Wednesday, August 8, 2012

F.A.Q.

I couldn't answer them all, but I tried to pick the most repeated questions. I'll share more later about Nella's therapies and what we do in our home to promote speech (Lainey's really in charge of that one), and there are a couple more questions I'll address in coming weeks. Like the girls' twirly buns. Funny how many people ask about that one. It's easy, and I'll have Brett re-record the blurry tutorial he filmed today and share later this week.

Thank you for your insightful questions. They make me evaluate our choices and routines, and that's good.

*****

Q: Before I (ask this), I'll preface by saying that my sister has a lovely baby boy with Down syndrome and she is terrified of getting pregnant again. How did you come to the decision to get pregnant again? And please give us some tips on how you hope to remain calm through this pregnancy.

A: I think this is an important question. While not all women who welcome a child with special needs share feelings of fear about having another child, I completely understand that anxiety. We are human, and worrying about pregnancy risks and the possibility of our child facing limitations, regardless of whether we’ve already faced it, is a natural response to anticipating a child.

If you’re into facts, they are as follows (provided by the NDSS):

* For a 33-year-old woman, Down syndrome occurs in one of every 600 pregnancies.

* Once a woman has given birth to a baby with Down syndrome, it is estimated that her chances of having another baby with Down syndrome is 1% greater than her chances by age alone.


While I am comfortable sharing my feelings about our decision to have another child, please understand that not everyone shares these and not everyone is comfortable talking about them. There are a number of factors that couples consider when planning to expand their families, and every family's circumstances are different. We respect those differences.


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Really, I hoped before Nella was even born that she would not be my last child. And the addition of her life and all the joy she's brought and yes--that unexpected diagnosis too--does not change that hope but ignite it. Would we welcome another Nella? Absolutely. While it is statistically unlikely that our new baby will have Down syndrome or another chromosomal abnormality, it's something that we've talked about with each other and with our physician. And I wouldn't be honest if I said it wasn't a worry at all--a different worry as, if that were the case, I'd know our child would be okay and so would we. I love Nella for everything she is and everything she has and will continue to bring to our life. But I'm still sad for the limitations she will face in life and, of course, I hope for health and opportunities and the greatest happiness for all of my children. That's being a mom.

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There are a lot of things that scare me in life, and risks of being hurt or losing something or someone present themselves every day. We climb in cars, we board airplanes, we fall in love and get married despite the divorce statistics, we buy houses, we sign on for new jobs, we send our kids on adventurous trips and hope they'll be okay, and we make decisions to have babies, understanding those decisions come with risks. I have faced risks in life, and I've been that "1 in 600" before. It is hard, but I moved forward. If anything, I've learned not to let fear and hesitation guide the choices in my life. I whole-heartedly embrace life with its challenges and rewards. I chase my dreams, and I dream of a big, loud Thanksgiving table someday and a circle of beautiful children I'm proud to call my family. Each of our children are unique, and I can't wait to celebrate new beauty and new life with the addition of this sweet baby.


Q: Do your kids ever throw tantrums, get time-outs, act up, etc. Do you ever lose your patience with them? Any tips on how to foster more quiet time play?

A: Yes! While Nella is pretty young to knowingly "act up," she throws a few fits and needs to be reminded occassionally to "be gentle" and "love nice." Lainey has her moments as does any child, and I've learned based on her personality and experience what works best for consequences or cooling down.

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Sometimes, I raise my voice or lose my patience, and I usually don't like how that makes me feel afterward (and it generally doesn't solve anything). I remind Lainey that I get frustrated and upset just like she does. I apologize when it's necessary. Chilling out in her bedroom with the door closed and the timer set usually works well for Lainey. And we've left parks and canceled play dates before, and she knows that's not something she wants to happen, so it's not often this occurs anymore. I try to be consistent and follow through. And I try to watch for clues to avoid meltdowns (if she's frustrated with Nella invading her space, I separate them and let her have alone time). I am lax about creative messes but strict about kindness and respecting others. I continually learn from other mamas who have great tips for solving problems, but I also know that we all parent differently, and our family does things that work best for us.

