Saturday, August 15, 2015

Barrett is Three Months Old!

Hey There Little Bear,

Today, you are three months old.
I could say how sad I am for today.
How devastated I am that in two short days, someone other than your momma will be rocking you to sleep, feeding you your morning snack, soothing you with their songs, and stealing those sweet smiles you give so freely.
But I won't.
I have known your three month birthday would also coincide with the date you would begin a wonderful school (just a few doors down from your sweet Baker Boy) and I would return to a job I love. 
For the last three months, I have loved you intentionally.
I chose to snuggle you and leave dishes piled in the sink.
We dug socks out of the dryer and pieced outfits together so I could read your favorite books.
We spent our days singing and dancing around the living room,
and I don't regret one minute.
Sweet boy, you are such a joy!
You love us so easily and you are so easy for us to love.
You spend your days playing with Baker and your favorite toys.
You love music and you love people.
You have become so interactive and animated.
You love to take walks outside, and would spend all day on our back porch if we would let you.

I cannot wait to see what this next month with you brings!
I love you so big!
Monthly Stats
Weight: 16 pounds, 10 ounces
Height: 25.5 inches
Diaper Size: twos
Clothes: 3-6 (mostly 6) months




Monday, August 10, 2015

New Adventures - Glasses Wearing and Friends Fellowshipping

Last week, Baker and I moseyed up to Birmingham for a day of doctors.
The boys' BeBe stayed home with Barrett, so it was a day full of memories to be made for just me and my big boy!

And just when I thought my Baker Boy couldn't get any cuter, this happened.

I'll share more on our new adventure in glasses wearing in a few lines.
We stopped at Urban Cookhouse to meet some dear friends for lunch.
Praise all things good and holy for a kid-friendly place that doesn't make moms lose their religion.
Hashtag playplaces give me the willies.
Sally was one of the first to reach out to me after Baker was born. Her adorable boy, Walker, was born just two months before Baker and I have loved her (and her more precious than precious little boy) from the start of this joy-filled journey.
Baker and Walker acted like lifelong friends.
At some points, Sally and I attempted adult conversation.
IEPs. Fears. Dreams. Development. Therapists. School.
All were topics worthy of our words. 
Other times, our language was lulled and our speech was silenced by the mesmerizing sight of these
two boys.
Our boys.
Our hearts.
The ones we pray for and cry over.
Wish wishes and dream dreams.
They were doing it, right there in our midst.
Living out answered prayers.
 When Baker plays with typical children, there is a certain expectation.
Expectations involving play, language, personal space, among others.
I wrote a post about this a few weeks ago called The Talk that The Mighty published and the National Down Syndrome Network featured.
You can read it here
With Baker and Walker, there were no expectations.
There was just acceptance.
Whole hearted, unabbreviated, need nothing in return, acceptance.
There was little verbal talk, except in a language all their own,
a lot of laughs from two silly boys,
an equal love for macaroni and cheese,
and more hugs than can be squeezed into one day.
Could it be that these two big boys were once these two water-loving little babies?
Time, you are a cruel and wonderful thing.
After a scrumptious lunch date and promises to fellowship again soon,
 we headed to Baker's ophthalmologist.
What a gem of a woman and an answer to this worrying mama's prayers.
He has been seen since shortly after his first birthday for farsightedness and astigmatism;
however, nothing was serious enough to warrant glasses or corrective surgery.
We knew there was a strong possibility glasses were in our near future, and
a school eye exam earlier in the year hinted that his eye sight was worsening.
We went through all of the steps.
Dilating and drops and lights and lenses.
And lots of stickers and attaboys.
So. Many. Choices.

