Thursday, April 28, 2011

Feel Awkward?

Ever feel awkward or out of place or don't know what to say when the conversation rolls around to "How's Lauren?". I know that was me before Lauren - what do you say, how much do you ask, do you ask at all? Do you appear uninterested, insensitive or uncaring when not asking questions? Do you appear nosey, curious or ignorant when asking too many questions? What questions are "appropriate?" Which ones are not? Should you bring Lauren up or wait for us to bring her up? Treat her differently or treat her the same? 

There's no quick and fast rule I've learned. Somedays, I'll totally be up for sharing everything - my smiles, my hopes, my tears of joy. And other days - just don't ask - I'll probably cry a river with my worries, my fears. Its still an emotional roller coaster. Better than before, yes, but still have the ups and downs.

Generally I do like to be open about what's going on. So yes, I do appreciate questions. I like to share more from the perspective of bringing awareness and knowledge about a world that not too many of us ever in our lifetime will have to encounter. A world nobody ever dreams they will be a part of, but for some of us, its not a choice but a given. A given that our new normalcy includes a world of therapies, medical appointments and specialists. That to learn is not so simply showing once, but practicing hundreds of times. That to grow is not so simply just eat, but choosing high fat, high calorie foods. That to hear is not so simply to speak and be heard, but requires a quiet, non-distracting environment. That to see is not so simply just open your eyes and see what's around you, but to see by experience, feeling and smelling. That to talk is not so simply open your mouth and the words and sounds will come out but...well I am still trying to figure this one out.

So yes, its a new world we are in. I grew up looking away from those in wheel chairs, those who physically looked different, those who talked funny, those why couldn't talk at all. I chose to ignore instead of to understand. I chose to look the other way instead of looking them in the eye. I chose to forget instead of facing them head on. 

So what do I ask of you?

I am going to be a copy cat on this one. I read this on another blog and it is very well written.

My favorite points from this blog post:

"Teach your children that different is OK and be sure to include not just those of a different color, but those who move around differently, talk or hear differently, and even those whose bodies are different."
"Teach them that looking is OK if it’s done with a smile"

That is what I ask of you. And this is how I will raise Kayla. And she will know no different.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Looking Past Limits

I just finished watching this new Ted Talk video and really enjoyed it. If you have 15 minutes, have a watch.

Another really good need release (6 min long):

My Wish For You

Monday, April 25, 2011

Enjoying The Small Things

Sometimes, I can get so caught up on how Lauren is developing that I often overlook the small things. Its easy with typically developing children to just enjoy the big things, like we do with Kayla, but with Lauren, we have learn to enjoy all the little things that nobody sees except for us, grandparents and her therapists. Small things like using her finger to poke at a small hole, laughing at herself in the mirror when she has stickers all over her face, walking two steps on her knees and picking and eating all the strawberries on her plate over the waffles and toast bits.

Lauren's pace of development has really allowed us to see all the teeny tiny steps that are required to achieve a milestone. And because of her, this has also taught us to sit back and enjoy Kayla's small steps too - learning to not confuse "b" and "d" when learning phonetics, attempting to cut her own food with a knife and fork simultaneously, colouring within the lines and finishing all her morning milk without being reminded.

Yes its the small things that make me smile. Its the small things that I remember the most. Its the small things that give me hope that Lauren will achieve big things one day. 

Lauren may be a turtle (and her sister the rabbit), but as long as she tries her hardest (and we know she is trying!) it really doesn't matter if and when she finishes the race... especially since she has family and friends rooting for her all along the sidelines. If she finishes the race, the fans may stop cheering. So maybe, just maybe, she is purposely taking her golly old time and smelling the roses along her way. 

Here is Lauren reaching into a bin, grabbing a big truck and pulling it out of the box. Yes, not huge steps for any toddler, but for Lauren, these are big achievements. She is exploring in an unfamiliar environment, she is reaching into a box, and she is lifting a big object. She is often hesitant and shy of new places, but at this play place, she did really well. 

Another small thing - but big for Lauren - is expressing herself. Lauren is the most content little girl and truly is usually content with most situations. Here she is expressing discontent with being left alone. I love it!! It wasn't too long ago, she simply wouldn't have "noticed" that she was by herself and content to be on her own. She is recently becoming more aware of her surroundings, the absence or distance of Steve or myself, and is showing stranger anxiety!

I think the looking picture is one of my all time faves. With all the eye specialists and appointments we've been through with her vision..this picture reminds me of just how big and beautiful her eyes are, and how curious she can be with her eyes.

And finally those hands...those tiny tiny little hands. She was so scared, reluctant and unsure of using them for the longest time. She didn't want to touch anything.  Even with cheerios she would hesitate picking them out of a bowl. Now her little hands dive right into containers of raw pasta. We are still working with therapists to quicken and strengthen her use of those tiny little ten, but we have seen improvements - which is all that counts.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

The Easter Bunny came to our home this morning and Kayla, Lauren and her cousin Bree, had a super fun time looking for easter eggs all over the house. Kayla counted all her eggs - 30 in all and was delighted to have her second taste of pure chocolate. Junior (Bree's little brother) slept through his first Easter, but peeked his eyes open a few times through all the excitement. Poor Lauren, who seems to have caught another cough and ear infection, was a trooper and enjoyed the cheerios and goldfishes hidden inside her eggs.

Junior (a few days old), Kayla,, Lauren and Bree

Enjoying breakfast together

Happy Easter

Friday, April 22, 2011

Lauren Waves, Kayla Eats Sandwiches

I wanted to do this post with some pictures, but unfortunately, I've misplaced my USB cord and can't download anything off my camera.

I did want to share two recent proud moments with everyone. The post title says it all.

Lauren is waving to us! And she has the biggest, biggest smile when she does this! We are all savoring and enjoying this new milestone...we've been waiting a very very very long time for this!! We have her waving hi and bye to us all day long.

We've finally moved off kraft dinner for Kayla's lunches and onto cold cut sandwiches! Since September, its been Kraft dinner at least 3-4 times/week for lunch. The rest of the week is either pizza day at school or just plain rice with peas. Everything else I pack always came right back to me untouched. But one day, I just decided to pack a sandwich to see what she would do with it. She likes cold cuts and bread, so why not? Well who would believe it, but the sandwich did not come home for her. I was astonished and spoke to the teacher (making sure she did not toss it in the garbage) and the teacher told me she finishes it every day!! Yay! I've been waiting 8 months for this! So I've been experimenting with cold cut ham, turkey, chicken - she eats it all!

Hope everyone has a Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

My Sunday in Pictures

Starting the day off with a Big Breakfast from McDonalds

Lauren has recently "found" her nose

We reveal to Kayla how to open and closer her own car window - she loves her new found control

Shopping at Costco and sporting Grandma's sweater gift
Celebrating Maddie's 1st Birthday with cute party outfits and dirty bibs

Obsessed with peeling the paper skin off old crayons

Ending the day with sushi

Kayla and her favourite cousin Bree

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Saturday Afternoon at the Park

Finally we got some nice weather in Toronto. We decided to spend our Saturday afternoon at the park. But just as we left the house, Lauren sliced her finger on the ventilation grate in our home, bleeding blood all over our house. The cut was quite deep and wouldn't stop bleeding, so we made a pit stop at the walk-in-clinic - but during our wait, the bleeding subsided, Lauren past out from all the crying and we continued our planned trip to the park. The girls had a great time on the swings, feeding the ducks, eating cotton candy and riding together in the wagon.

Kayla's muddy shoes and Lauren's bandaged finger

Lauren's first taste of cotton candy
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