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!
Based in Pretoria, South Africa... My name is Loren, I am married to the LOVE of my life and on 08/08/08 we welcomed our first child into this world! Malakai is healthy, he is precious and he is the light of our lives... oh and he has a little something extra (commonly known as Down Syndrome).
On 29/01/2010 we had our second boy - Harlan. We are so excited that Malakai & Harlan will grow together as brothers and friends!
This is our journey into acceptance, love, the understanding that today is our greatest gift, and the celebration of our beautiful, perfect, amazing sons!
Please email me if you'd like to make contact. I am happy to discuss anything with regards to DS. If I can help I would be honoured! firstname.lastname@example.org
man of many talents - older brother... big flirt... super adventurous... all growed up no?
Making his feelings known... Harlan thinks that sleep is for the birds and much rather prefers to be 'in the know'...
Blessed are you who take the time to listen to difficult speech:
For you help us to know that if we persevere,
We can be understood.
Blessed are you who walk with us in public places,
And ignore the stares of strangers,
For in your companionship,
We find havens of peace.
Blessed are you who never bid us to "hurry up",
And more blessed are you
Who do not snatch tasks from our hands to do them for us,
For often we need time rather than help.
Blessed are you who stand beside us
As we enter new and untried ventures.
For our failures will be outweighed
By the times we surprise ourselves and you.
Blessed are you who ask for our help,
For our greatest need is to be needed.
Blessed are you when you assure us,
That the one thing that makes us individuals
Is not in our peculiar muscles,
Nor in our wounded nervous system,
Nor in our difficulties in learning,
Nor any exterior difference.
But is in our inner, personal, individual self
Which no affirmity can diminish or erase.
Malakai started crawling last week! Yes! All by himself! I am so proud of my little guy, he's doing so well and is determined! Now, a whole new world has opened up for him (and us!!). We have had to ensure that our house is safe for him to explore and now I just can't wait to see him go further and further!
Other news is on the local front. I am not sure about how it works overseas, but locally our pregnancy/parenting magazines offer very little in the way of support for special needs. In fact, in the whole 15 months that I read these magazines I saw ONE article about chromosomal abnormalities and Down syndrome was mentioned of course. Otherwise, there really isn't a sincere effort to reach mothers of children with special needs.
So! A new parenting magazine has launched recently in SA called Mamas & Papas. It is fantastically Proudly South African, and is aimed at ALL cultures in our country (because our current magazines focus only on the white middle class). They have asked me write a few articles for them and they have launched their July/August edition which is completely focussed on Special Needs!! Malakai is featured, as are other children with Down syndrome, autism, cancer, ADHD, albinism etc. I am so proud!
Please go out and buy a copy of this magazine and show your support for their innitiative to include families with special needs in their magazine. Every new edition will now feature something about special needs, so this is a magazine worth supporting!
I have put a whole lot of pictures up today, taken over the past week or so!
Malakai has been a superstar as usual! He now has both bottom teeth, and thankfully we seem to be having a bit of break before the next teeth come through. He's sleeping so much better at night now (and so is Daddy...)
Also, as you can see, Daddy cut Malakai's hair this weekend! I was out and got a phone call to say that his hair was being cut. I wanted to wait until he was a year old (for reasons I can't exactly explain), but Daddy said his head looked like a hairy mango pip (What???) and when I got home and saw him - well! Do you know of a cuter little boy? Seriously. Do you?
Otherwise, Malakai is seriously becoming mobile. No crawling yet, but he makes a plan I tell you! I have never seen someone roll around with such conviction and purpose! Also, he just wants to stand and tries to pull himself up on things - a little scary! Yesterday Malakai had pulled himself up on the side of his cot after his nap!
On the food front - I must admit I am no closer to getting Malakai to swallow bigger pieces. A chocking child kinda does that to you! So, I'm thinking of learning the Heimlich Maneuver and then I'll try again!
Ok - so a small update... and some pics!
Malakai chilling with Elriza at the picnic!
Caden (Malakai's little friend) - running rampant
Caden - looking cute
Caden - looking even cuter!
Caden - dressed like a real mini-man!
Malakai - eating his toys (yummy) and before his haircut!
Striking a pose - pretty boy!
Could he get cuter?
Seriously. Could he?
