On Thursday (1st November), we headed to a Peppa Pig book reading and ‘meet Peppa’ event, as part of the Penarth Book Festival 2012. Jon had the afternoon off work and we kept it a surprise from Emelia until we were getting ready to go. She was so excited to meet her favourite cartoon character! John Sparkes, the narrator and voice for several of the characters in the TV show, read a few Peppa Pig stories before Peppa and George arrived! An orderly queue was formed, and Emelia and I joined the back of it whilst Jon gave Asa his bottle. Please forgive some of the fuzzy photos – we were under pressure to take a few photos knowing there was a queue behind us!!!
We all had a lovely time! Emelia sat nicely during the story time, and LOVED meeting Peppa and George! I must admit, I was somewhat dreading a room full of Peppa Pig loving toddlers, but all the children were great.
Towards the end of the event, I met an acquaintance I knew when Emelia was very little. We were talking about our older children, then about our recent additions, how they were etc. The usual polite chit chat. When talking about Asa, I told her that he has Down’s Syndrome. Telling people this news usually prompts a varied reaction, mostly positive. Today’s was one of the worst. “Oh, I’m sorry.” This was accompanied by “the face”. You probably know the face I’m referring to. That pitying, apologetic, head tilted, sometimes false look…
Excuse me, but why are you sorry? Is our son’s existence something to be apologetic for?! So, please tell me, why are you sorry? Because I’m not. Nor is Jon. Nor are our friends and family. Asa is healthy, happy, content, loved and wanted. Yes, when Asa was born we found the diagnosis of DS difficult to come to terms with. Initially. And yes, even now, we (ok, I – Lizz) may have the odd wobble. BUT PLEASE DO NOT APOLOGISE FOR THE BIRTH OR EXISTENCE OF OUR ADORABLE LITTLE BOY, OR FOR ANYTHING ABOUT HIM. Same goes for Emelia and any child.
The above is what I felt like saying. However, I simply mumbled something like, “No, it’s ok.” Next time will be different… I fully understand that not everyone knows what to say to this kind of news. But how about ‘congratulations’, ‘he’s cute / gorgeous’, even ‘thanks for telling me’ or ‘how are you doing?’. But as the old saying goes, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
I came across a great blog post when Asa was first born, about what to say when a child is born with Down’s syndrome. It’s not too long, and you can check it out here.
After meeting Peppa Pig and battling through the horrendous rain, we headed to Barry Hospital where Ray is still recovering from his broken thigh/hip. Grandad Shaw hasn’t had too many cuddles with his grandson yet, due to his Parkinson’s, so tonight was a special night. I love our family. Not just our children, but the wider family too. We are incredibly blessed.
On the 2nd November, Asa got to hang out with his great-grandad Lofthouse (that’s my grandad!).
Yesterday (3rd November), we started Asa on his first taste of solid food. It wasn’t anything grand – just some baby rice – but Asa thought it a treat and gobbled it all up! Well done buddy! He is now 17 weeks, which is the earliest you can wean babies in the UK. He does seem ready. However, we’re also hoping it will help with the reflux. Asa struggles a lot with this and is very sicky; for hours after a feed he will continue to bring up small amounts. He has Aptamil Comfort milk formula which is much thicker and heavier than other milks; he also gaviscon in each milk feed plus three doses of ranitidine a day… It’s stressful at times and he always needs to be wearing a bib. The health visitor and dietitian have both given us the go-ahead to wean as normal, and we’re all hoping it will help weigh the milk down so it all stays firmly in his tummy.
I loved this weaning stage with Emelia and I’m excited too about weaning Asa. Today also went well. Keep it up Asa! (or should it be ‘keep it down’?!)
Tonight (4th November), Jon and Asa are off to watch Cardiff City live on Sky at a friend’s house. I dressed Asa in his blue hoody, so he can show his support for the ‘Bluebirds’. I just hope the other lads don’t mind this junior fan joining them for the night! Meanwhile it’s a girly night for Emelia and I. We plan to watch fireworks from the balcony, wrapped up warm with a hot chocolate!