13 January 2014

Holy Shit!!!

Sometimes you just need to drink! :)

Just a couple of thoughts today.

First, I don't have PMS, well not today.

James was heading out to a job today and the weather sucks. The roads are brutal and it's icy. He told me that he would text me as soon as he arrived on site to let me know that he was safe. After two hours, I started calling. No answer. I texted. No answer. I started to panic after calling three times. He always checks in and he never forgets.
After 3 hours, I was teary. I don't usually get all panicked but I was today.

The phone rang, it was my mom telling me that James had just stopped by to pick up the passport forms and that he just left. I started bawling. I told my mom that he always checks in and he didn't this time. They got caught up in a big Disneyland conversation and lost track of time. I realized today that I still love my husband and want him around! Maybe these scary moments are needed to make you realize what you have and to not take those you love for granted. I'm good now for a long time.

Cirque Du Soleil??

My next thought. I recently partially read a blog that was sent to me about babies and kids. I had been meaning to write a blog on the very same topic, so here is my version. :)

As parents, we are told to do this, do that, don't do this and don't do that....it goes on and on.
Years ago, there were no baby monitors, now we have the monitor that detects baby's heartbeat and breathing. We have the video monitors that allow us to talk to our children to tell them to go back to sleep without even leaving the couch. We were told to put them on their bellies to go to sleep then we were told that if you put your baby on their belly there is a greater chance of SIDS. Put your baby on their back. If your baby has reflux or is congested, elevate your baby, put a wedge under their mattress. No, don't elevate your baby anymore for any reason. Lay your baby on their side, that works. No, don't put your baby on their side. Use pretty bumpers in the crib. No don't use bumpers because your baby will suffocate. Your baby has blankets and a stuffed animal in their crib? That is so unsafe. You only have your child in a sleep sac with no toys? You are a bad parent. Use a mobile over the crib, this will help baby to fall asleep. No, don't use a mobile because baby will get a flat spot on the back of their head and you'll need a helmet. Your child can't sleep? Put them in the car seat to settle them down. No, that is unsafe. Put your child in the bouncy chair if that is where they are the most comfortable, but not for more then two hours. Put your child in the swing to sleep. No don't put your child in the swing to sleep because it could cut off their oxygen and they could die. If you put your child in the swing, have it on speed three for only fifteen minutes, then second speed for five minutes, then you should remove your child for at least thirty minutes, then repeat steps one through three.

You don't have a sleep routine for your child? You don't have a schedule on the fridge? Your child goes to bed at 8:00pm? That is too late. Your child goes to bed at 6:00pm? You must not like your child. You took a nap away today from your child so that you could go out? That is selfish and irresponsible. You are a bad parent.

You have a Bumbo? That is so unsafe. You don't have a Bumbo? Everybody has a Bumbo. You put the Bumbo on the counter? You are going to kill your child. I only put the Bumbo on the floor directly beside me because I am a good mother and I don't need to make lunch or supper or do dishes at any point in the day.

You only have two children? You must not deal with stress very well. You have four children? What were you thinking? You'll never sleep again. You only have one child? That is so unfair to your child. They don't have a sibling to share their life with...that is so selfish. You have five children? You can't afford vacations. You can't afford post-secondary. You don't have enough love to give all five children.

Use a soother to calm baby down. No, don't use a soother because your child will end up with buck teeth and you'll be up to your tits in dentist bills.

Breastfeed and do everything possible to get your boobs working. If you don't breastfeed, your child will get sick, all of the time. Your child's IQ will be lower and there is a greater chance that your child will have two more bouts of diarrhea during their childhood years. You should give your baby formula because breastfeeding in public is gross. Whipping your boobs out for all to see makes it very uncomfortable for others. Put your boobs away. No, you should breastfeed at home and use formula when you are out in public. If you can't breastfeed, you should buy a four hundred dollar pump and take pills and take more pills and if your boobs still don't work, you have failed. Put your boobs away in public.

Your child should be potty trained by the time they are two years old and if they're not, you have failed as a parent and something must be terribly wrong with your child and you. You should be using cloth diapers because if you aren't, you are killing the earth. You are destroying your child's future with all the diapers that you have put in the landfills. Shame on you. You use cloth diapers? You scrape shit off of the cloth diaper and then wash them? You are gross!

