Happy 3rd Birthday Melody!!! Part 2

DSC_5387As we celebrate Melody’s birthday we cannot help but reflect on the extraordinary developmental milestones she has achieved.  Children with Down syndrome (Trisomy 21) typically sit up, crawl, walk talk, run, play, etc.  That is not our baseline for Melody.  Children with full Trisomy 18 have significantly more developmental challenges.

Version 2Everything Melody does is above and beyond what she “should” be doing.  Melody’s physical strength increases weekly, her coordination keeps advancing, her determination is remarkable, and her intellectual capacity is beyond anything we ever would have expected.  (She seems to indicate that she knows her colors, numbers, etc.)  Best of all she is incredibly engaged and loves being a part of things!  She interacts with us in a precious way.  Her sweet personality adds rich dynamics to our family.

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Linda Kane cautioned us that Melody should not be in a sitting position for any length of time until she gains the strength to pull herself up to sitting. She has essentially started doing that! She now has access to a whole new world as she is moving beyond her horizontal vantage point.

We are thankful for Melody’s neurodevelopmentalist Linda Kane.  We believe the ND approach is truly exceptional for helping children with developmental challenges.


Melody’s legs are getting stronger. She can stand with the help of the table for longer durations of time. That may not seem like anything exceptional, but trust me, it is!

We recently met with Linda by Skype.  She was amazed at the progress Melody has made in the last four months, and with good reason! (See video)  When I asked her if she thought Melody would ever do certain things (like utilize the English language) she expressed confidence in Melody’s ability to achieve these things eventually.  She gave us the following perspective: Think of her as a one year old.  She is progressing through healthy developmental phases, just more gradually.  As her daddy notes, “She is getting there.  She is just taking the scenic route.”


Determination at it’s finest!

Melody is becoming significantly more curious, which is an extraordinary developmental milestone.  Her brother refers to her as “Curious George”.  This is no small matter, as Melody’s curiosity motivates her to move.  She is fascinated with paper now.  This interest has motivated her to develop a key skill.  I am pleased to announce that Melody can now ARMY CRAWL!!!

We are grateful beyond words for Nan, Melody’s cranial sacral practitioner, who has helped Melody’s development in amazing ways.  Nan has impacted Melody’s life remarkably.  There is a direct correlation between Nan’s treatments for DSC_6201Melody and a subsequent positive shift in her development, as well as her health.

It used to take us 9-10 hours a day to feed Melody.  She has come a long way from those days!  We do work as a team to feed her, however, as there is most certainly time involved.  Sometimes when it is time to eat the little lady smiles with her teeth locked and refuses to be fed…that is, until I come along.  The girl has her preferences, and sometimes they are not always particularly practical.  Perhaps she hasn’t noticed that I do have quite a few demands on my time.  I suppose she associates me with eating, cuddling, comfort, reading books, and being showered with love, so I will count it an honor to feed her.

DSC_5903When Melody was younger she didn’t give her daddy the time of day.  She didn’t respond to his voice, or even his face.  Then as she progressed developmentally, she went through a phase where she decided she kind of liked this guy. 😀 Now she adores him!  When he comes home she lights up.  She associates him with playtime.  When he holds her, she gazes at him with her precious little adoring look.  If he looks up to talk to the rest of us, she keeps her eyes fixed on him, whips out her most charming smile, and waits for him to look down at her and give her his undivided attention.DSC_7272

There are many things for which we are rejoicing.  So many circumstances are different now.  Yet some things remain unchanged.  When Melody was born her siblings fell in love with her immediately.  That has not changed.  They all still adore her!  Melody has many “fans”.  Yet, by far her most ardent “fans” are her family!

Another unchanging factor is God’s faithfulness in the times of sorrow as well as rejoicing.  We are thankful that He is our Strength, our Source of wisdom, the One who directs our steps, and the Author of Life.  He alone sustains us in uncertain times.  He alone knows the number of Melody’s days (or any of our days for that matter).  He alone knew that at one time…

We would celebrate Melody’s weekly birthdays…


then monthly birthdays…


And now YEARS!!!  Happy 3rd Birthday, Little Miss Melody!



Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom. 

~Psalm 90:12~

Comments 19

  1. Dear Melody and Family,
    What a blessing to review Melody’s precious life. Of course, we give God praise, but all of you are heroes in our book. Thank you for loving Jesus, loving life, and loving Melody.
    Pete and Roxy

  2. Those pictures of Melody celebrating her first week, then 6 months and now 3 years brought tears to my eyes. God is allowing all of us to share in the miracle of your growth and development. What a privilege this has been to be a part the this “journey” and to witness that with God ALL things are truly possible!!!

