World Down Syndrome Day was a busy day for the Tomai family. The craziness started a few days beforehand, when I got busy baking cookies. I'm not a gourmet baker or elite cookie-decorator or anything like that, but I got it into my head that I wanted to make cookies ... so I did.
In case you didn't know, the colors for Down syndrome awareness are blue and yellow.
I made blue and yellow ribbons, plus cookies that are supposed to look like ribbons. :)
On the morning of March 21st, I took lots of cookies and ribbons to my MOPS meeting. The moms there are great - they have encouraged me and supported my family through assorted ups and downs over the past three years, and they all love Ben.
After MOPS, a sweet friend took Corrie to the park to play, so I could take Ben home for a nap. I had to wake him up a little early so we could get to our next gig: a Down syndrome awareness presentation at Evan's school. I was nervous about this one.
I started by reading "We'll Paint the Octopus Red," then did a modified version of this Powerpoint presentation - only with pictures of Ben and other kids that I know in real life. It was great. The kids in Evan's class already know and like Ben because we've visited Evan at school before. They get a kick out of having a toddler in their classroom.
One of the points in the presentation is that Ben isn't sick and Down syndrome isn't catching. He has 47 chromosomes in each cell and he will always have 47 chromosomes. One of the boys raised his hand and asked, "Will he always be so cute?" Sweet kid!
The students listened well and had lots of comments about how we are all different. Emmett had challenged me to consider how I talk about bullying with the kids. He said that instead of focusing on what not to say (i.e. the r-word), I could challenge them to be brave, to be kind, to be the kind of people who include others and stand up for kids who are being mistreated.
And then that night, a party! But I will save that story for another post.
Let me leave you with a picture of Ben after I woke him up from his nap. He wasn't thrilled to be awake, but he turned it around when we got to the school. He signed, he smiled, he scooted all around the room. He's quite the performer.
Sad to be awake!
I don't know if you can tell, but his shirt says 3*21. It was handmade by one of the moms in our local parent support group.