Saturday, 30 March 2013

Just In Time for Easter!

Now I can breathe a sigh of relief.

Ahhhhhhhhhhh. (that's me exhaling in relief)

Stella is back to her old self again which makes me very happy! I missed her smile, her laugh and her curiosity.  Now they are full force!

Tuesday was a turning point for her.  I was giving Sophie lunch and she saw Sophie eating cheese...and she started signing "cheese".  Stella wanted to eat some cheese!

She's EATING!! Yay!

And drinking!! YAY!

Slowly but surely she started eating a little more each day and now she is back to her "picky" self.

But now Sophie seems to have an ear infection....or something.

Poor Sophie Bear

 My poor lil Bear. On Thursday she was complaining that her ear hurt and then on Friday morning she had a temperature.  Today is Saturday and she still has a temperature......sigh!  I hope she will be up for an Easter Egg hunt tomorrow.

I will have 3 healthy children soon! I WILL!.......right??

Now let me fill you in on something other then the fact that my McG Girls are still sick.

Today my mother-in-law and father-in-law came over and they did an Easter craft with the big girls.  It was an egg decorating craft using shaving cream!

The craft went a lil something like this:

1. Spray a whole bunch of the good ol cheap spray foam shaving cream on a baking sheet.  Spread out the shaving cream with a spoon.

Cheap foam shaving cream

2. Squeeze lots of little dots of food colouring onto the shaving cream.

Food colouring being added to the shaving cream

3. Take a straw or handle of spoon and move it through the shaving cream so some of the food colouring blend together a bit.
Blended food colouring

4. Roll an egg in the shaving cream and food colouring.  Note: in future, if we do this craft again, I MUST remember to buy some latex gloves! My, oh my what a mess it is.

Rolling the eggs into the shaving cream

Oh my, what a mess!

5. Let the eggs, which are now covered in shaving cream and food colouring, sit for about 5 minutes.

Eggs sitting for 5 minutes

6. Rinse the shaving cream off of the eggs and "Voila",  you are left with wonderful colourful eggs!

Beautiful eggs!

It was very messy, and I had a few brief moments of "I-hate-all-of-this-mess" attitude, but I got over it and enjoyed seeing my kids having fun with their grandparents.  Even though Sophie was clearly not feeling 100%, she still did have a fun time getting messy.

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday.  A day that is NOT just about the Easter Bunny, as I like to remind Olivia.      It is about the ressurection of Jesus.

"Woah", where did THAT come from?"  I am sure you are wondering.

I grew up going to church.  I learnt about God, Jesus and all things Christian based.  We, as a family, do not go to church. But I still want my children to know about God, and to at least have a basic knowledge about Him.

And when I say basic, I mean basic! I have not been to church since I was 17.  I honestly don't remember a whole lot about the bible.  Mickey loves to joke that he knows more about  Christian beliefs then I do....and he's probably right.

That being said, I want my girls to at least know about God.  To have some sort of belief.

I know believing in God has helped me a great deal in handling whatever challenges I have faced and we, as a family have faced.

So that being said, I want my girls to enjoy the fun family events that take place on Easter.  I want them to be excited and happy when they see what The Easter Bunny has left them, but I also want them to know that this holiday is about Jesus.

That He gave his life so that we may live.

And THAT is about as far as I'm gonna delve into religion on my blog.

I found this link about Easter Sunday in Canada for anyone interested: Easter in Canada

So tomorrow the McG girls, Mickey and I will be spending Easter with family, going on an Easter Egg Hunt and enjoying being together.

I hope that your family has a lovely Easter!

Monday, 25 March 2013

Making it Through The Fog of Illness

Last week my life was consumed by illness; my illness, or to be more exact a virus. This virus kicked my ass.  And even as we speak I am only just making it out of the fog of that nasty virus. I had it all: fever and body aches followed by a nasty head cold which then migrated and nestled itself happily in my chest.

Here we are 9 days later and I still have a cough and still am blowing my nose a lot, but for the most part I am better.  I can walk five feet without feeling like a Mac truck side smacked me.

Now that I am feeling better I can play with Sophie again instead of ignoring her while she watches hours upon hours of Treehouse TV.  Now that I am feeling better I can help Olivia with her homework and make dinner without feeling like I am fighting to keep my eyes open.

This whole McG household has been sick for the past few months.

 Well, except for Mickey.  That man has the immune system of Superman or something.

