Monday, 6 May 2013

Who Needs Words?

So much love!
When I look at Felix, I see a perfectly 'normal' two year old, developing at the same rate as all his siblings did. I don't really think about milestones, and can't really remember at what age the other kids did things, unless I consult their baby books. It's not until I go on Facebook and read someone's status about a conversation they had with their two year old, that I'm reminded, "Oh, that's right, the other kids were having quite grown up conversations by two!" Does it upset me? I can honestly say it doesn't bother me at all. I know the same can't be said, for other parents of kids with Down syndrome, and that's perfectly OK too. We are all different. I'm sure I probably stress about things which other parents wouldn't. We all have different experiences to share.
Cup of tea?

I've often wondered why the whole milestone thing doesn't bother me too much and, I've come to the conclusion, that after having 7 other 'typical' kids, who seemed to grow up overnight, I'm enjoying the slower pace that comes from having Felix. I remember, as a young Mum, feeling like there was a lot of competition, in baby groups, to see who's child was the first to reach certain milestones. It was like you earned bragging rights if your child was the first to sit up, or the first to take his/her steps. There was a silent pressure to make sure your child was 'up to par' or behaving appropriately. This time around, Felix is just Felix. It's not a competition. People (in 'regular' baby groups), don't expect Felix to be doing everything their kids are doing, so when he does, people seem genuinely excited with me.
Old MacDonald

There is such a wide range of what is 'average' for children with Down syndrome. Some kids talk extremely early, and some are still developing their speech as young adults. Some will be running around and climbing at age 2, while others are still learning to sit up. We, as parents of kids with Down syndrome, realise that our kids have to work so much harder, than 'typical' kids to do to learn the things they do, so the celebration when they do reach a milestone is something we all celebrate together!

I was talking to Felix's playgroup teacher this morning, and telling her about my realisation that Felix isn't talking, like other two year olds yet. Her reaction wasn't what I expected, but I agree with her 100%. She pointed out that he is communicating just as well as other two year olds, just in a different way, and it's true. Felix uses signs consistently now and, what he can't sign yet, he will tell us in other ways. For example, every time he sees a fly inside the house, he motions with his hand in a 'Shoo, fly' motion. He will notice the tiniest fly, that I haven't even seen yet and he will let me know where it is so I can get rid of it. Another example was when I was pushing Felix on a swing today. He had been on it for such a long time, so I stopped it and asked if he wanted to get off. I held out my arms to him and he gently pushed them away and started rocking his body to get the swing to start moving again. He hadn't finished. He wanted to keep swinging.
Busy boy

Felix has been in the best mood, these past few days. He has been full of life, and wanting to play and interact with everybody. Last week, at playgroup, he lay on the floor all morning but, today, he ran around outside and played. He pushed a toy car around, threw some balls and crawled through the tunnel. Inside, he enjoyed spending time with his therapists, building towers with blocks and playing in the sensory box. He especially liked playing with the Old MacDonalds farm board, sticking on the velcro animals, signing the ones he knew as he put them on the board. Of course he had to sing, too..... "ee, i, ee, i, oh!"  

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