Verity, Verity, I say unto you…

October 8th, 2011

What we didn’t know was that by the time you were fifteen months old, you’d be surprising us every single day.

This month you didn’t do much stretching out, but you did your fair share of filling out.  You are now an 18 1/2 pound yummy dumpling.

You are cutting three molars all at once, and taking that interesting new development right in stride.

 

You have a very long attention span, which helps you learn.  We have discovered that the key to teaching you is to get your attention, and as long as that door is wide open–input, input, input!

 

You don’t often have an “off” day.

 

You readily move your body in ways that wouldn’t hold significance to most people, but which make your physical therapist and me very well pleased indeed.

 

We are thrilled at how much you imitate our speech, and try to say so many words.  We wrote down your word list this week for your new speech therapist, and were stunned to realize that you say over thirty words or word approximations that we can recognize. Almost every day, one of us will say, “Did you hear what Verity just said?”  Last night it was “pull,” while you helped me pull on the little pair of Hip Helpers another T21 mama passed on to us.

Yes, I know the photo’s fuzzy, but it is such a classic sweet-Verity-face.  *smooch, smooch*

 

You love music.  Love it.

 

You have a certain facial expression down pat.

 

We see it a lot.  It’s called, “Look what I can do.  I am so very, very pleased with myself.”

 

I used to think that Down syndrome meant that everything you did would be slow.

 

Was I ever wrong!

 

Most of the time, we still have to put a little effort into getting you to focus.

 

But once you are focused, you learn quickly.

 

Once you are focused, you surprise us with your quick response time.

 

Once you are focused, you can respond to a command without missing a beat.

 

Some of our friends are probably nodding their heads knowingly at these words.  But we are having so much fun discovering your strengths for ourselves!  We just never guessed how cute and smart you would be.

 

Or how often you would make us laugh with your funny little ways and quick sense of humor!

Anyone who knows the Musser family will recognize the smile.  Yup, we’ve seen that one before!

 

We had heard that you would be cuddly.  We didn’t understand that this meant none of us would ever get enough of you!

 

You draw a certain fierce, proud, protective love out of us.

 

Protective because we know what the reality is.  Some people look at you and see a burden.  Some people think that there are males, and there are females, and there are “Down’s.”  As if people with Down syndrome are some sort of weird aliens, or at least fall short of being fully human, like the rest of us are.  Your mama has come a long way, baby, but she sadly admits that hearing someone call a human being “a Down’s,” or to act like a human being is a hard burden to bear still registers with her.

I’ll get over it by and by.  Until then, I will repeat the following truth:  Human beings are more than the sum of their special needs, because “God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

 

We are protective because we are not naive.  Because there are people who say that we should get a dog if we want a pet, that you are ugly as sin, that we were criminally selfish to bring you into the world, and that someday we will regret having made that choice when there was something we could have done about it, even if the “something” had to involve a coat-hanger.  And that we are in major denial to see you as anything but a tragedy.

Yes, these are things that have been said about you under cover of anonymity.  They have it all exactly wrong.  Your death would have been the tragedy.  What we would have missed!  Your life is not a tragedy!  Their own tightly-closed eyes and hearts are the true tragedy.  

 

Some may think we have totally lost our perspective on the matter.  We don’t mind.  We like it this way.  And we find ourselves in excellent company.

Verity, why do so many parents of children with Down syndrome feel privileged to have been chosen for this honor, and say they wouldn’t change their child if they could?  I hope your friends will please read this Baby Center thread through from start to finish for full impact, and be let in on one of the best-kept secrets of the modern world.  

So, my little dumpling-child, what can you do?  You can balance.  And you know what that word means.  And you are very pleased indeed that you can do it.

 

You can pull yourself up to standing whenever you want to now.  You understand and respond quickly to “Stand up,” and “Sit down,”  and you say it as you do it, with expression.

 

You can sit down correctly, by bending your knees and squatting.  And your mama appreciates it every single time she sees you do it.

