Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Back to Kindergym

Felix's favourite thing at kindergym
Felix and I went to Kindergym this morning. I was really excited to take my little walking man and see all the new things he could do. He was a little apprehensive at first, because of the other kids, but once he got used to the noise and busyness he was fine. His climbing skills and his confidence have come on in leaps and bounds since last term. He was even able to walk up some of the soft ramps and, being the daredevil he is,  walked across platforms which were about a metre off the ground. I stayed close by 'just in case', but he seemed to be very aware of where the edges were and was quite cautious. A couple of times when he couldn't quite reach to climb up onto something, he looked at me and signed "Help". I gave him a little bit of a push and he was able to scramble the rest of the way up by himself.

As you know, Felix loves music and singing. Today was no different. When we had song time at Kindergym, he was so excited. He shook the little bells he got out of the instrument box, and bounced himself up and down to the songs. His eyes were big and wide and he loved watching the other kids jumping and singing. He was disappointed when the songs finished and signed "again". He hates it when it's time to finish, but was ready for a big drink and something to eat, so he didn't complain too much this time.

At Kindergym this morning it was interesting to observe different parent's reactions to Felix. When I'm at home with Felix I forget that he has Down Syndrome. To me, he's just Felix; our busy little two year old who is into everything. When I go into a situation where there are people who don't know Felix, I am reminded very quickly that he does indeed have Down Syndrome, because of people's responses to him. I have found that people react in one of two ways. The first group of people are drawn to Felix; they engage me in conversation, and talk to him. Some give me a smile from across the room, or make sure their kids are gentle when they play with Felix (sensing that he gets a bit frightened). The second group of people are evasive. They avoid eye contact with me and they quickly redirect their kids in a different direction if they start moving towards Felix.

Too clever, little man!
I was speaking to our oldest boys about my observations from today and, as always, they had some very interesting input. Like me, they agreed that to us Felix is just Felix. However, they did point out that sometimes when they notice someone who is different, they face a bit of a conundrum themselves. Do you make eye contact and smile? Do you go over and speak to them? Do you walk straight past them like you would any other person? The boys pointed out to me that some people probably do feel uncomfortable when faced with Felix, because they are unsure of how to respond. It doesn't mean they think he's awful, but they may actually be worried about upsetting me, as his Mum, if they respond the 'wrong way', so they avoid it altogether. I know I have had some people apologise for asking me questions about Down Syndrome because they thought they may have upset me (they didn't; I love questions). Some eye opening thoughts from our boys tonight, I think.

Having lots of fun!
Felix had a lot of fun this afternoon. When Nathan got home from work, he made him a 'cup of tea' with his tea set, and fed him some of the fruit from his toy fruit basket. They read some stories together and had a big play. When Felix was sitting on Nathan's knee, listening to a story, he kept looking over at me and signing, "Daddy" (with a grin from ear to ear) and then leaning his face up and staring at his Daddy, as proud as punch. He loves having Daddy time, and it's pretty precious to watch!

Tonight we had all six of our sons here for dinner (a pretty rare occurrence these days). Felix loved having all the boys around and wasn't quite sure who he wanted to 'talk' to first; there were so many choices. He wasn't sure about Daniel's new beard but, by the time he had to say goodnight, he was happy to stroke his face. I think he'd finally worked out who he was. Lucky for Felix, he got to go to bed at 7pm while the rest of us had to sit and endure the movie, Rocky 3, thanks to Nathan. He has told the kids that their childhood will be incomplete without watching a list of movies he has written down. The kids all groan initially, but I can tell they love it that we're doing something funny together. I wonder what the next torturous movie will be...Hahahaha!

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