Posts Tagged ‘birthday’


Rowenna is three today.

When she was born and we were swept up into a world we never dreamed we would be part of, all the appointments and therapy and what ifs, it seemed like three was so far away. Three, with its built in transition from early intervention to public school.

It was hard to imagine what life would be like with this child who felt like such a mystery. This child whose future felt shrouded by the trappings of Disability World.

Yesterday, something happened that fully sums up what it’s like to live with this sweet girl. The answer to the mystery of what will be.

We went to the public library to choose some books for the weekend and to allow Rowenna to blow off a little steam. I had forgotten the library opens later on Fridays than other days of the week and we arrived to locked doors and a handful of people waiting to get in. Ever unflappable, Rowenna took this as an opportunity to walk around and chatter with the people waiting to get in. Most were happy to say hello and engage with her.

There was a man off to the side, crouched on the ground, not part of the main group of people waiting. He had his hood pulled up over his head and a large back pack stuffed full sitting at this feet. Everyone was ignoring him. Granted, he was giving off a “don’t look at me vibe.” Maybe he was having a bad day.

Rowenna took to walking up and down the sidewalk, pointing at cars and chattering her stream-of-consciousness as she often does on a walk. She rounded the corner and came upon the man with the backpack. She cocked her head and looked at him, then his back pack. He didn’t say anything as Rowenna approached and she ducked down a bit so she could see his face under his hood. Then she gave him a huge smile and said hi.

No response. Rowenna turned and walked up and down the sidewalk again, then came back to say hello to him. She did this a few more times and got no response.

Finally she rounded the corner one last time and squatted in front of the man, though kept her distance. She looked up at him, right into his eyes, and rattled off  a string of delighted chatter, fixing him with a wide smile.

And there it was. The man pushed his hood back, shook his head in disbelief, and gave Rowenna a big, beautiful smile. She said hi again and he said hi back before standing up to head into the library, still shaking his head and smiling. And that “don’t look at me” vibe? Gone.

This girl of mine has the uncanny ability to pick just the right time to do this. She is never pushy, always gentle. She gives people space but seems to know exactly when to give them a smile or a pat on the back, to draw them out a bit and make them smile. And when she looks at you, she’s really looking. She’s seeing you. And at the heart of it all, isn’t that what we really want? To be seen?

I don’t know all that’s to come for my sweet girl, but I do know this: it is a future filled with her kindness and gentleness of spirit. A future of seeing others and of being seen. I wouldn’t want things any other way.

Happy birthday, sweet girl!

Communing with Sunbeam Blog


Two Year Check-Up

Rowenna has now had her second birthday party and her official two year well-baby visit. So, what are the vital stats for this kiddo?

  • 24 pounds, 6 ounces and 33 inches of perpetual motion
  • an infectious smile and a goofy little laugh
  • walking with a push toy, standing without using anything for support or balance
  • eating using a fork and spoon
  • a love of books, puzzles, and musical instruments
  • a handful of words and signs, and a million different facial expressions and sounds to let us know what she needs
  • giving hugs (complete with a little pat-pat-pat on the back) and kisses
  • “sings” along with the radio, tv theme songs, and the piano
  • mothering her baby dolls by snuggling them, patting them, feeding them, and walking them in her baby carriage
  • mothering Jax by snuggling him, patting him, feeding him from her tray, and attempting to give him a baby bottle (can a cat be sainted?)
  • a full schedule that consists of 3 hours of therapy, a swim lesson, two playgroups, a walk in the park, and a lunch date each week

It’s a good life. A busy life. A bursting with joy life. Thanks to everyone who reads about our adventures and celebrates this sweet girl right along with us!

Second Birthday

My sweet girl turns two today. I spent the night before her birthday reading through old blog posts and watching the video montage from her first birthday, in tears at how big she’s gotten and how big my heart has grown since she joined our family.

I am amazed at how far we’ve come this year and I can hardly believe I’m momma to a two year old, a toddler. An honest-to-goodness toddler. A girl who knows how to melt a heart, give a congratulatory high-five, break out a well-timed “no.” She gives hugs and kisses, tackles her kitties, digs in the dirt. She is joy bottled up into a blond haired, blue eyed package.

I love you more than I can say, little one. Happy birthday! (click on link below to see her birthday montage)

Rowenna’s Second Birthday Montage

Song is You Were Born by Cloud Cult.

