Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I'm Always Learning

Beth will be 26 in a few months. Some days I think I've learned all there is to know about Down Syndrome. Other days I realize I still have so much to learn. Our kids may all have Down Syndrome, but they can be as different from each other as every other kid on the playground.

For Beth, we've learned to be patient. It has not been an easy lesson. My youngest daughters and I are fast walkers. Not speedy, but when we walk through the mall, we're movin' at a decent pace. Not Beth. She saunters. Everywhere. I have learned not to take her when I am short on time. It will only lead to frustration and tears. I know. Trust me. Now the mall is only for casual strolls.

We have learned not to give up. Completely. We have given up on occasion. Potty training for instance. We started when Beth was 4 years old. Gave up when she was 5. Started again at 6. Success at 7! Sometimes it's all in the timing.

We've learned that sometimes it's all in the timing.

We've learned that I don't know how to fly the Space Shuttle. And Beth doesn't know how to ride a bike. There are some things Beth will never be able to do. She rode a small, red trike. Then a two wheeler with training wheels. She never learned to balance without the training wheels. She tried! Lord knows she tried. Eventually, the training wheels broke (she just got too big for them.) She's never riden a bike since. She will never drive a car. And I will never be the captian of a cruise liner.
And we're okay with that.

We've learned not to take it personally. When Beth is angry at me for making her brush her hair or bring a jacket, she can be heard yelling, "I hate you! You not my mom!" Beth is not the only one of our children to express their dislike for our parenting skills.

This last lesson was the most difficult of all.

We've learned there will be bullies in our lives. In mine. In yours. Even Beths. Beth has had rocks thrown at her while walking home from school. She had an adult flip her off while she sat in the car. I had a doctor say she looked weird. Beth was born in San Diego. The first day was filled with specialists and social workers and family. At the end of the day, the woman I shared the room with pulled back the curtain that separated our beds and asked me about Beth. The next morning (the curtain was closed) she asked her doctor (well she whispered to him) if her baby had Down Syndrome. Her doctor laughed. He couldn't see me and obviously didn't know the situation. She asked him again and he said, "Downs babies look weird. You'd know it if you had one!" And he laughed again as he headed down the hall. Bullies come in all shapes, sizes and occupations. Be prepared for them. You might not be able to stop their comments or insults, but you can educate them.

I take comfort in Jesus' words to his Father, "They do not know what they are doing."

(Over the years I've come up with a scenario for that doctor. I imagine he looks like the Ken doll. Young, clean cut. He goes back to the lounge that is filled with other doctors, nurses and maybe an EMT for good measure. He speaks loud enough for all to hear, "Guess what one of my patients just asked me?!" All eyes and ears are on him now because these professionals have heard some good ones, I'm sure. Then he says it, with a high, man trying to sound like woman voice, "Does my baby have Down Syndrome?!" He laughs alone, because everyone else in the room knows what he does not. An older, wiser doctor asks him, "What room is your patient in?" He stifles his laugh long enough to answer. "Why?" He is stunned at the news. Angry at himself for making such a sad, thoughless, rookie mistake. He stands at the nursery window looking at Beth. This absolutely gorgous child.... and a tear... falls... down his cheek.)

And then I feel so much better!!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I'm addicted.... to all of you!

I think about your families and your stories. My heart aches for Ella Grace and for Kristen. I think about your families and the mountains you are having to climb. Sheridan is a doll! Love looking at pictures of that little guy!  AB&C's mom Joany is dealing with more than I can imagine. I tune in to find out how Sarah's quilt shop is coming along. Each day I look for more of you to follow.

As I'm walking in the door, my first thought is to turn on the computer and find out what you all have been doing all day! My daughters would talk about their on-line friends like they had grown up with them and I'd think, "You are so young. You don't know what you're talking about."

But they did know. They knew the friendships that grew from typing black letters on a white page; knew what it was like to have these friends on your heart so strongly that by the end of the day, you had butterflys in your stomach waiting to hear their latest news; knew the bonds that formed when you read words that described the very emotions you had been experiencing.

We have never met face to face, but please know you are thought of as friends.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sunny and 70 in Seattle?? Really?

Seattle has had the wettest, coolest Spring on record. The flowers are confused, bloom or not bloom? Garden veggies are smaller than normal and taking longer to ripen. It's been gloomy around here!

Today however, it is sunny and 70 and my roses are starting to open!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fun Photo Friday!

Or should I say, Priceless Photo Phriday!
Okay, maybe that's a little too much. :)

But I adore this picture!
Four generations: My dad John, me, Sharaya, Allison.

This was taken yesterday on my birthday.
My dad drove up from San Diego to be here and this is the first time he has seen Allie!

