Tuesday, October 1, 2013

This I know...{Down syndrome}

This I know…

My sweet Kayla…There is no greater love than your love…this I know.
You are kind, sweet, loving, thoughtful, determined, intelligent, fun, happy, sassy, spunky, amazing, caring, wonderful…you are you.  And I would never change you.

Yes.  It’s true.  I have been asked numerous times…if I could take the Down syndrome away, would I?  Such a controversial “hot topic”.  Would I?  Would I take the Down syndrome out of you if I could?  No.  I wouldn’t.  Let me explain…

Yes…life would be “easier” for you in some respects if you didn’t have Down syndrome.  Even easier for me in some respects, as well, if you didn’t have Down syndrome.  But then you wouldn’t be you.

You wouldn’t be the you I know you to be.  The girl that lights up a room with her smile.  The girl that encourages others to be accepting of differences simply by being who you are.  The girl that tries harder than anyone I know to learn new things.  The girl that gets more joy from making others happy than being happy herself.  The girl that captured the heart of our Governor {who even keeps your picture on his desk}.  The girl that is memorable to those who have met you only once.  The girl that is just as sassy and spunky as any other seven year old on this earth.  The girl that just by being you, encourages others to live better.  The girl that has shown countless people that living with Down syndrome does not mean you are suffering.  The girl that applies herself with every ounce of her being.  The girl that hugs, loves and accepts every single person she meets.

Would I love more than anything for things to come a little easier for you?  Absolutely.  For you to be able to keep up with your peers?  Sure.

But then…then you wouldn’t be you.  The you that you were born to be.  The amazing and wonderful you.  So I ask myself…If not you…then who?  Who would be able to accept this amazing challenge to change the world.  Change the world.  A big ridiculously huge task that you are taking on like only you can…with the most beautiful smile on your face and sparkle in your eyes.  And believe me, baby girl...you are making a change.  One that I can't wait to see.  To be a part of.  Acceptance.  It will happen...and you will be the face of change.

So…on this the 1st day of October 2013 (the first day of National Down Syndrome Awareness Month), I am telling you this…

You, Kayla Grace Kosmalski, were perfectly made.  This I know.  Extra chromosome and all.  And yes, while you may face obstacles and challenges in life, I know that no one on this earth will handle it with more grace than you.  No one will smile more brightly than you.  No one can change the world like you.  You are the beautiful face of Down syndrome.  Of perfection.  Of acceptance.  Of love.  You are the amazingly wonderful one and only you.  And I am one proud Mommy.  One very proud Mommy.


Friday, August 16, 2013

All About Me: Kayla's Book for Teachers

Well hello there my friends.  I am sorry to have left you hanging for a blog post since November.  Has it really been that long?  Eight months.  Really?  Wow.  Where has this year gone?  Right now I am I am making invitations for Logan's first birthday party {it is gonna be little man theme...think mustaches and bow ties and such...and a ridiculously cute one year old...but I will have to fill you in on Kayla's Beiber party first or I might get in trouble}.  I am also getting my big girl ready for second grade.  How is that possible?  A one year old and a second grader...I swear I never even had a chance to blink this year...

There is so much to catch you up on but that will have to wait for another day.  Today I am focused {and that never happens}.  Today I want to share Kayla's book with you.  This is something I have created every single year at this time to give to her new teachers.  I have created a book for Kayla since she crawled/cruised her way into Ms. Debbie's preschool class at the baby age of two.  Filled with fear and worry I wanted to ensure that everyone that came into contact with Kayla would get a small glimpse of her history but more importantly our expectations and hopes for that school year and her future.

I must confess...this idea is not my own.  I first learned about creating a book or notebook to give to teachers at a NDSC Convention back in 2008.  Since that time many friends have asked me to share my template which I would if I could but I don't have one because I lazily click and drag pictures from my iPhoto into an iBook add a little story and click order.  It is a very simple process that I imagine can be done using any book creator (and if I say it is simple...I promise it is simple...remember I haven't blogged in 8 months...yeah...).  Kayla's book is a $15 softcover book but packs an immeasurable value.

Below I have added each page picture by picture so you can read through it (no don't scroll down yet...wait...there is more that I have to say).  This book can be done in a number of ways.  It could even be just a few printed pages stapled together.  You don't have to include pictures but I have always believed that pictures help convey the story.  I just don't do pages stapled together so I choose to have mine made into a real book.  I know...I am always over the top...I need help for that....maybe some day...Besides...what is likely to sit out on a teachers desk and be shared?  And I promise you...if you create it, it will be shared!

Here are the things that are important for me to tell every year...
......Kayla is loved and supported and we are involved...in a lot of stuff (which should help show how involved we plan to be with her education).  This may come off as bragging a bit but isn't that a good thing?  She is my kid for goodness sake.  I should want to brag and shout from the mountaintops all of the amazing things she has done/achieved!
......We expect the teachers to have the same expectations of Kayla that they do of her peers (she just may need a few accommodations or a helping hand).
......Kayla's strengths and weaknesses (including areas that she needs help with in therapies).
......Any and all of Kayla's personality quirks and idiosyncrasies.

I throw all of this together in a cute story telling way and voila...Kayla's book is created.  It's important for me to tell it from Kayla's point of view.  She's the student.  She is the one they need to get to know...not me the overbearing mama bear.  I know it's a bit over the top but I promise you the teachers will love it...and keep it.

So I know your last question...why bother?  Why create this?  Kayla has an IEP, right?  Isn't that enough?  No.  It's not enough.  Yes...Kayla has an IEP.  It is personalized to her needs but it certainly isn't personal.  This is my opportunity to share how amazingly wonderful Kayla is...


Here's to hoping you and your child(ren) have an amazing school year!

We have a little over a week until I have to fill the backpack with pencils, notebooks and folders and send my girl onto second grade.  Until then, I am soaking up each sun filled day...

Hope you are too, friends...