Saturday, February 13, 2021

19 Things About You at Age 19

In some ways 19 is hitting me as more significant than 18 did.  Maybe because it's a number that is firmly settled into adulthood.  Maybe it's because with these beards you certainly *look* more adult. Maybe it's just that this year has been extra emotional in so many ways.  Maybe it's just cause I'm your mom!  I love you both and I am so proud of you!  Happy birthday!

  1. This pandemic year wasn't the Gap Year of worldwide travel that you envisioned and it has been hard being stuck at home - not to mention stuck at home with all of us! - but you've made the best of it.
  2. You were up late a lot of nights in the beginning just because it was the only time the rest of us weren't around.  We eventually figured out ways to give each other space, though we do still get on each other's nerves sometimes.
  3. You got to spend a few days with G. over the summer after a lot of careful planning and because the infection rates had gone down, which you were very grateful for.
  4. You are in your 2nd semester at UB.  You had one on-campus class your first semester & you enjoyed being there even though it wasn't the busy environment it usually is.  Online isn't your preferred learning method but again, you are making the best of it.
  5. You took Italian last semester and continued with it this semester.  We joke a bit about all the recent news stories about buying property in Italy, but you do think it would be neat to live & work in Europe or other places around the world.
  6. You would like to work for awhile before deciding on the rest of college, but again, pandemic year has made that more difficult.  
  7. At least one night a week you play D&D with your cousins, sometimes other games. You're keeping in touch with your school friends via gaming too.
  8. You also regularly check in with another cousin who is away from home at college to make sure he's doing ok and if he needs anything.
  9. There was a lot of Great British Bake Off watching this year.  We attempted to bake some of the things but you much prefer your role as taste tester.
  10. One of my dearest long-held dreams has finally come true!  You are old enough to watch Highlander with me. We watch a few episodes a week.  Naturally, you make fun of all the 80s & 90s fashion & the music and then make fun of me when I try to explain it all and tell you how great it was!  You also guessed a key plot point that doesn't happen until well into Season 2 in the very first episode.
  11. When you went with Dad to vote in the Presidential election, they couldn't find your information right away due to being a new voter and with everything being different than usual with the pandemic.  It took awhile and you did get to cast your vote, but you kept your cool throughout and were very patient.  There were some adults who didn't do that, so thank you for setting a good example.
  12. I will often get up in the morning to find that you've unloaded the dishwasher or done some other little jobs around the house after we've gone to bed.  Thanks!
  13. You quickly gave up the idea of growing your beard as long as possible during the pandemic.  But you are growing out your hair.  Itisthisclose to being long enough for a ponytail.  
  14. A relative recently gave us a picture of your grandfather when he was in his early 20s.  I've always thought you looked like him but man, this picture is amazing.  I will have to take your picture holding it and see what other people think about the resemblance.
  15. Hoodies are your daily fashion choice.  And you love a leather jacket.
  16. You will often get up in the early early morning just to give your brother a hug before he gets on the bus for school.
  17. You have a great eye for color.  I always ask your opinion if I can't decide on colors for a project and you often suggest something I hadn't thought of that ends up being perfect.
  18. We've always had good conversations around the dinner table, but I love the evolution of them into more grownup subjects and hearing your opinions and thoughts on whatever is going on in the world.
  19. Your favorite thing to cook might be ramen.  None of that instant stuff, you get the noodles and chop up the veg and add the egg and the whole thing.  You like just making up recipes and seeing what works