Olivia, Sophie, and even Stella have all been battling some sort of cold related illness.  Sophie and Stella are prone to having any type of cold move into their chests. Sophie seems to be faring well. Stella seemed to be faring well also.  But last Thursday, something changed.  Her cough seemed to be getting better, her nose was less stuffy yet she seemed to be getting worse.  Her usual happy go lucky self was being swapped with a sad, unhappy little girl.  She woke up from her nap on Thursday and wouldn't sit up, she would just lay there.  All afternoon she was fussy and just sat on the floor looking so sad.

I got worried, so I took her to see her doctor on the Friday.  He changed her meds, got her an xray to rule out pneumonia and then proceeded to tell me she could just have a virus.

Saturday, Stella was still sad, so sad and grumpy and wouldn't let me put her down.  She napped for 4 hours and when she woke up was still so grumpy. She wouldn't eat, and trying to get her to drink was very hard.  Then that night she started throwing up.  She threw up on and off all night, yet she had no temperature.

Sunday Stella slept in until almost noon. She seemed to perk up a bit! Yay!  She drank a bit of juice/water mix and even some Almond Milk. I started to breath a little easier as it seemed that perhaps she was feeling better.  But then, she went back to grumpy, sad and tired.  She slept some more, about another 3 hours and woke up a tad better, but then back to grumpy grumps.

I tried all evening to get her to drink and she just would not drink anything.

Monday, today is Monday. As I type this it is about 8:50am and Stella is still sleeping (ish).  She is dozing on and off in her crib.  I am oh so very worried.  I have never experienced a virus like this with her. She has no temperature, yet seems very tired. She won't eat but won't drink either.  I am perplexed and worried.  So many thoughts are running through my head.

Could it be mono? What are the symptoms? Should I google it? Yes, I'll just have a quick I don't thing she has mono.
Could it be meningitis?  What are the symptoms? Should I google it? Yes, I'll just have a quick I don't think she has meningitis.

I ended up going back to her doctor today. I waited for an obscene amount of time, but just having the doctor take a look at her always eases my mind a bit.  And like he told me on Friday when I was at his office, it is a virus.  Which means nothing can be given to help her. Her body must fight off whatever nasty virus has invaded her body!

in a fog of salbutimol and pulmicort

Sitting on the couch watching Signing Time.....this never happens! Stella is ALWAYS standing right in front of the TV.

Oh Stella Bella, please get better soon! This mama bear is just soo worried!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

This Girl is On Fire

Today Stella, Sophie and I went to Olivia's class to talk about Down Syndrome. Stella is still so very sick and was not in the best of moods but she pulled through and managed to entertain all of the kids.  In my cold induced head fog I totally forgot to bring my phone so that I could take pictures to add to this blog post.....damn you head cold!

The kids in Livi's class really did not have many questions.  They were all extremely distracted by Stella and just kept wanting to play with her.  The only question that a few of the boys asked me was "How do you get Down Syndrome?"

I proceeded to inform them that people who have Down Syndrome are born with it and that you can't "catch it".  This seemed to satisfy them and they then proceeded to play/watch Stella.

It was a fun morning filled with laughter and lots of kids talking all at once.  The one thing that I made of point of telling Livi's class was that Stella is just a little girl who deserves respect, kindness and acceptance just like each and every one of them do.

I am not sure if they heard me as again, Stella did something that they thought was extremely funny and they were all laughing.

To end this blog post, I am going to share another video I made of Stella for WDSD.

Enjoy and I hope that I am doing my part to show the younger generations that being different is ok and that kindness and acceptance are important to show to everyone.

Ps.  The poem on the video I got from an awesome Facebook page called "Awesome Outloud"

Check it out: Awesome Out Loud

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

When Mama Bear is Sick

I am sick.
Not just, stuffy nose, sneezing sick, but body aches, temperature PLUS sneezing, stuffy nose, cough up a lung sick.

The thing that sucks most about being sick is that this here mama bear does NOT get to lay around all day and nap and rest.
That is the one thing that sucks about being a grown up and having children.  I don't get to sit on the couch all day and watch TV and eat toast cut into cute little strips while my mommy cuddles me and waits on me hand and foot.  Ahhh, how I miss those days.

Sadly, now that I am the adult I must suck it up.

Thankfully today I don't feel quite so bad.  Which is good because tommorow is World Down Syndrome Day.  I was planning on taking Stella to Olivia's class to talk to the kids about Down Syndrome.  I sent in a book for the teacher to read to the kids today (My Best Friend Has Down Syndrome, is the name of the book).

Then tomorrow I was just going to go there for 20 minutes or so and answer any questions any of the kids might have about Stella or Down Syndrome.