    We love you all.
    Oma and Opa

  3. What an amazing transformation since I have last seen Melody. She truly is a gift from God. AND how blessed she is to be born into this wonderful God fearing family!!
    Thank you or sharing your miracle of life and the witness of God’s hand
    in her life.
    Thank you for sharing…………

  4. Your little life and and the precious love of Christ in your family are a gift to the world! So glad you created this site. I loved watching and reading everything. Your life ministered to me AGAIN today. We are so blessed to have you near.

    We love you all,
    The Oggs

  5. Happy Birthday, Melody!
    God never makes mistakes! We thank Him profusely for His gift of you, Melody, to all of us! The Lord has taught us so much by your example. Never give up, and don’t underestimate God’s power and Sovereignty. What a precious little girl you are. You have touched many lives and are loved so much by everyone. We will continue to give God all the glory for your miraculous achievements!
    Bundles of love,
    Auntie Pat and Uncle Don

  6. Hi Melody,

    This is the Pinto fan club just writing in to say that we love you, we are proud of you, and happy early 3rd birthday! Please smile at your sweet family for us, ok?


    The Pintos

    P.S. Johan especially loved your planks and push ups! He does them too… : )

  7. All of us in the Cunningham family feel so privileged to be able to be a small part of your lives. It is inspiring to see your family’s daily life with Melody and each other. We love seeing these pictures and reading about her progress. You are all a testimony to God’s consistent love and His faithfulness. Thank you for allowing us to share in your journey. We are very excited to know you have Melody’s website, and will be watching it with expectancy, knowing we will he inspired and built up each time we see what you are sharing.
    Happy third birthday, Melody! God’s hand is on your life!

  8. Sweet Melody,

    You have blessed so many by your life! You are truly one of the Lord’s special treasures through whom He teaches us all. We love you and your family very, very much. Happy 3rd Birthday!!

    Aunt Patty and Uncle Ron

  9. What a blessing to see your little princess doing such amazing things!!! We are so proud of all of you, but especially Miss Melody! <3

  10. Melody and Family,

    Thank you for sharing this miraculous update on Melody. Thank You Lord for her days, and thank You for her 3rd Birthday. Happy Birthday Melody!!
    Our God is an Awesome God and He gives us all the Grace we need for each moment of life. Melody’s Story is so humbling, and puts all of life into a different perspective. I love her daddy’s comment–Melody is just taking the scenic route. May God continue to Bless all of you. We love you, joanie and jerry

  11. Dear Ones,
    What an achiever this little gal is! She inspires me and many others to rise up beyond our own limitations. Melody and her entire family show us what an awesome God we serve!
    Happy Birthday, dearest Melody!
    Grandma Lorrie

  12. Thank you for continuing to share Melody’s ( and your) testimony of life with us. We celebrate her life with you. Your stories spur us on to live a life well lived for God! I love hearing that Melody is growing and progressing and every day blessed your heart more and more. Your writing exudes and overflows with love and the humility of the honor to parent this most beautiful little girl. I praise God for your beautiful Melody. Happiest of Birthday wishes sweet Melody!!

  13. What a beautiful birthday celebration of a lovely child of God. Thank you for keeping me in the loop, Jeanie. Love to you all, Cousin Ann

  14. Wishing Miss Melody a very happy belated 3rd birthday! Praising the God of miracles for her precious little life! She truly is an inspiration along with the rest of your family! With much love, The Hime Family

  15. She is a miracle girl! Truly amazing. I love to read her updates and see her pictures. Thanks for sharing! love, Jen and the Harris Fam

  16. Without a doubt this precious little one is nourished with LOVE…God’s and that of her adoring family. There are blessings all around to be seen through Melody. Happy Birthday, little one.

    Jack and Phyllis Dunstan

  17. Oh sweet Melody! You have been an inspiration to Charlie and I as we live in a room at Children’s hospital that is next door to the room you were in 3 years ago precious girl. Thank you for courageously paving the path for us as we too fight for LIFE and walk by faith! We were told of you even before our official diagnosis of trisomy 21 had been made. You were a beacon of light for us in those early days. I remember curling up on the hospital bed, in the room with my precious newborn who was fighting for his life- reading your story and weeping. I was SO thankful for the fight God had given to you and your family. I think of you often and all the GOOD things that happened in that room next door for you The Fine Family loves you SO much! Happy Birthday!

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