  1. This pandemic year wasn't quite what you were expecting, but you've stayed happy throughout.
  2. Remote schooling ended up being great for us.  I know a lot of people are still struggling, so I know how lucky we are. Your teachers are awesome and they all worked really hard to keep everybody engaged and moving forward.  You did need someone to sit with you but that was more to keep you on task than to help you with the work (except math).  You were able to share your screen and do presentations all on your own.  Maybe because we have always had to be more hands-on with help and learning since you were born, we don't see this as anything out of the ordinary other than that you were home more than usual.
  3. No internships this year so you got to "work from home" like the rest of the world!  Your teachers made lots of "training videos" on tasks like how to run the washing machine, how to fold laundry, and all the kinds of life skills you need, as well as things that can translate to a job at some point.  
  4. We also did a lot of cooking for your culinary life skills class.  You made pot pie, pizza, lasagna and we even canned pickles!  You loved watching Mrs. Fitz's cooking show each week!
  5. You also had seeds/plants to take care of and you were diligent about watering every day without any reminders from us.
  6. You are back at school in-person every day and while wearing a mask all day is hard, you are doing a great job with it and you really enjoy being back with everyone in person.
  7. You have had to have two Covid tests - just randomly selected, not because of any scares, thank goodness! - and you did great, no complaints.  Ditto with getting a flu shot.  Now that NY has expanded its eligibility for the Covid vaccine you may be able to get vaccinated soon.  As more information becomes known about the effects of the virus on people with Down syndrome, it will be a big relief for us when you can be. 
  8. You've really really missed Special Olympics, both swim team and bowling team and all your teammates.  We are making sure you get enough exercise in other ways but it's not the same.
  9. Dance has continued and even when it was on Zoom you were happy to join in and get moving and hear your favorite songs and see your friends.  
  10. Unified bowling will start up with school in a few weeks with very strict rules in place and no mixing of teams/schools.   I know you will be so happy to bowl again!
  11. I think you are going to need a second hat rack soon.
  12. Like your brother, you are planning your next vacation when travel is allowed.
  13. Also like your brother, you are pretty much always planning your next take-out meal.
  14. You don't love it when I cut your hair but even you will admit that I am getting better at it!  Blow drying your hair after a wash gives you a fit of the giggles!
  15. There's nothing you love more than getting up before everybody else on a Saturday morning, making your own breakfast and getting settled in with your iPad knowing the rest of the weekend is all yours.
  16. Your latest crushes are Selena Gomez and Cher.  You told me the other night that you felt sick (very obviously faking it) and when I asked what would make you feel better, you said "a kiss from a Princess."  LOL!
  17. Your favorite long-sleeved shirts are a maroon one you stole from Dad and a red one with a snowman on it.  Your favorite short-sleeved ones are anything with a cartoon or Disney character on it.  You will always choose the Snoopy pajamas.
  18. Now that it's colder weather you will often layer a headband under your hat of the day.  You do not allow it to cover your ears however which seems beside the point, but it's working for you.  You are actually wearing gloves now too and can get them on by yourself.
  19. You eat big salads that Dad makes almost every day, sometimes even before the pasta or main part of the meal.  You always tell us how good everything tastes and thank you for the meal.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

18 Things About You at Age 18

18?! How is this possible?  At 7:49 pm and 7:50 pm on February 14 I will look at your first photo that is still hanging on the refrigerator and remember the 5 lb. 13 oz and 6 lb. 8.5 oz babies you were. And here you are now, grown into young men.  Wow.  It's a lot for a mama's heart to take in but I've loved - and will keep loving -  Every. Single. Millisecond.

  1. You walk over to Spot Coffee just about every day. And then have a ramble around town.
  2. You are an adventurous eater now, which you weren't as a kid.  Mexican?  Thai? Chinese? Japanese? Indian? You're game for it all. You'll pretty much eat anything except shellfish. Which is great for me because I love all that stuff too!  You gave me a gift certificate for high tea at Asa Ransom House and yes, of course I will take you with me. You're just super fun to hang out with.
  3. You've tried your hand at cooking some of these things too, especially some things Uncle Denis taught you to make.  Your favorite Christmas gift this year was an Instant Pot and you're having fun making snacks late at night.  
  4. In addition to cooking, you're doing your own laundry and doing stuff around the house without being asked.
  5. Your fashion choices still lean towards shirts with hoods & anything soft in neutral colors like black, grey & navy.  With a colorful hoodie thrown over more often than not. You attempt not wearing a coat. 
  6. You've got a hybrid beard/goatee thing happening.  At the moment you like your hair short.  
  7. You like to go out into the garage and jump up to do pullups on the steel beam.  And hit the heavy bag.  I did have to ask you once not to do it in the middle of the night because the house shaking woke me up, which was a little unnerving!
  8. Still doing driving lessons, next is learning how to drive stick shift on Dad's car.
  9. You worked at Firehouse Subs last year.  We were proud of you for always being on time for work, washing your uniforms, taking extra shifts when your co-workers were in a bind and being overall very responsible.  The free food and steady cash didn't hurt either.  Ultimately you decided that food service isn't really your thing, so we'll see what's next.
  10. The 2nd year attending Otakon in Washington D.C. was great.  Two cousins came along for twice the fun and you decided to cosplay as the Mii's from Nintendo Wii.  You haven't all decided yet if you're going again this summer or maybe try a different convention.
  11. You graduated high school just about a year early, in August 2019.  You worked hard to do it and we're very proud of you.
  12. So far your gap year is going well.  You spent some time in NJ with that side of the family and really enjoyed spending time with them and seeing their everyday life (as opposed to just seeing them for holidays and special occasions).  You're planning some travel with various family members on both sides.  You're also staying up late and sleeping in :-D  
  13. You applied to and have been accepted at UB.  You want to look around at a few more places before you decide for sure though.  No planned major, just gonna see what seems interesting.  We think that is a smart choice.
  14. You have a little side business going drawing avatars for people in one of your gaming communities.
  15. Now that you're done with school, you started reading again for pleasure.  You recommend books to us and also podcasts.
  16. You're pretty much always at your computer with your headphones on, singing away as you work on your art or game or talk to your friends.  You and Paul take turns telling each other to be quiet.  LOL
  17. You're pretty excited that you can register to vote now and that the first election you get to participate in will be a Presidential one.
  18. You don't seem to live on your phone.  Most of the time it's on the kitchen counter and you're somewhere else in the house.  That could be a totally different thing when you're out and about though.

