Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Fears Put To Rest

Such an outdoor boy
I know I raved about Felix's talking in my last blog but, wow, his speech seems to be improving by the day. He has spoken some words so clearly today; absolutely perfectly! He is attempting to construct more and more sentences and, although I don't always understand him yet, I'm excited that he's trying. We're getting there one step at a time.

A friend of mine shared something on Facebook today about how fantastic it was to watch her little boy (the same age as Felix and also rocking an extra chromosome), play on a local playground and interact with other kids there. She mentioned that it was one of the things she didn't think she would get to experience, when she was given his diagnosis at birth, and yet here he was doing the same as all the other kids. It struck a chord with me because I was thinking the exact same thing yesterday. I was waiting at a playground, for a friend to arrive, so Felix raced straight onto the playground to play with the other kids. Watching him climb quite difficult parts of the playground, race up ladders and run across bridges, it was just like watching any other child his age. I didn't have to get up and rescue him. In fact, I didn't have to help him with anything. He was a five year old boy, doing what 5 year old boys do. The other kids talked to him, took turns with him and pushed him down the slide and he did the same with them.

There's nothing he won't climb
Like my friend, I had so many concerns after Felix's diagnosis. My brain raced ahead, not weeks, but months and years. Would he talk? Where would he go to school? Was he going to be teased by other kids? Where was he going to live as an adult? Will he always live at home? What will happen to him when I'm not around any more? I had to snap myself out of it really quickly and decide that I was going to take one day at a time, and not get ahead of myself. With each little milestone he reached, I celebrated and the future looked brighter. Yes, sometimes those milestones were months later than typical children; he didn't walk until 22 months old, he struggles to drink from a regular cup, and he's still not toilet trained. Yet others were even earlier than his typical peers; he rolled from his tummy to his back consistently from 2 weeks old. He signed "butterfly" at 8 months old and had many signs by a year old (not many typical kids "talk" that early). He started to read before he turned 3 years old! Felix, as we have discovered, does things at his own pace; sometimes that pace is really fast, and other times it's pretty chilled out which can be kind of nice!
Felix and his 'little' mate

I worried, just like my friend, that Felix would be the kid at the playground who no-one wanted to play with. I pictured him being pushed around and called names until he cried. With the prognosis we were given, due to the Down syndrome/Hydrocephalus diagnosis, I couldn't even picture him walking, let alone climbing up the slide the wrong way! How naive I was! At this point in his life, Felix is surrounded by friends who want to play with him. He is invited to parties, and kids run up to him at the shop to give him a high 5 or beep him on the nose. Is it always going to be like this? Possibly not. As kids grow, their values change and some, unfortunately, lose their inclusive natures. I'm sure there will be times when Felix is teased or excluded. For now I choose to be thankful for the positive experiences we are having, and to proudly watch Felix smash stereotypes every single day and do things I never thought possible.
My heart!

I'm not saying I'll never worry, or I won't sometimes get ahead of myself. I'm a Mum. It goes without saying that I will worry about my kids. I'm just going to try my hardest not to worry any more about Felix than I do about my other kids. I believe Felix will be able to do anything he sets his mind to. I can't wait to see him working in a job he enjoys, watching movies with his friends, and bringing home someone he's fallen in love with. I'm even looking forward to the day he steals a sneaky beer from the fridge. For now, though, I'll enjoy my bouncy little boy who just looked at me through his mop of long hair and said, "You're so funny Mum!" Love that kid!

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