• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Saturday, May 8, 2010


I was so excited to have my tiny little baby son arrive safely.  He was expected to arrive August 27th so June 21st really was a bit early.  Some women I knew had babies that arrived a couple weeks after their due date.  I wondered if my baby could possibly be born as late as September 16th because that was my mother's birthday. I thought it would be cool to have them share a birthday. In this picture he has just come home from the hospital. 

As a tiny preemie he slept on a breathing mattress (with sensors that would set off an alarm if the baby stopped breathing) in a small car bed next to my own bed. I was very nervous so I also slept with my hand so that it touched him and I could feel his breathing. Feedings took almost an hour and had to be done every 2 hours because he was so small.  Feeding him occupied most of each day (because he couldn't suck properly with the cleft). My mother helped to care for all of the children and we stayed with her most of the summer. The picture below with her was taken at Christmas 1974 just prior to his first surgery.

This picture was taken near Easter the spring of 1975 not long after that first surgery.  He was a content baby and child with a sweet and gentle disposition. His shirt was dark brown and tan and his pants were brown. Ginger's sweater was pink and her plaid pants also in pink with a green and yellow line on a white ground. I made his teddy bear. It was dark brown with bright orange tummy and face. 

The most difficult part of the surgery was that his arms had to be splinted so that he couldn't put them into his mouth or bang his face with them. I stayed at the hospital every day and when he slept I would help rock or comfort other cleft patients that had no one there.  I saw first hand how blessed I was - my problems and his seemed so minimal.  I was especially blessed to have had a doctor that absolutely insisted that I take a folic acid supplement. 

Tad has always loved babies - baby anything. He especially enjoyed the animals when we would visit Grandpa and Grandma Forsyth on the farm. The calves and lambs or chicks each spring were a special delight to him and he could pet them and carry around the puppies or kittens. 

He grew up with the puppy 'Babytovan', as he often called the golden puppy (terrier cross) named 'Beethoven.' 

Tad had a wonderful sense of humor and even as a very young child invented many games that hinged on puns and plays on words. One of his favorites was to say a word and then the other person had to say a word that went with it - like the first thing you thought of - but it had to relate to his word somehow.  If he said banana and you said apple that was OK because both were food, but lemon would be better because it was yellow and/or a fruit or you might say hotdog because it could be eaten and was generally the same shape and could have mustard on it and then likely mustard would be his next word - not to mention that I loved mustard and he knew that.  The more ways the two words went together and related to those involved the more delightful - especially if it involved a pun or a bit of witty nonsense.

Kimber and Ginger did not always appreciate his humor as they had to endure a load of teasing.  It was unending but many cousins helped ease their 'burden' when he spent time playing with them. 

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