobin!' And it just kind of stuck. So we've called each other Bobin ever since. I think I was about 12."
To this day, they still call each other Bobin.
We were teaching Sunday School last week and Diana called Beth Chickenbutt. Chuck and I didn't think anything of it but Theresa, a high schooler who was helping us raised her eyebrows and slowly asked, "Chickenbutt?"
Typing the word does make it seem rather... odd.
But at our house, it shows love and a bond that can't be broken.To be honest, I don't remember how or when this came to mean,
"You are important to me and I love you."
But for Beth and Diana, that's exactly what it means.
When Beth walks through the house, on her way from her bedroom to the kitchen or laundryroom, and she sees Chuck she says, "Dude." Won't look at him, won't go over and give him a hug, just keeps walking and says, "Dude." We don't know why she uses that term, don't know where she got it from or when this all began but for years now, he's been Dude.
As he's walking up the driveway at the end of the day, she will run out to the yard to give him a hug and welcome him home. She sits at the kitchen table and gives him her bowling score for the day or will tell him the song (complete with track number!) she sang at karaoke. But walking through the house, casual, relaxed, happy in her world, he hears, "Dude."
The bus rides, the activities, her friends, even the homework.
She liked doing homework so much that I purchased some homeschool type books from the half price book store. I found some with her favorite Disney characters! I make copies of the pages so the books have lasted a very long time! Sometimes on a Friday, along with her list of chores I'll put out some homework for her. She gets so excited! She likes to use her calculator for Math but I think she likes writing her Spelling words the most!
I am not a big fan of fractions. They make my palms sweat, make my head hurt and cause my heart to beat faster. But over the years, I have come to love 1/2.
That fraction describes Beth.
Beth learned to sit up at 1 year old.
Most kids learn this at 6 months.
She learned to walk when she was 2 years old.
On average, this is accomplished at 1 year.
At 14, she was doing the math of a 7 year old.
At 22, it seemed she was entering the emotional turmoil of a 12 year old.
Beth has consistantly lived her life half way behind her peers.
You would think that would make one sad, but I have found it reassuring.
Knowing where my daughter is mentally and emotionally has helped me know how to explain things to her. It has helped solidify in my mind, what action was needed, what discipline might be appropriate and what words to use.
As you can tell by various pictures I've posted, Beth has Down Syndrome. What you probably can't tell, is that Beth is double jointed. Or at least she was. She's become less flexible as she's gotten older. (Haven't we all! Well, maybe I shouldn't speak for the rest of you...)
Beth learned to sit up when she was two. But she didn't get there by rolling over onto her side or pushing up to her knees. Oh no. She performed a move that was impressive enough for the Olympics!
Beth would begin on her tummy. Tiny arms in front of her, feet banging on the carpet behind her. With a huge smile, she would begin to move her legs, one to each side, until she was in a forward split. Like this.....
Her legs would continue their journey forward, her toes (if we were watching this from directly above her) making a perfect circle on the floor. She would push her body up with her hands and laugh as loud applause and painful moans erupted from her audience of friends and family. And there she was! Not only sitting up unaided, but getting there by the most unique and creative move I had ever seen by a 2 year old!!!