Not always in the mood for pictures!!

Everybody should co-sleep so that you have a strong bond with your child. Why are you co-sleeping? You are raising a wimpy child who will never leave your bed and you will suffocate them while in your passed out drunken state. Shame on you for not co-sleeping. Shame on you for co-sleeping.

I only feed my child organic food because I don't want my child filled with pesticides and hormones and by-products. I only shop at that one market and pay an obscene amount of money to keep my child healthy. I fed my child McDonald's last night because she needs to experience all foods and get a taste for everything. Your organic food is filled with more shit then my normal, pesticide food. You are a bad mom for giving your child organic food. You are a bad mom for taking your child to McDonald's.

My child is in French immersion because that is the only way you will survive in the workforce. A child needs at least two languages in today's society. My child is in the full English program because that is the language we speak in this country. You're a bad parent.

You immunize your child? You are filling your child with shit that could kill them. You don't immunize your child? You are putting your child's life at risk and others. My child takes vitamin D and doesn't need to be immunized and we wash our hands regularly. We immunize and vaccinate but my child has been so incredibly sick this year. You don't immunize? You are killing your child. You immunize? You are killing your child.

You gave your child a cell phone? Your child has a tablet? Your child has a laptop? You spoil your kids and you are teaching them that they don't need to value the outdoors. You are teaching them that there is no value in spending time with the family. You are teaching them to be anti-social. You are a bad parent.
Your child doesn't have an X-Box? No cell phone? What do you do all day long? Why would you limit their computer skills? This is the future. It's interactive. It works on hand eye coordination. You are a bad parent.
Your child has a Facebook account? This promotes bullying. Your child doesn't have a Facebook account? How does your child stay connected to the world? This is the future. You are a bad parent.

You wonder why we stress about being parents. Being a parent and trying to do what is best for your kids is not always what is best for your kids but actually it is what is best for that month! :)

A little contest....I want to get to 100 000 views by April. I am at 77 515 right now. If you share my blog, tag me in the post and you will be entered in a draw for a great prize!! A really great prize. If you are sharing again today, you will have another chance to win! I will mail it to anywhere in the world. My goal...get the word out. Bring reassurance to families. Bring comfort and joy to those who are struggling. Lots of shares so far! If we are not friends on Facebook, send me an email after you have shared, at krowland23@hotmail.com or comment below. <3

12 January 2014

Friends? No Friends?

First off, I would like to thank those who have shared the blog with others. I am so fortunate that you want to take part in our journey and that you want to educate yourselves and let other families know that it is possible. It can be done. Keep sharing the blog. Post it on Facebook, email the link to friends and family, Tweet it out..... :)

I wanted to touch on one of my most recent concerns. I have mentioned this before but when I see it posted on another blog or on one of the sites on Facebook that I am a part of, it starts to bother me again.
One mom posted that her little girl never gets invite to birthday parties and that sometimes she is the only one left out. All of the other girls in the class, all of them, are invited, but not her daughter. Other moms then posted their own personal experiences and they were similar.
It made me cry.

My new haircut :)

It made me think about Adele's future. I had the goal this year to take it one day at a time, but it's so hard and I'm already failing. I constantly think about her future and what it holds. I think about if she will have friends. I think that this is one of my biggest concerns.
Some of the moms said that their child didn't realize that they weren't invited, but I don't know if I believe that....I think we need to give our children a little more credit.

When my sister and I were younger, we were encouraged to be kind to others, didn't matter the race, colour, economic status, it didn't matter. What it boiled down to, was, were they good people? Did they make you a better person? Did they encourage you to take part in healthy activities?

Music Therapy - LOVES the piano!

