Friday, March 28, 2008

It's a Grandma Thing! / Guest Blogger Alert

Let's be honest here. It's pretty obvious that I have become way to big to write my own postings so I've decided to farm out the job. I was lucky enough to find someone who was willing to work for dirt cheap - my mother! What a sucker! So please give a warm bloggers welcome to my mother Jennifer
It’s a Grandma Thing!

I have been asked to be a guest blogger. Imagine that. I’m not sure if Cat is enabling my blogaholism or if she’s just riding out a streak of writer’s block but I’m going for it! Thus follows random Grandma Thoughts:

• Babies are miracles and in the past year my life has been twice blessed. Owen is spectacular! Drew is beyond wonderful! Can the goofy smile from reveling in their being become permanently embedded on my face? Only time will tell.

• Drew and Owen are so spectacular because their parents are doing such a great job. Hats off to Dan and Cat and Anne and Steve.

• I am inheriting the two best step-granddaughters ever. Alyssa and Carly are extra blessings.

• I love bullet points. Thank you to the Microsoft Word inventor who gave them to me and has allowed me to overuse them in so many documents both at home and at work. I will always revere you.

• Speaking of Microsoft…segue into computer then into internet. Isn’t the internet an amazing thing? The people I have met; the bonds I have formed; the stories I have shared; the tears I have shed; all while leaning over a keyboard and pretending I can type. The great big world has become much smaller. (No pun intended!).

• Are my office mates ever going to tire of my endless Grandma Grin? Will they band together and rip down the bulletin board that has fondly been named “The Shrine”? Will they unplug and pitch out the window the digital frame that has 350 pictures of Drew, Alyssa, Carly and Owen ceaselessly cycling for 8 hrs a day? Can I be fired for excessive grandmahood?

• It’s wonderful to share experiences and advice when you are the parent of a child who faces special challenges. I have seen some terrific support offered in this blogging circle. Outside the circle, while exploring other informative sites, I have found some advice to be judgmental and dare I say it, smug! There are folks who have come off to me as “know it alls” and have made hurtful and judgmental comments. Trust your instincts as parents. Know your children and be sensitive to their strengths and abilities. If it appears that they can handle a jumperoo or an exersaucer or even, GASP, an umbrella stroller, discuss it with your physician, listen to his advice and go with your gut. All children are different. Even our different children are all different.

• There are many NEVERS in parenting. Never leave your baby in the bathtub unattended. Never leave your baby unattended in a shopping cart. (Feel free to jump in here…) But, there are many, many gray areas.

• My husband; Cat and Anne’s dad; Owen, Drew, Alyssa and Carly’s grandpa; is the best.

• God Bless bullet points!

DISCLAIMER: The opinions of Ms. Merciez, do not necessarily reflect the view of "How Life Is Measured". Except for the part about Dan and I being great parents and the best. Thanks Mom!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My Easter Bunny

Ha! How flippin' adorable right?!

Like the rest of the week, Owen's 2nd Easter was pretty uneventful (with the exeption of the fabulous meal , thanks mom!). Despite knowing that he has no clue what is going on, we indulged ourselves in the spirit by giving Owen an Easter basket. Actually it was less of a basket and more of a ... giant rubber duck! The duck (really a bathtub) was a huge hit as evidenced by the pictures. The rest of my Easter surprises? Not so much. Turns out the pretzel goldfish crackers are a little to advanced and would probably choke him. That was a dud. The little Bubble Bot which is supposed to delight and entertain with a stream of magical bubbles that shoot through his helmet? Yeah - no bubbles. Looks like a blast on the package, in reality - we don't really know because it DIDN'T WORK! To top it all off, all Dan wanted to get for Owen was a chocolate bunny. Do you think I got him one? If you said "NO!" you would be right! Aaaahhhh! Am I a total failure? Luckily I was able to redeem myself by putting Owen in just about the cutest little outfit ever! The little white vest, the tie, the sneakers....Come to think of it - Grandma Wright bought him that outfit, not me. I seriously give up!

