Following are a few of these new found wisdoms, along with my editorial comments.
The early morning fights about getting up for school have abated with daylight savings. Alex uses her cell phone to set her alarm and is often up before I have to wake her. Lately, she has been very mature about washing her face, brushing her hair, getting dressed, making her bed and making her lunch. I am nervous to even write these words, for fear I jinx this new found independence.
With all my free time in the morning I can now dawdle. It seems the more time I have, the less time I spend on getting ready. Instead, I read the paper, write, or day dream about that awesome job waiting for me. I also spend a lot of time researching WindWalkers Ranch.
Therefore, I am never ready early anymore. Alex is always ready before me. This is a proud event for me, but frustrating for Alex. She is not used to waiting for me to wash my face, brush my hair, get dressed and make my bed. I love it when the tables turn on my kids…divine retribution is my favorite sin.
Most mornings Alex will find me in my bathroom and with an incredulous look say to me:
“Hurry up, you are not going to the prom.”
I have learned that my laughter at this completely entertaining reprimand only makes it worse. So I secretly laugh, but hurry, and get Alex to school on time.
Soccer is over, and Alex still will not take the bus, so I insist she walk to my office. She has gotten into this routine nicely, and I can monitor her food intake as she is not at home by herself. This will change next week however, as school is over on Wednesday, and I work until the end of June. I will talk about her summer schedule soon.
When Alex walks in the door of my office I often hear the following:
“I love my life”
I try to probe, but that can be challenging. Alex shares at her own pace and I often cannot get much of an explanation beyond a compliment she received from a teacher or peer. At some point I do get the entire story, but sometime it is so removed from the original context I miss the connection.
I take Alex’s emotion to heart. Why can’t we all feel the same way? Why do I focus on my potential lack of income, instead of looking at all the good things in my life? I am always learning from my daughter.
For example, 22 years ago today John and I were married. We had a beautiful ceremony, surrounded by all of our loved ones. Granted we have both lost our fathers and grandparents since then, but I should focus on all the good that has happened in those years. Three awesome kids, one going to the University of Pennsylvania, one almost a junior in high school and one almost a sophomore. We are all healthy, and soon to be broke, but spaghetti for dinner is not all bad.
So far, so good, little bumps shouldn’t deserve my worry. Yes, Alex, I love my life too!
Along those same lines, Alex often compliments herself. Whenever she runs fast, gets good grades or has another success, we hear the following:
“Go me, go me”.
I love this self praise and self motivation. I should try it sometime!
Alex is still the calendar girl. If I do not put the printout of our weekly events on the refrigerator every Sunday evening, Alex is on my case. Not only does she remind me, until it is done, she bugs me about her schedule until she know what she is doing every hour of every day of the following week. Her reminder comes like this:
“So what's happening?”
This may sound like a benign question, and it is if asked once or twice, but until the calendar goes on the fridge it is asked ad nausea.
My favorite saying, which I have been hearing often:
When Alex’s life is not going well she retreats emotionally, and pushes off the hugs and kisses. When Alex’s life is going well she actively seeks our hugs (but never kisses). We have been hugging a lot lately.
Yet another untruth I have learned about down syndrome. Contrary to popular belief, people with down syndrome do NOT like to hug all the time.
And then there are the quips I do not like. Fortunately, I have not heard much of the following, but they will appear when Alex is unhappy:
“You are ruining my life”
“I know that already”
“You are not my daddy, I want a new daddy”
Alex is funny, sarcastic and always has perfect timing. She has the ability to make me laugh until I cry. She looks at life from a pure perspective, and responds with innocence and naivety.
This may be a great way to look at the world, but as Alex grows up it also scare me to death. How do I protect this innocence, yet protect Alex? I do not have any idea, but I know I must figure this out soon.
Great, just vocalized another reason not to sleep. Go me, go me!