5 years ago Tristin was 8 years old. She was old enough to know and see the craziness that occurred when the boys were born 8 1/2 weeks prematurely, receiving a Down Syndrome diagnosis within a week and then having one twin develop a life threatening disease rather uncommon in premature babies called Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) and taken 2 1/2 hours away to Pittsburgh Childrens Hospital where he would stay for 12 weeks.
It was a very stressful and unsure beginning. Here is what she remembers and some answers to other questions I wanted to ask her.
Mom: What do you remember most about when the twins were born??
Tristin: I remember seeing them under the purple lights. They were so tiny. Seeing them like this made me both happy and scared.
Mom: When we told you they both had Down Syndrome what did you want to know the most?
Tristin: I guess I wondered if they will be able to do all the stuff we do. And I wondered if it was contagious.
Mom: 5 years later, now what do you know about Down Syndrome?
Tristin: They are not that much different. They are still really cute and loveable. They shouldn't be judged by their disability because they are really smart.
Mom: Did you like to learn sign language and do you use it with them much?
Tristin: Yes and Yes. Its weird talking to other little kids younger than my brothers because I end up signing to them too. Like my one cousin Tyler who is 2, I will go up to him and ask him if he wants to eat and I'll sign eat and he looks at me funny. I think its funny!
Mom: Do you get upset with them about anything?
Tristin: Most definitely like any other little brothers. They throw things all the time and make a mess, that makes me mad. Sometimes their humming gets a tad annoying when I'm trying to watch a movie or when we're out in public.
Mom: How does it make you feel when they take up so much of my time?
Tristin: A little jealous.
Mom: When they go to school next year, how do you think they will do?
Tristin: Pretty good. I mean they can't talk yet but they know the alphabet and they are starting to read. They are smart.
Tristin: How do you feel about having twins with Down Syndrome?
Mom: I feel like we were chosen by God to raise these special needs boys. I don't know why? I find it a challenge somedays and a complete blessing others. I also think that by you having brothers with Down Syndrome you are understanding how to have compassion for people and acceptance towards those that are a little different. So not only do I feel blessed to have the twins with Down Syndrome, but I feel blessed to have you learn through everyday life that some people have harder challenges than we do, yet all they want is to be treated the same way we want to be treated. With love and respect.. and you don't know it yet, but your developing a beautiful heart that will get you wonderful things in your lifetime.
Thank you Tristin for you time. I pray that life with the boys blesses you one day and you'll appreciate all the extra work the boys go through to be more like you. They love and admire you... Keep up the great work of being a great big sister :)