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.
So, I'm around 26 weeks now and starting to pack on the weight! Little man is weighing in at 1kg and is doing well. Other than being booked off for bed-rest for the next two weeks, due to stress, I'm doing just fine.
Physically, I've got a real belly now, and there's no "is she or isn't she??" looks anymore. I'm finding it quite hard to cope with Malakai's new habit of squirming on my lap - he just 'tucks and rolls' without any notice and I'm left trying to stop him from diving head-first onto the floor! Not easy when my arms feel like jelly and my stomach muscles are nowhere to be seen! LOL! Picking him up, changing nappies (he likes to kick me straight in the stomach), bathing and dressing are all activities that are becoming more difficult to master - so I've resorted to singing... the alphabet song... over and over again... It really holds his attention I tell you!
Psychologically, I am not really feeling very emotionally connected to this pregnancy - I'll be honest. I don't know why exactly, and I'm a bit scared to try and find out... I know that the incessant questions of 'have you done your tests?', 'is the baby normal?' etc etc are probably more hurtful than they would be if I wasn't over-flowing with pregnancy hormones. But it does bug me a bit, because those questions imply that I wouldn't like to repeat my experience of having a 'baby like' Malakai again.
So - would I? Would I repeat my experience again, knowing full and well what's in store for me? I know that nothing will stop me from loving this little boy. I know that no 'condition' or 'diagnosis' could make me choose to end his life. I know that perfection comes in many forms. I know that my Malakai is the greatest gift I've ever received, and so why wouldn't I want to repeat the experience?
I also know that I have never been a mother to a 'typical' child. I know that I don't which milestone comes when and how, anymore than I know what it's like to not have to go to therapy twice or three times a week. I know that I'm a mother to a child with special needs, so how will I fare with a 'typical' child?
I guess I'm scared that I will see Malakai in a different light. I guess I'm scared that I actually have to pay attention to what 'typical' development looks like - which I've gladly dodged these past 15 months with Malakai. I guess I'm even scared that the attention I give Malakai will be halved, or that I'm going to leave this new little guy to just 'do his thing' because I know he can and will.
Well - Humpf! That's all I can say. I know it sounds horrible, but what can I do? I am very aware of the fact that reality is always kinder than the story we tell about it. These thoughts exist and so they will be acknowledged. But they will not be placed on a pedestal and followed like gospel.
The only thing I can do (and the only thing I have been doing since Malakai's birth) is to take it one day at a time. As long as I don't look too far ahead, as long as I do my best today, it will all be ok - Love is like that!
And so, I give this little baby everything he needs, through the miracle of a mother's body. I am glad he is on the way, I look forward to meeting him and having him part of our little family. But I am not thinking of exactly how this is going to go down... because I just can't know at this point.
What I do know for sure is that reality is much kinder than the scary stories we tell about it. And I'll just stick with that - today's reality. Tomorrow will take care of itself.
Today is National Down Syndrome Day in South Africa.
To celebrate, our local association put on a fun day - complete with water slides, horse rides, face painting and good food. It was really great to get out and about and just have a fun day in the sun!
This is our first time joining in the celebration for National Down Syndrome Day - last year we were just-new parents, not sure we could cope with taking our little newborn (Malakai was only about 5 or 6 weeks old at the time) baby very far from the comforts and safety of home. This year, Malakai was crawling all over the place, eating the sand and leaves, and enjoying the other children - I could not have imagined this would be the case last year at the same time!
Malakai continues to thrive, determined to get his own way (wow - the focus is quite something)! He is now cruising along the furniture, with a fall here and there (ouch!) which makes me cringe, but I know it's part of the learning process! Malakai has also developed a half-crab crawl which his physical therapist is devastated about! LOL! Other than looking a bit strange - I am amazed at the speed at which (screaming with joy) Malakai is able to hobble/crawl down the passage to find me in the bedroom. His little squeals of delight and hands pattering on the tiles giving him away before he bounds into the room I'm in.
Because I'm not sure if I've shared all of Malakai's updates, I'll just list them below - no... ok... yes... I am completely biased and think my child is a super-star, but hey!
Malakai is an almost-15-month-old boy who loves to kiss pictures of blonde girl babies. Throwing things (anything really), is his favourite hobby, followed closely by getting each and every single musical toy to make their 'songs' at the same time - creating a cacophony of 'beautiful' noise. He loves reading, and turns all the pages by himself. He will clap, wave, dance (or all three in a close succession if he's not too sure) when asked nicely, and he fully understands (but does not care for) the words 'no', 'sit', 'come'. When he feels the urge, he'll sign 'eat' or 'sleep'. He babbles, squeals, roars, makes car sounds, and does a very convincing farting-sound - and I never knew there were so many ways to say 'ba ba ba' - there's the angry, tired, confused, determined and happy versions! He will give everything he comes across a lick - why not? Malakai also loves to stand, bounce and fly through the air, and will spend countless minutes (hours in baby-time) crusing along the furniture.
I hope I haven't left anything out?
I can honestly say that I had no idea where my little boy would be a year down the road from the last National Down Syndrome Day - I can't be more proud of my little man!