Family, Friends, and a Hurricane

Today she turned two months old.  Two months I have been blessed with her.  Two months I have spent staring at her perfect little face with her perfect little nose and her perfect little mouth and her perfect little eyes that signify that yes, she’s a little different.  She got her daddy’s ears, but they’re perfect, too.  Today also marks four days since I’ve gone back to work and left my happy little bubble full of bliss.  I am so grateful for being able to take eight weeks of maternity leave that I spent just looking at her as much as possible (ok, there were some dirty diapers involved, too).  I filled those eight weeks with as many snuggles as I could manage, but there will never be enough.  I try really hard not to co-sleep (the internet is scary, ya’ll), but I tend to give in when she’s fussing and I just want us both to go to sleep.  As soon as I lay her down next to me, she’s out, and it’s sweet and easy.  She always starts out in her own bed, but on several occasions she’s in my bed by morning.  One night I woke up and checked on her to find she was sleeping peacefully in her bassinet, but I just wanted to cuddle her, so I pulled her in next to me and took advantage of her cute little baby warmth and smell.  Like I said, as many snuggles as I could get.  We are incredibly lucky to not have to use a daycare or babysitter.  John is able to keep her during the day while I keep her at night.  I called John the other day while I was at work to make sure he was sticking to the schedule I left (because I’m a control freak), and he answered saying, “We just finished eating and now she’s being super cute. Ugh, I just wanna look at her all day.”  Knowing that we are both over the moon about her makes it easier to not be with her all day every day anymore.

Another thing that happened today: the early intervention assessment.  As I mentioned in my previous post, early intervention is a network of services that help children with developmental delays.  The assessment today was to see what delays she has and to use that information to make a therapy plan for the future.  Since Avalynn is so young, there’s not much she’s supposed to be doing developmentally.  There are only so many milestones you can meet as a two month old.  The early interventionist just went down a checklist and asked me questions about what Ava could do.  Things such as turning her head towards familiar voices, grabbing, and being in a routine (Sidenote: Avalynn is in a great routine of feed, wake, sleep that I learned from reading the book Baby Wise.  I highly recommend it to parents of babies and small children).  Based on the checklist, Avalynn does not have any delays, and she is actually developing ahead of schedule (yay for rolling over!).  The early interventionist will come back later this week to go over the IFSP (Individual Family Service Plan) she comes up with.  This will determine how often she comes back to our home to play with Avalynn and check on her developmental progress.

Also, October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month!  Know that Down syndrome affects about 1 in 700 babies (roughly 6,000 babies born a year).  It is something everyone should learn to accept and not be scared of.  People with Down syndrome can do just about everything you and I can do, and there is no reason to treat them differently.  The following pictures are of people on Instagram who have children with Down syndrome (I do not own these pictures. They belong to the owners of the Instagram pages).  These parents and children are showing the world that Down syndrome is not scary (if you haven’t seen Sofia Sanchez’s viral video, click here).  For instance, Ruby’s Rainbow is an organization started to provide college scholarships to people with Down syndrome.  Give these guys a follow and see what other great things they’re doing.

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I do not own this picture.  Taken from the Instagram account of etst.
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I do not own this picture.  Taken from the Instagram account of macymakesmyday.
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I do not own this picture.  Taken from the Instagram account of rubysrainbow.
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I do not own this picture.  Taken from the Instagram account of thatdadblog.

As you probably heard on the news, Hurricane Matthew blew up the eastern coastline of the U.S. a couple of weeks ago.  Unfortunately for us, Charleston is located on the eastern coast.  I don’t pay attention to the news very often (whoops), so I didn’t hear about Hurricane Matthew until Tuesday (10/4).  Later that day, South Carolina’s governor issued an evacuation notice to start the following day at 3:00pm.  John and I planned to get a hotel in Augusta, GA, and as soon as he heard from his work, we were going to head out with a baby and two cats in tow.  Then (with the help of a friend), I started to wonder if it would just be cheaper to make the journey home to Mississippi for the evacuation.  Surprise! It was!  I called John at work and said, “I just calculated the cost, and I think it’ll be cheaper to just go home instead of getting a hotel.  What do you think about it?”  He responded, “I think you should pack our stuff and we’ll leave as soon as I get home.”  So we left at 3:00am and drove through the night.  Home is where the heart is, ya know.  (Sidenote: we left the cats in SC because I read that the hurricane wasn’t actually going to be that bad in Charleston, but then once we got to MS they said it was going to be the worst in Charleston, so I spent most of our trip worrying that my little feline friends were going to float away.  Luckily, they didn’t, and our house was in the same condition we left it in.  But I am a terrible cat parent. *hangs head in shame*).

We were in MS from Wednesday (10/5) through Sunday (10/9).  We tried our hardest to fit as many people as possible into our mini vacation, but if we missed you, we’re sorry.  Only a handful of people in our families had met Avalynn (my mom came for the birth and stayed for two weeks, John’s mom, aunt, and grandparents came for a weekend, and my dad came for a week), so we spent the bulk of the trip letting our families hold her and ooh and aah over her cuteness.  In typical new mom fashion, I hovered over every family member that held her.  Not because I was afraid they would break her or anything, but simply because I just love to be near her.  Let me tell you, anybody and everybody likes to hold a baby.  From my 88 year old grandmother to my friend who has never held a baby (yes, it’s true), everyone couldn’t wait to get their hands on her.  And since I barely held her during the day, I took extra advantage of nighttime cuddles.

While plenty of devastation happened due to Hurricane Matthew (continue to pray for Haiti), this little family is grateful for it because it meant Avalynn got to feel tons upon tons of love radiating off of everyone who met her.  It meant we were able to reunite with friends and family that we now only get to see a couple times a year.  My dad’s side of the family is rather large, and it is really hard to get us all in the same place at the same time.  But because of Avalynn, my dad had all three of his children under one roof for the first time since my wedding, I saw cousins I haven’t seen in years, and my grandmother was able to have a house full of family again.  This was a trip that was good for the soul, and it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.  John was able to take a much needed break from work, and I was able to end my maternity leave with a bang.  Now we’re back to the real world where we take turns working and staring at the beautiful little person we made.

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