Friday, December 21, 2012

Heavy Heart

My heart has been so heavy ever since the tragedy in Connecticut last week. My mother's heart hurts and my teacher's heart hurts. Every time I hear anything about it or even think about it, I get choked up. I have been trying to think of how to address it in a blog post, but I don't have anything profound to say.

Even though my kids are not old enough to be in school, my first thought after hearing about all those little lost souls was my own kids. When you put your child on the school bus in the morning, you expect them to get back off of it in the afternoon. I can't even imagine what those parents were feeling as they made their way to that firehouse, frantically searching for their kids. The joy and relief for those who found theirs....the devastation and fear for those who didn't. I can't even imagine. I don't want to imagine, but my mind keeps going there. My mother's heart hurts for them. So badly.

My next thought, of course, was of the teachers. The sheer terror they must have been feeling, while having to remain calm for their students' sake. My teacher's heart hurts for the feelings of guilt and helplessness they must feel. As a teacher, I always dreaded our lock down drills. Not only because it could sometimes be a long, boring, frustrating ordeal, but also because it always gave me the creeps. Often, during these drills, the police or school administrators will come rattle the classroom doors to make sure they are locked. That was always my least favorite part. I would instantly get the chills, imagining it being a real perpetrator. Even though I haven't heard too many details about what happened in various classrooms at Sandy Hook, I can guarantee those teachers were heroes, and I have appreciated seeing the outpouring of support for teachers since the ordeal. 

I won't get into politics or policy. I will not make any statements about gun control. The one thing I would like to say is that kids are safe at school. As safe as they are anywhere. We've seen, unfortunately, that tragedy can strike anywhere--malls, movie theathers, walking down the street... Short of keeping our kids locked up in a padded room, there's not much we can do to guarantee their safety. If a madman wants to commit a crime like this, they will find a way. Kids are safe at school. Their teachers love them. As Vicki Soto, Lauren Rosseau, and the other teachers at Sandy Hook did, teachers would do everything in their power to keep your kids safe. We know that each and every one of our students is someone's baby. Becoming a mother myself made me really realize and appreciate that. Every student is someone's most prized possession, and teachers don't take their responsibility lightly. We know that parents are entrusting their children to us during the day, and it is an honor to care for them.

My heart goes out to every child, parent, teacher, janitor, and first responder that was affected by this tragedy. Such a terrible thing to happen, especially at Christmastime.

Wishing everyone a blessed, safe Christmas!

xoxo, Julie

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Too Good to be True?

Hi Friends,

   I guess it's been a while since I've posted, but time flies and we've been having some napping issues at our house (for both boys), so I don't have much of a chance to blog. I won't say that they are both napping at the same time right now, because that would jinx it :)

   I have been pinching myself a lot lately thinking that Bryce's health and development is too good to be true. There is a book called Babies with Down Syndrome: A New Parents Guide that is kind of the "bible" for parents of kids with Downs. I have learned that it is best used as a reference, rather than something to read from front to back. It scares the crap out of me. Some of it is so basic, it's silly (you need to give them baths....imagine that!), and some of it is so detailed it's scary. For someone with a history of anxiety like me, the chapter about possible health problems definitely should have been avoided. Because we have dodged some of the most common issues these kiddos can be born with (heart and bowel issues), I just have this terrible anxiety that it is only a matter of time before something happens. I feel like it's too good to be true. When I really read about all these possible health troubles, I realize that it's not worth worrying about. Many of them say 5% of kids with Downs may suffer from this or that....well, what percentage of 'typical' kids suffer from that? I have to keep this in perspective when I get on a worrying kick, but the two that really scare me are leukemia and epilepsy. Leukemia occurs about 20 times more often in kids with Downs than in other kids. Fortunately, for some reason, these kiddos also tend to respond to treatment better than other kids, so the survival rate is great, but one of my kids having cancer is one of my worst nightmares.

    I also know that there are people with Down syndrome that live long, full lives with little to no health problems. We actually met one of those people at our benefit. A young lady named Katie and her mom came to support us, and her mom said the only trouble Katie has ever had is chronic sinus infections. She also works full time and lives away from home. It is certainly possible, so why do I just feel like everything is too good to be true? Worrying is just part of my nature, I'm afraid. I have not said more prayers of thanksgiving to God than I have since Bryce was born. I thank Him every day for Bryce's health and pray that he stays that way. If you would like to join me in those prayers, I would appreciate it :)

   Bryce has changed so much in the last month, it's crazy! He is reaching out and grabbing everything within reach (including my hair!), giggles, loves being tickled, and just starting rolling from tummy to back the other day. Other than still having some head control issues (although his neck strength continues to improve), he is right on track with other 4 month olds and ahead of his adjusted age (according to What to Expect the First Year, anyway). He is still a content, easy baby, although his deciding he doesn't want to nap in his crib continues to be a pain in my neck. His early intervention teacher says that he is much more vocal than a lot of kiddos with Downs, so I'm hoping this means good things for his speech development later on.

    Connor and I were having some trouble getting along the last few weeks--mostly a result of him refusing to listen to me and throwing tantrums. My wise hubby pointed out to me that although Connor doesn't show resentment for Bryce, his acting out was probably a result of trying to get my full attention. Since that was pointed out to me, I've made more of an effort to just put Bryce in his bed with his mobile on, or lay him on the ground more often so I can focus 100% on Connor. We have been doing much better. He is such a good boy, and he has been very good about adjusting to having a brother around.

    With Christmas coming up, I'm not sure when I'll have time for another update, so I'll wish all my readers a "Merry Christmas" now. I hope everyone has a blessed and safe holiday season!

xoxo, Julie

P.S. If you have a moment, check out "The Pledge to Cure Pity"  (button/link on the right side of my blog). It is a great campaign to get all of us thinking a little differently about people with disabilities. They don't ask for any monetary donations--just to raise awareness. You can take the pledge and share that you did on facebook and/or your own blog.