It should be interesting.  Kids usually always have something cute and insightful to say.

Olivia is quite proud of Stella.  So I am sure tomorrow she will have great fun showing Stella off to all of her friends.

And that my friends, is all. This here mama has no other words of wisdom to bestow upon you. But I WILL leave you with my "what you lookin at" face.

It really is neither here nor there and has absolutely nothing to do with anything, but perhaps it will get a giggle out of you.


Saturday, 16 March 2013

Getting Off Of My Virtual SoapBox

Over the past few weeks I have been feeling extremely low.

Inadequate. Overwhelmed. Sad.

I have been struggling with daily run-of-the-mill challenges that all of us as parents face.  Sophie is challenging me like no child of mine has and I am feeling like I am failing her as her mom.  She has been dealing with a bladder infection brought on by not listening to her body and by holding her pee for just wayyyy to long.  This has caused me to be extremely frustrated and I admittedly have not been handling her accidents well AT ALL. Thus she has had a huge regression and down right refusal to go pee, or poop on the potty.  Olivia worries about things that not many little girls her age do.  Her current worry is dealing with anxiety over falling asleep.  Every night she worries that she won't fall asleep before Mickey and I do. Her brain is working a mile a minute constantly.  She is highly sensitive to her thoughts and her surroundings.  It can be very exhausting and frustrating to parent her at times.  Both these amazing little girls are pushing me to the very limits of what I feel I can handle as a parent.

Lately I have been reading tons of blogs and tons of articles relating to disability and mostly relating to Down Syndrome.  I want to learn, I want to read other parents and family's perspectives.  My Facebook wall has changed from ordinary, everyday stuff to everything to do with Down Syndrome, whether it be an article I find interesting or cute inspirational pictures. I knew that I was doing this and my reasoning was that I was trying to show the world (basically just those who are my Facebook friends, soooo not really the world...) that Down Syndrome is no big deal.

However, somewhere along the way I have become unbalanced.  Stella having Down Syndrome is NOT my main focus in life.  Sure it's a big part of my life but so is diapers and a three and a half year old who keeps shitting on the carpet.

Yet if someone read my facebook page they may think otherwise.  It's kind of like talking about religion, sports or any thing else.  If you talk about it in excess, people tend to STOP listening and just get turned off.  You know, the inward roll of the eyes, the annoyed "She's at it AGAIN. Jeeze we get it already Anna!"

I have been reading and researching too much. I have been reading too many posts about mothers who choose to terminate due to Down Syndrome.  I have been reading too many posts from those who are having to deal with hurtful comments from strangers and friends alike.  I have been reading too many posts about the challenges some families are facing when it comes to getting a fair and inclusive education for their child.

Don't get me wrong, these facebook groups that I am a part of are filled with happy moments, wonderful experiences and beautiful pictures that parents share.  However, I have seemed to start to focus on all the events that COULD happen to us as a family, and that COULD happen to Stella.

I have been on edge waiting for the other "shoe to drop".

Waiting for someone to say something hurtful about Stella (so I can punch them in the face with my powerful words of wisdom).

Waiting for someone to call her a mean name.

Waiting for someone to look upon us with pity.

I know, crazy lady right??

Not one of these things has happened to us yet.

I have been focusing too much on one chromosome. I have been trying too hard instead of just "being."

So starting now, right this very second,  I will stop asking Sophie every 5 minutes if she has to pee or poop.  Even if I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that my little stinker clearly, CLEARLY has to go to the bathroom.  I will NOT yell at her to go, I will not insist she goes. I will allow her to listen to her body, even if that means I have to clean up more shit off the carpet.

I will continue to give Olivia coping skills to deal with her anxiety, and perhaps even look into some counselling, because I have run out of ideas.

So for now, my soapbox has been neatly tucked away. I will still share information or pictures relating to Down Syndrome that I find interesting or inspiring but I will stop trying to "sell" Down Syndrome, to try and convince people that Down Syndrome is no big deal. I know that Stella is so much more then her extra chromosome and just sharing our life either on Facebook or via my blog is proof enough that Down Syndrome is not the end of the world, but the beginning of a whole new one.

No matter what, my McG Girls are my life.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Stella and the Nebulizer...take 2.....

So instead of whining about the fact that Stella is sick again I'll share a few of the shenanigans that Stella had been up to these past few weeks.

