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!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

This 'n that...

I've been meaning to post for a while now and I've got quite a bit to say... so sorry in advance for any rambling or on-goings that may become a bit tedious to wade through!

Working from home

Well, I must say I am very busy! Whew! How did I write articles AND work full day AND do photography AND be a mom and wife? I just don't know! Writing articles and doing bits and pieces here and there really keeps my days full, and it isn't as if I have coffee with friends and mess around at all - there really is so much to do.

Most of all, it's great to be around and be able to stop for a moment to play with Malakai or hold Harlan during the day. I feel so connected to the boys, and I feel that I'm taking better care of my husband and marriage too.

Harlan's Crying

After five-and-a-half months of serious crying we've finally turned a corner. Harlan's crying has become so much better and we're getting to know the little boy behind the screams. Whew! It was tough for a while there and we're so happy that he's finding new ways to express himself!

He also adores Malakai - if there is anything that can make him smile and giggle, it's when he's watching Malakai do his thing - it's adorable!

What a busy little boy - he's so inquisitive and really wants to push his boundaries, all day long! But I can see a real understanding in his behaviour, as if he's more in tune with what's going on around, soaking everything up like a little sponge!

He LOVES to read and will go and get his books and go through them one by one, pointing at the pictures and wanting to know the words for things. I want to really nurture this love for books and keep him interested because I think books are wonderful gateways to the world.

Discipline is still a major thing for me. As Malakai becomes older he's obviously trying to assert his independence, but he's also doing naughty things like hitting his brother and throwing things at us, which I need to curb right away. Except, everything I've tried seems to elicit only laughter from Malakai - seriously - he laughs like it's a game. It can be incredibly frustrating, but this is where we are right now and I'm hoping we find a way to teach Malakai that some behaviours are unacceptable - and soon.

And that's it really - we're all well. Blessed by health, by the roof over our heads, by the help we receive daily, but our friends and family.

Monday, June 21, 2010

"D" is for "Dada"

Darryl is such an amazing father - he really, really is. As the other-half of this marriage, he completes me and brings to the table so much that I can't. Thanks to Darryl, our children have two very different parents, and because of this, they have the best of both worlds - literally!

Where I'm super-anxious, a list-writer and worrier, Darryl is relaxed, free-spirited and naturally optimistic. We are very yin-yang-ish parents! But what we both have in common is the desire to meet in the middle and do the best for each other and the children.

Thanks to Darryl, the boys have a dad who will always drop what he's doing, get down on the floor, and play rough and tumble. A dad who will get up 10 times a night to soothe a crying baby. A dad who loves to be involved - nothing is out of bounds for Darryl - a dad who gets stuck into everything.

Darryl is my crutch, my soft place to fall, the one who tells me that everything will be alright - and he gives that and so much more to our boys.

I feel blessed to know and love Darryl and call him the father of my children.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"What are those things...

...on the side of your head for?" - I hear myself asking Malakai lately.


Talk about not listening...

Malakai is really getting up to mischief lately and I am finding it really difficult to get him to understand the concept of 'no'. Whether he understands and thinks its a joke anyway, or whether he truly thinks its a joke - 'no' elicits only a giggle and smile from my boy.

What do I do? I think discipline is really important, for obvious reasons - for his safety, for our safety, to stop him from breaking things (his little brother included...), and also so that he can one day be part of a peer group, contributing and getting along with everyone.

Now, I know he's not a bad kid - on the contrary, he's got such a beautiful and soft personality. He's just a boisterous little boy, exploring and pushing his boundaries. But, I still have had no clue from his behaviour as to whether any of our discipline methods are sinking in at all.

I am finding myself asking - is it just typical 2-year-old behaviour or is his Down syndrome playing a role? Is it more difficult to discipline a child who has Down syndrome? Do children with Down syndrome learn discipline in a different way? I know that Malakai having Down syndrome means that he learns things a bit slower and may not be able to generalise concepts - does this mean that discipline is affected?

At this stage, our discipline method is simply saying 'no' (a million times a day...) and it's having zero effect. I don't think that Malakai will benefit from a time-out method yet, because I don't think he's ready to understand it yet. And let me tell you - Malakai is fearless! He's climbing over things, standing on chairs, trying to get to the top of book shelves - my nerves!

What have other moms tried? What has worked for other kiddos out there? I know I'm not alone in this and would really appreciate a bit of guidance. So this is a shout out - please help!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

You know you're getting old...

...when you put your back out changing your kid's nappy!

My age related illnesses aside - it's been a busy couple of weeks in the Stow household!

Malakai is officially out of school now, and not a moment too soon, as Bronchitis and the RSV virus make their rounds in our area - so many little ones are in hospital at the moment! No one tells you that winter is pure hell before you become a mom. We are only one month in and have another three to go before spring (yes, I know... we're actually very lucky to have only four months of winter... but they are a very long four months!)

Malakai is just gorgeous and he loves being home with Joyce - she really spoils him with so much attention and they play all day long. Other than catching everything under the sun at nursery school - I also decided to remove Malakai because he's going through a communicative-explosion. He is learning new signs and almost ready to say his first real words, and when I asked them at school if they were signing back to him (because I gave them copies of ASL to learn), they told me that they never noticed him signing... Now, I know that he signs all the time. So it's better that he's at home where Joyce & I can nurture his signing development and we can really focus on this area while he's so interested in it!

As for Harlan... He's really crept very snuggly into my heart now. I must be honest and say that it took me a while longer than I expected to bond with him. I think it may have had something to do with all his crying. I was mostly on the defensive with him, trying to avoid anything that could potentially make him cry. He still has his moments, but his little personality is starting to surface and he's so darn cute! He's all about his mouth at the moment - everything goes into his mouth and he's getting very good at holding his rattle and giving it an exploratory lick... He's also very verbal, goo-ing and ga-ing all over the place!

This last weekend we took the boys to a local restuarant with a large play area - it was our first outing in a while because the boys have been sick for so long. It was so nice to see Harlan enjoy the outing (he usually cries if we take him out of his routine) and Malakai had an absolute blast chasing birds, playing in the sandpit, climbing the jungle-gym and running rampant! It was my sister-in-law's 30th birthday party, so we wish her a fantastic year ahead!

Which reminds me... I'm almost 30... in just over four months time... yikes! That must be the reason I put my back out!

Malakai on the jungle-gym with Darryl

Mr. Independent...

picking up feathers on the grass

nothing misses Malakai's eagle-eye these days - he notices everything

there's a smiley boy!

I just love Harlan's little shoes!

like I said... everything in his mouth...

Darryl touching Harlan's little nose

Malakai in the sandpit

Malakai with the Amazing Aunty Sheri - she is so good with him...