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As far as quiet play time, I think the best way to achieve this is first to model it. Our kids need to see us sitting down to write, read, knit, cook, color, etc. if we expect them to do it. And sometimes it takes a little creativity to make it fun. By making a blanket fort and giving Lainey a flash light, I've extended fifteen minutes of books and coloring into an hour. We treat quiet independent play time as a privilege, not a punishment. A child will react far more positively to "Why don't you get your bead kit and make a necklace at the table while I cook?" as opposed to "You're being noisy and rambunctious. Go to your room and do something quiet."

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Q: I really want to start a blog about life - the good and bad stuff in it. It is a dream of mine to write. But one thing holds me back, and it is knowing that if I am writing about my personal life I have to be truthful and not hold back. And I just don't know if I want all of my small town to know everything that I am feeling. I would rather just everyone else out in the big world to read it. :) How do you get past that? And how do you decide what to share and what not to? I just can't get past this.

A: This is a great question. While the Internet and blogging present wonderful sharing and connecting opportunities, it also means your words can be seen by anyone, and they are permanent. Everyone has a different comfort level, and you need to remain true to yourself and what feels good to you. I maintain a certain level of respect on my blog and will never use it to defame someone's character or hurt someone. If I ever question "Will I regret writing this?," I think long and hard about why I'm asking myself that question. I have shared personal stories that may cause judgment, but that happens in real life too. The people whose feelings I care most about embrace me for who I am. Whenever we write about our lives--on a blog, in a book, in an e-mail--we are sharing a piece of ourselves. A piece. By selecting which pieces to share, do we run the risk that people will assume things that aren't true or misinterpret our words? Absolutely. When I write publicly, I think about what I'm choosing to write about, what good will come of my writing, and how my words will affect others. And if I feel good about those choices, I write on.

Q: Are you finding out the baby's gender and are you sharing names?

A: We are finding out the baby's gender. Brett wants to keep it a secret, but I don't think that will fly for very long. As for names, we kept Nella's name a secret until she was born (despite my friend Wylie's attempts to bribe the pottery lady with $50 to show her the name I painted inside her mug), and we loved the excitement of sharing "new" news with her delivery. So we're doing that again. I love our short list so far, and Wylie, it's locked up in a very secret spot, so don't even think digging through the house to find it.

Q: I know you didn't grow up in Florida and yet you have this wonderful and extensive circle of close girlfriends. What are your tips for making new friends in a new place? While I have made some lovely new friends in my not-so-new area, I struggle with creating those super close friendships like the ones I left behind.

A: My closest friendships involve vulnerability, honesty, and effort. If you want to get past the "what brand of sippy cup do you use?" level of friendship, you have to make efforts. Have a dinner party. Put yourself out there. Tell your story. Ask to hear your friend's. Meaningful friendships mean you have to talk about meaningful things. My deepest friendships have evolved with being vulnerable, with making mistakes, with communicating through good and bad, with accepting that sometimes we are different, with honestly expressing my weaknesses and asking for support, and with making efforts to spend time with friends who make me feel good.

Q: Do you still make scrapbooks for the girls and will you share them?

A: For the first time since my girls were born, I'm behind on the scrapbooks. But they mean a lot to our family, and I plan to catch up soon on some lazy weekend. I will share when I'm caught up.

Other F.A.Q. posts can be found here, here and here.

*****

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The best part? Every time someone asks you about what you're wearing, you get to spread the mission of Shine.

*****

Think of something happy. Like clearance sales or chocolate malts or freshly sharpened pencils.

Goodnight.

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78 comments:

Katherine Schultz said...

beautiful! i love it :)

Shannon {ava_caitlyn} said...

Adore!

Bethany said...

I love reading FAQs. :) This was great, Kelle!

mommyjennie said...

thanks kelle, i love when you answer questions!

Amy said...

Loved it!

Ashley said...

