Would you eradicate me?

gloria today

Perhaps because I am a member of several Facebook groups involving grandparents of children with Down Syndrome, everyday one of the videos of a person with D.S. who is literally pleading with our nation to accept them, appears on my timeline. You have seen them. These men and women are begging the audience to realize that their parents did not make a mistake by choosing to give them life!!!! Can you say the same? Can you say that you have given this life everything that it deserves and that your parents were right in giving you the opportunity to live it?

Okay, so that was a much harsher statement than was intended, but, seriously!!!! Why do you not have to justify your right to life but this beautiful little girl needs spokespersons to defend her presence on this earth? How are we, as a society, calling ourselves advanced when we cannot answer the very basic questions about compassion, equality, and the right to life?

Do you believe in a higher power? In God? In nature? or even in science? Perhaps you believe in evolution or natural selection. Regardless, and for whatever reason, Gloria Ann is here and she is beautiful. Please, stop believing that we, as mere mortals, know more that whatever is driving this beautiful life that we call the human condition.

This should not be a debate. This should be a celebration!

“Gigi”

 

 

Advertisements

Happy Birthday, Elliott!

Elliott is TWO!!!

cake

I swear it seems like just a short moment ago that Ashley came through the house asking for a pimento cheese sandwich. “Ashley,” I asked blatantly, “are you pregnant?”

“No way!” she responded and continued to add that she always eats pimento cheese sandwiches.

My response was simple. “Ashley, no you do not. A) You always said it tasted weird on bread and only ate a few crackers with pimento cheese. B) I am your mother and know these things. C) You are pregnant!”

Days later, with the father pacing in front of my door, my daughter told me that I was going to be a grandmother again!

A few scares in the beginning of the pregnancy gave way to a relatively easy and seemingly quick pregnancy. Before I knew it, I was holding this beautiful baby in my arms for the first time!

EJ birth

I could not imagine a more perfect way to start out the new year in 2016!

Then, things got hard. Then, they got harder. It seemed that this perfect little man was going to have a rough way to go starting soon after his birth. But he just kept smiling through it!

Now, all healed up and home with his mommy by his side, he smiles:

mommy

He smiled and he overcame and he developed into the strongest person that I know! Nothing, and I mean NOTHING stops him. I don’t believe that anything ever will! In two short years, he has faced things that would shatter most but yet, here he is, a happy, healthy, loving two-year-old who is ready to take on the world (as long as the world has candy, trains, and his big sister!)

big sister

Whatever the world has in store for him, I have no doubt that he will smile his way through it and come out stronger, kinder, and unstoppable!

Happy Birthday, Elliott James!

“Gigi”

All I want for Christmas, I won back from CPS

Do not give up! If you are facing this holiday season without your children, know that our hearts are with you and that the view on the other side is not only beautiful but also reachable!

We thought we were in a never-ending nightmare. We felt the depth of the gorge and saw the height of the mountains that we were determined to climb. We questioned the view from the top and wondered about what would come on the other side if we were to ever make it out of the valley.

I know many of you feel this now. The holidays are overwhelming for your children or grandchildren, for any number of reasons either real or false reports, are dreaming of sugar plums in a bed that is not their own. For those of you who have not experienced this, imagine the emptiness of a stocking on Christmas morning because there is no child to shriek with excitement. Imagine seeing other parents urge their children to sit on Santa’s lap and wondering if your own is scared or excited. The magnitude of this cannot easily be portrayed but I am here to tell you that the view from atop that mountain, what lies beyond the valley, is beautiful!

I mean, look at this smile!

smiles
We just saw Chase and Marshall from Paw Patrol!

They tried to tell me, in the valley, that this smile would not be over that ridge! But on a Friday night at a local Christmas tree lighting, Chase and Marshall from Paw Patrol told them that they were wrong. She smiles and I smile!

But wait, they also said that my daughter would never smile again and that she would no longer get “mommy moments” but they were wrong.

mommy smiles
Banana Pudding: Just Because!

Of course, they did not count on me snapping a quick photo while the children made banana pudding with their mommy! They did not know that, on the other side of that seemingly insurmountable mountain, my daughter would smile again!

In fact, they did not count on library craft mornings or ice cream afternoons!

But the smiles are real and so is the view! Do not give up! If you are facing this holiday season without your children, know that our hearts are with you and that the view on the other side is not only beautiful but also reachable!

Many blessings and prayers to all of you!

“Gigi”

Take a Bite but DO NOT Bite: Ways we Confuse Toddlers

Have you ever experienced the shocking pain of someone so cute and dear to your heart closing their teeth firmly on your arm? OUCH!!! With four toddlers running around the house, obviously, we have all felt the cringing pain more than once. I remember discussing this with other parents when my own children were little and the answer was always something along the lines of “they are just figuring it out” or “this is just something children do!”

Okay, maybe if it is only adults who are falling prey to this “rite of passage” so to speak, then maybe I could accept those answers. However, again, with four toddlers we have ALL (children included) experienced this pain at one point or another as the four take turns transforming from sweet little children to the spawn of Dracula!

