Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Nov, 2010; Almost 2 Years!!!

Annelies turns 2 years old in less than a month!  Thinking back it feels like a lifetime has passed in a short time.  And then sometimes it feels like her birthdate was yesterday.  I don't spend that much time looking back, but I marvel sometimes at how naive I was when Marco was born.  Ds was a concern of mine and when I first laid eyes on Marco I said to Aaron:  "He is OK, He is OK," meaning: "He does not have Ds".  Of course, I did not know the first thing about Ds, except in my mind it was a life-ends-as-we-know-it diagnosis and everyone who had to deal with it were to be pitied.  Oh, how little I knew.  When Annelies was born, there was not that "She is OK" feeling.  Oh no, we knew right away!  I do not fully know how I got through Annelies's Birthday but for grace, family members and a couple of very good friends who visited.  Rereading that post is interesting, it brings back a lot of memories.  I am glad I went through the whole experience as well as I did, it makes me feel good.
The first year of Annelies's life, it almost feels like I went on some kind of publicity tour to let the world know WE WERE ALL RIGHT.  I felt the need to do this because the thought that anyone might feel any kind of pity for us made me cringe.  I started the blog, took and sent pictures, wrote letters, took and sent more pictures and even took Annelies to Colorado and Holland.  I had a great time on these trips, but there definitely was this frantic need to show as many people as possible that we were fine.  Better than fine.  Interesting, isn't it?  That need is much less now, I think for the most part I am aware that people either know/believe we are allright, or they don't and it really should not affect me that much.  Most important is for me (us) to live our own lives and focus on ourselves.
One other funny thing I went through in the first few months was when we were told how cute Annelies was, I felt the need/urge to tell people she has Ds.  Almost like I was afraid that people might think I was in denial about it, or like I felt that people might retract their comment if they knew, or not have made it.  Crazy!   I never did mention it to people unless I was asked or they made a comment about it first, but it was always on the tip of my tongue.  (Reason I did not say anything was that I wanted Annelies to be admired just like any baby, exactly the way she deserved).
Also during that first year came Marco's diagnosis.  Since that diagnosis was the culmination of almost a year of denial, it really rocked our world a lot more than I admitted at the time.  I continued to go strong and we got through the Holidays and some really busy times at work (implementation of a major system we had been working towards for < 5 years).  In January/February timeframe, I kind of crashed. 
I am fortunate to have an AWESOME support system in my family and friends.  I met so many wonderful people I would never have met, and am grateful for this every day.  My world has expanded.  So funny, my feeling about this would have been that parents of kids who have special needs live in a small world, with all their focus on their child.  I guess it COULD be like that.  But not for us.  We enjoy our kids but learned to take time for our selves and each other.  Heck, I experiences my first "Girls Night Out" this summer, and would never have if it were not for Annelies (or it may have taken longer).
It hit me the other day that my concerns for my kids are not that much more than those of parents of typical kids.  Annelies and Marco are doing so well, have made and continue to make so much progress, that I think they will be just fine.  They are kids, like all other kids, their diagnoses such a small part of who they are.  I tend to forget about it, I don't live with it every day.  Yes, we will still have the IEP's and don't get me wrong; they stress me out.  Maybe because they are what draw me back into the reality of the "special needs" that have to be dealt with.  Or maybe because I am just enjoying my kids and not counting every word Annelies now knows, how many steps she took today, or how many words are in the sentences Marco speaks and how much he can count.  Hopefully, in time, that will become less.  At any rate, We are happy with our 2 sweet, happy, astute, adjustable, compassionate, strong, cute kids!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

November 14, 2010: Our First Photoshoot With Both Kiddo's

Here are a few pictures of the kiddo's taken by a friend/colleague of mine who is exploring the "world of photography", trying to see if it is something he would like to pursue.  Annelies was recovering from a cold and Marco was about to get one (I was not quite aware of that yet, realized that only in hindsight).  So patience for both of them was fairly short.  Still, Edwin took a couple of really cute shots that I wanted to share with you all!  Enjoy, I will write a little more next week.  Have been working on a paper for school and requirements/documentation for work so have not had much extra energy for writing!

Debbie & Co.