First Birthday

My baby is one today.

A year ago I labored to bring her into the world, my husband and my doula by my side. A year ago they placed her in my arms and I took her in, every last inch of her. A year ago I became a momma and we became a family.

A year ago I heard the words that would change me forever, that my girl has Down syndrome. That night my doula told me to just open my heart to Rowenna and the rest would follow – and I am oh so glad I did. I am so glad to have this little ray of light in my life and fiercely proud to call her my own.

So after a year, where do we stand?

Rowenna is a baby with a quick smile and a heart-melting giggle. She loves to snuggle and she reaches for hugs. When hubby is at work, she looks around and says “dada…dada…dada” with a little question mark at the end, wondering where he is. She gives high fives. She puts her hand over yours and gets you to play the piano or cover your eyes for peek-a-boo. She loves to listen to music, will dance along, and especially loves to hear singing. She is also showing interest in guitars and her grandpa is overjoyed to see her tentatively reach a hand out for his guitar to try a little strum.

She sits fully independently and is working on getting into a sitting position on her own. She’s working on pulling herself up onto things. She army crawls like a little speed racer across the floor and is fast enough to ambush the cat. Jax is mostly tolerant of her sneak attacks and lovingly flops over to purr and have his tail pulled. She rolls a ball back and forth with you and likes to bang her toys together.

Slowly but surely we’re transitioning to a straw cup. Self-feeding has been a struggle but we push ahead. She’s drinking cow milk now and just a little momma milk in the morning. She enjoys a variety of pureed foods and speech therapy starts up again soon to work on eating more table foods.

But more than all the things she can do, I’m most proud of how loving Rowenna is. Truly, she is just a big ball of love. Everywhere we go we get smiles and coos. She’s like a little magnet – I am always amazed at how people want to just snuggle her or even just hold her hand. And she just soaks up this love like it’s what she’s made to do, and returns it in smiles and giggles and raspberries. What a gift to have a baby so happy, so snuggly, so willing to love.

Happy birthday to my baby girl! We love you so!

FYI: If you’re a friend on Facebook or Baby Center, you’ve already seen this video. 😀

She Made Me a Momma

This time last year I was about to go into labor. This time last year was the last night I would go to bed without listening to the sound of Rowenna’s breath as she settled into a deep sleep. I had my hospital bag packed, her nursery set up, a stack of cloth diapers ready to go.

She came into this world after 25 hours of intense labor. From the beginning I knew we were going to be quite the pair. After my normally gentle, sweet doctor came in and told me in a very cocky way that I had at least another 20 minutes of pushing, I told my doula I was going to have Rowenna right then instead, and sure enough – out she came before anyone was there to catch her. She was on her own timetable from the start, I suppose.

And I was a momma. 7 pounds, 7 ounces, 20 inches made me a momma for the first time.

But she has made me so much more than that in the last year.

She has made me so much more compassionate. She has made me so much more patient. She has made me into someone able to roll with the punches and still smile at the end of the day. She has rekindled my passion for politics and has made me an advocate. She has made me aware of a whole world I knew nothing about. She has made me a better person.

My beautiful, sweet baby girl. (And her new goofy faces!)

And I’ve learned a lot during this year.

I’ve learned there is incredible generosity in this world, and incredible kindness. I have seen there are people willing to love us just for who we are and don’t care about what we aren’t. I learned it’s possible to shed the “shoulds” in life and take things as they come.

I know more about my genetic make-up and about Down syndrome than I ever cared to know. (And there’s still so much more to learn!) I know what captopril is for, I know how to insert an NG tube. I know how to work with an oral aversion. I know what stacking is and why it’s crucial for Rowenna.

I have learned that ignorance and fear and hatred exist in this world in a way I just didn’t think possible from a fellow human being. I’ve learned there are people who think Down syndrome is contagious, that Rowenna is a burden and a mistake, that Down syndrome is something you can pray away if only you really, really believe. Thankfully, I am also learning to let these comments roll off, to determine which are the battles worth fighting.

But on the whole, people are good. Perhaps that’s the biggest thing I’ve learned this year. People are good. They want to help, they want to love, they want to learn. People are hungry for human connection and my baby girl busts those doors wide open.

I hope I can teach Rowenna in her lifetime as much as she has taught me in just one year.

I love you so much!