Thursday, March 19, 2009

John Michael's ready for Spring!

Spring is still a day away, but John Michael just
couldn't wait to get outside in this gorgeous sunshine.

This is his sign for airplane.
He gets very excited when he hears the buzz of an airplane overhead.

John Michael turned 16 months old last week. He is growing by leaps and bounds, although not in the height or weight department. At his 15 month check up last month, he hadn't grown in length in the past 3 months and actually lost 2 pounds, from 28 to 26 pounds, since he started crawling and is no longer nursing. The doctor suggested I give him PediaSure for vitamins and protein. He eats well, but doesn't love whole milk as much as he should. He drinks very well from straws and sippy cups that don't have a strong valve. He learned to suck from a straw last summer when I tempted him with a Jamba Juice fruit smoothie. The icy sensation and the sweetness were great motivators.

This past week, John Michael has really blossomed in his communication. Yesterday, he said "eh-duh" for Greta and "dah" for dog several times when prompted. Today he waved and said "bah bah" when I asked him to say bye-bye. He also makes a "t" sound for tree and puts his hand up in the air to show me the tree. As for signing, I'm becoming more consistent and in return he signs "more," "eat" and "all done" more often. He crawls super-fast and loves to chase and be chased. He loves all things that roll, especially cars, trains and balls. When he gets up on his knees, he puts one foot down as if ready to stand. He really likes to stand against furniture or the windows.

Last week I bought him a FisherPrice plastic ring stacker to see if he could do it. He figured out how to put the rings on right away. Now we're going to work on size/color placement. He loves all things related to music-making. He loves to play the piano and really listens when he strikes the keys. He plays the xylophone, kazoo, drums, egg shakers and strums on his music therapist's guitar while she sings and plays. We're working on blowing into a recorder. It's a bit harder than humming into a kazoo. He'll get it.

When we're outdoors, he loves to swing and go for walks in the stroller or push car. He listens to the birds chirping, dogs barking and airplanes buzzing and makes me aware that he hears them. I'm hoping he'll like the toddler bicycle seat attached to my bike so we can enjoy rides as a family within the next few weeks.

I tend to focus on John Michael's strengths and keep a positive outlook. I want people to see the things he can do and that he's more like typical children than not. A couple days ago I ran into a friend I hadn't seen in a long time at the grocery store. She asked me 3 or 4 times, in that certain way, "So, how are you?" I kept saying we're doing great and life is just busy right now and things are just rolling right along. I think she was wanting to know if I was really OK. Or if John Michael was OK. I hope she believed me.

Naturally, there are things he does that I wish he wouldn't, but I've can say that about each of my kids at every stage of their development as well. I know he'll grow out of these things and I don't think they're in any way related to Down syndrome. Right now, he is infatuated with knocking over garbage cans, opening the shower door and slapping his hands in the water, playing with (and tasting) dog food and water (which have already been moved from the first place he found them), pulling the dog and cat's tails, tossing his sippy cup off of his high chair after almost every sip, rolling the salt shaker across the kitchen floor when he can get to it, and yelling loudly when he's frustrated with something he's not getting. These are just a few things I can think of. Most of the time, he really is a super fantastic little guy with a charming personality and his Down syndrome is only a small part of him. It doesn't define him.

PS: I'll be on a road trip with my 2 girls this weekend to visit my parents who will be leaving soon to celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversay in Germany on April 16th. When I return, I will post on poop. :-) I've been called the "Poop Whisperer." John Michael used to be very constipated, but through tummy massage and prompting, I've been able to help him do his daily deed. Stay tuned and Happy Spring! :-)

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  1. I love the picture of him signing airplane:)

  2. love the photo's! Yes, he is so cute! Can't wait to hear about you being a poop whisperer. We have good weeks and bad weeks in that department!

  3. Okay, he is just simply adorable!!!! Sounds like he is doing amazing!!! Love your attitude!

  4. :) You have an award waiting for you on my blog!

  5. I love hearing about all John Michael's accomplishments. He sounds so similar to Kole. Both in strengths and weaknesses. Fascination with the piano (very cute), the shower and toilet (very wet), the garbage (throwing away dishes and instruments lately), throwing down his food and cups, and screaming are all par for the course. Thankfully we don't have pets or I'm sure he'd be eating their food too! :)

  6. You have a beautiful family and John Michael is so darn cute!!! It sounds like he's doing great and I love that you stay focused on what he CAN do. What a great attitude and outlook you have.