That one time when I almost puked from laughing so a funeral

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

That One Time When is a place where we want to share your stories of how your life has been impacted by someone with Down syndrome! If you would like 
to submit a guest post, just use the "Email Us!" form over there ----->

Today's post is by Vonda Weikert

I am so honored to be asked to share a few stories on this blog. When Jenny asked me to share some "hilarious Down syndrome stories" I knew it would be a piece of cake. All thanks to my son!

My son, Noah, was born with Down syndrome. It was not only a surprise, but a shock. I thought my world was over.  I thought that life, as I knew it, would be forever changed. No more good times....only struggles and sadness. I didn't think I would ever smile again, much less LAUGH. And the "make your sides hurt laughing" was surely a thing of the past.....or so I thought. Noah proved me wrong. He is 15 years old now, and the past 15 years have been some of the best years of my life. He is absolutely the funniest person I have ever met. And usually he doesn't even try! He is also handsome, sweet, compassionate, smart, witty, and awesome, but his sense of humor is beyond amazing! He was even funny as a baby.

I think the very first time I got a glimpse of his humor was around 6 months.... he would do this thing, where he would stiffen his arms and hold them straight out, along with stiffening his face and jaw. We called it his "stiffy face". He did this for years. His therapist told us that because of his low muscle tone, stiffening his arms and face made him feel strong. Whenever we'd ask him to do it, he did, because he knew it made us laugh.    

When he was around 2, I remember attending this stuffy little church for awhile. The pastor was giving his "oh so serious" sermon, and I was holding Noah on my lap, when he head butted me in the face.  In a seriously quiet church,  I made the mistake of whispering "ouch". Noah found humor in other people's physical pain, so he started loudly belly giggling and I could not stop him. The more I tried, the harder he laughed. The sermon stopped. All eyes were on us, and I began to sweat. And then, just like magic, the entire church was roaring with laughter. Did I mention these were stuffy, snooty people, who barely cracked a smile, and were now seriously LOLing? They laughed even harder when I told them WHY Noah was laughing! That was just the beginning.  

When he was 3, I had to take his tiny little self out and wait for the bus for pre K. Every single day when he returned home, without fail....I would get him off the bus, and he would run inside, whip his shoes off, stick his foot in the air and say "mommy smell"......and I'd have to smell his feet and pretend to gag and faint. EVERY SINGLE DAY through 2nd grade! And I did it.....because that giggle was priceless! Around this same time Noah's favorite phase was "I gonna puke up". Any strange smell, or anything unappealing to him, he'd announce "I gonna puke up" and would start gagging. Still, to this day, the smell of cut grass and oranges makes him want to "puke up"! 

I remember the first time that Noah realized that farts were funny. He was around 3 and we took him to the elementary school to do a discussion on Down syndrome. The first grade class didn't say much, .......until Noah FARTED the loudest fart ever while sitting on my lap. He giggled and giggled and giggled! The girls giggled and the boys fell into a heap laughing. That fart broke the ice, and all tension in the room was gone! One little boy said "he is just like me, I fart all the time". And then the hands were raised and the talking began. It was a great day. 

They told me when he was born that he would "probably never really understand humor, or understand joking or pranks". I beg to differ! His favorite toys growing up were his lifelike rubber frogs.  He carried them everywhere, made them have conversations, slept with them, bathed with them, ate with them, always. So one day when he walked up to me and sat one of his frogs on my shoulder I didn't think anything of it.......until it made a noise, and I turned my head to find a huge freaking LIVE warty looking TOAD sitting there. I screamed and flopped it on the ground and he laughed for hours! He KNOWS what a joke is! 

Another hilarious moment..... a time that I came THIS CLOSE to puking because I was laughing so hard, was at a funeral. Yes, there can be humor at funerals when Noah is around. It was a military funeral for my husband's uncle Kenny. Noah was sitting at the end near the aisle. It was extremely quiet. The men walked in with the flag and all at once the man yells some command at the top of his lungs RIGHT BESIDE NOAH and he jumped a foot off of the pew, grabbed his chest and yelled "WOAH.....give me a heart attack". I thought I was going to absolutely die. I have never in my life had to laugh that hard, when I knew I shouldn't! I had my handkerchief over my face and I was ugly laughing so hard I thought I was going to get sick. I looked at my daughter Halle, and she had laugh tears running down her face and was almost blue because she couldn't breathe. I tried to think of anything and everything sad to try and make myself stop laughing and nothing worked. Finally I contained myself........only to have that same man yell that command again......and all of the above happened all over again! Only Noah added "oh my God" when he grabbed his chest and jumped! I have tears rolling down my face just reliving this, and I'm sure Uncle Kenny was there in spirit that day laughing with us! Wherever we go, it seems Noah makes us laugh. 