Other than my utter failures as the matriarchal holiday mood setter (say that 3 times fast!), our family has been great! Owen is thriving at his new daycare. He has been in such a great mood. The biggest new development is the kissing. Owen now gives big sloppy kisses! It's a little more like he's coming at you like a dementor (Harry Potter reference alert!), trying to suck your lips off, but I'll take it!! I'm still working on "mama" but for now kisses are a pretty good substitue!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Boooooooooring! (Yawn)

Seriously. Nothing exciting is happening. I was tempted to make things up, but I'm not quite ready to venture into fictional blogging just yet.
The only thing that I can really note is that Owen starts with a new daycare tomorrow. We had to find new arrangements after our provider moved out of town. We were very bummed. Owen has spent 3 to 4 days a week with this family since he's been 3 months old. To him, they are as much his family as Dan and I are. We did get very lucky to find a great new place. It's another in-home, which seems to work out the best for Dan and I because of the flexibility. Owen will be doing art projects and sensory developement and all kinds of "big-kid" stuff (he is 1 years old after all). We pretty excited to see how he will do. I'll keep everyone updated!
In a shameless attempt to divert your attention away from my pathetic post, I will include some cute pictures of Owen!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who had such wonderful things to say about Owen and the article! The attention has been overwhelming. Owen and Dan were even "recognized" yesterday morning! Curiously, Owen has now taken to wearing baseball caps and sunglasses. What a prima donna!
Between "the Owen Extravaganza" as we like to call it, the People Magazine article about the Grafs (a family who has a son with achondroplasia and has adopted a son achondroplasia), and the Grafs on the Today Show this morning, it's a big week for little people!
Everyone's comments have been so great to read! I am humbled that people have been touched by our story.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Owen Christopher: The Facts

Welcome all new readers from the Flint Journal! It will be strange to have other readers besides my mother but I'm looking forward to it!

At one year old, Owen is very healthy. This of course is aside from the flu, croup and RSV he's had since October. Hmmm....well...maybe he's not so much... What I suppose I mean is that fortunately, he is not experiencing any of the complications that come with achondroplasia. This is not to say that he won't in the future, but for now, it's smooth sailing (knock on wood).

He is 27 inches, 20 lbs, and has a head circumference of 19 1/2 inches. On the average baby charts he is below the 5th percentile for height, between the 5th and 10th for weight and in the 95th for head size (all those brains!). On the Achondroplasia charts he is between the 50th and 75th for height, the same for weight and 25th for head. These stats will put Owen's size in perspective, but in all honesty, we kinda threw the charts out the window!

Owen is a very happy kid. He pulls himself up on furniture and cruises around the house like he owns the place. He babbles and loves to eat and generally makes it impossible to keep the house clean. See? We are just like every other household with kids!

Through the past year we have experienced a lot of curiosity about dwarfism and expect even more as Owen gets older. Dan and I are have no problems answering any questions that may come about. We are happy that people want to understand. We know that there will be stares and comments in the future and have mixed feelings. On one hand we would like to believe that those ridiculous comments come from ignorance. People just don't know. On the other hand, no one ever wants their child to suffer. It will be hard to stay calm toward people who aim to hurt your child. As of right now however, how we will react is all theoretical. Our family and friends have been nothing but supportive. In fact, I dare say Owen has been an inspiration to a few people.

Feel free to poke around my blog. I have met several wonderful families who are going through the same experience. You will find them in "Owen's friends and other blogs". If you would like to email Dan or I, our addresses are at the bottom right. Our point for the blog and the article was to take away some of the mystery of dwarfism. I hope when you meet Owen or another little person, it will be easier to see the person and not his stature.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Achondroplasia: The Facts

Achondroplasia (ā-kŏn'drō-plā'zhə) is the most common form of dwarfism occurring in 1 in 26,000 births and is characterized by short stature. It is a bone growth disorder affecting the long bone growth in the arms and leg. Achondroplastic dwarfs tend to have shorter limbs, a larger head and average sized “trunks” or torsos. Achondroplasia accounts for about 70% of cases, but there are over 200 diagnosed types of dwarfism.

