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.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I Knew Today Would Come

I knew someday that my niece and nephew would start asking more questions about Will and Down syndrome.  Because they have had to tag along this summer to Will's appointments, they have recently been asking why Will goes to therapy but Lillian, their baby sister does not.  Until Lillian came along, I think they thought that all babies went to therapy.  They are also curious as to why Will has a Buddy Walk, but they don't.  This is a hard topic on so many levels and one that my sister and I have discussed many times.  First, we don't want to say it is because Will is special and imply that they are not.  Second, I especially don't really want them to see Will as different because at this point in Will's life he is more like them than not.  I do think there is a double standard here, and I am willing to admit that I take part in it.  I want the world, and Will's cousins, to see Will as typical and capable and treat him like everyone else, yet I want them to acknowledge and accept his disability and treat him with extra patience because of it.  Third, it is hard to explain chromosomes to kids without confusing and scaring them!

Well the cat jumped right out of the bag today!  I was caught completely off gaurd.  After watching a signing video with all the kids, there was a commercial at the end that mentioned certain videos for children with Down syndrome.  Ava looked up at me and said, 'DD that lady said Down syndrome.  I know William has Down syndrome.'.  My heart sank.  I love these kids like my own and had thought about this moment since Will was born with his special little chromosome and yet I could think of nothing to say.  She said 'What is Down syndrome?'.  So somewhat in contradiction of what I said earlier, but trying to think on my feet, I said 'It is something that makes William a little bit special and a little bit different.'.  Expecting to go on and on about chromosomes and therapies and Buddy Walks and thyroids, I was cut short when she said 'Ok'.  Well that is that.  At least for now.  And all the while Jonas sat there playing with Will's dinosaurs, oblivious to our conversation.  Which is just fine with me.  I love these kids and I love how much they mean to Will and I am happy with how things are for him and them right now.  And I guess I am a little afraid that it will change if they know too much.  I wish they could stay this age forever!

Weekend Playgroup and Trip to FW

A few pictures from our weekend playgroup that I have been a part of this year.  Another mom and I were asked by the organization to start up the group and it has been a lot of fun getting the kiddos together to play each month!  Plus the moms and dads have a great time talking and networking!  This church in our neighborhood welcomed us in and it is a great place to play for our kiddos!

After the playgroup, we went home to Fort Wayne to see 'Icky, Papa and Gaga'.  Will is now saying Papa and starting to say Icky, but not Gaga yet.  He is not necessarily saying them in the order of preference:)

Getting ice cream in his jammies with Great Grandma Brough at Will's (and Mommy's) favorite spot...Zesto's!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sign up for the Columbus Buddy Walk on 9.23

Join us on 9.23.12 and walk with Will at his 3rd Buddy Walk.  It will be his first walk that he can independently walk for, so it will be a pretty big deal!  We would love to have all of Will's fans walk with him, but if you can't join us, please donate to team Will's Way to show us your support and help us reach our goal!  Any amount is appreciated as it supports our local Ds organization, that has been so helpful to us.  Go Team Will's Way!

Will's Way's Columbus Buddy Walk Profile Page

Monday, July 2, 2012

Spoon Strike is Off!

Will has decided that the spoon strike is off.

He is eating dinner in his birthday suit because it is so hot!

Will has been signing and saying so much more lately.  I am so glad he can use his signs, but I am thrilled that he is starting to say more too!  While on a walk last week he looked straight up at the moon in the sky and signed 'moon' and said 'moo'.  This was very exciting because often he only signs or says something when prompted, but he not only initiated the sign and the word on his own, but he knew that it was the moon in the sky.  I am very proud of him.  Since many of you may not know baby signs, I will tell you that in this video he is signing both sun and moon accurately.  And his appoximation of the word is good too.  His speech therapist encourages us to use approximations, or the beginning or ending of a word, until he can get the whole word.  Like for 'more' we use 'mo'.  I guess something is better than nothing!