Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Getting in shape

This post has nothing to do with DS. It has to do with me and my desire to lose some weight, get back into some of my pre-Phoenix clothes (goodness knows I have enough of them just taking up space in the basement) and to increase my energy levels. The fact that Husband and I are formalizing our relationship in August by actually getting married (we are common-law now) is a pretty good motivator too.

So in Feb of this year we both joined a local gym. Husband has been much more dedicated than I. He ramped up his workouts immediately and bought a personal training package. He sees his trainer once a week now to tweak his fitness routine and change things up a bit. It has been a slower process for me. The first reason being that I typically hate going to the gym. I actually really dislike exercising period. Walking is good. I like walking. I used ot walk a lot when I had my dog for 10 years. We went on 2-3 walks a day. I was very fit at some points during this time. Sadly, Zeus passed away a few years ago and I have just not found the motivation to start a fitness routine since then. Especially since Phoenix came along there just always seemed like there was something more important to do than exercise.

Anyway, Husband has been a rock star about getting in shape. He's lost weight, lost inches, gained muscle and lowered his blood pressure. He's made some amazing changes to his health. For me, it has been slower. I started out using the cardio machines for 20 minutes at a time. That was it. After a few weeks I bumped it to 30 minutes. Now I regularly do 45-60 minutes on the elliptical at time. And I am trying for 4-5 days a week. I feel great. I have also increased the number of fruits and veggies, and decreased the amount of simple carbs I eat (ie bread, buns, scones muffins etc). I have only lost a few pounds so far, but I just feel better. My pants are a little looser, I stand a little straighter and I have more energy and endurance. At 11 pm last night I actually had to do relaxation exercises to help me sleep, because I was wide awake. This is good!

So, this is the start of my getting in shape journey. I am hoping to keep it up even after the motivation of my wedding has passed.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Staying motivated

I'm having a hard time staying motivated to create new flashcards for Phoenix to learn. She learned her last batch and I have been recycling old ones for a few days while I get off my butt to make some more. I've had the materials ready for over a week, but haven't gotten up the gusto to do them.

Finally today I made them. The last batch I just chose words from the 100 most common sight words. And while she learned them just fine, she wasn't as interested in them as when I chose words that she was saying frequently. So I changed tactics this time. For this batch of 20 I went back to words she is saying a lot: carrot, eat, drink, apple, shoes, play, toys etc. I also decided to include some of the two word phrases we have been working on, such as: my turn, love you, night night, your turn. I'm kind of excited to see how she reacts to them. When I put two foamies next to each other she won't read them out as a sentence. I wonder if putting the two words on the same foamy will help?

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Growing like a weed

This weekend I have given myself the task of putting away all of Phoenix size 2 clothes and putting out the size 3 clothes. Her pants are too short ("Pretend they are capris" Husband helpfully suggests), her belly is hanging out of her shirts and her pyjamas are getting too small. My peanut, who is still not a great eater, seems to be growing like a weed.

I am constantly in awe of the perfection of Phoenix's body. She is long and lean. She has beautifully shaped arms and legs, and the cutest little bum. The ratio of her trunk to her limbs is balanced. Her head is even beautifully shaped. She is perfectly proportioned. All of this is possible, even with the presence of an extra chromosome. I am in awe that I created something so perfect, especially concerning how I feel about my own body. I am large and shapely, to be nice to myself. I have lumps and bumps in places I would prefer not to.  I have large bones and gigantic feet. I am not in any way perfectly proportioned. Yet I created a child who is.

So this weekend we are putting away the old, and taking out the new. The winter boots and snow suit are finally packed away, and the summer clothes and dresses are being busted out. Spring is here baby, and I have a little one growing like a weed!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Not your average mother

Today is one of those days that makes one reflect upon their life. It is Mother's Day. And I got to spend mine exactly how I wanted. I had a great breakfast with Husband and Phoenix. We went on an epic walk to the duck pond. And we just hung out together. It was wonderful.

But when I step outside of myself, I realize that as normal as this looks, I am not your average mother.

That's because if I was like the between 67 to 90% of woman who get odds like mine on their prenatal testing, I wouldn't be a mother at all. Because it is around this percent of woman who decide that it is better to have no baby at all than it is to have one with Down syndrome. Which is ironic, because I used to think that given this situation, that is exactly what I would do.

Or course, if I had made that decision, I would never have known the depths to which my heart has grown. I would never have had the opportunity to raise this child with Husband, and to see his life transformed too. I would never have known how wrong my perceptions of Down syndrome were. Or that it is possible to be talented, and charming, and funny and capable and have Down syndrome. That none of these things are mutually exclusive.

And instead of celebrating the life I have created for myself, I would be mourning the loss of a child I would have given up in exchange for the hope of a better child, a child without disabilities, or challenges, a child without a lifetime of struggles.

But when I look back at my own life, it s amazing what I see. I see struggles, and challenges, and things I have had to overcome. Like my own perceptions of what qualifies as a happy and fulfilling life. Because I have a child with Down syndrome. And I have a happy and fulfilling life, for lots of reasons.

Your average mother would not squeal like a school girl about finding out that their child's language score fell in to the moderately delayed range.

You average mother would not be over the moon about the start of 2 word sentences at 3 years old.

Your average mother would not be secretly pleased that their 3 year old finally learned how to climb the change table on their own, or managed to pee in the potty once a day. However, I am not your average mother and Phoenix is not your average child.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

One of those days

I am having a day. One of those days. A day where the grumpiness I went to bed with followed me into the morning. It's a day.

But then I heard my little love muffin stirring. And I went into her room, and pulled the blinds open to reveal the sunlight of the day, and lay down next to her to get a snuggle. "Sleep" she tells me. So I close my eyes and pretend to sleep. "Wake up!" she tells me. So we sit up and get ready to start the day.

I was at the park many months ago and met a woman who is also a special needs momma. She was pushing her son in a swing next to me. He was about 2 years older than Phoenix and had a heartbreaking smile. And I noticed that his mom was signing with him too. He had a developmental delay, the cause of which the mom was still healing about.

There was a kinship there. An "I get it. I see you. I know what you are going through." The process of coming to terms with a child that is different than you had hoped for. And a celebration too, of our children's remarkable accomplishments.

I later found out that she is a talented photographer, and she recently offered to photograph Phoenix. Her FB page is here.   Our photo shoot was Sunday evening, and I am slowly getting the edited pics. And, looking at these stunning pictures of my daughter, my beautiful, beautiful child, is bringing me out of my funk.

Because how could I not find lightness and joy in this child?