Say hi to Parker! He's 6 months old today! I thought that was cause for an update…finally ;-)
Hard to believe how fast it's gone since the original announcement post that we shared about Parker's story leading up to birth and his first couple weeks. From the overwhelming response to that post, we know so many of you are with us on this journey and we are so lucky and grateful for that. While many of you stay connected one way or another, some of you don't, so here's a little update on our little fella:
The past 6 months have been absolutey joyful and amazing...and normal. Parker (aka in our house as PJ, Pudge, Pedro, Pahkah Jawn, boy) is absolutely adorable (see photo in this post as proof, lol). He has a huge bright smile, a hysterical laugh and has the sweetest little mellow disposition. He's everything you could hope for.
He's been a great sleeper at night since early on, which has been great cuz his big sissy has been a nightmare, lol. The rest of his sleeping has primarily been while snuggled up to his mom in the wrap while she goes about her day, plays with Liddy and does yardwork!? He loves her so much he can't seem to nap unelss he's tucked right in by her heart.
He nurses like a champ and is getting big and strong. He gets bigger and stronger everyday, in fact, and his current obsession is standing. He has the strongest little legs. He's a little wobbly from a balance standpoint, but we've been letting him stand up on his own while holding on to the couch and he's doing pretty darn well. The kid rolled over at just 6 weeks old (remember he was 5 weeks early), so we shouldn't be surprised. Also, District 742 provides in-home OT/PT services starting right away, so we got him a therapist who's been coming for months and she helps make sure we are doing the right types of workouts and other things to help make sure he grows strong and agile since many kids with Down Syndrome develop a little slower in that respect and DS affects the muscle tissues, so PJ is sort of pre-disposed to be, well, kinda wimpy...but he's far from it so far.
He was given a pretty clear bill of health when we were released after those couple weeks in the NICU after his birth, but there was still a small amount of uncertainty regarding his heart. Heart disease and abnormality is common with DS and while he'd shown no major signs, there was enough uncertainty to get a full cardiac analysis when he had grown a bit and his heart was larger. Thankfully, the doctor gave us an "all clear" and basically said we don't need to worry about heart issues at all. It was a big relief and we know the outcomes of that exam are commonly the opposite news, so we were thankful. Other than that one thing that was lingering, he's been a very healthy and happy baby boy.
At home, his big sister loves him very much, she protects him and she snuggles him a little too tightly sometimes, but you can't really fault her. He's had a busy social life - going to school with Liddy, lots of play-dates, lots of fun all around town. He's taken to the attention pretty well, but for the first couple months, he preferred to just sleep through everything. It's clearly exhausting being that cute.
We got so much love and made so many new friends from sharing our story in March and it's been so humbling and wonderful to stay connected with so many of you and to meet some of our new friends in person, even. Parker has filled our lives up so wonderfully. It's also been nice to see people comfortable asking us questions and talking about Down Syndrome. We are still learning, but it's exciting to impart some of what we know onto others and learning to apprecaite differences in people together. We know that many people have a sense of shame and hide their child away, but we certainly don't and won't have that problem. We've been so proud to show him off and share our experience with everyone.
I'm leaving out a million details, but ultimately, we are doing great and Parker is our little hero. Life is fantastic and fantastically "normal". We aren't naive and understand that an infant is an infant and many of the challenges that might be in store for Parker are further down the road, but we aren't worried. We are holding true to what we promised him from the beginning - he was going to have everything we would give any of our kids and we'll fill in where we may need a little extra help. I believe everyday that he's going to do more than any of us could dream for him and he won't give up until he reaches all of his goals. You can just see it in his eyes...which are turning from a beautiful steely blue to a gorgeous green, btw.
Michelle and I look back at those moments of weakness surrounding Parker's diagnosis when we thought we wouldn't be able to raise him, it would tear our family apart, be the thing that holds Liddy back from her potential and so many other ridiculous ideas that filled our head in that emotional time. I have never seen Michelle stronger or more powerful as she's been the last 6 months. I've also never seen her as happy as when she is looking into his eyes. I've never made her that happy and I've spent the last 17 years trying.
I'm so inspired every day by Parker. He's just a magical little guy and the joy he's brought to our lives is remarkable. I had intended to really keep the routine blog posts going, but ultimately, I didn't want to miss a moment. My facebook and instagram have been the best routine documentation of our journey, so feel free to follow. I'm certainly not shy to post ;-)
Thanks again for reading. We are so very thankful for all of the love and support throughout everything and love hearing from all of you. Don't ever hesitate to reach out or stop by! Enjoy the rest of your summers. I'll make another big update some day soon.
Thanks for reading ;-)
- Cory & Michelle & Liddy
PS: I have been blogging since the day we found out about Parker's diagnosis, so if you are interested in checking out the whole story and getting caught up, go to endlessupside.com/our-story/ to get started.