Achondroplasia is a genetic disorder that was determined at conception. It is not a recessive gene which means that neither Dan nor I carry it. Owen however, does carry the gene and has a chance of passing it on to his children. If he marries a woman with the same condition, he has a 50% chance of having an baby with achondroplasia, a 25% chance of having and average height (AH) baby, and a 25% chance of having a child that will inherit the gene from both parents, and will most likely die. About 80% of people with achondroplasia have average height parents.

Medical issues can range from mild to severe. Achondroplastic dwarfs have a narrowing of the foramen magnum, the opening that allows fluid to drain from the head to the spine. If the opening is too small, it could lead to build up of fluid or hydrocephalus. Kyphosis, or rounding of the back, is another common problem especially in children. Often though, kyphosis is corrected as a child begins to strengthen muscle tone. We will have to watch for bowed legs and joint problems. In severe cases, if left untreated, spinal complications could lead to paralysis. Generally however, life expectancy and intelligence are normal and dwarfs can lead full, healthy lives. The average height of people with achondroplasia is 4 feet but will vary just as average height people vary.

Many individuals with dwarfism choose to join an organization called Little People of America. LPA is a non-profit that offers support to individuals with dwarfism and their families. There are local and regional meetings and every year hold a National Convention where people from across the country come to hang out, see friends, and take part in medical and informative workshops. This year’s National Convention is being held in Detroit, Michigan June 20th – 27th.

The term “midget” was at one time used to describe proportional dwarfism. Today, however, the word is considered offensive and should not be used to describe a person with dwarfism. Little person, LP or dwarf are acceptable terms but the best thing is to call someone by their name.

*Much of this information came from the LPA Website

Friday, March 7, 2008

We have video!

The video has already been posted on MLive. For those instant gratification lovers, I'll save you the trouble! Thanks to Jeff for giving me the link!
Small Wonder--Living Big With Dwarfism

Owen's Big News!

Owen is going to be in the paper! The Flint Journal has done a story on Owen that will appear in this Sunday's paper (I think the "Features" or "Today" section). I'm sorry I had to keep everyone in suspense, but I wanted to find out what day the article would come out before I blabbed the wrong information.
I haven't seen the final product, but I believe the focus is going to be on how wonderful Owen is (of course!) and how Dan and I have adjusted to his diagnosis of achondroplasia. I believe the blog will be mentioned as well, which means I may be getting a little more traffic. If any of my fellow bloggers would like me to remove their sites from my link list for privacy purposes, I will totally understand!
In addition to the story, we had some video taken. There will be a 3 to 3 1/2 minute companion video posted on MLive. It may post on You Tube as well.
I did have a little apprehension about exposing our family at first, but ultimately we are excited to show the Greater Flint Area how wonderful Owen is! I hope this can help take a little of the mystery away from dwarfism. That's why I think a lot of us blog.
I'm going to put a few informative posts up in the next couple of days so I can familiarize any new readers with achondroplasia. This is also the reason I have been tinkering around with my blog layout a bit (it all makes sense now doesn't it?!).
If you can get your hands on a Flint Journal - pick one up on Sunday. Otherwise, you can try to find it on MLive..
Don't worry, during Owen's 15 minutes of fame, we will do everything we can to keep this from getting to his head. Speaking of Owen's head - autographed head shots will soon be available on my blog for a mere $30 a pop (+ shipping and handling)! The "I read Owen's blog and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt" tees will also be coming next month so make your Christmas list early. Hahaha! Just kidding...well,maybe...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


I know! I'm totally wild and crazy!
I switched up the format of the ol' blog. I was feeling a little bored with life so I decided I would mix things up. It was between getting a new husband or new blog template. Honey, you are safe for now (much to your disappointment!). I will post more in a few days but here's a little teaser for everyone...Owen has some big things coming up.
Hello! Can you say "cliffhanger"?!