On November 18 2009 at 4:02 am William Alan Bartosch was joyfully welcomed into our family. He weighed in at 7 lbs 9 oz and 20 in long. We were stunned to discover that he was born with Trisomy 21, or Down syndrome. We love him unconditionally from the top of his toe-head to the tips of his toes. We know that this diagnosis will not define him. He is a happy, healthy little boy that just happens to have an extra chromosome.

Follow us on this unexpected and exciting journey as we learn how to live life Will's Way.

Friday, July 29, 2011

School Starts Soon!

Will is going to be starting 'school' this fall and it will be here before we know it!  His teacher came to the house earlier this week to meet Will and I and she was very sweet.  He will be going to Early Intervention School two days a week for about three hours in the morning.  He will be attending the Childhood League Center and will get all of his therapies there in place of his home based therapies.  The classroom he is in is all 12-36 month old kiddos and 4 of them are special needs 4 are typically developing.  So he will have a great chance to play with kids of all abilities while he receives therapy!  The organization is great and if I haven't put up their website before it is... http://www.childhoodleague.org/ .  It is a privately funded organization but Will's tuition will be covered by the county.  We feel very lucky to have Will attend school here since it is hard to get into.  It has adorable little person classrooms, each with separate observation rooms and packed full of toys and activities.  It has both an outdoor play gym and an indoor gym.  It also has separate therapy rooms and a gathering place for families.  It is hard to imagine him being sent off to school but I can't imagine a better place for him to be!
Now for a quick update on what Will has been doing this summer.  I am so happy to report that Will FINALLY passed a hearing test!  So, at least for now, Will does not need any hearing aids.  I have never doubted that he hears us, but he just could not pass that test!  Everyone at the audiologist office was very happy for Will.
Will has also been taking a music class this summer.  It too is a great organization called We Joy Sing and their website is... http://www.wejoysing.com/ .  He was pretty shy the first class and mostly observed the other children.  This week however he was much more into it.  He clapped his hands, and beat on the drum and really liked to ring the triangle although he was also a fan of throwing the striker for the triangle on the ground.  He has been slapping his hands on his knees to the beat of the music on the radio where ever we go since last week:)
In the last several weeks Will has gone to the pool with the Brown's, attended Uncle Jake's graduation party, gone to a Brough family wedding, hung out with Grandma and Grandpa Crandall at the fair and will be starting swim lessons next week and going to another wedding this weekend.  He is a very busy little man!
Please remember to sign up to walk with Will at our second Columbus Buddy Walk.  The walk is 9.18.11 at Columbus Crew Stadium.  It is a lot of fun and means a lot to us to have people come and walk with us and support Will.  Register or donate at... http://www.columbusbuddywalk.org/ .  Thank you!!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rose Colored Glasses

Here is a video of Will eating with a fork!

In my frustration with Will and his horrible eating habits I have decided to take on the untensil training battle.  My hope is that in his struggle for independence, he will want to feed himself even if it is a green bean.  As you can see he does pretty well with the fork as long as I stab the food, but gets very frustrated when he tries to stab it himself.  He also very quickly figured out that just because I hand it to him does not mean he has to eat it and has been pulling off undesireable food like vegetables when I give them to him.  He is so challenging with eating and drinking!!!  At least his favorite food is veggie burgers:)
Which leads to what I feel I need to say about this blog.  I CHOOSE to put up mostly happy pictures of Will smiling and doing cute things.  That is the great part about this blog-therapy...you can let the world in on the parts you want them to know and leave out all the yucky stuff.  Life with Will is great...but is definately not always rosy.  I am not disillusioned into thinking that we don't have big issues to face, nor am I not in touch with reality.  I choose to put up happy pictures of Will smiling and of his big accomplishments because it is a frame of mind for me.  If I let myself go to that negative place and dwell on all that Will is struggling with, it is really hard to find my way back.  I have days where I want to literally beat my head against a wall when he won't sign 'milk' or show me where his belly is, and days when I just want to cry because I see children half his age walking and talking.  The truth is that it really stinks that Will has to work twice as hard to accomplish everything and that this will never go away.  Every time I go to that bad place though, it takes me twice as long to come back as it did the time before.  So I try to put on rose colored glasses as much as I can for my own sanity and for Will's well being:)  I do my best everyday to focus on the positive and having positive people around me really helps with that.  I just had to put that out there so it was clear that I am not trying to make my life seem better or easier than it is because our day to day struggles are very real.  Having said all of that...I wouldn't change even one little chromosome about Will!  Will is amazing and makes my life so much better than I ever imagined it could be...with or without the veggies:)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Zoo Day with Uncle Ricky

Will went to the zoo with Uncle Ricky and the kids a couple weeks back.  Will had fun watching the polar bears splash in the water, the elephants eating hay and the gorillas swinging and playing.  Most of all though he enjoyed the train ride.  He clapped and laughed the whole way:)  In general he loves the zoo but especially enjoys the bigger animals!  Thanks Uncle Ricky for hanging with us for the day!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Fourth Fun

Will had a fun 4th of July at the lake!  He played in his pool, went on the boat and splashed just a little bit in the lake:)  He made Gaga, Papa and Uncle Ricky laugh all weekend long with his new and improved fake laugh.  He gets it going for so long he can't catch his breath!  I am trying to get it on video:)

Will likes to hear his own voice and yells into the bucket at himself:)

Hey where did that guy in the bucket go?

Took a nap with Daddy and splashed with Mommy.

Fun weekend at the lake!

Otherwise Will has been doing well.  He finally passed a hearing test!  We are all very excited about this since at least for now it means no hearing aids.  I have never doubted that Will hears us because he almost always responds when you call his name, unless you are telling him 'no' and that is his selective hearing at work:)  But despite that gut feeling of mine, the little guy just could not pass a hearing test at certain frequencies before or after the ear tubes:(  Well he passed this time at all frequencies and did great in the sound booth!  The doctors, nurses and audiologist were all very happy too!
Will also recently learned where his belly is:)  He has had his head down pat for months but whenever we asked where his belly was he would just look at us.  He found it!  This is a little thing to most that feels like a huge accomplishment for us:)
Will figured out how to get down steps as well.  We have been practicing this task for close to 4 months now and after several falls and many tears, Will finally figured out how to go down backwards and is quite speedy at it now!  I just keep saying...Will's Way!!!
And last but not least, the Buddy Walk is coming up!  Sign up to walk with Will on 9.18.11!  If you can't make it to the walk you can also donate to Will's team to help us reach our goal of $2100 and support the organization that has helped us tremendously the past 18 months!  Thanks so much to all of you that love Will and support us in so many ways!

http://www.columbusbuddywalk.org/    Search the profiles for Team Will's Way to register or donate!