In the end, we walked away with a prescription for some suave spectacles,
and a little dude feeling more dapper than ever.
 Doing life with this sweet boy is my favorite way to do life.
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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Giving Children a Choice (even when it's not the choice you'd choose)

Some things are non-negotiable.
There is no bargaining or bribery allowed.
You eat what's on the table.
You do not run out in the street.
You don't hit or pick up Little Bear
(Barrett is Baker's new baby brother, known around here as Little Bear, and Baker thinks every grunt or whimper is an excuse to hold him. Wrong my sweet child. Very, very no.).
But for all the others, we give a choice.
This shirt, or that shirt?
Mickey Mouse or Curious George?
Love You Forever for the millionth time or this wonderfully exciting new book?
A bath or a shower?
Swing or slide?
Oreo or Chocolate Chip?
Five minutes on the iPad or five minutes on mommy's phone?
Make your bed first or brush your teeth first?
A little trim or a funky new 'do?
After a few minutes browsing together on Pinterest, Baker made his choice.
It may not have been what I would have chosen.
How was I to know that a few minutes in the salon chair and a few snips from Mrs. Brittney's sharpest would age my toddler years and years?

With every mirror we passed, he checked his hair
(or begged to be lifted to check it out once again),
and gave this adorable little wink at himself.
Every morning, he waits for the routine to sit on the counter and helps me style it just right.
He is so proud of his new look.
He is so very proud of his choice.
And I'm pretty smitten with this handsome boy of mine who is growing in confidence with every choice he makes.

Well, almost every choice.
I have to pull the Mom card on some choices!

Controlled choices for children is key.
This one or that one.
Or which of these three?
Or which one first - knowing all the while every single tooth will be brushed
and every blasted truck tucked into the toy garage.
Even I am overwhelmed on the paint aisle at Lowes.
Forty-seven different variations of gray?
No thank you.
And don't even get me started on those Coke Freestyle machines.
Making choices is empowering.
It is confidence building.
Independence instilling.
It's toughest on mamas, when our children don't need us for everything.
But is so worth it when they proudly make a good choice,
or learn a lesson from a less than desirable one.
White eyeliner or butterfly clips, anyone?
What choices do you give your children, and at what age?
How have they responded?

Monday, August 3, 2015

Brown Sugar Kale Chips (a post about cooking with children and a tasty recipe)

One of my favorite things to do with my big boy while Little Brother is asleep is to play in the kitchen.

Baker is wild and active.
He embraces all things three.
And he embraces all things boy.
We can be found on any given day making and baking and stirring things up in the kitchen!
Involving children in the kitchen is mutually beneficial. You get an extra set of hands, and your child learns the importance of proper nutrition, how to follow directions, measure, listen to instructions, tell time, and to increase their fine motor skills, among so many others.
Baker's favorite things to whip up are pancakes, brownies, and banana faux fro-yo.
My all boy boy prefers anything that requires the use of a mixer, blender, or food processor.
He loves power, and machines (errr, small appliances), and noise!
More recently, we've expanded our menu to include foods for all times of the day.
Baker has a slight aversion to things with different textures (as do many children with Down Syndrome), but we continue to encourage him to try new things.
He is a great eater and rarely refuses any food.
His newest love, brown sugar kale chips.
Three year olds who request kale chips, who knew??
Here's what you need to make our favorite afternoon snack:
  • 4 cups fresh kale
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 cup of loosely packed light brown sugar
To make, combine first three ingredients in a large mixing bowl or plastic bag. Toss or shake lightly to ensure all leaves are coated with olive oil and garlic salt.
In our kitchen, we alternate between a zip-close gallon size plastic bag and a mixing bowl with tongs. Both promote the use of fine motor skills, which is especially important for Baker. He loves sliding the zipper to open and close the bag and shaking it all around. He also benefits greatly from manipulating tongs. Especially during the summer, when his therapies decrease, we try to make our time together meaningful - both fun and intentional. 
Here's how to cook:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Arrange kale chips in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet
  • Cook for 12-15 minutes (or until the edges begin to brown slightly)
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle with brown sugar
The sugar will melt and adhere to the chips giving them a wonderfully delicious flavor that appeals to both your salty and sweet cravings.
PS - they're healthy
PPS - and totally toddler approved