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!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Indefinite Pause

It is with great love in my heart that I push the pause button for an indefinite period on this blog.  My beautiful son is about to turn three years old, and as if on cue, it has become harder and harder for me to find the time or the subject matter to put on this blog. I have for a while felt too busy to get there, and too stifled by the need to write only about parenting and Down syndrome… I just feel that our lives are about so much more than that – so much more…

If I had known three years ago the amazing journey that my son, Malakai Steven William Stow, would bring our family on, simply by virtue of his birth and the revelation of his additional chromosome, I would never have believed it!

It was a day filled with such pain, confusion and a raw kind of truth… But it was just the first step along a journey that has stripped us bare, down to the truth of ourselves, in the search of our most basic needs, while at the same time gently covering our nakedness with layer upon layer of love, beauty, generosity, perfection, and grace.

I cannot even begin to put into words the sheer magnitude of the past three years – and so, I am going to try, in a new blogmoir… half blog, half memoir. I don’t even know what it’s going to be called or when it’s going to start – but I will certainly post it here.

In the meantime, thank you to everyone who has followed our journey and who took the time to comment, share and give so readily of their love. This blog and the global community I found myself in was certainly one my biggest saviours in the early days and a big reason for many smiles over the last three years.

So, here is an indefinite goodbye and take care. XXX

Friday, July 1, 2011

i. can. talk.

I wanted to mark this day - the 1st of July - as one of great importance to me. And it is all a rather long story... so sorry in advance!

As a child, the moment I found my voice and words I ran with it. My mother often tells me that she always knew where I was and what I was doing because I talked constantly. I talked to myself, my dolls, my dogs, even to flowers and stones and insects... Everything was alive in my mind, there was no difference between talking to my sister, my dog, or a stone - I shared my fantasies and thoughts with everything that crossed my path. 

Words were very important to me and this love for words never faded. As I grew older, it became a passion for reading, then a passion for writing. And when I had nothing to write about, I would find inspirational writing and just re-write it in one of my countless notebooks. Just for the feeling that I got when putting pen to paper.  Just for the feeling I got when words were strung together in such a way that it made my mind stop and my heart open up.

Then Malakai was born and we went through our process of grieving, acceptance and eventually the daily celebration as he continually showed us just how amazing he actually was.

But Malakai was very quiet verbally. In fact, he was so silent that he only really cried for the first time at 3 months and only started babbling well after his first birthday. I knew this would be the case, and I always wondered how I would teach my son a love of words, like I had, when he wasn't able to use them. It broke my heart.

But we started early - with signing and with literacy (using the Love & Learning programme). The research was clear on signing and looking a bit deeper into the literacy programme revealed how children who are visual learners learn language not by hearing it, but by seeing it (through sign and letters).

By 18 months Malakai was signing 30 words regularly and had about 150 signs that he could do when prompted. At 2 years old, Malakai could sight read about 20 words as well.  And from the day he was born, he has had an absolute love of books. He will choose to read above all else - and so, I knew that he had my love of words as well... but he expressed it in his own way.

So, today when my son said the word 'bus' as clear as day, pronouncing all three letters clearly, and he could repeat the word at will when I asked him to... I just beamed from ear to ear. My son is talking. He is saying whole words clearly from beginning to end. He is talking.

I couldn't help but cry after I dropped him off at creche this morning, after singing the wheels on the bus all the way there in the car. My boy has been talking with his hands and gestures for almost three years and today we've opened the door to verbal speech just a crack, letting the light through and filling us with possibilities.