We are the Stow Family and this is our story. Our lives are blessed by Love, Joy and Hope. Follow our sometimes interesting stories on loving our two boys, exploring parenthood, and celebrating a little extra - two parents, two boys and an extra chromosome!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mango Slices & Belly Laughs

Well... just some pictures from today! I had a rather busy weekend, I did 3 photo shoots this weekend, so my time with Malakai was very precious!
So, this post is complete update on my little man!
For those of you that I haven't bored to death with every blow-by-blow detail - my little man is now sitting! ...well, sort of! He will sit for quite a while on his own, and then depending on what he tries to do (bang his toy or reach for another toy), he'll topple over! It's too cute! Malakai is also starting to pull his legs underneath himself when on his tummy (like he wants to crawl), but for now his arms are not quite playing along! Regardless - he's very determined and will get clearly frustrated when he can't reach the toy he's after!
As for solids - Malakai still LOVES to eat! He's now tried (and loved) butternut & sweet potato, beef stew, pear & apple, paw paw, melon and banana! He has also tried 'droe wors' (Afrikaans for 'dried sausage') - sounds yucky, but it's actually very very yummy!! And today I gave him a dried mango slice which he loved (can you tell by the pictures???).
Malakai continues to amaze me with his physical strength - he just tries and tries and tries!
As for the 'Belly Laugh' portion of my post... Getting Malakai to laugh is like trying to pull teeth from a chicken (no laughing matter, I assure you!). I know he can laugh, I have heard it! Although it has never been a 'giggle', he has 'chuckled' (like choking on a cough...) for me before! So today I discovered something that he thought was hilarious - and by the picture above you can see that! But no sound... Just a little 'choke' noise once or twice. He IS laughing, but without sound? But just like everything else in my little man's life - he will do what he does in his time - he knows best after all!
Until my next post - I'd like to say that I am thinking of all my bloggy friends out there! I follow your stories, they inspire me, they make me think, they make me proud, they make me rejoice! I think of your beautiful children daily, and I pray for the very very best for all of them!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

3-21: World Down Syndrome Day

The 21st of March is World Down Syndrome Awareness Day. This day marks 50 years since the discovery of the cause of Down Syndrome – which is the triplication of chromosome 21 – hence the diagnosis of ‘Trisomy 21’.

I am different I am the same.
I laugh I cry.
I give I take.
I learn I teach.
I love I am loved.
I am able I am limited.
I am me I am you.
I do I don’t.
I succeed I fail.
I dream I plan.
I am determined I am scared.
I feel joy I feel pain.
I am more alike you than different.
Some think I can’t but I can.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My Number One!

Today I was presented with an opportunity – a really great opportunity! Seriously - I would have loved to have grabbed it with both hands... really tightly... But, being a working mom, my time with Malakai is already too short and very precious. I spent a good few hours with a ‘why can’t I have it all?’ attitude, and then, just as I was allowing the feelings of sadness wash over me, a thought crossed my mind.
“No. I can’t have it now. It's ok, just wait a few years. Malakai comes first. Without. A. Doubt.”
This thought was not accompanied by any feelings of unease, but rather with feelings of love, excitement and pure adoration. Malakai needs me to be there for him. He needs me to give him as much of my time, attention and care as possible. An ‘opportunity’ is ONLY that which is good for me AND my son. I am already away from him 9 - 5 / 5 days a week...
Now I am not saying that a mom cannot have 'it all' – but this opportunity would have robbed my son of even more time without his mom. This is not about 'matyrdom' but about what I choose to do, what I want to (not have to) do for my son.
And as I arrived at home after my 'missed opportunity' and my dear husband was struggling to put Malakai to sleep and cook dinner and feed the dogs and and and... I went straight to my little boy, slightly sleepy and grumpy-looking and took him in my arms. I looked down at him and told him that I loved him, to which he smiled back at me - a big, warm, twinkly-eyes smile...
Malakai is simply My Number One!