Thank you for answering questions!! We also encourage our little ones to love gentle. I hope you will be sharing a Lainey scrapbook with us in the upcoming weeks...that was my question. Take care...hope you are getting some rest.

Renee' said...

I always love your Q&A posts. Thank-you for sharing another part of Kelle!

Meagan Kenney said...

I always love reading your FAQs...thanks for always answering your readers questions, and there were some great ones this time!

And on a side note: holy smokes Nella's hair is getting long! I know she's 2 1/2 - my son is almost 2 and still BALD!

Susi K aka BocaFrau said...

Loved reading this and seeing the pictures. Always love those. I'm still "new" here and love finding out more about you guys! :)

Mrs Mason said...

I love that you used the word rumbunctious!

Angella said...

Thanks for sharing! I always feel good and refreshed after I read your posts! :)

Sandi Delgado said...

Hello Kelle - the laundry basket picture made me smile because my girls were playing in identical baskets today too! Hope you are feeling better - you may want to try accupressure wrist bands (for sea sickness) or check out your health foods store for queeze eeze (an essential oil mist) I hear these work great. I just ate the heck out of graham crackers! Love the new sponser too!

Kelly Cach said...

Loved the questions concerning starting a blog.....I've had the SAME ones for quite some time as I have wanted to start publishing my own life stories! There's SO much I can't share, but so much I CAN....it's my decision :)

You look stunning!

Claire @ Scissors Paper Rock said...

I always enjoy reading your FAQ posts. Thanks for sharing so much insight into your life. You & your family are very inspiring.
How are you feeling these last few days? Hopefully on the up!
xx
http://blog.scissorspaperrockdesigns.com.au/

Lois said...

I loved all the questions and your answers! And definetely looking forward to the twisty buns video! They're so cute!

<3!

Johanna said...

fantastic post....I feel very similar feelings about discipline.... love that you are lax on creative messes and strict on manners.

Hazel said...

So wise, Kelle, and so generous.

Thank you.

Lynn Richards said...

Thank you again for sharing as much as you do. It's not easy being a mom, let alone a mom that thousands of women watch.
You bring so much positive attention to our kids and make me think twice about what I want to think or do. Love it.
xo
lynn

Claire said...

Beautiful. And that last line, I'm not sure why, brought tears to my eyes. I love your blog, and I think you're such an inspirational and incredible mamma.

mumofsix said...

Love FAQ. I too was interested in your wide circle of close friends especially since they were not forged in childhood. I always feel I have too many children to happily slot in with other families! Heidi is a Florida made friend isn't she? So funny you're both from Michigan.

A bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils! Always think of that film at this time of year and back to school. definitely an autumn movie. Have you started the Nora ephron book? It's on my list.


Hope you are feeling better. X

ahoy.jenni said...

have you heard that saying by (I think) Nelson Mandela, about not hiding our light under a busshel but shining it for all to see?
Good on you for shining your light for all to see...
Can I add a late question? (I will anyway!)
Does Nella do the typical Ds thing and throw throw throw anything? (emphasis on throw..) Have your therapists come up with anything to move her through this stage quicker..? It drove me crazy with my daughter and now we have it again with Mr Adopted 2yo. (me going crazy again...aaahh)

Sharmaine said...

thank you for sharing with all of us! So wonderful of you! Nella absolutely looks lovely in these pictures! Can't wait to see your scrapbooks! Ive started one for my little one thanks to you!

kosenrufu mama said...

as always your words are so inspiring and the way you connetct with us, even writing about your normal routine o writing with confidence about your decision to have another child and so on, make me think you are a very special person!your childrena are so lucky to have such a person, mother, next by them!!!
ester

Jessica said...

Most beautifully written FAQ ever :) I can't wait for another baby Hampton!

Jennifer ten Haaf said...

I love how open and honest you are:) I always enjoy the FAQ and pretending that I actually know you. Yup, I'm a crazy-lady.

Roksalanna said...

Kelle,
The names you and Brett chose for your girls are so beautiful.
You've got great taste in names so I know the name you decide on for this next little son or daughter will be a wonderful name!
xo

Ashley said...