  1. You joined the Unified Basketball team at school last spring and while you only played a little bit, you really liked being part of the team and learning how to play.  Over the summer you played a lot with the kids next door and now you can make a basket! You're going to join up again this year.
  2. This brings your activities to: dance, Special Olympics swim team, Special Olympics bowling team, unified bowling team and unified basketball.  
  3. Last week you bowled a 75, your highest score ever.  Your average is 52.  You really get along with your Special Olympics team mates, especially R.  
  4. You like coffee now, but only if you think you are "stealing" it.  If we give you a cup of your own, you won't drink it.  Except at bowling because the other guys come in with coffee so you want one too.
  5. We were able to go to Disney World in December and you LOVED meeting all the characters.  It was a dream come true for both of us.  Except now you want Princesses to appear everywhere you go.  Which, come to think of it, would be pretty cool.  
  6. Naturally we bought several hats as souvenirs :-D
  7. And since that trip was so fun, you are talking even more about Hawaii.  Bucket List!
  8. You still love going out to eat.  You're not even done with the meal before you're planning which restaurant we're going to go to next.  Like Mark, you have become a much more adventurous eater as you have gotten older.  Pasta is still your favorite, but you like trying all the different kinds of foods too.  You loved watching the chef at the Hibachi table!  You did tell him to be very careful with the fire though!
  9. You've rediscovered High Five and are enjoying watching those videos and singing along.  You also love Crocodile Rock by Elton John.  You've found every version there is on YouTube.
  10. You're still a lark, but don't get up quite as early as before on the weekends (but still earlier than the rest of us night owls!)  You say "no" when it's time to get up for school so some of that "teen wanting to sleep in" is hitting you a little later than most.
  11. Your class read Harry Potter in school and you really enjoyed listening to the story.  You get more of it now than you did before.
  12. You still like shirts with funny graphics of your favorite characters.  You like to get dressed up when there is a special occasion.
  13. Sometimes choosing the hat of the day is difficult.  Especially if the bus is waiting. 
  14. You don't mind shaving your beard when it gets too long but don't mess with the mustache! This past November you participated in your school's No Shave November Event - a six-week Tom Selleck Mustache contest. That was a lot of fun! And we got to see how fast your beard really grows. You got to choose a prize and you went with mustache-printed socks.
  15. Your art teacher reports that you love to paint (which we knew) but that you also sing when you do it because it makes you so happy.  There is always some art coming home in your bookbag from when you have a free period.
  16. You got to go to Kiwanis Camp this year.  We're hoping you get to go again this summer.  You're already looking forward to your respite weekend at Cradle Beach in the fall.
  17. You are very independent at home.  You can do a lot of chores unassisted, you do the whole bedtime routine on your own, you know what you need for which activity and can get it all ready to go pretty much by yourself.
  18. Your first internship at Tops doing re-shops was a great experience.  You knew when it was a work day and always remembered to wear your black shirt.  Last week you started your second internship at Santora's Pizza and you are SO EXCITED about working in a restaurant.  Right now you are working on rolling silverware and making crayon packs for the kids.  But you want to make pizza.  Maybe someday!  You really really love having a job.