Thursday, March 12, 2009


*Ahem… again… yay!!
Jessica from Ten Squares Three Squiggles nominated me for the Premios Dardos blog award. This award acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his or her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values every day. While I never thought of my little blog as doing that, I am so very pleased that Jessica did! Thank you Jessica – I just love your blog as well!
Here are the rules:
Step 1: respond and rework -- answer the questions on your own blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your own invention, add one more question of your own.
Step 2: tag - eight other bloggers to do the same.
1) What are you wearing right now? A white-t, brown cargo-type pants and my new green and silver paisley-design pumps that I just adore!
2) What is your biggest fear? Not being around to give Malakai the best of me.
3) Do you nap a lot? Do chickens have teeth?
4) Who is the last person you hugged? My husband Darryl, when he left for work this morning.
5) What websites to you visit when you go online? I am a 100% Blog-Addict! Then I like to visit the Ds board on babycenter.com as well!
6) What was the last item you bought? I went on a full grocery shop… once a month… pain in my bum… but gotta do it!
7) If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? Europe for a full 6 months, traveling in a motorhome, stopping whenever the urge hits!
8) If you could go to the Oscars, who would you want to sit next to? I am stumped! I think it would have to be… John Travolta! Yes! I absolutely love him!
9) If there was something you could do over, what would it be? I would have been gentler on myself when I received my son’s diagnosis. I wish I had known then what I know now – I would have cried less I think…
10) What is your most frightening moment? Finding Malakai in his cot with his mosquito-net wrapped around his head and neck… Don’t know how he did it, but it frightened me to death!
11) What was the last movie you watched? The Bucket List
12) What is the luckiest thing that ever happened to you? My whole life – everything I have truly needed has been there for me. My husband, my son, my family and friends.
13) If you had a whole day to yourself with no work, commitments or interruptions what would you do? Take a road-trip to somewhere nice and have a picnic!
14) Is there a major goal you have that you haven't yet achieved? Getting a degree… I’ve studied for 4 years, but I keep on changing my major!!
15) What is the first job you had? I was a teller on a Friday afternoon and Saturday morning for a bottle/liquor store…
16) What is something that those in blog land might not know about you? I’ve shaved my head. Completely. And loved it!
17) What is something simple that relaxes you and you enjoying doing? Singing along to my favourite songs (at full volume of course) in the car
18) Do you make time for yourself everyday, and if so, what do you do? I don’t always do it, but I try to regularly run a bath, take my book and just soak…
19.)What is the last book you read? Other than the obvious parenting/sleeping/eating type books, my last was Roadmap to Holland.
Now to pass on the awarding of the award:

There are so many moms out there that really amaze me with their journeys and stories! But if I had to choose…

1. Melissa from Having Fun at Home with Master Dillon - for her constant strength, doing it better than I ever could!

2. Kacey from Ella Grace with the Pretty Face - for making me smile. Ella Grace has just crept into my heart...

3. Laura from Gracie’s Gift of 47 - for making the biggest effort to keep her blog positive, sharing amazing true stories of inspiration!

4. Tara Marie from Emma Sage - for having such a beautiful blog. Words, Pictures, Stories... everything!

5. Lisa from Bridget’s Light - for being such a powerful writer, her words simply Inspire me!

6. Jennifer from Three’s a Charm - for being on a constant journey of discovery, and then Sharing with all us so that we too may understand better...

7. Samm from Deqlan Higgins - for being just the most gentle and positive person that I know... well... in Person!! For being an amazing mom, friend, carer and advocate!

8. Chris from Mothering by the Seat of my Pants - for having a blog that is just always a joy to read! Everytime I see a new post, I just know I'm going to love it!
To visit all these wonderful blogs and more, please see my sidebar for the links (I don't know how to link them on the post...)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Spread the word...

This is an initiative that is all about the impact we have on others simply by what we say. I have been guilty in the past of using the word... so I can say from experience that when I used the word it was never in a positive light. I never knew the impact that saying the word could have. Until now.