Kelle, just reread your post and saw you did talk about scrapbooks...thank you for answering that question!!!!! Cheers!

April Vernon said...

I really enjoyed this! Thank you.

distrattamente said...

Too many people do not connect the head and mouth. The first two questions are ugly and nasty, you and your husband are smart enough to have thought of all the variables of a pregnancy after Nella's. And you are very well educated, well done!

gettingbusybeinggood.com said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on having another baby. I thought I wanted three or four children, but after my oldest daughter was diagnosed with autism, and then my second followed suit, I didn't think I could find the time/money/energy to take care of a third, let alone fourth child. But sometimes (especially lately) I want another baby so badly. I appreciate being able to read your take on it. It's a hard subject to address with someone who doesn't know what that decision is like personally, so being able to read your thoughts on it was helpful. Wishing you and your family the very best on your new endeavor! :)

Emily said...

Thanks for your answers, Kelle. I loved your take on my question about discipline/quiet play (as I knew I would!)

I too am (very) lax about creative messes (aren't they pretty much all creative?:) -- but you make a great point about modeling quiet activities. The only time I'm doing those things is when they're sleeping!

Thanks for this post!

Cherie Dee said...

Love that you shared your honest feelings of going through another pregnancy. The end result... a dinner table of everyone that makes up your family. That has always been my end goal while having my children. One day they will all come back home for big family dinners and I can't wait till that time of mish mash of peoples. :)

Aneta Kudasik said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aneta Kudasik said...

I think you are a wonderful mother and a very lovely person.

anetkakudasik.blogspot.com

Angela said...

thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.
and, i have a shine tee!! and i love it. :)

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Heather said...

Great post. Thanks. Also, to the lady who doesn't want her town to know about her blog, she can still have one, just don't post any pictures of yourself and your family. If you want to use it to write out your thoughts and feelings, do it! I did it and I'm still anonymous in my community. It's very freeing even though I'm doing it "under the radar."

Lisa Gleeson said...

Hi Kelle,
I thought I would send you the trailer of a film you might like. It made me cry a little :)

http://youtu.be/MMVfy6_nxp8

Lisa

Carrie Heider Grant said...

Thank you for sharing!

Carrie Heider Grant said...

Thank you for sharing!

The Scott's said...

Thanks so much for sharing... I am so excited to see the Scrapbooks... Its something that I really want to start doing for my kids!

Jessie said...

Love your honesty!

Lowe Family in MS said...

Thanks for sharing! Your thoughts on having another child are very similar to mine. We are currently ttc.
Absolutely, loving Nella in the red short outfit!!!

Leah Ryan said...

thank you - you've been an inspiration to me to start a blog and get back into photography. as a stay-at-home-mama-to-be, reading your blog and "getting to know you and your family" through your stories, you've been a tremendous resource on finding joy in life and loving every moment, as well as preparing for the (as you so beautifully put it) life changing moment of meeting my little starfish. thank you

Crista said...

I love your thoughtful responses :).
I really came by to tell you that I saw your chalk drawings elsewhere on the 'net today :D. Somewhere I'm sure you gave permission to. Congrats!!

Christina said...

I wish you would share more of your parenting tips and ideas regularly. I'm intrigued and inspired by just the little bit you posted here (about giving Lainey alone time when she starts to get frustrated with Nella being into her stuff), or about how to encourage quiet time.

I know you don't profess to be a parenting expert, but as you said, we all learn here and there from our friends. I'd love to learn more from you. =)

Jennifer S said...

I have been wondering for a while, do you prefer wool or acrylic or a blend for your hats/sweaters. Wool is awesome but needs to be either handwashed or gently machine washed and laid out to dry so I was wondering which you prefer?

Congrats on your pregnancy and I hope baby is healthy and growing as they should be :)

DanBin said...

You are pretty awesome and the girls are lucky to have you

Furry Bottoms said...

I think Nella would be a very proud big sister and will endow all the love in her body onto the new baby.

