Monday, January 10, 2011

Blood is Thicker Than Water

 Down Right Living.  The blessings of life with Down syndromeCourtney has always been a rough-and-tumble girl.  From the minute she was born weighing in at 8 lbs 15 oz.  the nurses described her as "sturdy".  She has lived up to that name in every way.  She towers over her peers, she is sticky sweet if it suits her, and down right ornery if it doesn't. It was immediately apparent that she was a strong-willed, spitfire that wouldn't let anything get in the way of whatever she wanted whenever she wanted it.  Even at 20 months, she tests the limits of my patience and intellect as I try creative, non-violent ways to reign in her semi-devious, stubborn, and precocious personality. 

Many a night have I sat up wondering what I can do better to teach her to use her super powers for good rather than evil.  I worried even more when Jacob was in my tummy waiting to be born.  Knowing what I know about Courtney I often wondered how she would react to going from "Princess" to "Middle Child".  I worried about how she would handle having so much of our time diverted from her to Jacob and if she would become even more of a handful just to get more of our attention. 

Luckily, we were blessed with one of life's small miracles.  About 1 month before Jacob was born our rough-and-tumble 'base-jumper' began to take an interest in babies.  All of the sudden she decided that rather than jumping spread eagle off our kitchen table, she wanted to carry around her dolls and sing them songs.  As predicted, when Jacob was born she spent very little time with KC and I. We spent weeks in the hospital and they prohibited visits from children under 3.  Courtney didn't even get to see her brother until he was 10 days old, and then only for a day before he returned to the hospital. Then she waited another 3 weeks to see him until he came home again.  That 1 day was all she needed to make a miraculous change.  She began asking for her brother on a daily basis, and ramped up her maternal nature with her dollies.

By the time he came home the second time, she was checking her 'babies' toes for oxygen levels, changing their diapers and being sure to use up all of our wipies to ensure that the dollies' bottoms were nice and clean, feeding with bottles, rocking them to music, and rarely letting her 'babies' out of her sight.  When her little brother showed up, Courtney was a very experienced big sister.  She's more than  happy to hug and hold her brother, bring diapers, help with changings and choosing out clothes, and making sure that he never ever cries.  Because if he does (even in the middle of the night when she's in a dead sleep) she begins to cry and panic, worried that her little brother might be in pain. 

Yes, our rough-and-tumble little Hellion has had a change of heart.  She has metamorphesized into a vivacious, strong-willed big sister/protector that has learned to use her powers for good.  She willingly and lovingly spends her days watching over and protecting her little brother to make sure that he is never in pain and has everything he needs to be happy.

KC and I have often wondered for what purpose Courtney was brought into our home at such a time in our lives - 10 years after the birth of Nathan, especially when we were so sure that we could have no more kids.  Then, to have not one miracle babies but TWO?  Just spend a few minutes in the presence of Courtney and Jacob and it won't take you long to realize that she is here to pave the way for her brother, to protect him, and care for him during his journey through life.  And for a job as important and demanding as that one, she has just the PERFECT personality and mindset for the task.

I guess KC and I will just have to give her a little slack and try not to temper her personality quite so much then, won't we?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mommy Dearest

Now Jacob is no respecter of persons.  He doesn't care if you're Courtney, a 20-month-old toddler who has a propensity towards screaming at high pitches and doing a hard-core head banging dances to whatever music is on the radio (provided she doesn't jump on him).  He doesn't care if you're some stranger dropping by to say hello.  And he even wouldn't care if you were some big shot like the Pope or the Queen of England.  He treats everyone the same.  He quietly endures us all provided we don't do anything to hurt him or annoy him.

At least I thought this was the case with Jacob until this evening.  For the first time ever, Jacob showed a preference towards someone.  The boy doesn't even really smile yet - on purpose anyway.  He just goes about his business happy to be held by whomever chooses to pick him up and love on him for a few minutes or hours.  It's all good to him.

This evening after his evening round of medications and the standard gag/puke/gasping fit, Jacob was laying in KC's arms and I came over to check on him while he was in his fathers very-capable hands.  As I began speaking to KC, Jacob turned his head, looked at me, and proceeded to push off KC's arms and twist his body towards me almost twisting out of KC's hands.  For a little boy who doesn't even have the muscle strength to hold his own head up yet, Jacob seemed awfully determined to be in the arms of his mother.

Of course I was MORE than happy to comply with his wishes and we proceeded to have several minutes of mother-son bonding.  How could I not?  His wish is my command and that darned little boy has me wrapped tighter and tighter around his little finger each day he's alive! Ah yes! It's good to be mom!
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