May 27, 2011

monkey toes

My buddy has this huge space between his big toe and all the rest.  It's one of those random physical traits of Down syndrome.  My buddy knows how to use his toes.  He uses that space as leverage and turns the big toe into an opposable thumb.  One of his favorite thing to do is to grab your fingers as you read him a book with that big toe.

My buddy uses his toes for stirring up a little extra trouble.  He can cling onto drawer pulls - climbing up dressers in a flash.  He can get a grip on the baby gate - luckily not climbing over quite yet.  You should see the toys he can manipulate with those toes.

I guess that's why my buddy hates shoes and socks so much.  It's hard to use primitive tools and swing from the vines when your monkey toes are covered up. 

I've been thinking lately about what joy my buddy brings to me and how much he has changed me.  I know I tend to complain a lot about the trouble he gets into and he does exhaust me on a daily basis, but he is so much more than that.  Monkey bear made me a Mommy and I will be eternally grateful for that.  My buddy made me a better person.

I have only stuck my (non-opposable) big toe into the lake of Down syndrome but already it has enriched me.  If I can reach one soon-to-be Mommy who gets the prenatal diagnosis and doesn't want anything to do with that kind of a baby...  I would tell her that it is more good than bad.  By a long shot.  When my buddy was born, a woman with a daughter with Ds told me that she celebrates and gets so excited when she hears that someone just had a child with Ds.  I, of course, thought she was a little wacko.  But now I see what she means.

My buddy has brightened my world.  I can't wait to see all that he has to give me.

May 16, 2011


I've been thinking lately about my buddy being delayed.  Most of the time I think about all he's accomplished and don't stress too much... except for when he flings his food in my face or hits a baby.  I know that he's not typical and worry about his lack of words but I try and take it in stride not focusing on the hard parts.

Something got me thinking about being delayed and what that really means.  My buddy's physical ability is so close to being on target, he understands so much and even though he can't talk he is amazing with sign language, and he has come so far.  I think where the delays are really becoming obvious is in his behavior and level of maturity. 

I can't stop myself from seeing how most 2 1/2 year olds act and doing that comparison dance.  My buddy can't stop himself from dumping... well... everything.  Plates of food, bins of toys, containers of blocks, a carefully built building.  He will pull the pacifier out of the mouth of every baby we encounter.  He climbs, wedges himself into small spots, and generally endangers his well being on a daily basis.  My buddy refuses to walk next to me and hold my hand.  I find myself carrying him or strapping him into a stroller all the time.  When my buddy decides to run off he will not stop unless you physically stop him.

It becomes this crazy mix of abilities.  My buddy can move like a 2 year old but with the impulse control of a 15 month old.  He has this wicked sense of humor yet he still bites.  He can put several signs together to have his needs met and at the same time has no clue that punching someone in the face hurts them. 

Sometimes I worry that I am super overprotective and that I hover over him too much.  I don't want my buddy to hurt others or himself and I know that he will if left to his own devices.  I hate that I have to follow him all around and can't just let him play on his own.  I dream about being one of those mom's at the playgroup or park that gets to sit and watch the kids play while chatting with the adults. 

One good thing about delays is he still has a sweet baby way about him.  My buddy loves snuggling in the rocking chair with me.  Nothing can calm him down better than Mommy's arms.  I plan on holding him in that rocking chair for as long as I can.

May 2, 2011

cave man

My buddy has many qualities that closely mirror our relatives of the stone age.  There is a lot of grunting and chest beating.  His diapers have been known to smell like a woolly mammoth.  Of course, he refuses to wear shoes.  Although, perhaps if I strapped animal pelts to his feet he might keep them on.

My buddy can take down prey - the ever illusive sistersaurus - with a mighty hair pull followed by clubbing with a blunt object.  Yes, he is a troglodyte in many ways.

His largest neanderthal similarity is in his table manners.  I have begun to lose count as to the number of plates of food I have cleaned off the floor.  I've tried every gizmo out there and none of them work for my buddy.  When he decides he is done or perhaps he just wants the milk he flung to the floor earlier, there is no winning.  I figure I have a few options.

I could go on like I am now but so far that's not working all that great for me.  I can eat my dinner cold after he eats and totally focus my energy on him making it a learning process and testing my patience at the same time.  I can just throw a few pieces on his tray and say to-the-heck with plates and forks and spoons... eat with your hands and be merry.  I could convince my mom to move in next door and come over for every meal and she can do the hard work while I eat in peace and quiet.  Oooooh... that one sounds good.

I suppose I can just accept that I am raising a cave man and the future Queen and start naming the ants.