Personally, I think people with Downs Syndrome have an extra loving gene or something. They just LOVE to love.

Back in June, on a road trip... we met up with my uncle, aunt and cousin. My cousin has DS. I was very humbled by her because I was super cranky (it was 11 at night and I just wanted to go to the hotel room and sleep!) and there Kristin was, all excited just to see me. ME. Just ME. Not my mother or anybody else we were traveling with but ME. See, I am deaf. And she told everybody in that restaurant that I was deaf... as if she was PROUD of me for being deaf. It was very humbling. She took me under her wing, so to speak and she loved doing it. I just had to let her.

genderist said...

Ha-- now I have the smell of sharpened pencils in my nose.

Lochhead Family said...

I am so excited for you and can speak first hand about the joy of watching your "baby" become a "big". We have a similar family dynamic with a typical #1 (boy), #2 with DS (boy) and our baby girl (who just turned 1, sniff, snif) is typical as well. We always wanted more children and having a child with Down syndrome didn't change those feelings one bit. In fact, we wanted it more. We wanted more siblings for each of our kids. I come from a large family and my siblings have always been my support system and we wanted the same for ours. It is so amazing watching the interaction and love between our sons and daughter...though our now 4 year old (with DS) likes to beat up on her every once in a while, just because he can! We found out prenatally that our son would have Down syndrome and we chose to have the same prenatal testing with #3 (just the nuchal, not a CVS/ amnio) ... because we were so glad we knew before and didn't want to blindsided in the delivery room. I am curious if you all had the talk about doing prenatal testing and what your thought process was. I wish you a happy and healthy nine months and your new little one is very lucky to be born into a family with such open, loving hearts. Your girls are going to be such great big sisters!

Bailey Kress said...

Thank you so much for answering the questions, especially the very personal ones!!!!! (: Even though I don't comment often, I have been reading/following your blog ever since Nella was born; she's the reason why I continue! : ) xo

superfizz said...

Love your answers! I was wondering the same thing about friendships. The majority of my friends are not local and I need to put myself out there as you have done. Congrats on the pregnancy! P.S. I work at a library and made sure we bought your book and always put it out on display when it comes back in just to make sure it gets checked out.

Renee said...

This is great, thank you!

It's funny, I forget that Nella has DS because she's just like every other 2 year old I know and I don't see anything "different" in her face. She's just an adorable little angel who acts like my adorable little angel.

Your response to making friendships really touched my heart. I've recently made some really good friends and I think we have become so close, so fast, because of sharing all of these traits with one another. Also, I recently lost a very old friend for sharing the same voulerabilites. I guess as you get older you learn who really wants to be in your life and for what reasons. Thank you for helping me feel better about all of these relationships.

I also like how you handle quiet time. I think I need to try out the fort coloring idea. :)

Louise said...

Thank you for answering my question on your circle of friends. All your answers are very insightful. Look forward to more Q&A!

Louise said...

Thank you for answering my question on your circle of friends. All your answers are very insightful. Look forward to more Q&A!

rachel said...

love your advice on how much personal life details bloggers should share...I'm always wondering how those closest to me will respond. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Lisa said...

Love your honesty and the way you capture your girls in your photos. Always beautiful :)
~Lisa

Ruby's Mama said...

I stumbled upon your blog a few weeks ago. I couldn't stop reading. Or bawling, or smiling. I love seeing your lovelies! I haven't purchased a book for myself in a very long time. Usually, I request from the library. I can't remember the last time I bought a HARD COVER book,total splurge! But I HAD to go get Bloom. I am trying to pace myself so I can savor it and not read it too quickly:) Thank you for inspiring me with your thoughts, photos, and your outlook on life and what it truly means! (way off topic, but where on earth did you find your colorful patchwork style chairs you have in the living room?) ;)

Katherines Corner said...

thank you for sharing sweetie. Hugs!

vermonter said...

JUST A BIG THANK YOU....

Melissa said...

