Monday, March 31, 2008

Spring

Have you ever seen Seattle in the Spring? Sure, we get a lot of rain but in the end that means that we have the most beautiful flowers, trees and lawns you ever did see. There is an amazing phenomenon that happens at the University of Washington campus every spring, usually during spring break: the hundred year old cherry trees blossom. It is fabulous. Last weekend we took the kids to see the trees. *** Emotional Parent Moment *** When I was a student I always dreamed of taking my kids there and taking pictures of them running along the paths and gazing at the trees. sigh.



The incredible Quad at the UW.


A snap shot of the wonderful trees.
Max and Madeleine ready to go to College. They are "gifted" you know.



Proud Daddy and Son



My beautiful Madeleine, with her adorable new hair-do, cutie tights and fabulous smile!



Max: Full Steam Ahead!







Maxy under the tree and loving life! His smile is contagious and as Michael would say, "he has the best disposition in the history of dispositions and little boys"


Balancing on the 'wall' and holding Daddy's hand.



"To the Tree! To the Tree" (a quote from Go Dog, Go. There was a dog party there, you know)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New pictures for fun


Max and Madeleine play "school" at the Woodland Park Zoo's safari and Africa exhibit.
Playing Dress-Up! What would we do without ten thousand strings of gaudy Mardi Gras Beads!
Maxy hamming it up for the camera.
Madeleine wearing her sunglasses at night. Just call her Corey Hart.
Max pretending to play on the computer- shirtless of course.
How great are my children? Let's just count the ways for a bit...

Reasons they are great:

1. They are twins

2. They are miracles (as are all children)

3. They are funny

4. They have fabulous senses of humor

5. They play with each other

6. They love to give kisses to Michael, me and each other

7. They find joy in things that most people do not notice (mud puddles, a near-by crow, clean sheets being folded, Dr. Suess, candy and the list goes on)

8. They love music

9. They have a new appreciation for Julie Andrews and The Sound of Music

10. They are always thinking

11. They love baths and call them "bapths"

12. They bring so much love to the house


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Mozart?

Yes, it is true, Max is a piano prodigy. We have been keeping this a secret for some time since we were worried about the press getting wind of it. He has been playing professionally for about 6 months now, since he was like, 15 months old or something. We didn't start with piano classes until fairly recently (11 months) as we were concerned that it might pigeon-hole him into playing a certain style. But alas, we could no longer deny this exquisite talent and now the world should know that we have a real Mozart on our hands.

If you are interesting in booking a concert, a gig- if you will, you may email me. Don't be alarmed if I don't get back to you right away, we are indeed swamped with requests!


video

Friday, March 14, 2008

Limb Difference

This is the term that we use to describe someone whose arms or legs do not match. There are many reasons that someone could have a limb difference. And there are four limbs that can be affected. Sometimes more than one limb will be missing or short. Sometimes all limbs will be gone. Sometimes the limb is present but not in the same way it should be, like Madeleine, she has a leg, she had a foot, but the discrepancies in length made it non-functional in the typical way. There are reasons that babies are born without their limbs or with a difference in limbs. Sometimes people lose limbs for a variety of reasons including accidents, cancer, or meningitis.



I know that I am sounding like an elementary school teacher (which, I am, after all), but I think explanations are important. I still see people stare and wonder about Madeleine's leg. I still see people get ooked out by seeing someone without an arm. So, let's just get it out there, shall we?





Everyone remembers the problem with Thalidomide. A tragic era for many parents and their babies. For the record, Thalidomide did not cause Madeleine's fibula to stop growing. The birth defects associated with Thalidomide are different than what Madeleine was born with. These babies were born with short, fin-like limbs.



Another type of limb difference is Amniotic Banding Syndrome. According to the Amniotic Banding Website it is:
"Amniotic Band Syndrome (ABS) also called Amniotic Constriction Band Syndrome is a set of congenital birth defects believed to be caused by entrapment of fetal parts (usually a limb or digits) in fibrous amniotic bands while in utero."

or in other words:
"Before the baby was born the body part(s) that was affected by ABS (arm, fingers, toes, etc.,) was caught up and entangled in string-like bands. This caused abnormalities that were present at birth"

Or, there can simply be a blood clot. When the limb buds were forming there was a blood clot and that limb didn't grow. This was the case with Madeleine's leg.

********************************************************************************

Okay, so I've been working on this post forever. I need to put it out there. The point is that shit happens. People are not born perfect. I know a set of identical twins and one twin got leukemia. The other didn't. I know babies with cancer. I know adults with cholesterol issues even though they are not fat. I know that I have a hormonal imbalance even though I didn't do anything to cause it (supposedly).

My daughter was born with a 'deformity'. She will never look like you and me in the leg department. She will always be an amputee (among other things, of course!). Does this matter? Um, no, not really. Did I ever think I would say that? Um, never.

If I knew then what I know now I would know that this isn't really that big of a deal. I hate admitting that, by the way. Because I see your stares. I hear the comments that kids make. I've seen kids shy away from Madeleine's leg. She didn't notice but one day she will.

A baby will be born without his hand. His parents are devastated. They curse God and wonder what they did wrong. They fear they had something to do with it (they didn't). They cannot imagine their little boy's life growing up without a hand. It is so so sad. He will face challenges that you and I will never know. Most of them socially.

But.... He will be precious. He will come into this world with grace and style. He will be beautiful and brilliant and have so much to offer. His parents will never want to know what life would be like if he hadn't been born. He is a blessing to his family and to the rest of the world.

I know this because I live it.

Expect to meet people with limb differences. Don't be surprised. Admire what they can do.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

No Pat No




Have you ever read "Hop on Pop", by Dr. Suess? There is a page that shows a bear type of animal attempting to sit on a cactus. His name is Pat. On the previous page we learn that Pat sits on lots of things like hats, cats, bats etc. So, when Pat gets ready to sit on the cactus the other creature shouts, "No Pat NO, don't sit on That!" My kids love this page. They think it is friggin hilarious. I think it helps them to exude some power over Pat. They don't get told "No" very often (see upcoming post about parenting without the word no...) so being able to freely yell at Pat is uplifting.


It has bled into other parts of our lives though. The other day Max was beginning to write on the wall with his soy bean crayon (a definite no-no) and while I would redirect him and tell him we only draw and color on paper (a way to say no without using the word) Madeleine was yelling, "No Max NO... No Max NO.... NoNo Max NO".


And, so it starts....