But now it is completely different. I don't know exactly when it happened, but somewhere between the "Why me" stage and not long after the "We can do this" stage we came to the "Look at my awesome kid" stage. Sure he's a handful (he's not named Chase for nothin'!) but he totally charms everyone he meets. Like, really really.
Last night we went to their curriculum night at school, and I took all the boys while Bryan stayed home with a sinus infection (poor Daddy!). I kept the boys pretty busy for a while in the stroller while the teachers made their presentation, thanks to my awesome parenting skills (I packed Dum-dums for all 3 of them), and Ian and Chase drew pictures with the stray pens and pencils in my purse. Gavin drew pictures with the sticky end of his sucker on my arm and shirt.
They got a little antsy during the second part of the meeting, so I let Chase wander around a little (we sat in back, of course). He totally paraded around that cafeteria like he owned the place. Actually, he was doing this funky Tyrannasaurus Rex arm thing and toured the room, tapping every chair he could get to, and also may have tapped a couple peoples' backsides, as well... Feeding his ego were the several parents and aids who kept calling him over by name for hugs and high fives...and they weren't even his classroom people!
Then, as he was sneaking into the lunch line area, running in circles in and out through the food service line while giggling fiendishly as I tried to catch him and slow him down just a bit, Ian's teacher came over and started chatting with me. She gave me some fun reports about Ian, and then began talking about Chase. She said that she has talked with Chase's teacher (Mrs. Z) and that she hears that they LOVE him at school, that he is such a sweetie...and then her face did that look that you make when you are sharing a juicy secret...and she says, "But she tells me that he's a bad boy...he's a little stinker, isn't he?!" Apparently it didn't take long for his true colors to show. Later, in taking to Mrs. Z, she said that he will blatantly do something he knows not to do, smirk while he is doing it, and then go in for a big hug and a kiss to ask forgiveness afterwards. Yeah. I get that.
We went to Chase's room afterwards for their presentation, and all of the preschool staff was there. After they were done talking, one of the aids in the other classroom exclaimed, "YOU'RE Chase's mom?!? I'm so glad to meet you! I LOVE Chase! I tell him I love him EVERY DAY and he gives me a BIG hug! He is SUCH a DOLL!" I was a little scared at first because she was so loud and attacked me with a hug, but at least now I know that if he ever doesn't show up in the car line, it is because this woman kidnapped him and they are halfway to Mexico.
In his room, Chase showed me the cars, the blocks, and the kitchen (yes, he took everything out as he went along), and then pointed to pictures of his classmates and named them all. His teachers told me about how he spends his days and his little quirks (his unusual love of cucumbers, the food swiping off the table when he is done, the way he folds his arms behind his head at rest time, how he adores his friends Lyda and Jack, how they have to keep an eye on him on the playground because he is constantly climbing to the top of the structures and hanging by his fingers until he drops, how he loves to sweep the floors and wipe the tables, and how they are happy with how he is using new words all the time).
I feel so good about where he is...and am so proud that he is such a super star. I love that Ian and the Larsen girls argue over who gets to hold his hand on the way into school, and that Andey doesn't deny it when a teacher assumes they are siblings. I love that kids from other grades give him high fives and call, "Bye, Chase!" to him on his way to the car in the afternoons. I love that the loud aid wants to take him home. I love that he is spunky and full of piss and vinegar sometimes (remind me about that next time he is giving me a hard time)...I love that he is out there, engaging everyone, changing stereotypes, making friends, and showing everyone that life with an extra chromosome is just that: life...he is just better at enjoying it than we are sometimes, I think.
I want everyone to see him. I want them to stare. I want them to recognize what a truly awesome gift he is to our family...I love standing out...and I love that every single one of us* is a better person because of him.
*Sidenote: One of my daycare kids asked why Chase didn't talk very much or something having to do with why he was a 'baby' or something...and my sweet Ian, he looked him straight in the eye and said with a matter of fact tone, "Chase has Down syndrome, so he needs more time to learn things. And that's it." Love.That.Boy.