March 21, 2018

#YesICan World Down Syndrome Day 2018

Even though it seems we just celebrated New Year's Day, yesterday marked the first day of spring.  Something very hard to notice here on the east coast where we have a foot of snow.  But it was and that means today is March 21st and World Down Syndrome Day.  Trisomy 21 results when an individual is born with three copies of the twenty-first chromosome.  Therefore each year on 3/21 we celebrate World Down Syndrome Day. 

In celebration of the day F.R.I.E.N.D.S., our local down syndrome family group, hangs posters of local school age children with trisomy 21 in the local schools with the tag "More alike than different."  This year's theme was #YesICan which I LOVE because it happens to be the perfect way to sum up this last year for Addison.  After so many years of struggling every single day just to keep afloat, we have had the amazing blessing of watching him not just survive but to THRIVE and have a life more alike his peers than different.  He has conquered so much on so many levels that it is difficult to even keep up with it all.  I often sit and reflect and feel horrible I haven't been taking notes, photographs, journaling and blogging.   because I know it will all become cloudy in my memory as time continues forward.  But for a change it is nice the reason is we are too busy living and loving life, versus being immersed in doctors and therapies.

This year in honor of World Down Syndrome Day I want to share some of the many things that Addison has accomplished these last twelve months. 

March 2017 
Addison's last session of vital stim and feeding therapy
Reading is Addison's all time favorite pastime

April 2017
Weighing in at 40 pounds, Addison turned four years old.  To celebrate he ate lunch at McDonald's and was strong enough to invite his friends to spend a day at the park. 
Addison spent endless weekend hours in 2017/2018 with his tools "helping" pa work on the addition
With spring and a new front porch Addison started each morning with sidewalk chalk and bubbles

May 2017
Addison loves to play soccer with his brothers and is a whiz at puzzles.
Just like all his siblings, he fell in love with gardening and was happy to spend hours just filling up a bucket with soil.
I never thought we'd see the day when Addison got excited about Sunday doughnut runs and a special trip with friends for a scoop of ice cream!

June 2017
For the first time Addison ran the last leg of the Race 4 Respect in Washington D.C. crossing the finish line on his own two feet. 
Road trip to Minnesota
First time to see the Mississippi River
So many happy hours hanging out with his best buddy Beckett

July 2017
Graduated from his early intervention program

August 2017
Learning to swim independently
Loved the sandbox and playground and would spend hours each day doing both

September 2017 
Began preschool
Learned to boogie board on Tybee
Spent two weeks running up and down the beach where he took his first steps twelve months before

October 2017
Went to Disney World for vacation... no special prep special equipment... no special meals... no emergency visits to the hospital... just some mickey ears and a lot of happy memories.

November 2017
Addison knows his ABC's, loves to sing Bible songs, has studied Genesis to David, and is memorizing the books of the Bible. 
Addison enjoyed attending countless concerts, recitals, weddings, and other social events throughout the year, things which were previously to laborious for him.

December 2017
Began learning to count and identify numbers
Enjoyed many holiday parties with family and friends
Addison thinks opening presents is the greatest game EVER and will gladly volunteer his services to anyone.
During the holidays he spent hours sitting by the Christmas tree admiring ornaments every day.
He also worked at memorizing Luke 2 with his sisters and acted it out during school. 
Carmella taught him how to act out Jesus birth with the creche and he loved to sit by the Christmas tree and play this for hours at a time.
Addison baked so many Christmas cookies and delighted in taking them to neighbors.  He also particularly liked the Gingerbread Man story

January 2018
Road trip to Minnesota
Addison's knows his colors and can color in the lines
He looks forward to time with special friends, Beckett, Jonah, Isaiah, Nehemiah, Chance and Sam. 
Addison loves to paint and will paint the walls with water and my pastry brush in a pinch

February 2018
Began potty training
Began self feeding
Fifth annual Valentines Dance with Madison... ate pizza and cookies with the other kids
Adores his own version of hallway hockey and will drag anyone into a game

March 2018 
Learning shapes
Learning to spell his name
Learning to drink from an open cup
Put on his first very own pair of running shoes and ran a half mile for his first training run for the 2018 Race 4 Respect

After so many years of watching Addison sit on the sidelines because he was too weak to keep up or because he had to spend all his time in therapies it is so beautiful to watch him just take off and live life.  I can not explain the joy in being able to say lets go to the park and just go.  Or to pack a suitcase hop in the car and surprise the kids with a trip to Disney World.

In addition to everything I've mentioned Addison is just so busy!  He loves school and can't get enough of learning.  I've actually been considering hiring someone to help out because I don't have enough hours to teach him as much as he would like and also teach the other kids.  He loves to help with any and all chores.  If I say, "We need to..." or "Can someone..." Addison is the first one to jump in, whether it is something he can do or not.  Laundry is one of his favorite jobs but he doesn't really discriminate much. 

Addison adores music.  All music.  Singing it.  Playing it on his Ukulele, drum, or horn.  Or  simply listening to it.  After breakfast, when the other kids go to practice, Addison runs right to the music room and starts tooting away on his plastic trumpet.  Hilarious. 

His favorite character is Maui, from Moana.  He sleeps with this enormous plastic, talking Maui with a big old fishhook from Disney World.  We know Addison is awake in the morning when we hear Maui talking.  He is also currently loving the movie Coco.  Hearing him quote these movies never ceases to crack us up.  And our smart little boy knows it and will conveniently pull out a good line when he needs it most, like when he's in trouble.  For instance, I say, "Addison take your feet off the table."  Yes, this is a real thing which I am trying to break... a weird habit which developed from years of being stuck in a highchair many hours every day for feeding therapy.  So I tell him to remove his feet and he says, "Breaking my boat... NOT HELPING!"  Oh my word, so hilarious!  Go ahead I dare you to look at him and try not to laugh. 

Addison adores animals, especially the boys' backyard chickens, our pet cats and Carmella's bunny, whom he calls "Hoppity Boo."  No, that's not her name.  Don't ask.  But, I think it has to do with a Perry Gripp, one of his favorite musicians.  Thanks, Brandon.   

When Addison is not doing school or helping with chores he plays from the moment he wakes up at 6:45 am until he goes to bed at 8:00.  Cars, balls, trains, games, puppets,  puzzles, dolls, Maui action figures, play dough, arts and crafts... the list is really endless.  There are some days all ten of us are completely exhausted from just trying to keep up with him. 

And, by the way, we think that's a wonderful thing.  Because we love that he can!!!   

1 comment :

  1. Addison Grant we love you!! And all your trips to MN :)