I remember when I was probably around 15 or 16 and I went out with two girlfriends. They both took acid, as I watched. It wasn't a fun experience for any of us. It sucked actually.
After hanging out at the local Dairy Queen, we headed back to my house. One of the girls had a very unhealthy relationship with her mom. She was coming to pick up her daughter and we soon realized that she was drunk. I went downstairs trying to figure out a way to explain to my dad that the girls were high and the mom was drunk. I wanted to throw up because I knew that my dad would be so disappointed in me. I told him exactly what was going on and he came upstairs, didn't lecture the girls or the mom, but made sure that everybody was going to get home safely and that the daughter wasn't in danger.
I didn't get in trouble. All my dad had to do was look at me and I knew that he was proud of me for not doing drugs and for going to him when things got a bit rough. The look of, you know you shouldn't be hanging around them. You know you need to make better choices. You know that if I ever catch you doing drugs, you will never see the outside of this house.

Everyone was always welcomed into our house. My point is that when I was younger, I didn't really even think to be friends with somebody who had Down syndrome. I didn't think to be friends with somebody who was in the ES1 class. They were segregated and isolated from us. The students would maybe join us for music class and gym class but that was it. I remember helping one girl, she had Down syndrome. I was her partner in music class. We would go together and I would teach her how to play the instruments. She would sometimes stop by my other classes to see if I could come out and take her to music. It was pretty sweet. Nobody ever made fun of me and to be honest, I didn't care. I liked her.
I liked her but I would have never invited her to one of my birthday parties. Not because I didn't want to or because I would be embarrassed, it was because I just never thought of it. It never even crossed my mind. Thinking back today, I should have invited her to one of my parties. I should have included her as I bet it would have made her day.

Since having Adele, I see things in a whole new light. I also understand that she will be in a mainstream classroom and she will have an aide. I get that it is more inclusive now. This makes me happy. What parents need to realize is that little ones with Down syndrome get it. They understand what is going on. They have mild to moderate learning difficulties, not severe. They have the same interests as your children. They like Barbies and toys and playing with friends. They like joking around. They like sleepovers. They like to be included.
I want Adele to have friends. I want Adele to wake up every morning and smile because she has friends. I want her to feel loved by others. I want parents to talk to her when they see her at school. I want parents to encourage their children to talk to Adele. I want her to feel loved and appreciated. I don't want to have to explain to her time and time again why she wasn't invited to a party. I know that sometimes parents can feel uncomfortable and maybe don't know what to say. It may be difficult to understand Adele. Who knows how her speech will be. Who knows where she is on the spectrum. It doesn't matter. She has feelings. Children with Down syndrome aren't always happy. Children with Down syndrome have bad days too. They are still children. They are regular children.

Just about there....come on Adele!

When you talk about Adele with your children, you need to explain what Down syndrome is all about. If you are unclear, ask me. I would love to explain to you and your children all about Down syndrome. I love being asked questions. What I don't like is if you stare. If you whisper. Just ask me and I will gladly explain.

It all begins at home. It all begins with the parents. You, as a mom and dad need to teach your children about inclusion and respect and caring for others.
If we didn't have Adele, I don't know if I would have chatted with my children about Down syndrome and how everybody is special and unique. This is why I am writing this blog. I see things differently. I want Adele to be included. I don't want sympathy, that is not needed. I want her to be loved. I want her to be respected. I want her to be happy. I want her to have the best possible life. I want Adele to have a beautiful life. <3

A little contest....I want to get to 100 000 views by April. I am at 76 700 right now. If you share my blog, tag me in the post and you will be entered in a draw for a great prize!! A really great prize. If you are sharing again today, you will have another chance to win! I will mail it to anywhere in the world. My goal...get the word out. Bring reassurance to families. Bring comfort and joy to those who are struggling. Lots of shares so far! If we are not friends on Facebook, send me an email after you have shared, at krowland23@hotmail.com or comment below. <3

8 January 2014

Back to Day 1....

Today was an up and down day.

A good friend of mine called and told me that her friend, who is 13 weeks pregnant, was told today by her doctor that her neuchal is positive. There was no other information given to her and her husband. No ratios. No information on what to do next. No care and no concern. They were told that they could go for an amnio, then proceed with an abortion if they were to find out that baby has Down syndrome. I'm sorry, the doctor said what to you? Tell me again that the doctor, an educated professional who follows a code of conduct, she didn't tell you that you could then go for an abortion?? Right???

What a douche! Yes, I used the word, douche. I've actually used it twice today and think that it will make a comeback and used on people who are incredibly insensitive and cold and unprofessional.

