Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Support Each Other

Wearing pink beads and no pants makes
you go faster!
I'm loving watching Felix change from a dependent, placid baby into an independent, stubborn two year old. Down Syndrome or not, the terrible two's are the terrible two's, and as stressful as it can be I'm loving his determination!! His newly developed tantrums have given us the opportunity to show him that it's OK to be frustrated, but there are certain ways to deal with that frustration and screaming isn't one of them. Teaching him the signs for 'please' and 'help' have been such a fantastic tool for us. Whenever he starts to shout because he's frustrated we just ask, "What do you say, Felix?" Instantly he stops yelling, and signs 'please help'. He calms straight down and we are able to help him. It has been a transition period for us because, when he was younger, we pre-empted what he needed or wanted and did it for him. Now we have to remember to get him to ask for what he wants, to encourage his speech development and signing. He is so much smarter than we give him credit for sometimes, so we really want to stretch him and allow him to develop the tools he will need to communicate as he grows.

Felix learnt a new 'big boy' skill today. He has a little bike, without pedals, which has to be ridden by him pushing it along with his feet. Until today, he has loved sitting on it or being pushed up the hall by his brothers, but he hadn't developed the coordination to move it himself. Today, for the very first time, he moved himself forward a metre all by himself. It wasn't far, but did he look proud of himself! He was even making motorbike noises with his mouth; anyone would have thought he'd just ridden it around the block.

Felix let Noah play with his precious
musical instruments
We were babysitting our Grandson, Noah, tonight. Felix was so good with him. He shared his toys, and rubbed his head. He wasn't even concerned about Noahs' new crawling skills, or the fact that he kept touching him. When I was cuddling Noah, as he was getting sleepy, Felix came over and helped me pat his back and put him to sleep. It was really sweet, but also a huge breakthrough for Felix, who is often scared of other small children. I was really proud of him. Hopefully it means we have turned a corner and his fear is lessening as he gets older.

One thing I wanted to address in this blog isn't intended to be controversial, but is something I wanted to mention because it seems to come up often amongst parents of kids with Down Syndrome lately. There seem to be a lot of comparisons being made about what some children are able to do and what others aren't able to do yet. I, personally, believe that each parent in the Down Syndrome community should be celebrating with each other, and supporting each other, when it comes to their children's milestones. It doesn't matter if one child does something so much earlier than another. That individual child should be celebrated for that milestone, just as another child should be celebrated for reaching that same milestone years later!!  Our children are all different and shouldn't be compared. The range of 'normal' for a child with Down Syndrome reaching milestones is huge compared to regular kids, and it doesn't matter how early or late those milestones are reached. What is most important is supporting each other in, what can sometimes be, a frustrating journey. Let's cheer for the little ones who walk before their first birthday, but let's also cheer for those who take their first steps when they are seven!

Kisses for you all x x x
Felix has reached some milestones early but others have taken a lot longer. There are plenty we are still working on. I have no hesitation in screaming at the top of my lungs if he learns something new. In doing that I'm not taking anything away from a child who hasn't reached that milestone yet, but I can't help but be proud of my boy; the same boy the Doctors told us probably wouldn't survive until birth. At the same time, you can bet your life I will have tears of joy in my eyes when I hear of anyone, with a child with Down Syndrome, who is celebrating the same milestone with a much older child. In the same way, I marvel at the children who reach their milestones much earlier than Felix, and am thrilled for their families. Our kids have had to overcome so many obstacles, including just being born. Some have incredibly difficult health issues to overcome and the fact that they can face each new challenge with a smile, is amazing in itself. Let's learn from our kids and show each other the same love and compassion that they show us. All of our kids are incredible!

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