NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington: We Made It!

A while back, the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) contacted me and offered me a scholarship to attend their legislative advocacy conference.  Never one to scoff at a chance to take a free trip do good, I immediately said yes.  Actually, the offer resulted in a bit of hand wringing on my part, because try as I might, I couldn’t figure out why they’d asked me.  It seems like there are so many other amazing advocates out there, I felt a bit like a fraud.  All I do is write on this blog, after all.  As much as I eschew the idea that people have to have “expertise” to be advocates, I have a hard time applying that philosophy to myself.  But that’s for another post.

Neither of us were very pleased to be on the subway at 6:00am.

Neither of us were very pleased to be on the subway at 6:00am.

I woke up at an ungodly hour this morning, scooped up LP while still in his pajamas, and left sunny California for Washington D.C.  A few items and musings of note from our travel day…

  1. When you travel alone with a baby, people assume that you are a first time parent.  I’m very pleased to tell you that I now know to start rice cereal for babies who don’t sleep, and that I shouldn’t be afraid to put LP in daycare.  I will also be sure to cherish every moment I have with him before I start having more kids.  Wink, wink.
  2. I have now taken a shower, two days in a row.  And no one was opening the curtain to tell me about a fight, nor was there a baby screaming over the monitor.  *cue Handel’s Messiah*  On a related note, is it possible for your ears to go through noise withdrawal?  Since being away from Mouse and Chipmunk for the whole day, I swear my ears are hearing phantom sister fights and breaking noises.  It is like my ear drums are stressed out from sudden disuse.
  3. During dinner tonight in the hotel restaurant, our server was particularly enamored with LP.  Not in the fake, I’m-pretending-too-hard kind of way, mind you.  She really liked him.  I saw her peeking at him from the kitchen and telling her fellow server how much she liked him.  And if that didn’t tickle my heart enough… She asked me how old he was and if he is walking yet, but before I could feel defensive, she told me about her nephew who walked at 2.5 years and talked at 3 years old.  She didn’t say it in a way that was sad or awkward, just sharing.  We chuckled and both agreed that some people get too caught up in the numbers game.  And I loved that.
  4. I’ve been thinking about online relationships today.  I have a number of mama friends I’m going to meet for the first time in person at this conference.  I am beyond excited, as these moms have been there for me, shaped me, and humbled me over the past year in very profound ways.  Plus, I really like them, they are nifty people.  I’ve been wondering—how much can one know someone from a purely online relationship?  I’ve got several, and I sure as heck feel like I know them pretty well.  How will things change after meeting in person?  Will they change at all?  Perhaps the topic of a future post…
  5. Lastly, hotel beds.  They rock.  There are no Lego pieces tangled up in the sheets.  Your pillows haven’t been stolen to make a fort.  There are no piles of stuffed animals that are supposed to be zoo residents (your bed is the zoo pen, duh).  Best of all, it is mine.  All.  Mine.  Bwahahaha!
My little hotel "helper", hard at work.

My little hotel “helper”, hard at work.

Not all that pleased at dinner.  Mommy, on the other hand, was very pleased with her champagne.

Not all that pleased at dinner. Mommy, however, was very pleased with her champagne.


Learning a new sign: Please.  As in, "Please let me throw the remote control off the bed approximately 245,657 times in a row."

Learning a new sign: Please. As in, “Please let me throw the remote control off the bed approximately 245,657 times in a row.”

So that’s what we did today.  We have officially begun LP’s first trip to Capitol Hill.  Hopefully the first of many times he will put on his advocacy shoes.  Or booties.  Or socks, because I forgot his booties.  Bad mommy.

28 Comments on “NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington: We Made It!”

  1. Stephanie says:

    That last picture……God he looks so much like Owen! Please is an excellent sign…..Owen always uses it when he wants something he’s not supposed to have.

    I wish I could have gone this week/weekend, but I couldn’t. We are going to Indy this summer for the NDSC conference though. I too am excited to meet many online friends and I’m hoping that I live up to my own online image!

    Have a great time; can’t wait to hear all about your time there.

    • jisun says:

      Isn’t that hilarious about how “please” is interpreted by young kids?

      I so want to go to the NDSC conference but we have so many obligations going on this summer, boo. Yes, the online image! Honestly, I dont’ have a great picture of what my image is, let alone how to live up to it. It makes me a little nervous!

      Tell Owen that one day we’ll meet, he can teach LP all the signs he knows. :)

  2. Miriam says:

    This post took me back about 22 years, when I only had one and I traveled a few times with him. I love spending one on one time with my kids, even if it’s just a few hours.
    I can totally see why you would be picked for advocacy- you’re good at it.

    • jisun says:

      Thank you for that compliment! Sometimes I suffer from lack of self-esteem, and I wonder what I’m doing at all, so it means a lot.

      The one-on-one time was so great. I forget how wonderful it is to connect with my kids individually. :)

  3. Galit says:

    Looking forward to more on this! And definitely enjoy the 1-on-1 time. Siblings are wonderful, but finding extended alone time with one kid has huge payoffs.

    • jisun says:

      So agree, the alone time was great. Poor guy spends so much time fending for himself, it was nice to give him some undivided attention!

  4. Jianna says:

    Jisun, thank you for all you are doing to advocate our community. I am so proud of you! Have a great time in D.C. (hope you like the cold there :) and please give some smooches to LP for me.

  5. Jisun, that’s so great you get to travel the DC! I wish I was one of the momma’s traveling there this weekend to meet you–maybe in the future! I have recently become involved in a local legislative advocacy group in WI and it’s been humbling to be part of a group that shares the same passion. Enjoy the weekend :)

  6. Oh, I miss the signing! So, so sweet. And yes, please means “but, but, I want that!”. I’m glad you’re there. Maybe next year or the year after we will be in the same place at the same time and we will drink champagne (oh, and advocate!) together. Have a great trip!

  7. modernmessy says:

    Have a great trip! Love that you’re taking your little guy with you everywhere. I’m a mean mommy, if it were me, I’d leave them ALL behind!!!

    • jisun says:

      HA! I’d have left the little man behind too, but he’s um… a little too attached to the all-night milk bar still. Well, it is now the early morning milk bar, but still. :)

  8. katie says:

    I am jealous of your trip — Capitol Hill was our old neighborhood! (Nope, no one in my family was a politician, we just lived there.) I’m looking forward to hearing more about the Buddy Walk on Washington, and I hope you get a chance to put business aside and see a few sights, too!

    • jisun says:

      Next year! I wish I’d built in a couple days to be a tourist, but of course felt sorry for the husband who was holding down the fort. :)

  9. Lori says:

    LP is growing up too fast. What a sweetie, esp. the last photo. Have fun in DC!

  10. Love love this.
    Learn. Enjoy.
    Conquer the World.

    I’ll wait.

  11. Leigh Ann Arnold says:

    Man you are doing some amazing things for our kiddos! Love you for it and wish I was there! Also, you just crack me up the whole Legos in the bed thing I can relate, the worst is when my kids have chips in my bed!:)

  12. krlr says:

    How exciting! Can’t wait to hear about your work there. But did I read above you aren’t coming to IN? Please reconsider? Please, please, please? IT IS SO AWESOME. And I like to think i AM pretty nifty, as are all my e-friends I’ve managed to meet IRL. I’ll even let you have all the champagne as I’m more of a red wine girl myself.

    • jisun says:

      I’m trying, I’m trying! I can’t figure out a way to go without a) breaking the bank or b) forcing the husband to miss work that he can’t afford to miss. I would LOVE to go and meet you, I’m already seeing stuff about people going, and am getting jealous!

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