5 Reasons I Smile

The ultimate goal of this blog is to spread awareness and show how beautiful life can be. We have four amazing daughters. Our youngest was born with Down syndrome. If just one person stops here and leaves with a different, better perspective about Down syndrome, then it is worth it. Regardless, I have 5 Reasons to Smile!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Nearing the end of 1st Quarter...

I can't believe we are already in March! This year I was hoping to blog weekly. That obviously hasn't happened.

I have wanted to write about our adventures as we soaked up BIG city life in San Fransisco, Jaden and Naomi's basket ball season, Karmyn's first trip to the eye doctor, my sudden weekend in Chicago, TWO OF MY GIRLS BIRTHDAYS (Jaden celebrating hers on an island during a three day field trip with her class!) and the sweet (and sometimes sour) occurrences that happen daily. I wanted to get all the emotions out and write, so I could somewhat remember what it felt like. Honestly, I can't even remember a few days ago when asked. That is why I was hoping to post more. Regardless, I do remember smiling, a few tears, celebrating, enjoying and just recognizing how beautiful it all is and how much I love to live.


Kamryn's preschool teacher is wonderful! She is a retired school teacher, soft spoken and sweet spirited. You can sense her love of children, desire to teach and feel the passion for what she does. Kamryn has adjusted well, however there have been some obstacles and Diondray and I recently decided we want her to attend the special ED preschool a few days a week to receive extra services she needs. (That is another post and this change hasn't actually happened yet. For those of you familiar with the "system" we called for an IEP meeting this month to address the changes we want to make).

On Tuesday, I picked Kamryn up from school and asked her teacher, "How was Kamryn's day?"

He eyes weren't as sparkly as usual when she replied, in her soft tone, "It was terrible."

I was a little stunned by the response and repeated back to her, "Terrible?"

"Kamryn would not listen to anything I asked her to do today. Nothing. She just refused to do what was asked of her. It is almost like we have back tracted a little."

My heart began to sink. With four girls, I have yet to get such an unflattering report about any of my children. Now, we have been working on Kamryn's listening skills and since she started school in August the teacher has seen vast improvement. In no way was the teacher being unkind, she was honest and I appreciate that. I asked for a few examples of what occurred during the day...she was throwing wood chips during outside play, not keeping her hands to herself, not sitting still during story time, etc. When Kamryn was asked to correct her behavior (stop what she was doing) she simply would continue to be disobedient. She was placed in time out (the consequence when the verbal request doesn't work). Apparently, this cycle occurred all morning.

Driving home, my mind started whirling...

Is Kamryn just being defiant? Maybe she is just more defiant than the other girls? (Although Brynn was pretty challenging at 3 too :) Does she not understand what she is being asked? No, Kamryn is smart, she knows when we ask her to stop doing something exactly what that means. How do we deal with this? What should we be expecting? Are we expecting to much?
Is it because she has Down syndrome? Is this because of Down syndrome?

THAT REALLY CAME TO MIND AND I ALMOST HIT THE BREAKS. That is the reality when dealing with uncharted territory with Kamryn, I will question it. Is it because she has Down syndrome? My eyes started to tear up and I continued to wrestle with myself...

It is very "typical" for children to behave terribly (once in awhile), be defiant, not to listen. They are testing. It has nothing to do with Down syndrome. Maybe she just doesn't understand the requests? Maybe she doesn't understand what we are telling her? Maybe it is because cognitively she is not ready to "listen" to somethings?

We got home and I sat Kamryn at the bottom of the stairs (where I have always sent my little ones who needed a time out). I looked at her and I said in a firm tone,

"Kamryn, you heard Mrs. Smith (not actual name of teacher) tell me that you were (and I repeated all the things I was aware of that she had done). That is not OK. You can not (and I repeated all the things she did). You must listen to Mrs. Smith when she tells you something."

Her response, very matter-a-fact, "I no listen mommy, I no listen."

This said something BIG to me. She was telling me SHE WAS NOT GOING TO LISTEN. This was like cold water being tossed in my face. The sadness (or feeling sorry for myself because we have Down syndrome to deal with)- GONE. The questions of how to handle-GONE.

Kamryn, once again showed me she is who she is (and it has nothing to do with Down syndrome). A feisty little girl, smart and is choosing not to listen. It FELT good to be slapped back into reality. We have a child and she wasn't behaving and that is not acceptable. I had to hold back my smile as we continued. :)

I firmly repeated that it is not OK to throw wood chips, she must keep her hands to herself, she needs to sit still during story time and she needs to listen. Her bottom lip curled out, she started pouting (this happens often when I use my stern voice) and she said, "OK, mommy."

I am no fool. I realize tomorrow she may not listen. But she gets it and she is expected to listen. And all my booing about her having Down syndrome, that vanished again.

Yes, Kamryn has Down syndrome, but we haven't really figured out what, if anything that actually means! :)


With four girls, two careers, often times spontaneity works for us. On December 29th, I mentioned to Diondray that I was craving some city life. We realized we were both off for the next week and since the girls were out of school we could go. My one desire was to get somewhere and not get in our car the entire time we were there. That mission was accomplished! You can see most of my pictures are of us either on or waiting for public transportation! We did a lot of awesome things too! :)

San Francisco January 2012

1st quarter will end soon, play hard!