As my friend was telling me about the appointment, every feeling rushed back. Every feeling that I had that day, the day that we got the phone call. Told over the phone. Told in a way that I should have expected it, after all, I was 36 years old. I was no longer young. All the feelings that I felt that day, the feeling of having a perfect child, all down the drain. The feeling that my child would be adorable, all down the drain. The feeling that my child would go to university, all down the drain. The feeling that I had done something wrong. The feeling that we should have started trying right away after we got married. The feeling that I would have to take care of this little being for the rest of my life. The feeling that Brinley and her sister wouldn't like each other, there would be no bond, they would have nothing in common. The feeling that my child would have an aide, would start crawling later, start walking later, start talking later, be potty trained later. I felt that all of my dreams for a healthy, perfect child, just went down the drain.
It was a day that I will never forget and as my friend told me how her friend was told, it made me ill. She needed some facts, she needed some reassurance, she needed support. She is now left with a broken heart. She is left with not knowing what to do, what to say, how to react. Nothing. Just a cold doctor who told her that she could have an abortion.

On the day that we found out that we had a 1:2 chance that our baby would have Down syndrome, it was my doctor that made us smile. It was my doctor that gave us the facts. It was my doctor who set us up with the best genetics' counsellor. It was my doctor who hugged us and told us that we will be ok. It was my doctor who cried with us and let us cry with her and let us tell her that we couldn't possibly do any of this, because this wasn't the path that we were ready for....it wasn't the path that we had planned. It wasn't the path that we expected. We were on a path now with so many hurdles and bumps in the road and the unknown. It was a path that we never asked for. We didn't ask for this. Why would we be punished? Yes, that thought went through my mind. I never shared that with anybody, not even James. I wondered why we would be the ones to be punished? What did I do to deserve a baby that wasn't perfect? You have so many thoughts and emotions running through your head, you don't know which way is up. You slump into a bit of a depression and you cry so much that you can't cry anymore, then you figure out which path as a family, you will take. Will you take the path that 90% of women choose. Do you terminate? Do you keep going and love every minute of the path and learn from the bumps and hurdles?

It's tough. I remember hearing from so many women that if they ever found our during pregnancy that they were expecting a little one with Down syndrome, they would continue with the pregnancy, there is no way that they would terminate. Do I believe all of those comments? Not for a second. You will never know how it feels to be told that your trip to Italy, will turn into a trip to Holland. You don't know unless who have been placed in that position. I know that in your heart, you would love your child no matter what and that you could handle it, but when you are experiencing it first hand, it is very different. It is so difficult. You feel selfish. You think about yourself. You think about how difficult it could be on you. Then you think about your unborn baby. What if our baby has a heart defect? What if our baby can't suck and swallow properly? What if baby has GI concerns? What if our baby doesn't have a mild form of Down syndrome, but instead is on the moderate end of the spectrum? Is this fair?

That phone call today took me back. I could actually feel in the pit of my stomach, the feelings that they are experiencing today. The feeling of despair. The feeling of hopelessness especially when your doctor isn't supportive. Right now, she is sitting at home and her mind is racing. Her heart is pounding and she has so many questions. So many questions that her doctor should have answered today. They are so frustrated.

Where James and I are today is world's away from the day we found out. We are in a place of contentment. We are in a place of beauty. What I realized is that the trip to Italy would have been boring. Italy has a bunch of dirty streets and garbage on the roads and the scenery isn't always perfect and serene. We realized that the trip to Holland is beautiful. It is filled with joy and pretty scenery and beautiful people. It is going to be so much more interesting, filled with love and hand holding and laughs!

If you want to read the whole poem, it is just beautiful. I posted it a while ago. It is written by Emily Perl Kingsley.