Dressed in his dungarees that granny bought him before he was even born! This one's for you mom!
Yesterday we had a wonderful public holiday! I love those! Darryl and I met some friends and had a nice picnic with Malakai and their little one Caden.
But we often don’t remember why we have public holidays… and so, this post is a little ‘101’ on South African history. June 16th 1976, South Africa saw one of it’s most violent and brutal uprisings. Now referred to as ‘Youth Day’, back in 1976 it was a terrible day for many young South Africans. In the deepest midst of the Apartheid Era (where segregation, racism, terrorism and fear was rife), black children living in the townships were only allowed to attend Bantu (for my foreign friends, this is pronounced ‘bun-to’) Schools. Bantu Schooling was specifically for the black population. Not only where these children not allowed to attend ‘white schools’ but they were also given an inferior level education, fit only for those children to one day become domestic workers and hard laborers. Then, in early 1976, these children were told that they were going to be forced to learn in Afrikaans (not their mother tongue)… Well, this was the cherry on top, and the youth of Soweto decided to plan an uprising and protest to show their anger at being forced to learn in a language they didn’t understand.
The 1976 Riots were made up of children, ranging from 6/7 years to 17/18 years old, marching through the streets of Soweto, singing and dancing in unison to show their solidarity. The South African Armed forces descended on these children with military tanks, tear gas, dogs, rubber bullets… real bullets… I forget now how many children were killed. But any loss of a child’s life… even one. And there was definitely more than one life lost that day.
So, yesterday we celebrated Youth Day, a day that remembers a time in our country’s history that is so violent, so brutal, so thoughtless and horrific. I am proud today to say that I am a South African, that I live in a country where everyone is free. No, we don’t have schools for every child, in some rural areas children walk barefoot for miles to reach their school, which is just a building without desks, chairs, books or even running water. But they go, everyday, to learn what they can with such little. Our country has come a long way, but still has a long long way to go.
This is about remembrance, but it is also about gratitude for what we have now.
At last! Malakai's first tooth at the bottom made an appearance yesterday - the other little one can't be far behind either!
I am very excited that's he's going to start being able to chew bigger chunks of food - although, I am still a bit worried about his swallowing abilities! Although I wanted to make a conscious effort to give Malakai bigger and bigger pieces of food to swallow, I haven't done so consistently, so I really don't know if he can handle it or not... He has no fear or aversion to texture or taking bigger pieces into his mouth - it's just when it comes to swallowing he chokes up, even on pieces of food that are soft (like melon).
Otherwise, I've also added a few pictures of my little man with his purple hairy thingy that he clearly LOVES!
I know I haven't posted news in a long time! I just can't say why... I have been following all my blogs though, and I just love catching up with everyone and their kiddos! It is my little escape, when I find the time!
Mr. Malakai has been doing well - he has been keeping me up at night though! Now, I know I've been soooo blessed that for the most part, Malakai has slept through the night from 6 to 6 since he was about 3 months old... very blessed! So, I am not used to sleep deprivation people!! I don't know how to cope!
First, it was a stubborn runny nose that would wake him in the middle of the night and now it's teeth... yes! Those two little bottom ones are getting ready to make an appearance! I am excited that he'll soon be able to chew food!! But the night wakings... good grief!
Other than that, Malakai is really close to crawling - he is getting onto all fours and rocking back and forth - just adorable! And tonight, for the first time without any assistance, he's taken himself from lying on his tummy to sitting up. All by himself! What a clever boy! I am just so proud of him! We're also working on mimicking - so I'll pat the table, and he'll pat the table. I'll throw the ball and he'll throw the ball...
I didn't realise before becoming a mother that the little things are just so amazing! And, dare I say, more so because my little boy is 'apparently' DISabled? From my last posts it is clear that I was struggling somewhat with fitting in every conceivable exercise to maximise Malakai's potential. Then, I think because I'm so friggen tired, I just couldn't carry on beating myself up - it was too tiring... LOL! And hey presto - he makes leaps and bounds - just when I give myself permission to Let Go.
When will I learn?
I suppose when I do, I'll know! LOL!
Anyhoo - I just wanted to send a small update into Bloggy-World. Just in case anyone thought we'd fallen off the face of the earth... we haven't! Mommy's just very very tired and Malakai's very very busy!