Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Look out Cassidy

Here's cousin Cassidy checking out Ian. He thought Ian was pretty neat, but if you asked him if he wanted a baby at his house, he gave a solid "No!" Sadly, things will not go as he has planned this year...enjoy single child-hood while you can, Cassidy!

Monday, September 22, 2008

This I Believe

Driving today, this fell into my lap via our local NPR station. Not all of it is an exact match, but it's darn close.

**and a note from NPR this was recorded BEFORE Ms. Palin was recruited by McCain.
If you'd rather hear it, here's the link: .
I Am Capable of More Than I Think I Am

As heard on NPR's All Things Considered, September 22, 2008.

"It is Trisomy 21. It is Down Syndrome."

Beyond those words I heard nothing, sitting in the obstetrician's office. The doctor was talking about my unborn daughter, and the results of an amniocentesis. I know there were words after that statement, but I don't remember them. I do remember returning home with my wife and crying on the sofa. I distinctly remember saying, "I don't want this." I didn't want this situation. I didn't want this responsibility. I didn't want to become one of those parents—the parents of a child with a disability.

People told me, "If anyone can handle it, you can."

"Easy for you to say," I thought.

"God never gives you more than you can handle," they reassured me.

"Really? Then why do people have nervous breakdowns?"

"We'll help however we can," they said.

"Fine," I thought. "You have the kid with the developmental delay, and I'll help you out."

For months I was terrified. My wife Lucy and I now refer to the period of time leading up to my daughter's birth as "The Pit." We barely spoke to each other because we didn't know what to say. We simply suffered through each day, together, but feeling terribly alone. And then Genevieve was born.

She spent her first eight days in the neonatal intensive care unit at a regional medical center. On each of those eight days I made the 150-mile round trip to see her, because she was my daughter. I sat in a surgical gown in intensive care, holding her in a tangle of tubes and wires, singing the same songs I had sung to other daughters.

On the ninth day, she came home, and I began to realize that my feelings of fear and anxiety had changed in a way that that no prenatal screening could ever have predicted.

I now believe Genevieve is here for everyone. I believe Genevieve is taking over the world, one heart at a time—beginning with mine. I believe that what was once our perceived damnation has now become our unexpected salvation.

Genevieve recently turned three and is doing very well for herself. She runs and climbs on everything, and loves to wrestle with her two older sisters and her younger brother. She doesn't have a lot of spoken words yet, although her first full sentence turned out to be, "What's up with that?" She does have over 100 signs that allow her to ask for strawberries, pizza or ice cream, or tell us when she wants to sleep, or play on her computer. She goes to a regular preschool three days a week and seems to know more people around town than I do. I laugh every day because of Genevieve.

On my right wrist, I wear a simple silver chain with three little beads on it. I used to say the three beads signified the third chromosome that results in Trisomy 21, Down Syndrome. Now when I look at those beads, they simply remind me that I don't ever know as much as I think I do, but I'm always capable of more than I think I am.

Gregg Rogers is an English professor at Pennsylvania State University. He spent 10 years as a writer, reporter and editor in New York and Los Angeles. Rogers and his wife host a website for other families with children with Down Syndrome in their area.

Independently produced for NPR by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman with John Gregory and Viki Merrick

Monday, September 8, 2008

Year to year...

Here are Calvin and Cooper. Calvin's mom, Leila, and I have been friends for 34 years now. Crazy. We see each other when we come to San Diego. I was thinking- the only people who've known me longer than Leila & her family are my parents and relatives.)

Fun in San Diego

The highlight of San Diego, of course, is seeing our family and friends, and particularly, getting lots of quality time with the grandparents.. We've been to the beach more times than I can count, Sea World twice, the Zoo, and multiple new parks. Cooper's getting really good at climbing (which I mostly think is a good thing...)

Hurrah for Nana!!
The perfect bathing spot for Ian. He's so funny right now- he can be really worked up, but if I pop him in water, he calms down immediately.
Picnic dinner on the beach with Nana & Pop Pop (and, Ian and I too). Cooper's gotten so comfortable with the water- he loves to run into the waves and "jump" over them (All six inches of them..) He's still pretty surprised when multiple waves come in and raise the depth of the water by a foot or more instantaneously. I'm always trying to balance keeping him safe with letting him learn how to balance in moving water and to stay respectfully cautious.
The new favorite activity: Helping. Help clean up the garden, help get the newspaper, help get things for Baby Ian...all good things. (and Nana got her garden cleaned up, too!)

A trip to the Zoo with Grandma Diane and Grandpa Tom. Cooper was enthralled with the Rhino, who was sitting in a pool. Cooper kept talking about him having a bath!

See the big orangutang on the other side of the glass?
Oh, did I mention the wanting to climb everything phase??

"I'm so amazed at this elephant I have to sit down!"