Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Celebrating Successes

Naturally, as Teddy's parents, we celebrate his successes and accomplishments with hugs, smiles, praise and sometimes arm flapping when I'm really excited (like the first time he pulled himself to a stand!). It's such a heartwarming experience to see others do the same.

This was the e-mail we got from Teddy's teacher today as soon as class ended:

"I just wanted to email you today to let you know that we were so proud of Teddy. Typically, he crawls or "bunny hops" from place to place, but today he walked around during play time to get from one area to another at least 3 times! We were so excited!"

I'm happy to hear Teddy chose to walk around the classroom today, especially because I know he's capable of that. (I'll admit I still do double takes when I see a child walking in our house because my brain automatically assumes it's AJ. Granted, I should know the difference because AJ doesn't walk like a drunken sailor, but it still sometimes surprises me to see Teddy walking.)

But what makes me really happy are the words "so proud" and so excited!". The fact that his teachers are proud of his accomplishments and excited for his progress makes my day. And Dave agrees.

Unfortunately, he also agrees with me that it's likely Teddy will try to eat his part of the classroom puzzle they're working on this week ... but today we're celebrating successes!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Captain Teddy

We had quite the fun-filled, busy weekend, which is why it's now Thursday when I'm posting this. It took a few days to recover from AJ's birthday, his first fun run, Teddy's first MyTEAM Triumph (MTT) run, AJ's Lego pirate birthday party and my half marathon.

As much fun as the whole weekend was, the highlight was Teddy's first event as a captain with MTT. When I first considered signing him up as a captain, the amount of support was incredible. Thank you to everyone who showed your support for Team Teddy.

Teddy's lucky angels were Stephanie and Ashley, along with his proud mama. Both these ladies have known our family since before Teddy was born and were incredibly awesome angels.

Teddy & his angels!

Race day was quite the experience. Teddy's Aunt Lindsay went early with us since we had to be there an hour before the event. Teddy checked out everything before the run, putting in his own version of a 5k. (Let's just say I was grateful to have Aunt Lindsay to help entertain Ted. He's not a captain who's willing to hang in his race chair for long if we're not actually running.)

Captain Teddy pre-race.

MTT does a team meeting to recognize everyone who makes race day possible, as well as share last-minute details and reminders (that we may not remember when we're caught up in the moment). They also do a team prayer with everyone praying for their captain before heading to the starting line.

The teams go to the front of the crowd and get a few minutes before the rest of the race begins. This allows us to get all the chairs spread out and not have everyone tripping over us. Ashley ran like a bat out of hell from the start to give us some space, so we ended up leading the entire crowd for about 3 minutes, which is the first time and longest time I've ever led any sort of a race. It was so neat to be running through this beautiful park along the water with Teddy leading the way.

Captain Teddy leading the pack!

Our lead didn't last forever, as we got passed by the pace car, other MTT teams and then other runners. Still, we knew we had a fast first mile when the guy called out 6:31 as our time. Ashley said my face was priceless because I didn't instantly add the couple minutes we had on the official start time.

Our fast start also meant we nearly killed Stephanie, who was quite the trooper to put up with the sprint start. We took an easier pace to enjoy the rest of the race, with a few walk breaks to straighten Teddy in his chair and share some water that a little girl was passing out with Teddy. Since Teddy's chair had his name on it, we had people cheering for him, and we did our best to get the bystanders cheering for him as well.

We got Teddy out of his chair probably a bit earlier than MTT volunteers expected because we wanted him to walk to the finish. He walked the whole way we asked him to, although he was really distracted by all the people on the side. Having him cross that finish line walking was just incredible!

And, the icing on the cake, was that Teddy took third place for the MTT teams, so he got a cool tile plaque to go along with his medal from the run.

This absolutely was the most fun and special race I've ever done, between leading the pack with Teddy, watching him cross the finish line and being surrounded by family, friends and the rest of the wonderful people with MTT. I cannot wait to be an angel again for Captain Teddy!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Happy for a Handprint

One of the things I was most excited about with school for the boys was the special art projects they would make. Teddy did one within his first week of school, and his teacher told us he really enjoyed having his hand painted. She said he did a great job holding out his hand, and his smile lit up his face as it was painted.

This is the poem Teddy brought home last week Tuesday:

I'm off to school to learn a lot
Each day is fun and new

I think about you all day long
And I hope you think of me too

But for these few short hours 
While we are apart

Here is my little hand to hold
Because I love you with all my heart!

I may or may not have gotten choked up reading it ... but only because Teddy was pathetically miserable after having screamed the entire bus ride home. This poem made my day!

Teddy's first art project!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Brothers on Bus Rides

Yesterday was the first day AJ and Teddy rode the school bus home together. AJ's only complaint was that some other child sat by Teddy on the ride home.

"Teddy's my brother."

This was AJ's logic on why only he should be allowed to sit next to Teddy.

"Maybe he made a new friend."

This was my attempt to provide some rationale on why it would be OK the bus driver put someone else in the seat next to Teddy.

"No, Teddy's my best brother I ever have."

This was me stopped in my tracks by the fierce love and protectiveness and bond AJ has with Teddy. I hope the only thing that changes in that statement in the years to come is perhaps that it becomes a bit more gramatically correct.

Friday, September 2, 2016

First First Day of School

Yesterday was the first day of school for both my boys: 4k for AJ and early childhood for Teddy. Someone asked me if it felt like the years flew by that AJ was already heading to school. I joked I'd been waiting for this day for 5 years (even though AJ isn't even 5 yet) since it was really difficult for me to leave work when he was born. And then I said the emotions about AJ going to school were really overshadowed by Teddy because Teddy alters our perspective on everything.

If we didn't have Teddy, I'm sure AJ's first day of school would have been more emotional for us. Instead, nearly all our nerves were wrapped into worrying about Teddy. We're excited for AJ, but it's easy because he's thrilled to go to school and has had so much fun the past two days. He comes home ready to show off anything he has, even a piece of paper in his folder that I need to complete, and rattles off everything he can remember about his day (which still doesn't include the names of anyone from his classroom, even his teacher).

It's harder with Teddy because at best I'll get a note or a quick statement of how his day went. He can't tell me anything about what he did, if he got hurt (like AJ who had someone step on his foot today) and who his friends are.

All smiles before school!
But, I know in my heart that he will love school. He will learn amazing new things. He will win over his teachers and therapy team with his smile, charm and personality. He will make new friends and learn to play with them in at least a somewhat socially acceptable manner. His smile as I picked him up yesterday told me that he had fun. (It did help to hear from his teacher, though, that he had a good day.)

I love how much these two love each other!

And another positive note: given their track record in day care settings, I'm quite proud to report that neither one has been kicked out of school yet. (I'm serious ... they've both been booted from day care ... and almost got booted together for a second time before we pulled them.)