Clara and Cutler: Best Friends for Facebook
Their moms call it love at first sight
GRAND FORKS, ND — Two babies in Grand Forks have not only captured the hearts of their families, but the online world as well.
Their moms created a Facebook page for the pair that has gained thousands of followers in under a year.
Clara Beaton and Cutler Thompson are down-right adorable.
These baby BFFs have Down syndrome and their moms are more than happy to share that with the world.
One extra chromosome, two babies and a whole lot of love.
That’s just the start of what 17-month-old Clara and 14-month-old Cutler have in common.
“Right, you love your best friend?” asked Lana Beaton, to her daughter, Clara.
Their moms call it love at first sight.
“Pretty cool to be the ‘extra cromey club’,” said Amy Sanders, who is Cutler’s mother. “It’s kind of a cool deal. We’re pretty lucky.”
This has been a learning lesson for both families.
Lana and her husband Scott have three other children.
“Being number four, we thought we knew what we were doing,” admitted Lana. “We had this last of our kiddos and so you just assume things are going to go the same way…the way they always have and they’re going to sleep when they sleep and eat.”
Lana was still pregnant when she found out Clara had Down syndrome.
She was just 20 weeks along.
“Now, we just figure this out,” Lana said. “Now, we learn everything we can learn before she gets here and make sure her heart is ready to go when she’s born.”
“I didn’t know,” said Amy. “I had a birth diagnosis. I didn’t know until he was born and before anyone said anything, as soon as I saw him, I knew.”
Cutler is Amy Sanders’ second child.
“At first, I was terrified,” she admitted. “I’m sure a lot of people probably are because you start to think of the what if’s.”
These two moms found out they weren’t alone.
Lana and Amy knew each other growing up.
They reconnected online after so many years apart.
Now, the two rely on each other for everything from childcare to playdates to the “how” and “what” of raising a child with Down syndrome.
“Not only for the babies, but for Lana and I to have each other is really lucky. You know? A blessing,” said Amy.
The two decided to turn to the same platform that brought them together.
They wanted to share their babies with the online world and show others Down syndrome doesn’t have to be scary.
“How about Facebook?” asked Amy. “I know Facebook. She and I together, we both kind of came up with the idea and started it. We met at Starbucks one day, got it up and running, thinking we’ll have a few hits here and there.”
In the first day, they say they had a few hundred followers.
The moms say it really picked up around the election.
“Her shirt said “Future First Lady” and his said “Future President” and people were all crazy over it and we were like, these are just really cute babies,” said Lana.
In October, they posted every day for Down Syndrome Awareness Month.
“The page really grew from there and we set goals for followers,” said Lana. “We blew that all out of the water.”
The moms post pictures of the two’s ups and downs and every in-between.
They also include notes, like ‘Dear Cutler….Guess what? You know that awesome teeth grinding thing you do? The one that drives our mommies crazy? Yeah, you gotta show me that trick ’cause I finally popped two teeth!’
Or ones that start off, ‘Dear Clara, how is the lake? I miss you lots.’
Thousands of followers can’t help but fall in love with these two.
But it’s not all likes and shares for these two families.
Down syndrome brings its own set of struggles.
“He had something called infantile spasms, at six months old,” said Amy. “He was diagnosed with that which is a seizure, a really rare seizure disorder.”
Both babies have heart defects; Clara’s more severe.
“Her heart defect was repaired at three months old,” said Lana. “She was 10 lbs. Teeny tiny little thing but she was amazing. She was in and out in eight days.”
She also eats through a G-tube, making travel difficult.
“We spend a lot of time on the road going to different doctor appointments and seeing different specialists and different physicians trying to get to the bottom of it,” explained Lana.
The moms post the hard times too.
It’s the times when they’re in the hospital, that these families have found support through complete strangers.
“People recognize her,” said Lana. “When we’re at the clinic and ‘Oh, Clara is here!’ and nobody knows me. I’m just Clara’s mom but they know her.”
“People love them,” said Amy. “We get comments from Greece…the UK.”
Through the power of social media, these families know every step they take is made with thousands following behind them, supporting them and cheering them on.
“When we’re in the hospital, people would reach out saying ‘we’re praying for your children’, which is pretty incredible,” said Amy. “Children they’ve never met. People we’ve never met.”
It’s a small token of kindness and support for two babies that are giving back so much more in return.
“We get a lot of ‘your picture brightened our day’,” said Amy. “That’s pretty incredible. These kids were brought together for the reason. I think it’s to make everybody happy…Right? ‘Cause you did that for mom! Yes, you did!”
If you would like follow Clara and Cutler, click here to go to their Facebook page.