I am now aware of how using this word Hurts, Embarrasses & Divides. Take a moment to think of how this word is aimed at a part of our society, a group of individuals, who don't deserve it. The word causes pain. It bites. It sniggers and sneers.

There are over 175 million learning disabled people living on the planet. They are a part of our society. They are our sons, our daughters, our siblings, our neighbours. They offer up love, lessons and friendship - if you'd stop and notice.

Please think before you use it. Please spread the word to end the word.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Shout Out!

Have I mentioned before that being a working mom is difficult??? I'm not sure???

Anyway! I've come to accept (and even embrace) that 'busy' will always be an adjective in my life for at least the next 20 years! Whew! But when my day becomes positively hectic, then it's always a blessing to have great friends!

When Malakai was born, we made the decision that we didn't want him to go to daycare if we could help it. Now, I know for many people this isn't even an option, so we are very blessed to be able to afford someone to look after Malakai while I'm at work. We are blessed that he is the focus of someone's attention during the day and that his nanny can do all his excercises with him, play with him, and they have really formed an amazing bond.

This is great - most days. Not today though.

Today Malakai's nanny did not come to work. She gave me about 14 hours notice that she wouldn't be coming to work. Which gave me hardly any time at all to make a plan B for Malakai. No notice = hectic!

I really don't like asking for help - I really don't. But I had to suck it up and ask my dear friend Megan if she would be able to help out today. She was only too happy to do this! Thank you Megs!

So Malakai had a bit of a Mini-Daytrip today! I know he enjoyed himself and I am so grateful to Megan for helping us out in this situation.

It is ideal (in my opinion) for Malakai to have individual attention at home, but that also means that when my nanny can't be here, she can't be here. That's it. Make another plan. Quick.

Well - believe me... today was one of those that I'm very glad to have behind me. But one that I know I may face again sometime. It wasn't easy to ask, plan, and execute - but friends always the make the journey easier, more bearable... more than ok.

Shout out Megs! You really made my day (and Malakai's)!

Monday, March 2, 2009


Down syndrome.

That term, which after almost 7 months of research, reading, talking, and getting to 'understand', is still so unclear to me. No two children are the same, even those children that have an extra 21st chromosome. It seems obvious now - but when I began this journey I honestly thought there would be a road-map or at least a few 'absolutes'! But Malakai's development will be completely his own - unique and special.

So why did I label this post 'gratitude'? Well, because I am just that! I am grateful for my son - completely. Would I wish him any different? Even just a tiny bit? No. Not today. Maybe tomorrow I will feel different, but today I can sit here and my heart is bursting and aching with gratitude for my son. For his softness, for his gentle nature, for the way he laughs as though he's choking on a sneeze, for the way he's learning about his world in his way.

This weekend I met friend's little girl for the first time. She was born a week before Malakai. She is gorgeous - really! And when I took her in my arms my heart constricted ever so slightly... a little hurt... I had to step back into myself and look at this little feeling, bewildered. But I thought I had dealt with this? I thought I was ok?

What I realised was that sometimes I will be a little sad, a little lost. But all I have to do is look at my son. Look at his love, his openness, his joy, his life. He is perfect, he is beautiful, he fills me with so much love and pride that I can burst.

Can you be grateful for Down syndrome? Yes you can. Yes I can. How? Why? Because it is a gift. It is a road that will take you to places you never thought of, to meet people you would never have met, to learn lessons that you would never have been blessed to learn. A little more compassion. A lot more understanding and respect for that part of society that is deemed 'less than'. For never underestimating the human spirit, the fight to live and be loved.
Thank you. I am thanking you for Malakai's beautiful almond shaped eyes. For Malakai's little hands that are creased in half. For the little fold on his right ear. For his little feet, big toe seperated from the others by his 'sandal gap'. For that extra bit of skin on the back of his neck that is so kissable! For these things are the outward physical signs of his extra chromosome, but together they make up more than that sum of their parts.

Down syndrome - those two words have changed my life... for the better... without a doubt.