 

Every week, you get a little better at cruising.  Seeing all your gross motor skills, I already feel so well repaid for never having put you into a walker or swing or bouncy seat, and for making you work so hard your whole first year.  Nothing is taken for granted.

I promise to keep making you work hard.  Because I love you, Verity, more than words can say.

 

What else can you do, little one?

You can get that balloon to come down here, by putting hand over hand and pulling it down to yourself.  And you figured it out all by yourself without anyone showing you how.  Of course, we nearly burst our buttons every time you show us how you patiently solve problems like this.

I must apologize here for showing everyone the roof of your mouth.  You’re allowed to say, “Oh, mom!” at me, when you see this someday.

 

You amaze us with your dexterity.  You can feed yourself your breakfast oatmeal with your Lil’ Dipper.

 

And now you can point to things on command.  “Verity, where is the balloon?  Point to the balloon!”  We think your tiny pointing finger is just about the cutest thing!  “Baboo,” you say.

 

We can always tell when you’re getting sleepy, because you don’t smile as much, and it grows more difficult for you to keep your mouth closed.  You have to work harder for that small skill than most people do.  We are proud of you, our hard-working girl.

 

When you’re tired (like you were in these photos after John Michael’s birthday party, still awake an hour past your bedtime), you make this face and sing a sweet sleepy song.

 

And now that you can crawl, you don’t always pose for pictures as well as you used to.

 

But you are always learning, and it is always a delight to teach you.  A delight to see you demonstrate your skills…

 

…and a delight to see your motivation and determination as you master new ones.

We saw you push your glasses up, and realized we should teach you to replace them if they come off.  Sometimes you can do it, sometimes not, but you’re getting better at it every day.  

You, small child, are a true delight to our hearts.

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22 Responses to “Verity, Verity, I say unto you…”

  1. Deanna says:

    Yea, Verity!
     
    Susanna – knowing Verity is a delight.  She is just as God made her to be – there is nothing to fear with Down’s.  She is perfect.
    Deanna

  2. Tracy Menard says:

    Precious. Thank you so much for sharing. :)

  3. Lara Font says:

    precious girl, you have grown so much!!!  savor every sweet moment, each day is full of new experiences, year 2 is even better than year 1!  praying for you all, lots of love!

  4. sabrina says:

    Precious…beautiful…oh, so sweet.

  5. Felicity says:

    I can hardly believe that some people would say such terrible things.  It saddens me that there are those who actually believe that.
    Verity is gorgeous!  Her progress is wonderful – thank you for sharing all her triumphs with us! 

  6. Ginger says:

    That made me nauseous reading what others have said about Down Syndrome. Ugh. I recently watched the Joni & Friends show “When Robin Prays” and they said over and over: She’s Downs, he’s Downs, etc. Sad. Even a positive documentary on Down Syndrome doesn’t use language that communicates value.

    What a sweet blessing Verity is. I was amazed that she could almost put her glasses on by herself. That’s so cool! She is such a beautiful girl. And apparently quite talented! :)

  7. Autumn says:

    I can not believe people out there would say such cruel things, but I do know from experience that sadly, they do! I can truly say I feel sorry for these folks…they are truly missing out on some of God’s most beautiful creations in this world. Having been given the chance to work with people who had special needs, I learned more about life, love, and faith than ever. I am more thankful for that experience than any other in my life, it prepared me in ways you can not measure…truly it was a gift of the most precious wonderful kind.
     I am sorry you have had to deal with something so hateful, especially when it comes to someone who was perfectly made! But no fear, you have been equiped with the best of armor! LOVE the photos..oh gosh she is soo darling!!!!

  8. A says:

    You are opening cruel hearts like mine with what Verity can do. You are very convicting and you have a very eloquent and powerful voice.

  9. Shanna says:

    What a beautiful post.  Thank you for educating people about people with DS.

  10. Lynn says:

    She is precious, and it has been a blessing to watch her development. Thank you for sharing.

     

  11. Missy says:

    Watching Verity grow and watching how much you have helped her, has opened me to the life you lead. I have such respect for you and your family now. 

