My very own Fairy -- Tale (aka Maren's 5th Birthday)

>> Monday, May 15, 2006

Ah, count the candles.....ah, what a mother can do in a moment of party chaos. Can anyone photshop two more candles on here for me????

Ever since I was a little girl, I've had a love of fairies. They are at once beautiful and ethereal, and spunky and earthly. I love the grace and strength of fairies. I love their attachment to and oneness with nature. I love the notion that they can cast a spell -- and make people see beauty in the world, and can get little girls around the world to believe in the unbelievable. I love sheer thought of fairies -- and I spent many days wishing I could inhabit the fairy world and would lose myself in daydreams of gardens, pixies, and leprechauns.

Well, for Maren's fifth birthday party, she demanded one thing! BARBIE. Okay, for some of you that might not be a problem, but for me, Barbie is horrendous. I detest the image of beauty she represents, from the flowing blonde hair to the unnaturally large breasts on an unnaturally small frame (and yes, scientists have demonstrated that her proportions are impossible and would require the removal of two ribs ;-). So, what's a mother with a 5 year old Barbie obsessed gal to do? Ah, for the saving grace of Barbie Fairytopia! (I'm okay with fairy imagination, but not commodified for marketing beauty falsehood, LOL). Fairytopia --- Barbie's world filled with fairies and mermaids, and mythical creatures galore.

So, Maren's party was a huge hit (other than in my moments of adrenalin rush and glee I only put three candles on her cake, LOL). The guests all got necklaces with their fairy names, they decorated wands, hunted for fairies (girls) or frogs (boys). We played "Help the Fairy Catch the Star" (an artistic version of Pin the Tail on the Donkey). The guests got cute stuffed animal type flowers for their wrists and magnifying glasses, and bubbles. They got more loot than Maren :-). We ate fairy food (bug crackers mixed with colored marshmallows) and drank nectar apple juice. We had a butterfly pinata filled with magical goodies --- all in an idyllic arboretum backdrop. Maren's party was truly fairy-tastic.

She turns 5 officially on Tuesday, but Saturday marked a real celebration of her life with friends and loved ones who joined to celebrate all that is beautiful in life and nature. Maren was the star, and boy did she enjoy being the center of attention!

The next morning (Mother's Day) a sleeply little girl, clad in her new nightgown from her dear friend Emma Grace (daughter of Maren's first teacher), came down the stairs with her party ballons, threw her arms around me and said, "I love my fairy party. I have another fairy day." I think our 6 year old theme is set!

-- Who am I to argue with the Daisy Fairy? She has clearly cast her spell on me and I am offically transfixed by her beauty and magic. And, if my life with my Little Miss Magic is all a dream brought on by pixie dust and incantations, may I never wakeup.


Love my baby girl......

>> Friday, May 05, 2006

To say that I cannot sing is an understatement. When my oldest, Jonah, was just 6 months old, I'd sing to him, and he'd put his hands over his ears. No, I'm not exaggerating, ask Jon. And, by the time he was 16 months old, he'd cry "no mommy. no singing." Guess I'm pretty bad. Now, that wouldn't be such a problem if I didn't LOVE to sing, and if I didn't do it often -- frequently in public. I can't help myself. I'm 36 [(real age 32.5) :-).]

I hear music, and I sing. Okay, to be honest, sometimes I'll even dance. If you've ever seen the show MotorMouth that catches people belting out tunes and boogying in their cars -- well, that could be me.

Well, not surprisingly, my love of singing and be-bopping has been genetically transmitted to each of my children. To be honest, poor Jonah got my tone-deafness, and when rhythm was handed out, Jonah was in the presale line for the next installment of Harry Potter ;-). So, like me, Jonah loves music, but I'll encourage a career in academe, though he quite a proficient second year piano player.

Archie, my adventure, is quite musically inclined. As noted in my earlier blog, he is a songwriter, and can carry a tune, and he even has rythym.And, oh my fairy Maren. She is the most music loving child of them all. She loves music and complains if we go anywhere without the I-Pots (I-Pod). She adores Jack Johnson, Laurie Berkner, Drake Bell (from Drake and Josh), Green Day, Counting Crows and Jimmy Buffett.