Usually, Clarabelle alerts us as to the culprit shouting “Elliott bit Gloria,” or “Braxton bit Elliott!” I mean, they are quick with it. One minute they are all sitting around with blocks and we think it is safe to refill cups and the next minute there is a shriek and an announcement of the bite!

As most parents and grandparents have done, I searched the internet for methods to stop this and these methods all lead to some form of punishment for the action and align the “fault” with either the child or simply development. To understand why I disagreed with these methods, you have to understand two things about our situation.

  1. These are my grandchildren so I simply cannot see “fault” in them (smiley Gigi face icon not available!)
  2. Seconly, one of my grandchildren was the victim of child abuse as an infant and one has Down syndrome. Punishment takes special circumstances because of these situations and we try to be fair regarding all four children.

With that said, punishment occurs in the form of timeout or standing against the wall but it is hard to assign punishment based on the words of a three-year-old (no matter how verbal and advanced Clarabelle is.) So, if we do not see it happen, it is really hard to punish over biting.

Besides, I got to thinking, there has to be a significant reason why most children at this age think biting is okay. I mean, I tell them one time on most things such as “the trash is dirty do not touch,” or “do not hit” and they generally comprehend what I am saying and refrain from these behaviors. But biting, for some reason, is different. It is like they forget following each incident that biting is wrong and that being bitten hurts.

During my whole thought process, I found myself snacking on some cookies. (Hey, it is the holidays so no judging)!!! As the children passed, I asked them if they wanted a bite….

Let me say that again. As the children passed, I asked them if they wanted a bite!!!

Wait, a minute ago, a bite was bad but now bite means cookie?

We work with children on context clues, vocabulary, synonyms, phonics, etc. but not before the age of 2. Maybe, just maybe, if we could use more specific words for specific actions, then they would understand the context clearer.

Granted, I realize that this offers little to no advice for all of us who are struggling with the toddler teeth situation, but I hope it offers a different way of thinking about a child’s behaviors. Sometimes, we expect that they should just know things. If that was the case, what are we here for?

 

If we do not teach then they will never know,

“Gigi”

Tonight, I pray: Please pray with me!

Okay, I know on #48 I stated that we do not attend church. I am not changing that statement but please know that this does not mean that we do not pray. In fact, I was raised in a Pentecostal church and know that when 2 or more come in accord our prayers are heard. With 592 followers, I only ask that one of you that follow our blog say this prayer with me.

Dear heavenly father, tomorrow is a test of our faith. We must have faith in a system that once failed not only us but all members of this family. We ask for a peaceful transition. We ask for the love for the children to supersede the feelings of anger and entitlement. We ask for God to be there so that all parties recognize the that He, not man, paves the way to peace. We pray that our family will be safe and that everyone will turn to His guidance in approaching this day. In Jesus’s name, we pray…Amen and Amen

I cannot provide more details than this but I hope, that on faith, you will speak these words with us tonight.

From my grandchildren and I, thank you for joining us on our journey and our prayer!

“Gigi”

 

Kindness: It Really Does Matter

We have encountered a lot of people over the years of adding smudges! Some of these people have made the journey more enjoyable while others have taken the liberty of smearing every possible fingerprint possible. In the end, I can honestly say that I would rather see myself in the reflection of those smudges than to have to squint in their mirrors to try to see myself as “perfect” as they.

There are many reasons to be angry and, perhaps even to be cruel. But that is not the type of image I want to see in my mirror. You see, it is I, no one else, who has to like what I see and I cannot imagine having to look at a woman staring back at me who is unkind or full of hate. I have seen that reflection in the past. I have spoken ill and failed to be genuinely kind. But I have learned from those moments. I have grown and I have allowed myself to remember how that looked on me.

There are moments when being gracious or kind just seems impossible. There are situations that I encounter that make me want to say things just to make others feel as small as they have tried to make me feel. But I remember two things. The first is that I do not want to see the anger in myself and the second, but most important, is that my grandchildren are watching me. They are learning how to cope with the world. They are learning how to treat others. They look to me for assurance when they are scared, comfort when they are sad, and stability when the world is trying to shake their normalcy. I will be the foundation for them that they can be proud of and I will continue to look in my mirror with pride as I know that kindness will be reflected.

What do you see in the mirror? What will your grandchildren see? Make it kindness!

“Gigi”

Celebrate Every First! Homecoming Parade!

For most parents and grandparents, you anticipate celebrating certain firsts. In fact, you buy a neat little baby book to document each and every first for the first year of their life. For those of us who have battled with CPS, firsts are different. Firsts happen every day. We may have lost a lot of the typical firsts, but we are blessed to spend the rest of our lives celebrating every single one after that horrific year! I mean, we have celebrated haircuts and holidays so why not the very first parade that one of the children have participated in!?!

So….today, Clarabelle and her mommy climbed aboard the float for her dance classes and cheered in their red attire alongside the other girls and mothers!

parade

Elliott, my mother, and I stood waiting for her to appear to catch a glimpse of that perfect smile!

biggest-fan.jpg
Sissy’s Biggest Fan!

We are so blessed every day! All of us! There is always something to celebrate. There is always something worth shouting from the rooftops! These may seem so small to so many, but to us, these moments are what we fought so hard to get.

What moment are you celebrating today?

“Gigi”