Love this. Love your thoughts on parenting/punishment. Also, you pick the best names so i can't wait to hear what you are thinking for this one. Lainey & Nella - SUCH CUTE NAMES!

SallyGirl said...

I've read your blog for about 2 years now, but haven't commented in a long time. Mainly because, "This post made me smile so hard" and the like seemed to get redundant. BUT.... This Post Made Me Smile SO hard! And your girls are lovelier than ever!

Dressing Ivana said...

she looks so beautiful in red

Fiona said...

Really interesting post, thank you. It's always fascinating getting a glimpse into what other people are thinking.


Hope you're not feeling too rough today.

Kimmy said...

Nella's hair looks so pretty in the picture of her wearing the red shorts. She looks like such a pretty little girl, not a baby!
I love the Shine store, I ordered the blue bead bracelet for my sister for her birthday and one for myself and the yellow Shine t-shrit.Great new sponsor!Thanks for answering our questions. I want to know if you find time to exercise or eat healthy because you look great. Enjoy your pregnancy. I have a 5 year old boy, a 2 year old boy with Down Syndrome and then we had a 1 year old girl and we are pregnant again with a boy. I worried during my third pregnancy and I should not have. So enjoy all the joys of pregnancy. All shall be well! Take care, Kimmy

Shannon said...

Fabulous post. I adore your honesty!

LaCasettaDelleIdee said...

Credo che le tue bambine e il bambino in arrivo siano davvero fortunati ad avere te come mamma. Potresti essere arrabbiata con il mondo e invece rendi reale la felicità. Un abbraccio

tootermagoo said...

Thank you so much for sharing your life with us all on your beautiful blog. I so enjoy seeing your love for your children, your family and your friends displayed in your gorgeous photos. Thank you for your honesty and for sharing the good, the bad and the ugly.

Your family is lovely. Congratulations on your anticipated little one. Can't wait to see the pictures!

Craving that chocolate malt now! Thanks!! :)

Kelly Sheehy said...

This is such a wonderful post, thank you for sharing. Gorgeous pictures!

Debbie - Painted Therapy said...

OMG! Until now, I didn't realize freshly sharpened pencils made me happy. But I think they do. They really do. :)

Elsha said...

Excellent FAQ! I was especially interested to read your thoughts on having another child. We totally expected that Daniel would not be our last, but his Ds diagnosis threw us from "when" we have more kids to "if" we have more kids. I hope we'll have more, but it's definitely been a lot to think about and I love hearing the perspective of women who have gone before!

krd122 said...

Hi Kelle! I've been wanting to leave some happy, sappy, lovey comment on your blog for a little while now out of pure gratitude. I've always been a huge advocate for "putting yourself out there & being YOU", it's evident in my own blogging (inspireyourlife.net)! When I was introduced to your blog by a friend of mine a few months ago I was skeptical to even type in the web address just because of my own shallow expectations of feeling inspired. But, I did... eventually and now I am caught feeling like a mild "blogger stalker" - ha! I don't know you (yet - I hope), other than the words you share with the world through your blog and your book but I have found myself holding an intense appreciation for what seems to be pure honesty and enjoyment! You are proud of your life - the ups and down and I admire that! I have no doubt you are constantly inspiring the world... I know you are mine. So, thank you! Thank you for the encouragement so much of the world is missing... to just be who we are and LOVE IT! :)

Becky said...

Can anyone share with me where Nella's red shorts and shirt is from? I love it and want it for my daughter!!!! Thanks!

Mark, Wendy, Dale and Rose said...

Clearance sales...YES! Happy now, thank you very much.

SuperMilf said...

Love Love Love the photos of your girls cuddling each other. SO sweet!
XO
*Jazzmine*

SuperMilf said...

Love Love Love the photos of your girls cuddling each other. SO sweet!
XO
*Jazzmine*

Muhammad Zahid Iqbal said...

Enjoy your pregnancy. I have a 5 year old boy, a 2 year old boy with Down Syndrome and then we had a 1 year old girl and we are pregnant again with a boy. Salicylic Acid