But above all, she loves Sugarland and specifically their song "Baby Girl." Maren is convinced Baby Girl was written for her. She asks for it at least 5 times a day, and has since Christmas. I'm getting sick of it, but Maren's love only grows. If Jennifer Nettles saw Maren sing "They say this town, the stars stay up all night" I know we'd have a video booking! She's a heartbreaker.

When people wonder "what life will be like with a child with Down syndrome?" I wish I could bring them to my house and let them peek. For us, it means 3 kids and one wacky mom (and dad watching on) with the stereo on high, dancing and singing, pretending we are on American Idol. It means listening to Baby Girl 500 times because when clasps her hands, falls to her knees, gives me the mischevious smile, and says "please please please Baby Girl" I cannot say "no."

All but one of us, I'm sure, is out of key and Simon Cowell would certainly look on in horror! Paula might compliment our wardrobes, and for our personality Randy would put us in the dog pound. But for us, it's our slice of family love. And when the verse:

"Whaddya know, we made our dreams come true.
"An' there are fancy cars an' diamond rings,
"But you know that they don't mean a thing.
"Well, they all add up to nothin' compared to you.
"Well, remember me in ribbons an' curls.
"I still love you more than anything in the world:
"Your baby girl"

starts to play, I stop dancing for a moment while Maren takes center stage and tries to belt out each word, and runs them altogether so the only thing that sounds clear is "Love your baby girl," and I think "Yes, nothing compares to you and I will always love you more than anything in the world. You have made my dreams come true." What more could a mom ask for than a moment of unabashed dancing and joy with her children.

Of course, thirty seconds later, we are on to "Wake Me up When September Ends" (Green Day) and Archie is going full tilt on air guitar and Jonah anxiously anticipates his air drum solo. And, then, I'm reminded that "the innocent never last." Well, I think I'll hold on to it as long as possible and enjoy our band -- and love that makes singing out of tune and dancing without rhythm, and listening to the same song for the umpteenth time part of what we call happiness.

And, in Maren's words (immitating Full House's Michelle) "Rock on Dudes!"


Siblings, Death, and Down syndrome --- Musings inspired by a 3 year old!

>> Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Archie -- my baby -- my sweet little boy. Okay, not so sweet, and certainly not a baby anymore. He's actually an adventure. Lately, Archie (3 1/2) has been in top form. For the past few days, he and Jonah (7 1/2) have been fighting non-stop. Finally, Jon stops them and gives them the "when your mom and I are gone, your siblings are all you have" speech. Yes, you know the one that comes about 4 years before "I walked to school 5 miles in the snow, uphill, both ways speech." :-).

A few minutes later ChiChi is at the piano composing his latest tune entitled, "If my mommy dies." Yes, you read that right. And, his composition was quite "Barenaked ladies," complete with "if my mommy dies I'll have to drive myself to school," and "if my mommy dies, I'll have to make my own dinner." (I expected to hear, "but we'd would" come out of his mouth.) It ended with a deep, long, and powerful "WHEN MY MO-MMMMM-Y D-I-E-S." Song in motion. That's my Archie!

So, this morning, Archie woke-up in a good mood and so far, the fighting has been a bit less than in days past. I hate to pull the "die" card, but at this point -- whatever works :-).

When people worry about the effect of having a child with T21 (Down syndrome) on their other kids, I look at my three amazingly unique and perfect individuals, and wonder the opposite, "How sad would our family be without Maren?" She is the highlighting pen that makes us notice the uniqueness and specialness of each of our kids. She helps us notice the important, often easily overlooked daily passages of life. She helps us appreciate each moment with each of them. And, because of Maren, we stop and look for the meaning in even the smallest daily event -- and we mark it, color on it, and commit it to memory. We know that we must pay attention to the details, something that often gets lost in a textbook life. We take nothing for granted -- and even enjoy songs about our ultimate demise.

It's easy for people to fear the unknown, I guess -- like death, and for some, Down syndrome. But, with death, most people think that leaving this world brings untold riches in the afterlife, and they take comfort in that. I only wish people would have such faith in the extra chromosome. In this land of unknown, there are untold riches. If you have faith in one, certainly you should have faith in the other. I just wish more people would realize that real "life" comes in embracing the unknown rather than running from it in fear. And, at my death (hopefully a long time from now so Archie will be able to legally drive, LOL), I will know that I truly have no regrets and what ifs. I lived the unknown, and boy is it beautiful. "When I D-I-E" ....... fade to Archie tickling the ivories.


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