The path that we chose is the path that was meant for us. It was the best decision. It's difficult when you are pregnant, the unknown. It's hard. When you hold your baby, your perfect baby, all you feel is love. You see perfection. You see this loving beautiful soul. You see this amazing being that you created. You don't see the journey ahead. You see a miracle. You don't see Down syndrome. You see your child. You don't see two sisters who will never connect. You see two sisters who from the moment they saw each other, there was true love.
Life is a journey whether you have a child with special needs or not...life is full of ups and downs. Life is going to throw us curveballs with both girls. Adele's life has been amazing and will only continue to get better. She will walk and talk and learn to go on the potty. She will go to school and play with friends and laugh and cry and fall in love. She IS adorable and has already melted many hearts. She has brought so many people into our lives, people who are the most amazing and loving human beings. James and I have been blessed. We feel honoured that we were chosen to be Adele's parents. I wouldn't change anything. Life is going to be beautiful.

A little contest....I want to get to 100 000 views by April. I am at 75 000 right now. I am up a thousand from yesterday. If you share my blog, tag me in the post and you will be entered in a draw for a great prize!! A really great prize. If you are sharing again today, you will have another chance to win! I will mail it to anywhere in the world. My goal...get the word out. Bring reassurance to families. Bring comfort and joy to those who are struggling. Lots of shares so far! If we are not friends on Facebook, send me an email after you have shared, at krowland23@hotmail.com or comment below. <3

7 January 2014

Co-Sleeping Part 2!

So beautiful xo

Last post, I touched on co-sleeping and wasn't too sure if others would share their opinions and experiences. Well, some of you did and I loved hearing from you. I wanted to share some of the responses from others.

I don't intentionally co-sleep because to be honest I don't like it, but she wakes up every night, only once around 4:30 or 5 a.m. and I cannot for the life of me get her back into a deep sleep in her crib, so being the selfish wanting sleep mother that I am it is just much easier to bring her to bed with us - she is ALWAYS lying freakin' horizontally with her feet in someone's face and kicks the crap outta us! We have a king bed and it still isn't big enough.

You know my thoughts in co-sleeping. Big fan! Got lots of raised eyebrows but I didn't care. It's whatever works for your family. Did it with number 1 and she turned out fantastic. Have done it with number 2 for four years now. He always has the choice of his bed or mommy's and he usually chooses mine but it's his choice.

Happy Birthday sweet girl <3

I co-slept with all 5 of my babies. L will not go in her crib- 45 min of screaming proves that! It's done best if you have a king size bed, otherwise your fighting for bed space with a little person. Eventually they moved off the bed to a spot on out floor with a mat. Then to their own bedrooms. My 9 and 7 year old sleep together when it's not a school night. I myself am a very light sleeper, my instincts kick in and just know when something's wrong. Co-sleeping thumbs up.

I've always co-slept. It works for some and not for others. Again, it's one of those topic where you do what works for you and your kids.

You know best when they need you like that. We have and will do when they need us, it has not ever become an expectation or habit...sometimes when they need you, it just feels nice

I'm personally not a fan of co-sleeping (mostly because my bed is too small), however after having our second, she slept in my bed for the first six weeks, I learned you do what you have to do survive! I needed sleep and she would only sleep in my arms so she moved in! I had a terrible sleep but a strong bond with my baby. So overall, I say do what works for you and your family!

When our little one has those nights she ends up in our bed too... although it is always feet kicking mom in the face.... I wake up with bruises and scratches, and she has had a great night sleep.

Tummy time turned into a 2.5 hour nap! :)

It was hard when I had braces and he was a year old and would head butt me in the night. I would wake up with a fat lip and dried blood. Once I was hit so hard, I thought he busted a brace. I remember waking up going Son of a Bitch and blood everywhere and we still kept co-sleeping.

Best friends!

My two cents on co-sleeping: And I'm putting this in a private message because I don't care want to spark a debate; I don't care what others think. It worked for us! Our first didn't spend more than a handful of nights in his own crib and we didn't even bother setting up a crib for our second. I understand the dangers, we were very careful to set the baby up high in the bed between our heads, with baby's own blanket (it was a firm mattress and wide bed so pillow risks were minimal). Neither of us were (!) overweight (ah the good old days) and didn't drink. much. Anyhow, it worked for our family. Many people don't approve of a family bed. I understand it doesn't work and isn't the best choice for everyone. We had success. The kids transitioned out easily with the introduction of the toddler bed sidecar (then it was moved into their own bedroom) (Prior to that I used a bedrail on the outside edge and learned to breastfeed while lying down, both sides… BEST MOVE EVER!)
Before I had kids I was full of great advice that I'd read in textbooks or heard from others. After I had kids, and even today with parents, my advice is that every situation is entirely unique. Go with your gut instinct. You know your family better than anyone else. There is so much information "out there" in books and professional advice (which is 98% personal opinion), just keep looking and you are bound to find the information that matches your instincts. And that's my unsolicited advice!

