Buddy was born April 29, 1999 in Ann Arbor Michigan to Christa and Bradley W. Howard II. Buddy has five sisters, three of the five are half sisters, Arissa 1-30-95 lives in Michigan, Leah 4-10-97 lives in Oklahoma, Buddy has a half sister Kaley born 12-28-02 by his mother. Half sisters, Samara 5-15-04 and Christine 5-5-05 on his Dads side live in Michigan. Buddy’s Paternal Grama G, his PawPaw, Daddy, Aunt Tina and lots of cousins, aunts and uncles all live in Michigan. Buddy moved from Michigan to Oklahoma in 2003 where his Maternal Great Grama, Great Grampa, Great Uncle Rick and his Mom reside. Buddy lives with his Maternal Grama and sister Leah in Ardmore Oklahoma.
Buddy was diagnosed with RTS at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor about a week after his birth where he stayed for one month under observation for breathing difficulties.
I remember the day my daughter got the news… “Why my baby Mom? Why me Mom?” My reply was, why not you. I reminded her of a time when she came home from school crying because the kids were picking on a little boy that had real thick glass’s and learning disabilities, she was the only one that would stick up for him. “That’s why you, because God knew you would love this child and take care of him.
Little did we know at the time what a blessing Buddy would be to all our lives, what lessons were in God’s plan for us. For me personally (Grama) it was the lesson of unconditional love. Buddy has taught me more in his little 7 years than I ever learned in my 43 before his birth and the lessons continue. He has brought so much joy and love into my life that I can’t imagine how different my life would be today had God not given us the gift of Buddy. These children are the greatest gifts, lessons in love!
Once Buddy was home he had difficulties swallowing and breathing at the same time, he was on oxygen for about 6 months, there was a lot of choking and spitting up. Buddy seem to get sick with every feeding. I can’t tell you how many times he spit up on me, it seemed he would never get better. Eye infections. congestion, mucous buildup. This continued until I got online and talked with a friend I had met that was a nurse, she suggested that we take him off the formula and any dairy products and try soy milk, WOW, what a difference. His symptoms cleared up. The doctors never suggested this to be a cause for his symptoms. Buddy has been on soy milk ever since and does fine with it. He loves the ‘Very Vanilla Soy’ the best.
I can’t remember what age he was when he started figuring out how to get to where he wanted to go, but he started by rolling, he could roll faster than most of us can walk, from rolling he went to scooting and using his hands to push, and the race was on, boy could he move. At 3 he started using a walker, he hated it and preferred to scoot. We worked with him on walking diligently, he would take a few steps (wobbly steps) get scared and sit down, until one day in February of 05 he just took off and now we can’t catch him, he’s still somewhat stiff legged and wobbly at age 7 (he was about 2 months away from his 6th birthday, about 70 months when he started walking on his own) this was with a lot of encouragement and praise, clapping and letting him know what a good job he’s done. He loves encouragement and praise. We let him know what a good job he’s done with every little accomplishment no matter how big or how small.
We started potty training at age 5, this has been a long road, at 7 yrs. (85 months) we are still plugging away at it. It seems he is just starting to recognize when he has to go potty. For the first time he signed potty the other day, and he went! He goes in the morning as soon as he gets up but only when we make him, If I don’t make him he doesn’t go on his own. At school they take him potty on a timely bases and that carries through at home. He goes before bed and does very well staying dry until morning. Buddy’s weight at 84 months is 49 1/2 lbs., he is 3 foot 8 inches tall.
Buddy’s heart and lungs are fine there seems to be no problems. His testicles have not dropped at 84 months. Buddy has an arched pallet, he has seen a dentist twice but will need to go to Oklahoma City where he will see a team of specialist to deal with his medical and dental needs. He will eventually need braces to straighten his teeth. Buddy has broad thumbs and broad big toes, he doesn’t require surgery on his thumbs, but may need surgery to correct his toes in order to get a better fit with his shoes. Buddy is nonverbal at 84 months, he does make a lot of sounds and loves to talk on the phone, he carries on a conversation although he’s the only one that knows what he is saying. Buddy has been signing since he was 24 months, his first sign was ‘more’. He is up to about 60 words at 84 months. We work on signing everyday at home and school. The Church purchased singing DVD’s for Buddy called “Signing Time” there are 13 in the series. These are so easy for Buddy and everyone else to learn. He learns the sign for the words the first time he sees them and so have I. You can find these DVD’s at www.signingtime.com. They are quite expensive, we were blessed to have the church buy them for us.
Buddy has been in school since he was three and does very well, he’s very bright and understands everything you say to him, although he can be very defiant and manipulative at times, he has a definite mind of his own. I have been accused of spoiling him and I guess I’m guilty as charged but I couldn’t help myself at the time, you know how Grandmas are. However I am reaping what I sowed at this stage in his life. I find myself having to discipline him for things that I used to think were cute. Mostly because he can’t always have his way and he gets mad. He has started hitting and pushing (84 months) he thinks he’s playing but he can get very rough so we have to take time outs for unacceptable behaviors.
Buddy is a very loving child though, everyone that meets him falls in love with him, thus the spoiling continues and he loves it…
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Linda Bradmon & My Buddy (RTS 7 2006)