  12. Susan says:

    What a lovely little child Verity is…it’s such a treat to see and marvel at her continuing growth and progress. Such curiosity and concentration on that little expressive face of hers…clearly she is blessed with abundance of both qualities!

    Thank you for sharing with us – I hope more hearts and minds are opened as Verity’s story continues.

     

  13. Judee Albert says:

    I’ve only recently discovered your blog and have been enjoying it so much!  My 4-year-old son just came up next to me when I was watching one of the video clips of Miss Verity and he exclaimed, “She’s adorable!”  I agreed and hugged him and he reiterated, “She’s really cute!”  She is truly a dolly!

  14. Heather says:

     “Their own tightly-closed eyes and hearts are the true tragedy”
    That’s the truth if I ever heard it.  I’ve had to work on my temper; it’s a work in progress.  I don’t even have a child with DS (yet!) but after years of getting to know moms of these kids, I get fiercely protective of them.  And when someone makes a mean comment, it turns my stomach and makes me fighting mad.  Your comment made me think – made me realize that they’re doing their own selves a disservice by being so closed minded…instead of feeling anger, perhaps I should feel sorrow for them, that they haven’t known what kind of joy these kids can bring.  :)

  15. Colleen says:

    Completely adorable pics and video! And while I know those comments have to hurt you, I am so thankful that the Lord is using you and your precious family to teach the rest of us… your story is a gift! He is working in you and through you all. God bless you!

  16. So sweet!!  Verity is so precious…  I enjoyed all the pictures and videos, it has been a joy to see her grow from a tiny baby to now.  :)
     
    I can only imagine how those comments can hurt, but people can be so blind….  Verity has been such a blessing to so many!
     
     

  17. Joy says:

    BRAVO, VERITY!!!!  Oh, my!  Your mama is right!  You are a delicious little dumpling!!!!  I’m SOOOOOOOOOO proud of you!!!

    And to Susanna: I would LOVE to see video of her saying these words, pulling herself up — really anything you mentioned here!  She is SO precious!!! 

  18. Joy says:

    Oh!  I just realized those last 2 ARE videos!!!  (I couldn’t tell that from my email, where I read this.

    She is absolutely edible and PRECIOUS!!!! 

  19. Amy says:

    I love reading about your little one.  It is so fun to see how close she and my 14 month old are developmentally….Verity is totally kicking her butt!!!!  (and she isn’t “a Downs” as other people unkindly refer to your sweetie:o(/)  I want to confess that reading that made me, for the second time today, angrily declare to the Lord…I HATE people- cruel, selfish, unkind people.  Then, I was reminded that I too am these things, though perhaps not in the ways I see it around me…but only by His grace in my life. So, thank you for the reminder that I need a saviour.
    Our family doesn’t personally know yours, but we pray for you often, and we love you!! Can’t wait to party in Heaven with you and hear God tell you, “Well done, my child” for your work and love for Him and His kingdom. :o)
     

  20. Susanna I wept with JOY thru this whole post!! You have described everything that I have felt or thought at one time or another with my children and my precious clients in our group home with DS.
    Sometimes the joy is overwhelming!
    When I see your son’s strong hands holding Verity at the piano, I can only think,  not only is he  an incredibly gentle and loving brother, but what an amazing father he is going to be. Priceless images!
    I remember 28 yrs ago attending my first training on DS. We were told they “all” looked the same!! To this day, I have never met a person or child with DS (in their birth family) who did not resemble their family or model family behavior- the same way we all do!! They look just like their familes! (I hope and pray that they aren’t still teaching that!)
    (((HUGS))) to all! With all of our love and prayers,
    Joyfully,
    the Archers!

  21. Jamie says:

    Loved this post thank you so much for taking the time to create it!
    Just an observation from my own life/family to yours, my 25 month old daughter who does not have an extra chrom has less words than Verity! (We’re not concerned in any way, she just doesn’t want to talk our way :D  )
    God bless you, your family, and your journey for Katie! \o/

  22. Beautiful!!!
    Luke 10:23-24
    And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.
     
    (((((((((((((((((((((( hugs )))))))))))))))))))))))))

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