Monday, 20 August 2012

Feeding the Birds

Felix the Fireman
The days I like sharing the most with Felix are the ones when we just enjoy the simple things. I love watching him experience new things, like the first time he felt the rain, and the first time he played in the sand. It's in those moments, with no other distractions, that I can truly see the wonder in his eyes as he discovers the beauty in things around us.

Today I had to take Isaiah for a haircut. The hairdresser he goes to doesn't take bookings so he has to sit and wait his turn. Felix had just woken from his afternoon sleep and hadn't had lunch yet, so I decided to stay in the car with him and give him something to eat while Isaiah went in for his haircut. When we got there, I unstrapped Felix from his car seat and sat him on the front passenger seat next to me to have lunch. He thought that was pretty cool and happily sat there munching away.

When he finished his lunch, I swapped places with Felix and let him sit on the driver's seat to 'drive' the car. He stood on the seat and held the steering wheel, turning it back and forth, stopping every now and again to sign 'car'. I had the windows wound down because it was quite warm, so Felix could hear other cars, buses and motorbikes drive past. Every time he saw one, he would lean out of the window to watch it drive past. He's become such a little boy with his love for different vehicles.

Sitting in his toybox
One time, as he leaned out of the window, he dropped a piece of the biscuit he had been eating. From out of nowhere, a seagull flew down and picked it up. Felix jumped with fright, but it was only for a second. Next thing he had his head hanging out of the window again, and watched in amazement as more seagulls started to land on the ground wait for more food. The expression on his face was pure joy; I just wanted to keep looking at him. I opened up a packet of rice biscuits I had in the car, crumbled one up, and dropped it onto the ground near the car. Suddenly dozens of seagulls started circling, some of them landing on the ground and making lots of noise. Felix couldn't get enough of them. I started handing him pieces of biscuit to throw to the birds, which he did with gusto! He would sign 'bird' and then 'more' as he looked at me, waiting for more biscuit. I couldn't believe how long the seagulls kept Felix's attention. We went through an entire packet of biscuits!

Hello Isaiah!
Our daughter, Amy (21), was messaging me last night about a post she read on Facebook about an employee of McDonalds who happened to have Down Syndrome. She was really irritated about the stereotypical comments which were made beneath it. One being that people, like this man, don't usually work because they have Down Syndrome. The other thing which annoyed her were the comments talking about how happy people with Down Syndrome were ALL the time, and how they were always smiling. She added her own comments, explaining (accurately) that MANY people with Down Syndrome are employed within the 'regular' community. It is actually more common, than not, these days for people with Down Syndrome to work and contribute to the wider community. She also wrote (correctly), that people with Down Syndrome were not happy ALL the time. They, like us, have good days and bad days. They can throw tantrums just like the rest of us, and be equally as grumpy! They are, after all, people just like you and me.

To say I'm proud of our older kids for being advocates for people with Down Syndrome, and educators to those who don't know much about Down Syndrome, would be an understatement. I love how they regularly speak up and correct misguided views, and how they genuinely want to educate others. It makes me so proud! Felix obviously didn't read the book about 'stereotypical' behaviour for a person with Down Syndrome. After we got home from our fun with the birds today, he was a grump! He was not happy and let us all know about it. He would ask for something and then shake his head and throw it away. After a nice hot bath and a belly full of dinner, he fell straight to sleep tonight. Feeding the birds must have been exhausting work!

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