Thursday, July 31, 2014

TBT: Special Birthday Edition

Today is a special day!
Happy 13th Birthday, Peter!

It's hard to believe that it's been 13 years since Peter's arrival into our family.
In the hospital with my dad and 2 very proud big brothers!

Our family....2001 style!  Poor Sarah, surrounded by all that testosterone!

All 8lbs. 11oz of cute, snuggly baby!
Size wise, he is our 4th biggest baby:
Andrew 9lb8oz, Kate 9lbs1oz, Ellen 8lbs15.5oz 
Life with Peter has always been challenging.  There was lots of tummy trouble/sleepless nights because he had undiagnosed food allergies.  He also had unrecognized vaccine reactions.  

As he grew, life with Peter continued to be hard.  His lack of speech created a whole world of worry for us that was, unfortunately, not something he would quickly outgrow. There have been lots of difficult  moments since Peter's diagnosis of Autism at 2 years and 3 months.  Raising a  Special needs child is really hard and challenging!  It's like having all the difficult phases of "neurotypical" toddler last forever...not easy!  

Having a child with special needs destroyed any sense of having "the perfectly put together family" I may have held onto after losing a baby.  Peter's diagnosis plunged us into a whole new world!

Having a special needs child has made us appreciate in a much deeper way the milestones that Peter meets.  When your five year old barely speaks and isn't potty trained and you have no idea if he ever will, any and all gains take on a whole new meaning!  We have been blessed that Peter speaks enough to tell us his needs and let us into his world a little, is potty trained(around 7), show a lot of affect, and still continues to make new gains each and every year!

Because of Peter, we have learned to appreciate the milestones of our younger children in a whole new way.  As Ellie, Luke and Kate all hit certain benchmarks....eye contact, pointing, babbling, first words, understanding directions, etc.....we could breathe a huge sigh of relief!

Having Peter has taught all of us a lot!  Raising Peter is a privilege.  Peter is not just a diagnosis. Peter is his very own person....a giant goofball who is filled with silliness and love and affection!

Peter is a boy who loves Disney World.....and Southwest airlines, because that's the airline we fly when we go to Disney!  In fact, when we asked Peter what he wanted for his birthday he answered, "Southwest Airplane t-shirt".  (And since Peter doesn't ever ask for much, that's what he got!)

Peter loves spending time with his Pa who takes him on rides to Fairhaven and makes him special desserts...

...and going to Martha's Vineyard!

Look at the face he made on the ferry two weeks ago after he asked me to take his picture!  He loves it!

Happy Birthday, Peter!  You are an extra special not-so-little boy and we love you very much!