Love all of the responses! Thanks for sharing! :)

A little contest....I want to get to 100 000 views by April. I am at 74 000 right now. If you share my blog, tag me in the post and you will be entered in a draw to win a great prize!! A really great prize. I will mail it to anywhere in the world. My goal...get the word out. Bring reassurance to families. Bring comfort and joy to those who are struggling.
If we are not friends on Facebook, you can comment below or email me and let me know that you shared the blog. krowland23@hotmail.com :)

3 January 2014

Co-Sleeping! :)

Well, the New Year has started off pretty good. The girls are healthy and happy and Adele had a runny poop for the first time in a really long time. Yes, a soft poop. I didn't realize just how much this stressed me out, until last night when she pooped without crying and pushing. I exhaled and smiled. This is my life.

Adele continues to get stronger and was pushing herself up on her knees last night while having some tummy time. She would shimmy forward, just an inch, but she moved and she did great. Hitting milestones with Adele makes us smile. It makes me realize just how precious she is and just how much of a miracle she is....just a perfect miracle.

I know that as she gets older, the milestones will slow down a bit, but that's ok. The thing is, if she walks at two or two and a half, she is still going to walk. If she says mom at three years old, she is still going to say mom. She may not be potty trained until she's four, but she will be potty trained. It'll all happen. She will get there. I will get frustrated and sad, I know I will, but I also know that when something great happens, we will be over the moon.

Last night I had a moment of such happiness. I wasn't too sure exactly why. Maybe it was that Adele had her second ever successful bath, no tears, just giggles and lots of kicking, maybe it was that Brinley was being silly and was making us laugh, maybe it was that Adele had a runny poop, maybe it was that life just feels good right now. I felt good. We have such busy lives and always on our toes with these two girls, but I truly couldn't imagine my life any other way.

Although.....last night, Adele was breathing very loudly, all night long and Brinley cried and cried. Brinley has never done this before. She is such a good sleeper but I think she is hitting a bit of a stage. It better pass in a day or two. ;) The crying started at 1:00am. She got herself so upset and wouldn't go back to sleep. Yup, I did it! Don't judge me. Don't criticize me. I got her and brought her into our bed. She fell asleep and I had a crap sleep. She managed to sleep with her feet on James' head and her head pushed up against mine. She was completely horizontal. It was so uncomfortable, but she slept. I would have slept with her but my butt won't fit in the crib....what a sight that would be! I wonder sometimes though why co-sleeping is so frowned upon. Why isn't it ok? I do get that when they are babies, it can be dangerous, very dangerous, but if you have things set up properly and safely, what is the problem? If your child is still sleeping with you when they're 18, you may need to visit a therapist. That is a bit too old and perhaps a tad creepy! It's just not really talked about. Maybe it's just as touchy as politics and vaccinations?? ;) My plan is to not do this again, not because I am against it, but because obviously a king sized bed is not big enough for Brinley. Any opinions on co-sleeping?

The only thing that I think I would change right now, would be that gross flap of skin that just kind of blows in the wind. You know, that flap that you get after having a baby. That flap that looks kind of wrinkly and just lays there. That flap that would only stay in place if you wore spanx. That flap. I can't stand it. Otherwise, life is pretty sweet.

We've had some play dates lately, they always make me smile. I love seeing Brinley with other kiddies. She's so shy, yet she's fiery and crazy. Such a good mixture. She is truly a great little girl. I think we will keep her.

Tummy time is rough!
Bath time!
Tummy time with daddy :)
Yup, playing robot with a bag over our head! We had a chat about this one and she ignored me!
Hanging in my leisure suit, striking a pose!
This worked well!
A lot of love lately! Brinley wants to be around Adele all of the time :)
Ange taking a selfie. Thought she would want me to share! :)