Life is too short to worry about the little things. Noah has taught us to enjoy life and not to worry so much about what others think or trying to be "perfect". From what I can see, perfect is boring. We all need laughter in our life, and as long as it isn't insulting or hurting others, then I say LAUGH! I'd rather be laughing until my sides hurt, than crying and mulling over a diagnosis that I cannot change. We are in a good place, and I wouldn't change a thing about my son. 

If you want to see some Noah humor for yourself, look me up on Instagram. His videos are priceless!  

Vonda Weikert

That one time when: Lessons from the journey

Monday, October 6, 2014

That One Time When is a place where we want to share your stories of how your life has been impacted by someone with Down syndrome! If you would like 
to submit a guest post, just use the "Email Us!" form over there ----->

Today's post is by Ashley Moreno

 We all love Facebook Challenges, don't we? You know the drill: a friend (or sometimes peripheral acquaintance) bends to peer pressure, reposts some viral FB status about being in a horror movie where the cast is comprised of the first nine FB friends (or stalkers) on their sidebar. Or else it's the "25 Things You Probably Don't Know About Me"-- Been skinny dipping? Kissed your significant other's best friend? How did your 1,897 Facebook friends ever think they really knew you without that crucial information?

But once in a while, a Facebook challenge that's truly worthy comes my way. Recently, a dear friend of mine challenged me to post three lessons I've learned on my 9 year, 2 month, and 3 day Down syndrome journey. It was harder than I thought-- I've learned a lot of lessons, most of which seem to revolve around poop. And this girl never passes up the opportunity to tell a good poop story. But this challenge deserved more. This was an opportunity to share some more profound wisdom, summed up in three tidy little points:

1) Slooooooooow doooooooown. Almost nothing is as urgent as you think it is. Your child with Down syndrome often needs a little more time to process things, formulate a plan, and act. Allowing them the time to do that teaches them self-governance skills.

2) You have NO right to force anybody to conform to your expectations of who they should be. Each of us has the right to our own feelings, thoughts, personalities, strengths, and priorities. The fact that they make you uncomfortable or don't conform to your experience is irrelevant.

3) One of the most valuable experiences of human interaction is constructive dialogue. Don't shut someone down because they choose the wrong words. Don't punish another human being for not communicating according to your rules, for not being familiar with the correct terminology, for asking an honest question that you find ridiculous. It has taken the tireless advocacy of generations of parents to bring our children out of the dark corners, to tear down the stigma enough to allow people to approach us and question us. Do we really want to shut down the conversation because someone who's never walked in our shoes dares to say "a Downs child" instead of "a child with Down syndrome"? The alternative is silence....

I probably could have refined those points more, elaborated, waxed more poetic. But then the boy child woke up, and there was poop involved....

Mason and Junie

It matters how you say it.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Did you know that October is Down syndrome awareness month? I would like to take this opportunity to make you aware of a little thing we like to call .....


We would never say:
"This is my overweight friend Janet"
"And this is her cancer husband Bob"
So then why would we say:

"Jenny just adopted a Down syndrome baby"
"He has an HIV+ daughter"

I see well meaning articles with titles like these all the time:

"Coach makes special needs students feel like part of the team"

"Parents of Down Syndrome kids cherish special moments"

"Commercial features Down syndrome child"


Do you see the difference? When we say "Jenny adopted a baby who has Down syndrome" it shows that we realize first and foremost that he is a baby. He is a person. He is not Down syndrome. It doesn't define who he is! 

Hows about a handy little chart:


What you said
What you should have said
Down syndrome babies are usually laid back
Babies with Down syndrome are usually laid back
I have a Down syndrome uncle
I have an uncle who has Down syndrome
My cousin is Downs
My cousin has Down syndrome
Is he Downs?
(just don’t)

Here is the bottom line: we aren't going to all get it right every time. Let's all have some grace for each other, because I don't even get this right all the time! It is a learning process to re-train your brain. But people are important, and we should have respect for the fact that each and every one of us is a fearfully and wonderfully made child of the KING!











Thanks for letting me share,