We have been slowly attempting to ween lil missy off of her pacifier. Last week she asked for it..... a lot. And by asking I mean she would sign "blanket" while sucking on her tongue.  I wish I could capture it on video cause I honestly have been unable to mimic her doing this and it is just oh so cute! Needless to say she has been a crabby pants because we have not been giving in and giving her her suckie. A couple if times I would forget to put her blanket and pacifier away and out of her sight and so then out of her room she would toddle looking quite smug and proud of herself as she sucked on her suckie and blanket.

Quite proud of herself.

mmmmmmmm, blankie!!

What a little rascal.

This week she has definitely been less grumpy and even today when she has had a temperature and a wheezy chest, no once has she asked for either her suckie or blanket.

My poor lil pup. Sick again.

On a more interesting note, Stella has become even more busy now that she knows how to open all door AND...wait for it....

Climbing the stove!!!!!
Oh and here is a cropped photo of her in our pantry. Now that she knows how to open doors she is in there all...the....time!!!  She had just gotten out of the bath so I cropped the photo as I am not down with  having her cute lil tush floating around in cyber space for all too see.

So for the next 10 days or so it will be three daily doses of the ol' nebulizer.  Thank goodness for iPads.

Add caption

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Spreading The Word....

Today is a day to spread awareness about how hurtful, offensive and ignorant it is to use the word "retard". There are so many other words that can be used to express ones feelings. Today is a day to become aware and take the pledge to stop using that word as a synonym for stupid, silly, get the idea.

One would think that all those who have a child with a disability already "get it". That the sting of hearing the R Word cuts to the core, to the very fibre of ones being. That when they hear that word being used all that comes to mind is their perfect, beautiful child's face. That those using "retard", those saying "I lost my keys! I am so retarded!" These people are saying that they are as stupid as a person with a developmental disability.

One would think....

But I have heard retard used within the special needs community more then once. Each time I have been so stunned that I am unable to formulate any words. I am shell shocked. I do not know what to say.

Perhaps like those without a child with a disability, perhaps it is such a habit that they don't even know when they are using that word or maybe some truly don't understand how offensive the R word is.

Perhaps there is a culture of ignorance in this small town. Not only is the special needs community here NOT a community (it's more of a "you're on your own sweet cheeks" kind of community). Perhaps this lack of community perpetuates the lack of knowledge about the offense of retard.

Or maybe, some of those in the special needs community think it's ok for them to use retard? You know, kind of like how some people in the Afro-American/Canadian community think it's ok for them to use ni**$* to one another?

I really don't know as I am just speculating and thinking "out loud" so to speak.

All I know is that words are tools that have the power to unit or alienate people, communities, families.

The more people do their best to show kindness and respect to all people, the less the R Word will be used.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Saying Goodbye to "Baby-Hood"

Lately I have been looking at my three girls.  I mean REALLY looking at them, watching them move and listening to their voices.  I am slowly coming to the realization that I am no longer in the "baby-hood/baby making" chapter of my life.

And I am feeling a bit sad about that.

I mean, I don't want to be pregnant again and I totally feel like our family is complete, yet still I feel a tinge of sadness knowing that those years of swaddling, breastfeeding, changing itty bitty diapers and wiping itty bitty bums, warming up bottles, burping, and 3am feeds are over.

Olivia, my oldest is going to be 8 this year!! She is starting to develop an attitude and while she still very much needs her mommy, there are moments where I know she is not very far from thinking I am just totally uncool.

Olivia - a few days old (July 2005)

Sophie will be turing 4 in April!  She is fiercely independent and while she too also still very much needs her mommy, I no longer get to cuddle her close to my chest  while she sucks her thumb and slowly drifts off to sleep.  Now our bedtime routine consists of non stop chatter as she talks about anything and everything, then a kiss goodnight and she falls asleep without me and without her thumb.

Sophie - about 3 days old (April 2009) looking so much like her big sister as a baby!

Stella, our baby, the one who truly completes our family; well really, she is not a baby anymore!  Before we had her, I always felt like we weren't done, like I wanted another baby.  Now that she is here I don't have those feelings.  She is still young enough that every night I get to hold her close to my chest and snuggle her before putting her in her crib to go to sleep.  I cherish that as I know those days of night time cuddles are slowly coming to an end.

Stella - 4 weeks old (October 2010). I love looking at this photo and seeing such a resemblance to Olivia and Sophie!

Although a full nights sleep is still a few years away, I am trying to cherish every last moment/minute/second of our McG girls being this young.  Because like so many parents before me, these days of our children wanting to be with us, wanting to spend time with us, wanting to play with us, wanting to cuddle and hug and snuggle us, these days are limited and will be over before we know it.