I had such a great birthday!
It started early in the morning, with a friend from work making me a cream cheese coffee cake! SO good! I had two pieces!
I cut the rest to share with everyone in the office.  
The whole family went to Olive Garden for dinner. Chicken Fettuccini!
Came back home for some amazing gifts (thank you everyone!) and....
coconut cream pie! Oh yea!!

Monday, June 14, 2010


Mondays at our house are game nights.
We try (it doesn't always happen but we try) 
to play board games or go bowling.
Tonight we went to Funtasia.

All of the games take quarters to play.
So she put some dollar bills into the change machine to get quarters.

There was Skee Ball.

Great shot Beth!

Air hockey!

Beth and Diana raced cars.

She won at arm wrestling!

When you win, the games shoot out tickets that you can use to buy prizes.
Look at all those tickets!

This machine counts the tickets for you. Very nice!

So many choices of things to buy!

Can you guess what she bought??

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I Feel Horrible

The DART bus picks Beth up every Wednesday to go to karaoke and art classes. The bus arrives anywhere between 9:30 and 10:00. At 9:15 Beth was still in bed. She kept hitting her snooze alarm until the very last minute. She didn't wake up when I took the covers off or turned on her light. The third time into her room I took her backpack and told her I would fill it upstairs with the things she needed for the day. That worked! She was out of bed and dressed in a matter of seconds. No one touches her backpack.

She countinued getting ready, mumbling the entire time. It's now almost 10:00 and her bus pulls up. She is not happy as she hasn't had breakfast yet. I put it away for her as she mumbles something about it 'not being fair' then gets her backpack and purse off the couch. The bus driver is out of the bus now, waiting patiently in the front yard. I asked her if she is going to take the bag of crayons that she had wanted to donate to her friends and she says, "No. They have enough." Okaaaay.

Beth slowly walks back to the kitchen. "Beth what are you doing?" Without saying a word she s-l-o-w-l-y gets her bus tickets off the counter. Bus driver is still waiting. She then goes back to the livingroom. "Beth. You have to go!" She doesn't say a word but is moving even slower now. With one finger she picks up the plastic grocery store bag with the crayons in it and practically drags it across the floor, walking ever so s-l-o-w-l-y. As she gets to the door I lost it. I told her I was thinking about giving her a spanking and lifted my arm to do so. The movement of my arm scared her and she jumped. She looked at me with fear in her eyes and headed out the door.

I didn't spank her but I felt horrible. Why didn't I wrap my arms around her and smother her with kisses instead??? She still would have pushed me away but at least she would have started her day with love and not fear.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The End of an Era

Beth received Linus on her second birthday. They have been unseparable ever since. She has taken him on road trips. He has been in more motels than I can count. He even came to the hospital when she had her tonsils out. Over the years he has acquired a little dirt. I gave up washing him a while ago. And somewhere along the line, he was given a pink dress. Or maybe he borrowed it from a cabbage patch doll. Anyway, last week when she moved downstairs (with a little help from her sister) Beth put Linus on the bookcase. When I asked her about him she told me, "He was for when I so little."

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Big Surprise

We walked in the door from our vacation, pulling our luggage behind us. Beth immediately took hers to her room.... and stopped dead in her tracks. Her sister Diana had switched rooms while we were gone!

It is something we have talked about doing for years. When her sisters move out, Beth would move downstairs and get her own 'apartment'. We have a daylight basement with a bedroom and large family room. The family room would become her livingroom and kitchenette. We knew it would be alot of work and have been in the planning stages for a very long time. Well, not any more!

In the 2 1/2 days we were gone, Diana took everything out of the rooms, painted BOTH rooms, drug furniture up and down the stairs and put both rooms back together. Wow! Beth was shocked. She reluctantly took her suitcase down the stairs and just sat on her bed. For a couple of nights she didn't even sleep. I woke up at 3 one morning to find her watching TV. At 5 AM, she was in the kitchen getting something to drink. It has been quite an adjustment for her. Her night light creates unfamiliar shadows on the wall. The furniture is not arranged exactly as it was. Change is difficult for Beth. It's been more than a week and I think she is finally beginning to adjust to her new room. She slept on the couch for a while, but has been in her bed the last few nights. The family room still has some extra furniture and there are boxes yet to be unpacked. We have been cleaning closets and sorting through drawers. Today Beth and I went though her large bin of crayons, markers and colored pencils. We checked every marker and threw away those that no longer worked. We put all the good crayons in a bag and Beth is going to donate them to All Aboard. (An organization that provides activities for adults with special needs.) She then sharpened all the colored pencils! There were a lot!